Love & S*x According To Biology - Neurologist Sid Warrier Explains | The Ranveer Show 211 | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "Love & S*x According To Biology - Neurologist Sid Warrier Explains | The Ranveer Show 211".
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I've spoken to my grandparents who are both in their 60s. Beautiful relationship, they travel around the world deeply in love, sexually active, which was interesting to me. It is like a mixture of compromise and independence. Like I will be independent, but I will also let you be independent and we will be together. So it's a, I don't think there is a one line answer to how to be successful in a relationship, but it's beautiful to talk to somebody who's made it. I have read so many accounts who've been sleeping around basically, and then they've entered into a long-term relationship and they've said that the sex is so much better when it is with somebody I know and who knows what I like. Breakups can sometimes really hurt because once your brain has done that, right, once your brain has convinced itself that this person is a part of you, it's like your arm. And when you break off your arm, it's going to hurt. Similarly, love can make you feel that this whole other person is now attached to you. This is also why you feel positive. If somebody else is flirting with her, asking her out, what the hell? All right. Another episode with a TRS All-Star it's Dr. Sid Warrior who returns today to speak about love, sex, and everything in between from an evolutionary psychology perspective as well. One of the juiciest episodes, one of the thickest episodes. If you've not watched our previous episodes with Dr. Sid Warrior, please go check them out. It's a great way to kind of get into the subject of neuroscience, but if this is the first Dr. Sid Warrior podcast that you're checking out on The Renveer Show, and if you're interested in these subjects, this is the one for you. Make sure to follow TRS on Spotify, the Spotify exclusive, which means that every episode is available on Spotify 48 hours before it's available anywhere else in the world. As for this one, I know it's going to be one of those episodes that will stay with you for a very long time. So enjoy yourself with Dr. Sid Warrior on The Renveer Show. Dr. Sid Warrior. I meet so many people who reference the episodes we've created, especially on the English podcast. We just had a Hindi podcast recording, which was very interesting. But I think English, honestly, we're two urban Indian guys and things flow out much better. Yeah. There's less translating happening in the world. And I think conversations can go even deeper. So many famous people also have referenced the podcast we did about neuroscience. We did three epic episodes, one about how to hack your mind, one about the dark aspects of your mind, and the third one about drug use in general and things like datura and ayahuasca. We had to do one on love and sex the last time as well. But we were too tired by the end of those four. This is that episode, Dr. Sid. That's what happens with sex. How's it going? How are you feeling? Pretty good, man. Pretty good.
Discussion On Hormones, Sex, And Relationships
Orgasms & Hormones (03:02)
I honestly don't know where to start this particular topic. So let's start it in like a very intense... What's the foreplay like? I would actually go as far as saying, why don't you describe from a neuroscience perspective, what happens? What happens during sex when you're at your peak, when you're orgasming, what happens? Start from there and we'll work our way back. Yeah, for sure. We will then move to love, you know, to keep it, whatever. Let's see. No, I like that approach. So the point of orgasm is what people always think of as a conclusion, right? Sex is not an orgasm. Although that's not true. All the things that start during sex continue. So there is a tapering off period. You get orgasm and then you switch off back to normal. Okay. So there is a post orgasmic phase, which is also part of sex. The boost maybe tomorrow neurochemistry. Oh, I forgot that we are in the English podcast. It's all good. But there is a post orgasmic phase where your oxytocin levels are still high. Your vasopressin levels are still high. Your mind is still getting influenced by the fact that you've had sex. It doesn't have something to do with your partner being in the room as in do those hormones affect your equation with a partner. And I ask this from the perspective of casual sex also. It does. Of course. So the difference, this is interesting. The difference between casual sex and long-term commitment sex, the act of sex itself, the neurochemistry might not change as much, but over a period of time, your baseline hormone levels actually change. What? Okay. So your baseline hormone levels for a man who is committed versus who is not committed. Uh, are different. The testosterone levels are different. What are baseline hormones? The testosterone levels are different. The oxytocin levels are different. Uh, the it's so they did a study. Okay. Now they did a study on airline pilots where they checked all the airline pilots who were in long-term commitments and airline pilots were single. And, um, it turns out that, uh, their oxygen levels were different at the, at not during sex, just on a random day. And what was interesting that whether you are in a live-in relationship or marriage made no difference because it's all about, were you committed at all? So it does that state of mind does affect your body. Why don't we break it down a little more? What does oxytocin do for a human being? Right. Then let's go back all the way. Let's look at sex hormones, right? So there are four main sex hormones to talk about. One is estrogen, progesterone, estrusheron and oxytocin.
