Picture this: a frantic biology student searches through Wikipedia for better explanations of the concepts sure to be on Wednesday’s midterm. Of course, Wikipedia is already a questionable method of studying … both for its spotty information and because we all know that one thing leads to another and we somehow end up checking celebrities’ pages for their birthdays and discographies. This time around, I came across something that could debunk love as we know it: oxytocin.
Sure, you might be claiming that love is in the air this Valentine’s Day. I am, however, quite excited to burst your bubble of happiness in telling you that it’s not your heart telling you that you’re in love — it’s your brain. Oxytocin is a hormone secreted from the pituitary gland that serves various purposes in your body. In several scenarios, oxytocin is found at high levels during sexual activity, breastfeeding, and right before birth in the mother’s body. What’s more interesting is that oxytocin induces feelings of security and calmness around your significant other. It reduces fear, and there also exists a positive correlation between oxytocin levels and measuring romantic attachment. A study even showed that when couples are separated, oxytocin comes to the rescue by alleviating sentiments of anxiety. It even allegedly keeps men faithful!
Yes, yes, I know that just because there exists a strong correlation between romance and oxytocin, that does not imply that oxytocin causes romance, when it could very much be the opposite. However, given that Valentine’s Day is around the corner, I will take any opportunity I can to rain on that parade.
So, the next time your special person tells you they have “love” for you in their heart, know this: That ain’t love — that’s oxytocin!
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!