"If a couple FEELS they are in love, it's OK to have sex."
Agree or disagree?
If you agreed, you answered the way most teens have. But here are the facts. The love feelings ARE real, but...it's not love yet.
The love chemicals are surging (well, at least for one person) and saturating your brain, producing those feelings. Those feelings have fooled lots of people. Don't we all know people who fell for a jerk, got involved, and later regretted it?
Truth is: Those feelings tell you nothing about whether you're even on the same page.
Falling in love or feeling strong attraction triggers biological and chemical changes throughout the body. Scientists using MRI scanning can actually see what is happening inside the brain of people who fall in love. They have tested blood to see which hormones and chemicals get released, what those chemicals do, and for how long.
- Brain scans of those in the early stages of strong romantic attraction show increased activity in the parts of the brain that have to do with euphoria (a feeling of extreme well-being: fully happy, confident).
- This is why you feel so great and have so much energy -- and can think only about him or her. The brain in love actually resembles the brain of a person with compulsive-behavior disorder or an addiction.
- This early stage of love also turns off parts of the brain that have to do with critical thinking. If you're feeling these love chemicals strongly, your ability to make rational judgments does not work as well.
- This is why a love-struck person can totally ignore the warnings of friends or family members and get attached to a really poor match -- or worse, a total loser.
- You just don't see well in the beginning. He or she seems perfect to you.
- This is also why it's awfully easy to SLIDE into a relationship with someone who is a bad match for you -- or even someone with serious problem behaviors.