1. The Mexican chief Moctezuma considered chocolate a “love drug” and drank 50 cups of chocolate a day before visiting his harem of 600 women.a
2. Plato asserts in his Symposium that initially all humans were whole, hermaphroditic beings with four hands, four legs, two identical faces on one head/neck, four ears, and both sets of genitals. When these beautiful, strong beings tried to overthrow the gods, Zeus split them into two—man and woman— and created the innate desire of human beings for one another to feel whole again.a
3. Men and women with highly symmetrical faces tend to have more lovers to choose from. Additionally, men with symmetrical faces begin to have sex four years earlier, have more sex, and have more affairs than their lopsided peers. Women also tend to have more orgasms with symmetrical men.b
4. High levels of testosterone may suppress oxytocin and vasopressin (chemicals associated with attachment love), which may explain why men with higher testosterone levels tend to marry less often, be more abusive in their marriage, and divorce more. When a man holds a baby, his testosterone goes down, perhaps as a result of increased oxytocin and vasopressin.b
5. Men in love show more activity in the visual part of the brain, while women in love show more activity in the part of the brain that governs memory. Scientists speculate that men have to size up a woman visually to see if she can bear babies, while women have to remember aspects of man’s behavior to determine if he would be an adequate provider.c
6. New research suggests that passionate love does not always decline over time. In addition to exhibiting intense activity in the ventral tegmental area of the brain similar to those in the early stages of love, brain scans also show activity in the ventral pallidum, a region associated with feelings of long-term attachment, and in the raphe nucleus, which is responsible for higher serotonin levels, which lead to calmness and less obsession.c
7. Brains in love and brains in lust are not identical. Erotic photos activate the hypothalamus (which controls hunger and thirst) and the amygdala (arousal) areas of the brain. Love activates areas of the brain with a high concentration of receptors for dopamine (associated with euphoria, craving, and addiction) and its relative, norepinephrine.c
8. In Bali, men believed a woman would fall in love if her suitor fed her a certain kind of leaf incised with the image of a god who sported a very large penis.d
9. Some individuals who claim never to have felt romantic love suffer from hypopituitarism, a rare disease that doesn’t allow a person to feel the rapture of love.d
10. European males subconsciously seek out women whose waist circumference is about 70% of their hips. Beauty icons such as Audrey Hepburn, Venus de Milo, and even Twiggy had a waist ratio of exactly 70%.d
11. When someone looks at a new love, the neural circuits that are usually associated with social judgment are suppressed.d
12. A study of college students who had just been rejected by their sweethearts showed they had strong activity in the brain associated with the insular cortex, the part of the brain that experiences physical pain.d
13. Timing significantly influences love. Individuals are more likely to fall in love if they are looking for adventure, craving to leave home, lonely, displaced in a foreign country, passing into a new stage of life, or financially and psychologically ready to share themselves or start a family.d
14. Scientists suggest that merely staring into another person’s eyes is a strong precursor to love. In an experiment, strangers of the opposite sex were put in a room together for 90 minutes where they talked about intimate details and then stared into each other’s eyes without talking. Many felt a deep attraction for each other, and two married each other six months later.d
15. Studies show that the risk of a “secret love” being revealed heightens romantic feelings for the partners, thanks to increased levels of phenylethylamine (PEA).d
16. Men are more likely than women to be more flexible in their romantic choices when they are looking for short-term relationship—though when they want a long-term mate, they become pickier about basic virtues.d
17. The urge to fall in love is, like sex and hunger, a primitive, biological drive.e
18. Getting dumped often leads to “frustration attraction,” which causes an individual to love the one who dumped him or her even more.e
19. Some psychologists argue that we fall in love with someone who is similar to the parent with whom we have unresolved childhood issues, unaware we are seeking to resolve this childhood relationship in adulthood.e
20. Historically, sweat has been an active ingredient in perfume and love potions.f
