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:~: Wednesday, February 14, 2007 :~:

Little Known Facts About Love & Contests.

Let’s get to the good stuff right away—Contests!
  • 1) Everyone who comments this week—February 12-February 19—will be entered to win a special Valentine’s package: A Sharon Sala trilogy, hand-made snowman earrings and a hand-knitted scarf (pictured here) …courtesy of me!

  • 2) Winner announcement for the Tagline chocolate contest: I decided to go with a tagline that wasn’t included in the postings. And instead of trying to choose out of the many good suggestions made, I added everyone’s name to the hat.

    Winner 1: Chosen by my darling daughter: Maria, Lover of All Things Romantic

    Winner 2: Chosen by my darling husband: Edie, Magical Musings

    Congrats Maria and Edie!!

    Email me at ultraswan @ hotmail . com (no spaces, of course) with your address and your choice of treats—chocolate, sugar-free chocolate, or non-chocolate treat from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

    Thanks to everyone for their assistance!

Okay…onto that all-consuming topic… Loooooooove and all those fascinating little-known facts. (Information taken from National Geographic’s February 2006 publication.)

Did you know…dopamine is the chemical of choice for lovers?

Dopamine creates intense energy, exhilaration, focused attention, and motivation to win rewards. That’s why, when you are newly in love, you can stay up all night, watch the sun rise, run a race, ski fast down a slope ordinarily too steep for your skill. Love makes you bold, makes you bright, makes you run real risks.

This is great news for us RS writers—now our heroes and heroines have scientific reasons for doing brave (or stupid) things.


Did you know…novelty stimulates dopamine in the brain?

A researcher from New York discovered that doing novel things together can trigger dopamine, which can stimulate feelings of attraction. In other words, if your heart flutters in his presence, you might decide it’s love, not anxiety. Research has shown that even if you just job in place and then meet someone, you’re more likely to think they’re attractive.

Maybe that’s why gyms are such meat markets.


Did you know…the best dopamine-inducing first date would be a roller coaster ride?

First dates that involve a nerve-racking activity, like riding a roller coaster, are more likely to lead to second and third dates. Just as in time of stress—natural disasters, blackouts, predators on the prowl—you’re more likely to feel attraction to another sharing the experience.

So put that hero and heroine in the most dangerous situation possible!


Did you know…love and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have a similar chemical profile?

An Italian researcher compared lovers’ serotonin levels with a group of people suffering from OCD and another group free from both passion and mental illness. Levels of serotonin in both the obsessives’ blood and the lovers’ blood were 40 percent lower than those in normal subjects.

Our stalkers are chemically challenged—no wonder they’re behavior is so bizarre.


Did you know…serotonin levels could be chemically altered to control behavior?

Serotonin is the star neurotransmitter, which can be altered by medications like Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil. One researcher believes the ingestion of these types of drugs jeopardizes one’s ability to fall in love and stay in love. By dulling the keen edge of love and its associated libido, relationships go stale.

But not having Prozac or Zoloft or Paxil when you need it can be an even quicker way to kill a relationship. (Or your own sanity—I know!)


Did you know…there is another chemical responsible for long-term love?

Oxytocin is a hormone that promotes a feeling of connection, bonding. It is released when we hug our long-term spouses, or our children. It is released when a mother nurses her infant. In long-term relationships that work oxytocin is believed to be abundant in both partners.

The real feel good drug.


Did you know…there is a way to induce the creation of oxytocin?

Massage, making love and having orgasms stimulates the surge of oxytocin, making you feel closer to your partner and may make your attachment to them stronger.

Maybe that explanation will slow that speedy husband down. Or not.


Did you know…about the sweaty T-shirt study done in Switzerland?

A researcher asked 49 women to smell T-shirts previously worn by unidentified men with a variety of genotypes that influence both body odor and immune systems. He then asked the women to rate which T-shirts smelled the best, which the worst. What he found was that women preferred the scent of a man whose genotype was most different from hers, suggesting the man has an immune system that could provide their offspring with a stronger chance of being robust.

Count me out of that study. Yuck.


Did you know…there is a biological reason that romantic love fades?

The reason love fades may be found in the way our brains respond to the surge and pulse of dopamine that accompanies passion and makes us fly. Cocaine users describe the phenomenon of tolerance: The brain adapts to the excessive input of the drug. Maybe it’s a good thing that romance fizzles. If the chemically altered state induced by romantic love is akin to a mental illness or drug-induced euphoria, exposing yourself for too long could result in psychological damage.

Been there, done that. Don’t want to go back.


What observations have you made about passion and long-term love? Or about passion and its similarity to OCD behavior? Or about love in general?



Blogger Edie Ramer said...

Congrats, Maria! You and I are winners. Yay!!! Now I'm eager to see what tagline you went with, Joan.

There are a lot of good facts here. You've done your research! I might use some of it in future books. :)

6:31 AM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

Allison posted over at Jaunty Quills yesterday and discusses the fine line between love and murder -- which ties into the OCD chemical profile being consistent with romantic love.

Interesting stuff. :-)

Edie, will get your chocolate treats out to you today!! Thanks for playing.

I'll probably post my new tagline over at my personal blog later today after I change the graphic for my header and add it.


7:15 AM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

J makes the most amazing jewelry! You girls will love it. Trust me. (And her knitting skills blow me away.)

Interesting facts, J. Explains why people tend to fall for others in tense and life-threatening situations.

8:39 AM  
Blogger Paty Jager said...

This is interesting information and makes sense about a lot of things. :)

I'm glad I just quit my job where I shared office space with an OCD male! LOL He is quite harmless, cute, and younger than my kids!

11:04 AM  
Blogger Maria, Lover of All Things Romance said...

Thank you very much Joan, and yay Edie, are you as excited as me about all the chocolate?

12:37 PM  
Blogger Edie Ramer said...

Maria, I'm always excited over chocolate. *g*

12:49 PM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

When I read the article, it didn't turn out to be what I was expecting. A little too chemical and beyond our control for my liking (must have a little too much dopamine in my OCD system/or too little?) anyway, it did explain some interesting things that pertain to our writing.


Thanks for the info Maria -- will send chocolate today or tomorrow.

:-) Congrats and thanks for playing.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Allison Brennan said...

Joan, a great amount of information here! I do think that love (and any emotion) does affect our hormones, and our hormones affect our feelings. It would be interesting to have a killer who uses hormones as a way to force his victims to do things. I wonder if forensics could tell if the hormone was natural or synthetic . . .

10:44 AM  
Blogger Theresa said...


this was really interesting. It's got my mind racing in all sorts of directions. lol

Which is the sign of a good article.

9:38 PM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

LOL, Allison -- always plotting.

T, mind tried to veer off too, but I'm trying to stay focused. :-)

9:10 PM  
Blogger Dani said...

Interesting.... so falling in love feels so miserable because our seratonin levels are so low?


11:55 AM  
Blogger Elisa said...

Congrats, Maria and Edie!

A lot of really interesting stuff here, J. And those earrings are absolutely gorgeous!

12:33 PM  

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