There’s more to love and romance than hearts, roses, oysters and chocolates. Unwrap these and you’ll find the brain. The brain is where love begins. It’s regarded as the body’s biggest sex organ. Hormones, chemicals and neurotransmitters that come from the brain receive and send messages – sensual, emotional and physical – to every part of the body with the objective to fall in love.
“Love changes everything. When women fall in love, they have more energy, burn more calories, forget about their aches and pains and feel happier in general,” says Sister Burgie Ireland advisory nursing sister and midwife for Kotex®. “This is because being in love makes the heart beat faster improving circulation and feeding body cells with essential nutrients and oxygen. Love also releases hormones like endorphins, dopamine and oxytocin. These ‘feel good’ hormones are circulated when couples connect physically and emotionally.”
Why women fall in love
From the time a young woman has her first period, her ovaries produce oestrogen and progesterone to mature and maintain her reproductive system. In turn, these hormones unleash related sex hormones from the adrenal, pineal and pituitary glands that will help her become independent from her parents (this explains why teenagers are so rebellious!). As she matures and grows older, these same hormones will help her to choose her mate and fall in love with the man she will marry one day.
Love begins with conversational flirting. This attracts couples to one another, especially when they discover that they have things in common like a sense of humour and the same likes and dislikes. As long as the couple enjoy each other’s company, flirting leads to arousal and desire. This lights up the limbic or emotional centre of the brain, bringing the couple closer whenever they spend time together.
During sex women release a number of hormones, but especially oxytocin – the ‘love’ hormone. The equivalent of this hormone in men is vasopressin – the ‘protective’ hormone. While a woman falls deeper in love every time she has sex with the same man, her man in turn feels more protective towards her. When couples commit to one another in marriage, sex helps to bond them and keep them together.
For women, falling in love is a mind and body experience. A woman in love is content, her hormones are balanced and (provided there are no medical problems) her menstrual cycle will be regular. Regular periods means regular ovulation and nature’s ultimate objective why women fall in love – to have babies! This is because women reach maximum sexual arousal during ovulation – the window in her cycle when she can conceive.
“Women appreciate being shown that they are loved. Women love to be romanced – every day of the year with the language of love. These are little gestures – secret, unique and special for every couple – that should be enjoyed, nurtured and relished every day. It’s the secret of a successful relationship.” encourages Ireland.