21. Seminal fluid can potentially contribute to romantic love. Reports suggest that the liquid that surrounds the sperm contains dopamine (“the pleasure chemical”) and norepinephrine as well as tyrosine, an amino acid the brain needs to manufacture dopamine.f
22. When a person falls in love, the ventral tegmental area in the brain floods the caudate nucleus with dopamine. The caudate then signals for more dopamine; the more dopamine, the higher a person feels. The same system becomes activated when someone takes cocaine.f
23. Antidepressants may compromise romantic love because they enhance serotonin levels. Higher serotonin levels blunt emotions and inhibit obsessive thoughts about the lover, both crucial components of love.f
24. Studies show that if a man meets a woman in a dangerous situation (and vice versa), such as on a trembling bridge, he is more likely to fall in love with her than if he met her in a more mundane setting, such as in an office.f
25. Mystery or “the chase” is often a critical element in romantic love. Sometimes called the “Romeo and Juliet effect,” a situation with challenges or obstructions is likely to intensify one’s passion for a loved one.f
26. Scientists suggest that the advent of cooking led to healthier food which, in turn, led to bigger brains and an increased capacity to woo potential lovers with new forms of linguistic and artistic seductive flairs.f
27. Women around the world are more likely to fall in love with partners with ambition, education, wealth, respect, status, a sense of humor, and who are taller than they are. Women also prefer distinctive cheekbones and a strong jawbone, which are linked to testosterone levels. During ovulation, women become even more interested in men with signs of testosterone.f
28. Romantic love lasts just over a year, perhaps because the brain cannot eternally maintain a revved-up state of romantic bliss. As romantic love wanes, attachment love, a more stable love, sets in. To keep the passion alive, experts suggest doing satisfying and exciting activities as a couple.f
29. Women often feel loved when talking face to face with their partner; men, on the other hand, often feel emotionally close when they work, play, or talk side by side.f
30. Couples around the world who divorce tend to divorce around their fourth year of marriage. After four years, marriages generally stabilize until around eight years.f
31. Being in love creates high levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. The despair associated with unrequited love is associated with plummeting levels of dopamine. To increase dopamine, rejected lovers should exercise. Sunlight is another mood lifter, and smiling also activates nerve pathways that can give feelings of pleasure.f
32. One of the greatest predictors of love is proximity. Physical closeness leads to increased emotion, and it is not unusual to hear stories of bosses falling in love with their secretaries. On the other hand, scientists now think that at a critical time in childhood (sometime between ages 4–6), boys and girls who live in close proximity lose their ability to fall in love with each other, perhaps preventing the destructive act of mixing one’s DNA with close kin.f
33. Kama Sutra (love + thread, rule) is an ancient text on love in Sanskrit literature written by Mallanaga Vatsyayana around the second century A.D. Kama is the Hindu god of love and also means desire. Sutra is a manual or a guide.f
34. On average, men around the world marry women who are three years younger than themselves. In the United States, men who remarry usually choose a wife five years younger; if they wed a third time, they often marry someone eight years younger than themselves.f
35. Scientists suggest that most people will fall in love approximately seven times before marriage.g
36. The longer and more deliberate a courtship, the better the prospects for a long marriage. People who have intense, Hollywood-type romances at the beginning are more likely to divorce.g
37. The term “love” is from the Sanskrit lubhyati, meaning “desire.” “Love” in the sense of “no score” in tennis dates to 1792 and means “playing for love” or, in other words, playing for nothing.h
38. Love is not necessarily a guarantee that a marriage will last. Other factors include a couple’s age (a husband who is nine or more years older than his wife or who marries before the age of 24 is more likely to divorce), those who are in their second or third marriage, those who had a child before marriage, and finances. Factors not pertinent to success of marriage are the number of children or their ages, the wife’s employment status, and the number of years a wife has been employed.i
