What do “Mistresses” and Joe Paterno have in common?


I confess….. I was addicted to “Mad Men.” Recorded every episode.

Since I can’t get lost in the exploits of Donald Draper any longer, I’ve turned to “Mistresses” and “The Bachelor” for my “bad-relationship” fixes. Analyzing whether the creators stick to the realistic affects of oxytocin is a favorite pastime of mine. And I’ve consistently picked the “Bachelor” relationships that lasted vs. the ones that fell apart as soon as the cameras stopped recording.

I wish they’d ask my opinion before they give out the roses each episode. I think I could save the hopefuls a great deal of heartache! 😉

To my surprise, “Mistresses” mentioned oxytocin in its most recent episode. I was half asleep as I watched but jarred awake as soon as I caught the word.

“This is  great,” I thought, “public exposure!” But, boy, was I disappointed!

The discussion described oxytocin as “that hormone that makes women fall in love after sex.”  …….. Ouch! It’s not just a “woman” thing! They did get one thing right; however, when it comes to love we need to think with our heads, not our hoo-has!

So how does the ill conceived notion of oxytocin and Joe Paterno go together?

They both have no concept of how oxytocin affects human behavior.

This past Tuesday, transcripts were released concerning the Jerry Sandusky sexual assault cases against young men and boys that took place in the locker rooms and offices of Paterno’s football team at Penn State University.

Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno
Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno

As reported by The Washington Post, turns out that witness John Doe #150, and others, testified that they’d reported Sandusky’s assaults to Head Coach Paterno back in 1976, but he brushed them off. Doe complained that Sandusky had penetrated his rectum with his finger but Paterno responded, “I don’t want to hear about any of that kind of stuff, I have a football season to worry about.”

Brock Allen Turner, Covicted Sex Offender
Brock Allen Turner, Covicted Sex Offender

In another sexual assault case, Brock Turner’s father demonstrated the same dismissive conduct when his son was sentenced to a 6 month jail term. He’d been convicted of raping an intoxicated woman. He described his son’s crime as “20 minutes of action.” Brock was a competitive swimmer at Standford University. The light sentence handed down by Judge Aaron Persky has prompted a movement to make a 3 year sentence mandatory for sexual assault convictions in California.

What’s sexual assault got to do with oxytocin? 

Dr. Paul Zak, the author of The Moral Molecule, pointed out that testosterone can undermine OXT receptors from reacting so it’s no surprise that sexual assaults can be higher in environments where there are high levels of testosterone such as athletics.

Lack of oxytocin can be at the heart of what creates sociopaths and psychopathsOxytocin is referred to as “the love molecule” because it causes trust and bonding… for both sexes. But without properly functioning oxytocin receptors, sex could become a derisive form of entertainment in which the offender fails to emotionally connect with the harm they’re doing to their victim. Sandusky actually used this concept as his defense, but was found guilty because criminal code demands lawful behavior regardless of a person’s nature.

Paterno played quarterback for Brown University and coached the Nittany Lions at Penn State from 1966 to 2011. He didn’t live to defend himself against the claims of John Doe #150. Without his response, no verdict can be made on his culpability.

To summarize: 

  • It’s great to see oxytocin spoken of on prime-time tv but it would be even better if the writers knew what they were talking about and got it right!
  • And it would be better still if society understood the impacts of oxytocin and testosterone that make so many people indifferent to sexual assault and defiling actions.

And one more thing….

  • Sexual consent is and should be required of all sexual contact and includes knowledge and truthful information for consent to be valid.

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