Why the Hookup Culture Just Doesn’t Cut It For People Who Have Been In Love

A late night thought turned into a day time analysis, so here we go.

If you’ve been in love, the hook up culture just isn’t going to cut it, and here’s why:

Let’s start with the basic chemistry. The parts of the brain used when you’re in love and when you’re just plain aroused are different.

right brain, left brain. sex brain, love brain. one fish, two fish. red fish, blue fish.
right brain, left brain. sex brain, love brain. one fish, two fish. red fish, blue fish.

A study done in 2005 at SUNY Stony Brook analyzed how love and lust only partially overlap in the brain. Other functions associated with both do not overlap at all. For example, being in love activates the right side of your brain, or your more creative side. However, when subjects stared at someone they found to be physically attractive, but were not emotionally attached to, the left brain showed more activity.

Why might this be? Think about sex versus love. A hookup is about the hunt. It is analytical, daring, and requires a game plan (or a ton of tequila). Love is more about trust, spontaneity, and raw emotion. Left brain is your hunter, your analyst. And right brain sits in the corner picking petals off of daisies humming, “he loves me, he loves me not.”

So if they aren’t as connected as we seem to believe, why is it that hookups just don’t cut it after love? Simple. Sex lights up your pleasure centers, but only briefly. Being in love stimulates the some of the same pleasure centers, but more intensely and over a longer period of time. Actually, being in love affects your brain similarly to addiction. And any addict can tell you, nothing beats that first high.

casually using all my own photos so I dont have to deal with copyright issues (:
casually using all my own photos so I don’t have to deal with copyright issues (:

This doesn’t even include the science of how freaking awesome cuddling is. Like, if you’ve had your hair played with by someone you love as the sun comes up on a Sunday morning, you know nothing beats that. NOTHING. Not even a steamy hook up with the cute boy from coms class (is sub-blogging a thing?).

So go to your parties, drink your tequila, and kiss that person that you actually can’t stand when you’re sober. But your brain knows better, and you’ll feel that PLUS the hangover in the morning.

Science.

It started with “hello”

family, friends, and exes, oh my! same neurotransmitter, different relationships.
family, friends, and exes, oh my! same neurotransmitter, different relationships.

Whether we admit it or not, we all care. We can act like we don’t crush on our best friend, or like we don’t call our ex sobbing every time we’re drunk, but the truth is we’ve all been there.

But I want to know why.

Romantics will tell you it is love, philosophers will tell you it is fate, and frat stars will tell you it is alcohol. But me? I’m telling you it’s oxytocin…and maybe some of that other stuff.

What is oxytocin? It is the neurotransmitter either ruining or enhancing your life. It is said to most be commonly released during “hugging, touching, and orgasm in both sexes.” Yes, boys, you’ve got the bonding chemical in you, too. It is the source of human connection, bonding, trust, and generosity.

Now, now, I am not discrediting love and affection as merely a chemical reaction, so before I offend the hopeless romantics of the world, love exists. And yes, I’ve been in love. It was simultaneously the best and worst feeling in the world so, naturally, I want to quantify it. To understand it. And if you’ve read this far, maybe you do too.

It’s similar to religion: we all want something to believe in. Something that makes sense when nothing else does. So if you’re wondering why you can’t stop crushing on that guy that never calls you back, or why you adore your best friend even though she’s a hot mess, here’s something to believe in, or at least to blame: gosh darn oxytocin.

This blog will analyze relationships. Not just the ones where you meet each other’s parents or “netflix and chill” every time you’re drunk on a Friday night, but all of them. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the “what-the-duck.”

Inspiration:

-The simplicity of this blog was inspired by this (Give It Some Shots) coffeeshop blog by a former student, while the random bolding and font choices are supported by this (The Organic Lifestyle) one.

-The semi-cynical approach to love and other chemicals can also be found at this (Dealing With Dbags)blog by another CP student about how douchebags are unavoidable (so true, but we’ll get to that later).

-And then here are some other blogs about love and relationships…if you’re into that sort of thing.

Freedom and Stuff

Sex Love & Rock N Roll