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THE NATURE OF LOVE: What hormones determine attraction

THE NATURE OF LOVE: What hormones determine attraction
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Maria Nekrasova. Premonition of love, 2018 / Facebook, «Sil-sol»


With what only epithets we do not denote love: celestial, dizzying, ethereal, incredible, overpowering. Our feeling of love is so amazing that a person in love is like a madman who suddenly received the highest award from the hands of fate.

The most piercing happiness we are able to feel is given to us by love. The life of a man in love is filled with extraordinary passion, every nerve is saturated with lust, and from the heart, blood current spreads sexuality in its primordial and animal essence.

Offensively sounds the verdict of scientists from Toronto, who found simple answers to complex questions and returned love from heaven to this sinful and dull earth. They have determined that love, lust, and attraction have a chemical nature, even isolating the «substance of love», explaining which hormones are responsible for passion and lust and which accompany the happiness of the lover.


Love runs away from those chasing her, and those who run away,

she throws herself on his neck


William Shakespeare, «The Merry Wives of Windsor»


Why do people who were strangers to each other yesterday become so close that they no longer wish to be apart?

What suddenly opens up in their souls — unbearably new — when they are struck by unprecedented blindness, and everything around them is enveloped in the fog of love, this majestic self-deception, which is so sweet that no one can refuse it? What motivates people to change their lives in an instant?

The answer is one: love.

It is love that is mighty and empowering.

It is love that gives wings for crazy actions and extraordinary feats.

Love is the cause of poetry and music, the cause of wars and geographical discoveries.

The nature of love has interested people from the beginning of their existence. The Book of Genesis tells about the first love in mankind’s history, the meeting of Adam and Eve, our forebears. Millions of people have loved before us, and millions more will do so after us.

There are many theories of the origin of love, and each of them explores different aspects of this extraordinary emotional state. However, scientists from the University of Toronto have attempted to explain the chemical nature of love and show us the role of hormones in «matters of the heart». Their study was published on The Varsity website.


THE NATURE OF LOVE: What hormones determine attraction
Olga Ponomareva. From the series «Spring comes in many forms». Love Comes in Spring, 2023 / Facebook, «Sil-sol»


The author of the article, Edwina Bahar, analyzed all the states associated with love and talked about the role of certain chemicals in such processes.

Of course, love is not subject to any structural classification, and its division into lust, attraction, and attachment is quite relative, but scientists have identified groups of hormones that determine a particular stage of the emotional intensity of love feeling.

Desire, or, to put it more precisely — lust, is caused by the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen. And it should be noted that testosterone is not exclusively a male hormone; in the female body, it plays the role of an exciter of sexual desire.

Testosterone is responsible for sexual function and sperm formation in men, sex drive, muscle tissue quality, performance and determination, hair growth, stress resistance, behavior and emotions, production of red blood cells and hemoglobin in the blood, calcium deposition in bone tissue.

Estrogens are female sex hormones. Responsible for the formation of primary sexual characteristics in women. Provide reproductive functions and emotional state. Stimulate the synthesis of collagen and provide elasticity to the skin. Take part in the work of the circulatory system.


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Next comes the stage of attraction to the person who has aroused our sexual passion. At this stage, people lose their heads, can not think of anything but the person to whom they lust, sleep poorly, and almost do not eat. This phase of love fever is defined by neurotransmitters that trigger strong physiological responses, namely:

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter produced in the human brain. Increases blood pressure and raises the frequency and force of heart contractions; relaxes smooth muscles of the stomach and intestines; increases blood flow in the kidneys.

It influences the following behavioral traits: the formation of motivation, pleasure, emotional reactions that appear during motor activity, and the emergence of desires.

Dopamine increases impulsivity — the more active dopamine receptors are, the more a person develops a tendency to risky behavior and various addictions.

Noradrenaline is a neurotransmitter that promotes alertness and rapid decision-making. It is activated under stress and in extreme situations and is involved in the «hit or run» response. Noradrenaline causes a surge of energy, reduces feelings of fear, and increases aggression.

Noradrenaline causes an increase in cardiac output. Due to the rise in blood pressure, the pressure in the coronary and cerebral arteries increases. At the same time, peripheral vascular resistance and central venous pressure increase significantly.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in the regulation of mood and sleep-wake cycles. Serotonin is often referred to as the «happy hormone» and is raised during euphoria and lowered during depression. Serotonin is produced in our brain at night and reaches its maximum concentration between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. During the day, serotonin levels decrease. This substance is responsible for an uplifted mood and a feeling of alertness. If a person has not slept much, there is not enough serotonin in the body.

Two important hormones are responsible for the third phase of love, which scientists call attachment, when persistent social relations arise between lovers, decisions about family and offspring are formed:

Oxytocin — for the female body, it is the hormone of childbirth and lactation. Due to its increase in the blood plasma, the mother experiences euphoria when she sees the baby for the first time. This dulls the pain and helps to forget about the experienced suffering. In early pregnancy, increased oxytocin in the blood is dangerous, as it can provoke miscarriage and premature birth.

For men, the duration and «brightness» of orgasm depend on the level of oxytocin. At the same time, other abilities of oxytocin have been discovered, such as: reducing excessive sexual desire, increasing the duration of intercourse because oxytocin slows down the process of ejaculation and affects the increase in the level of trust — it is easier for men to get acquainted with people, make friends, make relationships.

Vasopressin, or anti-diuretic hormone, helps control water levels in the body by regulating the amount of water excreted by the kidneys. Vasopressin slows down the excretion of water, resulting in more water being retained in the body, which lowers sodium levels.

However, not all experts share the chemical theory of love outlined above.

British scientists Andreas Bartels and Semir Zeki believe that «love is a specific activity of the human brain».

In any case, love is always a force, and less than forever is not claimed by love.

Love demands the whole person on the altar — that is the sign of its truthfulness.

You cannot love halfway, half-heartedly, half-heartedly.

The coin of love does not go on the edge.

Love is like God: it is either all or nothing.

And no matter what achievements of science explain love, its greatness, like the mystery of God, will forever remain an incomprehensible phenomenon, for, as Guillaume Apollinaire wrote: «Love is also a work of art, and it is extremely important that it is led by inspiration».


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