Hormones Affecting Spanking
In order to further explain relationships, I would like to discuss how our hormones come into play.
Just a quick review of the major hormones and organs used in this discussion: The Cerebral Cortex, Thalamus, Hypothalamus, Pituitary, and Amygdala, as follows:
"Cerebral Cortex": The "gray matter" that controls higher functions like reasoning and language abilities.
“Thalamus”: This structure sits within the brain at the level of the temporal lobe. It is well protected in this location.
The thalamus receives and organizes sensory information from the periphery. Sense of sight, touch, hearing, and taste pass through the thalamus and on their way to other structures for further processing. The exception is the sense of smell, which travels directly to the temporal lobe. Kinesthetic information passes from the thalamus to the parietal lobe.
"Hypothalamus": The regulator glands; controls the pituitary. Located in the brain under the front portion of your cerebral cortex (the thinking center), behind the nasal cavities.
It regulates body temperature; controls thirst and appetite; influences blood pressure, sexual behavior, memory, aggression, fear response, and sleep; helps to regulate our other emotions; and controls the pituitary gland.
“Pituitary”: The master gland-- controls many of the other glands and processes.
It is located just below the hypothalamus.
It controls so many of the other endocrine organs. Also stores two other hormones; vasopressin and oxytocin which are made in the hypothalamus.
“Amygdala”: Has been implicated in many brain functions including emotions. It edits and censors our incoming stimuli, deciding at a level unconscious to us what will be available to our conscious minds for processing. It also controls the so-called "fight or flight" response. The amygdala makes automatic appraisals outside of consciousness by comparing new situations with the emotional memories of past events. Our ability to learn and is determined by these mechanisms. Our unconscious mind edits and censors information available for our conscious thoughts. Our ability to think logically is guided and limited by the data sent from the center of our emotions.
Located in the temporal lobe by the hypothalamus, situated beneath and slightly behind our ears.
So what does this have to do with our relationships?
These hormones were in our bodies for our very survival. In order to understand them, I will compare them to our ancestors.
Let’s imagine for a moment, we are walking through the woods looking for some berries. We come to a large bush and hear a stick snap. Right away the adrenaline is circulating through our body. Our sense of hearing, seeing more alert. A bear steps out from the bush. Suddenly our hormones are active. Our heart races, our breathing increases, the blood rushes to our muscles to prepare for a fight or to run. However, our thinking logically becomes impaired, as well as our digestive system and our need for thirst, as these things are not required at the moment.
Perhaps we pick up a big stick. Now since our logical thinking is impaired, we do not even think for a second that we are no match for the bear. If we decide to run, we don’t even think for a minute that perhaps we cannot outrun a bear. These thoughts are not as important as the need to survive. The endorphins are rushing in and we won’t feel the pain if the bear does attack us, or it we trip and cut ourselves while running. The amyadala is active at this moment, recording the data and allowing us the anger we need to fight, or giving us the motivation we need to run.
This is the reason that people during a stressful situation don’t think, they react. It is a good thing sometimes, because if we could think, we may be prone to self-doubt, which could undermine our attempts to survival or the survival of others.
Now, it is the next day, and we find ourselves in the same place as before. When we see that same bush, our senses are automatically triggered by the amyadala. Perhaps we feel fear or we feel anger. Our reasoning ability and the emotions connected with that bush is beyond our logical mind. We will react automatically.
How about modern situations? We are walking down a street perhaps during our vacation in a town we have never been before. We are looking for a restaurant that we were told had excellent food. As we approach the restaurant, a man jumps out of the alley with a knife. The same thing will happen to us now as it did with our ancestors.
In addition, later when we see that street, or hear about the restaurant, we will have the same reaction and the emotion as our ancestors.
Now to change the situation. Back to our woman out picking berries. Suppose she hears a stick snap, her senses are more alert, adrenaline is rushing through her system. But instead of a bear coming out of the bush, perhaps it is her child, and he has a bucket full of berries. The amygdala records this event and attaches happiness to it. The next day if she should come across that same bush, automatically she feels happiness.
Same as today’s situations. Perhaps instead of a man with a knife, it is only an ordinary person also headed for some destination. Because she is in unfamiliar territory, her senses are more alert, but this time she reaches the restaurant, finds the food as tasty as her friends said it would. Now if she should return to that street, or remembers the restaurant, she will feel happy.
Okay, now bear with me.
Because touching also releases oxytocin in her.
So now to continue on with the subject of DD. The two of you have decided to set up the rules and she must comply or else she is spanked. At first, she may actually forget follow some of the rules, or else there are so many rules, that she cannot comply with all of them. But it doesn’t matter, because she is getting spanked, something she wants.
