People tend to experience attraction and love as a profound occurrence that shakes them to their very core, but this emotion also has a very real grounding in the physical body. Just about every aspect of love can be explained by some process within the brain, which is what makes the experience all the more fascinating.
The Three Phases of Love
According to researchers, the entire experience of love can be divided into three phases; lust, attraction and attachment. The writers at the BBC explain that the first phase, lust, is;
“Driven by the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen.”
Testosterone doesn’t only affect men; it also affects women a great deal. This initial phase is very powerful, and it might describe what people think of as the experience of love at first sight. The next phase, attraction, is what people describe as falling in love. When this happens, individuals find it very difficult to think of just about anything else, and it might even begin affecting their day to day existence.
In this condition, people find it hard to eat and sleep and it happens to be the neurotransmitters, monoamines that are responsible for this. At this point, dopamine, the “happy hormone” fills the brain, but people are also vulnerable to norepinephrine, which is adrenaline. This hormone is responsible for the sweating and pounding heart that is so prominent during this phase. Lastly, the chemical serotonin joins in the mix, and it is this chemical that makes us feel as if we can jump from a mountain and float gently all the way down.
The last phase, attachment, is responsible for long term relationships. The chemicals that are responsible for this include oxytocin and vasopressin. The former is released into the body during an orgasm and actually promotes bonding between adults.
It is not only the chemicals that are released into the body during the process of falling in love that allow us to explain love in a more scientific manner. There are a range of other factors that play a role, including symmetry. Bjorn Carey explains;
“Starting at conception, the human body develops by neatly splitting cells. If every division were to go perfectly, the result would be a baby whose left and right sides are mirror images. But nature doesn’t work that way.”
Mutations occur that skew this symmetry and this often comes with additional problems that could end up affecting a person for the duration of their life. Biologically speaking, people are attuned to seeking out individuals who are perfectly symmetrical because this means that their offspring will have a better chance of being born the same way.
Body shape is another thing that people are attracted to without really understanding why. According to researchers at the University of Texas, women with a waist to hip ration of 0.7 were found to be the most attractive. This means that men are looking for women with wider hips when compared with their waists. What makes this fact even more interesting is that people who have this ideal hip to waist ration are less susceptible to conditions such as cardiovascular disorders, diabetes and cancer, according to recent studies. Those who fall within this category also have much less trouble in conceiving, the experts believe.
The experts have believed for some time that attraction is more than just about falling head over heels for someone because your paths were destined to cross. Attraction is very much about the survival of the species and ensuring the human race continues to thrive through natural selection, even if we are only partly aware of it.
For those of you interested in reading more about the science of attraction please review an informative and comprehensive article about love and how it works by clicking on the link below: