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The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, and the Science of Attraction

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How much control do we have over love? Much less than we like to think. All that mystery, all that poetry, all those complex behaviors sur­rounding human bonding leading to the most life-changing decisions we’ll ever make, are unconsciously driven by a few molecules in our brain. How does love begin? How can two strangers come to the conclusion that it would not only be pl How much control do we have over love? Much less than we like to think. All that mystery, all that poetry, all those complex behaviors sur­rounding human bonding leading to the most life-changing decisions we’ll ever make, are unconsciously driven by a few molecules in our brain. How does love begin? How can two strangers come to the conclusion that it would not only be pleasant to share their lives, but that they must share them? How can a man say he loves his wife, yet still cheat on her? Why do others stay in relationships even after the ro­mance fades? How is it possible to fall in love with the “wrong” person? How do people come to have a “type”? Physical attraction, jealousy, infidelity, mother-infant bonding—all the behaviors that so often leave us befuddled—are now being teased out of the fog of mystery thanks to today’s social neuroscience. Larry Young, one of the world’s leading experts in the field, and journalist Brian Alexander explain how those findings apply to you. Drawing on real human stories and research from labs around the world, The Chemistry Between Us is a bold attempt to create a “grand unified theory” of love. Some of the mind-blowing insights include: Love can get such a grip on us because it is, literally, an addiction. To a woman falling in love, a man is like her baby. Why it’s false to say society makes gender, and how it’s possible to have the body of one gender and the brain of another. Why some people are more likely to cheat than others. Why we sometimes truly can’t resist temptation.  Young and Alexander place their revelations into historical, political, and social contexts. In the pro­cess, they touch on everything from gay marriage to why single-mother households might not be good for society. The Chemistry Between Us offers powerful in­sights into love, sex, gender, sexual orientation, and family life that will prove to be enlightening, contro­versial, and thought provoking.


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How much control do we have over love? Much less than we like to think. All that mystery, all that poetry, all those complex behaviors sur­rounding human bonding leading to the most life-changing decisions we’ll ever make, are unconsciously driven by a few molecules in our brain. How does love begin? How can two strangers come to the conclusion that it would not only be pl How much control do we have over love? Much less than we like to think. All that mystery, all that poetry, all those complex behaviors sur­rounding human bonding leading to the most life-changing decisions we’ll ever make, are unconsciously driven by a few molecules in our brain. How does love begin? How can two strangers come to the conclusion that it would not only be pleasant to share their lives, but that they must share them? How can a man say he loves his wife, yet still cheat on her? Why do others stay in relationships even after the ro­mance fades? How is it possible to fall in love with the “wrong” person? How do people come to have a “type”? Physical attraction, jealousy, infidelity, mother-infant bonding—all the behaviors that so often leave us befuddled—are now being teased out of the fog of mystery thanks to today’s social neuroscience. Larry Young, one of the world’s leading experts in the field, and journalist Brian Alexander explain how those findings apply to you. Drawing on real human stories and research from labs around the world, The Chemistry Between Us is a bold attempt to create a “grand unified theory” of love. Some of the mind-blowing insights include: Love can get such a grip on us because it is, literally, an addiction. To a woman falling in love, a man is like her baby. Why it’s false to say society makes gender, and how it’s possible to have the body of one gender and the brain of another. Why some people are more likely to cheat than others. Why we sometimes truly can’t resist temptation.  Young and Alexander place their revelations into historical, political, and social contexts. In the pro­cess, they touch on everything from gay marriage to why single-mother households might not be good for society. The Chemistry Between Us offers powerful in­sights into love, sex, gender, sexual orientation, and family life that will prove to be enlightening, contro­versial, and thought provoking.

30 review for The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, and the Science of Attraction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Blackledge

    This book is a blast! It's laugh out loud, nurdy, raunchy fun. It's well written and researched and it's as informative as it is entertaining. If you end up reading it, be prepared to bug the shit out of your friends with all the neurosmut factoids you'll be (over) sharing with them during the coming weeks. I highly recommend this book, but with a word of caution. If you decide to read this thing, prepare to have (what's left of) your puerile, romantic mysterienism regarding love, sex and attract This book is a blast! It's laugh out loud, nurdy, raunchy fun. It's well written and researched and it's as informative as it is entertaining. If you end up reading it, be prepared to bug the shit out of your friends with all the neurosmut factoids you'll be (over) sharing with them during the coming weeks. I highly recommend this book, but with a word of caution. If you decide to read this thing, prepare to have (what's left of) your puerile, romantic mysterienism regarding love, sex and attraction dashed on the rocky shores of psychnuroendocrinology. If you would prefer to maintain a shred of ignorant bliss (no judgment either way), than skip this one and enjoy your blue pill. I think those things are chewable, yum! If you're ready to eat the red pill (an often bitter but acquired taste), you will be rewarded by having some of your most nagging questions from junior high school answered (at last) and some of your doubtlessly shameful secrets completely demystified and normalized. Hint; It ain't magic, it's nervous systems under the influence of happy, crappy and fappy chemicals, doing what they evolved to do. Which is basically to trick, cajole or otherwise bamboozle you into the otherwise loathsome chore of reproduction. Alas, we are (largely) meat puppets dangling from strings of neurons and chemistry. If the "miracle" of love is your higher power, and you equate the cutaway gear meets gear view of things with base reductionism, than be wise and pass. But if you're like me, and you find plausible naturalistic, cause and effect explanations sexy and uplifting (sublime even), than you just found your next read!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bibliovoracious

