Why Oxytocin Can Be Toxic to Flawed Relationships

Are you in a bad relationship, but the sex is amazing? Here’s why the sex and the “love drug” might be a trip that isn’t worth taking.


Have you ever laid down next to your partner in post-orgasmic bliss, and suddenly felt a wave of unexplainable, warm emotions wash over you? Then you, my friend, have been a victim of the “love drug.” The most popular oxy and, ironically, the only self-produced one comes in the form of that pesky, yet insatiable “love drug” called oxytocin. This bodily hormone is so addictive that some researchers even believe a strong production of oxytocin in men is what keeps them monogamous!

So what is oxytocin anyway? And if it’s affectionately referred to as the “love drug” then shouldn’t it be good for failing relationships? Not exactly. In fact, falling victim to oxytocin may be the reason you keep wasting your time with jerks!

What is oxytocin and what does it do?

Oxytocin is a hormone released by the brain that’s responsible for a great number of things, including relief from stress and anxiety, maternal bonding while pregnant, and post-orgasm cuddle time. This hormone causes you to feel relaxed and creates a bond of trust between you and your partner or unborn child, as some cases show.

Below are some other things you need to know to have a better understanding of this famed “love drug.”

#1 Men release it too. While there are many associations between the “love drug,” pregnancy, and breastfeeding, it should be noted that both men and women secrete this addictive hormone. Oxytocin is released, not just by a budding baby, but by physical touch such as hugs, sexual intercourse, playing with your pets, and being emotionally engaged with your partner. In fact, research suggests that the release of oxytocin also has plenty to do with a man’s erection and orgasm.

#2 It’s great for loving relationships… As you may already have guessed, oxytocin is a fantastic chemical for those in loving relationships. Not only does oxytocin release a sensational euphoria regarding love, your partner, and all things cuddly and wonderful, it also gives off a strong sense of connection and creates a bond of trust between you and your mate. [Read: 10 reasons you should have sex every single day]

#3 But it’s deadly for toxic relationships. Have you ever been with a partner who was a complete jackass, but was great in bed? All of your senses of better judgment may have been screaming at you to leave them every single day, but you just couldn’t seem to let go.

Let’s be clear: this isn’t because you thought deep down your partner is a great person or that they can be turned around. Actually, it was because the sex was phenomenal, and you got hooked by the “love drug.”

#4 Hormones blind you to the truth. In short, the release of this “love drug” may be the exact reason why people end up sticking it out with players, jerks, and cheating creeps. Why? Oxytocin creates a false bond of trust between you and your partner, but it doesn’t last forever. Once your trust wears off, you may realize your seemingly perfect partner isn’t so perfect after all.

#5 Attractive mates can be a real bummer. Let’s face it, shallow or not, the first thing you notice about the opposite sex is the way they look. However, just like the effects that oxytocin can give, being attracted to someone can have negative effects when we’re involved in a toxic relationship.

Studies show that when we are attracted to our partner, our brains trick us into thinking we’re more alike than we actually are. In fact, attraction can go a long way, allowing us to forgive or overlook the most ridiculous actions, all for the sake of a pretty smile or a big bulge. [Read: 7 secret signs that reveal a bad relationship]

Ditching the baggage despite the oxytocin haze

Once you begin to connect with someone on a hormonal level, it becomes more and more difficult to rip yourself away from that person, even if they happen to be the biggest jerk around. So how do you pull yourself out of a bad relationship and prevent a future oxytocin attack from attaching you to the wrong person?

#1 You’re addicted, you’re not in love. The rush of dopamine we get after a great-O is addictive. But despite the wonders of the Big O, try to separate the idea of great sex and love. They don’t always go hand in hand, despite what your hormones may be telling you. If you’re finding it hard to pull away from your partner, try backing off in the sex department. Odds are, your “love drug” addiction will die out once the orgasms stop.

#2 Keep a record. You know that phrase that says, “Love doesn’t keep count?” Trash it! If you’re really dating the world’s biggest jerk, you need to start keeping a folder of all the things they do to piss you off. Did they send you a nasty text? Take a print screen. Do they have naked pictures of another person on their PC? Keep it in mind. Naughty texts from someone who isn’t you? Take note of it.

Keep a record of all the ways they’re taking advantage of you, and keep it in a folder on your phone. Then, the next time you’re feeling like you should get back together with them, open the folder, and remember that this person you’re missing is the same person who screwed you over. [Read: 12 subtle signs you’re being manipulated by the one you love]

#3 Create a breakup game plan. If you’re in a verbal, mental, or physically abusive relationship, then you need to create a game plan to get out. Studies show that when people have an action plan, be it for working out, eating better, or breaking bad habits, they are more likely to succeed at their goals.

Decide how you will tell your partner, what you can do to stave off the temptation to crawl back, and what you will do if you ever feel lonely and start missing your ex. Pro tip? Don’t booty call your ex post-breakup EVER. [Read: Breakup sex and 10 instances where it might work]

#4 Avoid pre-emptive romps in the bedroom with new partners. This is basic advice, yet many people don’t follow it. If you don’t know your new partner, I mean really know them in a variety of situations, try to avoid jumping into bed with them. The last thing you want to do is trick your body and your heart into falling for another jerk. [Read: 13 rebound sex questions to know if you’re ready]

Oxytocin and post-orgasmic bliss can be addicting, but don’t let your lust for the “love drug” become a Band-Aid for a bad relationship. Show restraint by holding off on the snogging and by taking control of your oxytocin. It may just be what the doctor ordered to get you out of a bad relationship.

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Waverly Smith
Waverly Smith is a freelance writer who has been getting paid for spreading her sarcastic take on love, life, and sex since 2010. She is many things that people...
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