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  • midlifelove 1:25 am on July 8, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , art aron, attract love, , danger love matching, , , flimsy, foreign city, hormone pleasurable, hurricane katrina, new orleans, norepinephrine, rapids, , , swin, theatre show, water rafting   

    Tip No 1 for Attracting Love 

    1) Do new, exciting, slightly risky  things together

    romanceVisit a foreign city, walk a challenging mountain trail, go white water rafting, swim after dark, buy last minute tickets to a sports event or theatre show…. Any new activity, but particularly risky or dangerous ones, prompts spontaneous attraction by stimulating adrenaline (closely related to dopamine and norepinephrine).

    “Adrenaline makes the heart grow fonder,” says psychologist Art Aron.

    Several studies show couples who do exciting things together feel more satisfaction in their relationship.  But it appears sharing an exciting activity can also stimulate romantic love.

    In a typical study, 28 dating and married couples were asked to fill our various questionnaires, then do an activity together, them fill out more questionnaires. One activity was exciting, the other dull.

    Questionnaire responses showed those who did the exciting activity experienced increased feelings of relationship satisfaction, and more intense feelings of romantic love.

    Danger Heightens Response

    We’ve probably all known friends who have found a new love during an extreme experience – being brought together in seemingly random circumstances through unusual or tragic circumstances.

    The “love matches” birthed during New Orleans’ Hurricane Katrina are the perfect example of circumstances where responses are heightened by the brain chemicals of adrenaline and dopamine produced  in response to the danger.

    The so-called “creaky bridge” experiment – which involved getting men to walk across either a steady, broad low bridge or a flimsy high suspension one above boulders and rapids – confirmed the idea that sharing exciting experiences can enhance feelings of attraction.

    The two walking bridges span the Capilano Canyon in North Vancouver; In the middle of each bridge stood the same beautiful young woman (part of the research team) who asked each passing man to fill out a questionnaire. After each man completed the survey, she casually told him that if he had any further questions about the study he should call her at home. She gave each her telephone number. No one knew the woman was part of the experiment.

    Nine out of thirty-two men who walked the narrow, wobbly high bridge were attracted enough to call the woman at home, while only two of those who met her on the low safe bridge contacted her.

    Psychologists Donald Dutton and Art Aron concluded that the novelty of the situation – being on a high scary bridge – elevated levels of dopamine, the hormone of pleasurable attraction/addiction.

    Boost Sexual Health

    Many of the hormones involved in sex and love – including dopamine, serotonin and testosterone – are susceptible to stress or aging. They can be boosted by eating the right foods – including cottage cheese, chicken, dark chocolate, yoghurt, eggs, and oats, or by herbal and nutritional supplements like Herbal Ignite.

  • midlifelove 1:35 am on July 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: camilla, charles, chemistry.com, cuddle, diana, , edward VIII, emotional, fickle, gene pitney, , lies, , neurochemical, norepinephrine, oxytoxin, romantic love, , samantha, sex in the city, shakespeare, wallis simpson   

    Lust, Love and the Science of Intimacy 

    “Practically all the relationships I know are based on a foundation of lies and mutually accepted delusion.” Samantha
    in Sex in The City


    “It’s a very fickle situation, love,” Dr Helen Fisher, research professor and expert on romantic love

    Did you feel disappointed with Charles dissed Diana for Camilla? Are you still dreaming Brad and Jen will get back together?  And what was it with Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson that was worth giving up a throne for?

    Whether these famous lovers were in love, in lust, affectionate attachment or a mix and match of all three, it seems it’s true as Shakespeare and Gene Pitney agree; “true love never runs smooth.”

    The Three Faces of Love

    That’s because – according to brain imaging research over the last decade – Mother Nature has set up three distinct but complementary emotion-motivation systems in the brain for mating, reproduction and parenting, each one driven by different brain chemicals and hormones.

    Dr Helen Fisher, an expert on the chemistry of love, says if you’re in a relationship it’s likely you’ll be in one of three stages of love, reflecting the dominant neurochemical at work.  You can be in lust, ‘in love’ or in romantic attachment – or a mix of all three mating states – either with the same person or several people at the same time.


    If you’re in lust your sex drive or libido is in top gear, driven by estrogens and androgens. Nature’s purpose? To motivate you to locate any appropriate mating partner.