39. To remain in love for a lifetime, therapists advise couples to listen actively to your partner, ask questions, give answers, appreciate, stay attractive, grow intellectually, include your partner, give him/her privacy, be honest and trustworthy, tell your mate what you need, accept his/her shortcomings, give respect, never threaten to leave, say “no” to adultery, don’t assume the relationship will last forever, and cultivate variety.i
40. Roses are a traditional symbol of love and, depending on their color, can suggest different nuances of love.n For example, red roses indicate passion and true love. Light pink suggests desire, passion, and energy; dark pink suggests gratitude. Yellow roses can mean friendship or jealousy. A lavender or thornless rose can mean love at first sight. White roses mean virtue or devotion. Some roses even combine colors to created more complicated meanings.j
41. Engagement rings are often worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because the ancient Greeks maintained that that finger contains the vena amoris, or the “vein of love,” that runs straight to the heart. The first recorded wedding rings appear in ancient Egypt, with the circle representing eternity as well as powerful sun and moon deities.k
42. The word “lesbian” is derived from the Greek island Lesbos, where the poetess Sappho composed her famous poems to her famous female lovers.k
43. Other scholars claim that “love” as a tennis score is a corruption of the French word for egg, “L’oeuf,” because of the egg’s resemblance to a zero.l
44. The enduring symbol of love, Cupid (or Eros) is said to have come from Chaos (“The Yawning Void”) and represents the primitive forces of love and desire.l
45. Since ancient Greece, the apple has been a symbol of love. The Celts believed that the apple represented love because it lasted so long after being picked.l
46. A four-leaf clover is often considered good luck, but it is also part of an Irish love ritual. In some parts of Ireland, if a woman eats a four-leaf clover while thinking about a man, supposedly he will fall in love with her.m
47. The maple leaf is a symbol of love in China and Japan—and in North America, it was often engraved on beds of early settlers to promote peaceful sleep and pleasure.m
48. Many cultures use knots as symbols of an eternal love that has neither a beginning nor an end. Young Muslim women would send love messages to their lovers using intricate knots.m
49. The herbs associated with Venus (marjoram, meadowsweet, mint, thyme, and violet) are said to be love inducing when mixed with those herbs sacred to Mars (basil and broom). Spreading them on the floor or scenting the bridal sheets with them supposedly evokes feelings of love.m
50. The heart is a common symbol of love. Ancient alchemists used the symbol of the heart for incantations of love. The heart can represent an inverted triangle in which love is poured or carried. In Buddhism, the triangle is an invocation of love energy associated with the divine. The heart can also represent the wings of a dove, which was sacrificed in ancient Israel as a gesture of love and which also served as a symbol of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.m
a Ackerman, Diane. 1995. A Natural History of Love. Vancouver, WA: Vintage Books.
b Buss, David. M 2006. “The Evolution of Love.” The New Psychology of Love. Ed. by Robert Sternberg and Karin Weis. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
c Cohen, Elizabeth. “Loving with All Your Brain.” CNN.com. February 15, 2007. Accessed: July 20, 2009.
d Fisher, Helen. 1992. Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray. New York, NY: Ballantine Books.
e —-. 2006. “The Drive to Love: The Natural Mechanism for Mate Selection.” The New Psychology of Love. Ed. by Robert Sternberg and Karin Weis. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
f —-. 2004. Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love. New York, NY: Henry Hold and Company, LLC.
g Lewis, Thomas, M.D.; Fari Amini, M.D.; and Richard Lannon, M.D. 2000. A General Theory of Love. New York, NY: Random House.
h “Love.” Online Etymological Dictionary. Accessed: July 15, 2009.
i “Love Not Enough to Keep Couples Together.” MSNBC.com. July 14, 2009. Accessed: July 19, 2009.
j “Roses—The Meaning of Each Color.” The Gardener’s Network. 1999-2008. Accessed: July 20, 2009.
k Schulz, Christine and the editors of The Old Farmers Almanac. 1996. The Book of Love: The Old Farmer’s Almanac Reconsiders Romance, Sex, & Marriage. New York, NY: Yankee Publishing Inc.
l TennisHistoryOnline.com. “Love.” Accessed: November 19, 2009.
m Tresidder, Jack. 2005. The Complete Book of Symbols. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.
Info via randomhistory.com