• Love

What is love? Is it the natural meshing of kindred spirits, a drug meant to bring us out of depression, a short lived infatuation (sometimes called puppy love), a small but powerful feeling that can grow and sustain and morph into friendship and respect, or turn ugly and into anger?

Or is it a not well understood chemical reaction in our bodies that is meant to make sure we form attachments to procreate our species? Could love be all of these possibilities, a mix of them, some for one person, another for another person, or could love be an unknown and fickle force or even other things?

Love often leads to sex, but not always. Some people love a new baby or love cute kittens. Some couples say they love each other but have non-sexual relationships. Whatever love is, depending on who defines it, is a question that won’t be answered anytime soon.

The sourced articles below provide more information on love and how it often intermingles with sex.

  1. What Should I Teach My High School-Aged Teen About Relationships?

    “Many teens start having serious romantic relationships during high school and early college. Crushes, first kisses and hook-ups, and first heartbreaks — these are big emotional moments. Even though it may sound like puppy love, and even though these early relationships usually don’t last longer than 3 months or so, they’re important for your teen.”

    Planned Parenthood Federation of America, plannedparenthood.org, accessed on 10/4/2018

  2. How To Tell The Difference Between Lust And Love

    “Matchmaker and heartbreak coach Sarah Louise Ryan explains there are six very obvious signs that it’s lust and not love. Here’s how to tell if you’ve got the real deal or not, and save yourself a whole world of wasted time. …
    [1.] You want to know everything and all at once …
    [2.] You struggle to find commonality …
    [3.] You’ve got different outlooks on the world, but you think that’s okay …
    [4.] It’s not a seamless connection, but it’s exciting …
    [5.] You don’t communicate the same way …
    [6.] Everything else falls by the wayside …”

    Paisley Gilmour, cosmopolitan.com, 8/1/2018

  3. 4 Reasons Why People ‘Fall In Love’ At First Sight, According To Science

    “The next time you think you’re falling in love as soon as that first date begins — or if you feel like you and your current partner knew it would be forever from the second your eyes first met — these theories could explain why. …
    [1.] There’s an actual chemical reaction in your brain that makes you feel love. …
    [2.] Love at first sight can actually be a ‘positive illusion’ you and your partner create yourselves. …
    [3.] It could all start with instant attraction. …
    [4.] Love at first sight doesn’t necessarily mean your relationship will last. …”

    Nicole Pomarico, thisisinsider.com, 6/21/2018

  4. Does Unconditional Love Make For Healthy Relationships?

    “Research tells us that the parts of the brain that light up during unconditional love are similar to those involved in romantic love and maternal love, and are linked to the brain’s reward system. This suggests that unconditional love may be rewarding without receiving anything in return.”

    Arlin Cuncic, verywellmind.com, 6/11/2018

  5. Ever Hated Someone You Used to Madly Love? Neuroscience Says You’re Normal

    “The surprising part? According to neurobiologist and head researcher Professor Semir Zeki, ‘[T]he network involves regions of the putamen and the insula that are almost identical to the ones activated by passionate, romantic, love.’ In other words, the wiring in the brain associated with hate … is the same as that of love.”

    Melanie Curtin, inc.com, 2/24/2018

  6. Can You Really Be Addicted To Love?

    “This type of love addiction is the result of abnormal processes in the brain reward center, and produces an unusually strong reward signal. Similar to an addictive drug high, people keep going back for more, at the expense of other interests in their life, to experience the ‘high’ again.”

    Katy Evans, iflscience.com, 5/5/2017

  7. How Long Does Passion Last? Science Says…

    “If you decide your partner is still the right person for you after the passion ends, you’re on your way to finding true love. It happens gradually and slowly: You’ll usually start to feel it one or two years after the previous phase. Your feelings will just continue to grow deeper over the years.
    Driven by chemicals called nonapeptides, this stage ensures a deep bond between you and your partner — nature’s way of keeping you together to take care of your kids until they’re grown up, [Dr. Fred] Nour, [a neurologist] said.”

    A. Pawlowski, today.com, 2/23/2017

  8. Love, Actually: The Science Behind Lust, Attraction, And Companionship

    “In the end, everyone is capable of defining love for themselves. And, for better or for worse, if it’s all hormones, maybe each of us can have ‘chemistry’ with just about anyone. But whether or not it goes further is still up to the rest of you.”

