Oxytocin’s role in tolerating pain?

K. Paul Stoller, Oxytocin: The Hormone of Healing and Hope, 12-3

I once watched a fascinating documentary that included interviews with men who had survived Nazi torture.  One of the gentleman talked about how he would think of his sexual exploits while he was being tortured; it was a mind trick he employed to make the horrors he was experiencing more tolerable.  Fortunately for this particular man, he had a vast library of past sexual encounters to pull from.  I remember thinking that his pleasurable memories would have caused his brain to release oxytocin, which would, in turn, minimize the amount of fear and panic that anyone would naturally experience from those unimaginable circumstances.  And given the analgesic effects of oxytocin, it’s probable that is memories reduced the actual physical pain he was feeling as well.


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