The Surprising Biology of Love – Podcast Interview

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Episode 1029 The Surprising Biology of Love – Interview with Dr. Liat Yakir

You have heard about the chemistry of love and today you will hear about the biology of love. The fact is our desire for love is driven by biology and how that biology works (and sometimes doesn’t) is fascinating according to my guest Dr. Liat Yakir. She is a biologist specializing in genetics and science communication and speaks frequently on the topics of the biology of human emotions. She is author of the book, A Brief History of Love: What Attracts Us, How We Fall in Love and Why Biology Screws it All Up ( Listen as she explains all this and offers a prescription for a successful relationship you may not have heard before.

Full Transcript

Today on something you should know. Valuable lessons we can learn from the parking lot at Disney World. Then the biology of love and the science behind a successful relationship.

What the data says about the highest predictor for successful relationship it has nothing to do with the other person. The predictor for my successful relationship is how satisfied I am with my life, with my career, with my friends.

Something you should know. Fascinating intel, the world’s top experts, and practical advice you can use in your life today. Something you should know with Mike Carruthers. If you’ve ever been in love or want to be in love or are, uh, curious about love, this episode is for you. You’re about to hear a really interesting conversation about the biology of love.

Hopefully, and most certainly, you have experienced different kinds of love in your life. Parental love, love of a child or a relative or a friend, romantic love, even the love of a pet. It’s all love. And humans, it seems, crave it. But as you may have noticed in your life and in the lives of everyone around you, love is problematic.

As wonderful as it can be, it can also cause a lot of trouble. Most discussions of love focus on the feelings and attitudes and beliefs about love.

But today we are taking a, uh.

Fascinating look at love through a, ah, biological lens, the biology of love. And through that lens, youll discover how to improve the love relationships in your life. And youre going to hear a prescription for better romantic love and marriage that.

Is different from what youve probably heard before.

And when you hear it, I think youll agree it really rings true. My guest is Doctor Lyat Yakir. She is a biologist specializing in genetics and science communication. She’s a highly respected keynote speaker on the topics of biology of human emotions and the evolutionary roots of human behavior. She’s author of a book called a brief history of what attracts us, how we fall in love, and why biology screws it all up.

Hi, Liat, welcome to something you should know.

Hi, Mike. Good to be here.

So tell me, first of all, what’s your working definition of love?

What is it exactly?

So, as a biologist, I see love as an emotion, the emotion of bonding and attachment to another creature. It can be the lover, children, other relationship that we had with another creature. And it’s the product of, ah, hormones, ah, that are produced in our brain and in our body, that makes us bond to each other.

And do humans crave it or we just, if we get it, we get.

It, we crave for it. We are born for love. And the main hormone here is, uh, oxytocin, the love hormone, the bonding hormone, attachment, empathy. And we are social creatures. Uh, without love, we perish. We need this hormone to relax our nervous system. Our nervous system needs another nervous system to be relaxed and to feel secure.

So we crave love.

So we call it all love. But the different kinds of love are really different. The love you feel for your child or your parent is very different than the love you feel for a romantic partner. Yet it’s all called love. And they all must deliver some reward.

Love as a relaxation asset, uh, is our bond with any creature? Yeah, even our pet. And, uh, of course, our parents and family and friends. So we crave this oxytocin, this hormone that we can get only in relationship. But the romantic love is the most complicated, and it starts at puberty, and it has three stages that we should discriminate between because it makes our life more complicated.

So the romantic love is composed of the phase of attraction, which is mainly led by testosterone and estrogen. When we start to be interested in the other sex, it takes our brain 30 seconds to decide if we are attracted sexually to a person or not, of course it’s subconscious.

And the second phase is the infatuation stage, the falling in Love, the stage that all the songs and the stories talks about, takes between 6 hours to two years. This infatuation stage. The butterflies in your belly.

6 hours to two years?



Uh, usually in average around one year, even today, even ten months, it takes us to fall in love with somebody. The infatuation phase that you feel that you cannot live without that person and you crave for their proximity. And uh, you sit by the phone for the message to come.

So this is the infatuation stage. And the last stage and the prolonged stage is the attachment. There’s no more butterflies in the belly and you don’t crave for a text message, but you feel secure and you feel relaxed and you feel attached to the person. You feel good friendship and also some desire and love, of course, but every stage is led by different hormones.

In the attraction stage, is it ever possible, does it ever happen where two people are attracted to each other, but without the sexual desire, the sexual potential.

It’S just two people just really click.

And get along but there’s no desire for sex?

Yeah, that’s a very good question, Mike. And uh, for me, as a biologist, looking at humans, as you know, in evolutionary terms, everything is about sex. So our brain is very hard wired. Especially the ancient areas are wired for sex. So when we see somebody, the ancient area of the brain are the first one to switch on.

And uh, we look at the person and we find them attractive or non attractive. And in biological terms it means will I sexually want to be around this person? And as I said, it takes the amygdala, emotion control center of the brain 30, uh, seconds to decide yes or no if I want to be with that one someone or not.

Our higher areas of the brain, like the frontal cortex, we say, uh, no, I’m not only attracted to the physical appearance of a person, I can be a sepiosexual, for example, like I’m attracted to uh, smart people with uh, people with high intelligence or high emotional intelligence. But this is the other areas of the brain that are making rationale of the attraction.

But basically it’s all about sex in nature.

When you say it’s all about sex, is it all about sex the same way for both sexes? And what I mean by that is, I think it’s just kind of a general feeling, assumption, opinion, I don’t know, that men are much more attracted to the physical and that women are, that that’s less important that.

That’s further down the list.

Yes, she still looks at the physical appearance. And, uh, when we look at their research in data, we see that women look first on parameters of height of the men, you know, b a little more higher than her before she looks at its social status. So physical attraction is very, very important also for women.

And testosterone, um, and estrogens play the role. Testosterone make men be more physically, um, in average, 15% higher in mass than women. And women look for somebody to be bigger than her, you know, feel, feel comfortable, feel, ah, like she’s protected. She will say these things, but it’s basically the attraction for higher levels of testosterone, which also will make a man look more athletic or more muscles, uh, body features of testosterone and also of estrogen.

So also women look at the physical appearance of men. But you are right, the social status is also important for women. And in all mammalian kingdom, females don’t like any male. They are attracted to the alpha male or males that show the signs of the alpha male. So they have, uh, a higher social status than the other, the dominant ones in the territory.

So still, you are right. It’s also, ah, for women. But also a man in the dating apps with the photographed with a guitar gets much more messages from women. So also music gives, uh, us good signs.

Men whose picture has a guitar, they’re holding a guitar is more attractive to women.

Yes, I guess it’s signs of making music. And oxytocin. Oxytocin is secreted when we make music. So it’s maybe more sensitive man, ah, connected to his feelings and can be a good partner and a good parent, maybe, I don’t know. But still a guitar, do it for.

Women still today, um, it’s not a conscious thing.

They don’t say, well, I find him attractive because he’s holding a guitar. Right. It’s very subconscious.

Exactly 95% of what’s happening to us, our behavior is subconscious to us. And for me, as a biologist, it is all rooted in our biology. And there is a logic behind him. In evolutionary sense, there is a logic, uh, behind it. Ah, also, men within dating apps are attracted to, of course, the physical, uh, appearance, the fertility signs of women, but also women that smiles a lot and, uh, convey in the photograph, uh, joyfulness and vitality gets more messages from men.

So men are not only looking for the physical appearance, but also for vitality signs and joyfulness and smilefulness.

When we find someone attractive, it is just that it’s only attraction. It doesn’t mean that that person would make a good partner would make a good life partner. It’s just a very initial physical or whatever, what you just described, but it.

Has nothing to do with.

And this person would make a good partner.

Exactly. That’s why I’m saying that there is no love at first sight. There is attraction from first sight, which is important, yes, but there is no love at first sight. And, uh, 10% of people they were asking in big surveys, 10% say that they knew it was it from the first sight.

And 50% say they even didn’t have attraction at first sight. So they didn’t even thought about going for another date. So we need to give a chance because love takes time. It takes time to secrete the oxytocin. It is secreted when we talk with each other, when we smile to each other, when we ask questions and talk about our lives and about our emotions and feelings.

Sometimes people really, uh, eliminate, uh, you know, after one date, and they say, I didn’t feel the attraction and that’s it. But love takes time. And when you start to secrete the oxytocin, this, uh, special love hormone, after a while you find the person more attractive than he was at the first or she was at first sight.

Because oxytocin makes us euphoric and see the other person as more attractive when we know him, it can be also for the other side. So when you find someone very attractive at first sight, but then you know him and you know that he’s not a good person and suddenly he doesn’t look so attractive.

So it’s all in our eyes and it’s all, uh, the work of hormones. So we need to give love a chance.

So there’s this thing that gets thrown into the mix of attraction and infatuation. I’d like for you to explain, and that is this idea of being hard to get, that it’s more attractive if somebody doesn’t want you, and it seems like you should want somebody who wants you and they should want somebody who wants them.

But somehow in the human brain, when someone’s hard to get, it makes them more attractive. And it doesn’t seem to make much.

Sense in evolutionary terms. It makes, in human sense, it doesn’t make sense because we should want somebody that wants us, of course. So I always say for singers, play hard to get, not too hard, of course. Don’t insult the other person, but don’t be too available, especially for women.

Sometimes we get attached or we just want to hang out with the guy and automatically he can interpret it as, oh, she’s desperate or too attachment, too needy. Dependent. Needy, exactly.

We’re discussing the biology of love, and my guest is Lyat Yakir, author of the book a brief History of Love. What attracts us, how we fall in love, and why biology screws it all up. So, liat, often the explanation you hear about the benefits of playing hard to get is that people like a challenge.

If you’re too easy to get, you’re not so desirable. That people like a, uh, challenge. Is that it? That we want to challenge?

Yes, because this challenge is, uh, basically the work of testosterone, and also for male and females. This testosterone makes us want to conquer, to be with someone that not from our league, and it feels like we have an accomplishment. That’s why it’s really important to not to be too easy to get.

And also, I may also add, that it implies also inside the relationship, sometimes we think, okay, so we are in a relationship, and we are married, so we don’t need to play games anymore. But it’s not necessarily true. Even inside the marriage, we need to sometimes play these games.

I mean, not to be too needy. Um, why we don’t hang out too much together. You are not with me. You are more with your friends. Automatically, when someone says such phrases or sentences, the other one feels, oh, I need my space. Uh, I don’t want to be, um, controlled.

So this game of testosterone applies before the relationship and also inside the relationship.

Of course, there are, uh, I’m sure, exceptions to pretty much everything you’ve said. And one of those exceptions I’d like you to talk about is I think everybody probably knows someone who should not get married or should never have gotten married, because they just don’t seem the settle down, monogamous type.

Are there people like that, that are just wired that way, that monogamy just doesn’t work for them?

As a matter of fact, 20% of the population have a special variant of the gene for a dopamine receptor in the brain that they called it the, uh, infidelity gene. You need more excitements and more conquerors, and, uh, this 20% of population needs more excitement than the others. Uh, but we all have this tension between monogamy m and, um, polyamory, if you want, or polygamy that you want the attachment and security and relaxation and familiarity of a one person.

But there is a price that we pay, and the price is the dopamine, because dopamine makes us seek for novelty, for new things. Uh, we have this wiring of the brain that makes us become tolerant to the same stimuli, the same kiss, the same touch with the same person.

So after a while, like I said, 6 hours to two years, uh, we find it boring sometimes and it’s wiring of our brain, it has nothing to do with the other person. So in this game, this is what I’m trying to educate and understand, that it’s written in our biology.

We will have to deal with this tension between the need of security, attachment and familiarity, and also the need for dopamine and adrenaline and serotonin, which are coming for us from novelty seeking. And that’s why you sometimes we lose desire for the same person.

But it seems.

Would you say that women are more monogamous or would you say that men are less monogamous than the other?

Um, no, no, I wouldn’t say that. Because also we see, when we look at the, ah, research about cheating, we see it’s 50 50, you know, between, uh, women and men. So there is no difference.

You said a few minutes ago that there’s this variant of a gene that makes people, 20% of people, less monogamous or more likely to cheat. Can you like actually test for that?

Yes, even there is, uh, there are labs in the US that you can send your DNA and they will tell you if you have this variant of the gene. There is also the monogamy gene. It makes the male more attached to the females and also the female more attached to the males.

So they stay together for forever and they don’t cheat on each other, and usually they don’t, and uh, they get depressed where they are not together. So there is also the monogamy gene, and you can check for this also.

So with all you know about this is, do you have a prescription, like, what makes a good monogamous relationship or what gets in the way of it?

Yes, I have a prescription. How to preserve love if we understand these biology. First, what the data says about the highest predictor for successful relationship, it has nothing to do with the other person, it has all about. It has all to do with us. The satisfaction from life of oneself.

Yes. So the predictor for my successful relationship is how satisfied I am with my life, with my career, with my friends, with the meaning of life for me. And the second predictor is the levels of stress. So the first thing we need to do is relieve stress and be more satisfied with our own life, and it’s in our own responsibility.

The other parameter is the commitment m to the bond and the appreciation of the partner, and also sexual satisfaction. So also my prescription is to really work on the sexual satisfaction, knowing that the biology is against us. But we can outsmart biology by keeping the engines of eroticism, by talking about it, uh, by don’t pleasing each other too much.

Everyone has its own space and to long to each other to be together, but also apart sometimes, um, and elevate the oxytocin level, you know, smile and touch and be with each other and talk with each other and do things together, but do things also apart.

Well, what’s interesting about your prescription is that, uh, we hear so often when couples are having trouble, you need to work on your relationship. And I never really understood what that meant, but that’s not what you’re saying. You need to work on you, maybe, and maybe help your partner work on them.

But it isn’t so much about fixing the relationship according to what you just said.

Yeah. Yes, this is what I think, because I see it also all as a, you know, balance of hormones. And if you are balanced, uh, uh, with your hormones, you know, more serotonin. I love serotonin. You know, dopamine is the novelty seeking to seek for what I don’t have.

Serotonin is being happy with what I have. And I wish everybody could, uh, elevate the serotonin, which makes us look at what we have and be, uh, content and be satisfied to have gratitude, uh, towards ourselves.

Well, it’s really unique to hear a discussion about love and relationships and commitment and all that through your lens of biology, as opposed to the more psychological, um, discussions that we hear. And I think it brings great insight into the whole issue of what’s going on in relationships and what goes wrong.

And what goes right. I have been speaking to Doctor Lyat Yakir. She is a biologist who specializes in genetics and science communications. And she’s author of a book called a brief history of what attracts us, how we fall in love and why biology screws it all up. There’s a link to her book at Amazon in the show notes.

Thank you for spending the time today, Liat.

Thank you. Thank you very much, Mike. It was a pleasure.

We hope you’ll listen. And also remember, we have a huge back catalog of shows that you may have missed. I’m, uh, Mike Kerr brothers. Thanks for listening today to something you should know.

What is love Scientifically ?

What is love Scientifically ?

about having kids and being a mother. It sounds weird, but I was so eager to care that I used to practice it on my younger brothers.

When I was 19, I fell in love for the first time under the strong fluence of all those bonding hormones. After three years of being together, we got married. And two years later, we got divorced at the age of 28. During my PhD, I started to hear my biological clock ticking.

It’s the real one, not the one on the bench. And, uh, I decided I needed a break. So I, uh, traveled alone in India and Nepal, where, uh, I challenged all my fears and did rafting in one of Nepal’s most beautiful rivers, high on cortisol. I fell from the boat on the first rapid, and the water was very shallow, but I didn’t realize it.

And while I was saying my last words to God, I suddenly felt a strong hand fishing me out of the water. The hand was connected to a charming Nepali guy with the warmest, smiling eyes I’ve ever seen in my life. He saved my life, as far as I am concerned.

So two years later, we got married and brought to the world two gorgeous kids, and divorced six years later. Hi, my name is Liat. I’m a biologist, and I’m one of 200,000 single mothers in Israel. Every third couple in Israel filed for divorce, and every second couple in other western countries.

Since the 70s, divorce rate have soared globally and marriages are in decline. The number of single parent family increases every day. What happened to us? What happened to the happily ever after dream? Are we biologically programmed for everlasting love? What will be the future of love and family in light of these trends, and how will they transform our social structures?

These are very important questions that we must answer. We humans tend to apply a very human centric thinking towards life, unable to comprehend 4 billion years of evolutionary power that shaped everything that we are. And we didn’t invent love, we inherited it. And the answers to all those fascinating questions lies within our biology, and most specifically, in our genes.

Like all creatures on earth, we are reproduction machines. Machines designed blindly by the selfish molecules called genes to pass them on from generation to generation. As Richard docking so wisely put it, all the living creatures are programmed to maximize the genetic variation of their progeny. Machines by mating with several partners along their lifetimes.

So our genes are interested in staying here for hundreds of thousands of years, long after we all vanish to dust. So whatever maximizes the genes ought to survive years longer is strongly imprinted in our brains, this magnificent evolutionary product of 500 million years. So, from the genes perspective, monogamy is a disaster.

Why? To put all the eggs in one basket. That’s why 95% of all species on earth are polygamous or polygynous, which means males compete to fertilize as many females as possible, and females raises their offspring by themselves. This is the default strategy for reproduction on earth. Monogamy, in which one male bond form a stable pair bond with one female and together they raise their offspring, is extremely rare in nature.

