Before studying attraction and human sexuality I found myself judging people a lot.
When people cheated, I found no empathy in my heart for them.
When men wouldn’t settle down with women who were clearly amazing for them, I dismissed them as non-committers point blank.
When people complained about having lost the spark in their relationship I told them to make an effort to bring it back.
But the further I got in to studying human behaviour (especially when it came to dating, mating, and partner finding) the less I found myself judging others and their actions. Their once strange actions made complete sense with my newfound awareness.
Through my last decade of studying people, I have accumulated a wide knowledge of the fascinating things people do in their relationships and sex lives, and why they do those things.
These are the seven most interesting facts about sex, love, and attraction that I have discovered about people.
1. The Rush Of Exhilarating Emotions Has To End
You’ve likely felt that rush of astonishingly positive emotions when you first started seeing someone new. This is called the “infatuation phase” of a relationship.
Your brain is being flooded with dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and all of the other highly addictive chemicals that your brain desperately craves. All of these chemicals are being surged into you because the more intensely you become attached to someone, the more likely you both are to stick around long term and raise your future babies.
But why does this infatuation phase seem to slow down around the 12-18 month mark of a relationship?
According to evolutionary biologists, this chemical rush has to die down at that point in time because the babies that you are now presumably having would die from neglect if you were lavishing so much attention on each other 24/7.
That’s right. If you were too busy staring into your partner’s eyes once your child was born, then your child would have a lower chance of long-term survival.
Does this mean that the magical loving feelings in a relationship are always doomed to end and there is no point in even trying? Not at all. It just means that your bodies want to bond as quickly and thoroughly as possible at the beginning of your relationship to give your offspring a better chance of thriving. You can still love and desire each other and have a simmering sexual passion, but you can’t realistically maintain an all-consuming hunger. Who’d’ve thought?
2. Men Fall In Love Faster, And Out Of Love Slower
I don’t know about you, but my social conditioning raised me to believe that women were love-starved and would fall in love at the drop of a hat while they dragged reluctant men into the depths of a romantic relationship.
Men, the seed-spreading eternal non-committers, were praised for their virility if they dated many women for short stints of time and kept themselves detached.
As it turns out, that social construct was a pile of lies!
On average, men actually fall in love faster (at the beginning), and fall out of love slower (after a break up) than their female counter parts.
Also, while men have this trend in relationships, it would also be worth noting that men are highly encouraged to not show their emotions from a young age (“don’t be so sensitive”, “boys don’t cry”, etc.).
So even if they are feeling a huge rush of emotions at the beginning or end of a romantic relationship I would wager that they are also more likely to publicly stifle any signs of their infatuation or sadness.
3. Can A Kiss Ruin A Relationship?
Have you ever been romantically interested in someone, but as soon as you had shared your first kiss you felt them lose attraction almost instantly? There’s a reason for that.
Kisses are taste tests for your bodies to figure out if the person you are kissing is a strong genetic fit with your DNA.
If you and the person you kiss are resistant to the same diseases you will not find each other attractive on a chemical/sexual level. The reason being if you were to make children together, your babies wouldn’t be as genetically strong as compared to you pairing up with someone who was resistant to different diseases as you. Put simply, if every person was resistant to 50 different diseases, your children would have a better chance at survival if you met someone with a different fifty than you (totalling a resistance to 100 diseases).
This is also often why one partner will come down with a cold/flu/illness and their partner won’t catch it- they are resistant to the disease and that’s part of why they are unconsciously attracted to each other.
I seriously can’t get enough of these ideas… and we’re not even halfway through! Nerd-gasm’ing over here.
Bonus fact: The same goes for your partners scent and overall taste. In fact, I had one client who admitted to loving licking his partners sweat after she came home from a run. Kinda gross? Kinda hot!
4. The Wandering Eye Eventually Wanders Less
Many of my male clients have been happy to hear that roughly between the ages of 28-32 the male brain makes a chemical shift from employing a “mate with as many women as possible” strategy to a “find one partner and make babies with them” strategy. Whether the male has the logical desire to want children or not, he is still shifted from a seed-spreading/polyamorous mindset to a relatively more monogamous one.
Does this mean that on his 32nd birthday he will stop ogling all of the yoga pants’ed bums walking past him? Nope. But it will generally make him a better, more attentive, and less distracted boyfriend.
So gentlemen, if you have an 18-30 year old brain and you fear that you’ll just be the type to never want to marry, hold your horses. For better or for worse, you’ve got a second wind coming that will push you towards partner bonding.
5. What The Shape Of The Penis Tells Us About Cheating
Society likes to push the notion that men are the cheating sex and are far more likely to stray. While I’m not interested in diving into percentages, trends, or intentions behind male or female cheating (at least in this article) I stumbled across a fascinating reason for the shape of the head of the penis.
According to Sperm Wars, it’s in mens best evolutionary interest (when young) to put their abundant sperm in as many women as possible to “spread their seed”. Meanwhile, it is in women’s best interest to mate with multiple partners and have the strongest sperm win over it’s competitors.
Enter the penis head part of the equation. It has been suggested that the frenulum (the ridge/underside of the head of the penis) is actually meant to pull out the sperm of other men from the women’s birth canal. Not only this, but the sperm itself is also in on the action. About 1% of the sperm are what are known as “egg-getters” with the other 99% being present to fight off the other sperm that may have been left by other sexual partners.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that women are more likely to cheat because of our physiological make up, but the evolution of these physical traits does further prove that survival and replication are at the forefront of almost all of our actions.
6. The Coolidge Effect
The Coolidge Effect is the occurrence of a mammal showing renewed sexual interest when introduced to new sexually receptive partners.
What does that mean? On a physical and sexual level, it is easier for a man in his sexual prime to have sex with three different women within a twenty four hour period than it is for him to have sex with the same women three times in that same amount of time.
This is one of the reasons that porn has taken off to the extent that it has. The part of your brain that has been around the longest doesn’t realize that the women that you are seeing in front of you aren’t physically in front of you but mere images on a screen.
I would hypothesize that this is also one of the reasons that role playing is such a common fantasy in long term monogamous relationships. It’s the same person but it feels different and exciting. You can have the thrill of sleeping with a nurse/teacher/redhead/blonde while still being monogamous with your partner.
7. Sex Drive Surges With Big Wins
This one blew my mind on a few levels…
Not only is a man’s self-esteem somewhat tied to his bank account, he also gets a huge rush of testosterone (the sex and aggression hormone) when he comes in to a big win financially.
Evolutionarily, this makes sense. Men are driven to succeed and accumulate resources and influence (largely) in order to attract a sexually viable partner.
So it naturally follows that when he accumulates a new round of resources to provide with (by winning the lottery, selling a car, doing well in stock trading) one of his evolutionarily hardwired urges is to mate with someone as quickly as possible. The assumed subtext of this surge of testosterone being “You are a valuable contributor in your tribe, now go mate with someone because your valuable DNA needs to continue replicating”.
Just The Facts
Just because science said that these things are true, does that mean that they will affect all people 100% of the time? Of course not. There are other factors that will influence these things coming into reality. For example, if a car dealer sells an expensive Lamborghini but he’s clinically depressed or experiencing other life stressors, then it might not be enough to override his brain chemistry and boost his mood into that of a horny teenager. Still, some cool things to think about that will help you understand yourself and others better.