In her book, “Why We Love, The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love”, Helen Fisher, talks about the neuroscience of attraction. “Romantic love is associated with elevated levels of Dopamine and/or norepinephrine”. When dopamine is circulating in the brain, “it produces focused attention, as well as fierce energy, concentrated motivation to attain rewards, and feelings of elation, even mania-the core feelings of romantic love.”
These chemical reactions can make love and attraction addictive. We feverishly seek someone out and we need to have them respond or we get despondent. It’s all chemical! Not really, but a big part of it can be. This is why the first six months of a relationship may be particularly hot and why sometimes after that period the relationship and the sex may not be quite as exciting. Drops in these chemicals and others like testosterone, which dramatically affect sex drive, can profoundly affect how we feel about ourselves, our partners and our desire to have sex.
In my practice at the Medical Center, I have often heard women describe the beginning of a relationship as filled with excitement and great sex. This makes perfect sense. In the beginning of a relationship things are new and that literally creates certain chemicals in our brains. However after that initial period, the chemicals may dip, and then we have people wondering how do they get that feeling back! Of course there is no miracle pill to get it back and most people end up feeling miserable jumping from relationship to relationship to maintain that chemical high. The answer is that sexuality is complicated. Chemistry is a only one powerful part of attraction and arousal. We have to look all apects of an individual to figure out what is operating. However, if you are wondering why you don’t feel as you did in the beginning of your relationship, it is certainly helpful to keep this chemical piece in mind.