In classic fairy tales love potions feature extensively, but does our body produce its own when we start dating someone new?
To answer the question I have put forth, I would like to introduce you to the wonderful array of hormones that your body produces. The ones I want to formally equate you with are: Testosterone, Oestrogen, Serotonin, Adrenaline, Dopamine, Oxytocin, and Vasopressin as they are the key triggers for the stages of attraction. The levels of each hormone fluctuate over the course of a relationship. Only when each has worked its magic on us can we truly say we are in love.
This is the first step towards love. Most commonly you’ve probably been at this stage with a few people; you’ve met them, you have found them so dam hot and you wanted to sleep with them. There is nothing more to it than pure wild animal attraction to mate.
“Love exists above the belt, lust below”
-Quote by Sexologist John Money
Your lust for a person is due to their pheromones, what you’ve been taught it socially desirable and physical attributes. Lust is needed for the initial attraction to a mate but our desire to feel close to someone mentally leads to attraction…
During this phase, men and women both release a higher than normal amount of testosterone and oestrogen when around the person they desire.
Oestrogen drives the woman’s want for physical closeness and sex.
Testosterone drives sexual desire, openness and seductiveness in both sexes. However, the levels in men are like a million times higher; the hormone is a tyrant and man’s its slave.
Energy levels are heightened and the primary objective is to have sex rather than form an emotional connection.
This is the second step towards love. You think about the person constantly; sometimes catch yourself daydreaming about them. They seem flawless. Changes in yourself occur and you become the ‘best version’ of yourself.
I can’t stop thinking about her, Harry…
She could never annoy me. I Think I love her.
Commonly this is called the ‘honeymoon’ phase and it lasts over a few months, after that it faded and is over taken by attachment…
Adrenaline is a hormone that is released during the human fight or flight response. It enhances attraction, arousal and concentrates your attention on your partner whilst also giving you the slight anxiety that some of us experience. Ultimately, it is responsible for the excitement you feel towards the person.
Dopamine is a hormone that makes you crave being around your potential partner. The hormone is the same one that is released as an outcome of cocaine or sugar intake. It’s involved in neural pathways associated to motivation, addiction, attention and desire.
Norepinephrine is another hormone that increases your excitement and tunnel vision for a person.
Serotonin is responsible for mood balance, appetite, sleep, memory, sexual desire and sexual function. During the attraction phase, serotonin levels decrease. This might result in mood swings, loss of appetite, lack of sleep, flimsy memory and heightened sexual desire (serotonin isn’t there to control that caveman/woman within you).
Decreased serotonin is a factor of OCD which why we can obsessively think about our potential partner in this phase. However, sex causes a surge of the hormone.
And so we arrive at the last stage of love. This is the stage where you become the mentally stable person you once were before the Attraction Phase (or perhaps a slightly better version). This phase is not only experienced between romantic relationships but also between children and parents, and between friends. The person makes you feel calm, secure and comfortable. This interaction is solid and genuine, the person has passed your subconscious ‘test’ and you know they are a valuable asset to your life.
Never above you. Never below you. Always beside you.
Once the attraction phase has settled down dopamine, serotonin and adrenaline levels return to normal.
Oxytocin is responsible for this which is commonly called ‘the love hormone’. When your partner touches you the hormone is released and this in turn stimulated the release on dopamine; ‘the happy hormone’. The combination of the hormones lights up the brain associated with reward and pleasure.
Vasopressin is another hormone that is present in brains of people that are in love in greater quantities. It is also released when your partner touches you and therefore builds strong emotional attachment.
These stages have very different effects on people due to peoples initial ‘hormonal balances’ (mental stability) varies across the population. Someone that is a clear headed and calm person will probably not act like a maniac during the Attraction phase. However, someone that is perhaps going through a rough phase in their life, and invariably has lower than normal Serotonin levels, has a higher chance of obsessing over their new partner. This is the reason why it is probably not a wise idea to get to start seeing someone new whilst your head space is fucked up…your body will just produce a fucked up Love Potion that will fuck you up even more.
Therefore to conclude, although the Love Potion that is produced by your body does not have an instantaneous affect like fairy tale ones it does lead to the overall same result. However, the up side to our naturally produced one is that it will only be produced to cast a rosy tint over your life if you want it to.
Lots of kisses,