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Is romance a myth or reality

 Is romance a myth or reality (Photo: iStock)

Living, Relationship Tips, Dating Hacks, 

Chris Hart

Hi Chris,

There’s a big discussion going on in my office about whether there really is this thing we call romance. Or whether it’s all just chemistry! Please help!


Hi Romantic!

Well, our hormones have a lot to do with it, that’s for sure! That initial buzz of desire is created by phenylethylamine. Lust’s all down to testosterone, in both sexes.

A couple’s growing attraction is down to rising levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Oxytocin and vasopressin create a long-term bond.

Oxytocin can even help keep men from straying! Because married men with higher levels of the hormone don’t get so close to attractive women. And how can a wife raise her husband’s oxytocin levels? Have sex with him more often…

We also react to the smell of each other’s hormones in our sweat! So in traditional Greek dances men wave a handkerchief they keep in their armpit to charm their partner! When they’re fertile, women prefer the smell of the most masculine men, while men are subconsciously attracted by the smell of an ovulating woman.

Having said all that, romance is also driven by things besides chemistry. Men prefer women who look happy, but shouldn’t smile too much themselves because women are more attracted by a look of determination and confidence.

They prefer men with highly masculine looks for a short fling while preferring men with less masculine looks if they’re looking for a long-term partner.

Nowadays, both sexes prefer mates who are their equal in intelligence, looks and status. So it’s not true that men are turned off by successful women. Nowadays it’s the women who are choosier and tend to hold out for someone approaching their ideal, whereas men tend to try their luck anyway.

All of these preferences and hormones are driven by our genes, trying our best to ensure we have plenty of children! But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the feelings they create.

The excitement, warmth and intimacy of falling in love are among the greatest pleasures we ever experience in life.

All the best,


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