Only 5% of mammals and many birds are monogamous.

Monogamy is dictated by the needs of the offspring that are shaped by the environment. We will find monogamy whenever conditions are harsh and many predators lurks around. If Daddy Barnall didn’t stay to take care of his eggs while mommy went to bring food, the chicks are doomed. So the monogamist father adapted to form a pair bond with the female and to behave maternally and raise their offspring.

How this adaptation is represented in the genes level. Is there a gene for monogamy? Is there a monogamy gene, and do we have this gene? In order to address this question, scientists have compared the genomes of monogamist and polygamist species of the same kind. They compare the genomes of the monogamist prairie vole to his cousin, the polygamist Mountain vole

Interestingly, a variation in the regulatory region of one gene makes all the difference and changes the brain structures of the monogamist vol and make it behave maternally. This gene encodes to, uh, the love hormone receptor. And the love hormone receptor will be more expressed, is more expressed in the brain of the monogamous prairie vol.

The love hormones, uh, oxytocin family are a group of hormones that are released from the ancient limbic emotional regions in our brain. They are released whenever we look in each other eyes, whenever we kiss, whenever we touch, whenever we hug, whenever we say to each other warm words, whenever we smile and laugh, and during intercourse and orgasms.

These hormones induce bonding and attachment between creatures, and they are amazingly conserved along evolution from worms to humans. We will find,

we will find the highest level of this hormone in the blood of a female in labor. This hormone will induce labor, breastfeeding and the maternal behavior to form the strong mother offspring attachment. Scientists from the Weizmann Institute have shown recently that these limbic regions that control maternal behavior are bigger in the brain of females than in the brain of males in mice, and that they are doubled during labor in order to increase maternal care and its rewarding effect in the brain of the mother.

That’s explained why we don’t just throw them away. Sometimes our kids

in the monogamous brain, the monogamous creature’s brain, the brain of the male, resembles the brain of the female. Daddy becomes more like mommy. And the big question is, what about us? Do human dads have this monogamy gene? So scientists from Sweden addressed this question and checked this conserved love hormone receptor in 500 male twin, uh, Swedish twin men.

They compared, uh, their genomes and interestingly, they find, ah, a difference in the regulatory, uh, region of the gene between males that were men that were scored high in relationship by their wives compared to men who were scored low in relationship. They also find a high variance between different men, which is very interesting.

This test is now available for $100. I must tell you that as a single woman geneticist, I no longer waste my time on endless dates. I just ask for saliva and blood samples. I run my tests. Ideally I would ask for brain section, but I assume it may cause problem later in the relationship.

So monogamy may hide in our genes, but it’s important to understand that monogamy in nature is not the happily ever after fairy tale that we have in mind. Since the 80s, dna parenthood test became more available and genetic testing of these creatures revealed a world of infidelity everywhere. For example, 25% of the litters of these lovely romantic priori vaults that stay all the time together.

He’s depressed when you take her from him. But anyway, the genetic testing revealed that 25% of the litter don’t share dna with their father. In pigeon, the number is 30% of the eggs don’t share DNA with the father. So a more careful look into these monogamous, monogamous creatures showed us that they stay together only through the breeding season, cheat from time to time when there is an opportunity and then separate.

This is called serial monogamy. Like per project partnership, only about twelve species out of 8 million on earth form long life pair bond. True love exists in 0.1% of species in nature. Most of them are birds, so the genes always win. Genetic variation rules. There is one important strong neuronal wiring the genes imprinted in our brain in order to verify these endless swinging between couples.

Uh, this is called, uh, the famous coolidge effect. This wiring in the brain make us experience more pleasure, more dopamine rush during orgasms with new partner and less pleasure during orgasms and intercourse with the same familiar partner. So the brain is more rewarded by novelty in sex. This is the gene’s power.

This is a very powerful wiring that lies at the roots of human infidelity are sexual fantasies and porn. Without it, you won’t recognize the Internet. Without this effect. This effect has been shown in male and female. But it is much stronger in males as it is enhanced by testosterone.

Why coolidge effect is stronger in the male and, uh, less strong in the female. Males are totally dependent on female to pass on their genes. And they can never be sure that their children are their own right. They don’t have this DNA testing. The gender struggle starts here in this, um, fact.

So in his inferior position, the male has two strategies, optional strategies in order to ensure the passing of his gene. One strategy is to spread his sperm m as much as possible. And while suppressing other males from doing so and dominating the females. The other option is to form one pair, bond with one female and guard every step she take.

And every male that tries to come near it calls mate guarding. So what is her, uh, strategy to choose the best genes. So for the benefit of the both of them, the most evolutionary stable strategy for both of them is the efficient one is polygamy, as we can see in nature.

So maybe we actually polygamist, it makes more sense. Like other primates and mammalians, indeed, our species has a long history of polygamy. You can open the Bible and look at it. And also a strong history of domination of women. And most of the world still practice polygamy and domination of women.


and, um. In the polygamist species, the competition between the male. In polygamy, the competition between the male create a unique social order that is called dominance hierarchy. Uh, scientists saw it from flies to mammalians, this, uh, uh, special social order. In this order, every individual tries to dominates the others.

And ah, all the individuals subordinate to the winners alpha or several alpha. Usually they are males and the winner takes it all the resources and the females. This is the reward of being an alpha. And scientists from the Weisman Institute recently show that male dominance hierarchy in mice is formed within 24 hours of chasing in the cage.

We also live in dominance hierarchy. We always lived. There are few winners in this game. And, uh, we have few higher ranked usually also males monopolize the group, our group resources. In the past, the monopoly, uh, included also the women. In the Inca society, the number of women a man was entitled by law, was correlated by his rank.

And you can see that the lowest rank, men were forced to have one women. So we see another form of monogamy, which is forced by hierarchy and not by the adaptation that we see before it were the roman emperors and their religious institutions. That spread this hierarchical form of monogamy in their colonies.

They did it in order to dismantle the power of the tribes and hamulas. And it became the tradition and continued to our time, protected by the religious and the elite institutions, and also by poverty.

But, uh, here today, during the 20th century, the scientific revolution, the rise of democracy, the prosperity and women liberation. Have slowly weakened the old hierarchy. Religion loses the grip, and biology steps in, and lifelong monogamy, we see it shatters. We see more serial monogamy, polyamory, and more open relationship starts to thrive.

We need to create new social institutions to support these changes. Social and economic institutions. Because our current outdated and archaic economic system. Still force pair bonds in order to prosper. Uh, it recognizes, uh, the pair bonded, the nuclear family, as the principal economic unit. Only pair bonded couples can provide their offspring more comfortably today.

And pair bond is still a precondition for the territory, for a house, for a roof, by the banking debt system. And single parents struggles in order to provide for the families. And many families collapse by divorce.

Uh, these economic pressures that starting to emerge. And combined with the transforming effect of technology on employment and job security. Enhance and accelerate the social unrest that rock the rocky, already rocky economic system. But we humans are master of imagination. Old system need to be replaced by new ones.

So I believe that we are on the verge of a paradigm shift in which we need to create new definitions, new definitions for work and money, and new definitions for family and love. But this time, this new innovative paradigm will be facilitated by the true engines of creations, the women.

In the near future, we will witness a massive movement of women. Into the once abandoned political and economical institutions in every country. These women will embed a female mindset to policy and decision making. And will reshape our social institutions. In the new paradigm, I believe that every member of society will be referred to as a separate economic unit entitled for the right, for a decent job, a roof, and education and security, regardless of his or her sexual or reproductive choices.

I believe that they will also change the fact that the hard work of creating, nurturing and sustaining life. Will be, uh, acknowledged as economic activity and be counted in state accounts. The old measures of nation’s growth will be replaced by new measures. That account also for the well being and the level of happiness of all people.

And not only the few. A true new world order that will lead to prosperity of all, not only for few. And what about love? What will happen to love? Will relationship never last? I believe it’s up to us. We are not prisoners of our genes. We need to understand, and we need to accept and realize our biology.

And when we accept it, we can learn these wirings and mechanisms of how love works and learn and teach ourself and our children how to form a stable pair bond. This is possible because we know love make us healthy. Love make us happy. Love make us. And it worth all the efforts.

I would like to conclude with the nice, uh, wise words of the Mahatma Gandhi. The day the power of love overrules the love of power, this world will know peace.


I keep dating the same type of person

The Guardian: I keep dating the same type of person.
Should I break my own habits?
Having a type isn’t necessarily an issue – but it can become problematic when inconsistent with our desires
Elle Hunt 31 Jan 2024 | The Guardian To the Full Article >>

I often get told – by long-time friends, dismayed lovers and my gently insistent therapist – that I have “a type”. I would protest, but 10 years of data doesn’t lie. There’s a lot of fellow journalists, or other creative sorts; most dark-haired, with boyish features and – preferably – a big nose.

My track record is so consistent that friends have been able to scout dates for me with laser precision, while past boyfriends have felt self-conscious about their button noses, fearing themselves the exception that proves the rule. I don’t think I’m being shallow, at least not more than the average dater – but sometimes you can’t fail to notice the patterns.

Freya, 34, describes her type as rugged and hairy, following a “blip” in her 20s when she dated a man who shaved. “Now I’m happily married to a wild man – phew.” Jasmine, 31, tells me that she veers between two types, which she calls “the rats” (“tall, gaunt and pretentious”) and “the bears” (“stockier and hairier”). Stella, 39, is more consistent: “If you were to put everyone I’ve ever slept with in a room, it would look like a family reunion: a lot of 6ft men with black hair, at least one Irish parent and often even the same name.” Kesha, 35, also pictures her past loves: “A small crowd of neurodiverse redheads, of all genders.”

well actually – read more buttonMy informal survey suggests that types can go beyond blond or brunette to be unsettlingly specific. “It was pointed out to me a while ago, and now I cannot unsee it: all the men I’ve ever dated have looked in some way unwell,” says Parminder, 37. Her current date runs ultra-marathons – yet still looks somehow “Dickensian”. Ronnie, 24, is drawn to women who look like they “could be cast in a European period drama … like Alicia Vikander mixed with Vicky Krieps: manic pixie fräulein”. Simon, 37, has a history of dating women who look like his ex – who looks like the female version of him. It hasn’t caused him any difficulties, he protests: “I don’t consciously lean into or away from it.” And, he adds, it goes both ways: “I think there have definitely been women for whom I have been their type, too.”

Having a type isn’t necessarily an issue. The biologist and genetics specialist Liat Yakir writes in her forthcoming book, A Brief History of Love, that attraction is influenced by “a variety of genetic, evolutionary, familial, psychological, social and cultural factors”. But it can become problematic when inconsistent with our desires – for example, when we find ourselves repeatedly dating fun but flighty characters though we’re seeking a long-term relationship. Dating apps enable us to pursue our type exclusively by foregrounding superficial traits like height. But type can also extend to personality traits and reflect our past relationships – meaning we might not be conscious of all the ways in which we’re limiting ourselves in the search for love. My own type, distinct though it may be, has so far failed to lead to a lasting bond – though that might have more to do with my subconscious pursuit of emotionally unavailable men than nose size. So what can you do if your type seems to be working against you?

“A lot of people come to me for dating coaching and say: ‘Logan, I know exactly what I want: a 5ft 7in redhead who plays tennis,’” says Logan Ury. As both the director of relationship science at the dating app Hinge and a dating coach, Ury sees first-hand how people can get in their own way in the search for love. Her 2021 book, How Not To Die Alone, metabolises insights from psychology and Hinge’s data into practical advice. Much of this has to do with resisting the temptation – heightened by apps’ shallow profiles and split-second decision-making – to pursue only people who seem immediately attractive. “My slogan is: ‘You think you know what you want – but you’re wrong,’” says Ury. My slogan is: ‘You think you know what you want – but you’re wrong’ Logan UryMost clients prioritise what she calls “résumé traits” like height, job or education level. “I try to help them to understand that the type of person they have been going for may not be the type of person who makes them happy in the long term,” Ury says. Her first task is to figure out which of her clients’ criteria are actually deal breakers, and which might be better reframed or ditched entirely. For example, a person seeking someone who works in finance might simply want financial security, which is not exclusive to any profession. As for height, Ury says those who draw the line at 6ft might be dismayed to discover just how much they are shrinking their dating pool: only 14% of men in the US, for instance, are 6ft or taller. “People complain, ‘There’s no one good out there, I’m not meeting anyone’ – but they’re not meeting 86% of potential partners,” she says. “There’s no evidence that finding someone who’s 6ft or taller makes it a better romantic relationship.” Ury then encourages her clients to “date like a scientist”, and test their hypotheses. When a woman claims to only be attracted to men with beards, Ury challenges her to go out with some men who are clean-shaven, to see if that’s really the case. skip past newsletter promotion Sign up to Reclaim your brain

Sometimes it is. For example, Rose, 25, couldn’t shake her preference for height, being 5ft10in herself: “Part of it is to do with being a bit bullied for being tall at school.” But according to social psychology, we develop a preference for characteristics that feel familiar – meaning we’re at risk of embedding our type, even when it’s not working out. A 2019 study comparing the personality traits of participants’ current and past partners found that we tend to date “the same type of person over and over again” – potentially contributing to recurring difficulties within relationships. Ury challenges her clients to “broaden their filters”: literally, on apps – by casting a bigger net regarding parameters like age, religion or location – and by remaining open to being surprised. Ronnie often feels frustrated by his type. “I’m bored of it – my omnivorous friends have much more fun,” he says. But changing, he guesses, “would require immense, Zen-esque self-discipline”.

Nadine, 31, always used to date thin, artistic men: “trendy pricks”, she summarises now. So when Nadine met Harry, she was put off by his job. She texted her friends, dismayed: “He works in finance,” followed by four skull emoji. “I was very prejudiced,” she admits. But kind, steadfast Harry soon provided a welcome contrast to the patchy attentions of her usual type. “I couldn’t believe I was going out with someone who was just nice, and always phoned when they said they would,” Nadine says. “I was like: ‘Wow, this isn’t supposed to be a fucking nightmare?’” They are now engaged. Their vision of love, and what they’ve experienced, is the chasing and not knowing Logan UryOften, Ury says, her clients will describe dates who are “nice but boring”: “They say ‘I don’t feel the spark – I’m not thinking about them all the time … Why wouldn’t I be with a person who gives me that feeling?’” But this attraction tends to reflect a problematic “attachment style” – often simplified as “anxious” or “avoidant”. “Their vision of love, and what they’ve experienced, is the chasing and not knowing,” says Ury. “When someone is straightforward with them, saying ‘I like you; I want to see you again’, or even just being nice to them – suddenly, that person doesn’t feel exciting.” For those familiar with this pattern, the path to love is learning to recognize how past experiences are influencing their present – and what kinds of personalities and dynamics, though compelling, might not bring them happiness. The way out of “this anxious-avoidant loop” is by becoming more secure in oneself, and learning to recognize that as a desirable quality in others, Ury says. But it’s far from easy. “Securely attached” people – those who neither shy from intimacy, nor deny themselves in its pursuit – reportedly make up just 20% of the dating pool, because they’ve already securely attached to someone else. “People ask ‘How can I tell from someone’s profile if they’re secure?’ – but you can’t,” Ury says. “That’s too much pressure.” She suggests meeting up with promising matches as soon as possible: after three days of messaging is the “sweet spot”, according to Hinge’s data. Then, instead of waiting for the fabled “spark”, try to tune into the subtleties of the interaction. We tend to approach dates as an “exchange of information”, like a job interview, says Ury. More important is the experience, which she gauges with a list of eight questions, among them: “What side of me did they bring out? How did my body feel during the date: stiff, relaxed, or somewhere in between? Did they make me laugh?” These are far more robust gauges of compatibility than instant chemistry, which can be short-lived, non-specific or otherwise lead us astray, Ury says.

Changing your dating strategy can feel disorienting, and even unnatural; Ury likens it to tasting pure cacao after a lifetime of eating milk chocolate. But for those genuinely seeking a stable, loving relationship, it is worth it, she says. “You have to break some patterns to get there, [but] it can be so liberating.” The research and her clients’ experience bear this out, Ury says. She herself found love by dating outside her type.

Ury met Scott at college; they started dating years later, after they both wound up working at Google. But before their paths crossed for the second time, Ury had seen Scott’s profile on Tinder – and swiped left. In his pictures he was wearing a cap, backwards, and a tank top; he looked like “a bro … not my type,” she says. She would never have thought to put “5ft8in redheaded vegan engineer” on her checklist for a partner. They have now been together for nine years. Scott proved nothing like the bro that his profile made him out to be. Instead of chasing the spark, Ury went for the “slow burn”: “someone who is really great, and continues to get better,” she says happily. “That’s what I hope for other people.” Ury’s case is persuasive, and her curiosity contagious. She may not be able to bring me around to blonds – but swiping through Hinge after our call, I find myself feeling more open. By restricting my right swipes to big noses, I might not have been seeing past the end of mine.

The Biology Of Love Interview With Dr Liat Yakir

Many have studied it, written about it and even died for it and yet, it appears, we are mostly blind to the essence of love. Dr Liat Yakir takes us on a fascinating journey through the evolution of love in history and in modern times, showing the importance of hormones, neurons and genes that dictate who we’ll fall in love with and who we’ll reject.

