Emerging Perspectives on Distinctions Between Romantic Love and Sexual Desire

  title={Emerging Perspectives on Distinctions Between Romantic Love and Sexual Desire},
  author={L. Diamond},
  journal={Current Directions in Psychological Science},
  pages={116 - 119}
  • L. Diamond
  • Published 2004
  • Psychology
  • Current Directions in Psychological Science
Although sexual desire and romantic love are often experienced in concert, they are fundamentally distinct subjective experiences with distinct neurobiological substrates. The basis for these distinctions is the evolutionary origin of each type of experience. The processes underlying sexual desire evolved in the context of sexual mating, whereas the processes underlying romantic love—or pair bonding—originally evolved in the context of infant-caregiver attachment. Consequently, not only can… Expand
Is There a Drive to Love?
This paper offers a neuropsychoanalytic examination of two partially overlapping issues: the nature of the relationship between romantic love, sexuality, and attachment; and the possible existence ofExpand
The Fragile Spell of Desire: A Functional Perspective on Changes in Sexual Desire Across Relationship Development
  • G. Birnbaum
  • Psychology, Medicine
  • Personality and social psychology review : an official journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc
  • 2018
This model explains why individuals’ sexual reaction to their partner is context-dependent, clarifying how changes in the nature of interdependence over the course of relationships alter the ways in which specific predictors of sexual desire tend to promote (or inhibit) desire and thereby affect relationship depth and stability. Expand
Romantic love and sexual desire in close relationships.
It is hypothesized that romantic love serves a commitment- related function and sexual desire a reproduction-related function and the nonverbal display of romantic love was related to the release of oxytocin. Expand
Love, desire, and the suppression of thoughts of romantic alternatives ☆
Across human societies, people form long-term romantic bonds that can last a lifetime. Many theorists have proposed that the emotion love plays a causal role in maintaining these bonds, but no workExpand
The Relational and Bodily Experiences Theory of Sexual Desire in Women
The RBET calls for further research into the links between attachment, sexual body self-representations, and desire, and suggests that clinical interventions for sexual desire difficulties in women should emphasize internalized working models of relationships (i.e., attachment) and integrate bodily based approaches. Expand
Passionate love and sexual desire
Scholars from a variety of disciplines have investigated passionate love and sexual desire. Passion is considered to be a cultural universal, transcending culture and time. In the last decade,Expand
Romantic love modulates women's identification of men's body odors
The results indicate that romantic love deflects attention away from potential new partners rather than towards the present partner, and is likely mediated by circulating neuropeptides. Expand
The role of implicit sexual desire in romantic relationships
Abstract People might not be able or willing to accurately report how much they sexually desire their romantic partners due to concerns over the well-being of one's relationship or impressionExpand
An Integrative Paradigm
Through the application of life course theory to the study of sexual orientation, this paper specifies a new paradigm for research on human sexual orientation that seeks to reconcile divisions amongExpand
The Life Course Development of Human Sexual Orientation: An Integrative Paradigm
Through the application of life course theory to the study of sexual orientation, this paper specifies a new paradigm for research on human sexual orientation that seeks to reconcile divisions amongExpand


What does sexual orientation orient? A biobehavioral model distinguishing romantic love and sexual desire.
  • L. Diamond
  • Medicine, Psychology
  • Psychological review
  • 2003
A biobehavioral model of love and desire is developed that specifies that the evolved processes underlying sexual desire and affectional bonding are functionally independent; the processes underlying affectionalonding are not intrinsically oriented toward other-gender or same-gender partners; and the biobeHavioral links betweenLove and desire are bidirectional, particularly among women. Expand
Lust, attraction, and attachment in mammalian reproduction
  • H. Fisher
  • Medicine, Psychology
  • Human nature
  • 1998
During the evolution of the genus Homo, these emotion systems became increasingly independent of one another, a phenomenon that contributes to human mating flexibility and the wide range of contemporary human mating and reproductive strategies. Expand
The neural basis of romantic love
The activity in the brains of 17 subjects who were deeply in love was scanned using fMRI, suggesting that a unique network of areas is responsible for evoking this affective state, and postulate that the principle of functional specialization in the cortex applies to affective states as well. Expand
Familiarity and gender influence social preferences in prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster)
It is revealed that reproductively naive males, but not females, showed initial preferences for partners of the opposite sex, and the effect of the gonadal status of the stimulus animal on initial social preference is examined. Expand
Biobehavioral responses to stress in females: tend-and-befriend, not fight-or-flight.
It is proposed that, behaviorally, females' responses to stress are more marked by a pattern of "tend-and-befriend," and neuroendocrine evidence from animal and human studies suggests that oxytocin, in conjunction with female reproductive hormones and endogenous opioid peptide mechanisms, may be at its core. Expand
Preliminary research on plasma oxytocin in normal cycling women: investigating emotion and interpersonal distress.
Data are presented from an initial study to examine change in plasma oxytocin in response to a standard imagery task that elicits emotion related to attachment and suggest that peripheral secretion of oxytocIn in reaction to emotional stimuli is associated with the individual's interpersonal characteristics. Expand
Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions
PART I: CONCEPTUAL BACKGROUND 1. Affective neuroscience: history and major concepts 2. Emotional operating systems and subjectivity: methodological problems and a conceptual framework for theExpand
Relationships among cardiovascular, muscular, and oxytocin responses during human sexual activity
Positive correlations between measures are consistent with a possible functional role for OT in human sexual response and subjective orgasm intensity correlated significantly with increased levels of OT in multiorgasmic women only. Expand
Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love
First released twenty years ago, Love and Limerence has become a classic in the psychology of emotion. As relevent today as it was then, this book offers insight into love, infatuation, madness, andExpand
The Psychology of Love
Essays discuss theories of love, types of love, the maintenance of love relationships, marriage, and lust.