    This book just explained my whole 20's. Oh, we are slaves to our chemistry. But that's cool. It's fun to hear about the studies that quantify social behavior we know (eg. girls are attracted to the bad boy) and explain why, exactly, hormonally, that is. This book just explained my whole 20's. Oh, we are slaves to our chemistry. But that's cool. It's fun to hear about the studies that quantify social behavior we know (eg. girls are attracted to the bad boy) and explain why, exactly, hormonally, that is.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    Besides a few parts (mostly at the beginning on gender essentialism), I really liked this book. It talks about the effects of oxytocin and other hormones on our love lives. At the end of the day, we are animals and it's best to understand how the wiring works and what feelings come with the sexual drive. I mean, the parts about how women behave differently toward different kinds of men during the various phases of their menstrual cycle were mind-blowing. Besides a few parts (mostly at the beginning on gender essentialism), I really liked this book. It talks about the effects of oxytocin and other hormones on our love lives. At the end of the day, we are animals and it's best to understand how the wiring works and what feelings come with the sexual drive. I mean, the parts about how women behave differently toward different kinds of men during the various phases of their menstrual cycle were mind-blowing.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Thibeault

    *A full executive summary of this book is available here: http://newbooksinbrief.com/2012/09/30... Love and sex play a central role in the human drama. But when we talk about the emotions and decisions that we make in connection with them, we tend to remain strictly at the macro level, referring to people, and relationships, and our freely made choices. However, in their new book The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex and the Science of Attraction social neuroscientist Larry Young and journalist Bri *A full executive summary of this book is available here: http://newbooksinbrief.com/2012/09/30... Love and sex play a central role in the human drama. But when we talk about the emotions and decisions that we make in connection with them, we tend to remain strictly at the macro level, referring to people, and relationships, and our freely made choices. However, in their new book The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex and the Science of Attraction social neuroscientist Larry Young and journalist Brian Alexander contend that our biology and chemistry play a much bigger role in love and sex than most of us ever acknowledge (since Larry Young is the scientist behind the book [and responsible for the ideas therein], I will refer to him as the main author throughout). Young explores everything from gender identity (and sexual orientation), to romantic relationships (and parenting), to monogamy (and adultery), taking us inside our bodies to investigate the genes and hormones that influence our approach to love, sex and relationships. While the focus here is on us humans, the evidence comes not only from our own species but from a host of other animals that exhibit similar biology and behavior. Young begins by way of smashing the notions that gender identity is constructed by culture, and that sexual orientation is a matter of choice. The foundations of these phenomena, the author argues, are laid down in utero by the specific hormones that wash over the fetus as it develops. Interestingly, we learn that the genes and hormones that are responsible for genital development are active at a different time than those that are responsible for gender-specific behavior, thus explaining how the two can become separated from each other. While the foundations of gender and sexual orientation may be laid down in utero, it is also the case that they are capable of being influenced to a degree by learning and culture, thus explaining cross-cultural differences in the manifestation of gender, as well as such phenomenon as fetishes. When it comes to a woman’s gender identity, Young explores the hormones that explain maternal behavior, and why women differ in regard to just how maternal they are–as well as what effect this has on their children. Interestingly, we also learn that a woman’s love for a man appears to have been built on the same brain mechanisms responsible for her maternal behavior. This fact helps explain a number of baffling phenomena (including, incredibly, the size of women’s breasts, and men’s penises!). While men are capable of experiencing romantic love just as strongly as women (if not more so), we learn that a man’s love is built on an entirely different biological mechanism. Specifically, a man’s love is built on the ancient mechanism responsible for territoriality. This helps explain such phenomenon as male possessiveness and jealousy; but it also helps explain why men are more paternal than the males of most other species. While love may have a different biological basis in men and women, it takes on a strikingly similar form in both. In short, it is an addiction–not at all unlike a drug addiction. Indeed, like a drug addiction, a romantic relationship starts out as a high, then morphs into an experience whereby the lover cannot stand to be away from their love, and experiences deep stress when this occurs. Even the brain chemistry of using drugs, and the way the brain changes as a drug user becomes addicted, is the same as occurs in the progression of a romantic relationship. While men and women in love may be addicted to one another, this does not mean they are incapable of cheating on one another. And, indeed, the prevalence of adultery in all times and places (despite the near ubiquity of social mores opposed to the practice) indicate that it is a deep part of our biology. Young explores this biology, and also why some people are more disposed to the practice than others. As we might well expect from a book co-written by a scientist and a journalist, the work delves deep into the technicalities of the science that is discussed, while at the same time mixing in a large measure of anecdotes and humor. The result is a book that is scientifically sound, while at the same time being highly readable and entertaining. On the negative side, while the authors do touch on the evolutionary reasons behind the phenomenon and mechanisms that are discussed, a more developed exploration of this would have added greatly to our understanding of the material. A full executive summary of this book is available here: http://newbooksinbrief.com/2012/09/30... A podcast discussion of the book will be available soon.