A Brief History of Love is Dr. Liat Yakir’s first book

Listen to the Podcast >>

Transcript :

The word love comes from the Sanskrit word lubaya, which means to go crazy. And indeed, love is a form of madness, but it’s also a necessity for most of us. Of course, as we mentioned in this interview, there are outliers. For example, Isaac Newton, Adam Smith, and Emmanuel Kant.

They were asexual and, uh, just not that interested in love. But most of us are wired in such a way that we need another person, another nervous system, in order to relax and to feel that we belong. And indeed, we’re going to learn how that works and all these crazy and amazing things and how biology, in, uh, many ways, drives us, and not always to do the most rational things.

This interview with Dr. Liette Akir is based on her book, a brief history of love, what attracts us, how we fall in love, and why biology screws it all up. And as he does, we’ll see there are all these different forces that pull us in so many different ways.

We’ll learn about the love hormone oxytocin that makes us put someone else’s needs above our own. We’ll learn how testosterone makes us selfish, less empathetic, and, uh, more obsessed with our own, uh, hierarchical social standing, how society influences our sexual fantasies. We’ll learn that human beings are extremely sexual and, uh, that us and Bonnevos are the only two species that enjoy heterosexual sex outside of ovulation.

We’ll learn why it’s healthier to masturbate without porn, because then you use your imagination, which is so much healthier for the brain. The cooleridge effect causes desire to decline amongst couples over time. And we also explore how monogamous we are compared to other animals, and also what happens to the body when our heart is broken, which can, uh, actually lead, uh, to heart disease.

As a biologist and researcher, Dr. Liat Yakir is filled with so much wisdom about love and sex and how we can improve our lives that I think this podcast is probably one of the most important ones that I’ve done, and I hope you enjoyed as much as I did.

So here’s to understanding what it is that makes us tick. Welcome, Dr. Liat yakir. It’s a pleasure, uh, to start this interview on Valentine’s Day, uh, which is very appropriate, uh, when, uh, it comes to the topic of love and sex. Yes, indeed, I’m happy to be here. Thank you, Etan.

And let’s talk about love. It’s my favorite subject. And happy Valentine’s Day. Thank you. Well, first, we should say that, uh, it seems that for homo sapiens, love is the favorite subject for, I guess, most of us in a sense. I mean, you mentioned, I believe in the beginning of your book that, uh, if you do a Google search and see how many page counts you get, the highest, uh, page count is for love, right?

Yeah. And I believe that’s followed by money, sex and then God, right? Yeah. Money, sex, sex, money and God. There you go. Sex, money and God. Uh, obviously, I guess we could kind of go into a loop. Perhaps God can make an appearance sometimes in the bedroom. God is mentioned occasionally as well.

So those things can be conflated at times, but we can go there a bit later. But, yes, I guess most of us are very interested in love. Although you do mention the book that for, uh, um, a small proportion of people, there is such a thing as being asexual.

It often is correlated, uh, with, uh, autism. And if we look throughout history, there are people like Isaac Newton, Emmanuel Kant, Adam Smith, who seem to have really no interest, I guess, in sex. So there are outliers as well, right? As in every trait in biology, we have variation.

We have a spectrum, uh, between individuals. So some are very sexual, highly sexual. Some need a lot of excitement in sex, and they’re getting bored easily. And on the other side of the spectrum is the asexual. But even there, there is a spectrum. You can be asexual, but still want emotional bonding with a person, but without sex.

And there can be many reasons for that. And not enough research has been done. But still there is a correlation also with, uh, some traits of the autistic spectrum, which in its own is a spectrum. But it’s very interesting. Human sexuality. Ah, human sociality. Ah, pair bonding. It’s so interesting for me, the human behavior, all about connections with other people, especially.

And is it fair to say that perhaps we are one of the most sexual, uh, beings in the animal kingdom. If not the most. We and the pygmy, the bonobo chimpanzees, uh, we all do sex not only for reproduction purposes. We, uh, do sex, uh, to enhance the social bonds between us, to feel relaxed, to feel happier.

And also the bonobo chimpanzees also do it. And they masturbate a lot and they caress each other and they masturbate to each other like we do. So we and them are the most sexual creatures, uh, on earth that uses it not only for reproduction. So this is unique, as you say, because most animals tend to, uh, or at least tetrasexual sex tends to be correlated with, uh, ovulation.

But as you say, we need sex. And, in fact, sex is something that affects our well being. And you even say that it’s actually extremely good for the brain as well, right? Yeah, extremely good for the brain. We know that people that, uh, live in communities and they have social integration even without the sex, even to be with people, to have friends and emotional bonds with people, uh, predict longevity in humans.

You also need to eat well and not to smoke too much. But, uh, the highest predictor for longevity, uh, is social interaction and relationships, strong relationships. But, uh, sex in its own, is a very, very good activity for the brain. It releases a lot of hormones. Ah. And many brain areas are turned on and working when we make sex, because we are not only engaged in the activity itself, it’s not only the sports, uh, because also when we do sport, we have a lot of, uh, brain activity.

But in sex, we have also the fantasy. We usually fantasize, maybe on another person, but also, uh, we think about the person that we are with. But the brain is very active in imagination, fantasy. And when we fantasize, 70% of neurons, um, that are turned on in the activity, are turned on when you think about a person, when you fantasize.

So it’s a lot of brain activity, as many areas of the audio and visual, of course, and the motor and other brain areas. And when the brain is so active, it, uh, undergoes regeneration and, um, also cleaning of the

toxins that are secreted in the brain and rejuvenation of the brain. So a good tip for longevity, uh, of the brain is sex and cross puzzles or sudoko puzzles, to do both.

That sounds, um, most people would like that prescription. And I think you mentioned that, uh, the brain is four times more active during sex than during sports even. Right. Uh, in terms of kind of like the intensity of, uh, the processing and the imagination. Right. Because of the imagination, in sports, we tend to go to meditate, not to think too much.

It’s good for the sports, but in sex, it’s the opposite. We need to fantasize in order to enjoy more. Many things happens in our brain. We not necessarily talk about it, but, uh, we do it in our brain. That’s why masturbation is also a good activity for the brain, because when you think about the activity, 70% of the brain cells work when you think about something.

So, ah, it’s like, how do you call it, guided imagination. We have a guided meditation, a visual meditation of sorts. Yeah. Wow. Very interesting. Um, so, yeah, we’ll get into all of that, and also we’ll talk later about porn addiction, because obviously masturbation can be good, but it can be taken too far as well.

We’ll talk about everything. Because you cover so much in the. Book, in porn, you don’t have imagination. You understand? In porn, uh, you see the visuals, so you have less brain activity. You only have a high surge of dopamine because you see whatever, uh, the brain wants to see, which is violent sex, usually for men, or very strong signals.

And it tends to decrease over time. You need more dopamine, you need more high, intense visual in order to, uh. So it’s better to read a romantic, erotic book than, uh, to watch porn. Uh, or even when you watch, it’s better to not watch too much. Stop and maybe take that and then imagine what you watched, perhaps.

Yeah, fascinating because, yes, as you say, you build up a tolerance for what you see. Sometimes you just need something more and more extreme as well. Um, fascinating, but yes. So using our imagination, this is a key thing. And going back to, you mentioned social bonding and whatnot, I think in the book you also say that loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, right?

Yeah. It’s work done by some, uh, researchers that, ah, are studying longevity and the predictors for longevity. And they show that it’s because of the stress. Ah, we humans need social bonds in order to relax the nerve system, our nervous system. Uh, when a child cries, when a baby cries, he wants someone to take him in the hands and rock the vagus nerve, which goes travel down our back and, uh, gets to the internal organs.

It’s very important. The tense cranial nerve, it’s very important. Goes from the brain to the organs. And when somebody loves us, when we have bond, uh, it activates the relaxation response, uh, of the brain, the parasympathetic, uh, nervous system. The rest and digest response, it stops the fight flight distress.

And when you are lonely, you are all the time in the fight flight freeze mode. You are in stress. Because we human are social, um, uh, creatures. Uh, we are supposed to crave for social bonds and it makes us relax. And when you don’t have it, when you are lonely, ah, so you are all the time in a stress mode, in survival mode.

And it takes a lot of energy from the body. The immune system is also, uh, deactivated. And, uh, um, cell division is, uh, decreased. So your immune system, your ability to, ah, protect the body also internally and also externally, uh, diminishes. And you are more prone to disease and more prone to, uh, the same like cigarettes do to our body.

It also affects the toxins that are, uh, in the cigarettes, affects harm, ah, vital, uh, organs and systems in the body. So let me ask you a question. It’s fascinating, certainly. It’s been said that the worst punishment you can give a human is solitary confinement. Right? Uh, because then you kind of go crazy, in a way.

You mentioned this need to have, um, another person, another nervous system to connect with, and, uh, that engages, you said the parasympathetic system, which is kind of like, that’s when we relax, that’s when we exhale. This is because we’re always like, right. We’re always kind of inhaling, exhaling. We’re always kind of going in, in between the two modes.

But, um, we become more relaxed with another person. And I wonder, in this digital age, can we get that relaxation through technology? So if I’m right now you and me, we’re connecting. It’s over the Internet. How effective is that compared to you and me sitting across a sofa from one another?

So it’s all about oxytocin. Yeah. The hormone that is released, the love hormone that activates the relaxing systems. So we get less oxytocin through, uh, technology. Because our brain was not programmed or, ah, evolved, ah, in these ages, 10,000 years ago, scientists believe that our brain didn’t change a lot, and it cannot change, ah, evolution doesn’t work in the time frames of human development.

So technology, instead of make us bond and connect, makes us alienated and also more stressed. Uh, because maybe we have many friends in Facebook or otherwise, but the brain doesn’t, uh, interpret it as a social bond. Social bond is when you touch, is when you look in each other’s eyes, when you smile together, when you talk together, when you fight with each other, arguments, and not only talk back, say, oh, you’re so gorgeous, so gorgeous.

Ah, but we have to have connection to fight and, ah, reconcile, and then again, to have a real. That’s why there is the savannah principle. It’s a psychologist. It’s in the technological, ah, time now, these days, uh, that the youth,

uh, make social bond with celebrities, the tv friends. When you see the friend series, time and time again, you feel they are your friends. Because our visual system does not discriminate that this is in the television and this is in the app or, uh, Netflix or in the real life, uh, for the brain, there is only real life.

So if you see a person time after time, and you laugh together and you see each other, ah, uh, then it’s like your friend, but the reality, it’s not your friend. So you feel more lonely, uh, uh, in this, uh, technological era. And it’s a big problem. I know that in the UK, there used to be, uh, a ministry for loneliness to deal with the problem.

Madness. And yes, as you say, obviously, when you become accustomed to also communicating with your friends through WhatsApp and Instagram, it becomes very difficult to distinguish, as you say, between those interactions and watching celebrities on tv. It makes perfect sense. Uh, wow. Okay, so technology, it’s a double edged sword, basically.

There are advantages, but obviously, it’s not the same. And obviously, when you’re in the same room with someone, also your sense of smell, right? Often you have fur hormones. We know that oxytocin, for example, um, can be sensed through, let’s say, tears, right? I think, uh, I heard that teardrops, um, can reduce testosterone levels by, like, I think it’s like, I don’t know, like 20 or 30% within.

Within half an hour or something. So these pheromones that we can’t even. They’re odorless, we can’t even smell them. They have a huge effect. So the physical world, in a way, is, uh, against irreplaceable. Right? Is what we’re saying here. Yes, exactly. Also, this experiment done, uh, in the Weitzman Institute in Israel, ah, they gave men, uh, to smell, uh, the tears of sadness of women.

And the tears, the pheromones in the tears, reduces the testosterone level, which is so I always say for women, ah, crying is not a weakness. Crying is an evolutionary power, ah, to reduce the aggression or competition or aggression that is, uh, against you, towards you. That’s why children cries a lot, to reduce the aggression, ah, of the adults.

Ah, but yes, indeed, when we are together, we have also the activity of the mirror neurons, uh, when you feel somebody else feelings, we cannot do it through the zoom. We can, but it’s less, uh, than in the real life. And sometimes it can elevate anxiety. That’s why we live in anxiety age, uh, because, uh, we think that these connections are real.

But for our brain, it can be harmful because it is not used to, uh, these kind of devices. And I know that they are trying to make it more engaging and, uh, uh, to add some feelings, because if you don’t have feelings, your attention span is reduced. You cannot be inside the technology a lot of time or in the zoom or other, ah, long distance, you got zoom fatigue devices.

Yeah, zoom fatigue, exactly. So they’re trying to come up, uh, with a new manipulation in order to make people, uh, feel more comfortable in this media. Uh, but I don’t think the brain will get used to it so quickly. That’s why we see such an increase, uh, in the phenomenon that we have here now.

Psychological phenomenon. Okay. Wow. You did mention also earlier about how fighting is important. You also say that actually strong, um, bonds are formed between people that argue, uh, and reconcile. So relationships that are kind of like flat, they often aren’t as strong, which is very interesting as well. Um, and let’s see.

There’s so much to cover. One of the things we mentioned is how sexual we are and how similar we are to bonabos who also have sex, uh, in the missionary position. Which is something that’s quite rare in the animal kingdom. Uh, and some people are surprised, uh, to learn that in terms of, um, the, uh, female buttocks, it’s actually the largest buttocks in the animal kingdom.

Right. Uh, which has to do with. And the testicles. We have the largest testicles and the penis, the largest dicks, apparently, proportionally, in the animal kingdom. So in terms of the actual proportion, homo sapiens, we have these, uh, very large, uh, uh, I guess sexual, uh, elements. Um, for the woman, of course.

It has to do with the fact that they store omega three fatty acids, I think, that are required for the brain development, uh, uh, during pregnancy and for an infant. And because we have larger brains and that’s where it’s stored. That and subcutaneous fat. That’s why we need such large buttocks.

Right? Exactly. Okay. But a lot of fat. Fat in the buttocks, in the hips, in the breasts.

Why is it that we find, um, breasts so attractive? I mean, it’s interesting, uh, these lumps of fat, they seem to have, uh, caused empires to crumble. What is it that it’s so alluring? Breastfeeding takes a lot of energy from women. And when you breastfeed, not all the time.

You have access to good food. So you have to have these storages. It’s, ah, not that women with a big breast have more mammary glands. They have more storage of fat. In order to produce the milk. The milk is production takes energy. And you need also to make, um, for yourself, uh, water.

You feel thirsty. Women that breastfeed usually feel thirsty because you, uh, produce water plus fatty ah, acid plus lactose. All the ingredients of mother milk. Uh, it takes a lot of energy. So you need these storages. That’s why I told you that Darwin said in, uh, closer to the end of his life and career, he wrote a lot about the sexual selection.

And he said, I got it all wrong. Sexual, uh, selection is the most important, important, um, evolutionary drive, engine of evolution. And, ah, not the survival of the feet, also the survival of the fit, but sexual selection. So how females, especially females, how females, ah, select. And they are obviously more selective.

Also in women, women are more selective than men. Uh. Ah, so how women select, uh, different characteristics of male, this is what goes through the generations. Ah, and it can be not good for fitness. Yes. Like maybe long horns, dwellings and colors. That says to every predator, I’m here.

Yeah, the peacock, for example. Right, yeah, exactly. So, uh, it’s a very evolutionary theory, very important evolutionary theory that the male wants to, uh, show that he is fit. But, uh, sexual selection is the biological, uh, drive, the evolutionary drive, the engine of evolution. Uh, so that’s why we like people with, uh, men with muscles and height.

Yeah, it’s testosterone. It’s all about testosterone. And women with fat, big tits and big, uh, buttocks, uh, it’s all for the baby. And Talia, you call it also Talia, the hips. The ratio between the hips and the 0.7, I believe. Yeah, exactly. It’s for the baby, the big head of the baby in order to go through the canal.

The optimal ratio indicates optimal fertility and apparently, yeah. So as you say, it’s amazing that, uh, we’re attracted to what’s, uh, I guess often to certain characteristics. And usually they make sense. Even though sometimes, as you say, evolution can take us in ways that aren’t necessarily for the best.

Perhaps like the peacock words or blue eyes. Right. Blue eyes, I think you mentioned, were a mutation from 5000 years ago. They’re very attractive, but actually they’re not an advantage. They’re a slight disadvantager. There’s more light sensitivity. Right. Uh, but, uh, we’ve selected them. We don’t have the uv screening.

There you go. So it’s interesting, we’re attracted to certain things and that seems to drive us. What’s also interesting as these mega sexual creatures, you also mentioned that we, and I guess there are some other species that do it, but we have one of the stronger kind of, uh, types of attachment, it seems, in terms of love.

So if we look at suicide, which is a dark subject to get into for a sec, but suicide is not a common thing, uh, in the animal kingdom. And yet, uh, suicide driven by love, it is something that happens. It happens. Dolphins, you mentioned dolphins. Yes, yes. Do you want to.

Sure, sure about that. Which species are like that? I mean, obviously, I know the story of NASA and Peter and Margaret. Peter being this dolphin that fell in love with Margaret. And when they took her hair away from him, he became basically depressed and ended up committing suicide, which is a very sad story.

