Scientific Understanding of Consciousness
Consciousness as an Emergent Property of Thalamocortical Activity

Sex and Consciousness


Sexually-based Love

My speculation is that sexually-based love is a mutual addiction between two people involving multimodal perceptions, greatly enhanced by memory, stimulating some of the same subcortical pleasure circuitry involved in drugs of addiction.

There is no doubt that sex acts like a drug in the brain. (Horstman; Love, Sex, and the Brain, 114)

Lost love feels like withdrawal. (Horstman; Love, Sex, and the Brain, 114)

fMRI studies of brains of those madly in romantic passionate love shows the brain areas involved in emotion, motivation, reward, social cognition, attention, and self-representation. (Horstman; Love, Sex, and the Brain, 26)

fMRI studies of brains of those madly in romantic passionate love show activity in the same brain regions that are buzzing when they are under the influence of cocaine, especially the dopaminergic subcortical system (including the ventral tegmental area and caudate nucleus). (Horstman; Love, Sex, and the Brain, 26)

Neural activity of love in the brain isn't limited to brain areas related to cocaine. Rather, love activates part of the cognitive system, confirming that love is not only an addiction or a basic emotion. Love is also cognition. Love acts, feels, and thinks. (Horstman; Love, Sex, and the Brain, 26)

There is a real difference between early stage and late stage romantic love. (Horstman; Love, Sex, and the Brain, 160)


Sexual Affects

Many sensory stimuli can have sexual connotations: visual shape of the body, olfactory stimulation of pheromones and perfume, auditory prosody of the voice, tactile feel of a hug of the body, taste of a kiss.

No matter how strongly men are drawn to the female form,††† or women to a man's physique,††† we know of no part of the human brain††† dedicated to analyzing the nuances of bulging biceps or the curves of firm buttocks or breasts. (Mlodinow; Subliminal, 38)

Sexual affects are some of the most intense sensations a person can experience. I have discovered one research study that tried to determine neural areas in the brain involved in human male ejaculation.


Humans, along with other animals, can emit their own pheromones, often distinctive for† an individual, which can become distinctively attractive or repulsive. Supernormal stimuli such as perfume fragrances can be used to modulate the natural pheromones.

Sexual Orientation

A fundamental characteristic of the self, is a person's sexual orientation, which is a characteristic of a personís orientation.

Sexual orientation is established prenatally early in the development of the brain's neural network. Postnatally, visual stimuli and other sensory patterns excite and resonate with the neural network's sexual orientation synaptic efficacies. These resonating synaptic patterns link to the brain's limbic system pleasure pathways to deliver a rush of dopamine to the nucleus accumbens and thereby motivate further encounters and prolonged stimulation.

Puberty begins a time of hormonal and physical changes dominated by the emergence of intense sexual urges, with a compelling interest in the opposite sex, culminating in sexual maturity.



††† Return to ó Sense of Self