When two people have good chemistry, they usually see things in life as one.
They really get along well and are usually friends long before becoming
lovers. Many people have tried to identify what sexual chemistry really is.
Couples should not worry when the first flush of passion
dims - scientists have identified the hormone changes which cause the switch
in dating from lust to cuddles.
A team from the University of Pisa in Italy found the bodily chemistry
which makes people sexually attractive to new partners lasts, at most, two
When couples move into a "stable relationship" phase, other hormones take
But one psychologist warned the hormone shift is wrongly seen as
Dr Petra Boynton, of the British Psychological Society, said there was a
danger people might feel they should take hormone supplements to make them
feel the initial rush of lust once more.
The Italian researchers tested the levels of the hormones called
neutrophins in the blood of volunteers who were rated on a passionate love
Levels of these chemical messengers were much higher in those
who were in the early stages of romance.
Testosterone was also found to increase in love-struck women, but to
reduce in men when they are in love.
But in people who had been with their partners for between one and two
years these so-called "love molecules" had gone, even though the
relationship had survived.
The scientists found that the lust molecule was replaced by the so-called
"cuddle hormone" - oxytocin - in couples who had been together for several
Oxytocin, is a chemical that induces labor and milk-production in new and
Donatella Marazziti, who led the research team, said: "If lovers swear
their feelings to be ever-lasting, the hormones tell a different story."
Similar research conducted by Enzo Emanuele at the University of Pavia
found that levels of a chemical messenger called nerve growth factor (NGF)
increased with romantic intensity.
After one to two years, NGF levels had reduced to normal.
The researchers said: "Whether more nerve growth is needed in the early
stage of romance because of all the new experiences that are engraved into
the brain, or whether it has a second, as yet unknown function in the
chemistry of love, remains to be explored."
Michael Gross, a bio-chemist and science writer who has studied the
latest findings, said: "It shows that different hormones are present in the
blood when people are acutely in love while there is no evidence of the same
hormones in people who have been in a stable relationship for many years."
"In fact the love molecules can disappear as early as 12 months after a
relationship has started to be replaced by another chemical glue that keeps
He added: "To any romantically inclined chemist, it should be deeply
satisfying to be able to prove that chemical messengers communicate romantic
feeling between humans."
"It may be the only thing that science can offer as a real-world analogy
to Cupid's arrows."
But Dr Boynton said: "This feeds into a 1970s view that when you meet
it's all sparky, and then it's a downward trajectory to cuddles - which is
seen as a negative.
"It is suggesting that what happens first is the best bit - and that
She added: "I'm concerned that, having identified these hormones, there
will be some move to suggest replacements to recreate the early passion."
Scientists have found long-sought proof that people release potent
chemical signals that can have profound effects on other people.
The research settles a 40-year debate about whether humans produce and
can respond to "pheromones," molecules that are usually airborne and
odorless and which, in other species, influence such physiological processes
and behaviors as mate choice, the recognition of one's own family members,
and the ability to "smell" the difference between friend and foe.
For three decades, relationship research psychologists have been able to
pinpoint behaviors in couples that lead to successful, fulfilling and
enduring relationships and conversely, behaviors that are corrosive,
insidious and deleterious to the bonds of love.
Over the last dozen years, such relationship data have spurred an
explosion of therapeutic approaches, relationship education courses and
911-emergency-like interventions for the divorce-bound. There is a kind of
science to staying in love, many psychologists and therapists agree,
concrete ways to invigorate a couple's bond and to inoculate couples against
the predictable lows and endemic conflicts of long-term love.
Chemistry is the inexplicable, ineffable magic that happens when two
people are profoundly attracted to each other, magnetized by each other's
voice, smell, body and gestures and infused by a feeling that one has hit
the equivalent of the mate lottery and stumbled upon the right fit. There
are biologically borne effects when a chemistry combusts between two people:
feelings of pleasure, a quickened heartbeat and euphoria, elicited by the
brain's love chemicals dopamine, norepinepherine and phenylethylmine.
This is why couples stay up until dawn talking, lose their appetites and
experience extraordinary bursts of energy.
Overlaying the biological chemistry is a psychological chemistry,
according to one theory, that is two people matching each other's mental
templates for how love was expressed and received in childhood. (We are
consciously seeking someone to heal the damage done in childhood, the theory
posits, but in mature love learn that only we can heal our own wounds.)
Chemistry between two people is something one "cannot contrive any more than
we can contrive a genuine laugh or an orgasm," psychologist John M. Gottman,
an eminent relationship researcher at the University of Washington, explains
in the introduction to "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?"
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