How the Brain and Sex Hormones Work Together

Post your response to the following: Consider that you are having an informative discussion with your adolescent child about sex. Your goal is to explain to your child that sexual arousal is a normal sensation attributed to the brain, neuro-chemicals, and sex hormones all working together. Describe, in language that a teen would understand, how the brain, neuro-chemicals, and sex hormones work together during sexual arousal.

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I would explain that there are certain areas of the body that are particularly sensitive to sexual stimulation. And that the brain is probably one of the primary areas of sexual stimulation. This would, of course, freak him out, and I would have to explain that it is not sensitive to the five senses but rather to thoughts and chemical reactions. I would explain that it is part of the brain that initiates the production of testosterone and thereby sexual stimulation. That through sexual thoughts and fantasies the brain can affect sexual stimulation through the medium of neuro-chemicals and sex hormones. Specifically, a part of the brain called the hypothalamus releases sex hormones that begin a chain reaction that leads to the release of testosterone into the blood. And that testosterone is the sex hormone that most affects sexual arousal. Then I would go on to explain that all of this is a normal, biological reaction that occurs in all ordinary adolescent males and females. Furthermore, it is important to understand how our bodies work on a physiological level, in order to manage ourselves emotionally and psychologically. At that point, I would probably launch into a lengthy tirade about the evils of unrestrained pre-marital sex. I will leave that for them though…

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Finchner-Rathus, L., Nevid, J.S., Rathus, S.A. (2005). Human sexuality in a world of diversity, sixth edition. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.


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