The chemistry of love and attraction is very complex. It is a symphony of hormones, neurotransmitters and more that make us feel that loving feeling. Lets take a look at some of the major players that affect our ability to love our partners, friends, family and even ourselves.
These are chemicals in the body that send signals to others through a subliminal passageway of scent. Scientists widely accept that animals communicate and mate through the pheromones. Human pheromones are substances we don’t necessarily recognize on any conscious level (and no one seems to know how the body or nose detects them). Yet scientists are studying their affect on attraction, hormone balance, sex drive and moods. It is believed that these elusive chemicals may cause us to be attracted to a mate that will optimize our genetic patterns in offspring.
PEA is a neurotransmitter that is a natural amphetamine and stimulant. It floods the regions of the brain involved in sexual excitement. It is the chemical we associate with the feeling of “falling in love” with someone. Phenylalanine helps to produce endorphins, which are our natural painkillers. Dark chocolate is high in PEA and that is why it is so often given to lovers to get them in the mood of love.
Epinephrine and Norepinephrine
These are the 2 neurotransmitters that are produced by our adrenal glands. They help us to be engaged and interactive in life. They also help us to deal with stress. Interest in other people and relationships comes from healthy levels of epinephrine and norepinephrine. It makes us want to “play” and engage. Low levels will make us feel more introverted and withdrawn.
Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that gives us the sense of pleasure and satisfaction in life. In romantic love, high levels of dopamine make us feel giddy and high. It is the motivator that makes us walk over and talk to someone we like and take action. Dopamine can be artificially stimulated with alcohol and drugs. Exercise can also raise your dopamine levels.
Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that gives us a sense of well-being and positivity. Low levels of serotonin may cause depression and anxiety. Healthy serotonin levels may make us receptive to love. Serotonin is also important for relaxation and optimal sexual performance.
Oxytocin is a brain peptide that is secreted by the pituitary gland. It is released when we hug, snuggle, and touch another person. It also floods the system during orgasm and breastfeeding. Oxytocin is the bonding hormone that connects us with the people we love the most whether a lover, child, family member or friend.
Testosterone is known to be important in regulating sexual desire in both men and women. It’s the hormone that helps create the desire to get out there and get that exciting neurotransmitter symphony going.