But it shows dolphins, they’re mammals like us. They’re not that different. But the more monogamous you are, the more likely you are to have, uh, these super strong attachments, right? Yes. Usually the more monogamous creatures, monogamous creatures will be more prone to jealousy and heartbreak and also to commit suicide or just to die from, ah, like in humans, sometimes when the spouse, after 50 years of marriage, one dies and maybe one year or some couple of months later, uh, there will be a deterioration or the death of the other spouse.

So you see it also in the animal kingdom. Like, I have a friend that has rabbits, and rabbits are not monogamous, but they just were together all the time and, uh, they had each other and they had hops, offspring, and one day one of them died, and days later, the other one also died.

We see it also with parrots and some birds. And this is explained by the broken heart syndrome. Uh, when you break up with somebody, your heart really breaks.

The heart has a small brain of 40,000 neurons that sends messages of pain, uh, when you have stress, especially stress related to social bond, to connection. So when your loved one decides that he doesn’t want to be with you anymore, um, or something happens. So you feel that the 40,000 neurons sends pain, ah, signals to the brain.

Feel it in the chest. You’re saying this is something that you actually feel pain in your chest, right? Exactly. So that’s what we said, that our heart were broken and we feel the pain in the heart. Heart pain, uh, we have it in Hebrew also. Uh, uh, and also we say a lot of words with the heart.

We said that our heart is getting closed, closed heart, uh, when you feel angry with somebody and open heart, when you feel relaxed and warm, it’s really contraction and relaxation of the muscles, ah, and the, um, blood vessels of the brain. So it’s amazing that we say what we feel and it’s actually what happens in the cells and in the neurons and nerves in our body.

Ah, but basically the broken heart syndrome, there are cells that die. You have a scar in the heart. So when we said that, we had a lot of heartbreaks and my heart cannot stand another, ah, falling in love and heartbreak. It’s true, it’s really true in terms of the status of the heart, the state of the heart.

Uh, basically, uh, after a while, uh, this pain and this loss of cells and the scar can lead to a heart attack. So that’s why some creatures, including humans, can have a heart attack or

other aberration of the heart. There’s even a term, I believe you said some japanese term that relates to an octopus in Japanese, right. Takotsubo. It’s an octopus trap. Uh, uh, in Japanese. And they call it like this because

the left room. I don’t think it’s the left room. The left room of the heart changes its structure so it becomes more oval, which reminded the japanese the takotsubo, the octopus trap. Looks like octopus trap. So they called it takotsubo, the broken heart syndrome, which can lead to an heart attack.

Ah, if you don’t break up. Ah. I also write about it in the book, how to, uh, correctly break up with somebody in order to protect the heart for other relationship. For another relationship. Not to be some quick nuggets about that. We’re kind of jumping around. But why not, while we’re at it, what can someone do to protect their heart?

Uh, uh, during this, I guess, very vulnerable phase. Yeah. So, first, uh, to acknowledge that, uh, somebody died, you have this period that you need to have time, because usually we try to eliminate or run from negative emotions. Because negative emotions, it’s like pain. So we try to do something else to distract the mind, but we need to give it space.

We have this period of, uh,

Evelyn. Grief. Grief. Grief. Grief, grief. Yeah. You have this period of grief. Uh, it can take months, it can take maybe years. But if you, uh, instantly go to another connection, another bond, trying to make a new bond without given this time of grief, this time of hard emotions that enables us to understand what happened, how we felt in this situation, in this.

With this person, what can we learn from it? Every obstacle is a way to learn and to develop. But, uh, if we run away from it and we try to distract ourselves. So be with the pain. Let the body feel the negative emotion, to cry, to scream, uh, to feel angry and to talk with someone, to talk with people, uh, try to make yourself

new habits. If you used to go to the park together, don’t go to the park for a while. Go to another place. I mean, every place that we go. And we reminded we had good time in this restaurant, we had a good time in this place. So make yourself new habits.

And, of course, um, lower stress by connecting yourself, uh, to the good chemicals, like in sports, be in the sun, uh, do meditation. It’s a good time to heal the body and to heal the mind. And only then when you feel ready after you do some, uh, walk with yourself, go to a new relationship, uh, especially after marriage.

When we divorce, uh, we have children, and it’s more than grief. Uh, we have more grief in the situation. Uh, so we need some time and not to hide from, uh, heart feelings and let the, ah, heart. How can you mend a broken heart? Right. There is a song of the beaches.

I like this song. Uh, it need to be mended after a heartbreak. Absolutely. A lot of directions we can go from there. You mentioned, uh, especially after marriage, which is a very long term thing. I mean, you do go into some of the challenges in terms of kind of maintaining a long term relationship.

And how. I think you say that when you have a three year old child, that’s the most vulnerable kind of part, uh, during a marriage. In terms of kind of when divorce tends to kind of kick in. And that often has to do with the fact that after pregnancy, a woman, uh, has a lot of prolactin, which is the hormone, uh, that basically kind of reduces her libido to kind of nil.

Uh, it’s a similar hormone that you feel, I guess, right after orgasm, one gets that feeling. So there’s no sexual desire. And that’s what kind of, I guess, makes, uh, uh, a mother at that time want to nurture more than, I guess, I don’t know, seek a mate. Right.

So you often have this huge reduction in desire. Um, and then men often feel rejected. And of course, there’s all this. You also give all these amazing statistics that I think about half of women get depressed in some way. And I think one out of seven, if I remember correctly, actually gets, like, clinically depressed, which is postpartum depression.

So, I mean, it’s rough. Uh, childbearing is not for the faint of heart. Uh, and one can understand how it can create a lot of challenges for maintaining, uh, a, uh, long relationship, especially in this day and age, when. Well, we’ll get into that in a sec. But when it’s so easy, in a way, not easy, but one can be tempted to try and kind of give up and look for something else as well.

Yes, I agree. It’s exactly like this. We don’t understand exactly what happens in our brain. Also the mother and the father after, uh, pregnancy, uh, and labor and child rearing. A lot of changes in the brain hormones that interact with each other. And also the libido, like you said, goes down.

And we don’t necessarily understand. Nobody teaches us. We have these courses before labor, labor, uh, courses that mainly focuses, um, on the moments of labor and what happens afterward and breastfeeding, which is very important. But no one talks about, uh, the real depression and feeling of loneliness and feeling of you don’t know with yourself what you need.

And all of a sudden you become a nurturer and a producer of milk or other food for a baby, for this creature that takes all the energy from you. I mean, for the mother. Ah, and also for the father, which look from the side and doesn’t understand. He wants to do his best.

He wants to do whatever he can. He don’t necessarily understand what she is, undergoes. And, uh, vasopressin is the hormone that, um, bonding, the bonding hormone of the male. It’s the male version of oxytocin, just one amino acid, uh, which make men more protective. So he feels that he needs to provide more for the family.

So he goes to provide, uh, and he take care. But she sometimes feels she doesn’t get enough empathy for what she’s undergoing and all the changes in the body and the mind and the brain. Many women feel very lonely because in the western world, uh, women are left alone after giving birth.

She’s supposed to do it herself. You mentioned how in traditional and tribal societies, a woman is never left alone. Never alone. Never alone. Never alone. She has times to sleep, which is very important. Sleep deprivation is the number one stressor.

Of course, you won’t have libido when you don’t sleep well, but you will be depressed and a lot of anxiety and other disorders and eating disorders. So it’s like a cycle. If you don’t necessarily. I’ve been there too, and like the statistics, three or it was four or five years because we had another child.

But, um, three years after the first child, uh, the problem began and after one year, we divorced. So I wrote this book by blood. It’s all some things that I didn’t understand. So I go to this research about what happened, why it’s happening to everybody. So if it happens to everybody, so it’s biological, it has to be rooted in our biology.

And then when I understand, uh, what we are going through, men and women, how women get attached to the baby and

how the family, uh, is formed, it’s very interesting. And how men are getting attached to their children, it takes time. Ah, you get attached more by, ah, playing together, being together. Have, uh, a quality time with the baby. So you have this oxytocin. And also men secrete a lot of oxytocin and form a lifelong bond with their children, of course, but, uh, it takes time.

It takes more time. Men will mirror the women so that if the oxytocin is high, they will also have high oxytocin. But if it’s low for the woman, it’s going to be low for the man as well. Right. The primary caretaker kind of leads the way. Exactly. Also, in same sex couples, the primary caregiver, uh, leads the way.

So if she is depressed, he will also be depressed. And if she is anxious, he will also feel her anxiety and be also anxious and not necessarily know what to do. He will try to do his best sometimes, but it won’t necessarily be enough. Um, and that’s the thing with, uh, also depression.

Sometimes nothing is enough. You just need to have time with yourself. You need to have time for yourself. I mean, to have friends, to have your hobies. Um, not necessarily that. The husband taking care and he brings the things and he go to the grocery and everything. What about me?

What about liat? I don’t want to be a mother. Nobody asked me. It’s like, overwhelming. I want to be, uh, what I used to be before. And then another child come, and then you become, uh, a child rearing machine. You need to provide and to protect. And women have more oxytocin, so they feel more empathy and they take the troubles of everybody on their back.

It’s a lot of burden. Uh, it’s not that men are not empathic, they are. But testosterone make you more self, ah, centered. I like this hormone. I think women need some injection of testosterone. It makes you feel, uh, more confident with yourself and to think about yourself. Ah, yes, women, perhaps testosterone could help.

I mean, certainly testosterone increases their libido, and testosterone makes sure that you put yourself first. And I guess it kind of reminds me of these airplane safety, uh, videos. Or, uh, when you need an oxygen mask, you should first take the oxygen mask for yourself and only then give it to the kid, uh, so you don’t pass out, so that you can still help.

And I guess women might have this oxytocin, at least will have this tendency to first take care of the baby. Baby, yeah. And then yourself. Oxytocin, I guess that’s the idea that, that’s why perhaps they call it the hormone of love, because you’re putting someone else’s needs above your own.

But at the same time, obviously, it’s important to have one’s own needs. And yet men, on the other hand, testosterone, perhaps we have too much of it. We lose empathy. We’re obsessed with social status. And that’s also perhaps why you also mentioned the book, we tend to be more violent and commit more like cruel acts.

And that’s why there are a lot more men in prison. Uh, in the UK, it’s 20 men in prison compared to. For every one woman. So, yeah, testosterone is got good things about things. Perhaps there could be a perfect middle ground. Uh, but certainly it can be very useful.

It’s also good, apparently, in terms of helping you get out of depression, because testosterone will make you do things. Right. Yeah. Make you motivation to do something, to be competitive, to win. If you don’t have this desire to win, you won’t do anything. Yeah. You’ll be just average or regular, but you want to stand out.

You want to be different, you want to have status in your family, maybe in your community, your peer of friends, somewhere. You want to stand out. Ah, women also have testosterone. M men have like 15 to 100 times more on average. Yeah. So you see a lot of variation between men.

That’s why you see some men are more. Also, you see it in the physical characteristics. Some are very masculine and some are less also in women. Some women are very feminine. It’s all estrogen and testosterone. When you have a spectrum, that’s why we have so many sexual orientation and, uh, gender orientation.

So it’s a play for me, as a biologist, I see it, it’s a playground of hormones, so you can be whatever you want. Ah, because it’s a spectrum, it’s not binary, it’s not zero in one. But still we see these, uh, changes in behavior between men and women. And I will say another thing which connects with sexual desire and stress.

There was a survey done in women from age of six to 2086. Young children, girls and grown women, older women, and they ask them if they think they are, uh, beautiful. So how many women in this world, girls and, uh, uh, young women and old women think that they are beautiful?

You know, what is the statistic? Not enough? I’m sure that women are way too harsh. It’s crazy. Although they say that women also, uh, harshly, they judge each other very harshly as well, apparently. Yeah, they judge each other. They judge the men also. They don’t think that. I think it’s also from a dating site

that women, uh, graded 80% of men

less attractive under the average. And in men, six to 26. How many think that they are beautiful? Pretty high. I mean, that’s a testosterone that makes us narcissists, right? 40%. 40% think that they are, uh, uh, respectable. The best thing that happens to you is me. But this is the quality of testosterone.

It makes you be confident with yourself. We need this, uh, injection because I didn’t say it. But in sexual, uh, activity, we said that a lot of brain areas are activated. But there is one brain area that is non active. It’s really turned on off. And it’s turned on off only in sexual activity in humans, which is the.

Frontal lobe, the prefrontal lobe is turned off. I know for men, when they’re aroused, but for women, it’s only after orgasm, I believe. Exactly. So in men, it’s when they are aroused. You see it in the fMRI. And in women, it’s only when they have orgasm. So that’s why women has more difficulty to get into orgasm, because you think, how do I look?

I’m good enough. I’m beautiful. They’re in their head. Yeah. Um, they’re in their head. And the children and the dishes and all the thoughts that you have. So I said all the time, sex, you do from the brain, not from the organs, the organs. Just the second base. You have to, ah, first understand your brain, and then understand how to relieve stress, how to be more mindful in the moment.

And, uh, for women, stress relieving is sometimes to talk about things. Sometimes men think, why, she’s talking too much. Uh, women, ah, talk more than men, ah, about, uh, emotions, about what happens to them and what they need. They talk about it more. They tend to share more their feelings and their thoughts.

Being vulnerable. And being vulnerable. And it’s very important sometimes men here, I’m not good enough for you. So when you are, uh, complaining, it means that I’m not good enough for you. I cannot make you happy. When will you be happy? But the thing is just to give these thoughts a room to talk about this.

And afterwards, this prefrontal lobe will, uh, decrease activity. And then she can be more active in bed. I mean, because this stress, stress decreases, ah,

desire. Yeah. Sexual cortisol, specifically, where women have, uh, two to three times the amount in their bloodstream compared to men. Exactly. So you see, we have all the like, we.

It’s harder for women in many ways, as you say, to kind of get in the mood. They need to be perhaps more seduced, and they can turn on the brakes at any point. Men. And you see that obviously, with gay men, where sex can just happen in a heartbeat, right?

Uh, yeah. You don’t need preparation. That’s right. You don’t need as much foreplay. Uh, but for women, you do need the work. Uh, sometimes you’ve got to put it in. And as you say, I guess this goes back to, there’s a classic book, men are for Mars, women are for Venus.

And this whole notion that if a woman’s sharing, it’s not so that you can give her advice. She doesn’t want to be told what. To do, she wants to be listened to. Right. Uh, this is the most important thing. And if you empathy, and if you actually give advice, it might actually increase that cortisol because they will feel judged, right.

Uh, uh. And perhaps sometimes.

Men too rapidly goes to the solutions because they have more, uh, into the, to the point, uh, thinking. Okay, so let’s think what to do. Rational thinking, logical thinking. We have a problem. Let’s have the solution. And for the female brain, it’s not exactly, again, we talk about with the generalization, women, uh, are not the same and men are not the same.

But we see it in the population that ah, women usually complain about the men, that they are not enough, ah, listening, not enough

tuned to her feelings, not talk about ah, things enough, ah, doesn’t see her. Which all basically goes down to empathy. Uh, women feel, uh, for every guilt, uh, feeling of guilt that men, uh, have during the day, women will feel between, ah, four to five times, ah, more. So, yeah, we got this package.

But hold that, hold that. Okay, let’s flip it for a second. There are lots of advantages to being a woman. We’re going to get to that in a second. And obviously you mentioned maybe if women could use more testosterone. Obviously, uh, estrogen has been shown to perhaps help, uh, uh, autism.

Right. Because that can increase empathy and language skills. Right. Language and oxytocin as well. So these hormones are really quite great. Women also, they can have multiple orgasms. This is something unique, right, that men can’t enjoy. Um, and they do tend to live longer, right? Uh, yeah, perhaps, uh, I know.

What’s your theory on why they live longer? I mean, obviously part of it is that they don’t feel as lonely. That’s a big part, I guess. But surely there’s more to it. One thing, we see it also after divorce, men have a harder time when they are divorced because they don’t have enough social interaction.

They don’t share enough, so they feel more lonely and they don’t have these support systems. Usually women are, they uh, maintain support systems so they have it when they are alone. But anyway, the thing with the longevity of women, it’s the testosterone again,

the elevation and the, uh, depletion of testosterone, ah, when men age, ah, harm the heart. Okay. The heart is a muscle, and testosterone is anabolic steroid. It works on muscles. It, uh, elongated the muscle cells. So, ah, after age of 55, the testosterone of men drops to 20% from what they had in their youth.

And this drop, uh, harmed the heart. So men tend to die more and to have more heart problems. Uh, the decade of, uh, 55 to 65 is very fragile for men. They need to really pay attention to the heart. This is one of the critical decades, basically. Yeah, critical decades.

Also. I heard, by the way, that this, um, is something different, but this is from the sleep kind of direction, uh, that apparently, um, deep sleep is significantly reduced, uh, for older men compared to women. Women have much more deep sleep, older women than older men. And deep sleep is very important for the immune system and kind of like healing and all that.

So there seems to be something going on there as well. Very interesting. I didn’t know that. Yeah, it’s very interesting. Like, dramatically, apparently, it goes down to pretty, uh, quickly to they get like half the amount of deep sleep. Something like that. I wonder why? What happens? Yeah, I don’t know.

Yeah, fascinating. But because it could be affected by testosterone or who knows what, all those things are linked. But yes, sleep is so important. Okay, fascinating. So, okay, uh, let’s mix it up. We have to share also some key ideas.