Sex Hormones (05:45)
And there's a fifth one called vasopressin. Hmm. Let's break it even further. Let's go even further back. When you say sex, first thing that needs to happen when you have sex is that you should have libido. So what do you think libido is when you hear the word libido, what comes to your mind? Horniness. Yeah, that's not exactly it. Libido is the ability and the mental ability to have sex. So if suppose somebody attractive comes to you, are you even capable of being turned on? Libido is not equals turned on. That is different. That is the next step. Libido is the capacity to be turned on. And that is the first thing that needs to happen. So if you have libido, then when you find someone attractive, you will get turned on and then sex will happen. I'm assuming that this libido possibility is an outcome of your hormones being in place. Correct. Okay. Exactly. So that's how these two things tie up together. So when your hormones are in place, these hormones, which is estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, these are the hormones that decide if... that have a huge impact on libido. These are sex hormones. This is baseline. All animals have this. The sex hormones are released from your adrenal gland, which is... You've heard of kidneys, right on top of the kidneys are your adrenal glands. From your adrenal glands comes a sex hormone. Now, I want you to think about sex as this evolving phenomenon that goes up your body. So the lower down something is happening, the more primitive it is. So the sex organs are between your legs, lower down. The sex hormones are coming from your adrenals, lower down. So this is very, very primitive. And as you keep growing up, the level of control that your brain has on sex will keep on increasing. So your brain has no control over sex hormones, but your brain has control over your actions. So we will get to that. Okay. Right. So libido is what sex starts as. Once you get turned on and I don't want this to be a very, like a lecture though. No, no, sure. Yeah. So, so I'll talk about my first masturbation story in a minute. I'm done with that phase. What was that like? Oh, every, do you think every boy remembers their first masturbation? Yes. You know why? Because your friends make you feel guilty about it. You know, you remember this phase where you think that you've done something wrong? What's going on with your life? That's what's happening. They either feel guilty or they get terrified. Yeah. I've had, like, I've heard stories of boys who thought that they killed their junk. Like, that's it. It's over. Like they have no clue what just happened. Yeah. Very strange f***ing phase. Because nobody tells you this stuff, right? You, most boys will just discover it accidentally. You want to cross a line? Go for it. When you saw your cum for the first time, what did you think? I got damn confused. What the hell is this? I didn't know my body had this inside it. It's not blood. It's not pee. I thought something tore inside me bro. It was some random tissue. It is in some ways. Yeah. We really need sex education in this country because literally every boy is finding this out on them by themselves. I'm sure like girls who have their first periods without having anybody warn them about it, but also be equally terrified. More. More. Because you know blood is. Correct. So these are things that teenagers should be prepared for and who is going to tell them. Um, but yeah, first, first masturbation is a crazy, crazy experience. And then the next day in school and then figuring out a Chuck Kisco poo choo. Or, or finding your crew, you know, finding the ones who have already done it. Yeah. And then you tell them, and then there's this moment like, Oh, you too. Okay. You feel a brotherhood then, and then try convincing the fourth guy to do it and join the brotherhood. Oh man. Boys groups are just messed up. I miss, I miss, uh, my boy group at this point, but what I miss more is libido talk. I mean, coming back. So, uh, with, uh, That is where libido starts. Okay. So libido starts at a point where your sex hormones are just spiking. So testosterone has a very huge role to play in both men and women. Really? Yeah. Okay. So women with very, very low testosterone levels, which, so the normal level of testosterone in women is different obviously than men, but for them, if there is less testosterone, then the libido is affected. Right. So the whole concept, and this is, uh, for me, this was very fascinating because I did, you know, there's pride month going on and, uh, the whole discussion on men and women and how it's all different. It's a beautiful spectrum. Men have estrogen, testosterone, testosterone, women have estrogen, testosterone, testosterone, but then the ratios are different. The, uh, side of actions are different, but that's it. It's not complete opposites. There are so many similarities that are in fact more similarities than there are differences. So the way you get turned on, the effect of an orgasm, all of that is the same. Um, but yeah, I thought, um, when we talk of libido, uh, the when sex hormones rise, that's when libido starts. So now it's like putting a open for business sign on the door. Because your body's conveying that, yes, it's ready for sex. So what is oxytocin after all this? Oxytocin is initially when we first found out about oxytocin 50, I think 90 years ago, uh, we thought it was a hormone only for helping mothers deliver their child.
About ‘oxytocin’ (11:53)
So we found that when a mother was delivering, oxytocin levels were spiking. So people thought that oxytocin helps the uterus to press the baby out. So for a long time, oxytocin was only used at that point when a mother was struggling to deliver the baby, you would give oxytocin to help the baby come out. Later on, we found that oxytocin is also spiking during sex. Now why should that be? And then later on it was found that oxytocin is also spiking when a group of boys are hugging each other after us, after winning a match, for example, or for any random reason. And then we find out that oxytocin is important overall for bonding. So when a mother hugs a child, when a father hugs a child, when friends hug each other, when there is just bonding between teammates, there is oxytocin. I'm trying to visualize that one dude went and collected blood samples from a football team when they're celebrating. The things people have done for science. Wow. But okay, cool. So you feel a bond with a certain person. Now one thing I've realized after the countless conversations with you is that your hormonal system dictates the reality that you perceive. So if you think that you have a certain kind of personality or you like certain things, it's actually hormones kind of being the puppet masters and making you feel a certain way. A hundred percent. You know, there is this dismissive thing that some people say, Oh, are you being hormonal? Bro, everybody's being hormonal all the time. Everything that we do is decided by our hormones. So that's like a scientifically inaccurate thing to say, are you being hormonal?
