Today is the day of love, also known as Valentine's day. We have all experienced love. That sparked a thought, "What is love, bio-chemically speaking?"
Love is related to the hormones and neurotransmitters of our body. Some clinical psychologists suggest there are 3 stages of love that your body experiences.
The first stage is "Lust". Boy do we all know that one, it gets us in trouble sometimes:-) Lust is fueled by hormones of testosterone and estrogen in both males and females.
The second stage is "Attraction". That is a common stage, we see it when people are in relationships. Attraction is fueled by adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin. You feel adrenaline when you see or touch your lover and your heart races and your mouth is dry. Dopamine is your pleasure neurotransmitter, and the effects are increased energy, less hunger, less need for sleep, and focused attention. Serotonin is your "feel good" and "happy" neurotransmitter.
The third stage is "Attachment". We see this in long term relationships and marriages, when couples bond and become life partners. This is my favorite stage! Attachment is fueled by oxytocin, also known as the cuddle hormone. This hormone is released while having an orgasm, and deepens the feelings of attachment couples have right after sex. One theory states that the more sex a couple has, the deeper the bond goes. Another way oxytocin supports bonding is in mothers and their babies. This hormone is secreted during child birth. When a mother sees her baby, or hears her baby cry, the breast automatically releases milk.
“Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.”
― Dalai Lama XIV
Have a loving day!
-Rachelle Lambert, L.Ac.