  5. 4 out of 5

    jennifer

    what the world needs now is oxytocin, sweet oxytocin. immediately thought of this book when i saw this. haha: what the world needs now is oxytocin, sweet oxytocin. immediately thought of this book when i saw this. haha:

  6. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Langridge

    "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day", or shall I compare you to my territorial possessions? Surely, attempting to reduce sex to biology and chemistry is a challenge, and attempting the same with love next to impossible, but these authors boldly attempt to do just that. As with similar attempts to naturalize phenomena for which we have a pre-scientific understanding, the discussion often begins with an 'error theory'. In this case it is the assertion that we do not sufficiently acknowledge the "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day", or shall I compare you to my territorial possessions? Surely, attempting to reduce sex to biology and chemistry is a challenge, and attempting the same with love next to impossible, but these authors boldly attempt to do just that. As with similar attempts to naturalize phenomena for which we have a pre-scientific understanding, the discussion often begins with an 'error theory'. In this case it is the assertion that we do not sufficiently acknowledge the role that natural forces play in our relationships and treat love and sex as if they were the products of our free choices. Now, I think it will not come as a surprise to most of us that we are not fully in control of our sex lives. Indeed our language is full of phrases emphasizing this very point. We have "falling in love", "lost in love's embrace", "blinded by love", "I can't get over you", "be my baby" and so on. In our more reflective moments we have to admit that our area of freedom is not very great and must recognize that the context of our decision-making is often crucial in determining our behavior. Despite the lurking presence of this straw man, the authors' mission to demystify our sexual relationships is not necessarily rendered ineffective. The error theories come thick and fast. A sudden feeling of contentment with a relationship is not due to the fact that my partner has just performed an unbidden act of kindness, but is really due to increased levels of the hormone oxytocin in my body. My masculine possessiveness and jealousy in love occurs not because of any threats to my self-esteem, but really because of an inherited gene promoting territoriality. The pain of parting I experience when in love is not because I just miss having my partner around, but really because I am under the throes of a drug-like addiction. The huge obstacle in the path of missions such as these is that while it is possible to start with an identification of common human feelings and behaviors and point to scientific experiments that can explicate them, it is not possible to reverse the process and start with the science. Imagine if science had advanced such that we knew every last detail about human biology and chemistry and all the relevant facts concerning our environment, we would still not be able to deduce what sex and love feel and mean to us as human beings. We can correlate oxytocin levels in the body with behaviors representing contentment, calmness and security around the mate, yet we are not able to identify the precise nature of feelings tied up with these behaviors, nor properly isolate the cause and the effect. Oxytocin makes us feel good about the person who causes oxytocin to be released, but what was the first cause - the small act of kindness perhaps? The same can be said for evidence from fMRI scans, such as those showing activation of the same region of the female brain in childbirth as in love-making; it is never completely clear whether we are witnessing the cause or the effect of these activities. A further obstacle lies in the initial conditions of the various scientific experiments that are cited as evidence. In order for behavioral traits such as "maternal", "unfaithful", "bold", "loving", "trusting" to be measurable in the laboratory they must be objectively classified, but these definitions are clearly not simply achieved. One characteristic way of proceeding in these studies is to completely ignore all the normative and moral associations and turn what are actually virtues and cultural values into behavioral traits. In our real lives (as opposed to artificial laboratory conditions), we cannot avoid making distinctions between `bold' and `rash', `trusting' and `subservient', `properly protective' and `overly-protective', `loving' and `self-serving'; yet, in scientific experiments we are forced into this compromise. It also tends to be ignored that love typically involves an extended process of patient attention to another's concerns; an authentic communication between two historically conditioned individuals with their unique life-histories. As Paul Tillich stresses, "The first duty of love is to listen". There is something indeterminate at the heart of our personal relationships. I have to show my wife that I love her, and telling her something about my oxytocin levels or brain processes will certainly not help! Although the primary purpose of sex is procreation and much can only be understood from a scientific point of view, sex is not just a biological drive devoid of all ethical, contingent and cultural content. Stimulating a partner's oxytocin production through sexual intercourse might increase her loving feelings, but this is not sufficient to sustain a meaningful relationship. Indeed, physical passion can clearly obstruct our communication with another individual, blind us to their real concerns and so dampen their love. Moreover, as self-reflective individuals we are able to recognise this happening and adjust our behaviour. Plato distinguishes between the "vulgar Eros" of one who experiences promiscuous sexual desire and possesses a lust that can be satisfied by any partner whatsoever, and the "heavenly Eros" of one who takes as much pleasure in satisfying the needs of their partner as in the physical contact itself. The dangers of ignoring these ethical considerations in matters of love and sex are becoming worryingly manifest in contemporary society. Sexuality is increasingly medicalised so that penetrative intercourse is assumed to be the only normal practice, and biological malfunction is seen as the only possible cause of sexual perversion. While the authors of this book are resistant to cultural conditioning of sex, it is apparent that attitudes and behaviours related to sex differ markedly between cultures and over time; the sexual revolution in modern Chinese society being a prime example. In order to really understand sex I think I'll stick to Lawrence and Nabokov, and as for love, probably Shakespeare is my best bet. "But thy eternal summer shall not fade" unless the drug-like addiction wears off, of course.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Book

