There's a pretty cool article in Nature right now about love and the science of love. They pretty much agree that love is like a drug and that there is a scientific basis for the obsession with females with big boobs. Here are some choice excerpts:
A female prairie vole rapidly becomes attached to the nearest male if her brain is infused with oxytocin. The hormone interacts with the reward and reinforcement system driven by the neurotransmitter dopamine — the same circuitry that drugs such as nicotine, cocaine and heroine act on in humans to produce euphoria and addiction.
The notion that pair bonding in humans may have evolved through a tweaking of the brain mechanisms underlying maternal bonding could explain certain unique characteristics of human sexuality. For example, female sexual desire may have become decoupled from fertility, and the female breast may have become an erotic stimulus for males, to activate ancient maternal-bonding systems. The stimulation of the cervix and nipples during sexual intimacy are potent releasers of brain oxytocin, and may function to strengthen the emotional tie between partners.
Did you get that? Boob groping is just like doing cocaine. So any guys who are into ogling racks are basically drug addicts.
Men are different:
Pair bonding in males involves similar brain circuitry to that in females, but different neurochemical pathways. In male prairie voles, for example, vasopressin — a hormone related to oxytocin — stimulates pair bonding, aggression towards potential rivals, and paternal instincts, such as grooming offspring in the nest.
I love him. I love him and his…nasal spray?
The view of love as an emergent property of a cocktail of ancient neuropeptides and neurotransmitters raises important issues for society. For one thing, drugs that manipulate brain systems at whim to enhance or diminish our love for another may not be far away. Experiments have shown that a nasal squirt of oxytocin enhances trust and tunes people into others' emotions.
There is neat follow up article with an awesome illustration in the NYT. Apparently there is also a love vaccine:
“If we give an oxytocin blocker to female voles, they become like 95 percent of other mammal species,” Dr. Young said. “They will not bond no matter how many times they mate with a male or hard how he tries to bond. They mate, it feels really good and they move on if another male comes along. If love is similarly biochemically based, you should in theory be able to suppress it in a similar way.”
And I guess this is…related? Good thing Valentine's Day is coming up. Bring on the nasal spray!