Attraction results from the unique information gathered by all our senses.
Did you ever wonder what attracts you to one sort of person over another? What causes that feeling of alluring familiarity with someone you have just met…someone to whom you are inexorably drawn? Why can someone have everything you think you want, yet leave you feeling flat? Dr. John Money, a world famous sexologist from Johns Hopkins University, invented a concept known as “love maps” that helps explain why we feel that certain pull toward someone without knowing why.
But just what is a love map made of? It’s a product of early childhood experiences delivered to us via the five senses, then activated later on by those very same senses. For instance, you walk into a crowded room and someone catches your eye. Or you feel the pangs of attraction when someone is wearing familiar cologne. If the senses are like paint to a canvas, a love map would be the complete landscape. The legend to your love map looks like this:
Sight: Studies show we tend to be attracted to people who look like our parents and even ourselves.
Smell: Pheromones, the smells that fly below the conscious radar, alert us to compatible mates and make us feel lustful, without quite knowing why.
Sound: The words of parents, teachers, and peers we admired (and certainly those we had crushes on) in early school days shape our emotional needs and self-image.
Taste: Food is a powerful metaphor for sex. Our real appetite and our sexual appetite are related in more ways than one. Freudian oral fixations abound.
Touch: We develop a craving for intimacy that is based in part on how we were touched and cuddled as children by our parents.
A love map may be what triggers the right hormones and neurotransmitters for romance. In fact, different circuits in the brain are lit up during lust and love. The picture of a brain in love is far more complex than that of a brain in lust. You don’t just want sex; you want the person because he affects you in a way that is hauntingly familiar.
Love maps may alert us to who’s the best fit, romantically speaking, but it doesn’t mean finding your soul mate makes love easy. Relationships take work! The chemicals at play in the early days of lust and attraction fade over time for every couple, no matter how much their maps coincide. However, you can recapture that feeling of euphoria by injecting some novelty back into your relationship.
Whether it’s a trip to an exotic location, bungee jumping, or ballroom dancing, the idea is to engage in new experiences together. Force yourself to leave behind that sense of predictability about what comes next. Thrill-seeking restores the thrill!
It works inside the bedroom too. Pretending you don’t know each other leaves room for surprise. Pushing yourself to change up a tired sexual routine restores the electricity of each other’s touch.
Love is often described as an experience that sets the body and the mind ablaze: The neurons are firing “we’re interested!” and the hormones are saying “we want to mate!”
The strongest electricity occurs when all five of the senses are activated, and that ushers in the sixth sense of sex: attraction. That’s when your love map really lights up!
Source: Dr. Laura Berman