Spring bursts forth with vibrant color, intoxicatingly sweet floral scents and sex. That’s right, relations. While monogamy in the rest of the animal kingdom is more of a myth, human pair-bonding gives the reward system a long-term buzz of activity and contributes to both physical and mental health. Oxytocin, the hormone produced when engaging in hugging, kissing and intercourse reduces jealousy and increases partner attractiveness. How unfortunate would it be if a product existed that could disturb this natural rhythm: altering the level of attraction and diminishing sexual functioning. There is - and almost 10 million women in the US are using it: hormonal contraception.
Those wily women with eyes 'false in rolling', who change their moods and affections like chameleons." Sonnet 20, William Shakespeare
400 years ago when the brilliant Shakespeare first penned this keen observation, commenting on the ever-changing nature of a woman's spirit, the knowledge that a woman's emotions could fluctuate with her hormones was unknown. The first hormone would not be discovered for another 300 years, and shortly after - the components of the menstrual cycle would be elucidated. Given the rapid advancement of science in the twenty first century and the ease with which peering into the brain has become; one would think the influence of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone on cortical and subcortical regions implicated in a woman's emotional and cognitive processes would be fully understood. Not so.
Piper Chapman isn’t your typical prison inmate. She’s not butch, muscular, violent and she ain’t got no swag. She doesn’t sport any tattoos and she doesn’t have a history of psychiatric disorders. Yet, the timid Piper Chapman surprises viewers of the show Orange is the New Black by assaulting a fellow prisoner at the end of season 1. What made her snap? The psychology of female aggression is a dark and twisty road. Come walk it with me.