Are your love drives in synch?

Andile Ndlovu

IN YOUR haste to kick a cheating partner to the curb, consider this: it might not get any better. At the Wits University Great Hall last night, biological anthropologist Dr Helen Fisher delivered a lecture on human lovemaking titled The Evolution of Love and Who We Choose.

Fisher is a professor at Rutgers University in the US and has studied romantic interpersonal attraction for more than 30 years.

When people were still in the romantic attraction phase, they tended to be more anxious and to fret about everything, she said. But couples who had reached the attachment phase were far more calm and more adept at pain suppression.

Fisher broke down “love” into three primary drives: lust, romantic love and attachment. She suggested that the three drives were not always in synch – that is, one could feel deep attachment to a long-term partner even while feeling intense romantic love or lust for somebody else.

Fisher said that women should avoid blanket statements like “men are all adulterers”.

“Who do you think these men are being adulterers with?” she asked.

She said that the primary biological goal of the human sex drive was to reproduce rather than to create an everlasting love.

This, however, did not disqualify the possibility of creating lasting, meaningful relationships.

But another scientist, Professor Robert Blumenschine, from the Palaeontological Scientific Trust, said earlier in the day: “[There’s a school of thought that] sperm are cheap; it’s easy for males to manufacture sperm, while females have a limited lifetime supply of eggs.

“So they will be slightly choosy when it comes to sex and more interested in a long-term relationship, and someone that will help them raise their offspring,” Blumenschine said.

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