Thursday, July 24, 2008

Love & Sex = Chemical?

We probably all go through that conflicting moment when we have a sexual attraction to someone and we think of them without their clothes; we imagine what it would be like to be slithering around on a bed with them.

Then, after all that, sometimes we think what it would be like to date them.

Believe it or not, this is a compacted thermal image of my face in profile (the far right is the curve of my chin) when I'm experiencing orgasm. A friend of mine is a biology major with a focus in human sexuality so I helped him out with his project and I got this amazing image out of it.

Does that mean love comes after sexual attraction? Are hot bodies required for love? Pretty faces? Love is a chemical response to someone else, its all a hormone thing in your brain that is so overwhelming that it can take over all of our senses. I'm not saying its not more than just a chemical rave in your brain, but isn't that what an orgasm is? Isn't that what sexual attraction is?

I'm more inclined to believe that love is a mostly emotional demon and that its a true and self controlled thing. I mean, who would like to think that all of their emotions and responses are totally out of their hands? Here's a bit of info about perceived reality based on Quantum Physics (bet you didn't think I was so smart).

I know that I've been able to have sex without love or attachment and then I've been in love and experienced sex at a totally new level of sensation. Ive also experienced overwhelming lust for someone just playing eyes in the coffee shop and having nothing more come of it. I feel absolutely that society has put these constraints on us that sex is with someone you love, someone you know and who you know is going to stick with you monogamously. What was the first thing your mother told you when you were getting "the sex talk"; it went something like this I'm sure:

"When a man and a woman love each other very much...."

Note that it specifies "a man" and "a woman" and also this love again. Very tricky.

Why make sex such a big deal? If its all chemical, then its a bodily function, right?

I'm always trying to break free of my Puritan American beliefs as they seem to still have a strangle hold on all of us for the most part. As time marches forward and the collective consciousness opens up, its plain to see that our society has become more comfortable with sex and sexual images, music, and talk but have we truly opened ourselves up to take part in the orgiastic chemical reaction chain in our bodies? Can we give up and just live for sensation versus thought?

Saying "I love you" is very different from saying "I want to fuck you" but still, both of these feelings come from the same place: the Amygdala in your brain. The Amygdala is a little ball of nuclei in your temporal lobe that controls arousal, automatic flight response from fear, emotional responses (in a physical manner) and it takes care of your hormone levels. By puberty, you Amygdala is working overtime and is heated and ready for action.

I find it very interesting that all of these complex processes are controlled by one little area of the brain.

So why get into all the complexities of your brain, arousal and emotional function? Its to just show how closely these processes exist within you, yet they can be completely separate. Its so interesting to me how nature works. It all goes back to the primitive days of man and how to best have us survive and thrive.

Gotta love a bit of evolutionary science.

I'm just wondering if others can feel totally unattached and still enjoy sex, sensuality. I feel that sometimes it can be better and different if you're just in it for the sensation, for the pounding chemical love in your brain, feeding down into every nerve in your body. Does every girl like to feel like a bad girl, even briefly?

Do you live to feel as I do?



Ellie said...

I was actually having a conversation about this with a casual lover a few nights ago. The reality is that these things are chemical. We like to think of love operating on some ethereal plane. I think it is because we live in a judeo-christian society that talks about love coming from incorporeal places (like God). That makes us hesitant to fully accept the biology.

Facts and Friction said...

Interesting post, I'm a bit of a bio and evolutionary psychology nerd so this is in an area that I'd love to know much more about. Desmond Morris has written a book called The Naked Ape which explains how the vast majority of human behaviour can be boiled down to basic animalistic instincts. Saying that now sounds very self explanatory but it's actually a very good read with a decently sized section on sex.

The interaction between sex and love, or pair-bonding if we talk in animal, more basic terms, is far too complicated for me. There's been quite a lot written about oxytocin which is a hormone released during sex, as well as in breast milk - it helps pair-bonds to form and might be a reason why lots of people find they become more attached than they would like to be after a period of long term casual sex. There will be many many more factors involved though. As I said, it's something I'm going to try and read more about.

On a more simple note, I'm all about making the most of any pleasures the body can offer, so the more chemical lust then the better.