    The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, and the Science of Attraction by Larry Young PhD, Brian Alexander "The Chemistry Between Us" is a fascinating look at social neuroscience. Neuroscientist Larry Young in collaboration with journalist Brian Alexander provides readers with the underlying brain mechanisms behind how we behave in relation to others. This revealing 320-page book includes the following nine chapters: 1. Building a Sexual Brain, 2. The Chemistry of Desire, 3. The Power of Appetite, 4. The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, and the Science of Attraction by Larry Young PhD, Brian Alexander "The Chemistry Between Us" is a fascinating look at social neuroscience. Neuroscientist Larry Young in collaboration with journalist Brian Alexander provides readers with the underlying brain mechanisms behind how we behave in relation to others. This revealing 320-page book includes the following nine chapters: 1. Building a Sexual Brain, 2. The Chemistry of Desire, 3. The Power of Appetite, 4. The Mommy Circuit, 5. Be My Baby, 6. Be My Territory, 7. Addicted to Love, 8. The Infidelity Paradox, and 9. Rewriting the Story of Love? Positives: 1. A well-written, accessible page-turner of a book. 2. The science behind social behavior is a fascinating topic. Young has a great command of the topic and is not afraid to admit that there is still much to be learned. 3. The authors are not afraid to have some fun with this edgy topic. Science mixed in with well-crafted narratives and a touch of humor to boot. 4. The book starts off with an eye-opening case study, "machihembras" (first woman, then men). 5. The organizational hypothesis plays a prominent role in this book. "But nature itself experiments with animals and with people, and those experiments have yielded powerful evidence to support the organizational hypothesis that gender behavior is built into our brains by the actions of hormones." It's worth reading again. 6. The book is loaded with cognitive dissonance causing findings and statements. The joy of a true skeptic is to entertain such findings and make the best of it. "If you look at the sex organs, you cannot make a conclusion about the direction the brain has taken." 7. A look at the chemicals that greatly influence the way we behave. In many respects this book is about the chemistry of the brain. "All this supports the idea that human females experience estrus, that it is not hidden, and that, at ovulation, a fertile woman's brain drives her to behave in a way that will maximize her chances of mating with the fittest, and most accessible, male she can find. Men, in turn, respond with higher testosterone, which helps motivate them to engage with desirably fertile women." 8. The influence of drugs. "Cocaine and amphetamines can greatly enhance sexual motivation because they stimulate the release of large amounts of dopamine. Simply doing a lot of mental work can loosen the reins." 9. A look at reward-based preference. "The brains of psychopaths can release up to four times more dopamine in response to appetitive cues, such as money, than those of most people." 10. An interesting look at the basics of maternal behavior and the importance of mother-infant bond. "Mothers are driven to mother by their brains, and the culture of motherhood merely builds itself around nature." 11. The empathy circuit. Great stuff! "Studies have proven that oxytocin, and brain sensitivity to oxytocin, enhances the ability to accurately read faces." It explains why some people are blind to contextual clues caused by a lack of empathy. 12. The importance of faces to women. "King admits it's tough to generalize, but one thing most women agree on is that, while bodies and body parts are welcome, faces are vital." 13. Prairie voles as a key to understanding human behavior. "Social memory was one of the first ingredients of vole love to be explored in humans through the use of intranasal oxytocin. While rodents rely mostly on scent to distinguish a familiar individual from a stranger, we depend more heavily on our eyes. We use our eyes in combination with social memory to decide if the person we're seeing is a friend from work, our husband, or our mother, and we also use these tools to divine other people's moods and intentions." 14. Some troubling conclusions. "This leads to the somewhat disturbing conclusion that for men, sex, love, and aggression are inextricably mixed in the brain." 15. A man's "territory". "Of course, we're not arguing that a woman is literally her man's territory; we're contending that his bond to her engages neural systems that originally evolved for regulating territorial behavior. Neither are we suggesting that this is the only component of a man's bond to a woman. But the territorial urge plays an important role." "Aggression is a social act. It informs others that boundaries--personal or physical--should not be crossed. It tells others that "this is mine."" 16. The parallels of drug addiction and love. 17. An interesting look at infidelity. The Coolidge Effect. "It's too early to start calling D4 a "cheating" gene or to say that people with lower levels of D2 receptors would make lousy spies because they'd be too susceptible to a Mata Hari. But while the close-up view may be fuzzy, the big picture is increasingly clear." 18. Bonus tidbit. "Roman Catholic priests were often married men until the First Lateran Council of 1123, when the church declared: "We absolutely forbid priests, deacons, subdeacons, and monks to have concubines or to contract marriage. We decree in accordance with the definitions of the sacred canons, that marriages already contracted by such persons must be dissolved, and that the persons be condemned to do penance." One of the reasons for this injunction--along with the old admonition against carnal pleasure--was Rome's fear that offspring would inherit church properties. Priests were "married" to mother church. It would brook no competition. Nuns had to remain celibate because they were married to Jesus. Any other relationship would be, in effect, adulterous." 19. A look at society and love. "But culture doesn't create gender--it reflects it." 20. Comprehensive bibliography included. Negatives: 1. No notes. 2. Lack of visual material to complement the excellent narrative. 3. There was one statement I have a mild disagreement on. "You can't civilize our biology out of us." I love the quote but I think it needed to be expanded on. Nurture in fact can alter or modify our behavior but I do understand the intent behind the statement." In summary, this book was what I like to call cognitive dissonance-inducing brain candy. It was enlightening and a lot of fun to read. I've come to the conclusion that the neuroscience of gender and sexual preference is an important area of study and merits increased sponsorship. Book clubs rejoice this is a fun book to discuss. I highly recommend it! Further recommendations: "The Scientific American Book of Love, Sex and the Brain: The Neuroscience of How, When, Why and Who We Love" by Judiith Horstman, "This Is Your Brain On Sex: The Science Behind the Search for Love" by Kayt Sukel, "Meet Your Happy Chemicals: Dopamine, Endorphin, Oxytocin, Serotonin" by Loretta Graziano Breuning, "Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love" Helen Fisher, "Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships" by Christopher Ryan, "The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature" by Matt Ridley, "Why Is Sex Fun?: The Evolution Of Human Sexuality (Science Masters)" by Jared Diamond, "Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect" by Mathew D. Lieberman, "The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force" by Jeffrey M. Schwartz, and "Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil" by Paul Bloom.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nicole D. Lybrand

