Normal brain, sex and intimacy

When does your sex become 'abnormal'? When can you say your sexual behavior is a sign of mild brain injury or even worse? Well, actually this question is rather difficult to answer and I'll bet you'll never it in any scientific literature. However, it can be answered.

First of all, let me put it very clearly that I do not want to state here several values that are dogmatically or culturally inspired. For example, the statement that normal sexuality can only exist between a man and a female. And that a transsexual is 'abnormal'. Or homosexuality is a deviation or abnormality of the brain. What is a 'deviation' or 'abnormality' is fairly relative and culturally biased. It is more important to consider all known facts and to differentiate them from (ethical) values.

So, when making such statement - looking at facts - I can try not to be led by my own emotions or values. Normal sexual behavior is very diverse indeed. Internet has made this very clear. You can find all sorts and kinds of sexual behavior on the fact, it is thé most frequent reason for all traffic on the Internet. When looking at all those different types of sex (and trust me, I haven't even seen 10% of it all), you hardly even know what is normal or not. Let me start to try to find this out.

A normal brain development has a sort of a balance between all your own emotions, behavior and thoughts: not too anxious, not too angry, not too depressed, not too thrilled to perform your daily activities. This requires quite a well developed prefrontal and frontal brain in which you regulate your own emotions and behavior. Social cognition is one of the functions the prefrontal cortex takes care of. It is the correct interpretation of socially and culturally determined behavioral rules. It is also the correct understanding of such rules in relation to an ethical values system. Morality, which has a lot to do with compassion with other living (sentient) beings, is a set of thoughts, images and behaviors, largely depending on the correct functioning of your social cognition. It is in fact the complex relationship between your ratio (thoughts) and emotions (compassion).

Normal brain = normal personal development (usually)

What science is discovering more and more is that abnormal (devious and perverted, often violent) behavior has its equal in an abnormal physical brain. Not in a sense that there is a tumor inside a psychopath (it can be!), or that one half of the brain is missing in a serial killer. No, it is more subtle than that. Usually, when compared to other 'normal' brains such criminals with violent behavior do show differences in their brain. Like having a smaller hippocampus (memory center) or a smaller amygdala (anxiety center). My problem is that such studies are far too small to conclude anything very convincingly about brain abnormality. In my humble opinion, you should compare a very large database of 'normal' people (at least without any known criminal behavior) with such criminal groups. Only then you can perhaps say more convincingly that the brain of a criminal, or more generally, the brain of someone who has very different behavior than most other people, is really different.

But, in such studies there are of course clues which point in just one direction: our brain determines who we are and how we act and react. Contrary to what a lot of people believe, our soul or mind is fully determined by our brain. And if you believe something else, like you are fully controlled by an alien or some sort of cosmic energy, well, then just stop reading any further because you have already made your mind up. You do not need to know any (scientific) facts about your brain's functioning.

I am not claiming that we are fully determined by our brain in a sense that we can not control some things about our actions, emotions or even our life. But considering all known facts about our brain, both scientifically and by clinical observations across all cultures, I can not but conclude that our behavior is strongly determined by our brain. Of course, in a complex interaction with our environment, both physical and social.

So when I am quite easy to trigger into dancing when I hear music one could say my frontal lobes are less capable of regulating my emotions. When I am very sensitive to a touch of a woman (such as my girlfriend), my emotional brain is quite 'big' and my frontal lobes have more problems in regulating the emotions emanating from it. And yes that is why I am more prone to get addicted to sex, or more specifically, to intimacy. So far, so good :).

The fundamental question is, after this rather long intro, WHEN does it all become 'abnormal'? Well, again we look at what most people 'normally' do and we look at other known brain facts. For example, although I like sex a lot (it relaxes me and makes me feel very fine and warm next to my girlfriend), this does not cause me to touch every woman I see. It does not lead me into exhibitionism or to put our sex play onto YouTube. There is a limit to my strong lust feelings, a limit that prevents me from doing things we can find daily on the Internet. I feel very much connected with my girlfriend when having sex, but this connection is not to share with others: it is very intimate and private. That is how I am raised, so in a sense I have a certain shame to expose myself to others. In fact, most people have this same sort of shame, so that seems to be 'normal'. Only people living in specific communities like the formerly known Bhagwan, or visiting special sex clubs in which sex partner trading is allowed, have less shame. Until there hasn't been a large study into the differences of brains of all those people, we can't be sure what brains are normal and what are.

However, this is not to say, everything can be considered normal in sex. Getting sexually aroused by young children (types of pedophilia), or even corpses (necrophilia), is less common and not really considered normal. The boundary between normal and abnormal sexual behavior can more easily be drawn when ethical considerations are made. Especially, a fundamental ethical rule - the golden rule - seems to be of importance here. Nature has given most people a compassionate brain in which feeling sorry for others, feeling the suffering of others seems to be wired in. In all cultures, compassion starts very early. With the concept of 'mirror neurons' science starts to comprehend more about compassion, finally realizing a fundamental characteristic of human beings (and higher mammals). However, compassion can be manipulated by your upbringing. For example, Nazi children really had not much compassion for Jews because they were taught not to have that. The same goes for the children of the Red Khmer in Cambodia who relentlessly could kill their own people. In studies it is made clear that for compassion to grow, it needs a critical period early in life to get exposed to warm emotions and connection to other people (see Attachment theory). When not, it remains suboptimal or is even absent. That can be explained by neuroscientists who state that such kind of compassion is modulated in the emotional brain and the prefrontal cortex.

