The Null Device

When the serotonin flows...

It looks like antidepressants are wreaking havoc with the human courtship/mating/bonding instincts, doing everything from dampening sexual desire and disrupting the positive feedback mechanisms that lead to emotional bonding to preventing those affected from recognising bad relationships or feeling any desire to seek good ones: (via FmH)
Serotonin enhancers can also dampen the sex drive of men and even their ability to ejaculate. These men naturally shy away from bedding women, leading to increased loneliness, setting up a vicious cycle of depression. Also, without frequent orgasms, men and women dont have the flood of oxytocin and vasopressin that promote relationship bonding. Men might enjoy a womans company, but never fall head over heels for her. Semen may also be critical in retaining a womans interest, as recent studies indicate that men may alter womens emotional states through chemicals transmitted through semen.
One guy on SSRIs would look at a beautiful woman and recognise that intellectually, but he said there was no oomph. He described being on the drugs as if the lenses in his glasses somehow had been changed. He wanted off the drugs. Even if he couldnt chase women because he was a married man, he still wanted to enjoy looking.
Thomson also worries that some women could suffer a double whammy where antidepressants hinder their natural judgment to leave a bad relationship and also blunt their ability to spot healthy, desirable new mates. Indeed, he recalls that one patient wasnt healthily distressed when an abusive ex-boyfriend with a history of stalking showed up at her door.

Though I'm sure that humanity, a technological species, will adapt. Perhaps we'll become a species of solitary cube-dwellers, choosing breeding partners by some market-based mechanism or computerised matching system, and future generations will find it incredible that, once upon a time, people relied on wild, atavistic passions to select their breeding mates?

There are 5 comments on "When the serotonin flows...":

Posted by: Beach_goer http:// Tue Mar 16 18:33:30 2004

It´s hard to imagine someone not desiring someone else... I hope we do not become the "species of solitary cube-dwellers..." How much fun would that be to simply interact with people through online services? Let´s go out and have fun and sometimes disappointments...

Posted by: acb Wed Mar 17 02:18:57 2004

True; though interaction doesn't have to involve courtship, in the sense that evolved to lead to stable reproductive pairs. Perhaps expect cybersex and interactive webcam porn to replace actual sex in the next few decades, or even the digerati dusting off the word "teledildonics", which was beaten to death by the WIRED crowd in the 1990s.

Posted by: acb Wed Mar 17 02:19:55 2004

Another option: pills to make you fall in love/ogle hot chicks/trust your partner. That would lead to a lot of disturbing possibilities.

Posted by: Graham Wed Mar 17 08:14:56 2004

Brains in vats. That's where the future is, baby...

Posted by: El Bizarro Thu Mar 18 22:22:27 2004

I've already picked out the vat I want. I was thinking of the Bondi Blue but they were doing such a great price on Tangerine I couldn't refuse.