About PMS & periods (13:50)
Keeping that in mind, let's talk about the other narrative, which is PMS. And we say someone is PMSing, you're the doctor. What does medical science have to say about PMS? Is it actually a thing where girls get very emotionally affected during PMS? I mean, honestly, I don't think we're in a position to answer this because we have balls basically. So we'll never completely know, but medical science perspective. So yeah, so that is definitely a problem when we don't have representation from a woman to talk about something that affects them. But I will say this, there are hormonal changes that happen during the cycle of a period and hormones do affect your state of mind. It affects your attention, it affects your focus, it affects your mood. So not all women will go through the same symptoms. Just like not, actually you can't even compare with anything. So there is no good analogy to give there. For the guy version of it. There's no good analogy to give there. But even in guys, the hormone levels affect your mood. In guys, there is not such a clear cut cyclical variation, but even in guys, hormone levels do affect. The other thing with PMS is that the effect of pain. So that is another level. So it's not just hormones, but chronic pain or periodic pain also affects people differently. So your mood can get affected. Again, your state of mind can get affected by that also. So I feel that PMS is a complex issue because it puts together many variables. It's not just hormones. It's also physical symptoms, mental symptoms. It's also environmental symptoms. There is a possibility of your home not being as comfortable. You know, there are still in some houses that are social taboos against period. All of those things can add up to that experience. So but definitely there are neuroscientific explanations for this. Okay. And keeping science in mind, I once asked a female colleague of mine, I asked her that, tell me something that a guy should know about girls. And this particular person said that, you know, when they say that sometimes we can get hormonal, I think it's true. She said that. Is that true that in a woman's biological system and you're the doctor, so is according to science, are there more variations in hormones for women? Is there some scene like this? So this cycle of ovulation and having your menstrual, having menses, that cycle does affect hormones. It is not universally true that the same cycle will affect all women in the same way. So the my problem with that statement would be the generalization of it. And that is where problems happen because then we can use that to dismiss or explain a lot of behavioral patterns, which is not fair. Right? So in a particular woman, it is possible that at different periods in her cycle, she might be having different mood swings. That is absolutely possible, but then you cannot use that to generalize and say, oh, women are being hormonal. That jump is where the problems happen. Let's talk about that time after sex, where we dropped off there. What actually happens? So say you had sex with someone that bond that you feel with the person, even if it's casual, you do feel a certain amount of connection probably because you've been that vulnerable.
What happens after s*x? (17:20)
You've been naked with them. You let them do what they want to your body. There's a hormonal play there for sure. I'm assuming that your oxytocin levels are spiked. So you're more prone to seeing you. I love you, but your, your, that I love you target is the closest person to you in the room. Unless you're having a threesome or something in which case you don't know. So there you're more spiritual because you know, I love all of you. Not that I have threesome experience. I mean, it sounds like, okay, no, no, no. I'm a very sure person. I mean, you're against one some. So yeah, I think two is just about right. Two feels right. You know, yin and yang. So speaking about two person bonding, uh, even after casual encounters, is it like your brain is in a zone to wife up somebody or husband up somebody question to the doctor? Let's answer this in a different way. So when you had sex, there is definitely a lot of trust. Right. So there's very little threat there. You have exposed yourself. You are very clearly not afraid of this person. Right. I'm talking from a very biological perspective, right? You have, you are in that position of vulnerability. Biochemically, your oxytocin does spike. It tends to spike harder and drop maybe I'll use the wrong word. It tends to spike quick. There's no way. There's no good way to say this. Christ. Are we in school again? This is exactly six standard. Like, Oh, you said hi. For God's sake, bro. This is just, this is not sex. I'm going to husband you. Okay. All right guys. Look at me. No. When I'm sure of you. When ask me the question again. Do you feel that wife up husband up vibe? Like what's your brain doing to your body? Right. Oxytocin definitely spikes. Okay. I'm not going to say how, but it definitely spikes. It spikes at different rates for different people. Different people. Um, there are some studies that show it spikes quicker in men and in women, there is a more gradual spiking up and it's high. Um, it depends. There's not conclusion. There's no conclusive evidence. There is also some interesting overlap with another hormone called vasopressin, which is, which is very interesting because both oxytocin and vasopressin kind of work together and it has different effects. Like a man would feel more protective, um, more than the bonding. It is about the protection and it is about, oh, this person I have to protect now. And that can also lead to anger or like that protection can lead to anger at others. So back off. Don't come near me. Don't come near this person. Um, so that these are all different overlaps that can happen very, very quickly. In a more toxic way, it could make a guy more possessive. It could. Yeah. So what is interesting in humans is that on top of all these hormonal and neurochemical and neural network levels, there is a prefrontal cortex. What do you mean on top of it? So if you are evolving, the hormonal levels are at the base, right? So animals also have this. Then you have your limbic system, you have your emotions, you have love. The surge of dopamine that you get. Oh my God, I feel so happy when I'm with you. All those things. Oxytocin, I'm bonding with you. I trust you. But on top of that is your prefrontal cortex, whose main job is to create a story around everything that is happening below. And we cannot dissociate the story from the chemistry. And that is where it gets interesting for human beings because the dopamine spike has a story. I love you. I'm feeling happy with you. The oxytocin spike has a story. I trust you. I'm feeling safe with you. Now that is a story that you and I are creating. When we have sex, it's like, now this, we are putting this one incident in an overarching of our relationship. Everything has context, much more than what animals would. Like an animal would meet another partner, mate, and they may be able to dissociate with much lesser complications because there is no story. Not true for all animals. There are animals that create that bare bonding for life. But in human beings, that ability to create stories is both a great help and it can be a great problem because that also comes with guilt. So when you create that story, it helps. It is easier to stay together, but you're also breaking that story. If you pull apart, again, I'm going to quote Michio Kaku that we, the quote that we brought up in the Hindi podcast.
