by Sunny Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:56 am
Science may have discovered a clue to what could keep men from cheating
'How can I prevent my man from cheating with a stranger?' It's a question that has kept many a wife and girlfriend up all night. Science may have an answer - oxytocin. It is a naturally-occurring hormone that is released when two people get intimate or hug and hold hands. It is nature's way of strengthening social bonds in human beings and other mammals.
A German study has found that it is also the hormone that boost men's attraction to their partner, even when they are shown pictures of other equally attractive women.
The experiments had men in committed relationships for the past two years on an average, taking whiffs of oxytocin through a nasal spray or a placebo spray. In the first test, men were shown photos of their female partner, an unidentified woman or a house. In the second one, they saw images of their partner and a female acquaintance.
What they discovered
The researchers asked the men to rate their attraction levels. They rated their mates as having more appeal than the other women. This effect was more pronounced for the men under the influence of oxytocin compared to the placebo. When the oxytocin was in their system, the brain's areas responsible for feelings of reward and pleasure lit up when men saw their partner's face. Even more interesting is the fact that the sight of other women had the opposite effect on the brain. This explains why couples who maintain a high level of intimacy have deeper, more lasting bonds.
Why this happens
When you get intimate in the initial 'honeymoon phase' of a relationship, your system releases large amounts of dopamine and oxytocin. This creates a link between the neural systems that process facial cues, the voice and the reward system of a partner's brain. As physical intimacy depletes over time, this link is weakened. But doing things that release oxytocin (gazing into each other's eyes, holding hands, kissing and having sex) could re-establish that connection. It is considered the mechanism that binds men and women together for sexual monogamy to exist.