    In Love

    Accelerate to the starry-eyed stage of romantic attraction – also called or infatuation, or limerance – fuelled by increased levels of dopamine and norepinephrine – and you’re fixating on a specific partner. Your chemistry is telling you he or she is “the one”, conserving mating time and energy, and forming bonds which will last long enough (hopefully) to carry you into shared parenthood.


    Fast forward about 18 months (on average) and you’re either going cold on the whole thing or moving into attachment – also called companionate love. Your body has exhausted the dopamine, and the mad buzz of first love has slowed a little.

    Warmed by the “cuddle hormone” oxytocin, you’ll be engaged nesting, mutual territory defence, feeding and grooming, sharing feelings of calm, security, social comfort and emotional union.  Nature’s focus, says Dr Fisher, is to “enable you to tolerate this person, at least long enough to raise a child as a team.”

    Charles and Diana, Brad and Jen

    So could Charles and Brad feel companionate love for Diana and Jen while lusting after Camilla and Angelina? Can Diana love Charles at the same time as she is conducting an affair with James Gilbey?  In theory, absolutely, says Dr Fisher. The science of intimacy can be a very complicated thing – or to put it in another way – the neurochemical pathways of our driven nature often overlap.

    “I think that these brain systems are big mix-and-match systems,” says the Rutgers University prof, who is scientific adviser on matchmaking site Chemistry.com

    That’s how it’s possible to “swing easily from one to the other, even lie in bed and feel deep attachment to one person and feel madly in love with someone else. It’s a very fickle situation, love.”

  • midlifelove 12:22 am on June 8, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: amphetamine, attraction amphetamine, biochemical, crumbling marriage, , divorse, dopomine, fizz, hormone cycle, hottest love cools, kate winslet, leonardo dicaprio, marilyn monroe, mature love, neuro chemicals, norepinephrine, oxytocin, PEA, phenyl ethylamine, revolutionary road, romantic passion, seven year itch, titanic   

    The Chemistry of Love 

    If Leonardo DiCaprio hadn’t sunk with the Titanic, there’s a good chance he and Kate Winslet would have ended up on Revolutionary Road. The misery of a crumbling marriage played out there shows what can follow when romantic passion fades.

    Wind the clock back 50 years and you’ve got a different take on the same human experience – the loss of  sexual attraction over time –  in yet another famous movie – Marilyn Monroe’s The Seven Year Itch. We’ve recognised for a long time it seems, that even the hottest love cools.

    Now science is explaining how the chemistry of love – a very special cascade of neurochemicals – produces the mad, dizzy, magical experience we call “falling in love”.  Even more eerily, it also points to why the “Seven Year Itch” is not just a figment of a movie producer’s imagination, but a very real hormonal cycle.

    The Attraction Amphetamine

    loveThe key to the hormonal flood that creates romantic love is actually an amphetamine-like substance (also found in chocolate) called PEA – short for phenyl-ethylamine. Along with dopamine and norepinephrine and the “cuddle hormone” oxytocin it produces a rich cocktail designed to bond a couple strongly enough to conceive and rear a child.

    The thing about PEA is that like adrenaline, the body cannot continue to pump it out forever. Firstly, the body builds up a tolerance to it and it takes more to get the same effect. Then after about three years the body’s ability to produce PEA wears down.

    Scientists believe the biochemical high is designed for love to last four or five years, just long enough to get a child safely through infancy.

    Divorce Peaks After Four Years

    Social scientists have found a surprising concurrence in patterns over diverse communities. One survey of 62 cultures found divorce peaked after the fourth year of marriage.

    If a second child is born, the relationship will last another few years but after seven years, for most couples the cascade has become a trickle  … to be replaced in many relationships by a an inexhaustible supply of brain endorphins that support a more tranquil and secure love.

    We say most couples because latest research from brain imaging shows some couples do appear to maintain romantic attraction for longer periods.

    Even for those who don’t, there are compensations. Perhaps the PEA “fizz” is gone, but scientists say the chemicals of enduring love can be more intimate and sustaining – more pleasurable in a different way.

    As long as the cherished partner is near, the body has an infinite capacity to produce these chemicals of “mature love”. But the death of a partner terminates their production and partly explains why the bereaved partner feels horribly “at a loss”.

    Drive declines with age

    Many of the hormones involved in sex and love – including dopamine, serotonin and testosterone – decline with age. They can be boosted by eating the right foods – including cottage cheese, chicken, dark chocolate, yoghurt, eggs, and oats, or by herbal and nutritional supplements like Herbal Ignite.

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