“…we found, among those who were just in love, among all of them, was activity in a tiny little factory near the base of the brain called the ventral tegmental area…Basically this same brain region becomes activated when you feel the rush of cocaine. It’s a real high that you get on to and in fact, you know, it was interesting with some of your couples that, you know, any kind of novelty in a relationship drives up dopamine in the brain and can help to trigger romantic love or to sustain romantic love.”
(Emphasis is mine, not that of SBS.)
Setting aside the fact for two minutes that I believe Jenny Brockie gets dressed in the dark before every show, Dr Helen Fisher’s comments on The Science of Sexual Attraction seem to make a lot of sense. If variety is the spice of life, then novelty is the farmer that helps plow the field, sow the seeds and cultivate its growth. It’s nice to know that my forthcoming series of Alphabet Dates is backed by science.
I think it extends beyond just pure sexual attraction though. If you’ve been in a long-term relationship for any length of time, adding in any kind of ‘novelty’ – be it an item, an event or idea – helps to reinforce to the other partner that yes, you’re actually thinking of them and not just blindly staggering along the same set cycle of activities or duties each day.
So, +1 science!