Uh, let’s talk about the western mark effect, and let’s talk about the coolidge effect. These are all important things. And then there’s more to talk about. And then we can talk about monogamy, uh, as well. Um, so first, it’s a very important circuit, uh, in the mammalian brain. And, uh, this, uh, effect was discovered in Berkeley in the.

They took mouse, male mice, and they presented the mouse with the, uh, female in heat. Ah, ovulating female. They, uh, ovulate every four days. So in the first setting of the experiment, they present the male, the same female, okay? So every four days they bring it, they put it in her cage, uh, and they checked time to ejaculation, how much time it takes him to get to ejaculation, uh, when he has this female in heat.

So, uh, if it’s the same female, time after time. So every time it takes more time to come to ejaculate, time to ejaculate, get extended. I remember something like two minutes, three minutes, five minutes, 15 minutes, and the next thing you know, it’s just like, oh, wow, it ain’t going to happen.

It ain’t going to happen. Yeah, at four time, it’s already increased to 15 minutes. It takes him to ejaculate. And then at the eight time, it doesn’t even notice her. It doesn’t go to her. Yeah, it takes him too much time. And when they presented him the same experiment, but every four days, different female, new one, new lady.

Uh, it took him two to three times and he didn’t stop until exhaustion. So as long as he gets, uh, new females. Ah, and the circuit, uh, is about the brain, of course, the reward system. He gets more dopamine for a new female and not for the same one.

So why the brain, uh, is structured like this? Why he is rewarded with dopamine for a new female? So, of course, he is rewarded for sperm distribution, because the same female is, ah, pregnant already, ah, at the first time. So you don’t need to put so many sperm. It’s better to distribute the sperm.

And, um, they approve of the signal. How the signal works? Ah, they took smears of the secretion of the vagina of the new females and put it on the same female. And then it recognize her as a new female. So, uh, the effect is manipulated by the pheromones. Okay, so it goes from the pheromones.

And testosterone triggers this effect. Because when they castrate the bales, when they took off the testicas, this effect disappeared. So it is driven by testosterone. So testosterone makes the male, ah, wants to spread the sperm. Ah, and then they do the same experiment with females. Hold on. Just to be clear here.

We mentioned castrated mice, uh, or I guess, vice rats as well. Do we know if, uh. I guess for humans, castrated, uh, males, I assume they can be sexual as well. Then that means that they don’t have the coolage effect. They have as much desire every time with the same partner.

Is that right? They used to castrate men. The king used to have castrated men. The sultan and the harem often was guarded by these, uh, castrated men. So this idea of testosterone is also made by the adrenal gland. So you have this compensation. Uh, but still

he will have less sexual desire. That’s why people castrate their dogs. Yes, that they will not run after every female in heat. So this coolidge effect, uh, is regulated by testosterone. So indeed. Ah, this was, uh, the proof, uh, scientific proof. But then 30 years later, it took 30 years to do it on females.

And to see females have this coolage effect. Ah, so they put a female, uh, in heat, virgin female. And from one side of the cage, uh, there were petitions in the cage, so she could, ah, select, uh, to whom she would go. They cannot, uh, go to her. And first they put one male, and the assumption was that she will be attached to this male and she will come back to him whenever she was in heat, whenever she was ovulating.

And the same times every three days, ah, they replaced another male in another, uh, cage. So she will have to choose to go to the same male or to the new one. So basically she goes to the same male. She is kind of committed, but from time to time, uh, she goes to check, uh, what is new, uh, cheating on him, and goes to see what’s new with another cage.

So women, also women or females, basically has the courage effect, uh, but it’s, uh, in a lesser extent than in males. And it makes sense because we have less testosterone. But it doesn’t mean that women cheat less than men in humans, because the coolidge effect is the root cause of cheating.

Uh, yeah, why we do it, why people cheat, uh, on their spouse. So it’s an evolutionary secret that makes us desire the new, uh, we have become tolerant to the same stimuli. So from time to time, uh, we call it boredom, or, uh, we feel satiated,

satiated with the same person. Or we, uh, said that, uh, we have reduction in passion. We don’t feel the same passion like we used to feel, but it all circuits in the brain, and these circuits, ah, is made by our genes to give them a chance with another person.

Just add some info there. You also said in the book that it’s interesting that, uh, for a woman, perhaps the best genetic thing she can do is to have multiple fathers for her children, even if she might keep the same partner. And that creates the most genetic diversity. And in fact, you’re talking about cheating.

But that, like in the UK and Denmark, it turns out that between ten to 15% of children don’t have the biological father that they thought. So it is quite prevalent. Um, so clearly, yeah, uh, there is something going on. Um, but it’s interesting, you also mentioned this wasn’t in the book, but I saw you mentioned in a lecture where in orthodox Judaism, they have this idea of, uh, the nida, which is this period of space where you’re not allowed to touch one another.

And so sometimes if you can actually create space enough time not to take the other person for granted, through that space, you can create tension and get kind of overcome the coolidge effect, basically. Right, exactly. That’s why they show in the Berkeley experiment when they, uh, separated the same male and the same female for one week.

Uh, after one week, they recognize each other as new. So we have to have space. This is the main, uh, tip that I can give for, uh, preserving, uh, because the idea that you will have the same attraction, the same butterflies in the belly, it won’t happen. We cannot have excitement, ah, for uh, a, ah, continuous, uh, signal when we are used to someone, the smell, the kiss, the touch, the orgasm, you already know what is going to happen.

And when, uh, it becomes boring for our brain, our brain wants to feel the excitement. And the excitement can usually be with the new visual, uh, ah, signal. That’s why men goes to porn. And also some women, 25% of uh, the people that watch porn are women. Uh, we want to see something new, something different.

And also, uh, a porn star has a 15 minutes time of glory because the brain needs all the time new signals in order to secrete enough. The same porn will not excite us if we keep watching it, basically, unless we take a break and come back to it. As you were saying.

Um, we need this space time and also to have. What I mean by space, I mean that every couple, every. You need to create your own social circle. Ah, ah, don’t drown yourself, uh, in the other person all the time. Have a little bit of, kind of like your own identity, right.

Uh, and that way your own identity. And you can see them as something different and exciting, right. Uh, and not just, I guess, a, uh, part of you, right. Uh, uh, which is a little bit similar. This notion of uh, the western mark effect, that’s different. But if something is too close to you, it becomes like a sibling.

We find that not just not sexy, but repulsive. We have this effect that it’s an anti incest effect. Right. So, uh, if we think that something’s part of our family, we don’t want to become sexual with it. You mentioned, obviously, the israeli kibutzas where if children are brought up together, uh, then within that cohort they usually will not couple up because they look each other like siblings.

Right, exactly. And also this shimpua society in China, uh, that they have this, uh, pre arranged marriage and they adopt pre adolescents, uh, bride. And then it’s unsuccessful. It’s the most unsuccessful arranged marriage because this is reversed sexual imprinting. So you have this imprinting with your sibling and then you genetically are supposed to be revolted by, uh, sexually revolted.

Uh, and it’s also a mechanism of our genes. We are all manipulated by the genes. And this is another manipulation, uh, not to feel sexual with someone that you grew up with, like, in the same, uh, house or like sibling. Yeah, exactly. So this is the Westmar effect. So basically, when we choose a partner, we try to choose somebody that is close, but not close enough.

Okay. Ah, that it will be in our, let’s say, genetic pool. Let’s say that’s why we see with these experiments on smell. We all have smell. And our body odor, ah, is composed of, uh, our bacteria and our genetics and many factors and the pheromones and many factors that are unconscious.

We have 400 types of receptors for smell. We have only three, uh, in the eyes, for visual. But hold on. But it’s still a lot less than if you look at other animals, like pigs, where you mentioned this thing called the Jacobson organ. Right? I believe. Yeah, of course.

Yeah. They see the world through the odors. Of course. Yeah. We don’t have this organ. Just like a shark can smell. A shark can smell blood, they say, like a mile away in the ocean or something. Right? Yeah. Uh, it’s amazing. But still, we need to give our self respect, especially when it comes to sex, when it comes to partner, sometimes you say, I guess we had already a lot of, uh, relationships, so we met a lot of people.

And sometimes you feel by the order of the person, or you feel disconnection or revulsion. Uh, and it’s all about genes and pheromones. So we cannot say that pheromones are not, uh, necessarily anymore, uh, are guiding our decision in life. They are still, when you go to somewhere and the smell is not good, you automatically don’t want to be there or you feel kind of, uh,

we don’t know even exactly, ah, how it influences us. We do it by kiss. The kiss. It’s an excuse to bring noses next to each other. Right. And to exchange, I think, was it 50 million, uh, um, micro.

From mouth to mouth. And they give a lot of information about the genetic. And, uh, it’s a screen. Genetic health, the ultimate test. Health and genetic screen, the ultimate test. So still we have this effect, the pheromonal effect. Also another very interesting pheromonal effect is, uh, the McClintock effect when women are together.

Ah, the synchronizing of the period of the ovulation, basically. So we have it also in other mammals. So we are still kind of, uh, very interesting mammal also in terms of the others. And also testosterone. It has pheromonal interactions, like when you are with a lot of men, there is a competition, and you feel the pheromones of testosterone in the air and your testosterone will be elevated because you are now in a competition with other men.

Also, when women will be around, you also will secrete testosterone. And there is an interaction. We don’t know exactly. Not enough research is done. But we are still mammals. Yes. Well, it’s interesting also you mentioned, uh, pheromones, and I think, uh, there’s also this notion that the pill can actually have quite a big effect on women.

Uh, also in terms of choosing, uh, kind of like pheromone selection, I think there’s this idea that naturally, uh, uh, when women are kind of smelling and looking for the sexual selection, they’re looking for someone with, uh, an immune system that’s a bit different genetically. So they can have the most variety genetically, right?

So you need that variety. Uh, but if they’re on the pill, then the body thinks it’s pregnant in a way. So it’s not necessarily selecting for a mate, but it might actually be more attracted to a smell, uh, that isn’t necessarily optimal for their offspring. Right. Uh, uh. So sometimes our compass can get confused, I guess, by medication, right?

Yes. We are playing with our hormones. And when you’re playing with the hormones, you play obviously with the pheromones and selecting of the pheromones, so. Exactly. Nobody knows exactly. There were some experiments, especially this experiment of, uh, Wetkins in Switzerland in 95. He was the first one to put light in this, uh, phenomena.

He gave women to smell the odor of, uh, other, uh, men. And he saw that women select, uh, more for men that are, ah, remotely

different from them in the immune system genes. So it’s basically a great mechanism for variation.

Um, and when he took women that were on pills, he saw different results. Yeah, exactly. It mimics pregnancy, ah. And it changes the hormone levels and also our sensitivity to others. That’s why I think it affects us all the time. It’s also the opposite is true that for men as well.

I mean, there’s all this research that, um, among strippers, for example, um, that, uh, they make a lot more money when they’re ovulating. They make less money, uh, at least when they’re on the pill. Uh, and in the middle, it’s basically not being on the pill and not ovulating.

So men, we respond very strongly to certain, uh, pheromones that are affected by these hormonal differences, right. And it’s amazing because it just reminds us that, yes, we’re these rational beings, but at the same time, as you say, so much of it is biologically deterministic. And out of our control.

And some of it, you talked about synchronizing periods. I mean, uh, it almost sounds like some sort of mythological thing, right? And we still don’t understand everything in terms of how it works. Right. There are all these mysteries. It’s quite incredible at the end of the day, right? Um, yeah.

But when you look at it from biology perspective, it makes sense. It all makes sense. And we are not different than other animals. And many phenomenon that we see in other animals, we have to assume that it’s also true to us. Of course, it’s harder to make experiments and research in humans.

It’s harder. That’s why we have all this controversial. Some of these topics are very controversial because it’s hard to make a good research in humans. So you have a lot of parameters and a lot of obstacles in the way and limitations. But anyway, I think biology is genius. Yes.

It’s all for the benefits, uh, of the genes and the others and the visual and the audio. And we are going in this world and we are attracted to certain things because it’s evolutionary beneficial. And we are not attracted to some things because of our biology. So if we understand our biology, we will be a lot more, uh, conscious, uh, instead of being all the time so unconscious to what happened to us.

And then ask ourselves, how did I come here? How did I come to this situation? What happened to me? Like why I took this decision? I don’t understand what went in my mind when I, uh, fell in love with somebody or going to bed with someone. Because, ah, we really have this temporal insanity when we are falling in love.

M. Well, this goes back to. We didn’t mention, but the word love itself comes from the Sanskrit lubaya, which is to become mad. Right. So madness. Love is a sort of madness. Um. Um. You mentioned other animals. Yes. When we look at them, we can understand kind of ourselves in many ways.

There’s all this weird things. Obviously, we mentioned suicide. Sickly fish, they commit suicide as well when they lose their partner. There’s a lot of similarity out there. But also when we look at the animal kingdom, we see all these things. We see that most of it isn’t monogamous. Or at best it’s serially monogamous, which is a monogamish kind of thing.

So that tells us a lot about ourselves. And then, uh, you mentioned all these things about imprinting. You said often how childhood can affect what you’ll be attracted to. And sometimes it can even override your genes. I mean, we’ve seen situations where goats are raised by sheep and they’re attracted to sheep or something like that.

Or chicks being raised by ducks and then becoming attracted to ducks. Right. All this weird stuff, it’s not just about genes. It’s often these early kind of experiences. And um, there’s a lot of plasticity, basically a lot of neuroplasticity out there. But let’s go to some of the really weird stuff now for a sec because the cutting edge of science, because you do talk about that.

And there’s this, uh, incredible piece of research where, um, they had mice basically exposed to a scent of vanilla. Ah. If they went into the room that smelled like vanilla, they would often get like an electric shock. And after a while they would, in like a pavlovian effect, they’d associate vanilla with becoming electrocuted.

So they’re like, oh, not a good thing. Let’s avoid rooms that smell like vanilla. That makes sense. But what was amazing was apparently that information was, uh, later passed on to the offspring. Um, and we didn’t think this was possible. Maybe you can explain a sec. What this is the lamarckian thing.

We’ll talk about that. People didn’t believe that was possible. But basically it seems that epigenetics, which is the idea that you have, uh, uh, kind of like a mutation within a subgenetic, uh, uh, modification on the genes. Yeah. Chemical modifications of the genes so that. Actually can encode information and be passed on to the next generation.

And that this is a unique thing that can only happen through the males. So the idea is that the egg, it doesn’t change like genetically. It’s ready. It’s waiting, basically from when the female is born. But, uh, male sperm is constantly regenerated. And every time new sperm is created, it has new genetic information.

And in a way it seems to encode the life experience apparently, of the male. You mentioned that perhaps this is again, the most controversial bit, but that maybe that’s why we need men. Otherwise, what’s the advantage of having a man? I mean, men can’t reproduce, but apparently we can go out there, take risks, gain information, bring it back genetically and help with future generations.

Right? Am I kind of putting that together correctly? Yeah. This is my theory that after this groundbreaking work of, uh, epigenetic inheritance of paternal from the father. Paternal epigenetic inheritance, which means that there are some modifications in the dna from the environment, like in this, uh, conditioning of vanilla to fear.

Yeah, vanilla is fear, uh, which is an inherent inert, uh, smell for mice. But then it was, uh, associated with fear. And this information, you ask yourself how it, uh, was inherited to the next generation and its modifications of the dna that you can see it in the sperm.

Small rna molecules and other mechanisms of epigenetic inheritance. And you can make this modification in the sperm and create, uh, some new traits. So it’s amazing. And because male, like you said, produce sperm all the time, every day. So much so by the way, you did mention, just if I may just add that you were saying if men don’t, uh, ejaculate frequently enough, let’s say every few days, it can actually be very unhealthy because that sperm can go back into the prostate and perhaps also create like it can increase prostate cancer and whatnot.

So, yes, because we’re constantly generating new sperm and getting rid of old sperm. Right. That’s why men think about sex more than women. Uh, in order to produce and to regenerate, 360,000,000 sperm cells are every time in the penis of a man, uh, ready for launch. And after three days they will go back to the prostate, uh, gland.

And it makes, um, some problems and inflammation. And that’s why in the fourth day, men will tend to think more about sex and have dreams in the night in order to, uh, make new, fresh sperm, to masturbate, ah, or ejaculate and have a new sperm. So you are practically a factory of sperm cells.

And there was this mystery of evolution, why there is a sexual reproduction. Because asexual reproduction is more beneficial. Uh, you don’t have to look for partner. And it’s not all or none. If you don’t have a partner, your genes and also 50% of the population are free eaters. They don’t reproduce.

They don’t have uterus. Why to do? Because um, snails and all these other species, yeah. Ah, they have both, they are hermaphordite, they have sperm and they have, uh, also uterus. You don’t lose the uterus. It’s a very important organ in order to have progeny and offsprings. So there was a mystery of evolution, why men were created.

And also in beginning in insects and in more primitive, uh, creatures, men don’t survive long. They have a really short and sad life. Usually the female eats them all the time. So they basically uh, pass the genes and uh, disappear. And then you have in mammals, you have this beautiful and successful and the alpha male, and every female wants the alpha male.

So my theory is that uh, the parental, uh, epigenetic inheritance finally explains why we need men and why we need testosterone. Risk taking. She will take care of the eggs or the progeny and the offsprings and he will go and fight. And most of males will die, uh, in these, uh, wars, of course.

