Philosophers, theologians, artists, and boy bands have waxed poetic about the nature of love for centuries. But what does the brain have to say about the way we carry our hearts? In the wake of a divorce, science writer and single mother Kayt Sukel made herself a guinea pig in the labs of some unusual love experts to find out.
In each chapter of this edgy romp through the romantic brain, Sukel looks at a different aspect of love above the belt. What in your brain makes you love someone—or simply lust after them? (And is there really a difference?) Why do good girls like bad boys? Is monogamy practical? How thin is that line between love and hate? Do mothers have a stronger bond with their children than their fathers do? How do our childhood experiences affect our emotional control? Should you be taking an oxytocin supplement to improve your luck in love? Who is most at risk for love addiction? In her search for truth, Sukel also has an fMRI during orgasm, ponders a cure for heartbreak, and samples a pheromone spray called Boarmate.
As science allows us a more focused examination on the intricate dance between the brain and our environments, we can use it to shed new light on humanity’s oldest question: What is love and why does it torture, delight, and transform us so?
Fiercely honest and wonderfully funny, Sukel can offer no simple solutions for the curveballs love throws our way. But after reading this gimlet-eyed look at love, sex, and the brain, you’ll never look at romance the same way again.
Kayt Sukel’s work has appeared in myriad publications, including Atlantic Monthly, USA TODAY, The Washington Post, National Geographic Traveler, Continental, American Baby, and Cerebrum. She is a partner in the renowned family travel website, TravelSavvyMom.com, blogs about international eating for UpTake.com, and is also a frequent contributor to the Dana Foundation’s many science publications.
"A serious, informative and highly entertaining survey of the neurobiology of sexual attraction.”
“A fun and insightful read [that] manages to evoke the feel of both a wine-laden conversation with an old friend and a great neuroscience lecture from your favorite college professor."
"It was the cotton-top tamarin monkeys that did it for me...Sukel's book fairly bristles with such causes to reflect on our erotic complexity."
"With humor and flair, Sukel takes us through the whole human drama -- loving, hating, cheating, losing, orgasming, parenting, punishment, and reward -- and at the end we realize something truly startling: it's all in our minds."
-Jena Pincott, author of Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?: The Surprising Science of Pregnancy
"Kayt Sukel's [Dirty Minds] merges the bracing realities of science with the mysterious thrill of love and attraction. Provocative, well-researched, and compulsively readable, this book opens the mind (dirty or otherwise) and stirs the soul."
-Lily Burana, author of Strip City, Try, and I Love a Man in Uniform
"Love and sex are two of the eternal mysteries of the human experience--but in her compelling new book . . . Kayt Sukel lifts the curtain to give us a fresh and fascinating look at our intimate lives. Sukel shows us how neuroscientists are venturing into the realm once reserved for poets and songwriters, and returning with bold new knowledge about the brain in love and in the throes of pleasure. After reading this seductively interesting book, you'll never think about a date or a kiss or a breakup the same way again."
-Annie Murphy Paul, author of Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives