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Into the light: god, sex and spankings

By Steve Korver Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 06:00
The light makes men hornier … Sex increases spirituality … Whipping your way to altered states of consciousness … These news flashes and more in this week’s Sex in the Press.

See the light

“Exposure to bright light increases testosterone levels and leads to greater sexual satisfaction in men with low sexual desire,” according to ‘Lack of interest in sex successfully treated by exposure to bright light’.

Up to 25 per cent of men report decreased sexual desire, particularly as they age.

And since sexual interest also varies with the seasons – the steaminess of sunny summers versus the coldness of cloudy winters – scientists theorised that ambient light levels might influence ambient horniness levels.

And indeed, an Italian study found that “regular, early-morning, use of a light box – similar to those used to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder – led both to increased testosterone levels and greater reported levels of sexual satisfaction.”

The results were impressive: men who used the light box reported a threefold increase in sexual satisfaction in their lives, and their testosterone levels rose by more than a half.


Current therapeutic options for a lack of sexual desire include testosterone injections and antidepressants. Perhaps with further studies, light boxes can be used as an alternative treatment with fewer side effects.

Feel the light

Speaking of seeing the light: ‘Having sex increases spirituality and “makes people more likely to believe in God”’.

“According to the research, the release of oxytocin not only promotes social bonding and helps childbirth in women, but also stimulates increased feelings of religiousness.”

“A research team from Duke University in North Carolina carried out a study in which they boosted levels of oxytocin in middle-aged men and found increased self-reported spirituality on two separate measures and also that this effect remained significant a week later.”

There is a higher plane of consciousness or spirituality that binds all people.

“Oxytocin appears to be part of the way our bodies support spiritual beliefs,” says one of the researchers. Previously, scientists have found that the hormone may also promote empathy, trust, social bonding and altruism.

"The participants who received the hormone also gave more positive responses to statements including ‘all life is interconnected’ and ‘there is a higher plane of consciousness or spirituality that binds all people’.”

Now enter the darkness

Speaking of higher planes of consciousness and binding people: ‘This kind of sex can create an altered mental state’.


The kind of sex is BDSM: “A consensual practice of bondage/discipline, dominance/submission and sadism/masochism. BDSM experiences can involve handcuffs or other ways to restrict movement, it may involve the administration of pain with things like clothespins, spanking or verbal aggression – and sometimes, though not always, it also involves intercourse.”

Many BDSM practitioners speak of entering a “state of flow” – “the idea that the rest of the world drops away and someone is completely focused on what they’re doing”.

“The flow state is familiar to pro athletes, prolific novelists, musicians – anyone who loses themselves in an activity they’re extremely good at.”

“Cracking a whip and scoring a touchdown might not seem like comparable skills, but they both require intense focus to make sure it’s being done effectively and safely.”

And it’s “that fierce concentration that invokes this mental state, researchers suspected.”

But can regular ho-hum sex elevate you into the flow state?

After their BDSM encounter, the study’s participants “reported lower stress, better mood and scored a high level of flow on a scale that measures flow state. “

“BDSM, because of the intense sensations and potentially because of the restriction of movement, may have the ability to put someone in the here and now in a way that they may find more difficult to achieve through other means,” says the study’s author.

Similar to the concept of mindfulness, this “tuning in” may help translate the feelings of pain into feelings of pleasure. And, “just as mindfulness has been shown to help people feel less physical pain, it may work similarly in the BDSM community as well as for women who have clinical genital pain.”

But can regular ho-hum sex elevate you into the flow state?

“I think that BDSM is one path to altered states of consciousness, but there are many other paths,” says the study’s author. “If someone were engaging in sex in a way that they were working hard on their performance and diligently trying to cut out the rest of the world, it’s certainly possible that they could get into a state of flow.”

And thereby: find the light.

Any profound thoughts? Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Facebook. If you have any questions, visit our discussion board.

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