The Chemistry of Chemistry

By Kimberly Coon

The three stages of Love are: Lust, Attraction, and Attachment. Love is a biological imperative, much like hunger or thirst. In order to ensure survival of our species, we must be mated and sated.

Lust is the initial feeling of sexual desire that triggers the goal of mating. During this stage, there is a temporary increase in such feel-good chemicals as estrogen and testosterone. This phase rarely last more than a few months at best – so enjoy them while you can.

Attraction is an interesting evolved technique to conserve time and energy in order to focus on the ultimate goal – finding love. Hard to believe but romantic attraction actually reduces the playing field. It weeds out most of the competition simply because the “hunter” is not attracted to them. This speeds the whole process up because narrowing it down makes it much easier to choose from the selected pool of attractive potential mates.

According to expert Helen Fisher, author of “Defining the Brain Systems of Lust, Romantic Attraction, and Attachment”, recent studies show that while falling in love, the brain consistently releases an exciting cocktail of “Happy” chemicals. Well-liked substances such as Serotonin, Dopamine, Norepinephrine and Neurotransmitter hormones are the same concoction released when you are on amphetamines. As you would expect, this vigorously stimulates the brain’s pleasure center. It also explains the common “falling in love” symptoms of loss of appetite, insomnia, wildly beating heart and and flushes of excitement.

The good news is that this natural chemical euphoria generally lasts between 18 months to three years.

Attachment, the third stage of love accounts for long-term relationships. It’s the bonding that seals the love. It evokes grownup feelings of responsibility, safety, security and mutual defense. It includes sharing a home, children, marriage and parental duties. It also is based on shared interests and mutual friendship.

Interestingly enough, the chemical high of the first two phases are nothing compared to the goodies that come with Attachment. It produces much higher levels of nature’s newest “wonder” compound: Oxytocin. It puts the awes … in awesome. Higher doses are found in women than men. Also, their are countless ways to produce its secretion naturally. For a look at 100 ways to stimulate Oxytocin production, go to for an in-depth look at how it can help you in every aspect of your life.

Finally, it was been reported in Psychoneuroendocrinology (Sept.’05) that the protein molecule known as the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) soars when people first fall in love.

NFG is a superstar protein. It not only slows down or stops nerve degeneration, but also it has been shown to promote nerve regeneration and myelin repair. This is fantastic news for people suffering from such debilitating conditions as Mulitple Sclerosis . The nerve regeneration may also be instrumental in treating various psychiatric disorders as dementia, depression, schizophrenia, autism, Rett Syndrome, anorexia, bulimia and Alzheimer’s disease.

NFG takes around one year to return to its normal levels. But listen to this, it’s been proven to last longer and in higher dosages the more passionate the couples are. So, here’s a life-lesson:

It’s better to be a lover than a fighter.

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