A while ago I watched an acquaintance of mine almost swallowed whole by a woman.
Well – not literally, but metaphorically. It reminded me of that series ‘V’ where the aliens disguised themselves as humans but in reality were reptilian underneath and could open their mouth up so wiiiiiide that they could swallow … well, you get the picture.
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He knew she was already dating another guy – he even stood next to her in the pub as she and date number one virtually had sex on the table. I and others looked on with interest. So did he, but he also continued to flirt with her, and she, of course, flirted back. Then she made a point of telling him which singles event she would be at next and he dutifully turned up, pursued her all evening until she ‘relented’ and then they sat hands clasped, looking deeply into each other’s eyes and intermittently kissing as if they were desperately in love. I again watched with curiosity, knowing that she would, self-admittedly, be dating the other guy the next night, and doing the same with him. I didn’t know whether the other guy knew - probably not as he’d seemed blissfully unaware: the kind of blissful unawareness that didn’t even register that there was another guy flirting with his girl whenever he went on an errand to the bar or for a necessary visit to the loo. He just smiled at him as if they were mates. But my friend knew, and still he was smitten. Was he in love or in lust? And what about the woman? Not quite the romantic Mills and Boon behaviour we normally expect of women …
Now that raised two interesting questions; first, how do we - men and women, that is - fall in love, and what role does sex play in it? And if that’s the starter for ten, the supplementary bonus question must be, do men and women think and respond sexually all that differently after all?
We did a little research to answer them and found some interesting info in Debbie Martin’s book The Strategy: Single and don’t want to be?
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When a man or woman has an orgasm, it releases a flood of oxytocin directly into their bloodstream. It’s a clever little chemical - as clever as the mirror neurons that our brain carefully uses to encourage attraction – but that’s another tale for another time. Oxytocin has some mirroring qualities too, in that it creates mirror image responses in men and women: opposites.
‘Oxytocin seems to have been ‘designed’ by nature to make a man and woman feel bonded after sex, but oestrogen (in women) seems to increase the bonding effects of oxytocin, while testosterone (in men) seems to mute them. That’s why women tend to feel more attached after sex than men do.’(Susan Kuchinskas: author of The Chemistry of Connection: How the Oxytocin Response can help you find Trust, intimacy and Love. (2009))