6 Ways to Increase Oxytocin in the Body

Oxytocin is a hormone associated with love, pleasure, happiness and satisfaction. Today, we'll teach you 6 habits that increase its production.
6 Ways to Increase Oxytocin in the Body
Elena Sanz

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 20 April, 2023

Oxytocin is popularly known as the love hormone. It has multiple functions in the body, such as regulating the emotional and sentimental stimuli of sex, parenting, and social behavior. Since it’s a natural hormone, there are several ways to increase oxytocin in the body.

We know that the hormone is secreted in specific contexts, so we really just need to include a series of habits in our lives to increase it. Apart from the artificial options out there, we’ve prepared a list of 6 ways to increase oxytocin in the body. All of them are enjoyable and can improve your sense of well-being.

The best ways to increase oxytocin in your body

In very simple terms, a greater increase of oxytocin in the body will make you feel as if you are in love. The use of injections of the hormone is common in the clinical setting, especially during the labor process. There are also inhalers that are marketed for different uses.

According to studies and research, oxytocin may also play a role in people’s weight loss and eating behavior. This is one more reason to motivate you to apply some of the following habits to increase oxytocin in the body!

1. Listen to music and sing

increase oxytocin by listening to music
Listening to music is one of the best ways to change our mood due to the release of chemical compounds, something that’s well-known in science.

According to a study published in Integrative Phychological and Behavioral Science in 2003, singing in amateur and professional music fans was found to increase oxytocin levels naturally. During and after a singing session, the hormone increases, which explains the feeling of euphoria, tranquility, and relaxation it creates in between.

But that’s not all. An article published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience in 2015 found that the secretion of this hormone is much higher in group singing sessions. Also, it’s even higher when improvisation arises in these settings. Therefore, listening to music and singing is one of the best ways to increase oxytocin naturally.

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2. Explore sexual pleasure

The fact that oxytocin is known as the pleasure or love hormone is no coincidence. Of all the natural ways to increase its involvement in the body, sexual pleasure is the most effective. This is indicated by studies and research, in which it is realized that this messenger increases against any sensation of pleasure.

Therefore, kissing, erotic caresses, and all forms of sex are sure ways to increase oxytocin in the body. For this reason, it’s also a solid strategy to improve the bond and attachment with your partner.

Like this article? You may also like to read: 5 Gestures That Happy Couples Do Before Going to Sleep

3. Have a pet

Well, specifically a dog. So says a study published in Anthrozoös in 2011, which found that oxytocin levels increased in owners who petted their dogs for 1 to 5 minutes. Research along the same lines points out that the responses are much stronger in women than in men.

For all this, another strategy you can use to increase oxytocin naturally is by adopting a dog. This is also the only option on our list whose benefits you’ll be able to explore on a permanent basis. After all, your pet will be there 24 hours a day to keep you company, unlike other alternatives.

4. Prepare a meal with someone you care about

As we pointed out at the beginning, oxytocin is one of the hormones that help to consolidate social relationships. It’s secreted in the company of people who make up your circle. This happens naturally to further strengthen this bond and thus consolidate a relationship of friendship, couple, family, and others.

Although you can choose to go to a restaurant, the best thing to do is to prepare a meal in the company of someone you love. This will prolong the interaction, allow you to create a more affectionate bond, and connect directly with the guest.

5. Hug someone

increase oxytocin
Hugging and physical contact in general, especially with loved ones, is one of the best ways to increase oxytocin in the body.

Do you know why hugging someone makes you so happy? Well, one of the reasons is that doing so releases oxytocin. The longer the hug, the more you secrete, so receiving affection from people you admire can give you a good dose of the hormone.

Any type of interaction that’s done on the basis of cuddling or caressing has the same effect; what matters is that there’s tactile contact with someone else. Evidence points out that hugs are a great tool for coping with distress, conflict, or stressful situations, one more reason to appeal to them more often.

6. Exercise

Finally, exercising can also help increase oxytocin in the body. While it’s true that hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins are the main hormones secreted in this activity, researchers have found in experiments with mice that aerobic exercise increases the production of this hormone.

This is something that some studies have partially confirmed in humans. In addition to the fact that you will increase the production of hormones that we have already pointed out, it’s also a very healthy habit for the body in general. Exercise is thus emerging as a double-edged beneficial tool that you can include in your routine.

Other things you can do are eating chocolate, ice cream, or any other food you enjoy, doing kind acts with others, having deep conversations with a loved one, meditating, getting a massage, and practicing yoga.

In general, anything you enjoy doing will give you some level of oxytocin. Most activities are healthy for you, but remember to keep track of them to avoid overcompensating or overindulgence.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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  • Murphy MLM, Janicki-Deverts D, Cohen S. Receiving a hug is associated with the attenuation of negative mood that occurs on days with interpersonal conflict. PLoS One. 2018 Oct 3;13(10):e0203522.
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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.