Anonymous said...

you can certainly enjoy sex without a whole-hearted emotional involvement, but I don't think you can deny there are emotions involved during sex.
T%he lust, the eroticism that drives new lovers, is a set of emotions that can be fleeting in a long-term relationship where other emotions like love are present. If you are 'fuck buddies' or just involved with 'NSA' sex, yea, it's immensely enjoyable, still, with it's own set of emotions attached.
The sounds, the smells, the looks on your lovers face all trigger emotions and responses. Just go with it.

la petite dévergondée said...

ellie: i completely agree with you there. If were bound by our blind faith to God, how can we love our bodies as biological machines?

That could spark a great big conversation. :)

♥la petite

la petite dévergondée said...


Yeah I love that book, its such a great read and it gives you soooo much to ponder on. I'm a big litera-phile.

Also on the oxytocin part, Ive read a bit in The New Yorker about how children who were breast fed into later ages (like say, 5 and 6) had higher levels of hyper sexuality later in life. I think its just the most amazing thing to think about.

This post is actually quite a bit shorter than I think it really should be as Im very expressive and interested when it comes to this bit of biology.

Im always loving your input, I could see us debating until the sun goes down. :)

♥la petite

la petite dévergondée said...


Im absolutely not putting down love as a factor in good sex. I even made a nod to it in the post that it had brought me to higher heights sexually.

I feel though that many neglect to understand the VITAL difference between sex and love and that they can be very separate. For women especially it can complicate and hurt us when we make that confusion so all I'm trying to express is that its a key bit of knowledge to accept in order to keep from being hurt and also to being able to enjoy your sexual sides.

Sex is a biological response and action whereas love is an ingrained primitive, emotional response.

I do agree with you that love can be a great catalyst to fabulous sex. :)

♥la petite

Facts and Friction said...

@ellie, definitely!

'The reality is that these things are chemical. We like to think of love operating on some ethereal plane. I think it is because we live in a judeo-christian society that talks about love coming from incorporeal places (like God). That makes us hesitant to fully accept the biology.'

That's so true. We like to think we're on a different plane, and I suppose things like reason and perhaps more complex emotions do raise us above the rest of life on Earth, but really we're driven by instincts and urges and chemical reactions at a minute level. Attributing things to a greater being is all very nice and helps to explain things that people don't understand, but it's not very scientific.

@la petite, that NY article does sound intriguing! I don't know if we'd be debating though, we seem to have very similar interests and views? I do agree that there is a difference between casual and couple sex, but whether one is better than the other is obviously totally dependent on the people involved and their mindsets at the time.

la petite dévergondée said...


Haha, yeah you're probably right on the agreeing viewpoints. :)

I agree with you on the mindsets of the couple. Though, there is an issue with that. In the last weeks of my relationship with Gadget we had amazing sex but that's because for me it was hate sex....

kind of rude, but true. lol

Like read the "Hot Hotel" post and you'll see what I mean.

♥la petite

Facts and Friction said...

Angry rough violent sex? Haha hate sex, probably the polar opposite to 'love' sex - possibly just as violently passionate?

la petite dévergondée said...

I wouldn't say so much as angry, but definitely rough and just full of heat but not love. More like fucking someones who you think is hot as hell but you really are bothered by them in daily life.

Like you're using them sort of?

God...that sounds bad.

But yes, hate sex. :)

♥la petite

Athena said...

I totally understand the using someone for sex. I had a lover whom was absolutely AMAZING in bed... but really if he spoke after we were done, I wanted to leave. Apparently it turned him on even more that basically all I wanted afterwards was a sonic drink. I do sometimes feel like I'm using them, but at the same time, it's mutal, it's consentual, it's acceptable.
On the depressing flipside, I've had a love who was quite a terrible lover, no matter how hard (I) tried in bed to train him, he just didn't have the confidence, and it was a major strain on our relationship.
As for seperating sex and love, it's quite easy. I reallly desire to sleep with my roomate (but haven't, because he's in a monogamous relationship with his girlfriend), and I have a great deal of close friends I'm sexually comfortable with, but don't love.
Love and sex when it's good, it's amazing.. My ex-fiance and I had the BEST SEX OF MY LIFE. It was just purely amazing. And thinking about it still gets me wet and into that semi orgasm-recall state.

Henrietta Hussy said...

I try and feel totally unattached and enjoy the moment(when that is what I am in the mood for). It is mostly circumstantial though. If the option is of a relationship is totally out of the question, then yes.

other times it just depends and then other times i wish i just never went down that road.