“Butterflies In Stomach Love” And Other Commonly-Experienced Physical Feelings When You’re In Love
By: Dylan Buckley
Updated February 04, 2021
Love is truly a fascinating and complex subject that involves how we bond with one another and how those bonds allow for a lifetime commitment, whether it be in the form of familial love, platonic love, or romantic love.
Romantic love is especially interesting as it is one that can result in a wide variety of outcomes that leave us wondering, "How did I end up feeling like that?" (Consider Helen of Troy, who managed to start a devastating war simply because of her beauty and her ability to make anyone fall in love with her.)
The brain is at the center of all this activity and dictates how we fall in love with people, and how we experience that love. Sometimes we may have a small crush or a basic physical attraction, and other times we may find ourselves headoverheels for someone else, willing to do absolutely anything and everything to enter a relationship with them.
What is truly interesting is how love affects us physically, and how we can seemingly sense that we feel strongly towards another individual. If you are interested in learning more about how the body reacts when faced with something as strong as love, here is a guide to some of the physical feelings of love that are commonly experienced by most individuals.
The Connection Between Love and Sexual Attraction
The most obvious physical feeling of love that will present itself aggressively is that of sexual attraction. When we feel strongly for someone, sex is typically intertwined in those feelings in some capacity. Some people will argue that this is not true love, or love at all, but the fact of the matter is that things are not that simple, and that often sex and love are found alongside each other. As such, you are going to experience feelings of sexual attraction if you do love someone; and often, you have to gauge whether you are simply experiencing sexual attraction for an individual, or if there is something more there. But this does not necessarily mean that you can't distinguish between the two, or have one without the other.
In fact, some research shows that romantic love can be experienced on its own, and that sexual attraction and love are independent of each other—and that they may or may not be experienced with each other. This is because sexual attraction is more geared towards the part of the brain that is associated with the need for sexual reproduction, while the part of the brain that produces love is geared towards attachment.
That being said, sexual attraction is often one physical feeling of love you will experience when you're in love with someone. Just make sure that you know whether it is a sexual attraction on its own, or an accompanying sign of something else.
Other Common Physical Effects Experienced When in Love
There are plenty of physical symptoms of being in love, and this is because love often releases a ton of chemicals that affect the body. Some of these physical symptoms often include the following.
The Feeling of Butterflies in Your Stomach
Have you ever looked at someone you were strongly attracted to, only to find yourself with a light, tingly feeling in your abdominal area? This is a common symptom of love, and this is because being in love with someone that you are new to may also be accommodated by nervousness and stress, which can trigger the release of stress hormones that cause you to experience these physical symptoms. In fact, if you're afraid of heights, being in love might be a lot like climbing up a rock wall. You'll start to get those intense jittery feelings in your stomach, your hands and your feet might get tingly, your palms and other areas may become very sweaty, your knees and legs might start to shake, and your heart will start to beat very fast as you become hyper-focused on the person that you like.
In a comedic turn, some of these symptoms may be very strong, and you could potentially find yourself nauseous or so nervous that you are unable to properly communicate with the person that you like, which could even leave your voice at a higher pitch. Fortunately, these types of symptoms will calm down over time as you become more connected with that individual.
Any of these symptoms are often side effects of being nervous but will also indicate that there may be something more with the person that you like than just a crush.
For most people, being in love with someone might feel as though they are on a drug or experiencing a high. As such, people will go to great lengths for the ones they love, and may exhibit strange behaviors as a result of experiencing such feelings. The reason? It turns out that love is very much a drug in its own right.
It turns out that feelings of love affect the same parts of the brain that light up when addictive substances are used, and this happens for a very important reason. When experiencing intense romantic love, two sections of the brain are activated, and these two centers are responsible for the association with pleasure and the recognition of pleasurable and life-sustaining activities. This means that love fills you with pleasure and joy-inducing chemicals, and encourages you to maintain that attachment, as this was often important for the survival of early humans.
This engagement with love as an emotion in the brain has a great deal of similarity to narcotics, which is why sex and love can often be addicting for some individuals, and may cause them to engage in strange behaviors to follow through on these "highs." That being said, these types of behaviors are not necessarily "addictions," and may not require help if the results are positive. You may only require assistance if there are negative consequences to your involvement in certain behaviors related to love or sex.
Under the surface of more noticeable physical symptoms of love lie subtler, but equally interesting, physical changes that happen when a person falls in love with someone else. Some of these changes include an overall decrease in stress and the increase in the production of chemicals such as oxytocin and dopamine (which produce feelings of calm and happiness), a reduction in blood pressure and a decrease in cardiovascular issues. These changes will reduce the overall impact of pain in some individuals (circumstances may vary, and you may not experience leaps and bounds during this type of pain reduction). Also, you will also show even subtler signs such as your pupils being more dilated. Overall, love changes you in a variety of unbelievable ways.
What to Do Next?
The feeling of love is enjoyable, but it is also one that you will generally want to secure and act on as soon as you begin to feel strong feelings of attachment towards another human being. For many, the next question after experiencing some of these physical symptoms will be, what am I supposed to do next? Generally, if you are not already in a relationship with the person that you love, you will want to start dating them and trying to enter a more serious relationship stage.
If you are not thwarted by unrequited love, the next step is maintaining a relationship. Much like love, relationships can be complex, and they will require a great deal of compromise and sacrifice to hold them together and make sure that you and your loved one are reaping the benefits that relationships have to offer. However, this is often easier said than done, and entering a relationship without the proper skills or knowledge could potentially spell disaster.
If you love someone and you want to make sure that you have plenty of time to enjoy their company and keep a relationship going, one great way to learn the skills needed and receive the proper support is through relationship counseling. Unlike love, therapy does not have to be difficult as it is designed to make your relationship easier to manage.
Reconnecting Through BetterHelp
Even the healthiest relationships struggle sometimes. When you’re not feeling the butterflies and don’t know where to turn, a licensed therapist can help. Recent research has shown that online therapy is an effective way of providing couples counseling to those experiencing difficulties. In a study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, researchers examined the efficacy of online therapy when treating relationships in distress. According to the study, online therapy platforms are more accessible than traditional forms of couples counseling, given that there are fewer geographical barriers, costs are generally lower, and scheduling is easier to manage. Researchers found that both relationship satisfaction and communicationwere improved after therapy programs were completed. The study also noted that individual online therapy could be done simultaneously to address personal mental health issues that may be affecting troubled relationships.
As considered above, if you’re feeling as though you and your partner are no longer connecting, or you just want to strengthen your bond, online therapy is a useful option.Through BetterHelp, you’ll have access to licensed marriage and family counselors from around (and outside) the US—to ensure you and your partner are getting the best help for your specific relationship. The licensed counselors at BetterHelp know how to help you better relate to your significant other. Read below for counselor reviews, from those who have experienced similar issues.
“Karen is great, honest, and straightforward. She helped me through some relationship issues I was having and did so in an effective and insightful way.”
“I have nothing but wonderful things to say about Amy. She was kind and attentive, and made me feel comfortable sharing. For the months that I was in counseling, I was negotiating some difficult relationship challenges, and Amy helped me through these patiently and without judgement. She equipped me with some very practical tools for coping with stress and anxiety, which I still use even after discontinuing counseling. Five stars.”
If you think that you and your partner need help, and could benefit from therapy to strengthen your relationship and learn better relationship skills in the process, know that online counselors are there to assist you. You can once again feel the pangs of love you felt before—it may just take some work. Take the first step today.
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