Love At First Night: Can A Healthy Relationship Grow From A Sexual Relationship?
Scenario 1: You are on the most amazing first date with a guy you are getting to know. You were set up by a friend and exchanged numbers to meet up for dinner at the new restaurant in town. You hit it off quickly and comfortably end the night with passionate sex. You were not expecting this to happen, but now that it has you find yourself in your feelings when it comes to this person you know very little about.
Scenario 2: You’ve been dating a guy for a while, but you have not made the decision to have sex with him yet in fear that he’ll lose interest once you do. You are ready for a commitment, but after being hurt so many times and failing to cope to manage his past issues, he reveals that he is not a commitment type of guy anymore. Still, you stick around, and you cannot deny your intense sexual attraction to him. You start to dance around the idea that maybe if you guys engaged in sex, it would change his feelings towards you for the better, and he would finally consider being with you exclusively.
This, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg” style debate has become more prevalent now that we are in the new age of dating and relationships. What comes first, the commitment or the sex? Traditionally, it has been the commitment, and many still hold fast to that standard. However, in these changing times, some are settling down later in life and opting for casual dating situations and instant gratification. Got an itch, why not scratch it? Which presents the question, can love and a healthy relationship come out of our first sexual encounters with someone?
A clinical study conducted by Concordia University in Montreal found that the same regions of the brain that control love also control sex, proving that our sexual desires and encounters with others can translate into love. According to Jim Pfaus, professor of psychology at Concordia, “You can have desires for sex without love, but sex can also be the start of a beautiful relationship.”
You may find yourself perplexed after underestimating the man you lied down with since you didn’t expect him to put it down like that. You may find yourself in your feelings because all you wanted was one night without strings, but now you want more than what is in his pants. Pfaus offers a scientific explanation for these unusual emotions.
Pfaus explains that the brain’s insular cortex and the striatum play a role in both our sexual desires and love because it is activated by both. He states that sexual desires activate the ventral striatum, the brain’s reward system, and once orgasm is reached, the dorsal striatum is activated, which is responsible for love. So even though love and sex are two different things, they often overlap. The overlap indicates that sexual desire transitions into love in many cases and the feelings are not separate.
So now that we know that it is possible for love to stem from sex, the question is, is that how you want to start a relationship?
Whether you’re a traditional woman who would prefer a commitment before being intimate or a woman who allows her body to do the talking for her, whatever decision you make is completely up to you; but it is important to use sound judgement because falling in love after having sex with a man who is afraid to commit won’t change his non-committal stance. Also, feelings of doubt can surface later on down the road when you start to wonder, was it really love that brought and kept you two together, or just good sex?
You’ve been warned.