A lovely reader during Week 6 of our Sex Drive Transformation left the following question:
“How do you get the tingly feeling back? I love my husband, love making love with him, but generally the feelings I have when he touches me is ‘safe/secure/comfortable,’ not the ‘new/exciting/tingling’ feelings.”
This is a great question! Why is the effervescence of euphoria is elusive?
He walks into sight and fireflies of electricity burst in your chest. You can barely concentrate on anything else other than your hunk of man. (There is speculation in the science community that biochemicals involved in first-love are also connected with obsession/compulsion.)
What is the tingle?
Published findings in the Journal of Psychoneuroendocrinology, April 2006, seem to state that the butterflies of first romance biologically dwindle as time progresses. Dr. Emanuele Enzo and team, University of Pavia, Italy, were led to study the neurobiologyof first love because, “it would not be surprising that a diversity of biochemical mechanisms could be involved in the mood changes of the initial stage of romance……It typically involves emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and erotic components.”
This study tracked neurotrophins, a family of proteins that induce the survival, development and function of neurons (nerve cells). The proteins tracked were NGF (nerve growth factor), BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), NT-3 (neurotrophin-3) and NT-4 (neurotrophin-4).
A group of 58 highly scrutinized, madly-in-love participants were the test subjects against two similar sized control groups. They had fallen in-love within 6 months of the first interview for this study. One control group was comprised of individuals with no romantic attachments (i.e. single). The second control group had been in a long term committed relationship lasting from roughly 2.5 – 5.5 years. Each group had a nearly equal number of men and women. The age of the test group was about 2 years younger on average than the two control groups.
Blood samples were taken after a 14 hour fast. It was a blind study. The lab personnel did not know which group the subjects were in.
After analysis it was shown that the NGF (nerve growth factor) for the in-love test group was around 35% higher than the singles control group and around 50% higher than the committed relationship control group.
And, there was variation within the in-love test group. The more intense feeling of love a participant reported, the higher their NGF count.
Of the original 58 madly-in-love participants, after 12-24 months, 39 self-reported they were in the same relationship but were no longer in the same mental state. These 39 gave blood samples to determine if their new state of mind indeed showed a new NGF number. It did.
These 39 now had lower NGF levels.
The tingly feeling of first love is probably derived in part from Nerve Growth Factor. NGF is one of the components of first romance.
Obviously, Pearl does not have a degree in psychoneuroendocrinology. But, I scrutinized this article. I could not find out what happened to the other 19 participants of the madly-in-love test group. Did they break up? Or were they still feeling madly-in-love after 24 months?
I have found that others have taken the liberty to conclude that this study points to a loss of ‘tingling’ around 24 months of being in-love. The in-love feeling subsides and the task of long term bond building begins.
So, did I mislead you, beautiful readers, when in Week 6 of our Sex Drive Transformation I encouraged you to reconnect with your visceral tingle of desire?
The automatic tingle of first love may be dampened or have disappeared completely. But, I do believe when we reminisce and pursue emotional and recreational connection with our husbands, this spark can be re-ignited. It just may be a rare instance.
Is the tingle our ultimate goal (tingle being totally different from orgasm)? Yes and No. Sexual Intimacy is much more enjoyable for ladies if we have physical sensation of desire. It’s so much easier to be swept away in the moment when the juices are flowing. However, there are those who experience no initial physical sensation (no tingle of desire or orgasm). Sexual intimacy for them contains more spiritual and emotional aspects.
I have experienced both, tingle and no tingle. When no-tingle is prevalent, intentionally nurturing sexual intimacy is crucial. It involves a lot of time together outside of the bedroom, conversing, running errands together, playing with the kids as a team. Date nights are important, but I know sometimes they are hard to come by.
My ‘heart’ must occasionally be sending out NGF like Roman Candles. Because, on rare days, the tingle hits unexpectedly. Like, when Mr. Muscle walks out of the bedroom in his starched white shirt and tie and puts on his black top coat to leave for a business meeting. That’s when he goes to work leaving something turned-on at home.
Maybe not for all, but I believe the tingle can be re-encountered.
See onefleshmarriage.com: Defeating Delayed Desire