Oxytocin - The Love Hormone

Oxytocin – the hormone am or

The human body’s processes, including love and affection, are regulated by hormones. Oxytocin, the love hormone, is the molecule capable of generating empathy, admiration, and attachment towards another person. Studies (1) affirm that oxytocin is responsible for the purest love between mother and child.

In the early stages of love, the sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) lead the process. However, in the final step: forming a solid and stable feeling is oxytocin, the love hormone that participates.

The first phase of love – attraction

The first phase of love, both in men and women, is governed mainly by attraction. The hormones involved are testosterone and estrogen. The main trigger in the production of these hormones is the smell.

The hormone norepinephrine is also involved. This hormone is capable of causing loss of appetite and increasing attention to a person in the first phase. The hormone that acts opposite to these hormones is the stress hormone: cortisol.

Science has confirmed three critical points in the birth of love: body signals (55%), tone and rhythm of voice (38%), and the meaning of words that influences only 7% of attraction. (1) Scientists believe in this intuitive way of checking for a possible compatible sexual partner.

The second phase of love: possession

The second phase of love is possession. At this time, the ability to focus on other people and tasks is significantly reduced. The regulatory hormones in this phase are adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin. According to science, a person experiences the incredible pleasure of the presence of a close love object.

The increased heartbeat is caused by adrenaline, while joy is explained as a release of serotonin. In this phase, dopamine levels rise, causing a feeling of well-being and tenderness towards the other person.

The third phase of love: affection

The third phase of love: is genuine affection. This is the longest and deepest stage. It is when the couple stays together enough to raise a parent. The main hormones involved in this stage are oxytocin and vasopressin. The production of the hormone oxytocin is stimulated during sexual intercourse.

During this stage, oxytocin reaches its maximum values ​​and causes a feeling of calm and fullness. When separated, the brain feels the lack of that hormone and wants to reconnect with your loved one.

How does oxytocin work?

High levels of oxytocin cause satisfaction, calmness, and decreased anxiety. Scientists have shown a direct link between oxytocin and increased confidence and reduced fear. (2) (3).

Oxytocin is the crucial hormone in causing intense feelings of kinship. As well as in the sense of intimacy and trust in other people (3). After the absence of this hormone, a person isolates himself, and mistrust increases.

Oxytocin improves empathy, the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. This can be measured as an increase in the frequency of looking the interlocutor in the eye and an increase in confidence.

In the particular case of pregnant women, the hormone oxytocin increases at birth. This fact can explain in terms of science the intense love of a mother for her child and vice versa.

The neuroeconomist Paul Zak has made it very clear to understand better how oxytocin works. In his presentation, Zak reveals the effects of oxytocin on people’s morale and confidence.

More than one person has found himself asking how to find love? Arthur Arun, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, developed a scientific method for falling in love. According to his theory, what should be done is:

  • Find a stranger who has similar characteristics to you.
  • Talk to them for thirty minutes about the personal details of her life.
  • Hold your gaze for 3-5 minutes.

During the research carried out by this doctor, many of the participants in the experiments began to feel a clear attraction to each other. According to the scientist’s conclusions, the most critical point in the appearance of feelings of love is the final closure when looking at each other (1).

Oxytocin and adolescent love

An investigation that studied adolescent love found that it is tough to experience affection at this stage of life. The ability to get to the third phase requires time and dedication. (3). Psychologists believe that nature gently prepares the body for the powerful effects of oxytocin in this way.

Physical contact leads to an explosion of pleasure from releasing sex hormones. However, in biological terms, the release of oxytocin results in a solid and safe family.

Oxytocin and childbirth

In natural birth, both the mother and the child release large amounts of oxytocin. What causes that feeling of deep love for mother-child that lasts throughout life.

When a child is born, the environment changes, which generates stress. To relieve it, both mother and child release large amounts of oxytocin. Some studies (3) confirm the reduction of crying in newborns when oxytocin levels are higher. (3)

However, due to its adverse effects, oxytocin in injectable form or as a treatment for complicated deliveries is a treatment that is reserved for individual cases. (5)

In the father, high oxytocin levels can generate protective behaviors towards newborn children. In simple words, this hormone allows you to react quickly in case of feeling a danger.

Effects of oxytocin in monogamy

In a study published by the PNAS Journal (6), oxytocin was given to a group of men and not to others. The former showed a more significant stimulus in front of photos of their partners than with pictures of other women.

This fact demonstrates the effects of oxytocin on monogamy. This hormone can help maintain the true feeling of hunger. As well as allowing the improvement of self-perception, social skills, altruism, and extroversion.

Lack of oxytocin – what happens?

When oxytocin is lacking, stress appears. Low levels of this hormone generate antisocial behaviors and phobias and are even related to autism. (2) (3) (4) Having low levels of oxytocin leads not only to a feeling of loneliness, poor empathy, and poor sexual performance. The symptoms of a lack of oxytocin are similar to the symptoms of low testosterone in men.

Oxytocin is the key that opens the brain and human consciousness to achieve the most profound changes between two individuals. The love hormone allows better communication and trust between two or more people.


  • Oxytocin, the love hormone, is what participates in the final phase of the union of two people. Just as its high levels during childbirth explain the purest love: father and son.
  • Lack of oxytocin in the body is associated with depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders.
  • Oxytocin should not be confused with leptin, one is the love hormone, and the other is the hunger-related hormone.
  • In childbirth, both mother and child release large amounts of oxytocin.
  • Regulating the love hormone is essential for the success of monogamy. When its levels are high, you experience greater empathy and self-confidence.

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