    Interesting, albeit somewhat depressing, look at the chemical forces behind love, attraction, and bonding in multiple types of relationships. This book is not anything incredibly revolutionary but it is a readable compilation of scientific studies and has a very good flow for something that involves so many scientific studies. Provides lots of interesting cocktail party tidbits as well! (Shouldn't be read by the hopeless romantics...) Interesting, albeit somewhat depressing, look at the chemical forces behind love, attraction, and bonding in multiple types of relationships. This book is not anything incredibly revolutionary but it is a readable compilation of scientific studies and has a very good flow for something that involves so many scientific studies. Provides lots of interesting cocktail party tidbits as well! (Shouldn't be read by the hopeless romantics...)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Although I was interested in the overall concepts of the book, there was a bit too much scientific jargon and focus on rats and voles for my tastes. Still an interesting read...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rex

    It took me 5 months to finish this book because I never take note for non-textbook on the first go. But once I fall in love with a book, I read it a second time with very detailed note-taking. Then I might re-read again for the third time before I shelf it. This is one of those note taking book. It's my top 10 all time favorite among all the favorites. In one sentence: Compassion is the Law of Evolution and there are absolutey no cultures nor civiliation nor history that can change it. Our human It took me 5 months to finish this book because I never take note for non-textbook on the first go. But once I fall in love with a book, I read it a second time with very detailed note-taking. Then I might re-read again for the third time before I shelf it. This is one of those note taking book. It's my top 10 all time favorite among all the favorites. In one sentence: Compassion is the Law of Evolution and there are absolutey no cultures nor civiliation nor history that can change it. Our human culture is way way way too short to have an impact on our basic instincts such as Love, Sex, Compassion, and Empathy. I choose this book to round up the decade of knowledge acquiring. Looking forward to the 20s.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Some interesting scientific insights about how profoundly we are influenced by a few neurochemicals in the brain. It explores questions like: how much free will do human beings actually possess, why do we love, the paradox of cheating, etc. I especially enjoyed the beginning of the book which discusses the two dissociate phases of hormones that shape our gender and sexuality, and thus explains why one's sex doesn't affect one's perception of their gender at all. Some interesting scientific insights about how profoundly we are influenced by a few neurochemicals in the brain. It explores questions like: how much free will do human beings actually possess, why do we love, the paradox of cheating, etc. I especially enjoyed the beginning of the book which discusses the two dissociate phases of hormones that shape our gender and sexuality, and thus explains why one's sex doesn't affect one's perception of their gender at all.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Natsuko Mori

    This was an eye-opening and fascinating read, and though a lot of what was said in the book is based partly on hypothesis, I still think it's worth the read. This was an eye-opening and fascinating read, and though a lot of what was said in the book is based partly on hypothesis, I still think it's worth the read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Liisa Aavik

    A really well-written book rich in scientific information about why the brains of different genders are different and gender is not a social construct; exciting examples of how our genetics influence our behaviour; the neuroscience of love and sex; lab experiments with animals about monogamy and polygamy, fetiches; mother-infant bond and breastfeeding etc. I would really suggest to read it, but you have to consider that I am used to and fascinated by science-rich texts and have a good understand A really well-written book rich in scientific information about why the brains of different genders are different and gender is not a social construct; exciting examples of how our genetics influence our behaviour; the neuroscience of love and sex; lab experiments with animals about monogamy and polygamy, fetiches; mother-infant bond and breastfeeding etc. I would really suggest to read it, but you have to consider that I am used to and fascinated by science-rich texts and have a good understanding of how the brain works (MA in psychology).

