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The Power of Oxytocin and How It Affects Human Behavior

  • 5 min read


by Matt Weik

Ever noticed that warm and fuzzy feeling when you hug or kiss your partner? Or a feeling when you cuddle a puppy? Well, this is Oxytocin working to strengthen your bond. Oxytocin holds an impressive reputation for making people more generous, social, and loving.

Let’s see what more this magical hormone offers.

What is Oxytocin?

Oxytocin, also known as the love hormone or cuddle hormone, acts as both a hormone and a neurotransmitter. It is produced by the hypothalamus and secreted by the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland (a small region at the base of the brain).

As per the American Psychological Association, Oxytocin helps with intensifying the memories of bonding.

However, note that Oxytocin cannot magically change your behavior overnight. It does not make you love or trust someone instantly. It can only boost the feelings of trust, love, and security towards someone you already care for.

Ways to Boost Oxytocin Production

Can you boost the level of Oxytocin in your body, naturally? The answer is yes. By making small changes in your day-to-day life, you can improve the feeling of empathy.

So, though your body produces Oxytocin all by itself, you can increase the production naturally in these ways:

1.      Yoga

From reducing anxiety to improving the overall quality of life, yoga offers plenty of benefits. As per research, yoga helps boost the production of Oxytocin in the body.

2.      Music

Listening to music can improve your mood and focus. Apart from that, it also helps in enhancing social bonds. As per a study, open-heart surgery patients who listened to music showed an improvement in Oxytocin levels and felt more relaxed.

3.      Massage

Have you ever noticed an improvement in mood and reduction in stress levels after getting a massage? That’s because of Oxytocin. As per a study, a 15-minutes massage can help boost Oxytocin levels. Not only this, another study shows that Oxytocin levels also increase in the person who is actually giving the massage.

4.      Sex

Sexual intimacy is one of the best ways to increase the Oxytocin level. Having sex can make you feel closer and more connected to your partner.

5.      Hug

Well, not just sex but other forms of intimacy like a kiss, cuddle, or a hug can also help with increasing Oxytocin levels.

Oxytocin and Love

As per a study, couples in the first stages of the relationship have higher levels of Oxytocin as compared to non-attached single people.

Oxytocin is tied to love as it is released during sexual activity and is linked to erection and intensity of orgasm. Studies also show that it has some relationship-enhancing effects like trust, empathy, positive communication, strengthening bonds, and more.

Oxytocin and Mental Health

As per a study, Oxytocin helps in treating autism and other psychiatric conditions that may affect or impair social interaction. Another study shows that Oxytocin helps in reducing postpartum depression and anxiety disorders.

Oxytocin and Motherhood

Oxytocin plays a key role in motherhood. During childbirth, it helps to initiate labor, strengthen contractions, and reduce blood loss after delivery. After delivery, it also helps the uterus return to its previous size.

Next, it also helps in breastfeeding by signaling the brain to let down the milk for the baby. And most importantly, it helps strengthen the bond between the mother and child.

And the best part, the benefit of Oxytocin is not limited just to the biological mothers. Studies show that Oxytocin has similar effects in adoptive parents as well.

Oxytocin and Emotion

Oxytocin is an important component that helps the body to adapt to highly emotional situations. As per a study, Oxytocin has a positive impact on social behavior related to trust, relaxation, and psychological stability. It also helps to reduce stress and anxiety.

Apart from that, Oxytocin is connected to dopamine and serotonin in a way that when you are attracted to someone, your brain releases dopamine, which increases serotonin, and produces Oxytocin — providing you with a feeling of positivity.

The Hormone That Affects Human Behavior

The role of Oxytocin in human behavior is extremely complex. More information and research are required to understand what more this hormone can actually do. Expect to see more research being published in the coming year, further explaining not only how to increase the production of Oxytocin but also what other benefits we all may experience.