Sex, love and oxytocin: Two metaphors and a molecule.

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Carter, C Sue
Year of Publication: 2022
Journal: Neurosci Biobehav Rev
Volume: 143
Pagination: 104948
Date Published: 2022 Dec
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 1873-7528
Keywords: Animals, Arvicolinae, Humans, Love, Metaphor, Oxytocin, Receptors, Oxytocin, Social Behavior

Dozens of studies, most conducted in the last four decades, have implicated oxytocin, as well as vasopressin and their receptors, in processes that mediate selective sociality and the consequences of early experience. Oxytocin is critical for the capacity to experience emotional safety and healthy sexuality. Oxytocin also plays a central role in almost every aspect of physical and mental health, including the coordination of sociality and loving relationships with physiological reactions to challenges across the lifespan. Species, including prairie voles, that share with humans the capacity for selective social bonds have been a particularly rich source of insights into the behavioral importance of peptides. The purpose of this historical review is to describe the discovery of a central role for oxytocin in behavioral interactions associated with love, and in the capacity to use sociality to anticipate and cope with challenges across the lifespan - a process that here is called "sociostasis."

DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2022.104948
Alternate Journal: Neurosci Biobehav Rev