THE MOLECULE OF MORE
When one is hungry, all kinds of different foods will sat-
isfy the urge to eat. Similarly, when a person experiences
testosterone-induced sexual urges, the desire is for sex in
general, not necessarily for a particular person. In many
cases, especially with young people, nearly anyone will do.
Neither is it an overwhelming desire. People don’t die from
sexual hunger. Testosterone doesn’t drive them to commit
suicide or murder—unlike the dopaminergic experience of
being overwhelmed by love.
Shawn wiped a clear space in the steamed-over bathroom mirror, ran his
fingers through his black hair, smiled. “This’ll work,” he said.
“Wait. Hold still,” said Samantha. She swept a lock off his forehead.
“This’ll make you look so handsome.”
“And then.. .”
“Down, boy,” said Samantha, and she gave him a peck on the cheek.
DOPAMINE GETS YOU INTO BED...
AND THEN GETS IN THE WAY
From eager anticipation to the physical pleasures of intimacy, the stages
of sex recapitulate the stages of love: sex is love on fast forward. Sex
begins with desire, a dopaminergic phenomenon driven by the hor-
mone testosterone. It continues with arousal, another forward-looking,
dopaminergic experience. As physical contact begins, the brain shifts
control to the H&Ns to deliver the pleasure of the sensory experience,
mainly with the release of endorphins. The consummation of the act,
orgasm, is almost entirely a here-and-now experience, with endorphins
and other H&N neurotransmitters working together to shut down