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Chemical mystery: What puts the fire in your belly?

loveChemistry is one of the great mysteries in life. Like the Seven Wonders of the World, UFOs or the Lady Gaga’s fashion sense, it puzzles society.

From a scientific standpoint, chemistry develops from a chemical reaction between our brain’s hormones – namely Phenylethylamine (aka the love chemical) and Oxytocin (aka the cuddle chemical). Together these two chemicals produce elation, intense energy, sleeplessness, craving, loss of appetite and focused attention.

Men produce this feeling of rapture more frequently than women. Why? Because they are more visual by nature. A recent study in the University of Chicago found that male testosterone levels shoot up by one third, even during a casual chat with a female stranger. So maybe there is truth to the notion that all men secretly enjoy watching those “head over heels” romantic comedies. After all, if these statistics are anything to go by, men are more likely to fall in love at first sight than women.

But does it last?

The short answer is no, the love chemical does lose its strength over time during long-term relationships. Studies show that passionate love fades quickly and is generally gone after two or three years. That’s when people start believing their partner has faults. The truth is, they’re probably no different to when you first met them. It’s just now you’re able to see them rationally. You’re not hypnotised by the powers of love.

For some, this might not so appealing. To those people I say you’re failing to see the bigger picture. To me, it’s called ‘making love’ because you have to make love work. Chemistry may come and go, but it can also evolve into a story worth telling for years on end.

Does love at first sight exist? Do you believe it’s more apparent in men? Penny for thoughts…

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