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Is Bacteria the Secret to Finding True Love?
How to meet your microbial love match.
What if we told you there was a science behind finding the love of your life? A biological formula that could help you find ‘The One’?
Studies show there may be more to finding true romance than meets the eye. That maybe the secret to a lasting relationship delves a bit deeper. All the way into your genetic makeup.
But before you start scheming ways to swab your next date (finally, a way to put all those old Covid tests to good use) let’s unpack what we know.
The Sweaty T-Shirt Experiment
In the 1990s an experiment was performed at the University of Bern in Switzerland, where female students were given t-shirts worn by male students in bed, and asked to rate them in order of attractiveness. The result: women preferred the t-shirts of men who had the most different type of immune system from their own.
The theory behind these results is that by choosing their genetic opposite, the women would be providing their offspring with an immune system that can handle twice as many challenges. Through their sense of smell, the girls were scanning the boys’ genomes, looking for the best match to be a father to their children. The natural odour created by their skin microbiota acted as an aphrodisiac.
Swapping (More Than) Saliva
Another method we can use to assess our date’s microbial mix in more detail: a French kiss.
In the same way that smelling our potential partner’s skin microbiota gives us an indicator of their internal colony of microbes, kissing helps us get even more up close. Could we all be subconsciously using our next kiss as a marker to decide if our date’s immune system is different enough from our own? It’s giving survival of the fittest a whole new meaning…
So, once you’ve found the partner you want to sniff and snog at regular intervals, what happens to our bodies and minds when love is always on the brain?
When we first meet someone we’re sexually attracted to, we’re feeling lust. It’s at this point the hypothalamus in the brain produces sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen, which start to pump through our bodies and increase libido.
During the first few months of a relationship, strong attraction begins to build, stimulating dopamine and norepinephrine production. These hormones are often associated with the brain’s ‘reward’ system. Together they can create the euphoric feeling associated with finding a new partner.
Once a relationship becomes more long-term, oxytocin ‘the cuddle hormone’ may be produced more frequently. Our bodies produce a lot of oxytocin during sex, which makes us feel more attached to our romantic partner.
Let’s GUT It On
However long you’ve been with your partner, if you’re looking to improve your sex life, we have a solution: start with the gut.
Sounds weird, but hear us out. A healthy gut microbiome has been linked to improved libido, mood, energy and performance during sex. Some say it's the key to having a more intense orgasm. It’s because 95% of serotonin, ‘the happy hormone’ responsible for mood and desire, is made in the gut. Gut bacteria also produce essential B vitamins and balance sugar levels, both of which support the body's natural energy and stamina. Getting you ‘in the mood’ more often.
Love is a Science
So, could bacteria be the secret to finding love? It seems microbes play a bigger role in romance than we thought. Get ready to embrace love, sex and microbes to meet your match.
Who says gut health isn’t sexy? Read why a healthy gut is crucial to orgasm.