If you’re lucky, you will fall in love and experience odd yet wonderful sensations in your body. That elevated heart beat and butterflies-in-the-stomach kind of feeling? Yes, they’re all part of the package. They can be uncomfortable at times, maybe even embarrassing, but they’re emotional stirs brought by the propensity of fondness and affection for someone. Emotions are too intense that songs, poems, movies, and even temples are made.
But what really happens to our body’s chemistry, which drives people to do things they do when they’re in love? And why does it feel great overall? Below are the changes love has in store for your body’s chemistry:
There’s a reason many love song themes are all about being addicted to someone, that feeling of not being able to make it through life without the object of his paramour. One word: dopamine. It is the brain’s pleasure chemical. It plays a role in gambling and drugs, hence, the addiction. But this hormone also plays a role in love. When people fall in love, the body secretes dopamine, which makes couples feel ecstatic and vigorous about each other.
You can notice the dopamine working when you suddenly focus on this person and everything is now about him or her. Dopamine can still be active even in long-term relationships.
Oxytocin is a chemical that somehow works by giving a couple a special bond through the facilitation of intimacy. When you’re into touching, kissing, and embracing your partner, it’s the oxytocin working in your body. It makes it feel right to be intimate with your partner as means of expressing your love. It’s also present in new moms breastfeeding their babies to produce milk and to bond moms to their newborns.
Though testosterone is mostly associated with men’s masculinity, it helps intensifies the flame in both men and women. With testosterone at play, the sexual desire is lit so that two people who are in love decide to manifest their affection in the bedroom.
Have you ever liked someone so much that when she finally speaks with you you’re at loss for words, your heart’s beating like crazy, and your face is red all over? That’s probably another hormone working called norepinephrine. It’s actually a stress hormone that causes you to be tongue-tied and awkward for no reason when your crush asks you something. Studies on the role of this hormone to one’s gut turning upside and down when he’s with someone he adores, however, are still ongoing. Conclusive results have yet to arrive.
We proceed to major histocompatibility complex (MHC), which is basically a set of genes that regulates cell-surface molecules. It is used by the body to recognize foreign aggressors. The bodies naturally secrete MHC through sweat, saliva, and even body odor. There are many kinds of MHC, but people who are related tend to have similar types. Now there are researches indicating that we can somehow pick up others’ MHC levels, and that the more you differ in MHC, the more intense the attraction is. Hence, attraction has something to with our genes, too. In case you’re wondering why people only like certain people, it could be because of the MHC levels.
Couples tend to long for their partner’s scent. Women love wearing their boyfriends’ shirt while men love smelling their girlfriends’ hair. There’s definitely something about the smell here, obviously. In several species, the chemicals called pheromones help with communicating.
Though there have been doubts as to whether humans have the same capacity, it’s been shown in some studies that both sexes can send and receive subconscious odor signals; and that men and women react to the scents in various ways. The fact that both genders have a penchant for bringing something that reminds them of their partners’ smell is a strong hint that there’s power in scents, especially when love is involved.