‘Dopamine is the principal neurochemical that activates your reward circuitry. Your reward circuitry drives nearly all of your behaviours.’ I read this and stare at my partner. I imagine him pressing levers in a Skinner Box, achieving orgasms and wasting away to nothing, his eyes rolled back in ecstasy, his body quivering. I imagine him with long unkempt hair, his teeth yellow, fingernails grown into claws, and yet he presses the leavers until his last rush of dopamine and a sigh emitted through gritted teeth.
‘Orgasm is the biggest blast of dopamine (legally) available to us,’ a Dutch scientist recently discovered, after scanning the brains of people having orgasms. He said they resembled scans of heroin users. The scientist saw visions of an ‘orgasm pill and tons of money.’
I see visions too. I imagine the woman my partner has been seeing from his office. I imagine her flame hair, her legs astride, the office chair. Maybe on the desk. Maybe in some expensive hotel in his lunch hour.
‘Scientists have discovered that—after a frenzy of copulation—a male rat will lose interest in a female. But should a different female show up, the rat will perk up long enough to service her.’ I put down the journal. I pick up my coat from the floor where I dropped it. The room smells strange now. Like burnt flesh. I turn off the lights in the room. Close the curtains. I call the front desk and ask that my privacy be respected for the rest of the week. Then I hang up, and put my high-heels back on. Finally, I pull the last plug from the wall, and there is a faint sigh on the bed. The door closes hermetically. I feel bouncy, with a fresh release of dopamine.