Teens and Sex
The Science of Love: Answer Your Teen’s and Tweens Questions with Facts about love.
Love is a hormone and neurochemical driven human emotion. An emotion that teens and tweens have lots of questions about it. What does it feel like to fall in love? When will I fall in love? Do you have to be in love to have sex?
[bctt tweet=”When will I fall in love? Do you have to be in love to have #sex? #momlife #teens #questions #love”]
These questions pop up more and more as children age. Having some facts on hand can help alleviate some of the pressure on those tough questions of teens and tweens.
Love at First Sight
The brutal fact about love is it takes between 90 seconds and 4 minutes for your brain to decide whether someone is in the running or not. This decision is made by the interpretation of body language, tone and speed of the person’s voice, and a tiny bit of what the person says. Teens and tweens often get swept up in the first stage of love after the brain puts someone in the “keeper” pile.
[bctt tweet=”It takes between 90 seconds and 4 minutes for your brain to decide if it’s #love or not. #momlife”]
The first stage of love. This is driven by gender specific hormones, testosterone and estrogen. The body uses these hormones to determine the level of risk versus the level of happiness. Will this new potential love decrease my stress and promote my well-being?
Teens and tween are known for this stage of love, as their relationships often burn out before even reaching the next stage, attraction. Lust often leads to physical intimacy, as the body is responding to hormonal cues.
This stage is often obnoxious for others to witness. These are the individuals we refer to as being in “puppy love”. In this stage, one is lovestruck and pre-occupied with one another, due to three neurotransmitters. Adrenaline which ramps the body up for excitement and gets the heart racing. This is why sweating may occur when new lovers bump into each other. Dopamine is the pleasure neurotransmitter. People are happy when they are in this stage of love! Lastly, serotonin creates rose colored glasses for people to look through when they are newly in love. Teens and tweens may ignore problems in their relationship, such as incompatible priorities, dating violence, and disrespect during this stage, due to the high levels of serotonin.
This is the stage of love wherein a bond has been formed and long term relationships develop. Two major hormones impact this stage of love. Oxytocin and Vasopressin are powerful hormones released during sex and during birth. When the brain is bathed in this hormone the bond between two individuals becomes stronger and stronger.
It is important to let tweens and teens know that love is often said to be blind because you never know who your brain is going to interpret as a potential love! One last point to note is that love does have a sense of smell, as a person’s scent can be just as powerful as looks, so don’t be surprised if you are attracted to someone you least expect! And don’t let the perfume or body spray confuse you.
Sheri Little is a social worker, parent educator, and mother of three. She loves sharing her experiences as a mother and the voluminous amount of information she has learned from working with families over the past 5 years. She also enjoys the nitty-gritty research around parenting and child development. Follow her on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.