  14. 5 out of 5

    YHC

    A very fun book to read and laughing out loud about how animal behaviors could reflect to human's. If you wish to see the grandness or beauty of human love in this book, you might be disappointed! We are after all the product of chemistry. Our love is control by hormone, only the rationality could stop us from cheating our partners and spouses( if hormone and alcohol not in the way...) In the book, at the very beginning, i am already attracted to the "Pseudo-Heroic: The Wonderful Case of Salinas in A very fun book to read and laughing out loud about how animal behaviors could reflect to human's. If you wish to see the grandness or beauty of human love in this book, you might be disappointed! We are after all the product of chemistry. Our love is control by hormone, only the rationality could stop us from cheating our partners and spouses( if hormone and alcohol not in the way...) In the book, at the very beginning, i am already attracted to the "Pseudo-Heroic: The Wonderful Case of Salinas in Las Vegas, Dominican Republic" that some of their babies were born to be girls, but when they become teens, they actually turn to men, physically and mentally. No kidding! They sex organs transformed due to the gene mutation 7 generations back to a same female ancestor. What a world! The experiments are mostly done with Voles not directly humans, but this animals also follow monogamy like human (force by customs and laws :>) The sex switches from female Haynas. I have learned this from other books and animal channel or discovery channel, but still this amazed me! The biggest female sex organ in the pack is the pack leader and she gets to switch to male, but the labor is hard and painful, because it's not through vagina. Few chapters about how Oxytocin (already known for me) and Vasopressin( new for me) works on our bodies. With Oxytocin, both genders become calmer and release some kind of falling in love feeling, that is why mother bonds to their kids, and so does father. Vasopressin on the contrary works differently on men. It will trigger men to be more anxious and territorial, but for women, it shows asking for help (eve from another woman) is this woman is anxious. Also if the mother is insecure/dismissing or preoccupied kind while taking care of the baby, it will cause the next generation to also behave coldly to their kids...the kids need to learn to cope with such cold interaction with mother in also an blocked emotion way..(vicious circle to pass down this!) So when voles behave differently under I have learned quite a lot of similar body reaction and how chemistry / hormone affects us from Sperm Wars: Infidelity, Sexual Conflict, and Other Bedroom Battles and Baby Wars: The Dynamics of Family Conflict.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Darrel

    Once every few years a book comes along that summarizes all the relevant science in a field so that the lay person can absorb and evaluate it. This is one of those books. It should stand along side The Myth of Monogamy, and Sex at Dawn on your book shelf. It is great to be living in a time where some of the most profound mysteries of life and humanity are giving themselves up to science. And the science is getting better and better very rapidly. Once, we learned the earth was round, it is not th Once every few years a book comes along that summarizes all the relevant science in a field so that the lay person can absorb and evaluate it. This is one of those books. It should stand along side The Myth of Monogamy, and Sex at Dawn on your book shelf. It is great to be living in a time where some of the most profound mysteries of life and humanity are giving themselves up to science. And the science is getting better and better very rapidly. Once, we learned the earth was round, it is not the center of the universe, that evolution is the driving force in life, that humans are not the center of the cosmos. It should come as no surprise that our antiquated notions of love and romance hold little water when examined in the light of genetics and biology. I know it is not very romantic, but as we move into an age where we gain understanding, even of our own neurology and biology, we need to move beyond notions about relationships and romance formed through religious indoctrination and cultural control. As a life long student of human sexuality, I welcome science into this discussion and I think any reader who seeks to understand nature and in particular, our nature, will find this book a refreshing and informative read. As the host of the Secular Sexuality Podcast and author of Sex and God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality, I refer to this book frequently and recommend it to my listeners. If you are interested in the latest science regarding sex and love, this is the book to read. If you are interested in religious dogma and ancient romantic ideas, this book will not be a pleasant experience. Dr. Darrel Ray, host of The Secular Sexuality Podcast

  16. 4 out of 5

    Liv

    The fact/this book is about how neurobiological variation can effect a persons behavior when it comes to love, sex and desire. I like how the author in the end takes up the fact that the society/medical industry/we are trying to change people's brain to the better by making them take medicines. When the authors writes "what if we cured genius?" It makes me wonder what it is that we actually is trying to change? "The price of genius often does come with antisocial, crummy relationship, and persona The fact/this book is about how neurobiological variation can effect a persons behavior when it comes to love, sex and desire. I like how the author in the end takes up the fact that the society/medical industry/we are trying to change people's brain to the better by making them take medicines. When the authors writes "what if we cured genius?" It makes me wonder what it is that we actually is trying to change? "The price of genius often does come with antisocial, crummy relationship, and personal pain" I would also like to say that the evolution wants variation and the human should not wish any less if we want the human species to continue being the strongest. We need the competition, and we should therefore be very careful with who we are trying to cure. When it comes to norms we should not force anything on anyone. If it is a fact that our neurobiology looks different then we are also suited for different thing, or reaches our full potential in different environments. This book and its facts helps people to understand that.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Harry Rice

    The dynamics of human behavior has always been of interest to me. Science has veered between genetic and environmental determinism, although it is now well known recently that these are not rigid separate categories. "The Chemistry Between Us" adds an important dimension to the discussion: viz. the effect of chemicals on the structure and operation of the brain and thus human behavior. Whatever the intentions of the authors, they have pounded a deep spike in the casket of free will. The more we The dynamics of human behavior has always been of interest to me. Science has veered between genetic and environmental determinism, although it is now well known recently that these are not rigid separate categories. "The Chemistry Between Us" adds an important dimension to the discussion: viz. the effect of chemicals on the structure and operation of the brain and thus human behavior. Whatever the intentions of the authors, they have pounded a deep spike in the casket of free will. The more we know about the operation of the brains, the more ludicrous it becomes to assume the autonomy of any supposed entity in the animal kingdom. Soon science and Eastern spirituality will join hands in overturning the erroneous concepts of guilt, blame and personal responsibility and affirm the understanding that everything is exactly as it must be. This book is not easy reading but it is illuminating and important.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Diego