Uh, but the survival of the fit, yeah. Only the winner takes it all. And in every territory that you look, in most of the polygamist, uh, species, the offsprings are usually of the alpha male, not of all the males. Yes, they are trying to seduce some women, some females to be with them, but usually they are all sons of the sons and daughters of the alpha male.

Even amongst humans. I think you mentioned that genghis, uh, khan, for example. Yeah. Ah, he was the ultimate alpha male who one, uh, out of every five asian men have his y chromosome. And, uh, one out of every 200 men, uh, have his y chromosome. Uh, yeah, it’s crazy.

And he was a pedophile and psychopath and all the military. Well, that’s the ultimate alpha male, I guess, will be, uh, uh, less empathy. No, empathy. Empathy, yeah. Um, crazy. Wow. Well, hold on, hold on. Uh, ginghiskand is the example of patriarchy, I guess, gone to the extreme. But, uh, you do mention, by the way, that there are models of other, uh, cultures.

Uh, obviously hyenas in nature are an example of a, uh, matriarchal society where the women, uh, the female hyenas have more testosterone. Their clitoris is so enlarged, it’s like a penis, and they dominate. And, uh, I think you even mentioned because of that, even, uh, the hierarchy in terms of eating is different.

Right. Do you want to share a little bit about that? Yes. That in most patriarchal societies, also in the animal kingdom, male eat first by their, uh, status, the pecking orders. The alpha eats more, and then the female by order, by pecking order, and then the children. And in the hyenas, the children eat first, the offsprings eat first, and afterwards it’s the female by order, and then the male gets whatever, leftovers.

Ah. So it’s very interesting because also in a feminist society, uh, the more the society is feminist, the more women are in decision making, uh, positions, the child status will be elevated. Yes. Everything for the children. The children, uh, gets a higher status than in patriarchal polygamist societies. The children really have hard time and they need to work and they don’t get a good life.

Ah, not necessarily will have a good life. Uh, survival of the feet. You have many children. Some of them survive, some will not. But it’s okay. Uh, uh, and when the feminist society see every child, and also in, uh, the pygmy remember the bonobo? The bonobo are matriarchal society.

They don’t bring a lot of children, a lot of offsprings. The pups, we call them, um, and they also give a lot of resources. Yes, a lot of child sacrifice for the child. Ah, education, you have it also in chimpanzee. It’s amazing when you have a female dominated society, it’s more resources for the offsprings.

So it’s very interesting about the Y chromosome. Scientists see that assume that in 5 million years, there will not be any men left, because Y chromosome have 95% of the genes are already mutated and, ah, are inactive. And the assertion of the scientists is that by in 5 million years, chromosome Y will be whole inactive, so there won’t be any men.

And it’s too bad. It was nice, really, having you. Just joking. But the thing is, it’s because the chromosomes tend to before

the cell division in the reproduction. Ah, chromosomes,

they fix each other. Yeah, when you have two chromosomes. But the Y chromosome just has less genetic information, and so it’s not really very useful, basically. No, because the Y chromosome, it gets so mutated because it doesn’t have another Y chromosomes to have corrections. Ah, you have XX, it’s a female.

XY is male, and there is no yy. There is no such a creature with two Y’s. So the Y chromosome, over the generations, accumulate a lot of mutation, and the assumption is that by 5 billion years, it won’t be active. So I think the sperm banks will be overloaded.

Wow. Crazy. Um, yeah, it’s very interesting. As you say, redundancy maintains, uh, fidelity, right? Uh.

M in terms of maintaining that information. Wow, interesting. So a world without men. That’s, uh, an interesting world to imagine then. Yeah, I guess, as you say, you could go, I guess just spermbacks. Who knows what that would look like? You might genetically engineer, um, what you want your offspring to look like.

Right. Even now we talk about the idea, like the film Gattica, where people might, uh, try and genetically engineer their offspring. Um, and Gattica, by the way, the reason it’s called Gattica, uh, I heard, is because, uh, they wanted to use the genetic, uh, the genome building blocks, the ga.

Yeah, exactly. Ca all that. Very nice movie. A very interesting movie. I hope we won’t get this dark ages. I think it will be, ah, ah, not so good for humanity. It will be new kind of species, but I think it more reminded me of Nazi. Oh, yeah, it’s scary, the idea of this, like, uh, the Uberman, um, yeah, it’s a very scary society.

And that’s why it’s such a beautiful movie. They did this like somebody, a naturally born person, uh, could actually trick them and still succeed, basically. Um, yeah. Great movie for those who haven’t seen it, Ethan Hawke and Omaha Thurman. Um, but back to women dominating. So there is a society, you mentioned that, unfortunately, I mean, it’s no longer the way it used to be, but the musso, uh, uh, in china, right.

Where it’s a, uh, matriarchal society. You want to tell us a little bit how that worked? And maybe then we can also talk about polyandry in Tibet. As well as kind of different, uh, uh, structures. Yes. It’s interesting because, uh, in the book, I talk about the coolidge effect.

And the scientific proof of coolidge effect in humans came from men, from the porn. Without the coolidge effect, you won’t need so much visuals, uh, and movies and, uh, triggers and signals for the brain. So we have the porn, but in women, uh, women watch less porn. So there was no scientific, uh, evidence for coolidge effect in women.

So, scientifically. But I thought that the matriarcha society is the scientific proof that we looked for. I mean, in terms of anthropologically speaking, that we would assume, we would think we lived in a monogamy society. We see the Disney movies, happily ever after. You want to look for your prince.

And then he will be the father of your children. And forever and ever, you will live together until you get old. And then you go to look at Matiaca society. What happens when women set the rules? And this is the most so in China, inheritance goes from grandmother to daughter to the granddaughter.

And they don’t have, in the language, the words husband, father, uh, or marriage. They don’t have these, uh, words, uh, in their language.

I think all the men are just uncles, basically. Right. And, uh, they help raise the offspring of their sisters. The sisters. The social unit, the economic unit, is the grandmother and her children. And the brothers helped each other. Brothers and sisters help to raise the children. And they try to explain to westerners what is the system that they have.

And they called it a walking marriage. You can be with a person. Yes. You want to have love and to have sex and to bring children to the world. But he comes in the evening, uh, women get a room when she gets to her age, to 1214 age. And she can have a boyfriend.

She can have a, uh, man. But he comes in the evening, sometimes brings something to eat or drink. And then he goes in the morning back to his work and to his mother, to his family. And they can stay together like this for a while, but you will not father the children.

Ah. And when she’s had enough with him, the courage effect, when she don’t feel sometimes they can be. I think she put something right. A red flag. Uh, in the tradition, they put a red flag in the balcony. And he knows in the morning there is no conversation. Where are we heading?

The relationship just put a red flag. And he knows to go back to his mother house. And other men know that she is available now. So this is what happened when women set the rules. We don’t see strict monogamy. And the men tied up and get some food and get some, but he cannot look at anyone else.

And, uh, jealousy. Ah, ah. But rather, um, she can do whatever she wants, she can do whatever she likes. Sometimes she can be with the same person, but it’s really very different from the monogamy that, ah, we are used to. Um. I think that we are, uh, going back to this model in a feminist society, because we see that, um, the more women have power in a society, you see more divorce, or she won’t be in a relationship that she is not appreciated, or that women tend to file to divorce more than men.

70%, 67%. And from age of 55, it’s 92% women. There’s a joke about, uh, these two, uh, um, very old jewish couple that are like 95, right? And they file for divorce, right? And this journalist comes and he visits. Have you heard this? You heard the story or. No?

Anyway, so the journalist comes and to interview them. He wants to understand what happened. How could it be 95? Come on. Uh, why now?

What’s the deal? How come? How come now? And they say, well, hey, uh, the kids are finally dead.

That’s the joke anyway. Not a great joke, but there you have it. Sorry, that’s my divorce joke. But anyway. But you say above a certain age, it’s mostly the women that initiate it. Yeah. A man doesn’t want change. They good where they are. Why? To rock the boat? He knows what he gets.

He is satisfied with what he has. But she. I blame the hormones, because after the menopause, the estrogen, the caring hormone, to think about the other, not to think about myself. You are released from the estrogen. And then the women starts to satisfy herself and to think what is good for her and not only what’s good for the kids and the husband and everybody else to satisfy, uh, the society.

Uh, so that is my take on, uh, divorce. After menopause. But anyway, you see that in feminist society where women are equal, you see first more divorce and then also more divorce, uh, initiated by women. And also more single parenthood. Yeah, single mothers. From sperm donations. We have this elevation also in Israel, 30% elevation, uh, in ah, one decade in every decade, uh, of women that decide, okay, I didn’t find my, uh, prince charming, so I will take, ah, sperm domination and sperm donation is for me, it’s like more.

So she still have relationship with the man, but the children are from another man, which is fit and good. She select the genes, literally select the genes file. Uh, and the mother, uh, helps her and her sisters and brothers, usually I’m also a single mother, so it’s not, uh, one men show.

Yeah, one women show. You have your family, you ah, have sisters, brothers, friends, support, uh, system, uh, but basically go back to the mother to take care of the children because it’s hard to do it alone. So it’s very interesting. Uh, I don’t think necessarily that it’s good. Um, but I think we are moving from patriarchal society to more equal society.

And we have these changes, uh, of social structures that were historically decades, ages of the same social structures. Now it’s changing. So we have hard time to deal with the new positions, ah, what it is to be a woman, what it is to be a man.

New ordering of society. It’s also fascinating that you say that the society that you live in also affects one’s fantasies. I mean, you talk about how, um, women, men’s fantasies, often that the two most popular are either being dominated or exhibitionism. Watch, having people watch the woman being pleasured.

And that in more egalitarian societies, uh, you see exhibitionism becoming a more popular fantasy. Whereas in patriarchal societies, women dream more about being dominated. And it’s interesting because that’s obviously very linked to the animal kingdom. I think you mentioned how sex can be violent. I think geese don’t, uh, even release an egg during, uh, sex.

If I think of the, if the male doesn’t bite the female on the neck or something like that, I believe. Right. Uh, so you have all these strange things that are happening in our primitive brain, right? And yet we’re still affected by society that still can create this plasticity.

Um, and now when you talk about what the future will look like, uh, going back to kind of like prehistoric times, there’s all these theories, uh, there’s that book sex at dawn, that basically says that we were like bonabos, where there was no need to be, uh, possessive of, uh, one’s partner.

You just share the concept. Being that before we had agriculture, basically, we couldn’t hoard food, so we would share food and our lovers were the same. Right. Do you believe that theory, by the way? Yes, I think still with polygamy inside, I mean, that, uh, women always wanted the more warriors or the males that brought more food or they physically look better.

So not every men got it. Like now, like, you know, in tinder, there is this research that 10% of men get 90% of the approach by women. There is still the alpha, or the alpha type, that women, uh, are more selective. But it wasn’t a monogamist like we know it today.

Uh, of course, as I see it as a biologist, but still, uh, not equal. Yeah. You don’t share it with everyone. Okay. There are always. Some are more equal than others, let’s put it that way. As they used to say in communism, right? Yeah. Ah, the animal farm. That’s right, exactly.

We’re all equal, but some are equal more. That’s right. Um. Um, exactly. It’s interesting to think about that and the idea that once you had, uh, uh, an agricultural society, we became very possessive. The man you also mentioned the book, never really knows if it’s his offspring or not, so often tries to be very controlling.

He may try and have as many women as possible, but at the same time, um, control women and the optimal scenario being like a harem, obviously. And I think you mentioned even that amongst the incas, they had all these inca law would say exactly how many women you’re allowed to have.

The king could have, I believe, 1500, nobles could have 700, and a governor could have 50 wives. And then a poor man could only have one. Right. Uh, monogamy for the poor. That’s right. And then you mentioned obviously amongst, uh, the Romans, how they actually used monogamy through Christianity as a way to control the population.

Right. Uh, because monogamy reduces clans and testosterone. The more men have women, you can divide and conquer in a way, and then obviously you’ve got kids, you’ve got all this responsibility. It’s like having a mortgage. Right? Like you’re kind of tied down, basically. You’re not going to revolt. Uh,

when you’re, you don’t have all. Your brothers and sisters and, uh, you are just, uh, with one women and all the children, and you have a lot of, like I said, responsibility. So monogamy was very good for the roman empire. That’s why it was, uh, spread by Christianity and, uh, to love and to cherish for the whole know all the story.

And then when feminist era begins, we see the decline in marriage and also the divorce. So all the system is, uh, cranking. But I’m not ending my book. And I’m also not, uh, thinking that we should dismiss monogamy and say, okay, let’s live how we live. I think still that, uh, it’s worth the effort.

Despite the biology, despite the fragility. This is so fragile, uh, we can make it last. I believe that if we understand how it works, we can choose better and also to learn how to maintain lifelong bond. Because people,

uh, we are not only sexual, yeah, we are sexual creatures, but we need this friendship, uh, and a person that will support us and will be each other and somebody to talk with and somebody to share memories with. So it’s worth the efforts. And people that live, uh, in good marriage or good relationship, they are more healthy, more happy, and they live longer.

Although maybe they don’t have butterflies. Sure, they don’t have the butterflies, uh, in the belly. And they don’t maybe have the best sex that they have. But there are so many others benefits to long term relationship than just, uh, the excitement. You can have excitement in there many different ways.

And also if you talk more about sex and be more open about it, you can have eroticism with the same person. It’s something that you need to work on it, especially reduce stress and have a lot of hobbies and other people. And a little jealousy is also good. And arguments are good.

Oh, and arguing, you do say, if you’re going to argue, get naked. That’s the best time to argue because you’ll have oxytocin and also maybe even lie on your back. Right in the extreme, because then you’ll be less aggressive and more, you’ll listen more. Yeah. Ster Perel says that it’s good to lie on your back because you don’t see the other one’s eyes and ah, you don’t get aggressive and fight.

So you are just in this freeze mode. But anyway. But it’s good to argue. I don’t say to reduce the amounts of arguments, but just to reduce the time to reconcile conciliation. Yeah. Not to do it after 3 hours, not to talk or one day, whole day not talking to each other.

Don’t go to sleep angry. Say it’s bad to go to bed angry. It’s going to shove it down. Validate a bad memory? No. But you do mention that you might need a time out of like 20 minutes, which is, uh, that’s like the half life, if I believe, of cortisol or something like that.

Uh, if you feel overwhelmed, take a. Time out, come back. You feel that you are saying bad things for the person. Yeah. You don’t have to hurt the feeling? No. Although you don’t have empathy when you are very testosterone, when you are very angry, and cortisol and adrenaline, it reduces empathy.

You don’t really see how you hurt the other side, but sometimes you have this moment that you feel that it’s too much. So take a break, 20 minutes, but go, come back to talk. Tell the partner that we will continue this conversation in half an hour because I feel overwhelmed and it’s not good for me and for us, and it’s okay.

But if you go to the other room, I don’t want to talk to you. It’s a physical pain for the other side. When somebody ignores you and doesn’t want to speak with you. And like a wall, you talk to the wall. It’s very bad physically for your nervous system.

So you want to take a break. Basically, you need to take a break sometimes and circle back. But this goes back. You did mention this concept of freezing, which I think a lot of people are not familiar with. Uh, everyone has heard of, uh, fight or flight, which is the idea that when you get stressed, that’s often what you do.

But, um, as you explained, that’s not often the most, uh, dominant mechanism. Uh, for females. Instead, it’s often freeze, uh, or befriend. The idea being that you may not be strong enough to fight and you might not even be fast enough to run away. Uh, so a better strategy sometimes can be just freeze, play dead, or maybe try and somehow befriend and calm down, calm the situation so you get back to safety.

Um, and I think you also even say when women are sexually harassed, sometimes people ask, why didn’t you push back? Why do you do something? Well, they were freezing. That’s like, it’s a natural response. Just like animals play dead, right. And so it’s not that they’re saying it’s okay and they’re not objecting.

This is just a natural defense mechanism. Right. Uh, uh, at the end of the day. Um, but, yes, but freezing, that’s not a situation you want to be in when you’re arguing with your spouse. Uh, that is not good. Basically, usually with the spouse, you feel more secure. So m women will tend to fight flight with their spouse, but maybe in the workplace when they get harassed, they will freeze.

It depends where you feel more secured or more intimidated. Uh, but the natural responses for females, uh, not every female, not every time, but we see in nature is to really shut uh, down the system and pretend dead. And also to satisfy others. Yes. To tend and befriend, try phone like, try to be nice.

Yeah. And we see it also in workplace. Women tend more to apologize and to play nice, to be nice. And usually, uh, these are not traits that are uh, appreciated enough. So they think they deserve promotion or uh, uh, elevation in the salary. But uh, sometimes they feel they are not valued enough.

Many women feel that they are not valued enough because they tend to be nice or to satisfy. This is the thing. A patriarchal society often just doesn’t appreciate those feelings. I mean, you also mentioned the fact that uh, if you look at salaries, estrogen kind of based, uh, vocations, uh, tend to have much lower salaries, even though there’s often the caregivers, the teachers, they work their asses off, but they’re just not as appreciated in a testosterone fueled society.

