At last science is starting to explain what lovers have known all along – love and lust are different.
Detailed brain mapping is showing up for the first time different parts of the cerebellum are triggered depending on whether you are experiencing love or lust.
Love is Desire Rewarded
And while lust triggers the part of the brain that responds to pleasure, it seems love lights up the region that gives pleasure meaning. Love “is a habit formed when sexual desire is rewarded,” according to lead researcher Professor Jim Pfaus.
The study from Montreal’s Concordia University and published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, was done by showing volunteers erotic pictures, or photographs of their loved ones.
Working with colleagues in the United States and Switzerland, Professor Pfaus pooled data from 20 separate studies to form a map of love and desire in the brain.
Lust and Love Brain Map
They found that two brain structures, the insula and the striatum, are responsible for tracking the progression from sexual desire to love.
Professor Pfaus says love is a habit what works in the same way as when people become addicted to drugs – but in a good way. Sexual desire is rewarded love activates pathways in the brain that are involved in monogamy and pair bonding.
“While sexual desire has a very specific goal, love is more complex.”