Perhaps she is following all the rules. The husband sits back and enjoys the peace. But wait, remember all those hormones floating around in the beginning? They don’t exist now. There is no adrenaline, there is no touching. She interprets this as a lack, and since the man is the responsible one for giving her all these lustful hormones, he therefore is responsible for the lack of them. So she begins to misbehave a little. The husband doesn’t notice, or he feels it isn’t a big enough mistake to confront her. With the “little offense” she has her adrenaline up, her endorphins up, but..... it is short lived. Without the continuation of oxytocin to further heighten her sexual desire, the short-acting adrenaline stops, and she experiences “endomorphic letdown” . The withdrawal of endorphins causes irritability.
Pretty soon, she slips back into the memory from the amygdala. Remember some of those arguments you had, especially in the beginning of your relationship? In the beginning of relationships, the argument produced more adrenaline than they do in later years (provided this is a healthy, non-abusive relationship). After the argument, the couple made up, and perhaps had sex. So in essence, without her conscious thought, she experienced sexual gratification after an argument. Therefore, she will be more likely to return to that pattern.
Many vanilla couples do argue for arguments sake. It is this hormonal cycle that may attribute to this practice. However, it is often destructive. Not only does it cause stress in the household and eventually stress in the relationship, but also their bodies become adapted to those levels of adrenaline, and need more. Therefore the arguing can become more intense.
With the subject of spousal abuse. I am not trying to say that it is hormones that are truly responsible for the abusers actions, but understanding how these chemicals come into play does help explain the pattern.
First the tension building stage. The adrenaline rush. Rational thinking begins to dissolve. The explosive stage. Endorphins are raging throughout the system now. For the abuser, it could actually be a sort of high, sometimes blocking out memory. Then the honeymoon stage. It is not uncommon for there to be sex directly after the explosive stage. Adrenaline can cause the man to have an erection. Even prisoners walking to their final destination at their execution will have an erection. The problem is that as I mentioned earlier, adrenaline is short acting. The erection will quickly leave, orgasms are difficult without the vasopressin. Many men who are rapists and abusers have trouble with orgasms. In addition, the adrenaline is like a drug requiring them to need more and more in order to gain any sexual satisfaction. Add that to the learned behavior, which they got away with it before, and so will be able to do it again, and disaster is in the making.
So, what about the spanking? Does that mean that each time the woman is spanked she will need more and more, or will the husband need to increase his spanking in order for him to feel excited? No. Because of oxytocin and vasopressin. Oxytocin is a wonderful hormone. It causes uterine contractions during delivery. It causes uterine contractions during orgasms. It causes the breast milk to release. When a mother nurses her child, the oxytocin is circulating throughout her system, which gives her comfort, nurturing feelings. She touches her baby’s face, the baby’s hands, etc. This causes the oxytocin to be released in the infant. The amygdala records this in the unconscious state. The infant associates the comfort feeling, with the hunger satiety with the mother. During the promise of a spanking, the adrenaline floods the body, and the endorphins increase.
She experiences the butterflies, and her amygdala sends messages of sexual excitement. The husband takes her over his knee, or over something. The touch of his knee, the touch of the chair, the bed, heightens her senses even more. Usually before spanking her, he may gently touch her bottom, or touch the implement to her bottom, perhaps talking to her. Her touch senses are alive and energized. With every touch, or the cold air touching her bottom, her touch sense releases the oxytocin, the comfort, nurturing hormone; the orgasmic hormone. With every swat, her endorphins are there, giving her a high, her oxytocin is there giving her pleasure. The Adeline has done its job, now the other hormones do their job.
She isn’t dependent upon the adrenaline, therefore doesn’t need more and more spankings. For the male, the vasopressin will be released. It dilates blood vessels enabling him to ejaculate. He doesn’t need the adrenaline either. Some men may even become nervous about spanking their wife the first few times. They probably experience the adrenaline rush. However, that wonderful amygdala controls emotions records this new experience as a sexual pleasure. After a few times of this situation, his body becomes adapted to the situation, as adrenaline is no longer required, or he doesn’t produce as much as he used to in the beginning. It doesn’t matter. The vasopressin, which is responsible to his orgasm, is flowing throughout thanks to his amygdala. He won’t need to increase the severity of the spanking in order for him to become excited. Okay, now on to our stressful lives.
In modern society, however bears take a different form but they get the same response. Suppose you are at work when your boss comes and says to you, "Look, that report you did last week has a lot of errors in it. You need to correct it immediately before the staff meeting." As your boss walks off down the hallway you may notice several things happening in your body. You may feel the "butterflies in the belly" sensation as your stomach tightens up. The pounding in your chest becomes noticeable, and you feel your muscles tighten. Your body is sending you an important message. Right at this moment your body is saying that the best course of action is for you to either punch out your supervisor on the spot or to just run screaming down the hall, out the door, and all the way home. Your body has prepared you for a fight or flight response.
