It is a beautiful sunny morning you have just finished a hard run and you are leaning against a tree trying to catch your breath. An incredibly fit, good looking guy walks by and you feel your heart racing and your gut fills with fluttering butterflies. Is it love, is it sexual desire or is it a psychological fart? We presume we understand and are in control of our emotions, when it comes to sex and attraction, but is this really true?
Back to our good looking guy in the park… Did you know that you’re more likely to develop an attraction to him because you are physiological aroused from your run? Your brain can mistaken your increased heartbeat and arousal as an emotional response to the man you just locked eyes with. You are finding him inexplicably attractive and it may even be love at first sight….
Now, should you be wearing red, and he may find you equally attractive. Heterosexual men tend to find women wearing red clothing more attractive because women’s bodies naturally become red/pink during sexual arousal. Also, women subconsciously prefer to wear red when they are more fertile.
If you are worried about flirting techniques to get his attention, stop. Evolution has taken care of this skill. Believe it or not, women from the most diverse places on earth flirt identically. Next time you are interested in someone, pay attention to your moves. First you will smile, lift your eyebrows in a swift motion and you will open your eyes wide to gaze at him. Quickly you will drop your eyelids, tilt your head down and sideways and look away. Often you may cover your face with your hands and giggle. This sequence is so pervasive and distinctive that scientists believe that it is innate. It is the human mating ritual. Slightly less brazen than that of the female chimp’s, which involves putting her swollen bottom right up to the male face, but same idea.
And the easiest way to develop feelings of love and affection towards a person you have never met? Scientific American reports that long periods of eye contact can connect you to someone and even ignite feelings of love inside you for that person you have never previously met. How long do you need to stare into their eyes for this to work? Two minutes will do.
Still think you are in charge?
One study found that women preferred the scent of symmetrical men more during the time of ovulation than at other points in menstrual cycle. Another study found that women preferred more masculine faces during the time of ovulation and more feminine faces at other points in their menstrual cycle. And my personal favourite: a study found that women gave lower attractiveness ratings to pictures of other women around the time of ovulation than at other points in their menstrual cycle. So, your best friend hates your new haircut? Give her a week to finish ovulating and she may change her mind.
So, if one morning you wake up next to your prince, you take one good look at him and then wonder what it was that you saw in him, now you have your answer. You were probably flooded with the “feel-good hormone” Dopamine which is associated with feelings of euphoria, bliss, motivation, and concentration or any of its three sisters Serotonin, Oxytocin, and Endorphins. The love you felt may have come from a good meal, a gift you were given or a great exercise session, all of which stimulate one or more of the four neurotransmitters.
· Dopamine motivates you to take action and gives you a pleasurable feeling once you achieve whatever it is you achieved.
· Serotonin makes you feel important and gives you the ‘cosiness’. To raise it naturally think about your achievements and the things you’re proud of. Re-living those moments will produce serotonin even though these achievements happened in the past. Sun exposure also boosts serotonin.
· Endorphins are a bit different. They are released when you’re in pain and/or stress. Exercise, spicy food, sniffing vanilla and laughing also increases them naturally.
· Oxytocin is the ‘cuddle hormone’. It’s responsible for the feeling of intimacy. Hugs and orgasms make it flow.
So don’t look into the eyes of your tennis coach for two minutes or more, particularly when you are out of breath and your heart is pumping, your perfume is vanilla based, you had spicy curry for lunch and the sun is shining. If you do, your biology will take over, you will become irresistible to the wrong guy, and who knows what this will do to your tennis game.
At the same time, if you want a guy to fall in love with you, look into his eyes while trying to determine his exact eye colour (for two minutes or more), challenge him to running race on a sunny day, let him win, praise his achievement and finally give him a spicy taco followed by a vanilla ice cream. He won’t know what hit him!