How does love grow? (23:33)
So he was podcasting with Tim Ferriss and Tim Ferriss asked him what the meaning of consciousness is for him. He said that he looks at it as three forms of consciousness. The first is unicellular where you barely even know what you are and your biggest game is just survival and maybe reproduction. The second is where you're an animal where you want to procreate, you want to eat and you have an identity of space as well. As in when I move here, if I go beyond the cliff, I'll fall off like self protection. But the third form of consciousness is human consciousness, where he said that it's about constantly thinking about the future and safeguarding your future. That's what actually separates us from animals. So the story angle, when you're in love with someone, there's also got to be this other future angle attached to it. Absolutely. Do you agree with this as a neurologist, what Michio Kaku said? I think it's an oversimplified version, but it's great to put this across as a starting point to just let people think that there are different types of consciousness or different levels of consciousness. So for me, types is not the right word, the right word is levels. There are actually infinite levels of consciousness. Because even in the animal kingdom there's different behaviors. Exactly. And at every level, the way they experience the environment is different. For me, consciousness is essentially the sensory input that you have, how you process and how you are able to output it. That circle is consciousness. So if there is a thought experiment that if you have no senses, zero senses, right? Are you conscious? Suppose if you've had zero senses, if you can't see, which is you can imagine, okay, you're blind, you can't hear also, sure. What if you can't touch? Now are you even there? You can't taste, you can't smell. Because there's no sensory input from the moment you were born, what is that? Is that consciousness? So it's a very tricky thing versus suppose if all of your senses are there, but you can't move at all, at all, nothing in your body is moving, would we know that you are conscious? So consciousness is a very, very tricky subject and it's a constantly evolving thing. And as consciousness evolves, love evolves. Wow. Because love is now you're interacting with another person. So as you become more and more conscious, in fact, I believe that even in our own lives, we are getting more and more conscious. The consciousness that you had as a two year old is not the consciousness you have as a 20 year old versus a 40 year old, which is why the love that you feel with somebody, the love that you share with somebody will also change as you keep growing. You won't love in the same way as when you're 20 as when you're 40. Have you had conversations with older couples who have had successful relationships? Because I do this a lot. I have some insights, but I'd love to hear yours first. Yeah, absolutely. What goes right? It's very interesting. It's like, I've spoken to my grandparents. I've spoken to a couple of very close family friends that I have who are both in their 60s. Beautiful relationship. They travel around the world deeply in love, sexually active, which was interesting to me. And we had that level of conversation. We were very open with each other and we spoke about it. And the way they said was, we are nothing like the people that we were when we first met. We met at 21. We fell in love. And since then, they've had two kids. They're successful. They both have their own companies. One is a doctor, another runs her own company. And we have completely changed. If we meet today, I don't know if we will fall in love, but we have all this history before us. And we have constantly kept communicating, kept communicating. And it is like a mixture of compromise and independence. Like, I will be independent, but I will also let you be independent and we will be together. So I don't think there is a one line answer to how to be successful in a relationship. I think it's a lot of hard work, but it's beautiful to talk to somebody who's made it. Yeah. Again, it's also coming from the conversations I've had on the show, but a lot of conversations I've had offline. Like my whole life is a podcast, honestly. But the insight I got is one, every relationship is subjective. So as much as you try putting rules against it, these are just sort of, it's good guesswork. That's what I'll say. It's like likely that these rules will work. Two, I read a business insider article once, which said that according to science, and I don't know how true this is, and I'll link it down below. There's supposed to be three signs of a successful long-term relationship. The first sign is overlooking the other person's flaws, convincing yourself that those flaws aren't important to you or they don't exist. The second was over highlighting the good stuff that, Oh, this person's voice, this person's intelligence, the way they look at this, the like, you know, traits about them that you can really glorify in your own head. And the third one I believe was what you said, independence. And this is what I've picked up in common with all the couples I've spoken to that they just let each other be. There's no element of, I want to make you better. I want to change you. I'll help you level up. So I think I read this quote once, which said something like the person you're dating right now for thinking of marrying them and expecting that they'll change or your bond will evolve. Don't do that because whatever it is now, can you copy paste that on the rest of your life and will you be happy copy pasting that this version of this person, if they're just this, will you be okay with it? Wow. So that got me thinking that, and the key here is independence. I met Mansoor Khan, Aamir Khan's cousin who now lives outside Kunoor at the fringes of forest to get to his house you have to take 3 vokacharas and each rasta has more kachas than the previous one. He's living in wilderness has to go inside his house at 6 PM because leopards can come out. Oh, beautiful house, beautiful levels of happiness, beautiful energy inside the house. And his wife sitting there and reading her own thing. Oh, okay. He's reading his own thing. And I asked him, how did you do this? So many couples in urban centers are getting divorced and you've been married for like 30 years. Right. He's like, man, I think we just let each other be. So I was like, what do you mean? He's like, we don't try changing each other. We've always been like that. We let the other person evolve in their own journey, we accept each other. Yeah. That's the key. That's the, that's the ultimate where you can grow without being threatened. Right? So what do we want? We want to grow. There's no doubt about it. All of us want independence. We want to be able to do whatever we want. Why can't we do it alone? There's no really good reason, but we want also at the same time, the support of somebody with us. Right? But somehow the price for having that person with us is to compromise on your growth. That seems to be the narrative that has built up that compromise. Eventually once the relationship is strong enough, there is no threat of the other person going away. And now you can actually let each other evolve and grow into whatever direction that you want. But initially it is more difficult because what if you grow in a way that the other person doesn't like and they still have that option of breaking off the relationship. It is like this dance between comfort and growth. And in which direction do you go? If you go too fast in one direction, you may regret it. So that's why this communication is so important because you need to keep on sharing, keep on talking about, listen, this is where I'm going. What's up with you? Where are you? Where are you? That back and forth has to be there. That article that you read, I kind of disagree with the first point though. Ignoring somebody's flaws, I don't think is a great idea. I think the, I'll rephrase that. I think it was physical flaws. Like it was small physical things. Not like if someone's toxic. He'll change. I can make him better. I can make her better. I think it was like tiny, like physical things. That's what they were trying to highlight. So the beautiful thing is that the brain already does that for you. That's what falling in love is. When you fall in love and say you have 10 characteristics out of which seven are great, three are f**k. My brain will just be like, ye tin ko hatta dete and let's pull up the seven to make it look like 15 and just give you that. This is the story that the prefrontal cortex builds. This is what happens in the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex just believes it. And amplifies it? Yeah. Okay. I'll tell you why I ask you this one, because we spoke about casual encounters and your body releasing more oxytocin, all that. Okay.