Right? Yes, exactly. It’s undervalued all the, I’d say, oxytocin traits. Estrogen and oxytocin traits are undervalued in the society and the testosterone traits are overvalued, um, without, uh, relations to what benefit society more? The empathy professions, of course, uh,

benefit, um, society, child rearing and education and uh, ah, health system, which are dominated by women, caring, uh, system psychologists, uh, all the therapists. This is dominated by women. And we tend also not to stand on our rights sometimes. I say that if men will work in the same conditions that teacher work, at least in Israel, it’s really harsh conditions.

Also in the health system everywhere that it’s a profession that is dominated by women, the conditions will be really bad compared to the military or the high tech professions, uh, which are dominated by men, which is really times more in terms of uh, salary and benefits and other benefits.

We need to walk. That’s what I said. And obviously housewives, they’re not even calculated in GDP, right. Uh, in terms of economic, uh, value contributed in their. So they’re so fundamental. I go back to Adam Smith that uh, the father

how I get my supper. Yeah. So he said, I get bread from the bread maker and I have my uh, beer from the beer maker and uh, the meat from the butcher. But he forgot to mention his mother, that cook for him and bring him the food. He was single forever.

He didn’t get married and uh, his mother was. So he forgot to put her in the economy. Yeah. The food came to the table, completely child making for granted. It’s not even in the booking. Um.

The GDP of a society, and it needs to be changed, I think, of course, for men and for women, for everybody. I agree 100%. Um, a few things, uh, because I guess we’re towards the end, but a few interesting things just maybe we can still touch upon before we wrap.

Uh, one is, um, you talk about how obviously we’re different from chimpanzees. We’ve got this prefrontal lobe, um, which helps us be rational, but actually, we’re still emotional machines, right? Emotion, the word motion, they make us act. And 90% of kind of what we do is driven by emotion.

Often the rational side catches up later. Um, it’s interesting, like how we respond to this other person. I think you mentioned that within 15 milliseconds, we can actually see someone else’s. We can judge their facial expression. We can also tell whether or not they’re attracted to us or not.

And that can affect us as well. We’re so driven by this emotional machine at the end of the day, right? Uh, um, yeah. Ah, see, emotions, we communicate by emotion. 95% of our communication is by emotion. You see, in the eyes of a person, the facial expression, the voice.

Uh, you see what he feels about you, what he feels. When you know somebody more, the more you know somebody, uh, you see it, ah, faster. Yeah. You just see the eyes and you know what your spouse feel or your child feel, because you know already the expressions of all the spectrum of emotions that he has.

But anyway, 70% of our receptors for sensations is not on our skin, is in our eyes. So we feel sensations, ah, from cues that we get from, uh, the eyes of other person, from the patient, especially. And of course, it’s evolutionary logic. Yeah, you have to respond quickly if somebody wants to threaten you, if somebody wants to love you, uh, you don’t have time for the slow processes of the frontal lobe.

It takes time to assess, I think. I think 300 milliseconds compared to 15 milliseconds. Yeah, 300 milliseconds. To understand the words that somebody says. That’s right. So he can tell me, I love you, but in the eyes, I see that he hates me. And the message from the eyes is more potent.

Maybe I will say, yeah, I love you, too. But inside, the feeling is, I’m not comfortable here. Okay, so we have this amygdala, the area of the brain, the stress area that assess all the time. Is this good for me? Not good for me. I feel comfortable. I don’t feel comfortable.

I feel secured or not secured. So, uh, 30 seconds it takes for the amygdala to decide if this person is likable or not likable, if it will be acceptable or unacceptable, and then you feel it in the gut because the amygdala talks to the gut brain. We have a brain in our gut.

It’s the gut brain. It’s 500 million neurons that talks to the amygdala, to the limbic parts, to the emotional parts of the brain, and, uh, they create together the, ah, gut feeling. So you see somebody and you have not good feeling. And even he didn’t talk, so you just saw him in a date.

And the brain tags, uh, because it’s very important for, uh, us survivors to make fast decisions. You don’t have time to think too much. Uh, sometimes it’s a matter of life and death, uh, how you respond. But for us in the 21st century, that usually you are not threatened, um, it has a disadvantage.

Yes. That you, uh, criticize or you feel, uh, you don’t give chance to people, uh, from first impression. Sorry. It takes six positive interaction to correct one negative interaction of first impression. So if I had a first impression, bad first impression in the date, it would take six good date, good, um, interactions to overcome.

You’re not going to have those extra dates at that point, usually. Exactly. This goes back to. You did say that, uh, uh, in the book that, uh, serotonin, uh, is made in the gut from tryptophan. That’s, uh, what creates that butterfly feeling. Uh, but, um, that feeling, even though it’s a great thing and often can indicate that there’s something exciting and enticing that.

Research has shown that half of married couples didn’t have that. And the first time they met, it’s something that they got later. So you don’t have to have that butterfly feeling to necessarily have a successful, long, uh, lasting coupling, basically. Right. Um, yeah. And there is this. You say, uh, obviously, if we jump to conclusions, we often have a negativity bias.

Right. Uh, where we might eliminate, uh, uh, someone who could be, uh, uh, a great partner. Yeah. Our, uh, mind is, uh, really prone to think, uh, bad of people or for negativity to try to find something not good about a person, especially when we talk about love, because you need to give your heart to a person.

Right. And he can hurt you. So the brain is obsessed with keeping us from pain, not to feel pain, even in the price that we won’t feel happy. Happiness and self fulfillment and love and all the good. This is words that we invented in nature. You need to survive.

You need to not feel pain. And wherever you felt pain, don’t go back there. Maybe men are bad for you, women are bad for you. Yeah. We go to this generalization because our heart was broken. And we get this generalization. And I hear a lot of women that said, uh, I didn’t have this gut.

I have a bad gut feeling from the first time. So I said, but maybe it’s because of all these traumas from the past. It has nothing to do with this person, new person, because your body just don’t want to feel pain again. So he eliminates. He said, okay, he has a big, I don’t know, uh, uh, he’s bold or he’s, uh, too smart or too nice, even.

Too nice. That’s often unattractive. Right? Yeah. Too good. Too good or too nice. Ah, that’s why we fall in love with narcissists. They have magnetic power over women and over men less, but, uh, they are more, uh, for women. And then he will break your heart for sure. Ah, but there will be a lot of butterflies in the belly.

Ah, that comes from the anxiety because he is not nice. He’s nice in the beginning. He give a lot of love bombing and the characteristic of, uh, toxic relationship. But toxic relationship has a lot of emotions. And we like to feel emotions, even bad emotions, uh, not to feel.

Nothing is bad for our system. We want to feel and even a bad feeling, especially if we were grown up with narcissist parents or brother or sister. So we know this feeling. So the brain looks for the familiarity, familiar sensations, familiar feelings. That’s why we need to do a really good assessment and look and be conscious for our past.

Because our emotional regulation and emotional, uh, system really designed and shaped by, at the age of six, uh, by our parents and our family and the people that, uh, were our caregivers. And even when we said, oh, it was in the past, um, I’m a new person now. It’s not that easy biologically.

Uh, but it doesn’t mean that if I had a really bad upbringing that I will never have love. I will have love. But I need to do some work and to see whether I feel, uh, more comfortable in toxic relationship or I feel more comfortable with people. That makes me feel bad, uh, and not makes me feel good because it’s something new that somebody makes me feel good.

I got used to feeling, uh, undervalued, underappreciated.

So that’s why I think that, uh, also the technological age, the technology doesn’t help us in this. Ah, because we said that if, uh, the first date was not good enough, and for 50% of couples, they didn’t felt that it’s it, this is it on the first date. But they gave it a chance.

In the age of the apps, you don’t give a chance. You have, at least in the inbox, you have 20 messages for other people from other people. You don’t even think about to give a chance for dates. Just go to the next thing. Some of them will be bots.

You talk about a dating, uh, apps. You mentioned skinner boxes. I don’t know if we have time to explain what that is, but the idea that, uh, they’re not healthy, uh, instruments, and they’re there to kind of keep you on the apps rather than help you perhaps find long lasting love.

And the idea that there’s a cognitive overload when you’re constantly kind of comparing different, uh, candidates and just, uh, overwhelming, um, feeling, uh, of, uh, fomo, the fear of missing out, uh, if you do kind of go with one person. So, I mean, it’s a. We live in difficult times, but just to go back, I mean, you mentioned the negativity bias that often kind of eliminates someone and may not allow that second date.

But even amongst, uh, successful couples, this negativity bias is one of the reasons why. You also say in the book that, uh, for every criticism, you should make sure to give five compliments, because that’s how much it takes to overcome that criticism. Um,

uh, I think that’s very important. And I was told about research that was done that they put

recording devices in the houses of couples with children, and they wanted to check the ratio of compliments to criticism. And we know that a good ratio is one criticism, five compliments. But they found in the recording, was. It 15 to one? And for the really healthy ones, 30 to one?

Um, yeah, for every compliment, 30 criticism. And most of it was from the women. So we have a lot of work.

Crazy getting to. It’s the stress. You feel stress. And we have also this, uh, perfectionism. We need everything to be, uh, perfect. Yeah. There’s all these weird things I heard. There’s like, a gene that’s linked to perfectionism and anorexia as well, right? Uh.

Uh, yeah. Similarly, I know there are certain genes, I think DrD four, that’s linked to dopamine kind, uh, of drives, and that the 20% of the population have them. Yes. And they’re the ones that take more chances, right? Uh, yeah. Ah, the risk takers, gamblers. But this goes back to.

You did mention different types and being attracted to the asshole. Helen Fisher has this idea for love maps where the caretaker is attracted to the leader or something. Testosterone. Yeah. So it is worth, I guess, also kind of looking at some of these love maps to become more aware of how you are.

Um, but one thing that I did find really interesting, because you mentioned a few times in the book experiments, uh, where couples, uh, use, uh, uh, synthetic, uh, oxytocin inhalers, and that like being very good for the sex and the bonding. I, uh, guess, uh, one assumes that, uh, that might be a good tool in the future to overcome the coolidge effect, uh, and that it’s probably better than other drugs, one would think.

Yeah, there are less side effects, uh, but there is a lot of controversy today about the inhalers. It is used in clinical trials, uh, in autism, because some of the spectrum is due to low levels of oxytocin. And also in post trauma, ah, post traumatic stress disorder, there is a reduction in the secretion of oxytocin.

So there is, um, studies that shows that the inhaler helps PTSD uh, patients, ah, to talk more and to be more competent, ah, for therapy, more, uh, open for therapy, but people talk. There was an article in one of the economic journals, the love drugs economy, that this research on the oxytocin inhaler will be, ah, the medication for couple therapy.

Instead of going to couple therapy, you just take these inhalers. I don’t know yet. I didn’t try it myself. Uh, in the world of drugs, uh, MDMA mimics oxytocin. So I know also that couples, some couples, uh, take also this substance, uh, uh, in order to feel strong feelings of love again.

But, uh, the levels are high and it’s not good for your brain. So I hope there will be oxytocin inhaler and, uh, it will not have a lot of side effects. But until then, we have to learn to secrete it ourselves, be less criticized, ah, be more appreciative, ah, and to not forget to compliment.

Five minutes a day, five minutes a day just to train the brain to see the good, not to see the bad. It’s also good for your health. People that are appreciative for their good things in life tend to be more happier. Yeah, of course, uh, because our tendency is to think about the bad, see the bad, uh, to be biased to negativity.

That’s why, uh, this is a research that is very interesting for me. I talk about it a lot. The highest predictor for long term relationship. Ah, and happiness, um, in marriage is not the traits of the partner to choose this partner or that partner. And it’s not even related to, uh, uh, the characteristic of the relationship, but to parameters of the person himself.

His satisfaction from life is the highest predictor of success in relationship. If you are happy with your career, with your social life, with your hobies, with your family, you uh, will have a good relationship, uh, because you will be more optimistic, you will be more nice to your spouse.

Because most of the time we put on the other side, we throw on the partner the stress that we have with ourselves. Apparently there’s some effect that, uh, if you increase someone else’s cortisol, your cortisol can go down. It’s kind of a nasty. Exactly, exactly. This is the saposki study, uh, that he lived with the baboons for eight years.

And he saw that when baboon, um, get beaten by a baboon that is higher from him in the hierarchy, the first thing that he do in order to self regulate himself in order to relax is not meditation and not mindfulness. He goes to find a lower class, ah, um, baboon and beat him also.

So the self relaxation automatic regulation mechanism is to, ah, attack someone else to be less empathic and more aggressive. Aggression. That’s why we have so much violence. Whenever you have stress, you have more violence in a stressful society and also in the house. When one of the partners doesn’t feel good in life or m more anxiety, ah, uh, burden of life, he m will tend to take it out on his partner and their relationship will go downhill.

And when you’re happy, when you’re happy with, uh, your career, with your life, with your meaning, uh, of life, you have a meaning, uh, you tend also to choose better partners, partners that will treat you nicely and also be good to your partner and not to see only the bad things.

When you have bad day, everything is bad, right. When you have a good day, you see the good in people. So the number one for me, the number one tip or solution, uh, for marriage problem is to look inside and to see how I can better myself or my life, uh, to have more fulfilling life, to see how can I have more friends or more, um, uh, values.

Things that I do that I value, that are aligned with my personal values. To know what my personal values, yes. Not to just wander in the world eating, sleeping. Eating, sleeping, uh, watching television, but hold. On, let’s just bring that back for a second. Because obviously that all sounds great and it’s good.

But at the same time, there’s also this idea that there can be a healthy amount of stress. Or also, I mean, not even that, but even just that we know that environments that the more dangerous they are, the more monogamy you have. And also environments, uh, that are more kind of dangerous and stressful often don’t allow.

Don’t give time for people to become depressed as well. You see that in certain societies where you just don’t have time to be depressed because you have to take care of stuff. Right? So there can be sometimes too much freedom. One can get lost in it as well. Right?

Uh, it is a weird thing. But certainly, as you say, you also mentioned the book that, uh. This idea that if you think that going out is just going to solve it, I mean, that’s outside the relationship, that’s not the case. And I think you mentioned. You give an example of how karma is a bitch.

In that when people cheat during a marriage, uh, and run off with someone else, they’re, I think, like 75% more likely to, uh, divorce, uh, in that new relationship. Is that right? Something like that, yeah, something like that. So karma is a bitch.

But basically I think that first you hurt some people, so it’s harder. The children sometimes know that you have difficult times with society. Uh, so it’s stress on the couples. And they will tend. When we don’t feel good, our tendency is not to look inside and say, oh, how can I take responsibility for what happened?

The tendency is to blame the other person. This is a natural tendency. When I don’t feel good, the first thing I would think that what is wrong with my partner, why he is, uh, so upsetting to me. But the feelings of upset, the feelings of anger is because something is not good for me with my life or with my ambitions and things.

That’s why I think that relationships that starts with a lot of stress. Ah, uh. Will tend to make the couples grow apart. Because you have so many things to deal with. And maybe also in this case, it was more erotic and exciting when it was forbidden. And when it is open, uh, it’s becoming, again, boring and

you lose the thrill.

Yeah, it’s very interesting. All this word of cheating or open marriage or polyamory. For me, it’s exciting debate. I don’t necessarily agree. Ah, I think it’s risky. All, uh, these areas are very risky. Once you, um, add another person to the equation, it tends to become riskier. Ah. You cannot control, uh, your brain.

Some people say that they have rules. You cannot fall in love. You cannot be. Yeah, I think the brain doesn’t have rules. Yeah. Polyamorous relationship. Sometimes you still have a hierarchy, right? Supposedly you try and maintain, but, uh, sometimes m something will override. It’s all drugs. Yeah. You say it’s only for sex, and then I fall in love.

What to do? Okay, so we cannot control our emotions. We cannot control the brain. We cannot set rules in love. There are no rules. Um, so we go there because of the coolidge effect. But I think we are humans. We are very ingenious. We can find other ways. Ah, ah.

To deal with the coolidge effect. Maybe not, but I’m not judging. Yeah. Everything. Whatever is good for a couple, it’s blessed for both of them. Well, yes. Just to, uh, try and wrap things up. There’s so much. We might have to do another session at some point, but. Because we haven’t even touched up a whole bunch of things.

But, uh, it is Valentine’s day, and you do mention that, uh, there’s a way to make love part of your routine. You say walks, you say make. Uh, sure you get plenty of sunshine in nature. Petting a cat or a dog. That’s good. That’s another nervous system. That’s oxytocin.

Compliments. Music. Apparently you mentioned that music from when you were a teenager. Dancing. Dancing is so good for you. Um, even alone, you say, it’s okay. Dance when everyone’s watching. Don’t worry. It’s so healthy. Right. Um, and, um, obviously being physical. Laughing, nutritious meals, uh, making love slowly as well.

You say the idea of tantra. Tantra. That’s right. And not rushing things. Um, there are a lot of ways to make sure that love is a priority, uh, in the end of the day, not only is it a priority for most of us, depending. Unless your brain is wired, uh, differently, somewhere in the spectrum, for the majority of us, it’s a necessity.

Um. Yeah, it’s a necessity. Cool. All right, well, I want to say. Yeah. Thank you so much. More couples to have. More couples to do things with them. Oh, yes, you say. That’s right. Have overlapping social circles. Right? That was the idea. Yeah, because they said that. Sorry. They showed in the switches that, uh, couples that have couples that they are doing things together, overlapping, so the relationship become more stable because they saw that, um, they are gossiping about the other couple.

