Serendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. This post owes it’s existence to that aptitude. While I was researching the Art of the Sense of Hearing in Writing Romance, I ran across an amazing article by James Hall, “Learn the Six Secrets of Chemical Romance.”
Chemical Romance? I thought that was a musical group.
Well, apparently there’s something to it other than just a cool name for a band.
Chemical romance is “a scientific approach to seduction that reveals how to unleash the natural chemicals in the body.” When we are attracted to someone, our bodies release specific chemicals that produce a state of euphoria. So if you’ve ever found an immediate attraction to someone—love at first sight—you have experienced a chemical romance.
The three chemicals that combine to create this phenomenon are oxytocin, phenylethylamine, and endorphins. Together they produce intense feelings of pleasure within the body, hence the attraction to the person who makes you feel good.
Oxytocin, released during sexual orgasm in both men and women, is thought to enhance the ability in humans to bond with one another. Its production can be stimulated by other physical means as well, such as massage, and is present during child-birth, encouraging mother-child bonding. In a study, published in 1999, researchers found “that oxytocin may be mediating emotional experiences in close relationships.”
The second ingredient in this triple-cocktail of love is phenylethylamine, or PEA. This is “a neurotransmitter chemical in the brain that causes you to fall madly in love with someone. It is a natural form of amphetamine that floods the regions of the brain involved in sexual excitement.” Bob Condor’s article, “A Chemistry Lesson for Lovers,” is based on the work of Professor Robert Friar and Theresa Crenshaw, a sex-therapist, experts on the “biochemistry of love.” Says Crenshaw, “PEA could well be the visual component of the chemistry of love at first sight.”
And finally, endorphins, the body’s natural morphine, accounts for the pleasurable feelings of “being in love.” Studies have shown that blood endorphin production during sexual intercourse can increase up to 200%. Endorphins produce a sense of well-being, of feeling soothed and at peace. But beware! Like many drugs, endorphins can create a “drug-like dependency.” And there are those who become addicted to their “love high.”
Although the effects of chemical romance are fascinating, can this information help you in writing romance? I believe that understanding how the biological or psychological mechanisms of love work in people can greatly enhance your ability to portray the same actions in your characters.
So go back to James Hall’s Six Lessons and use some of his suggestions in your writing. Have your characters turn the lights down low, have them feed each other sensuous food, have them “romance” each other. Is it love or is it chemistry? Odds are the results will be just as enticing either way.
Have you ever experienced “love at first sight?” Have your characters? Do you think this theory of “chemical romance” is valid or is there something else going on as well when we fall in love?
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