Bonding & love (32:46)
I'm sure that if you have sex repeatedly with the same person and share trauma, share experiences with the same person, it's gotta be more hormones at play, you know, and, and chances are, if you are actually having a nice stable relationship, like when nothing's really going too wrong, which is random because every relationship, something goes wrong and you have to get past it, which is called getting past trauma. But I'm assuming that hormonally also you're very bonded, like over a long period of time. So in long-term love, is there any like hormonal studies done? Like where I think it was something like they scanned people's brains and they saw that when they showed them a picture of their partner, certain parts of the brain were much more activated than others. Yeah, absolutely. So when I spoke about the airline pilot study, so a higher level of baseline oxytocin means that at the baseline, you're already feeling more content. Like you're more contented in life. You are experiencing less threat. The higher the oxytocin levels, the less stressed out you are. Which is the actual motivation behind finding love. I want to get away from my own stress. Yeah, that's effectively. So the actual motivation is happening so deep down that we are not even aware of why do we want to find someone. So when you ask a single person, why do you want, why are you looking for somebody? They will say whatever story they have created, but that real reason is coming from a place that is so deep down in their brain that you can't even access it. You don't even have the words for it. It is just like this impulse. Why are you eating? Oh, I'm hungry. Hunger is the word that you've created, but then at the molecular level, it is coming down from such a deep place that it's just like that. You want to look for somebody, even if you say that you don't, our brains are still looking. And that is where sometimes there can be a conflict. That what is it that you really want? This baseline oxytocin thing is new, but I remember the first time I ever interacted with you, it was over Twitter space. Yeah.
On chasing love & relationships (34:55)
I feel like it was two years ago now. It was a long, long time ago. I was a very different human being than this. You sounded different. Bro, I was so angsty. I was so lonely. You sounded like a love guru. Yeah. I mean, I, I, I, can you do that accent again? I can't do it. It's love guru time on Twitter. I was just so f***ing hungry for a relationship back then, dude. Like just changed so much in two years, just gotten more settled in life and letting it like come to me very open to it, but not chasing it. You know, spoken about relationships so much on the show for the same reason, often with podcasts, the podcast has to evolve. And the questions are a reflection of where the podcast is in life. So I, after a point, I just, I learned everything more relationship from the show, man. Like, I mean, everything that I could, we had psychologists on, we had neurologists on. So I got my answers and then over time, I think you just grew up a little bit. Apologies to all the girls who could have. My baseline oxytocin is sky high. Because this is an interesting thought that I had at one point of time that a relationship, if you are in it for long enough, keeps growing you, right? You keep growing in a relationship, all your flaws get highlighted. And if you are sticking to it, they get solved. You become better and better as a person. And you're also helping the other person get better and better. And the better you become as a person, the more independent you become as a person, because now your conflicts are sorted. Right? We spoke about conflicts in the last podcast. The more conflicts that are sorted in your mind, the less you need other people. You are independent. So I had this theory that the perfect relationship will actually make you not need a relationship eventually. Conversely, the people who rush into marriage or jump from one partner to another really need help in terms of finding themselves or probably dealing with a huge level of stress from somewhere. So again, this is a multi-layered question. There are many reasons to leave a relationship, right? So this is one area where we don't know how many people will be listening to this. And whenever we talk about something which is intensely personal, right? Every single listener is taking our conversation. And attaching it to their life. And applying it to their life. And they're applying it to their relationship, their current or their previous relationship, right? And that is a huge responsibility because we could be saying something which is very academic. You know, we could be talking about oxytocin levels and bonding and they're thinking of usne sa kyunkiya. We're too emotionless, s**t Dr. Sin. Yeah, exactly. Bebout s**ts and put them. This is Indian Bombay. Yeah. For those of you who didn't hear it, he said s**t. The reason that this is an important topic to talk about is that it relates to everybody. But it's also a sensitive topic to talk about because it relates to everybody. There is nobody who doesn't relate to. Because some of this stuff is not just even about romantic relationships. It's also about relationships with your friends or your siblings. A lot of this still applies. And that's the weird thing. You know, since like some of the conversations that we've recently had, our relationship with our family is also hormonal. We can go through that up and down way with our families also. And eventually if you're in a relationship long enough, they become family. They become part of who you are. Like your parents, your siblings are part of who you are. Your partner is a part of who you are. So it becomes your identity. So yeah, so anybody who's listening, try to take as much as you can, but also try and take a step back and try to listen to this from a detached standpoint. If you can. Yes. Because I truly believe that knowledge does help you if you can take a step back. Yeah. Um, speaking about detachment and kind of moving away from love, but also not really moving away from love as a human being growing up, I think the biggest change in my own twenties was the sense of detachment from emotional situations, like saving emotions for situations that needed, right? Not like you're spreading your emotions across.
