One of the discussion topics that caught my interest this week was the study using vasopressin injections in prairie and meadow voles to change their mating behaviors. I wonder if vasopressin also affects monogamy in humans. For instance: some humans are more faithful than others in relationships and I wonder if looking at a “cheater” vs. “non-cheater” would reveal different levels of vasopressin. This immediately made me think of Tiger Woods: is he just a sleazy jerk or is there something in his brain that makes monogamy difficult for him? I also wonder if there are differences in vasopressin levels between males and females. This may be inaccurate on my part, but I feel as though males are traditionally characterized as more promiscuous than females. This would bring us back to genes vs. environment: do males have less vasopressin or do cultural expectations and gender roles condone this kind of behavior?
If vasopressin does indeed play a role in the sexual behavior of humans, I wonder what this could mean for society. Currently sex addiction is treated with methods such as therapy and education about healthy sexuality, but is it possible that giving someone a shot of vasopressin could cure their addiction? I would assume there is a lot more to monogamy than vasopressin levels, including factors such as personality and strength of relationship bond, but I wonder how strong the relative roles of each of these factors are.