Science of dating attraction

Though there are overlaps and subtleties to each, each type is characterized by its own set of hormones.Testosterone and estrogen drive lust; dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin create attraction; and oxytocin and vasopressin mediate attachment.Through reproduction, organisms pass on their genes, and thus contribute to the perpetuation of their species.

The effects are less pronounced with estrogen, but some women report being more sexually motivated around the time they ovulate, when estrogen levels are highest.

A: The testes and ovaries secrete the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen, driving sexual desire.

B and C: Dopamine, oxytocin, and vasopressin are all made in the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that controls many vital functions as well as emotion.

D: Several of the regions of the brain that affect love.

Lust is driven by the desire for sexual gratification.

The evolutionary basis for this stems from our need to reproduce, a need shared among all living things.It’s no surprise that, for centuries, people thought love (and most other emotions, for that matter) arose from the heart.As it turns out, love is all about the brain – which, in turn, makes the rest of your body go haywire. Helen Fisher at Rutgers, romantic love can be broken down into three categories: lust, attraction, and attachment.While we can certainly lust for someone we are attracted to, and vice versa, one can happen without the other.Attraction involves the brain pathways that control “reward” behavior (Figure 1), which partly explains why the first few weeks or months of a relationship can be so exhilarating and even all-consuming. Scientists in fields ranging from anthropology to neuroscience have been asking this same question (albeit less eloquently) for decades.

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