Dr. Laura's Love Test
Is it love? Want to find out? Click here to take Dr. Laura's Love Test.
The WC2ed Challenge
If you think you're in love with the person you're having sex with, take our "love challenge." You ready for it? Stop having sex for at least 3 weeks.
During that time, the high levels of the "feel good" hormones in your body will drop to normal. This drop will allow you to view your relationship "chemical free." And since you're not having any sexual contact, the essence of your relationship will really be put to the test. Over the course of those 3 weeks, journal what you're doing instead of having sex: where are you going, what you are doing, how well you are communicating.
If you're taking on the challenge, we'd love to hear about it! How's it going? What are your reactions during those 3 weeks? Has your relationship changed?
Email us your story at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Love vs. Infatuation
Do you think the feeling of being in love is the same as loving a person? Think again! Often times we say we love our shoes, our pet, our friends, our family.
Love, love, love.
We use the word for everything, so it's no wonder that we often confuse love and infatuation. So, what's the difference?
See if you are you really in love by taking this test.
Bonded Chemically? What??
Did you know that our bodies are wired to bond us to another person? The chemicals used to bond us vary from women to men, but the end goal is the same: monogamous lifelong relationships and fully committed, nurturing parents.
The hormone of interest is called oxytocin. This special chemical is only released at four special times in a woman's life, as depicted by the chart below:
|Reason for Oxytocin Release
||Action of Oxytocin
|Meaningful or intimate touching with another
||Bonding and trust in the other person
||Bonding and trust in the other person
|Onset of labor in a pregnant woman
||Oxytocin causes uterine mechanisms, results in birth
|Nipple stimulation after delivery of an infant
||Helps produce the flow of milk from a mother's breast during nursing
Dr. Louann Brizendine, a neuropsychiatrist at the University of California, is quick to note that "from an experiment on hugging, we also know that oxytocin is naturally released in the brain after a twenty-second hug from a partner - sealing the bond between the huggers and triggering the brain's trust circuits. So don't let a guy hug you unless you plan to trust him." 1
Beginning with a hug and building up during sex and peaking at orgasm, oxytocin plays a vital role in bonding a woman to her partner. Additionally, this chemical bonds a mother to her child, so much so that she is willing to sacrifice and devote her life to that child.
Due to lack of education about this silent chemical and its resulting bonding power, its no wonder that women can be "taken off-guard by a desire to stay with a man she would otherwise find undesirable and staying with him even if he is possessive or abuse." 2
Women are not the only ones who become bonded to their partners. Chemical bonding happens in males as well. Although oxytocin is found in smaller amounts, it is vasopressin, also dubbed the ‘monogamy molecule,' that "seems to be the primary cause of men attaching to women with whom they have close and intimate physical contact." 3
In addition to bonding men to their partners, vasopressin has also been linked to bonding fathers to their children. This male attachment, combined with the bond between mother and baby is vital to the healthy development of the child.
Implications for Both
Because the bonds created by oxytocin and vasopressin are so powerful, you can imagine how severing this bond would be incredibly painful emotionally to both parties. This emotional pain is present no matter how short-term the relationship is, just as long as the amount of physical contact is sufficient to release the chemicals.
Thus, "an individual who goes from sex partner to sex partner is causing his or her brain to mold and gel so that it eventually begins accepting that sexual pattern as normal. For most people this brain pattern seems to interfere with the development of the neurological circuits necessary for long-term relationships that for most people result in stable marriages and family development. The pattern of changing sex partners therefore seems to damage their ability to bond in a committed relationship.
Their inability to bond after multiple liaisons is almost like tape that loses its stickiness after being applied and removed multiple times." 4
To read more about bonding, check out Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children by McIlhaney and Bush.
- Brizendine, L. (2006). The female brain. New York: Broadway.
- McIlhaney & Bush. (2008). Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children.