    Got an uncorrected advance proof of this book. The chemistry between us is well written, making it an easy read, while relying on scientific studies that will try to demonstrate that the mind does not start as a blank slate, but is heavily influenced by genetics and early development (inside and outside the womb) A very good follow up on other titles that deal with the brain such as Ramachandran's Work A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness: From Impostor Poodles to Purple Numbers and Oliver Sack's m Got an uncorrected advance proof of this book. The chemistry between us is well written, making it an easy read, while relying on scientific studies that will try to demonstrate that the mind does not start as a blank slate, but is heavily influenced by genetics and early development (inside and outside the womb) A very good follow up on other titles that deal with the brain such as Ramachandran's Work A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness: From Impostor Poodles to Purple Numbers and Oliver Sack's many titles

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    A terrific introduction to the emerging field of social neuroscience. Because the book is so much more than "the science of attraction", it is a shame that subtitle was chosen. I'm afraid it might put of some readers. At one point in the book the authors compare the revolution in the understanding human behavior that is coming from the field of social neuroscience to those of Copernicus and Darwin in their respective fields. I first thought this was a bit of a stretch, but a week after finishing A terrific introduction to the emerging field of social neuroscience. Because the book is so much more than "the science of attraction", it is a shame that subtitle was chosen. I'm afraid it might put of some readers. At one point in the book the authors compare the revolution in the understanding human behavior that is coming from the field of social neuroscience to those of Copernicus and Darwin in their respective fields. I first thought this was a bit of a stretch, but a week after finishing the book and reflecting on it, I think that they may be right. Highly recommended reading.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Donna Kirk

    Read a review in New Scientist. Intrigued.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Monica Fan

    would not finish it if its not for the class. I am pretty sure I am not rat.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Li

    very interesting, hard to read because of medical jargon though

  23. 4 out of 5

    Anna F

    I have never been more entertained by a book I had to read for class. When I first picked this up for my endocrinology class, I wasn't expecting a fascinating collection of hypotheses and research strung together by tongue-in-cheek explanations. Young really impressed me. There were a few moments in the book where he makes claims based off experiments that don't seem to exactly line up. Also, although he makes several disclaimers that these are all hypotheses, Young seems to avoid confronting the I have never been more entertained by a book I had to read for class. When I first picked this up for my endocrinology class, I wasn't expecting a fascinating collection of hypotheses and research strung together by tongue-in-cheek explanations. Young really impressed me. There were a few moments in the book where he makes claims based off experiments that don't seem to exactly line up. Also, although he makes several disclaimers that these are all hypotheses, Young seems to avoid confronting the social exceptions associated with them. For instance, what about mate-guarding females? If you've ever been the target of a jealous female, I am so sorry. The conclusion was a bit messy, too. The final chapter goes all over the place, from dystopian suggestions to political opinions to LGBTQ+ issues. Overall, though, I enjoyed this book, although I wish Young talked more about the biology behind homosexuality and transgender people LATER in life, not just in utero.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alia Makki

    Man, reading this has been a humbling, mind-steadying, emotional-balancing experience. It annoyed the hell out of the psychologist in me, but in a good way. It annoyed me in the way that the Universe does when it's telling me to calm down. It annoyed me in an encouraging way that doesn't make me feel defeated or stupid for my life choices. And getting the science on my fluid gender and sexuality did not hurt either. Delivered in a tone of suppressed giggles, it was easy to forgive even the nurdi Man, reading this has been a humbling, mind-steadying, emotional-balancing experience. It annoyed the hell out of the psychologist in me, but in a good way. It annoyed me in the way that the Universe does when it's telling me to calm down. It annoyed me in an encouraging way that doesn't make me feel defeated or stupid for my life choices. And getting the science on my fluid gender and sexuality did not hurt either. Delivered in a tone of suppressed giggles, it was easy to forgive even the nurdiest ideas in this book. Even though, with all the science stacked up, there's always that underlining tone of humility throughout the book: That science can only cover and do so much. Humans are not voles; and there will be a lot of intermingling variables to why one person behaves this way and why another doesn't. And it's just lovely when science does that.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Emily Chandler