    Katherine Wu, harvard.edu, 2/14/2017

  9. Why Men Fall In Love Faster Than Women

    “As for why they might fall in love faster, Marissa says women are evolutionarily more cautious—with good reason. ‘I think women unconsciously postpone love compared to men. Women have a lot more to lose reproductively by committing to the wrong man. They are born with a finite number of eggs, yet men produce millions of sperm on a daily basis. …”

    Jessica Pan, vice.com, 2/14/2017

  10. More Than Just Puppy Love: What Parents Should Know When Talking To Children About Love, Valentine’s Day

    “‘As adults, we may feel that crushes are silly and unreal, but they are very real to the children who experience them,’ says Judith Myers-Walls, professor emeritus of child development. ‘In all cases and with all ages, parents and other adults should take children’s feelings seriously.'”

    Amy Patterson Neubert, Source: Judith Myers-Walls, purdue.edu, 2/6/2017

  11. Is It Possible To Fall In Love At First Sight?

    “When you fall in love, your brain releases the chemical dopamine, which is the chemical released when someone uses cocaine. When you fall in love at first sight, it would feel similar to taking a hit of cocaine–a quick rush that feels rewarding and that your brain becomes addicted to.”

    Isabel Thottam, eharmony.com, 12/6/2016

  12. These Are The 7 Types Of Love

    “The seven types of love discussed below are loosely based on classical readings, especially of Plato and Aristotle, and on J.A. Lee’s 1973 book Colours of Love. …
    [1.] Eros is sexual or passionate love, and is the type most akin to our modern construct of romantic love. …
    [2.] The hallmark of philia, or friendship, is shared goodwill. …
    [3.] Storge (‘store-gae’), or familial love, is a kind of philia pertaining to the love between parents and their children. …
    [4.] Agape is universal love, such as the love for strangers, nature, or God. …
    [5.] Ludus is playful or uncommitted love. It can involve activities such as teasing and dancing, or more overt flirting, seducing, and conjugating. …
    [6.] Pragma is a kind of practical love founded on reason or duty and one’s longer-term interests. …
    [7.] Philautia is self-love, which can be healthy or unhealthy. …”

    Neel Burton, MD, psychologytoday.com, 6/25/2016

  13. Love And The Brain

    “For those whose long-term marriage has transitioned from passionate, romantic love to a more compassionate, routine type of love, Olds indicated it is possible to rekindle the flame that characterized the relationship’s early days. ‘We call it the rustiness phenomenon,’ she said. ‘Couples get out of the habit of sex, of being incredibly in love, and often for good reasons: work, children, a sick parent. But that type of love can be reignited.’ Sexual activity, for example, can increase oxytocin levels and activate the brain’s reward circuit, making couples desire each other more.”

    Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute, harvard.edu, 3/10/2015

  14. “I Love You from the Bottom of My Hypothalamus,” or What You Need to Know about Love This Valentine’s Day

    “Call it cold-hearted, but scientists have broken down the process of falling in love into three distinct, predictable stages: lust, attraction and attachment. With each phase, different parts of the brain become more active than others. A whole host of chemicals come into play, influencing the way we think and feel.”

    GE Healthcare, gehealthcare.com, 2/12/2015

  15. 10 Myths About Love, Exploded

    “Books of fresh insights about love have been written by philosophers, psychologists, and even a mathematician. From three new releases, I’ve collected these 10 common myths—and the authors’ reasons why they’re just not so. …
    [1.] Love is an irrational emotion that you either are ‘in’ or not ‘in.’ …
    [2.] You can’t make yourself fall out of love. …
    [3.] Falling in love is a unique physiological state. …
    [4.] The emotional pain of a failed romantic love is unlike any other. …
    [5.] Meeting the right person is a random toss of the dice. …
    [6.] There’s always someone out there who would be better suited for you than your current partner. …
    [7.] Taking turns sharing what you resent about one another is a valid therapy technique. …
    [8.] To get, you have to give an equal amount. …
    [9.] Love is unpredictable. …
    [10.] Couples will inevitably stop having much sex. …”

    Susan K Perry, PhD, psychologytoday.com, 2/8/2015