Science of Love

Liji Varghese

Racing heart beats, sweaty palms, butterflies in the stomach, sleepless nights... these are the things most of us experience when we are in love. With soft music around, we tend to build castles in the air and the very sight of the person we love makes us go weak in the knees.

But then is `LOVE` described by poets and artists through times immortal a total delusion. Read on to understand the cupid’s chemical that comes into play when you fall in love.

According to anthropologist Helen Fisher, the experience of love can be categorised as lust, attraction and attachment, with different sets of chemicals activating different hormones at different stages of love.


When you are moon-walking hand-in-hand with your partner, have sleepless nights, completely lose your appetite and euphoria takes over you, then you are surely in the `attraction phase` of love. In this stage, a group of neuro-transmitters - dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin, also known as monoamines - come into play.

Where norepinephrine, better know as adrenalin, is responsible for fast heart beats and sweaty palms, serotonin drives you insane when you bump into you lover. Dopamine, on the other hand, has cocaine-like effect and is responsible for the intense rush of pleasure.


Lust is driven by testosterone and oestrogen that initiate passionate sexual desire among both men and women.


Oxytocin and vasopressin are responsible for longer term commitment between couples characterized by strong attachment. These hormones provide a sense of peace and stability in a relationship. Oxytocin or the cuddling chemical, produced during orgasm in both the sexes, intensifies bonding. So, more the couple have sex the stronger their relationship grows. Vasopressin is responsible for monogamy, i.e. mating and bonding with one partner for life.

So, the next time your heart pounds faster than normal, you definitely know that it’s your brain asking it to do so, as the chemistry between you and your partner is all because of the strong molecular activity in the central part of your nervous system. Hope you all have a chemically active Valentine’s Day….

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