Lust and Love at First Sight – Myth or Fact?
We’ve all heard the phrase, “love at first sight”,or as the French say, “coup de foudre” (a lightening blow). This eventheats up the glands, sends electrical charges down the spine orchakras, makes the hands flutter, the palms sweat, twists the tongue,and causes seemingly sane people to appear like morons or imbeciles, oreven worse, panicky buffoons, or tequila shot drinkers.
But does love at first sight really exist? You hearstories about some alluring enchantress or dashing gentleman catchingthe eye of an admirer who never even exchanged a word with the objectof their attraction. The gaze or glance charged the brain and heatedthe loins, but what caused these physical events to occur? Can aphysical attraction really create such a powerful emotional charge? Areour brains wired to respond to signals based on physical attraction, oris this EKG acceleration, pupil dilation, and glandular heat-wavetriggered by prior history, such as this sexy person resembling aformer love or crush or someone famous that has been the object offantasies and secret passions?
Love takes time to cultivate and nurture, therelationship experts tell us. You need to really live with a personduring the highs and lows, and to accept each other with all thefaults. If you discover that Prince Charming really loves to drinkbeers and watch his favorite team on Sunday or play poker or go fishingwith his friends on Saturday, perhaps this is OK. If Princessa becomesobsessive about keeping the house spotless and having her own “space”in the bathroom, that should be perfectly acceptable. But what happensif you learn that Prince Charming has a penchant for late-nightInternet porn or confronts any male who even glances at his girlfriendor wife? Or what to do if you realize Princessa keeps her slender shapeby consuming mega-diet pills or an eating disorder.
Love is about making compromises, the great poetOvid said. He also said Love and Hate are about the same. Why can’t weachieve the idealistic love of Romeo and Juliet, those star-crossedlovers who sacrificed everything, including their lives, for theirloves? Actually, why was Juliet such a fool? If she would have been theideal partner, she would never have played such a deadly game withlove. These were teenagers from rich society families. Why didn’t theyjust steal some loot from the family coffers and elope to some islandfor a little passion and romance? Think of all their descendants whocould be cavorting on Mykonos, Ibiza, St. Tropez, Venice , or MiamiBeach, Sardinia, or growing grapes for great wine in Valpolicellaoutside Verona, or singing arias at operas or designing monuments andbuildings. But, alas, these star-crossed lovers really screwed up.
So how can you tell if the person who is your new object of attraction has triggered the sparks of love or lust at first sight?
1) He performs CPR on an elderly woman in the street – LOVE?
2) She twists and turns in that little black dress, smiles – LUST?
3) He grins with confidence and nods at the bartender – LUST?
4) She bends down, ties a nephew’s shoes at a wedding – LOVE?
5) He volunteers for a foundation building houses – LOVE?
6) She sips her cappuccino and glances at you – LUST?
7) He makes long eye contact and greets you – LUST?
8) She extends her hand after you crashed your bicycle – LOVE?
So what’s love? And what’s lust? Do relationshipsthrive when there’s a balance of love and lust? Can even casualencounter have more passion, when there’s even the possibility of love?Philosophers and poets and scientists have studied the mysteries oflove and lust for millenniums? Something tells me they will solve themystery of the universe sooner than they discover the mysteries andsecrets and causes of lust and love.
So, do you believe in love at first sight? Or lust at first sight? Curious minds want to know. Or do you believe in both?
WHY WE LOVE BEING IN LOVE
CHEMISTRY, INFATUATION: THE NATURAL HIGH By Michael Gilbert
Yourheart’s pounding. Your palms are sweaty; your skin is flushed and warm.You’ve got butterflies in your stomach. Even though you’re havingtrouble sleeping, you’re full of energy. In fact, you’re on top of theworld, even euphoric. You feel this super powerful sense of connection.You daydream, fantasizing about an endless future. You’d be forgivenfor thinking you’re on drugs, or something, that you’re high. That’sbecause, in a way, you are. You’ve fallen in love.
Whenthat first giddy stage of romantic attraction erupts a potent cocktailof chemicals, neurotransmitters and hormones burst into action. Naturalamphetamines light up neural pleasure centers in your brain. The, uh,fun parts of your body are aroused. Some people even get addicted; wecall them “love junkies.” Why, you might wonder, does this happen tous? Why does a “hot” romantic prospect affect us in this extraordinaryway? And why do only certain people trigger this reaction?
Evolutionarythinkers believe this electric chain reaction has a lot to do with theimportance of reproduction in nature’s grand scheme where nothing ismore fundamental than the process of regeneration. All animals arealert to the opportunity to procreate. It’s often at the very center oftheir lives. Over the eons during which genetic hardwiring was fusedinto our bodies and brains, enticing rewards were to be had forfostering the next generation.
Chemistryand the scintillating pleasures of sexual intimacy are nature’s way ofencouraging the reproductive process. Although customs, tastes andtraditions vary, nearly all modern cultures try to massage the power ofromantic love into safe and secure vessels for raising the nextgeneration. Somewhere along the way nature placed a potent brew ofpheromones, chemicals and hormones into the hands of its very own conartist—The Trickster Called Love.
Mostof us have an idealized mate in mind, a fantasy of a perfect unionburied deep in subconscious desires to recreate ourselves. We visualizea lover, a partner, the other half of our potential offspring’s geneticinheritance. In so important a task we naturally command all of oursenses. We take in appearance, measuring symmetry, proportion andyouthfulness. Our primitive sense of smell is deployed to make sure ourpartner complements our immune system. Meanwhile our powers of mind arebusy sizing up personality, character and compatibility.
Theeffort to find a partner and the exhilaration of new found love claimsextraordinary amounts of our time and energy at the stages in life whenwe’re actively seeking a partner. In our single years, of course, andwhen love stumbles later in life, sending us back again to the searchfor intimacy. As it happens, modern fingertip technologies, enablingsocial networks and online dating siteslike Youand.me, provide us with imaginative ways to connect with anamazing array of online dating people. If we’re smart about it, andlucky enough, we get to experience all of love’s promise.
THE THREE STAGES OF LOVE
Thisis chemistry at ground zero and we’ve all been there. As we fumblethrough adolescence its defining hormones propel sexual lust that canlast a lifetime. At this stage The Trickster Called Love stirs amagical brew of lusty potions: Brain cells are tickled; erotic desirefuses with intimacy. We can’t wait to see the other person. It’selectric!
Wemove from mating to bonding. Sexuality deepens into a fuller embrace ofour partner. We spend more and more time together and we project deepinto a shared future. The joyful mist of passionate love envelopes ourpartner. This is The Trickster at work again, seducing us on nature’sbehalf, nudging romance into the kind of love that may last a lifetimeas it gently blinds us to our partner’s faults.
ATTACHMENT TAKES HOLD
Thisis the love of commitment. The bond intensifies. Sexual intimacybroadens into the larger realms of relationship as we plan together forthe future, envisioning a life spent in each other’s company. Modernsocieties encourage commitment and seek sturdy families for the lengthyand demanding task of raising human offspring. Forged in the stagesthat preceded it, this enduring kind of love will be tested: After all,it will likely be called upon to survive The Trickster’s last magicact—the one where it disappears. For not even nature’s wily conjurercan keep us enthralled with love forever.
Whetherlove lasts a lifetime or just a fleeting interlude, we crave itswondrous charms. It often disappoints us yet we’re driven to seek itsjoyful embrace. Because, in the end, it’s love that brings real meaninginto our lives. It embodies our hopes for the future.
Michael Gilbert is Youand.me’s relationship consulting editor and author of the award winning bestseller, Disposable Male: Sex, Love and Money—Your World through