One night stands could be just the thing to turn into love, according to a recent study which shows that the same part of the brain that controls our desire for sex is the same place where our feelings of love are situated.
It turns the old adage “love at first sight” on its, well, head, since it suggests that skipping right to a little hanky panky is the key to luring a prospective mate.
Heading up the research at Concordia University, Montreal, Jim Pfaus recognises that sex can be loveless, but having identified the insula cortex of the brain and striatum as the two areas that play pivotal roles in sex and love, he insists they must overlap.
In a review of 20 studies that made use of fMRI technology, researchers identified the areas of the brain that lit up when feelings of love were experienced and compared these results to other studies which identified brain activity during sexual arousal.
Arousal was found to stimulate the brains reward system known as the ventral striatum, while love tends to stimulate what is known as the dorsal striatum – that area of the brain associated with drug addiction.
Interestingly, both love and sexual arousal stimulated the insula cortex – that area of your brain that influences our emotions – and, in Pfaus’s words “translates feelings into meaning”.
Pfaus also notes that love might simply be a "need" developed through the association of sexual desire and reward. "Love is actually a habit that is formed from sexual desire as desire is rewarded," he points out.
So, the findings suggest that lust could have a lot to do with love. In the words of Jezebel.com's Lindy West, "love can grow out of a sweaty one-night stand."