Ever crave chocolate or salty chips? The rich and velvety texture on your tongue and burst of sweet makes it hard to chew that chocolate without a smile. From the first crisp bite to the last lick of salt off your finger, every crunchy chip is like music in your mouth. For some, the mere mention of these foods has activated your salivary glands. It could potentially cause your stomach to growl even if you recently finished a meal. Why does this happen? It’s all chemical.
Neurotransmitters are like chemical messengers coursing through our bodies. These chemicals play a part in so many things like our mood, how we interact with others and things that we desire. Explaining food cravings is a good way to help our kids understand why there is a draw towards, or craving for sex. Craving is right and healthy. However, just like the cravings for food, it is important to understand why we crave and how we manage it.
Dopamine is often called the ‘reward signal’ chemical. We do something fun, exciting, or rewarding and dopamine washes over our brains. This brings a feeling of exhilaration to associate with whatever activity we chose to release dopamine. It makes sense that when we do this, whether from laughing with friends, riding a roller coaster or engaging in sex, that our bodies would say, “More please!” The risk, just like dopamine being released with food consumption and substance use, is that we can become addicted.
We can automatically think this is bad because addiction is such a negative term. However, our brains are hard-wired to try and make us addicted to our sexual partner. The very definition of addiction is that we have a compulsive need to go back for more.
We need to help our kids understand that draw is ingrained in us because the point is to be addicted (in a healthy way) to our sex partner in order to reproduce. Without this innate craving the population would cease to exist. My next few posts will go into further detail about how our brains are impacted by sex. Additionally, steps to help our children avoid risky behaviors and to protect their brain.
Choose Health Founder and Lead Educator