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Monday, February 11, 2008

What is Chemistry?

When it comes to a lasting relationship, most women believe that having an emotional, intellectual and spiritual attraction are more important than the initial physical attraction. However, they also agree that there needs to be a certain romantic chemistry to sustain the passion and a lasting relationship.

But what is Chemistry? And how does it all work? The scientific definition of Sexual Chemistry is “a natural, mutual romantic attraction between two people which results from a mixture of physical attraction and natural, mutual personality-based rapport.”

So why is it that sometimes sexual chemistry can be great with someone we have absolutely nothing in common with? Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist, and author of “Why We Love," explains it like this, ”Sexual chemistry does not always equal love, and this is because we’ve evolved distinct brain systems for mating. One system controls the craving for sexual gratification. Another system rules over romantic love, that obsessive thinking and craving and focusing on one individual. They’re not always connected, which is why you can be madly in love with someone and only have so-so sex with them while you can have intensely passionate sex with someone you never want to see again!”

Why is it that sometimes we find ourselves attracted to women we know aren’t good for us? Ever been in a situation where you’re not interested in someone until you find out they aren’t interested in you? Or perhaps your friends are telling you not to date someone and then all of a sudden you find yourself wanting them? Dr. Fisher describes this behavior as “frustration attraction.” She says, “These kinds of relationships could literally become an addiction where you do crazy things: You wait all night by the phone or even join in dangerous behaviors.” If you find yourself in this situation stop and check in with yourself, what is the real reason your dating this person? Some women find themselves attracted to the challenge of trying to change their partner. Others enjoy the excitement that comes from unpredictable personalities. If you can identify your motives, it will help give you control over your emotions—and help you to see the relationship for what it really is.

Is it possible for one person to feel Chemistry while the other feels nothing? “The truth of the matter is that some people are just very polite,” states Dr. Fisher. In other words, if you’re not “into” someone, make sure you’re not sending the wrong message. This doesn’t mean you have to be rude about the way you let them down, it just means you shouldn’t flirt or make a second date if you have no real interest. And if by chance you are on the other end of this equation and you’re trying to figure out if someone is interested in you, just be aware that your own emotions can be deceiving you. “When you are madly attracted to someone, you re-interpret everything they do,” says Dr. Fisher. “They can be giving every indication they aren’t interested and you still can’t hear them. They say love is blind and it’s true—the emotion is so powerful, it is designed to overlook things to the contrary.”

Why is it that we can have good phone or internet chemistry, but feel nothing in person? Sight, smell, sound and taste all provide information that can contribute to romantic chemistry. However, Dr. Fisher states that “Eighty percent of what we take into the human brain is visual. So somebody can be witty and romantic online or even over the phone, but if you don’t like what you they look like, it isn’t going to work.” In addition, you will often find that an online persona is based on what people want you to see, not necessarily who they really are. However, this doesn’t mean there is no hope for the two of you. If you do feel some connection in person, but are just not sure, go ahead and make a second date, it will give your date time to relax and expose their true personality.

Why does chemistry seem to disappear over time? A huge contributor to the intensity of romantic chemistry is actually brain chemicals. When we find ourselves attracted to someone romantically, our brain releases a chemical called phenyl ethylamine, which is similar to amphetamines. This chemical is the cause of our erratic behavior whenever we are near someone we are interested in. As time goes by, less and less of this chemical is released into our body. This doesn’t mean our relationship is over, it just means it is undergoing a transformation. “The calming of passion in a relationship is actually a survival trait,” says Dr. Fisher. “When you’re courting, you do things that are very taxing to your mind and body: You talk until dawn, you forget to go to work, you forget to call your friends, you forget to feed the dog, you dash off and spend all of your money in Paris. If you were to live the next twenty years in that state, you’d certainly die of exhaustion!”

Brain chemicals aren't the only culprits, as lesbians we often get into routine ways of spending time together and making love. Some of us give up our independence and old friends and we start to act out of obligation. Forgetting that we are two separate individuals can blind us from the sexual attraction we initially felt in the beginning of our relationship. During times of conflict or imbalance, it is important to take time for each. Whether that means setting up a date night, taking a vacation somewhere romantic, or just surprising your partner with a special gift, a few simple actions can rekindle that old spark and help to reignite the passion in your relationship.

Perhaps writer Anastasia Toufexis defines chemistry best, “It's a commingling of body and soul, reality and imagination, poetry and phenyl ethylamine. In our deepest hearts, most of us harbor the hope that love will never fully yield up its secrets, that it will always elude our grasp.

1 comment:

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