Sense of detachment (39:20)
It helps your career, your focus levels, all that a lot. Being detached is so important for your sense of peace or being in control of your emotions, which I strongly feel people who meditate have a deeper control over. And the scientific studies related to your amygdala, I believe that the amygdala functioning becomes lesser, which is your fear center. Yeah. The sensitivity level changes. So if you are a very stressed out person, what happens is that any random thing could stress you out. And when I say stress you out, it's basically targeting the fear network in your brain. So if there is a tiger in front of you, it's completely rational to get afraid. But if it's just a phone ring or somebody at the door, it's not rational unless it's, you know, a very, very bad situation, but somebody who has anxiety, somebody who's stressed out could be getting stressed out with anything, normal routine life situations. That is what uncontrolled amygdala activation does. What is hormonal anxiety? Like, I'm sure there is people who deal with chronic anxiety. It is a level of like hormones which are acting up. So what actually happens? There is a chemical called cortisol, which is a hormone or released again by the adrenal gland.
What is hormonal anxiety? (40:46)
It is a very useful chemical. So if your body's under attack, if there is an infection, like if you get COVID or if you are, if you get malaria, you need your body to fight that infection. So one of the ways in which it fights infection is by raising the cortisol levels. It is one of the body's defense mechanisms. It's like an alert. It's like an alarm. Imagine if there's a fire in your building and the fire alarm goes, that is what cortisol does. But imagine if every time somebody lights a matchstick to, you know, light a diya, the alarm goes off. That building can't survive, right? It's constant alarms. Every time, every time somebody steps out for a smoke, there's an alarm. You can't function that way. That is what anxiety is. Generalized anxiety disorder, that is what it is. So it's a hormonal problem. It's also an immune problem because imagine every time the alarm rings a fire, the firemen come in. That's what happens with the, again, increased cortisol levels. It raises your immune system. The immune system is coming, looking for a threat. Eventually your body starts thinking that the body's under threat even when there is nothing. And that leads to a lot of complications. So anxiety is at some level a hormonal problem. And anxiety levels are rising all over the world, probably because of social media. Multiple factors, but yeah, cortisol, there are studies that link chronic obsessive scrolling. There's also a term, I think it's called doom scrolling, where you just can't stop scrolling and you are getting more and more anxious and you're still scrolling. You're still reading bad news after bad news and you can't stop. I think it's called doom scrolling and that does definitely affect your brain because we cannot tell the difference between reality and social media. We can't tell the difference if something is actually happening in front of me or is it just happening on screen somewhere far away? Is it even fictional? Like your brain can't tell. Yeah, our brain can't tell. So if you keep exposing yourself to that kind of stuff, eventually your brain thinks that you're a b****. Okay. Personal question, Dr. Sid. When you know so much about love and the brain and all, how does it affect your relationship going? Are you always scanning it from a hormonal perspective?
His personal relationship (42:58)
Lately, I have been getting more and more analytical. Thankfully, when I met my wife, we were both 17 at a time when I didn't know any neuroscience. So I got the pleasure of falling in love like any other idiotic teenager. So I had that whole pleasure of completely losing myself in that experience, making mistakes, making emotional, having those emotional experiences, having fights, crying about it, having almost breakups, the whole thing. And honestly, I'm very glad that it happened because I think it is a, how do you say this? I think it's a beautiful human experience, right? I think we are capable of feeling all those emotions and I don't think anything else can make you feel so much. Only a relationship can make you feel so much. Okay. Spicy question for you. All right. What about polyamory? And, uh, it's only called polyamory, right? When you're multiple partners. Like, so first maybe explain what polyamory is and second, give the scientific aspect on it.
Polyamory Vs. Monogamy (44:10)
Is it bad? Is it all right? Um, polyamory is being attracted to and having sexual relationships with more than one person, multiple people. Like when someone has an open relationship, that's also a form of polyamory. These are all just terminologies that kind of talk about the same spectrum where you're not being monogamous. You're not saying that one person for life. It is, so when you talk of biology, when you talk of animals, there are plenty of species that do this, right? Multiple partners at the same time. In human beings also, there have been all societies, in all societies in history, polyamory has been documented. Infidelity has been documented. In fact, there was a, I forgot her name, Sally, professor, professor Sara, I think. She had this beautiful paper on sexual infidelity where there was a line that says that humans are by nature socially monogamous and clandestine adultery. So there's social monogamy and clandestine adultery has been the norm. What is clandestine? Secret. Okay. So all human societies from the beginning of time, the norm has been social monogamy. Sub-case-amne monogamous. Clandestine adultery where you explore in private. I wondered why that is and I started reading about it. Human beings are like this very interesting mix of curiosity and comfort. We have that explorer tendency in us, which is why we have been able to succeed in so many fields of life. If we were born in Africa and we stay in Africa and we don't venture out at all, we would have died off probably. But then because we explored, we said that we want to cross the sea. We want to explore the Alps. We want to explore the islands. So we keep on exploring. We get more land. We try to explore what happens if I plant this seed here and grow this. Everything good that has come has come because we have explored outside of what we naturally know. And that has rewarded us. So that reward of exploring is deeply ingrained in us. Same for relationships. That's not going to go away. Our brain rewards us for finding new things. New naked bodies. A new experience, a new human being, a new conversation, a new relationship. Same here. We keep looking for a new way of looking at life. And every new person that you meet gives you