A conversation with Dr. Helen Fisher about relationships in 2011.
What attracts you to someone when you first meet them? What keeps the passion alive in a relationship? How do your turn-ons change over time? These were some of the questions on a recent survey conducted by YourTango, Glo.com and Chemistry.com. Over 20,000 people took the survey and the results were analyzed by Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist and author of numerous influential books on love. You can see all the results at www.RekindleAttraction.com. Here, we talk with Dr. Fisher about sex, love and the new age of relationships.
YourTango: What was the most surprising finding from this survey?
Helen Fisher: What's most astonishing is that when you ask people what they are looking initially and long term, they are not looking for money, children, religion, or even someone of the basic same age group. That's just staggering to me because for 10,000 years mankind married, basically, for children. Women needed a partner that had enough money to support them and their children and they had to pick someone of the right age group and of the same religious background.
In this survey people chose money and wealth as the least likely traits to enhance initial and long-term attraction—just amazing. And the most likely to enhance attraction were communication, kindness, sense of humor, intelligence. So we are turning away from social and economic and political reasons to marry, and we are moving forward to marrying only for personal fulfillment.
And this is what you call "The New Age Of Relationships."
Yes, it's just remarkable. This has been going on for a few years, but to see it so strikingly put here is just incredible.
Do you see it going more in that direction?
I do. For millions of years we traveled in these little hunting and gathering groups. Women commuted to work to gather their fruits and vegetables. They came home with 60 - 80 percent of the meal. Most of those marriages were held together not for social reasons, but for personal reasons—for self-fulfillment. If women were stuck in a bad marriage they walked out. They could. They were economically powerful.