So, when sexual behavior seems to be abnormal in the sense that it is not common, one needs to look at whether this behavior is ethical. Is it truly chosen in freedom or driven by anxiety, uncertainty, only lust without any consideration of feelings of others? Is there any chance of potentially dangerous situations like being manipulated or not being able to determine when to stop or start? About personality very much can be written and I will tell you about it on other pages and in a later phase. In the mean time we do not have that much to rely upon in determining what is normal (brain) sexual behavior.

Normal sex is very diverse and compassionate

I realize this is not a satisfying answer to most people. But we have to admit that much more is 'normal' than we always thought or have learned to think. In sex, just like any other behavior, a limit is the ethical limit of the golden rule. Whenever sex becomes too scary for you or your partner is crossing your boundaries, it is 'abnormal' behavior. Abnormal because your partner does not seem to care anymore for your feelings and boundaries. So simple is that. When he (usually he) starts to want more and more, but you feel very uncomfortable with that, AND he does NOT listen to you anymore, that is suspicious of changes in his brain that are not that good.

For example, when he wants to film your sexual adventures with him and he has never asked that before, and will not give an answer as to why, then you have to start worrying. Especially, when he continues to state this wish to you without considering your feelings about it. Of course, when you think it is exciting enough and you can comply with this wish, nothing is really wrong. However, when his behavior is still changing and heading towards a direction you do not want...AND he does not want to listen to your feelings anymore, something is seriously wrong. It does not have to mean that he's developing a brain tumor or so, but normally a radical change in behavior does indeed signal brain changes. And these can be subtle, in biochemistry, physiology or electrical.

The fundamental rule is: whenever compassion is starting to wane, you should start worrying. Sudden behavioral changes always signify changes in the brain and have to be followed cautiously. But for the rest: nothing is off-limit provided that compassion and empathy determine the game. Just follow Pavlina's model: Truth - Love - Power. Although not scientific Pavlina's model is a very nice way to sum up all existing philosophies and religions in the world. With such a model no one should be hurt. 

Normal sex shows empathic behavior

As already mentioned normal sexual behavior is a two-way street: both partners can express their wishes in full freedom without much anxiety or fear of punishment. Furthermore, there is constant empathic behavior. Empathy is the ability to feel what the other wants and not wants and experiences, and the willingness to please the other. For empathy you'll need a normal functioning frontal lobe in which feelings are felt and experienced in a normal way, in which the ability to 'read the other's mind' is existent and to be able to control your own impulses in a way that the other will not be harmed by them. Especially this last ability - controlling yourself - can be difficult whenever lust takes over. But such a safety ability is necessary to have safe and fun sex.

Being curious about new ways of making love, making jokes, playing and talking with each other, this all can comprise sexual behavior. It takes place in a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere, or so it should be. Even the more 'rough' episodes of making love, on a kitchen table, on the stairs or even outside in nature, can be considered 'normal' as long as both partners are enjoying themselves in full freedom. Especially in more 'raw' sex, the ability to control oneself in order not to hurt the other, is important. Loosing control and thereby hurting the other is always a worrying sign, especially when it repeats itself. Then the golden rule is broken: one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself. And when morality is (less) absent, the question arises if this can be seen as normal behavior. I, personally, don't think so. Because it signals that something is wrong with the ability to synchronize and empathize with the other. This is a very fundamental prefrontal lobe function, already present in young children. As said before, it can be seriously damaged by a certain kind of upbringing, the one that makes 'murderers'.

Commendable websites for erotic movies with respect for each other

There are only a few websites where you can see for free beautiful movies about having sex. It has been filmed with elegance and a romantic atmosphere (both music and colors). The commentary is exemplary for having sex with respect for both partners. All movies I have seen there are about NORMAL sex, just because it is all about sex with RESPECT. I heartily recommend therefore the following website of Due to Google regulations I will not link to this website here.

When you want to see these movies about respectful and normal sex for free just Google for erosexotica and look for There you will find the movies from for free. However, the website is NOT about respectful and or normal sex. It is much more hard porn and a lot of videos there are disgustingly showing disrespect for sex and for women. I do NOT recommend such a website for respectful sex! 

Return to Normal brain behavior 

Return from Sex and the normal brain to How-Psychology-tests-brain-injury

Read here about all disclaimers relevant to this site:


If you want you can follow me on Twitter. I usually tweet in a serious way: whenever there is any news to share, being either about brain injury, emotional problems, abnormal behavior or other morality issues. Click on the link below:

Als u wilt kunt u me ook op Twitter volgen. Ik tweet eigenlijk alleen serieuze zaken, of dat nu nieuws is over hersenletsel, emotionele problemen, abnormaal gedrag of andere ethische zaken. Klik op onderstaande link:

Great and respectfully written book to try several new positions; For some the tatoos on the lady can be a bit irritating...

Another very good photographed book and clearly written is this one:

For people who like a certain style of humoristic writing and very nice pictures indeed you may try this book. However, I warn you: you have to be more sportlike and in a good condition here: