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Gynecol Obstet Invest. 1995;40(4):217-21.

Oxytocin and female sexuality.

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Key Centre for Women's Health in Society, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry, and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne, Carlton, Vic., Australia.


A search of the literature has been prepared to determine how oxytocin may affect sexual and reproductive in women. Many animal studies suggest that oxytocin induces a variety of reproductive behaviors, including grooming, sexual arousal, orgasm, gamete transport, nesting, birthing, and specific maternal behaviors such as breast-feeding and bonding between mother and infant. These actions are apparently facilitated by the 'priming' effect on certain cells by sex and steroid hormones - as the brief case report would also suggest. However, no adequate double-blind trial has confirmed the observations from this report in women. Only animal studies have been performed, albeit over a wide range of species. A variety of other causes and effects of sexual interest and arousal relating to oxytocin are considered, including some of those in males. More research is needed to clarify the role of oxytocin in human reproductive behaviors, including its potential 'aphrodisiac' or prosexual effect in women in the presence of the sex-steroid hormones.

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