How does lust affect the brain?
Lust has been a driving force behind human behavior since time immemorial. It is a feeling that can be both exhilarating and frustrating at the same time, depending on how we handle it. Lust fuels our desires, passion, and sometimes even our actions. But have you ever wondered what happens to your brain when you feel lust? In this piece, we will dive deep into the science of lust and its effects on the brain.
What is Lust?
Lust is an intense desire or craving for sexual pleasure that often manifests as attraction towards others who are sexually appealing to us. It’s like being hit with Cupid’s arrow, but instead of love, it ignites a physical attraction towards someone else.
When we experience lustful feelings towards someone else, our body releases certain hormones such as testosterone in men or estrogen in women. These hormones act as chemical messengers sending signals to various parts of our brain that trigger physiological responses such as increased heart rate and dilation of blood vessels – creating what’s known colloquially as “pounding sensations”. The good news? That rush doesn’t happen if you’re just attracted to pizzas (unless there’s something really special about them).
However wonderfully sexy those feelings may seem; they also come with their own challenges.
Symptoms Of Lust
Being smitten by lust creates symptoms that vary from person-to-person (I mean seriously who here hasn’t felt hot under collar because someone was simply way too cute). Some people tend toward extremes whereas some others tend to succumb gradually over time.
Symptoms could range from:
– Emotional dependency
– Mistaking love for attraction
– Intense euphoria
How Exactly does LUST affect the brain?
Lust affects different aspects of the brain differently:
The limbic system includes structures within the cerebral cortex that are responsible for regulating our emotions, motivation and memory. This system plays a significant role in what we perceive as lust by creating the feeling of intense attraction to another person.
The amygdala is crucial in processing emotional responses such as fear, anxiety and pleasure (and offers no rewards for knowing big words). It also helps regulate sexual arousal and desire – so even when you try not to be tempted it’s nearly impossible since this region is active with sexual interests.
Last but definitely not least is the hypothalamus which links our endocrine system to our nervous system through production of hormones like oxytocin, testosterone and estrogen; all promote positive thoughts towards someone else into deeper territory – feelings of romantic inclination may quickly take hold.
The Science Behind Lust: A Neurochemical Perspective
Nowadays scientists know more about how these chemicals work than ever before. Let’s take a closer look at some key players:
Testosterone & Estrogen
Testosterone drives sexual fantasies where women experience them just as strongly opposed to popular beliefs (we told you earlier science was sexy); meanwhile, estrogen contributes significantly towards female libido or sex drive.
Dopamine floods the brain during experiences that provide us with a sense of pleasure (‘yummm ice cream’), strengthening memories associated with those experiences. In essence, dopamine causes one’s perception/opinion about a specific individual or activity while inducing focus- an enhanced powerful fixation-like state usually attributed within love contexts (or crushes too).
Dopamine release from one source often leads to habituation leading individuals always on lookout for novel stimuli triggering bursts once again giving that craving sensation once again triggering results instinctively.
Oxytocin named after Greek word ‘oxy’ meaning quick-absorbent behaviors can cause people to appear friendlier and more open-minded.(given famously as an argument for why they suckle babies who aren’t biologically theirs)_
Norepinephrine releases from the brain upon occurrence of stressors leading to a boost in measured alertness levels. Since it is responsible for regulating heart rate/blood flow, with hardly any direct correlation to sexual attraction otherwise; situations where we engage with our crush (yes that’s the trigger) affected by norepinephrine having brought us closer and closer.
Lust can have both positive and negative effects on individuals whereby:
– Positive being amplified euphoria
– Negative alongside self-destructive behavior like neglecting professional/ personal needs alongwith dependency issues.
Love may be many splendored thing but lust too has its moments – if you use them wisely.
Remember – appreciate responsibly lest things spiral out of control.
Stay Inquisitive Folks 😉