There’s new research that suggests moms prefer the companionship of their female friends rather than their male partners. In fact, results from a recent study prove that females are more sensitive to the rewarding actions of oxytocin than males. The findings are published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.
The research, conducted by Georgia State University, says that there are different ways that the brain determines the "rewarding properties of social interactions." The team of researchers found that moms – and women in general – and their brains react differently when they hang out with their female friends as compared to when they hang out with their significant other. Participants in the study showed that women had a higher level of oxytocin receptors while they were with their best friends.
Dr. Elliott Albers, director of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience and Regents' Professor of Neuroscience at Georgia State, who led the research team, says that they studied the sex-dependent role of oxytocin receptors with male and female rodents. They explored whether the receptors were different when the female rodents were paired with the male rodents or with their female counterparts. They also used several different tests to see what the preference was when it came to social interaction.
Albers explains: "Recognizing gender differences in social reward processing is essential for understanding sex differences in the occurrence of many mental health diseases and the development of gender-specific treatments for psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, substance abuse and schizophrenia."
The researchers note that "oxytocin receptors in the brain play a major role in regulating many forms of social behavior." Women typically have higher rates in social anxiety disorders and depression while men often suffer more from autism and attention deficit disorder. With that said, there is very little data and research that backs this information or why there is such a vast difference between a male and female’s brain activity.
So, does this mean that women aren’t having any fun when\ they have a date night with their husbands, male partners or significant others? Not necessarily. This just means that females tend to get more excited about a well-deserved night out of non-stop giggling, gossiping, and fun with their female friends compared to a romantic date night with their husbands. For many, they just feel like they can “let loose” and be themselves with their friends whereas they often stress about appearing or acting a certain way while they are with the opposite sex.