Scientists have been thinking about love. They’ve done chemistry, psychology and statistics. They used algorithms and microscopes. They masturbated on the MRI machine. They have a lot to say.
For Valentine’s Day this year, we’ve rounded up some of the best books on the science of love and sex. “Science” is not a single voice. There are contributions from mathematicians, psychologists, and anthropologists (among others). Some authors are primarily interested in empirical puzzles. Some people are interested in applying science to help people enjoy better sex and romance. But they both firmly believe that clear analysis and a lot of data are the best tools for understanding love.
Dataclysm: Who we are (when we think no one is watching) Christian Rudd
Your dating app has been following you. They learn a lot that might surprise you. For example: if someone thinks you’re unattractive, you’ll do better at dating, and men are more open to women’s looks than the opposite.
Christian Rudder is the co-founder of the popular dating site OKCupid and head of its analytics team. data crash Dig into datasets from other dating sites, as well as giants like Facebook and Google, and come up with some exciting insights. What makes this approach so interesting is that while investigative studies reveal how people describe themselves to researchers, our online behaviors reveal what we do when we (naively) think no one is watching.
Sex at dawn: How we mate, why we wander, and what it means for modern relationships Christopher Ryan and Casilda Jetta
Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethà argue that the science of sex is dominated by a false “traditional narrative”: that men desire promiscuity. Women need safety and resources to protect their supposed children. Monogamy is a disturbing compromise between these two reproductive strategies.
sex at dawn Drawing on findings from anthropology, archaeology, primatology, anatomy and psychology, it is argued that our natural state is closer to mutual free love than monogamy.
The book was extremely controversial, and its claims were criticized by scientists and non-scientists alike. That said, this was an eye-opening read for many, and a good indication that monogamous reproductive pairings may not be as natural as many think.
Bunker: The Wonderful Combination of Science and Sex Mary Roach
If you want to laugh about learning the science of sex, read Bunker. Mary Roach is one of the most entertaining science writers in the business, and this is the follow-up to her hit stiff is one of her best.
Many of the books on this list have a scientifically detached feel, presenting data but never gossiping about individuals. Roach reads very differently. She delves into the careers and personalities of sex researchers and their research results. The result is a book that will teach you about the discoveries of modernity science, but also entertain you with a bunch of lab-coated weirdos, impossible experiments, and bizarre facts. You’ll read the best research on: whether dead people can get erections; why Viagra doesn’t work for women or pandas; and the long history of medical masturbation.
Do whatever you want: The surprising new science that will change your sex life Emily Nagowski
Emily Nagoski makes it her life mission to teach women to live with confidence and joy in their bodies.
“Come as You Are” is both the title of Nagoski’s Evidence-Based Self-Help Guide and its mission statement. Nagoski wants her readers to know that women’s bodies and sexual orientations are kaleidoscopic, and nearly all of them should be called “normal.” Therefore, they should not worry about trying to meet whatever standards they have in their brains and should focus more on enjoying their unique sexuality.
You will find that how surprising the science is depends on what you already believe. Some women may already suspect that “stress, emotions, trust, and body image aren’t peripheral to women’s sexual health; they’re at the heart of it.” Still, Nagoski does a good job of giving these claims scientific legitimacy.
The Math of Love: Patterns, Proofs, and Finding the Ultimate Equation by Hannah Fry
Hannah Fry clearly fell in love with math. “Math is the language of nature,” she wrote, “and it is the cornerstone of every major technological achievement of the modern age. It is alive, it is thriving.” This made her the author of a book about the mathematics of love. Perfect.
Love may seem unique and unpredictable, but it follows patterns. Mathematics is the study of patterns. If math can tell us something about the weather and stock market behavior, Fry thinks it can tell us something about love. Specifically, it can tell us: how many people to turn down before settling down to maximize our chances of finding “that” (Chapter 7); how to have a good night in town (Chapter 3 chapter); and how to live happily ever after (Chapter 9). With clear and accessible writing and juicy subject matter, Frye makes math sexier than usual.
all-or-nothing marriage Eli Finkel
Eli Finkel is a professor of social psychology and has published more than 150 scientific papers. his first book, All-or-nothing marriage, Thought that while expectations for marriage are higher than ever, the best marriages today are better than at any time in history.
Finkel’s grand thesis is that since the 1960s, the focus of marriage has shifted from love and companionship to self-expression and personal growth. Previously, the main expectation of a spouse was to love and cherish them. Today, we seek partners in our journey of self-realization and personal growth.
Combining scientific research with practical advice, the book includes general strategies for achieving “peak marriage” as well as “love hacks,” which are low-effort strategies that can yield significant results.
Anatomy of Love by Helen Fisher
Helen Fisher is a biological anthropologist, Chief Scientific Advisor for Match.com, and also explains the “hide“It’s for us. Originally published in 1992, Anatomy of Love Delve into our evolutionary history to show that humans were “born to love.” In 2016, Fisher released a revised second edition, updated with a slew of new research on brain science and online dating.
The result is a scientifically informed but sensitive take on human love.Fisher explains how we fall in love and out of love; how we form attachments; and how different historical and economic conditions contribute to changes in relationships. She traces our love lives from Africa 20 million years ago by promoting monogamous agriculture; to today’s online dating world, she sees young people entering a new world of “slow love”.
This book is both an update on a classic and the result of a lifetime of research into the science of love.
Digital gender: what statistics about sexuality can tell us David Spiegelhart
Super statistician Sir David Spiegelhalter uses sharp writing and statistical mastery to support data collected in the 2010 Nassar survey, the largest sextet since the Kinsey report. Behavioural survey.
digital gender Will teach you about statistics and about sex (a lot). He presents the numbers, not to be sensational, but to rate their reliability and carefully explain the limitations of the studies on which they are based. This both helps debunk the oft-repeated statistic (e.g., “A man thinks about sex every seven seconds”) and helps make his own conclusions more reliable.
For insights and infographics from Spiegelhalter’s book, check out this summary Collection at Wellcome.
accompanying Amir Levine and Rachel Heller
Attachment theory is a psychological theory that was originally developed to explain the pain experienced by infants separated from their parents.exist accompanyingAmir Levine and Rachel Heller applied this theory to adult relationships and popularized a new way of thinking about relationships.
According to Levine and Heller, there are three main types of attachment: anxious (insecure, requires a lot of reassurance); avoidant (difficulty forming strong attachments); and secure (can connect while maintaining individuality). accompanying Explain the characteristics of these different types; which types fit well and poorly with each other; and how you can improve your relationship no matter how you and your partner are attached.
Clifton Mark writes about philosophy, psychology, politics, and other life-related topics.find him @Clifton_Mark on Twitter.