The rush of new attraction is indescribable. One minute you’re walking down the street on a perfectly normal afternoon, and the next minute you’re on cloud nine and your heart won’t stop racing. All it takes is one glimpse of someone you find attractive for your entire body to respond in full force. But what is behind this rush?
Well, first of all, it’s important to remember that sexy means different things to different people. You might be a sucker for dark-haired, dark-eyed guys, while your friend loves freckled blonds. Our sexual interests are unique, varied, and often a compete mystery to us. But why is it that you always end up going for men with dark hair and eyes?
It might seem like just a coincidence, but it is most likely related to the fact that our sexual desires run deep, and they are often connected to experiences from our childhood. The love-map theory, which was created by the late psychologist John Money, PhD, suggests that our desires are deeply rooted in past experiences. For example, let’s say you grew up next to a young boy who had dark hair and a sweet personality. Years later, you still find yourself seeking out dark-haired men with a romantic spirit. Or maybe your friend had a blond, freckled teacher who was always caring and thoughtful, and years later, she still gets a positive boost when she sees a blond, freckled guy.
Along with physical love maps, we also have behavioral love maps. Many of us have a “type,” whether it’s bad boys, shy scholars, or outgoing class clowns. Whatever your type, your relationship choices are no accident. We tend to act out the relationship patterns we saw as a child in our own homes, whether they were healthy or unhealthy. For example, girls who had fathers that were abusive, angry, or distant often repeat this vicious cycle in their own relationships, selecting mates who are emotionally disconnected or even physically violent. Growing up in homes of violence causes children to associate love with pain, and decades later, these memories can set off subconscious cues that make it hard to distinguish between a healthy relationship and an unhealthy one.
All these mental triggers start chiming off the minute you meet someone, as your brain collects the visual clues and relates them back to your memories. As you subconsciously trace these clues back to your love maps, you might feel everything from instant attraction to platonic feelings to disinterest. Whatever you end up feeling, take some time to travel back down memory lane and see if those feelings are part of your rich, powerful love map, and ascertain that you are making a healthy choice for your mind and body.
And, remember, the rush of new attraction can sometimes be deceiving, especially if alcohol is involved. Not only can a few drinks alter your decision-making abilities, but they might also hamper your ability to select the ideal mate, so make sure your new attraction is the result of a true connection — and not just a few margaritas!
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