Without trying to sound too much like an uninformed alarmist, it seems that science may have stumbled upon the reason why some of us have less-than-satisfying love –lives. And the culprit may be as close as your coffee mug.
But before we delve into the mysteries surrounding our sex lives, we first have to take a brief refresher course in biochemistry and microbiology.
Dopamine is a chemical that seemingly activates the pleasure center of our brains, making us feel better. Research shows that, like so many other things in life, some of us produce more of it naturally than others. And many of those who don’t produce enough turn to other medications, namely alcohol, nicotine, and illegal drugs, primarily cocaine and heroin.
Because ethanol, nicotine, and cocaine hydrochloride and opiates release a veritable flood of dopamine and dopamine-like compounds into the brain, it is easy to see why addiction is easy and common-place.
And consistent with logic, those who produce less dopamine than average seem to be most at risk to addiction to these drugs. Depression, whether organic or event-caused, seems to depress the levels of natural dopamine, making the person vulnerable to addiction.
Since experience teaches the subconscious brain which substances cause the dopamine rush, it’s easy to see why those with the lowest levels of naturally-produced dopamine are most likely to become addicts. This is what experts refer to as ‘self-medication’.
And although there are substances other than alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, and opiates that cause the cascade of dopamine, one that has escaped much scrutiny until recently is caffeine, namely coffee.
Although science has a schizophrenic approach to coffee, one day portraying it as an evil substance, and the next lauding its health benefits, a mounting pile of evidence suggests it just may contribute to lousy sex lives.
Because the caffeine in coffee leads to a mild form of dopamine cascading, many people quickly become addicted to their cup of morning java. Few of those who enjoy their morning cup or two would suspect that maybe, just maybe, they are subconsciously replacing morning coffee for satisfying lovemaking the night before.
The relationship between coffee and sex resulted from recent research that showed a small but distinct relationship between happiness and success at work, and the person’s sex life. Apparently, the dopamine released during love-making makes the person more confident, happy, and relaxed, leading to increased work performance.
So, good sex makes for a good employee.
But if the brain can find a replacement source for dopamine, then perhaps the desire for physical intimacy will be reduced. And while there are many other sources of caffeine, coffee seems to have the most intense effect on people.
Am I suggesting that cutting out coffee will lead to a dynamite love life? No, because like many other things in life, sex is more than just chemicals, hormones, and pheromones. If sex lives could instantly become more satisfying, and work more productive simply by cutting back on coffee, then more of us would.
But it just might be worth a try, huh? If it turns out you prefer morning joe rather than evening Joe, you just might need a better Joe.