What we call "love" is a chemical cocktail of neurotransmitters, hormones, and pheromones released by the brain.
"Falling in love" is a whole body experience and it feels fantastic! Researchers with the latest powerful tools, such as fMRI machines and spectrometers, have uncovered new insights into one of life's greatest pleasures: "Falling in love". ("Falling in lust" might be more accurate!)
The first "falling in love" body chemical activated is dopamine. When love strikes, the first sensations are triggered in the brain where there are an abundance of brain cells sensitive to dopamine. These dopamine sensitive areas in the brain are associated with pleasurable expectations and rewards. The "falling in love" sequence of events is this for most women:
Oxytocin is a mammalian hormone that produces a strong, satisfying feeling of connectedness between lovers and also for their offspring. Through evolutionary selection, oxytocin has been programmed to kick-in when it is needed most for the couple to stick together in order to raise and protect their offspring -- who inevitably show up after the period of dopamine and testosterone saturated passion.
Large amounts of oxytocin are also produced in women's bodies when giving birth to children and also during breastfeeding. It is also in many animals and birds who mate for life. Oxytocin is a natural body chemical that drives people to be more nurturing, giving, and protective. Women have approximately seven times more oxytocin receptors in their body than men. This may explain why women especially like chocolate: chocolate contains a small amount of oxytocin.
Our human bodies are primarily designed to make babies and more copies of our DNA in our children.
The sequence of events when "falling in love" is a well-established chemically-driven behavior designed to perpetuate our DNA in offspring.
Our ancestors probably did not call the baby-making process "love" but they still had a lot of fun -- or else we would have gone extinct long ago.
© Copyright 2015 by Lawrence Rodrigues, M.S., Director: EastWest Institute for Self-Understanding
All rights reserved worldwide.