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January 8, 2010
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THE CHEMISTRY OF LOVE


When we have a CRUSH ON SOMEONE, it really does change your brain chemistry in a positive way. How strong your crush is will determine the strength of your brain's response.

When you get a crush or start falling in love, you can get huge surges of energy, euphoria and exhilaration. Beside the rush of endorphins, high levels of dopamine suppress the calming and sensible influence of serotonin, another neuro-chemical that influences mood. In normal doses, serotonin is the antidote to stress; the chemical that calms and relaxes us. But when the brain is drenched in dopamine, serotonin is silenced.

The silence of serotonin serves genetic purposes too, as low levels make us obsess about our newfound lover. New love can look like a mental illness and, during the early stages of romance, the chemical make-up of men's and women's brains is no different from those suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). For those who are really struck, obsessing about his or hers marvels or the minutia of the relationship can consume some for hours a day, every day.

So dopamine keeps you focused on the object of your love and sagging levels of serotonin make you obsess about him, or her … and before you know it, the madness has kept the love fires burning long enough to yield an evolutionary purpose, offspring, or settling into a Long-term Relationship.

If you stay in love long enough, there is another hormone "OXYTOCIN," which is the key to Monogamy and Long-term attachment. Oxytocin, the "Cuddling Chemical," helps new mothers make milk and bond with their babies. It is also secreted by both sexes during orgasm. Some people may have this function genetically inhibited, or genetically stronger, with obvious results.

Oxytocin has also been shown to increase Trust and reduce Fear, facilitating making Love and committing to one-another.

Vasopressin is another important hormone in the long-term commitment stage and is released after sex.

PROLACTIN is a peptide hormone similar to the neurotransmitter OXYTOCIN. Prolactin provides the body with Sexual gratification after orgasm, and represses the effect of dopamine, responsible for sexual arousal. (Note: this is why you might feel sleepy after an orgasm and you have a suddenly low libido).  High levels of Prolactin are responsible for impotence and loss of libido.



NOTE: Dopamine is released by brain cells in response to cocaine and nicotine. Dopamine is the key chemical in the brain's reward system, a network of cells that is associated with pleasure-and Addiction.  Natural Addiction to Love is much healthier.

*** There is a reason why maintaining regular Sexual Intimacy during a relationship is important.  Oxytocin is secreted by both sexes during orgasm. Orgasms continue to keep levels of Oxytocin up, which is the key to monogamy and long-term attachment.



THE CHEMISTRY OF ATTRACTION

In human sexuality, the brain, genetics, hormones, pheromones, cultural and life experience control sexual attraction. The physical gender of a body is determined by the XX (female) and XY (male) chromosome pairings. Mammals are attracted to members of both genders, but with a greater majority biased towards members of the opposite gender.  In homosexuality, during the sexing-out phase in the fetus, the fetus is exposed to a different mix of hormones, which sets the brain to be attracted to the same gender, or both genders. To learn why the fetus can be exposed to different hormones, see my Artist's Comments.  In Transexuals, the process goes even further, where the body is physically once gender, but the brain is completely sexed-out as the opposite sex. They feel trapped in a body of the wrong gender.

Heterosexuals and homosexuals of the same gender are the same when it comes to sexual response, sexual excitement, and sexual sensation, with the only main difference being which gender or genders you are attracted to.

Each of us will be attracted to people who possess a particular set of genes, known as the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), which plays a critical role in the ability to fight pathogens. Mates with dissimilar MHC genes produce healthier offspring with broad immune systems. And the evidence shows that we are inclined to choose people who suit us in this way: couples tend to be less similar in their MHC than if they had been paired randomly.

How do people who differ in their MHC find each other? This isn't fully understood, but we know that smell (pheromones) is an important cue. People appear to literally sniff out their mates. In studies, people tend to rate the scent of T-shirts worn by others with dissimilar MHC as most attractive. This is what sexual "chemistry" is all about. The bad news there is that they have looked at couples who have similar MHC, and not only do they have higher levels of infidelity and higher levels of marital discord, but they also have higher infertility issues.

There is a difference between love and chemistry. Take a really good whiff of him or her, when clean and without cologne or perfume. If that smell turns you on, that's a really good cue of chemistry.

As for attraction to a face and body type, Symmetry is a big factor that determines a face's attractiveness. Kendra Schmid, an assistant professor of biostatistics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, says there is a formula for the "perfect" face. She uses 29 different measurements to determine someone's appeal on a scale of 1 to 10. Brad Pitt's is the highest that I've ever used the [formula] on," she says. "He was a 9.3 [out of 10]." Brad's partner, Angelina Jolie, didn't fare too badly either. "Angelina was a 7.67, and that's pretty high," Schmid says. "Most people rate about 4 to 6. ... The thing that is probably lowering her score is the thing that she's most famous for -- her full lips." Schmid says that ideally the width of a mouth should be twice the height of the lips. Body symmetry is also a factor.