that. Sometimes that can turn sexual. Sometimes that cannot. What happens in a relationship is that now you have comfort. And comfort is great for stability. Comfort is great for putting a household. If you have kids, if you want to raise a family, the more chaotic your relationship is, the more difficult it is for a family to grow. The same example that we used of building a building, setting up a building. If every day you're going to come and change the doors, change the windows, break down the walls, that building is not going to get set up. You need a good foundation for a good building. Same for like imagine a tree. If you keep digging the ground, the seed is not going to take root. And it's incredible that we have so many families that have set up such amazing human stories. They were only possible because of families. Our tribal system is completely based on families. If there were no families, then it would just be a bunch of individuals trying stuff on their own and we wouldn't have survived. So both of these things have rewarded us. Having a strong family and exploring. Now how do we reconcile the two? How do you remain in a relationship and say that my comfort is important, I want security, I want to be stable, and at the same time your brain rewards you for exploring, rewards you for meeting new people. It's a fundamental conflict and we are not involving the prefrontal cortex at all. We are still talking limbic level. At a biochemical level, you are rewarded for both things, for staying with a person and for exploring new people. Now you can add the prefrontal cortex. Abhishek, you have made your story a little bit different. Now it's your choice. You can build a story around the stability and call it monogamy, family, family values, morals, ethics, stories, all stories, nothing right and wrong, all stories. Or you can say open marriage, polyamory, again, all stories, nothing biological about this. That's what we are doing. As a society, we are trying to say which story do I believe in? Do I believe in the story of monogamy? Do I believe in the story of polyamory? Today we are at a stage where I think every couple kind of decides for themselves. Earlier it wasn't like that. Earlier, society would decide that this is a story that all of you will believe in. Today, I think in one building, in one flat, there'll be a polyamorous couple, one flat, there'll be a monogamous couple, in one flat, there'll be three people living together as a monogamous threesome. There are couples like that. I think it's called a throuple, which is a new thing that I've heard. It's all fine because it's all stories. What story do you believe in? And that story will keep evolving. You might be monogamous when you're 20 and you might be polyamorous when you're 40. You change. Wow. Yeah. The science, I don't know, but the science of this is that up to a certain point, it's the comfort and the experimentation, which begin to clash. Then from there it's subjective. And you want both. That's the thing. Anybody who says that they don't want one is lying. And if you have one, you want the other. Yeah. I think it's like, once you found your comfort, where do you find your experimentation? Do you choose to find it in your work? You choose to find it in social work? Do you choose to find it in sex? The ones who prioritize probably sexual exploration end up becoming polyamorous. It's not a reflection of how much they love their partner, but. No it's not. Absolutely. In fact, polyamorous couple, if a couple wants to be successfully polyamorous, they have to have an insane level of communication with each other. So I would suggest that a polyamorous couple talk to each other more often and better than most monogamous couples. What happens hormonally if you're having sex with multiple people? Now, I might be wrong, but not, it's not very different. The act of sex itself, the attraction, the sexual turn on the post sexual phase, all of that is the same. If you're having sex with somebody that you have, that you are in a long term relationship with, the baseline level of comfort is definitely more. So I have read so many accounts of people who have been sleeping around basically, and then they've entered into a long term relationship and they've said that the sex is so much better when it is with somebody I know and who knows what I like. Conversely, there are people who enjoy one night stands more. Again, completely based on their story. So the interesting thing is the story can change your hormones. Really your subjective reality then gets Wow. So if you're very convinced that your way of say polyamory is right, your hormones will probably be in place. Wow. My only, and I'm just debating with you for the sake of debate, not because I agree or disagree. Maybe it's just that baseline oxytocin level that's fixed when you're in a stable relationship. That's about how much you prioritize that because, and then, you know, see, and I'm coming from a spiritual studies where they say one partner, et cetera. That's where the whole narrative of society is also come from. Right. That have marriage, have one partner, grow in marriage together. But maybe the hormonal aspect of that is your baseline oxytocin is at a stable level, which dictates the rest of your day outside of the sex outside of the love. There is a lot to be said of being monogamous. There is a lot of advantages in that you're reducing your cognitive load. You don't want to be thinking about sexual partners all your life, right? You want to be doing other things. You want to be creating stuff. You want to be working at stuff. You want to be leaving a legacy. All of those things are better done when this is taken care of, or it's not there at all. I mean, I'm not saying you need a relationship to do all that, but I would argue that if you are say in multiple relationships, if you are in a polyamorous relationship and you're constantly looking for a new partner, new partner definitely takes time and energy. Right. The reason why earlier societies would discourage that is because I don't think they had the luxury of being able to spend that much time and energy when there were bigger problems at hand. Right. So when a society is struggling, you would need everybody to be in that program, like get to work, do more. You need less chaos. You need more stability. I think it is also a sign of evolution of society as a whole, how stable you are overall that now more and more and more people have the luxury of experimenting and trying out new things. This is just my opinion. No, but it makes sense, man, from both a hormonal level and anthropological level. So when I was telling you about us meeting on Twitter for the first time, I remember my question to you was because I was a very different person at that point. I felt like I was a very intense level.
