My Chemical Romance
Lust. Love. Long-term attraction. Each is triggered by different chemicals in the body. And the good news is that you can control yours and hers for maximum satisfaction, every step ofthe way
What is love? It's a good question. And whatever answer you've had in the past,it's unlikely to have been an especially enlightening one. So Men's Health has dissected the subject on the most biologically basic oflevels, so that - whatever phase of chemical attraction you are currently experiencing you can enhance your levels of enjoyment.
We've broken down the chemical basis of the emotion we call love and identified the hormones that spike, combine and plummet during each stage of a relationship cycle: from desire, through romance to lasting commitment. Why? Because love, as far as we're concerned, is one eternal equation that's worth solving.
Sexual desire is driven by high levels ofthe major male and female sex hormones in our systems. Here's howto ensure the honeymoon period is as intoxicating as possible, for as long as it can be
LUST is a vital part of our emotional wiring. Our sex drive is what keeps our species going and without it there'd be no biological reason for any of us to get out there and meet prospective partners. It's governed by a relationship between testosterone and oestrogen. Generally speaking, the more testosterone you and your partner have in your bodies, the more lustful you're going to feel towards each other. But it'sa complex system, and it is controlled by a whole range of other chemicals and factors.
"Athletes or men who exercise at a high level naturally produce more testosterone, which increases their strength and stamina and triggers more sexual thoughts, more morning erections, more sexual encounters and more orgasms," says Dr Helen fisher, a biological anthropologist and research professor in the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University, New Jersey. "The male libido peaks in the early twenties, when the activity of testosterone is highest," she says. "Many women feel more sexual desire around the time of ovulation when her testosterone levels increase."
However, the balance between testosterone, oestrogen and other bodily systems - as well as social circumstances, childhood experiences and many other factors - play a role in determining when, where and how often you feel lustful.
New studies, such as those being carried out by Dr Sari van Anders at the University of Michigan, also suggest that testosterone might have a role to play in determining what kind of relationships we seek out.