Another factor that has been found to directly affect attraction is voice pitch. Gordon Gallup, Ph.D., a professor at the State University of New York at Albany, says that women with higher estrogen levels have higher voices, which makes them more desirable to men. "When females are midcycle, when they're the most fertile, the most likely to conceive, their voices are rated as being significantly more attractive," he says.

When women are ovulating, they produce copulins, a scent that attracts men. Researchers believe when a man gets a whiff of copulins, his testosterone levels rise. As a result, he secretes androstenone, an odor that repels women who aren't ovulating.

There are also life experience influences, as far what type of person we are attracted to within the gender. For example, a woman once told me that she was attracted to hairy men because her father and all of her brothers were very hairy men. I am attracted to smoother men of slighter build, like a swimmer or dancer, and find bulky, buff, muscular men to be a turn-off, perhaps from seeing such guys abuse other kids so much when I was a kid. If you had a really bad experience with a certain type of man, in the future you may no longer be attracted to his type.

Finally, you have Cultural Influences. A few hundred years ago, plump women were what most men were attracted to. In this day, men are attracted to skinny women. Then there were things like the binding of feet by the Chinese that was found very sexually alluring. This is trained into you during childhood mostly, but can also affect you as an adult.




ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES ON ATTRACTION

Our Life Experiences, especially in childhood, can have a dramatic influence on who we are physically attracted to.  A woman tells me she is attracted to hairy muscular men because her bothers and father were all hairy muscular men. She looked up to them, admired them, loved them, and she equated masculinity, strength, and safety with their body types.

I tend to be attracted to guys who are smooth, younger, and shorter than I am, and turned-off by muscular hairy guys.  When I was 12 years old I fell in love Anton Wild, an exchange student from the UK, and he loved me too.  We knew nothing of sex, but there was no mistaking our feelings for each other.  He was the only person who had gotten past my Autism and connected with me, the only person I felt completely comfortable and at ease with.  Anton was a year younger, smooth, and shorter than I was.  Then he was torn away from me.  I would have no more experiences with loving guys until into my 20's.  It was one of the factors that contributed to my attempt at suicide soon after I turned 13.

The negative association I had with muscular Jock-types came from the years of abuse at their hands in school.  Additionally, since I found smooth skin attractive, I found my own hairy body to be ugly and could not imagine anyone finding me attractive.

There is a guy I know who had sexual experiences with older men, starting from a young age and continuing through High School.  As an adult, he is attracted to guys older and bigger than him.  There is another guy I know who had no father and he found himself attracted to men older than himself, based in fantasies of men he dreamed of as the perfect father. There is another guy who was raised by a very abusive father, but he had another adult male mentor, and he is also attracted to guys older than him.

Evan as adults, very negative or positive experiences with people can affect who we are attracted to romantically, professionally, and for friendship.  For example, if the man who raped you was heavily bearded and hairy, then that could turn you off anyone who is bearded and hairy, be it for romance, friendship, or trusting a man looking like that as a business associate. If you fell in love with someone and making love was mind-blowing, you may be attracted to that "look" in the future, unless your heart got shredded and trampled on, in which case you might avoid involvement with anyone with that "look."

Part of who we are attracted to is experience-associated and memory-associated, especially, but no limited to childhood.  These experiences may be either very positive or very negative.  It is not just physical appearance that can be associated with past experiences and memories, there can be smell associations and voice associations, like the timber or pitch of a voice.



I wish you all the best that Life and Love has to offer you…

Matthew
This is for all of you Love Birds. This is for that phase of Infatuation, having a crush, falling in love, absolutely giddy with it. Life and light gets brighter, colors more brilliant.

This tells you exactly why it is happening, the natural chemical wonders of your brain.

To learn why the fetus can be exposed to different hormones see [link] (The Science of Homosexuality) and [link] (The Science of GAYDAR).

Enjoy.

Matthew
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:icondeetay:
DeeTay Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2011  Student Writer
Very beautifully written and enlightening, I love it. The "OCD-factor" of falling in love is interesting, I would actually have thought it added up to MORE than 4 hours.
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:iconinspiredcreativity:
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you. The amount of time spent thinking of your love interest is usually in very small bits, many, many times. Like you are at work and suddenly stop and think of him or her, then back to work. Maybe it was 20 seconds, or up to a few minutes. It SEEMS longer. That said, the amount of time lost in thoughts of your love is going to vary widely, based on personality and how much self-disiplin a person has, how obsessive they can be, and of course, the intensity of your feelings.
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:icondeetay:
DeeTay Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2011  Student Writer
Thanks for clearing that up, I was thinking something like that would be the case, too. :)
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:iconinspiredcreativity:
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
You are most welcome.
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:iconhugmeetskiss:
hugMEETSkiss Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
wow that sounds so good - it could be written into a mag or a biology book :wow:
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