Deep Dive Into Intense Love
On intense love (54:48)
We had a bunch of really motivated guys on the show and I've asked them the same question. They've also said that they're very intense levels. Like they're very intense as in not possessive. Just like, listen, if I'm with you, I am 5,000% with you. You are the center of my world. Okay. I don't know. When you say you're an intense lover, you mean during sex or just overall in a relationship? Overall in a relationship. Okay. Um, I mean in the second, obviously a hundred percent there, but correct. You're kind of treating that person as a very big priority in your mind. The person will intense, deeply romantic. When people say hopeless romantic, it's the same logic as saying intense level. Okay. Um, I asked you that, what is the hormonal reason behind that? And I think you said something along the lines of an addictive personality angle that if you're also addicted to general things, which again, I've been diagnosed with that as well. Addictive personality disorder. It's called something else now, right? I think they don't call it a disorder. They call it an addictive personality something, but okay. First, maybe let's explain that what it is and then how does it translate into your love life? Yeah. I think I remember what I said. Um, I said that initially there's a lot of similarity between love and addiction. So when you are addicted to something, your brain is always looking for it because it's like your life is missing that thing and you're always looking to see how you can find it to fit it in. And when you don't find it, that sense of missing is very, very prominent. It's like a threat again. You are feeling it physically that initially love can be like that. And as soon as you get it, the kind of pleasure that you find, it's like a rush of dopamine. If an alcoholic doesn't get alcohol for one month and then he suddenly takes a sip, he will find, he or she will find so much pleasure. It's like a reminder of why you were addicted in the first place. I always remember the scene from Friends when Chandler would take a drag of a cigarette after many, many years of quitting and that look of expression on his face, right? That look of pleasure on his face. That is what early love is. Where your partner becomes a drug, you are always looking for him or her. And when he or she is in your family, in your vicinity, is with you, you feel like life is complete. So it's an addiction. It's a drug. Usually what happens is we become more comfortable with that person. Our equation changes. Love evolves. Love changes. And while some remnant of that always remains, I truly believe that, it's not in that same intensity because now we are more comfortable in spending time on our own, the most comfortable experimenting things on our own, traveling alone, which in that early phase of the relationship would seem unthinkable. Like why would I go anywhere alone? But as you evolve, you do start being more comfortable doing these other things. So early on, yes, it is an addiction. You want that person with you all the time. What about people who say they're hopeless romantics? You know, people who see the movie Up, fix ours up and say, I want that. Is there some sort of, again, has a prefrontal cortex made a false story that you are the Buddha, Buddha from Up? Oh, wow. I don't think it's a false story. And it is actually a story. Your identity then becomes the two of you. And that's a beautiful thing. Nothing against it. I think it's a beautiful thing if your identity is that you are somebody in love with this person. What a beautiful thing. And love can do that. Love can make another person part of you now. And that is also why breakups can sometimes really hurt because once your brain has done that, right, once your brain has convinced itself that this person is a part of you, it's like your arm. And when you break off your arm, it's going to hurt. So breakups hurt that much. It can physically feel as if a part of you is being taken away because love can do that. It can, like I give you the example of Roger Federer with the racket. And while Roger is holding the racket, the racket feels like part of his arm. Similarly, love can make you feel that this whole other person is now attached to you. This is also why you feel possessive. If somebody else is flirting with her, asking her out, what the hell? It's not that she is mine. You know, we sometimes confuse that. So love can sometimes take on that toxic look because it's not about possessiveness. It's me. And that is a strange line to draw because where does it end? Love is great, but what if love can make you act in a violent way because, Hey, you're not trying to possess them. It's just that you're saying that, Hey, you are part of me. Again, from the scientific aspect of this, what I'm understanding is up to a certain level love or relationships or sex or romance is similar for all human beings. And then the prefrontal cortex comes in and shit up and then it becomes like subjective. Then your childhood comes in, your daddy issues, your mommy issues, your exams, your position in life, your career, money, fame, everything. So your prefrontal cortex is the, no, also the savior, the savior, the Superman. Yeah. One of the two. Lex Lutera Superman. Let's call that the villain of the hero. Yeah. So your prefrontal cortex can completely change your relationship because everything that happens below that is the same. Dr. Sid warrior, while I can continue talking to you about sex and love and everything in between, got to call this episode, uh, to a close and parting notes, Dr. Sid warrior. Um, I think it's enjoy being single. I really believe this. Um, you got to enjoy being single to enjoy being in a relationship. Like you've got to enjoy being who you are, just who you are, because I don't think anyone owes anyone anything. No, just because you're in a relationship, nobody owes you anything. You don't owe anyone anything. You are in it to grow. And very, very often you find that helping somebody or being in a relationship makes you such a better person. Right? So I've often thought of this empathy actually comes out of selfishness. It's selfish to help people. It's selfish to love people. It's selfish to grow with people. I think every CEO, every leader finds out that, you know, the more your people grow, the more you grow. So the more your partner grows actually the more you grow. So selfishness is not a bad thing. The better you are as a person, the better you will be in a relationship. So yeah, that's just my takeaway. No, 100% man. And you know, what I love about even these, uh, love and relationship conversations with you is that there's always a background of scientific understanding. So I know that that's the source material for your thoughts, which is what I find fascinating about having conversations about anything. It could be spiritualism, ghosts, love, whatever with you. Also this, um, being in a 17, 18 year old relationship has added, um, insights that I would have never had otherwise, you know, I could read all the neuroscience I want, but, uh, the conversations that I've had with Smriti over the last 18 years has added insights that I don't think I could have had otherwise. So definitely that has helped. Thank you for this episode, Dr. Smriti. That's what I'll say. Stealing your man for two more episodes right after this. I'll be back soon. See you guys later. All right. That was an episode with Dr. Sid Warrior. You know what I'm going to say. I want you guys to tell us in the comment section on social media, what are the topics you'd like to see Dr. Sid and myself cover on the day that we recorded this, we did an episode in Hindi about moksh and nirvana and enlightenment.
End of the podcast (01:03:05)
We also did an English episode about biotech, the near future of technology associated with the human body. Lots more coming up with Sid Warrior, but first make sure you follow us on Spotify. Every episode is available on Spotify, 48 hours before it's available anywhere else in the world. This neuroscience segment of TRS has only just begun. So if you enjoyed this episode, make sure you hit that like button, share it with your friends. And if you're listening to us on Spotify, make sure you rate this podcast and this episode very highly. Give us a five star rating. We'll see you soon.