Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How Lust Works


Author's Note

Since lust gets such a bad rap, I was pleased to have the chance to offer some scientific evidence to help burnish its Sodom and Gomorrah reputation. Although the motivational drive of lust has a tendency to get people in trouble at times, it's nevertheless crucial to the sweeter romantic sentiments that human culture holds so dear. Moreover, the principles of morality, yet another cultural byproduct, have glossed over the brighter sides of lust for centuries, and only in recent decades has factual understanding of brain-body connections illuminated the practical purposes and mechanisms of sex drives. But most importantly, grasping how lust works better allows us answer the all-important question: When do you know when it's love?

Related Articles

Sources

  • Baumeister, Roy F; Catanese, Kathleen R.; and Vohs, Kathleen D. "Is There a Gender Difference in Strength of Sex Drive? Theoretical Views, Conceptual Distinctions, and a Review of Relevant Evidence." Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Vol. 05, No. 03. 2001. (March 01, 2012) http://carlsonschool.umn.edu/Assets/71520.pdf
  • Bering, Jesse. "My lust: A Valentine's Day confession and the psychology of infatuation." Scientific American. Feb. 14, 2011. (March 01, 2012) http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/bering-in-mind/2011/02/14/my-lust-a-valentines-day-confession-and-the-psychology-of-infatuation/
  • Blackburn, Simon. "In defence of lust." New Statesman. Dec. 15, 2003. (March 01, 2012) http://www.newstatesman.com/aldaily/2003121502.htm
  • Diamond, Lisa M. "Emerging Perspectives on Distinctions Between Romantic Love and Sexual Desire." Current Directions in Psychological Science. 2004. (March 01, 2012) http://www.chsbs.cmich.edu/hajime_otani/Classes/100/Extra10.pdf
  • Highfield, Roger. "Scientists locate brain's 'censor'." Telegraph. Nov. 01, 2001. (March 01, 2012) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/4767055/Scientists-locate-brains-censor.html
  • HowStuffWorks.com. "Is it love or lust?" Discovery Health. (March 01, 2012) http://health.howstuffworks.com/relationships/love/is-it-love-or-lust.htm
  • Fisher, Helen E. et al. "Defining the Brain Systems of Lust, Romantic Attraction and Attachment." Archives of Sexual Behavior. 2002. (March 01, 2012) http://homepage.mac.com/helenfisher/archives_of_sex_beh.pdf
  • Fisher, Helen E. "Lust, Attraction and Attachment in Mammalian Reproduction." Human Nature. 1997. (March 01, 2012) http://www.helenfisher.com/downloads/articles/10lustattraction.pdf
  • Forster, Jens; Ozelsel, Amina; and Epstude, Kai. "How love and lust change people's perceptions of relationship partners." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. August 2009. (March 01, 2012) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103109002121
  • Jacobs, Tom. "Love, But Not Lust, Inspires Creativity." Miller-McCune. Aug. 31, 2009. (March 01, 2012) http://www.miller-mccune.com/culture-society/love-but-not-lust-inspires-creativity-3493/
  • Karama, S. "Areas of brain activation in males and females during viewing of erotic film excerpts." Human Brain Mapping. May 2002. (March 01, 2012) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11870922
  • NPR. "True Confessions: Men and Women Sin Differently." Feb. 20, 2009. (March 01, 2012) http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100906920
  • Platek, Steven M.; Keenan, Julian Paul; and Shackelford, Todd K. "Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience." MIT Press. 2007. (March 01, 2012) http://books.google.com/books?id=D5zuAAAAMAAJ&q=Evolutionary+Cognitive+Neuroscience+mit+press&dq=Evolutionary+Cognitive+Neuroscience+mit+press&hl=en&sa=X&ei=BYJST8DyEtGx0QG0ttXvAw&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAA

More to Explore