And, ah, gossiping is a way to. Uh, kind of bond, to communicate. Yeah. To communicate and bond and to, um, bring messages to each other. Yes, by talking about the other couple, I’m basically saying what I need. I’m talking about her, but I’m talking about me. So basically it makes the couple talk about things they did not necessarily will talk about because it’s a topic of someone else.

Yeah, it’s gossiping, but we like to gossip and it’s good to gossip and it makes the relationship more stable. And I’m also thinking that we are not necessarily, um, ah, just monogamous, as we said, ah, creatures. But we are communal creatures, social creature. We need a lot of people in order to be happy.

Not only the spouse, ah, the partner, uh, but friends and family. And, um, you need a village to raise a child. I say that you need a village to raise everyone. An adult, uh, it’s not only the relationship that will fulfill all our needs. We have so many needs that one person cannot fulfill all of them.

So we need to stop thinking about that. He will need to feel everything and to think what is wrong with him. Because I don’t feel that I’m fulfilled enough. Yeah, I don’t feel, uh, whole enough. So maybe something with him is wrong. If I will replace him, everything will be good.

Not first, I need to fulfill myself and then with other people, with other hobies. I said earlier, the jealousy, little bit of jealousy is also good. It retain the, uh, excitement. But, uh, anyway, I hope everyone will have, ah, will get value from this talk and have a beautiful life, happy life.

And with or without relationships. I want to say, uh, the book is amazing. Uh, I’m proud to publish it. And there’s so much more information in there, uh, even tips on if you’re arguing with your partner, don’t ask for advice from the family because they’ll be biased. Go to friends, all this.

There’s just a lot of practical information that will help you basically have a much more successful, uh, love life. And I, uh, think we could all use that. So, well done. Uh, um, thank you for doing all that you do. Thank you. So happy to publish with you this book.

Thank you very much for the opportunity.

The REAL science behind your favorite Christmas rom-coms

tmas rom-coms have plots that are backed up by science

Love at first sight  It’s that most classic of romantic plot devices: eyes meet across the room and all of a sudden everyone is falling head over heels in love. This trope is at its absolute best in Serendipity as a young John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale meet and fall in love in one magical evening.  However, outside of the silver screen, Dr Yakir says the real picture isn’t quite as simple.  ‘We call everything love, but there are actually different stages to it,’ Dr Yakir said. ‘There is a stage of attraction and infatuation, the butterflies in the belly falling in love state, and there is the stage of attachment.’  In this first stage of falling in love, Dr Yakir explains that our brains are overwhelmed by a potent mix of organic drugs including oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. At this point, our hormones drive us to feel intense feelings of attraction for that person. It’s only later, once our brains have developed a tolerance to these chemicals, that we move towards the more stable attachment stage of love.  Dr Yakir says that love at first sight like in Serendipity is scientifically better understood as attraction at first sight as our brains flood with hormones that encourage attraction

While it can take years to reach the stage of attachment, this first stage can kick in anywhere between six hours and two years after meeting someone.  ‘When we get to know somebody there is a screening happening in the brain that is entirely unconscious,’ Dr Yakir explains. ‘That first impression we get from someone is based on evolution. If he is strong, tall or pretty are all signs of the sex hormones we look for even in a partner of the same sex.’ So, while some forms of love do take years to develop, love definitely does begin at first sight. The magic of the first kiss If rom-coms have taught us anything, it’s that the first kiss is a magical moment where the love affair is sealed and our starring couple live happily ever after.  Somewhat surprisingly, Dr Yakir says that science actually agrees with the movies. ‘For every mammal, when they meet the first they they do is sniff each other. Kissing is our sniffing,’ says Dr Yakir. ‘When we kiss we share a lot of information, emotional information, biological information, chemical information, and psychological information.’ Our unconscious screening processes kick in when we kiss as we instantaneously ‘screen’ partners for potential mates, Dr Yakir explained.  ‘There are a lot of chemicals in that are the product of our immune system and the activity of the germs that live in our bodies carried in our saliva,’ she added.  The first kiss is not only romantic as in Last Christmas, but it is also important moment for bonding as the love hormone oxytocin is transferred in our saliva

This chemical backwash tells us a lot about how physiologically fit someone may be as a potential partner and if they are genetically compatible.  ‘It’s not only the people that fall in love but their germs have to be compatible too,’ Dr Yakir joked.  She says that our bodies are so sensitive to this information that even the taste and smell of a person can make or break a relationship. Saliva contains oxytocin, the hormone responsible for creating feelings of attachment and social bonding. So kissing someone can add even more chemicals the the hormone soup which supercharges our feeling of attraction into full blown-love.  Sometimes the chemical information contained in a kiss tells us that we aren’t compatible, just like in the heart-wrenching final goodbye in Love Actually

The fake date   One bizarre plot point that comes up again and again in romantic comedies is the situation where two people must pretend to be a couple. Of course, as we might expect, the two inevitably end up falling madly in love.  This trope is on full display in the 2021 romantic comedy Love Hard, when two strangers fall in love after pretending to be a couple over Christmas. But, once again, Dr Yakir says this strange plot device does actually get a scientific seal of approval. Even though our brains subconsciously screen potential partners for fitness, Dr Yakir says that spending enough time with someone can, literally, change our minds.

One bizarre plot point that comes up again and again in romantic comedies is the situation where two people must pretend to be a couple. This trope is on full display in the 2021 romantic comedy Love Hard, when two strangers fall in love after pretending to be a couple over Christmas

Oxytocin: The ‘love’ hormone  Oxytocin, known as the ‘love hormone’, engenders trust and generosity. The chemical is released naturally from the brain into the blood of humans and other mammals during social and sexual behaviours. It is produced by women during labour to help them bond with their baby, and stimulates the production of breast milk. The chemical is also released during lovemaking, earning it the nickname ‘the cuddle hormone’. Other loving touches, from hugging a teddy bear to stroking your pet dog, also trigger the hormone’s release.

Dr Yakir said: ‘It’s all down to hormones.  ‘Oxytocin will be secreted when you look into each others’ eyes, when you sit together and when you  talk, especially when talking about emotions. ‘The thing with oxytocin is that when it’s secreted you start to see this person as more attractive.’ So even if you start out disliking someone, just like in so many films, acting out a relationship can trick our brains into falling in love.  That’s why there may be more than a little truth to some of the more outlandish rom-com plots.   Childhood best friends to lovers While rom-coms have been doing pretty well for scientific accuracy so far, there are some areas where they truly miss the mark. One such misstep is the classic ‘best-friends to lovers’ trope that is the core of Christmas rom-coms like Just Friends. In the movies, the star-crossed lovers grew up together and drifted apart, but ultimately end up realising they loved each other all along. Unfortunately for Hollywood, Dr Yakir says this trope actually goes against some of our most deeply ingrained genetic instincts. In her upcoming book, A Brief History of Love, Dr Yakir references a study of children who grew up together in Israel’s collectivist Kibbutzim.  While Ryan Reynolds might have found love with his childhood friend in Just Friends, Dr Yakir says this may have gone against our most basic instincts against incest

Dr Yakir says that in the Kibbutz, children raised together in close proximity began to experience the same kind of sexual revulsion found between siblings. ‘The brain wants to search for someone that is [genetically] close to us, but not too close,’ says Dr Yakir. ‘Our genes drive us to find a partner that’s good for reproduction, so we are driven to avoid incest because it’s not good for the gene pool.’ Since our brains put childhood friends into the category of close relations, our natural aversion to incest kicks in to squash any potential attraction.  So, contrary to what film might have taught us, when two people grow up together their attraction to each other is actually diminished.   The high-status man  From Let it Snow to Love Actually, rom-coms are abound with pairings between powerful men and less successful women. While this could be explained away as nothing more than male screenwriters living out their power fantasies, there may be a grain of truth to this trope. Dr Yakir says that humans have a ‘mammalian style’ of mate selection where females are attracted to the strongest, genetically fittest males.  ‘It comes down to the difference between oestrogen and testosterone and how they impact our behaviour,’ Dr Yakir explains.

‘Testosterone in the male brain evolutionarily prepares him for war. ‘Males in nature are busy in their struggles for power and their place in the social hierarchy because females like the alpha males.’ Dr Yakir explains that this makes it more likely for women to be attracted to men in positions of power or high social status and even explains the attraction to narcissistic men. It is worth noting that the concept of the ‘alpha male’ is widely contested. Frans de Waal, who first popularised the term in relation to primate,s now argues that the term has been misused to imply a dominant or bullying personality type. However, Dr Yakir maintains that our mammalian past still explains a lot about how we choose our partners today.  The ‘player’ settles down  This same logic of hormonal differences also undermines another classic rom-com trope: the ‘player’ settling down.  In the extremely festive Single All the Way, Peter is ultimately convinced to give up his single life and settle down for true love and monogamy.  Yet Dr Yakir says that this common plot simply doesn’t reflect biological necessity.

Unfortunately, Dr Yakir says that males are not biologically programmed for monogamy so the idea that the player will one day settle down isn’t backed up by science

‘Polygamy is the evolutionary stable system, not monogamy,’ Dr Yakir says. ‘In polygamy, males struggle for power and the winner takes all. Testosterone wires men’s brains for that.’ Testosterone, Dr Yakir points out, also counteracts the effects of oxytocin on the brain. This means that the ‘high-status’ man who has spent his life sleeping around may have a biological resistance to love at the chemical level. So, sorry to all the hopeful romantics out there, but this trope only comes true in the movies.

To the Full Article >>

LOVE DRUG From an ‘electric buzz’ to butterflies & a racing heart

The Sun Magazine: LOVE DRUG From an ‘electric buzz’ to butterflies and a racing heart – what happens to your body when you fall in love

Plus how a break-up can affect your body – as well as the science behind the ‘ick’
Eliza Loukou
Published: 13:51, 14 Feb 2024 Sun Magazine

THERE’S nothing quite like falling in love. From the surge of joy at the thought your loved one, to the sweaty anxiety of getting ready to see them and the despair of not hearing from them, it can certainly be an emotional roller-coaster.

Falling in love can involve a heady cocktail of hormones surging through your body head over heals for someone is unique each time and it can feel like an intensely individual experience.

But there are some core biological processes that underpin being smitten with a special someone. And they might explain some of the wacky expressions we have to describe the experience of craving our beloved: from ‘butterflies in your stomach’ to ‘love is blind’. Dr Liat Yakir, a biologist specialising in hormones and genes dove deep into the biological underpinnings of love and the science of attraction in her book A Brief History of Love.

Speaking to Sun Health, she revealed how our brain rates someone as attractive or unattractive in the seconds after laying eyes on them.

“Within the first 30 seconds of meeting someone, the amygdala forms an initial impression of attraction – an instinctual and often subconscious emotional judgement made by the primitive brain,” she explained. “This decision categorises a person as “attractive,” “unattractive,” “acceptable,” or “unacceptable.”

During the initial stages of love, the brain is flooded with the most potent chemicals it can experience Dr Liat Yakir

The amygdala is an almond-shaped structure that lies in the temporal lobe of your brain – it’s responsible for managing emotions, decision-making, sexual arousal, and fear and aggression and plays a crucial role in the process of attraction, the biologist said.

“It primarily focuses on elimination, discarding negative options based on past emotional experiences and evolutionary instincts.

“This small yet pivotal brain part emphasises negative aspects threefold over positive ones, adhering to a “better safe than sorry” philosophy.”

Dr Philippa Kaye answers the web’s most EMBARRASSING women’s sex questions

Sex hormones play a role too in selecting a potential partner, Dr Yakir went on. “We also seek indicators of oxytocin, the love hormone, observable in a person’s eyes and facial expressions – their smile, laughter, empathetic and sociable gaze. “Indeed, the eyes serve as a portal to the emotional brain, housing 70 per cent of our sensory receptors.

“Remarkably, in just 15 milliseconds, our brain can discern another’s emotional state through their eyes.” What happens to your body when you fall in love? Whether it happens gradually or all at once, falling in love in involves a number of different biological processes, lighting up parts of your brain and prompting a surge in hormones. Theresa Larkin, associate professor of medical sciences at the University of Wollongong, told Sun Health the main areas of the brain activated are in the limbic system. “The limbic system is made up of different structures that are connected in almost a C-shape deep in the brain,” she explained.

They “have roles in emotion, behaviour and memory,” Dr Larkin went on. This can explain why your memories of new love are so strong.

This moment can feel like an electric buzz running down the spine to the lower back Dr Liat Yakir

A heady cocktail of hormones will also begin coursing through your body as fall for someone. Dr Yakir said: “During the initial stages of love, the brain is flooded with the most potent chemicals it can experience: dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin released through touch, caresses, kisses, gentle massages, and, notably, during sexual activity. “The magic often starts with a kiss, when oxytocin is released into the bloodstream, stimulating the vagus nerve.”

The vagus nerve is part of your parasympathetic nervous system and controls specific body functions such as your digestion, heart rate and immune system. “This moment can feel like an electric buzz running down the spine to the lower back, awakening the genitals. “This sensation is the work of oxytocin, the hormone behind desire and orgasms, influencing sexual behaviour.” Oxytocin and vasopressin are often referred to as love drugs, as they help enhance the bond between people the more they are produced.

Cuddling, touching and orgasming can all do the trick. According to Dr Larkin, oxytocin – our feel good hormone of social bonding – also has a more important role after the initial infatuation stage of love. “It is the hormone of attachment, commitment and the positive health benefits of feeling connected to someone [and] has these roles in non-romantic love also,” she explained. Dopamine and adrenaline also play a role in falling in love and experiencing attraction, Dr Larkin added. “Dopamine stimulates the reward and motivation pathways. “These are those feelings of desire, motivation for the chase of a lover, and then positive feelings of reward when you connect with them or see them.”

Adrenaline, meanwhile, is released with the anticipation and stress of new love.
In love’s euphoria, oxytocin paints our partner in perfect hues, masking any flaws Dr Liat Yakir

“It gives us the butterflies in the stomach feeling and racing heart,” Dr Larkin explained. There might also be a reason your orgasms are particularly earth-shattering when sleeping with someone you’re head over heals for. Dr Yakir said: “At a relationship’s start, orgasms are incredibly intense as the brain and nervous system react to exhilarating stimuli from a new partner, revelling in a flood of pleasurable love drugs.”

And while a ‘better safe than sorry’ instinct might take hold when you first meet someone, the opposite can happen when we’re deep in the throes of love. “In love’s euphoria, oxytocin paints our partner in perfect hues, masking any flaws,” Dr Yakir stated. “But as the hormonal surge wanes and reality sets in, previously overlooked negative traits become apparent, prompting the question of why these weren’t evident sooner.” There’s a reason we say ‘love is blind’ after all. Is being in love good for your health? Being in love can feel pretty intoxicating, and turns out it can benefit your health too.

Speaking to ABC News Australia, Dr Larkin said the love hormone oxytocin has anti-inflammatory effects and help dampen stress and improve cardiovascular function. The release of oxytocin stimulates the hormone atrial natriuretic peptide, which regulates blood pressure and can prevent thickening of heart muscle. Studies also link romantic love to increased physical activity, reduced depression and better sleep for some people. Others, however might actually end up feeling more irritable or anxious instead.

And sometimes, the all-consuming nature of our emotions can make us forget about exercise, our jobs and friendships. What happens when you fall out of love? Hormones once again come into play when our feelings dim or we fall out of love. “Oxytocin binds us, transforming strangers into lovers,” Dr Yakir explained. “After the initial infatuation phase, which can last from six hours to two years, relationships either experience a decline in excitement and couples grow apart or develop into a stable bond of friendship and trust.

“Continuous oxytocin production is essential to maintain this bond beyond the initial butterflies’ phase. “Without it, the connection dissolves, reverting partners to strangers.” Dr Larkin added: “The main biological processes of falling out of love are due to less interest, motivation and connection around the lover. “There is no longer the dopamine hit from being with them, and oxytocin is not stimulated as much if there is less emotional and physical connection.”

And hormones strike again in the case of a breakup. “When someone goes through a break up that is stressful, the main impact is that there is an increase in the stress hormone cortisol,” Dr Larkin said. “This may be short-lived but can also continue in a chronic stress situation.  “It is important to reduce this by connecting with others and finding motivation for other activities, to still stimulate dopamine and oxytocin.” Breakups are often likened to a punch in the gut and it turns out that’s not just a metaphor.

Whether or not it was mutual, the emotional pain of a breakup can often be so intense you feel it physically in your body. Your body can also go through withdrawal symptoms, craving touch and the presence of your partner.

What is broken heart syndrome?

In rare cases, the emotional agony of heartbreak or loss could actually ‘break’ your heart.

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, dubbed ‘broken heart syndrome’, earned its nickname because it can be triggered by grief or a big breakup, and weakens the heart by swelling part of it. This can happen when someone undergoes severe emotional distress such as the loss of a loved one. The condition is rare but women are more likely to develop it than men, and most patients make a full recovery. It’s been suggested that Nothing Compares 2 U singer Sinead O’Connor might have suffered from the condition. A study by the University of Aberdeen has found people diagnosed with takotsubo have an above-average risk of death for at least five years after diagnosis. What are the symptoms of broken heart syndrome? They can mimic those of a heart attack, including: Chest pain Shortness of breath Sweating Dizziness
These symptoms may begin as soon as minutes or as long as hours after an emotionally or physically stressful event.

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