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The interconnectedness of sexual arousal, desire, and pleasure


Sexual desire and sexual pleasure are interwoven into the brain’s neurochemistry. Systems that excite desire, such as dopamine, and bonding, such as oxytocin, are sensitized by the systems that come online to produce the feelings of pleasure and satisfaction we have when pursuing, flirting, having sex, and experiencing orgasms with our partner(s), such as opioids and serotonin.  In this webinar we will discuss how those systems work across the sexual response cycle and how the systems for desire and bonding are activated by feelings of attraction and love.  We will also discuss how the absence of pleasure can blunt or outright inhibit the activation of desire and arousal, how this motivates people to either endure bad sex or seek out other partners, and what people can do to reignite the passion in their relationships.


Speaker: Jim Pfaus, PhD, IF
Neuroscience researcher and psychologist

Professor of Neuroscience and psychology, with dual research appointments at the Brain Research Center, Universidad Veracruzana, in Xalapa, México, and in the Département de psychoéducation et de psychologie, Université du Québec en Outaouais, in Gatineau, QC, Canada.  Dr. Pfaus got interested in the neurobiology of sex at an early age.  For over 30 years he has conducted extensive research into the brain mechanisms of sexual arousal, desire, pleasure, and inhibition, working with both laboratory rats and humans.  This work has revealed how sexual experience alters the function of these systems, which in turn has helped to identify potential pharmacological treatments for desire, arousal, and orgasm disorders. Dr. Pfaus has authored over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers and book chapters and has received numerous awards for his research.  He is the current Editor-in Chief of the journal Current Sexual Health Reports, is a past-president of the International Academy of Sex Research, and a fellow of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health.

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