Remember Napoleon Hill's classic, Think and Grow Rich? In "The Mystery of Sex: Transmutation" chapter he explains that sexual magnetism is the key to personal success-when correctly harnessed. Intriguingly, modern neuroscience is beginning to reveal how sex might indeed impact our internal abundance programming either positively or negatively.

First Key: Avoiding a Sense of Loss

Orgasm can set up an addictive cycle, a phenomenon Hill recognized:

Every intelligent person knows that stimulation in excess, through alcoholic drink and narcotics, is a form of intemperance, which destroys the vital organs of the body, including the brain. Not every person knows, however, that over indulgence in sex expression may become a habit as destructive and as detrimental to creative effort as narcotics or liquor.

Now modern neuroscience has revealed that the addictiveness of sex is due to dopamine-the enticing neurochemical that drives the reward center of the brain's limbic system. Employing dopamine, evolution has shaped us to pursue passion at any cost because it increases our genetic success. While "the sap is rising," we may feel empowered and invincible. In the process, however, dopamine over-stimulates the brain. After orgasm, it drops way down. The lows can create feelings of depression, depletion, irritability, neediness or "needing space." Often we are also desperate for another high.

The result can be an addictive cycle not unlike a recreational drug user experiences. Indeed, Dutch scientist Gert Holstege reported not long ago that scans of people climaxing resemble those of people shooting heroin. Recurring sensations of depletion and neediness from an overly-active sex life can undercut our ability to "think ourselves rich." This may be why Hill, who believed that highly sexed people were blessed, also recommended conserving sexual energy:

No man can avail himself of the forces of his creative imagination, while dissipating them. Man is the only creature on earth, which violates Nature’s purpose in this connection. Every other animal responds to the call of sex only in “season.” Man’s inclination is to declare “open season.”… The lives of many reflect a continued dissipation of energies, which could have been more profitably turned into better channels. Their finer and more powerful emotions are sown wildly to the four winds.

Second Key: Increasing a Sense of Abundance

Says Hill,

A man may attain to great heights of financial or business achievement solely by the driving force of sex energy, but history is filled with evidence that he may, and usually does, carry with him certain traits of character, which rob him of the ability to either hold, or enjoy his fortune.

Therefore Hill emphasizes the importance of uniting love with sex.

Love, Romance, and Sex are all emotions capable of driving men to heights of super achievement. Love is the emotion, which serves as a safety valve, and insures balance, poise, and constructive effort. When combined, these three emotions may lift one to an altitude of a genius.

Once again, a growing body of research supports his insight that love produces changes that affect us subtly, but profoundly. The means is another neurochemical called oxytocin, the "cuddle hormone" or "love hormone." We could not fall in love without it. We produce oxytocin at will when we engage in affectionate touch or selflessly nurture another. Oxytocin is unique among neurochemicals in that the more we produce, the more receptive our nervous systems become to it.

Oxytocin counters the effects of stress, helps relieve depression, decreases both cravings and the symptoms of withdrawal, and increases sexual receptivity. It produces feelings of "all is right with the world," the perfect mindset for creating abundance. Oxytocin may be the reason behind the results of numerous studies associating long-term intimate relationships with better health and greater longevity. Perhaps Hill was getting at this phenomenon when he observed that,

No man is happy or complete without the modifying influence of the right woman. The man who does not recognize this important truth deprives himself of the power, which has done more to help men achieve success than all other forces combined.

Hill's Solution

Although Hill died in 1970, long before the research summarized above, he foresaw that brain chemistry held the key to inner equilibrium. "Destructive emotions, through the chemistry of the mind, may destroy one’s sense of justice and fairness, and even, in extreme cases, one’s reason." Sex has the power to shift brain chemistry for the worse, unless it is used carefully and lovingly.

As Hill observed,

Sex, alone, is a mighty urge to action, but its forces are like a cyclone-they are often uncontrollable. When the emotion of love begins to mix itself with the emotion of sex, the result is calmness of purpose, poise, accuracy of judgment, and balance.

To profit from Hill's wisdom we have only to increase the affectionate contact between while avoiding the feelings of depletion that accompany excess passion.

Hill, incidentally, is not the only observer who recommended making love with self-control to improve health and genius. Both John Humphrey Noyes and Alice Bunker Stockham, MD recorded similar benefits. The spiritual benefits of this practice are also mentioned in Lao Tzu's Hua Hu Ching, the Tibetan Buddhist myth Sky Dancer: The Secret Life and Songs of the Lady Yeshe Tsogyel, and even in the Gnostic Gospels discovered in Nag Hammadi, Egypt in the 1940's. These sources would agree with Hill's assertion that,

When harnessed, and redirected along other lines, [the sex drive] maintains all of its attributes of keenness of imagination, courage, etc., which may be used as powerful creative forces in literature, art, or in any other profession or calling, including, of course, the accumulation of riches.

Perhaps Hill book should have named his book "Make Love with Controlled Intercourse and Grow Rich."

Marnia Robinson (with degrees from Brown and Yale) is a former corporate lawyer who left her career to learn how ancient sacred-sex prescriptions heal the current widespread disharmony in intimate relationships. With the collaboration of her husband Gary Wilson, who is a human sciences instructor, she authored Peace Between the Sheets. Sign up for their free monthly newsletter at