    This is not what u was expecting when I purchased this book but I was pleasantly surprised with it regardless. I was expecting this book to outline more of a guide for how to take advantage of the subjects discussed and it was more like an overview of the research regarding the issues. I enjoyed reading this and I learned a plethora of new information that I will be able to use throughout my life. One thing in recommend when it comes to this book is that you are completely focused on what you ar This is not what u was expecting when I purchased this book but I was pleasantly surprised with it regardless. I was expecting this book to outline more of a guide for how to take advantage of the subjects discussed and it was more like an overview of the research regarding the issues. I enjoyed reading this and I learned a plethora of new information that I will be able to use throughout my life. One thing in recommend when it comes to this book is that you are completely focused on what you are reading so that you don’t miss information (so if you read in the “background” this is not the book for you) and when going into this book you have a simple background on some of the subjects discussed otherwise it will lead you to many “interesting” google searches. However overall I’m really glad I read this book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Found interesting: - Exposure to hormones have strong effect natally and post-natally (determine sex characteristics and behavior in rats) - Large percentage of humans in monogamous relationships admit to cheating (anywhere from 20-50%) - Oxytocin is responsible for bonding in all kinds of situations and helps couples bond after sex and throughout the relationship Dubious claims: - Seems to claim that gender is only shaped by biology instead of culture. Both seem to have a strong effect to me - S Found interesting: - Exposure to hormones have strong effect natally and post-natally (determine sex characteristics and behavior in rats) - Large percentage of humans in monogamous relationships admit to cheating (anywhere from 20-50%) - Oxytocin is responsible for bonding in all kinds of situations and helps couples bond after sex and throughout the relationship Dubious claims: - Seems to claim that gender is only shaped by biology instead of culture. Both seem to have a strong effect to me - Seems to claim that sex isn't an addiction but love is (aren't most of the same chemicals at work in both cases) - It's may be all deterministic biology (seems very reductionist/materialistic, which they admit without covering any evidence from other fields like psychology)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Magdeline Johnson

    This book was a nonfiction read that was rather forgettable. It didn't leave an impression one me at all. I remember that there was a lot of emphasis on the evolutionary and biological perspectives. This book was very lopsided in its discussion and critical thinking regarding attraction and love. There were chapters that were really FUBAR and disturbing towards the end of the book. Honestly, if I could have deep cleaned my brain cells after this read I would gladly have done it! And per usual th This book was a nonfiction read that was rather forgettable. It didn't leave an impression one me at all. I remember that there was a lot of emphasis on the evolutionary and biological perspectives. This book was very lopsided in its discussion and critical thinking regarding attraction and love. There were chapters that were really FUBAR and disturbing towards the end of the book. Honestly, if I could have deep cleaned my brain cells after this read I would gladly have done it! And per usual this was an audiobook 'read.' I know my review of this book is due to my broad understanding of human anatomy, biology, psychology, attraction knowledge, and just being curious about all things human. This book was utterly forgettable. I recommend you skip it!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Minh Trang

    Sorry but I skipped the first part (about biologic features of man and woman) and ended up reading from the second. It is clearly a great book for those striving for scientific knowledge about gender characteristics and behavior, and I was stunned by how research could be illustrated (somehow) easily and "down-to-earth" for general readers. I love the fact that girls falls for bad boys and the underlying reasons =)) It is indeed true. However, love is not just simply "a neurochemical con job", whi Sorry but I skipped the first part (about biologic features of man and woman) and ended up reading from the second. It is clearly a great book for those striving for scientific knowledge about gender characteristics and behavior, and I was stunned by how research could be illustrated (somehow) easily and "down-to-earth" for general readers. I love the fact that girls falls for bad boys and the underlying reasons =)) It is indeed true. However, love is not just simply "a neurochemical con job", which downplays the only treasure that isolates us with animals. Besides, human are tied with relationship/ culture/ values, thus, it is immature to oversimplify love as sex-driven behavior. Is it because of the book? Or because of me being too critical and conservative?

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    This is an interesting book that focuses specifically on brain chemistry in the context of various forms of human relationships. It discusses brain anatomy and chemistry in significant detail and as such requires more than simply a passing interest in the subject. My only criticism is that the book spends too much time discussing the findings of experimental research conducted on mice. Although research on other animals can provide insight into human behaviour, a significant percentage is not dir This is an interesting book that focuses specifically on brain chemistry in the context of various forms of human relationships. It discusses brain anatomy and chemistry in significant detail and as such requires more than simply a passing interest in the subject. My only criticism is that the book spends too much time discussing the findings of experimental research conducted on mice. Although research on other animals can provide insight into human behaviour, a significant percentage is not directly transferable. Similar to a lot of books this category, it wraps things up by valiantly attempting to explore how the research can be applied to societal contexts. I feel that the authors have attempted to squeeze in too much in this last chapter. A worthy addition to the genre.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Juli

    This book is unbelievably fascinating! I have never used so many of my post-it page markers in one single book; I felt like I was marking every page, and sometimes twice or thrice! Halfway through the library version, I had to order my own copy, so that I could keep this book (and all my notations) on the shelf for future reference. The authors’ writing styles are cohesive and so layman-friendly that they make intricate scientific ideas accessible to the casual reader. Science was never my strong This book is unbelievably fascinating! I have never used so many of my post-it page markers in one single book; I felt like I was marking every page, and sometimes twice or thrice! Halfway through the library version, I had to order my own copy, so that I could keep this book (and all my notations) on the shelf for future reference. The authors’ writing styles are cohesive and so layman-friendly that they make intricate scientific ideas accessible to the casual reader. Science was never my strong subject in school, yet this book has completely captivated my attention and taught me so much about how our brains work. Absolutely, completely, and HIGHLY recommended. If you want to, you can read my thoughts, summary, and takeaways from this profound book.

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