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A fascinating look at how the brain controls our relationships and romances
Neuroscientists, psychologists, and most men and women readers today have learned that the brain is Grand Central Station for our most erotic associations, memories, and secret desires. The latest c research shows that the popular myth is true: Sexual orientation and identity is hard-wired, the result of our neurological predisposition, not a choice or result of socialization. We instinctively crave ...
A fascinating look at how the brain controls our relationships and romances
Neuroscientists, psychologists, and most men and women readers today have learned that the brain is Grand Central Station for our most erotic associations, memories, and secret desires. The latest c research shows that the popular myth is true: Sexual orientation and identity is hard-wired, the result of our neurological predisposition, not a choice or result of socialization. We instinctively crave connection and relationship as an essential part of our well-being, self-esteem, and pleasure. The process of achieving and recovering from orgasm ignites the same pleasure centers in the brain as exercise, music, religion, food, alcohol, and drugs. Sexual desire can be triggered by a thought, a smell, a touch, or the sight of an object of desire. These sensorium are located at different parts of the brain, and can be activated indefinitely into our senior years.
The core science and latest research is drawn from the prestigious Scientific American and Scientific American Mind magazines.
Preface: Who Do You Love?
Introduction: What Is This Thing Called Love?
So What Is Love?
Love Is a Many Splendored Thing—and the Greeks Had a Word for Them All
The Basics Of Your Brain In Love And Sex
I've Got You Under My Skull: Love in Your Brain
You Make Me Feel So Good: The Pleasure Center
The Very Thought of You
How Scientists Research Love and Sex in Your Brain
Chapter 1: Born to Love: Why People Need People
Do You See What I See? How Mirror Neurons Connect Us
The Dangers of Involuntary Mind Merging
The Chemistry of Love
Love Is Everywhere: Where Love Grows in the Brain
A Brain Unable to Love: Inside the Brain of a Psychopath
Baby Face, You’ve Got the Cutest Little Baby Face
Chapter 2: Learning to Love
How Your Parents Affect Your Love Life
Love at First Sight: The Earliest Lessons in Love
If You Could Read My Mind; Moms Do
A Mother’s Everlasting Love
How Parenting Primes Your Brain for Love
Parenting Rewires the Daddy Brain as Well
How Father Love Feeds Both Brains
Postpartum Depression: Misery for Mom and Baby
Loving the One Who Hurts You: Why Children Cling to Abusers.
What If Things Went Wrong with That First Love?
In the End: Do Parents Matter?
Chapter 3: His Brain, Her Brain, Gay Brain and Other Brains
How Real Are the Differences?
The Five Genders of the Brain
His Brain, Her Brain: The Geography
So What Does His Have to Do with Love?
Our Changeable Brains
Some Myths About Male and Female Brains: True or False?
Toujours Gay: The Gay Brain Is Born That Way.
Can Animals Be Gay? Better to Call It Bisexual
I Am What I Am
The Third Gender: When Gender and Sex Do Not Align
Are There Asexuals Among Us? On the Possibility of a Fourth Sexual Orientation
Chapter 4: That Old Black Magic: Your Brain in Love
How Love and Sex Are Good for Your Brain
When Love Occupies Your Brain
Who Do You Love? And Who Loves Ya, Baby?
You've Got That Lovin' Feeling, But What Turns You On?
You Go to My Nose: The Power of Smell over Sex
A Kiss Is (More Than) Just a Kiss
You Light Up My Brain
What's Love Got to Do with It? Plenty It Turns Out—for Women
Need Some Love Potion? Try a Bit of Oxytocin Spray
I'll Have What She's Having: What Makes a Better Female Orgasm?
Does the Penis Have a Brain of Its Own?
When Things Go Wrong: A Fine Romance
Chapter 5: Friendship, Such a Perfect Blendship: Or: or: With a Little Help from My Friends
Is Friendship Declining?
Are You Lonesome Tonight? 60 Million Other Americans Are
You’ve Got a Friend––or You Should!
Widening the Social Circle
Imaginary Friends: TV Characters Can Ease Your Pain
Until the Real Thing Comes Along: Your Brain on Facebook
Work, the “Other Love” in Your Life
Can Animals Love? Yes, and More
How to Make Friends
Chapter 6: Only You Can Make My Dreams Come True: Let’s Get Married
Grow Old Along with Me: The Marriage Benefits
You Make Me Feel So Good: Romance Lowers Stress
Finding That Special Someone: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places?
Falling and Staying in Love
I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Face
My One and Only Love: Are We Monogamous?
Granny’s Got to Have It
Your Hormones May Drive You Apart: A Tough Pill to Swallow
Making Love Last: I Get a Kick out of You.
Can Pornography Help Your Love Life?
Love Will Keep Us Together. Lasting Romance Is Embossed in the Brain
Will You Still Need Me When I’m 64?
Chapter 7: You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin': When Love Dies
Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: How Rejection Affects Your Brain
The Jilted Brain
After the Love Is Gone––You Ache and Ache
Can’t Live If Living Is Without You: The Widowhood Effect
Achy Breaky Heart: Can You Die of a Broken Heart?
Ain't No Cure for Love––But Tylenol Could Help
Every Time You Say Good-Bye, I Die a Little: Why It Hurts to Be Away from Your Lover
Broken Promises: Can the Brain Predict Betrayal?
How Do You Cope with a Breaking Heart?
Chapter 8: For the Love of God
Searching for God in Your Brain
Epilepsy, the Temporal Lobe, and God
Strokes of Insight: Brain Changes and Spiritual Awakening
Religious Ecstasy Is Like Romantic Love—in the Brain at Least
God on the Brain: What Brain Scans Show
Could Religion Shrink Your Brain?
The Evolutionary Roots of God Thought
God Neurons May Be Everywhere
Chapter 9: Technology, Science, and the Future of Sex
The Wonderful World of Cybersex
Sex in Bits and Bytes: The Future of Virtual Sex Is Here
Chapter 10: How Can Love Survive?
But What of Love?
About the Author
Five Great Things Love Does for Your Brain
We're born to love, hardwired to crave the companionship of others from birth to death. And that's a good thing, because research shows that love—in its many forms—is good for our brains.
• Baby love primes you for a lifetime of loving. Love made your brain (and the rest of you) when egg and sperm met, and love from your parents spurs the production of the feel good love hormone, oxytocin, in all three of you, helping you grow a brain that is secure, adventurous and able to recognize and return love.
• Parenthood gives the brains of moms and dads a big boost. In addition to flooding parental brains with oxytocin, it contributes to smarter and more alert brains, the better to bond with, protect and care for a helpless offspring—it actually makes parts of the parenting brain bigger.
• Friendship may be the next most important loving relationship for your brain. Studies show the companionship of friendship helps you live longer: it can help lower blood pressure and inflammation, and thus heart disease and risk of stroke; and help ease depression and stress which research shows are connected with a greater risk of dementia.
• Sexual love —and orgasm— improves your brain increasing blood flow, pulse rate, and respiration. In short, it's a cardio workout that bathes your brain in oxygen-rich blood—and some really nice feel good hormones like oxytocin and dopamine. In animal studies it appears to prompt the growth of new brain cells.
• Love is indeed the cure. Love of any kind can trump pain where you really feel it: in the brain. Just holding the hand of someone you love lowers pain perception, and even a phone call from your mom can lower stress hormones. Love from others helps you take better care of your brain health, for their sake if not for yours.
And here's a plus: Love lasts - at least in your brain. Age does not wither desire. Studies of sexual activity over the ages show seniors (yes, that's your grandma) thinking about, wanting and having sex well into very old age, health permitting.