Any human with an emotional capacity to love can — at some point — fall in love. The definition of love varies depending on whom you’re showing your affection to but when it’s with a partner you see a future with, it’s almost always a mixture of protection, nurturing, and physical intimacy. However, even as we’re gearing toward gender equality, there may be some innate attributes that are still vastly different between men and women
So, do women love harder than men or not?
Measuring the time and intensity of love is simply impossible. Even if we’re used to seeing Hollywood movies where women go on absurd adventures to chase the person they’re attracted to — because they’ve fallen head over heels for the person (talk about My Best Friend’s Wedding, Sex and the City: The Movie, and The Sweetest Thing), we also have films like Titanic, Notting Hill, A Star Is Born, and many other movies where it’s the men who fall in love first; perhaps there’s some truth to that.
We can’t know for sure if there’s a basis for why women tend to “fall in love harder” but there’s been a study that it’s the men who fall for a significant other faster. However, some assume that women are genetically made to love strongly because of their nurturing predisposition. We can also see this in mammals — if you ever owned a pet, it’s the males that can get aggressive when their territory is invaded. On the other hand, females have better temperaments unless they’re nursing their kids.
What’s up with our hormones?
Let’s get clinical! Men and women have almost the same chemicals in their bodies but some are higher in men and lower in women and vice versa; we all associate testosterone with the male body because men are naturally more abundant with that hormone. That said, women have some hormones that they’re more sufficient with and it may contribute to why women love harder — but this is not to say that men don’t have the tendency to do the same. According to a study, the science of love and attraction can be broken down into three categories, and hormones play a huge role in why a person falls in love (or lust).
The hormones listed below are possible factors as to why women sometimes love profoundly, but these are also found in the male body.
“Smash Or Pass?”
Testosterone and estrogen production is stimulated by the hypothalamus (but the specific body part where these hormones are produced is in the testes and ovaries). These sex hormones are commonly called the “male” and “female” hormones but both of them are found in both sexes; albeit, as stated, one is more abundant in the specific sex than the other.
Testosterone is said to be the hormone responsible for your libido. However, this is still up for debate as some women find themselves craving for some sexy time when they’re ovulating (which is when the estrogen levels are the highest).
“He/She Looks So Dang Good!”
Have you ever been into someone who isn’t conventionally attractive? Do you still cringe about it or do the comments of the people around you still haunt you? Hey, don’t beat yourself up — we’ve all been there! The possible reason why you even thought they were hot is because of dopamine; this attraction hormone is also controlled by the hypothalamus.
The happy hormone sometimes collabs with norepinephrine so you’d feel happy and giddy. That’s probably why we get butterflies when we see our crush — turns out, the “butterflies” could’ve been these hormones all along! Lastly, dopamine and norepinephrine can also contribute to appetite loss and insomnia. Sounds like something you’d do when you’re in love, doesn’t it?
“Gross! They’re Like A Brother/Sister to Me!”
Lust and attraction are ephemeral — but true love is eternal. Hence, why most of the time, the love we give to our parents, children, and even pets lasts for a lifetime (even after passing). Sometimes, however, we can feel that same type of love towards other people we don’t share a blood bond with — like our friends.
Some best friends (especially when they’re of the opposite sex) often find it difficult to explain that the relationship they have is just plainly platonic. Most of the time, we ought to believe this when those BFFs tell us this. If you have a close friend yourself (that you’re not casually getting it on with), then you know how the ideas people assume can get vomit-inducing! This is because the predominant hormone that your body produces is oxytocin and vasopressin.
Oxytocin is often called the “cuddle hormone” because it’s the nurturing chemical that a mother produces when they give birth or breastfeeds her babies. It’s also the same hormone that your body produces when you pet your dog or cat. But oxytocin isn’t exclusive to family-like relationships and feelings — your body can also get sent to oxytocin overdrive during sex.
Different Types of “Love”
According to Ancient Greeks, there are different types of love that coincide with why you’ll only feel a certain way about someone. (Not that it can’t change your feelings with a person — you don’t have to permanently friendzone them!)
Ludus is considered as the “playful love.” It’s derived from the Greek word Ludum which means “sport” or “game.” It’s somewhat a childlike type of love you give to someone you’re in a “flirtationship” with or when you or someone is playing hard-to-get.
Philia is the “affectionate love” that you’d give to your most favorite family members and closest friends whom you both enjoy spending time together. It’s that deep adoration of a person you feel the Philia type of love for.
Named after the God of Love, Eros is what Plato describes as a romantic type of love where sexual desire is present. This is the kind of love you’d give to your significant other.
Storge is called the “familiar love” where it doesn’t need to be reciprocated. It’s the “default” feeling we have for family members.
Pragma is more of a logical and practical type of love. This is the type of love where respect is the most valued trait one can give. If you wonder how your parents are still together after all these years — despite their lack of passion — it’s probably pragma; they might also be too old for the Eros type of love!
Mania is a word familiar to most. And it’s often associated with obsession, possession, and being in total control of something or someone. Thus, it’s safe to assume that mania is not the healthiest type of love.
Philautia is essentially “self-love” — and you should be doing it more! As RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”
Agape is the strongest and most beautiful type of love. It’s the selfless love that not many can give. Loving someone in the agape way means you’re giving the most unconditional and highest form of love for that person.
Now That We’re Here…
Before you put Ariana Grande’s Love Me Harder on blast, we have to talk about why women love harder than men — women don’t necessarily fall in love harder! Now that we’ve broken down the brain and its neurotransmitters as well as dig through Ancient Greek ideas, we still can’t know for sure why this reportedly happens. Then again, these are just reports — and love is subjective, immeasurable, and it has no formula.
The idea of women having the tendency to love harder may just be a Hollywood stereotype. It may also be because women have more freedom to express their feelings (which is an unfortunate problem men deal with — society hasn’t been very accepting of the idea that men can be vulnerable). Regardless, love is free to give and you deserve to receive it yourself.