What makes us feel love? And can we feel that feeling whenever we want?
I love biomedical and neuroscience and I make it my mission to make a scientifically proven love potion.
Let’s start at the beginning.
People are distracted by love. But why do we feel this way? Why does love exist?
“Humans are a uniquely cooperative species, not because we love each other, but because we have to survive,” said Anna Machin, an evolutionary anthropologist at Oxford University who studies science in our depths. relationships.
His theory is that “in an ideal world, all species would be alone because it is so difficult to cooperate with each other”.
“But we have created very complex social networks where we not only love our loved ones, but children, family, friends, pets, God, and so on.
- endurefind food, build a home, learn a lot of information
- and raising to our unbelievably dependent children.
“The problem is that living with other people is very difficult.”
“First of all, you have to exist in a strict hierarchy, which means you spend a lot of time looking at where other people are.”
“Besides, sometimes people aren’t very kind. They lie, cheat and steal.”
“That’s why being cooperative is so scary.”
“So at the most basic level, love is a formal biological wage created by evolution to make sure we start, then invest, and nurture the relationships we need to survive.”
And to bribe us, biology joins chemistry.
The first ingredients
There are four main chemicals responsible for the feeling of love.
“When you start a relationship, the moment you feel attracted to someone, oxytocin and dopamine are released, which is very important at this stage.”
“Oxytocin lowers your barriers to starting new social relationships by calming the fear center in your brain, the amygdala.”
Oxytocin is probably the most studied of the four major chemicals. It’s called the “love drug”, but in fact the other three components are just as important when it comes to love.
“Dopamine is your body’s chemical reward, but when it’s released in relation to attraction and love, it’s what inspires you to make an effort – to go communicate with the person you love. Oxytocin is what It’s amazing, but if it’s released on its own, it can. You’re so relaxed that you can’t do anything. “
So put those two chemicals in the pot. And there is also a third essential in starting a relationship: serotonin.
“We think it has to do with the obsessive aspects of love.”
“At the beginning of a relationship, you’re just distracted: you’re always talking about this person, you want to be with them all the time. To coordinate your relationship.”
But I have a problem.
“Human love can last for decades, and oxytocin and dopamine are good, but we’ve become tolerant and its effects won’t last long.”
We need something more.
The main binding chemical that sustains long-term human love is beta-endorphin.
“He did it because it was so addictive.”
“When you hang out with someone you love-you touch them, you laugh, you hug them-you get a huge dose of beta-endorphins and you feel joy, warmth, joy, security. .. this feeling of love. And then, when you walk away from it, you feel a withdrawal syndrome, which forces you to come back to satisfy this uncontrollable urge. “
“It works the same way as any opiate.”
Well, that’s it: relaxing oxytocin, high dopamine, obsessive serotonin and addictive beta-endorphin … should we add aphrodisiacs?
“There is a lot of anecdotal evidence throughout history about the effects of aphrodisiacs. But the scientific evidence does not support this,” Drs. Kate Lister, pointing out that “it is very difficult to measure in the laboratory”.
“If you call it an aphrodisiac, it’s likely that the placebo effect is well documented,” added the sex historian and author of A Curious History of Sex.
He says many ‘aphrodisiacs’ have reached this state because they are similar in shape to the penis: asparagus, carrots, even phallic rhinoceros horns or oysters, papayas or figs, which can irritate the vulva.
So Kate thought it would be a good idea to include some in the potion. He also gave us other ideas.
“You know what they had in the 16th century outside of home gardens? Cooked prunes because they thought they were good for libido. The other was tiramisu. Its origin was hot. which is debated, but it is said that it is used in Italian homeowners for energy. of customers. “
Avoid at all costs
We’ve listed the ingredients, but it’s a shame not to intentionally include one that will ruin everyone. Is there anything to avoid?
“Throughout history, it has been believed that if you want to suppress your sexual desires, you have to eat unhealthy, boring foods,” Lister says. “That’s where the cornflakes cereal comes from.”
“John Harvey Kellogg, the inventor, was part of the anti-masturbation squad in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and that was one of the reasons he made cornflakes cereal.”
Agreed, our potion only claims vivid and intense flavors. But what about the smells?
“How odors affect sexual arousal has never been studied scientifically, despite the number of odors present,” said neurologist and psychiatrist Alan Richard Hirsch, neurological director at Taste and Smell. Treatment and Research Foundation of Chicago. .
“So we did an original study that looked at medical students who were introduced to all sorts of different perfumes, perfumes, and colognes. Then we measured penile blood flow.”
“As an odor control, which we thought had no effect, we used the smell of the cooked cinnamon rolls.
From there, Alan built a larger experiment studying men in the general Chicago population between the ages of 18 and 64.
“We try all the different flavors and a lot of foods and we know that …
- The #1 scent that increases penile blood flow is a combination of lavender and pumpkin pie
- #2 are donuts and black licorice
- #3 for pumpkin pie and donuts. “
It seems strange, why do these flavors provide more excitement?
“The very best theory that has emerged is that in our evolutionary past, people would always congregate in places with food, and around the food they were more likely to find a mate.”
Alan did another study and found that the smell that most affected female sexual arousal was the combination of licorice candy and cucumber.
Of course, it’s not as simple. The reaction of each individual is different.
“We also did the study in Chicago; people from elsewhere probably have completely different olfactory hedonic references.”
The important thing is that the power of smell is real.
“We’re always asking for the visual, which is mediated by the logical part of the brain, while the smell is a pure emotion.”
Neurochemicals, aphrodisiacs, perfumes … is there anything else missing?
According to Anglia Ruskin University professor of social psychology Viren Swami, definitely yes.
“We always forget that, maybe not so much attraction, but loving and nurturing relationships is also a choice. We choose to be loved. We choose to behave with love and we choose to care for others,” he explained. the author of Attraction Explained: The Science of How We Shape Our Relationships [ traduction libre].
“People who focus on things like genes and neuroscience release us from that responsibility by saying, ‘No you, you haven’t made a thoughtful decision. Your brain is telling you this is how it is. you feel.
“But even when there is an initial feeling of uncontrollable, we ultimately choose to love.”
Viren recalls the words of Erich Fromm, author of The Art of Loving, who said: “Love is not a feeling, but a practice”.
“Love alone is useless.”
“If you sit at home alone and in love, then that’s fine, but what? But if you go into the world and say, ‘I love this person, or this group of people, or my community, or ‘ecology or animals or whatever, then I’ll do it for them,’ you show love and it makes more sense. “
It turns out to be a bit philosophical, but he’s right: let’s add some of these unique abstract ingredients to the potion.
A little free will, to begin with, because we’re not just a programmed ball of neurochemistry, a good dose of altruism, a touch of kindness, a cup of communication, and so on. pa.
Oh, and one last important thing!
“The other ingredient I would say is – and it also goes back to Erich Fromm – there’s no point in loving other people if you don’t love yourself first.”
These abstract ingredients are added to a blend of tiramisu, figs and stewed plums, whose questionable aphrodisiac properties are enhanced by a powerful neurochemical cocktail of oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin and beta endorphin.
And I added a few slices of pumpkin pie for the gentlemen and licorice for the ladies, to give it the sexy flavor we were looking for.
In the end, of course, the concoction is no better than the mashed Spanish fly tonic served by the ancient Greeks or the dubious medieval seduction cakes made from sweat, blood and other body fluids.
But even though I don’t expect love to be bottled up, maybe we’ll enjoy the recipe.
Release these neurochemicals through dancing, hugging, living, laughing and loving. Recognize that while love is an addiction, it is also a choice, so be kind to others and be kind to yourself …