Who do we love? Who loves us? And why? Is love really a mystery, or can neuroscience offer some answers to these age-old questions? In her third enthralling book about the brain, Judith Horstman takes us on a lively tour of our most important sex and love organ and the whole smorgasbord of our many kinds of love-from the bonding of parent and child to the passion of erotic love, the affectionate love of companionship, the role of animals in our lives, and the love of God. Drawing on the latest neuroscience, she explores why and how we are born to love-how we're hardwired to crave the companionship of others, and how very badly things can go without love. Among the findings: parental love makes our brain bigger, sex and orgasm make it healthier, social isolation makes it miserable-and although the craving for romantic love can be described as an addiction, friendship may actually be the most important loving relationship of your life.
Based on recent studies and articles culled from the prestigious Scientific American and Scientific American Mind magazines, The Scientific American Book of Love, Sex, and the Brain offers a fascinating look at how the brain controls our loving relationships, most intimate moments, and our deep and basic need for connection.
Judith Horstman is the author of The Scientific American Day in the Life of Your Brain and The Scientific American Brave New Brain, copublished with Scientific American. She s an award-winning science journalist whose work has been widely published and is the author of four other books. Visit her Web site at www.JudithHorstman.com Scientific American is one of the most popular science magazines in the world.
Acknowledgments Preface: Who Do You Love? Introduction: What Is This Thing Called Love? So What Is Love? Love Is a Many Splendored Thing and the Greeks Had a Word for Them All The Basics Of Your Brain In Love And Sex I've Got You Under My Skull: Love in Your Brain You Make Me Feel So Good: The Pleasure Center The Very Thought of You How Scientists Research Love and Sex in Your Brain Chapter 1: Born to Love: Why People Need People Do You See What I See? How Mirror Neurons Connect Us The Dangers of Involuntary Mind Merging The Chemistry of Love Love Is Everywhere: Where Love Grows in the Brain A Brain Unable to Love: Inside the Brain of a Psychopath Baby Face, You ve Got the Cutest Little Baby Face Chapter 2: Learning to Love How Your Parents Affect Your Love Life Love at First Sight: The Earliest Lessons in Love If You Could Read My Mind; Moms Do A Mother s Everlasting Love How Parenting Primes Your Brain for Love Parenting Rewires the Daddy Brain as Well How Father Love Feeds Both Brains Postpartum Depression: Misery for Mom and Baby Loving the One Who Hurts You: Why Children Cling to Abusers. What If Things Went Wrong with That First Love? In the End: Do Parents Matter? Chapter 3: His Brain, Her Brain, Gay Brain and Other Brains How Real Are the Differences? The Five Genders of the Brain His Brain, Her Brain: The Geography So What Does His Have to Do with Love? Our Changeable Brains Some Myths About Male and Female Brains: True or False? Toujours Gay: The Gay Brain Is Born That Way. Can Animals Be Gay? Better to Call It Bisexual I Am What I Am The Third Gender: When Gender and Sex Do Not Align Are There Asexuals Among Us? On the Possibility of a Fourth Sexual Orientation Chapter 4: That Old Black Magic: Your Brain in Love How Love and Sex Are Good for Your Brain When Love Occupies Your Brain Who Do You Love? And Who Loves Ya, Baby? You've Got That Lovin' Feeling, But What Turns You On? You Go to My Nose: The Power of Smell over Sex A Kiss Is (More Than) Just a Kiss You Light Up My Brain What's Love Got to Do with It? Plenty It Turns Out for Women Need Some Love Potion? Try a Bit of Oxytocin Spray I'll Have What She's Having: What Makes a Better Female Orgasm? Does the Penis Have a Brain of Its Own? When Things Go Wrong: A Fine Romance Chapter 5: Friendship, Such a Perfect Blendship: Or: or: With a Little Help from My Friends Is Friendship Declining? Are You Lonesome Tonight? 60 Million Other Americans Are You ve Got a Friend or You Should! Widening the Social Circle Imaginary Friends: TV Characters Can Ease Your Pain Until the Real Thing Comes Along: Your Brain on Facebook Work, the Other Love in Your Life Can Animals Love? Yes, and More How to Make Friends Chapter 6: Only You Can Make My Dreams Come True: Let s Get Married Grow Old Along with Me: The Marriage Benefits You Make Me Feel So Good: Romance Lowers Stress Finding That Special Someone: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places? Falling and Staying in Love I ve Grown Accustomed to Your Face My One and Only Love: Are We Monogamous? Granny s Got to Have It Your Hormones May Drive You Apart: A Tough Pill to Swallow Making Love Last: I Get a Kick out of You. Can Pornography Help Your Love Life? Love Will Keep Us Together. Lasting Romance Is Embossed in the Brain Will You Still Need Me When I m 64? Chapter 7: You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin': When Love Dies Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: How Rejection Affects Your Brain The Jilted Brain After the Love Is Gone You Ache and Ache Can t Live If Living Is Without You: The Widowhood Effect Achy Breaky Heart: Can You Die of a Broken Heart? Ain't No Cure for Love But Tylenol Could Help Every Time You Say Good-Bye, I Die a Little: Why It Hurts to Be Away from Your Lover Broken Promises: Can the Brain Predict Betrayal? How Do You Cope with a Breaking Heart? Chapter 8: For the Love of God Searching for God in Your Brain Epilepsy, the Temporal Lobe, and God Strokes of Insight: Brain Changes and Spiritual Awakening Religious Ecstasy Is Like Romantic Love in the Brain at Least God on the Brain: What Brain Scans Show Could Religion Shrink Your Brain? The Evolutionary Roots of God Thought God Neurons May Be Everywhere Chapter 9: Technology, Science, and the Future of Sex The Wonderful World of Cybersex Sex in Bits and Bytes: The Future of Virtual Sex Is Here Chapter 10: How Can Love Survive? But What of Love? Glossary Sources Illustration Credits About the Author Index