Attraction, love, sex, and relationships are fundamental to human condition. Each individual human is separate and distinct from every other one, yet there are numerous aspects to the human experience that every human shares -- attraction, love, sex, and relationships are prime examples of commonalities shared among the human race. Science(s) have demonstrated that sexual attraction and the desire for close relationships form and manifest in humans very early on their development, often before children have reached school age. With reference to several psychological, academic resources, the paper aims to explain some of the key components of sex, love, attraction, and relationships.
Key Components to Attraction, Sex, Love, & Relationships
While attraction, love, sex, and relationships remains quite a substantial mystery to many people, there are professional and researchers in areas such as psychology where they are making headway toward a comprehensive understanding of these emotions and experiences in a more scientific manner. To approach emotions, which can be erratic and irrational, from a scientific perspective may be dubious, but at least approaching sex, love, attraction and relationships from some kind of perspective will provide insight as to how these issues manifest in ourselves, what they reveal about human nature, and perhaps will provide insight that will help humanity navigate through such intense and basic experiences in better ways. The paper aims to clearly delineate among each of the terms as well as provide a contextual network within which the reader may consider and evaluate the ideas presented.
Love, sex, and relationships of any length, begin with attraction. Attraction has a lot to do with proximity. There is an American song from the 1970s with a chorus that reads, "If you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the one you're with." It means that though "absence makes the heart grow fonder," the body is often much weaker than the mind and the will of a person. A person may have love and romantic feelings for a person over a great distance, but in order for relationships to begin, in order for attraction to manifest into another activity or experience such as sexual intercourse and romantic love, the love objects or objects of desire must be in relative proximity to one another. With the advent of digital technology and the great assimilation of this technology into many lives of people in the 21st century, this supposition stands to be modified. There is now video chat, Skye, and other forms of audiovisual communications via the Internet that allows lovers across great distances to communicate and see each other.
Human beings require physical proximity for attraction to take place. A counterexample may be of a fan who has never met his/her favorite film actor, yet feels attraction for this person. One may argue that this fan, like many devoted fans, finds ways to become in physical proximity with the celebrity whom he/she desires. When the fan becomes in closer proximity to the film star or rock star, the attraction increases exponentially. Consider the reaction of fans of someone like Justin Bieber. Many young ladies are attracted to this singer just from music videos and images in print media. When these same young ladies attend a concert of Bieber's, they get quite hysterical, just as footage of concerts of artists such as Michael Jackson and the Beatles support. Proximity often prompt the display of emotion and such displays are more readily confronted with increased proximity: "…the expressive display of emotion rapidly communicates information about the internal state of the sender, objects and events in the environment, and the status of the relationship between the sender and the receiver." (Gonzaga et al., 2006,-Page 164)
Attraction, often leading to sex, and sometimes love and close relationships can additionally have physical aspects such as hormones and pheromones. The brain and other glands around the body releases hormones into the blood stream and pheromones into the air when in proximity to people to whom a person is attracted:
In humans, the attraction system (standardly called romantic love, obsessive love, passionate love, being in love, infatuation, or limerence) is also characterized by feelings of exhilaration, "intrusive thinking" about the love object, and a craving for emotional union with this partner or potential partner. There is some evidence that this affective state is primarily associated with elevated levels of central dopamine (DA) and norepinephrine (NE) and decreased levels of central serotonin (5-HT). (Fisher et al., 2002,-Page 413)
Attraction is also physical insofar as people are attracted to others via the stimulation provided by our sensory organs:
…findings in studies of humans suggest that certain behaviors such as foreplay (kissing, hugging, caressing), sexual intercourse, and sexual orgasm tend to result in the secretion of oxytocin and various opioids into the blood stream (e.g., Carmichael et al., 1987; Filipe et al., 2003). The increased concentration of oxytocin and opioids, in humans as in other animals, leads to positive feelings, which encourage humans to engage in further sexual activity. In the long run, the resulting positive feelings become associated with a particular partner and relationship, conditioning people to stay with that partner. (Gillath et al., 2008,-Page 1057)
People are attracted to others based on how they look, how they smell, how they feel, and after people engage in some form of romantic or sexual physical contact, how they taste. People are attracted to others based upon how they feel about another person, which may be heavily influenced by the physical sensations and reactions that occur when thinking about this person, in proximity of this person, and while (and after) engaged in sexual activity with this person. This is another way in which physical proximity contributes to attraction, sex, love and close relationships.
Close relationships can be romantic & sexual in nature, or they may be familial or platonic. In all cases of close relationships, there exist emotional connections. These emotional connections can come from a variety of places. Emotional connections, for example, exist between people who have endured common or the same hardships together, or individually, such as the closeness experience among officers of various parts of the military. Emotional connections come from some kind of share experience(s) or traits. People are attracted to others to whom they have some traits and experiences in common. It is also true that people are attracted to those from who they are very different and the contrast is appealing and/or sexy to them. Therefore emotional connection can be derived from both commonalities and differences. There is a sort of emotional asymptote though -- people who have too much in common or people who are too different repel each other or at least their attraction, love, sexual relationship, and/or closeness does not sustain. Close relationships, ones that endure over the long-term, maintain a sort of a balance in the combination between similarities and differences.
Sex is an activity and subject that is on one hand very simple, and on the other, profoundly complicated. Sex is an emotional, physical, and psychological activity. People engage in sex for numerous reasons with their partners. Some people have sex with partners who they love and to whom they are close. This is an ideal situation, yet not often the reality. People often engage in sex to simply satiate physical needs, with little regard for the emotional or psychological welfare of their partner(s). Sex is often an activity that is an expression of an emotional or psychological imbalance in the person's past and/or present. Many people confuse sex and love for each other. Love is not necessary to sex. Sex should be a basic component of romantic love; many couples who do not engage in regular, fulfilling sex find they have many other problems that stem from that situation. Often, people use sex as leverage or as part of a strategy of manipulation over others. Why people have sex is a very tough question to answer. We know that many people engage in sex because it feels good. We know that many people engage in sex to feel alive because it seems to be an activity that is precisely antithetical to death. In order for sex to take place, there is some form of attraction that exists -- the attraction may be for the other person, physically or otherwise; the attraction may be for money in the case of prostitution; or the attraction may be for the power the sexual aggressor/initiator experiences over his/her partner before, during, and after the sexual activity. Yet, there is attraction nonetheless. Attraction seems to be the fundamental aspect that leads to sex, love, and close relationships. Even in platonic close relationships, there is attraction of a nonsexual nature. We can be attracted to a person's smile or how they relate to others.
Key components of sex, love, attractions, and close relationships vary and are numerous. Yet, some of the components are known. Elements such as proximity, commonality, difference, and emotional connection are key to these…