However, these two responses are inappropriate. So you are stuck with all the hormones and the responses, and no outlet. Many of these situations may occur in a day. The same responses come with the bill collector at the door, the sudden noises that children make when they come running in the house, slamming the door.
As a consequence, we find ourselves irritable. The ups and downs of all these chemicals raging in our system. When we have no structure in our household and no consistency, the same uneasy feelings continue at home. We find ourselves feeling as insecure in our own home as the woman did while picking berries and hearing a twig snap. It is as though we are treading in unfamiliar territory each day.
Add this to a chaotic night of children demanding we run right out and buy those cookies for tomorrow because he failed to tell you ahead of time, or just as you sit down to dinner, your daughter informing you she has basketball practice in ten minutes, and you have to drop everything to get her there.
If our lives are more structured, some of this chaos can be prevented. If we know what is in store for us when we are home, we are more likely to relax and feel secure about our surroundings.
With consistency, we know what to expect, and we know what not to worry about. This does not stop the outside forces, and perhaps letting off some steam may mean doing some exercise to lessen the degree of stress. It won’t take away the stress in our lives, just give us the ability to cope with it more.
Okay, last but not least another point to consider. The relationship of DD is set and everything seems to be going fine. Then the husband approaches his wife, explaining to her that he doesn’t want to spank her for punishments, as he feels too much like he is treating her like a child and doesn’t want to think of her as a child.
Remember that amygdala? The memory of this is deep within his unconscious, perhaps he has too many negative feelings with spankings as a child. Since these are his only memories, this is the only emotional resource he has the ability of identifying with. However, this can change with time. With repeated experiences, he will lose that uncomfortable feeling and began to realize its necessity. This type of reconditioning has been proven with other types of situations.
For example, the rape victim may experience fear with her first sexual encounter with her spouse. Perhaps she feels frightened the moment he is on top of her, since that was the position her rapist used. With patience, compassion, and understanding, she can be reconditioned to feel good about the sexual position with her partner.
In addition, what about the woman who came from an abusive family, or an abusive ex-husband? Now from conditioning, she knows that violence comes in cycles. But with her current husband, there are no violent cycles. Unconsciously she doesn’t know it. Things are going fine. But she finds herself feeling anxious, sensing every little movement her spouse makes. Every mannerism, every tone of voice, his body language are being recorded. She doesn’t realize it, but the amygdala is responsible for raising this heightened awareness. It remembers and is preparing her for an upcoming violent event. It knows the cycle. Things are going too well. It reminds her to stay alert, as the violence may erupt at any time. She becomes more irritable, as her fight/flight hormones are in effect. Her new husband isn’t aware of it. How could he be, as she isn’t either. The stress may even cause her to start an argument, for in her memory, she may be abused, but at least she has some control of the situation. He may even come home a little tired, and that subtle change in his personality puts her in attack mode. He is surprised by her sudden irrational behavior, her anger. Perhaps they actually have an argument, as he finds himself confused and defending himself. But he is not an abuser. Maybe he storms out of the house. The amygdala also reminds her that after an argument, there is the honeymoon stage. She calms down and returns to her happy state. He comes back still irritated, but quiet. He is confused again when he finds her happy and content.
With time, patience, compassion, and understanding, these feelings will slowly fade, and the amygdala will be reconditioned about her past abuse. Usually, these behaviors have to come forward to the conscious mind in order to make changes quicker, but in time they will change.
Okay, suppose you are married to a wonderful wife. You come home and she is suddenly nasty and irritable. She doesn’t have a history of abuse, but there is something else going on. It is called PMS, or perhaps it is menopause.
During these situations, there is a sudden fall of hormones. One of them is also endorphins. Not only is she suffering from a lack of sexual hormone, she is also going through withdrawal of her endorphins. She is not only irritable, but in trying to spank her, suddenly she is more sensitive to pain. One way to help her is to start out with a slow, methodical type spanking, and then build it up. This will help produce more endorphins, which will help rid of her irritability. Many women speak of needing therapeutic spankings during these times. Instinctively they know that it works.
With menopause, the hormones come and go. Making the withdrawal over and over again. It is similar to PMS, except that there is no cycle, no logic to the hormones. One day the body may produce enough, the next day too much, the next day none. With all this bombarding of chemicals, and lack of them, it is no wonder she has such a hard time.
During PMS and menopause, cuddling is another important part to helping her. Remember that oxytocin? That production is stimulated through touching. A nice gentle caressing of the bottom, a light spanking that builds to a wonderful glow, then the cuddling will produce the endorphins and the nurturing comfort feelings she needs.
Our relationships are more complex than just a discussion of hormones, but knowing how they play with our emotions, how they circulate in our bodies, does give us a better understanding of ourselves and our loved ones.
TABLE - OF - CONTENTS
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Consistency and Structure
Hitting the wall
Taking a break
Myths and Facts
Hormones Affecting Spanking
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