A recent study based on the topic “science behind the love” is conducted at Rutgers University located in United States, revealed there are 3 stages involved with falling in love—namely lust, attraction, and attachment. Each stage involves different types of chemical reactions within the body (specifically the brain). Along with that, there are different hormones present in the body helping to excite all these three stages (lust, attraction, and attachment) separately as well as collectively.
Stage 1: Lust
Lust is said to be the initial stage of getting involved with love. The feel of lust is basically backed up or instigated by the sexual hormones within the body.
Estrogen and Testosterone are the two basic types of hormones present equally in men and women’s body that excites the feeling of lust within the brain. Limbic processes in the brain in response to lust have health-promoting and stress-reducing potential. In addition, lust, love, and pleasure ensure the endurance of mankind through mating. The mating process is a discrete interrelated process initiating attraction.
Stage 2: Attraction
Second stage of acquiring love is attraction. This phase is said to be one of the beautiful moments of life. This is the phase when a person actually starts to feel the love. His or her impatience for attracting somebody leads to excitement, and the individual is left with no other option but to only think about that specific person. Scientifically, it has been concluded in the study that there are three more sub-stages of attraction that portray drastic changes over the individual’s personality. The three sub-stages of attraction are adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin.
Scientists have elaborated that initial symptoms of attraction toward someone involves:
- Stress response
- Increase in adrenalin and cortisol
- Attitude reaction
It has been specified in the study that any person who falls in love will acquire a slight or drastic change in the above stated three factors. Furthermore, attraction is one of the charming effects of life and slight changes in personality are not only natural but are also positive. For this reason, whenever you bump into your crush, your senses decline, your heart beats like a drum, and your mouth is so dry your tongue feels like sandpaper.
To follow the theoretical research, a physical experiment was also conducted to prove the veracity of physical evidence. The brains of a new couple struck with love were observed using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRIs). It was genuinely shocking to discover the minds of both male and female have large spikes of neurotransmitter dopamine, a chemical that stimulates the feeling of pleasure within the body.
After discovering this, scientists described both the male and female minds are equally high as if they had taken cocaine or somewhat similar drug! Dopamine is a natural stimulant providing you with ecstasy.
The couple furthermore revealed the following facts about themselves from the time they feel in love until the date they were examined:
- Surge of energy
- Observed a significant decrease in feeling hungry
- Found to have slept less compared to before falling in love
- Attention has been more focused than ever before
Last but not the least, serotonin has been found as one of the important chemicals involved for exciting the feeling of love. Serotonin basically diverts your mind and bounds you to think about your lover and nothing else. It becomes a path for the mind. Sandra Langeslag and colleagues (2012) report serotonin levels are different in men and women when in love. The men in love had lower levels of serotonin, while the women reveal the opposite. The participants in love reported engrossing in thought about their beloved 65% of their day.
Stage 3: Attachment
When a couple passes through the above two stages of love successfully, the time of bonding with each other becomes powerful. Attachment is a bond helping the couple to take their relationship to advanced levels. It instigates the feeling of bearing children and falling in love with them wholeheartedly.
While investigating the “attachment factor,” scientists discovered two sub-stages involved. The two sub-stages are hormones in the body that attract an individual to retaining the feeling of love with his or her partner. The two hormones, namely, oxytocin and vasopressin are discussed below.
Oxytocin, also known as “the cuddle hormone,” is one of the most powerful hormones released equally by men and women, especially during orgasm. Oxytocin (OT) formulates the depth of love and forges the attachment the partner. The study was second by another research based on “sexual activities between a couple and the out-comes.” The more a couple opts for sex, the more substantial the bond of attachment is. OT plays a key role in affiliation and attachments in humans.
Similarly, oxytocin helps build a strong bond between a mother and an infant during the time of birth. In addition, it is such a sensitive hormone that it automatically signals the breast to release the milk upon the baby’s sound or touch. OT mediates specific female behaviors such as lactation and parturition. Social interaction with your loved one requires affective “mind reading,” or interpreting faint cues from your partner. Humans infer internal feelings of people from external expressions to predict the other person’s behavior. In a double-blind study of 30 healthy volunteers the administered oxytocin caused a substantial boost in the ability of the individuals to interpret cues from the region of the other person’s eyes. OT improves the interaction between couples by improving this social connection.
Vasopressin, known as an anti-diuretic, it performs its operation along with the kidney, therefore controlling thirst. This hormone is released in major quantity quickly after sex. Although the brains of women and men are structurally different, they both secrete vasopressin from the pituitary gland. This is a vital role in copulation and partner preference (Hiller, 2004).
Vasopressin is termed as an important hormone to promote long-lasting relationships. A study in Biological Psychology (2012) assessed 37 couples by measuring neuropeptide blood levels.
Results reveal vasopressin levels were in relation to the following:
- Interpersonal functioning
- Larger social network
- Greater spousal support
- More attachment security
- Relationship maintenance
- Less negative communication