BrainSex: Why We Fall in Love?

BrainSex: Why We Fall in Love?

2010, Science  -   34 Comments
Ratings: 6.50/10 from 36 users.

BrainSex - Why We Fall in Love?BrainSex - Why We Fall In Love, is an interesting documentary about the science and natural findings as to why humans fall in love.

For centuries, love has been celebrated - and probed - mostly by poets, artists, and balladeers. But now, its mysteries are also yielding to the tools of science, including modern brain scanning machines.

A handful of young people who had just fallen madly in love volunteered to have their brains scanned to see what areas were active when they looked at a picture of their sweetheart. The brain areas that lit up were precisely those known to be rich in a powerful feel good chemical, dopamine - the substance that brain cells release in response to cocaine and nicotine.

Dopamine is the key chemical in the brain's reward system, a network of cells associated with pleasure - and addiction.

In the same lab, older volunteers who claimed to still be intensely in love after two decades of marriage participated in the same experiment. The same brain areas lit up, showing that, at least in some lucky couples, that honeymoon feeling can last.

But in these folks, other areas lit up, too - those rich in oxytocin, the cuddling chemical that helps new mothers make milk and bond with their babies, is secreted by both sexes during orgasm, and that, in animals, has been linked to monogamy and long-term attachment.

It's way too soon - and hopefully, always will be - to say that brain scientists have translated all those warm and fuzzy feelings we call romantic love into a bunch of chemicals and electrical signals in the brain.

But they do have a plausible hypothesis: that dopamine plays a big role in the excitement of love, and oxytocin is key for the calmer experience of attachment. Granted, the data are preliminary. But the findings so far are provocative.

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Mark Weber
5 years ago

I read the book Brain Sex 25 years ago, and I can say it changed my understanding of why humans are so different from each other. Written in layman’s terms, it explores the concepts of love, gender type and identity, and adds greatly to the discussion of nature vs nurture. A must read for those who don’t understand any of those concepts as they apply to the biological man. We truly are slaves to our hormones!

Stephanie Tucci
10 years ago


11 years ago

I just can't stand pseudoscience... -.-

11 years ago

Any study which claims to explain away sexuality without due consideration to the variances in sexuality and sexual expression among humans and other animals is a poor study, and scientifically flawed.

Sexual expression is 'not' purely heterosexual. Not in humans, not in bonobos, not in giraffes, not in antelope, not in dogs, not in penguins... not in thousands of species.

11 years ago

They don't explain same sex attraction, or any variations of sexuality. Only mainstream sex, as it were.
I think I'm very unique in my sexual attractions. I am a male that prefers women who have many partners. In fact just typing that sentence caused arousal in me. I feel like a disgusting freak.
Sometimes I wonder if such a woman exists.

11 years ago

damit, i thought this was literally about brain sex. like thru the ear or the eye socket. wut a letdown

11 years ago

OMG its Obama lol

some dude
12 years ago

This documentary isn't half bad. It wasn't the best but it surly wasn't a waste of time. The amount of information conveyed was decent and the studies presented were fairly interesting.

The statement that women are attracted to money was explained by the fact that women are generally attracted to people with power and/or status and the having of money is just a clear indication of that. The idea that love goes beyond money was also presented is you happened to listen.

Also, just because the scientist may be conservative, it doesn't mean that the information they present is wrong or biased. All science present their data with evidence that they have gathered and any scientist who publish significantly bias data doesn't deserve to be a scientist in the first place.

12 years ago

The Doctors speaking are german and germans are very judgmental in this area , specially scientests (+ judging the accent the scientest speaking come from conseravative towns).
it's not really that big of a fact that women always and mostly get attracted to money . and that one is only unvalid point from the many in this movie .

dont watch , waste of time in my opinion !

12 years ago

"Why We Fall in Love?"

Who's "WE?"

12 years ago

This documentary was not about the whys and wherefores of human sexual 'love'.

This documentary was a treatise on the biological function of the heterosexual orientation regarding the obvious role it plays in the evolution of our species.

Another disappointment.

12 years ago

This documentary was very informative.
Thanks for the post.

12 years ago

Did she just hit that with a tennis ball!? that's pretty darn accurate!

12 years ago

almost a top documentary, to breif with the scientific explinations.

Charles B.
12 years ago

Hum. I didn't know Bonobos could mate facing eachother! I thought only we could do that.

The last part of this suggested taht doing anything enjoyable together boosts comtentment in the relationship and she's such a homebody but I'm absolutely not. That really bothers me. Fortunately, love is 50% absolute choice and faithfulness, and that we have on our side.

Also, I agree; a person happy with life will have a better relationship regardless, while someone that is not happy with life in general will sour even what is good in his or her life.

I'd give this doc only 6 out of 10 however. A bit boring excpet for the Bonobo clips! :-)

12 years ago

Thanks Vlatko, good job. I guess I tend to lean towards social issues, the arts, the human condition/experience & history. Never been a huge space/sci-fi fan. Noticed a couple request for more cosmology/space films. Seems to me I've noticed quite a few of those recently.

At any rate, thanks for taking the time to post anything that may enlighten us. Keep up the good work! I'm happy to watch just about anything with substance.

12 years ago

"Don't ask what will happen tomorrow, whatever the sum of days given to you, think of it as treasure. And when you are young, never say no to dancing and sweet desire." --Horace

Nice quote to end a decent film.

sarp kaya
12 years ago

you are on the world wide web, globally, commenting on a serious documentary.
casual conversation is what you have when you call your friends over for a "hubba hubba" type o' evenin' in yo shack, bro !

12 years ago

And not while lips are still red.
So, kiss and veil the sight of a cold world-
with sweet little words; not made for silence
but true love.
And dark hair for catching the wind.


12 years ago

@ grey area and Vlatko

I second that request, more space and history please. Not that I haven't enjoyed what you have been posting. Just that I absolutedly love the cosmology/ astro-physics stuff. They seem to get the best response from others as well.

12 years ago

Waldo I think Sarp Kaya was being sarcastic and random. Fee fy foe, I see a troll!

12 years ago

No one ever has and no one ever will escape love

Not while their is beauty and not while eyes can see

12 years ago

@ sarp kaya

Oh, chill out man. I happen to be very liberal, but I wanted people to have a choice, thats all. In my opinion their is nothing here that offensive, I don't have kids but if I did I suppose this would be o.k. People like you are way too serious in my opinion, it's as if every word we say or thought we express has to make some moral or ethical stand. What happened to casual conversation?

12 years ago

Women are more unfaithful around the time of ovulation. That's interesting. hmm...

grey area
12 years ago

very good doc, think the ladies will enjoy it bit more than the fellas maybe. hey vlatko itd be really great if you could get some new space or history docs , ill be foreverever greatfull , cheers merry xmas

12 years ago

Very nice documentary. It doesn't goes too deep but covers the most useful info.

sarp kaya
12 years ago

Definitely censor this documentary from kids, and anything else that may carry even the slightest nuance of sex, love or affection.
Instead, give them all the DVD action blockbusters in which an average of 300 people die in the space of 2 hours, or the playstation games where zombies gore each other to death.
Way better for the kiddies.

12 years ago

Thank you for posting!!

12 years ago

A fairly good doc on the science behind attraction, though it centers more on the psychology behind relationships than the actual brain chemistry involved. Don't watch it with kiddies in the room though, hubba hubba.