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On Being with Krista Tippett. Anthropologist Helen Fisher explores the biological workings of our intimate passions, the brew of chemicals, hormones, and neurotransmitters that make the thrilling and sometimes treacherous realms of love and sex. In the research she does for match. In this deeply personal conversation, she shows how it is possible to take on this knowledge as a form of wisdom and power.
Helen Fisher is a senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute, a member of Sex dating in Fischer Center for Human Evolutionary Studies in the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University, and chief scientific advisor to the internet dating site match. Why Her? Helen Fisher: You can know every single ingredient in a piece of chocolate cake, but then, when you sit down and eat it, you just feel that rush of joy.
And in the same way, I know a lot about love. I know a lot about marriage. I know a lot about adultery and divorce; I know something about the brain; I certainly know — hopefully know something about evolution. In her TED talks that have been viewed by millions of people, and the research she does for Match.
In this wonderfully personal conversation, Helen Fisher reveals how we can take this knowledge as a form of power for giving conscious new meaning to the thrilling, and sometimes treacherous, human realms of love and sex. Tippett: Helen Fisher is a senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute and chief scientific advisor to the internet dating site, Match.
I spoke with her in Fisher: I had no religious education at all. The rest of my Sundays were spent playing with my twin sister, and I never went again. But this particular preacher actually says something. This is one of the reasons that I love the theater, particularly people like Ibsen — because you come away from it with ideas: ideas about yourself, ideas about the world.
I happen to be an atheist, and I always have been. The real meanings of life, for me, are in reality, I guess. Fisher: People have always asked me why I study love. And asI was very interested in people. I lived in this glass house, and my neighbors lived in a glass house. And by the time I was six and seven, I would sneak into the woods and sit on an old stone wall and watch them eat dinner. So when it came time for my Ph. It would be our sex lives, our romantic lives, and our reproductive lives. Maybe we know all the stories too much. Tippett: Obviously, marriage and divorce has been in flux.
One of the things that was interesting to me about your science is, you do describe what happens in the brain as — has hallmarks of temporary insanity. And I just — I pulled out this passage from a novel. And I know you also like to work with literature and poetry. Tippett: Julian Fellowes, who created Downton Abbey — but he wrote this novel, and I just loved this passage when I found it.
It is a distortion of reality so remarkable that it should, by rights, enable most of us to understand the other forms of lunacy with the sympathy of fellow-sufferers. And yet, as we all know, it is a madness that, however ferocious, seldom, if ever, lasts.
But, paradoxically, mad and suffering as one is in the heat of the flame, few of us are glad as we feel that passion slip away.
Fisher: Literally, the blood rolls out instead of rolling in. And so they begin to — begins to shut down — and of course; for obvious reasons. But romantic love evolved for that reason, to enable you to overlook everything in order to be with this human being. The game of love matters. It matters, big time. It enables you to send your DNA on into tomorrow. But it evolved to be so strong that some people will leave their community.
They will start all over with their lives to do this thing. And then, you wake up a few years later, and — people wonder why love — why that early state of intense romantic passion begins to die. And bottom line is, it takes a lot of metabolic energy. You focus on this person constantly. You change your hair.
You change your life. You change your clothes. You change your friends. Tippett: So interesting. We somehow Sex dating in Fischer that the minute you marry, you lock the door and stay in place, whereas relationships evolve, and a good one is constantly evolving. I know that she said that the first one is for sex, the second one is for children, and the third one is for companionship.
Fisher: Well, this is why, when you said we were in a time of disorganization — and we are. But it gives us great opportunities to build the kinds of partnerships that we really want. And so they are beginning to really understand a human being before they sink the boat into a mutual thing. And you can say…. Tippett: A boy — a year-old boy, Sex dating in Fischer year-old girl.
Actually, she just turned And you can worry — parents can worry about, as you say, the casual sex, the friends with benefits, which feels just really suspect and irresponsible and scary. Fisher: Not only being cautious; really learning something about this person. Now, most people know all about contraception, so that worry is — should be no longer with us. And most people know about disease, and so that — they should be able to monitor that.
And so some of the riskiest parts of living with somebody are gone. Tippett: Well, and especially when so many people now are growing up in homes where there was — where marriages have failed. Tippett: Or — not just them, but all their friend groups — I think of my. There is no model. And I live in New York. My — both parents are deceased. So I really — Thanksgiving is a challenge for me.
And so I have a group of friends who I see, and I see them regularly. Today, with anthropologist of love and sex, Helen Fisher. Dating is not what it used to be. You go out with a group of friends, and then, somehow, people are coupled. Fisher: And even that, I think, is cautious. And once you start having dinner with somebody, you are expressing a genuine interest. But if you casually go out with a group, and you go dancing, and then you all end up having breakfast at 2 a.
And there is, I think, a Darwinian wisdom to that. Fisher: …even among older people. Everybody has to make up their own rules, which is both extremely difficult but has great opportunity. For example, with technology, that is changing courtship. Once you — whether you meet them on Tinder or Facebook or Match. One of the new taboos is that 60 percent of people on a date find it extremely rude if their partner, dating partner, pulls out —. Fisher: …and does a text message or uses their phone in any way. So I do this annual study with Match.
We poll the American population. And 45 percent of women research a date before they go out. About 33 percent of men do, far fewer men. Fisher: Her mother knew his aunt. Her father knew his brother. She knew what he was going to be when he grew up. She probably knew what his religion was. She probably even knew whether he was a good shot or whether he Sex dating in Fischer a good sense of humor. People for millions of years went into relationships, even on the first date, knowing a good deal about a human being.
Tippett: Right. Serial pair-bonding is probably basic to the human animal, series of partnerships. But what is really unusual, for me, is the loss of local community. Fisher: People are so upset about this — a single mother, or a single father. And I asked her how many people she has for Thanksgiving. She has 50 people for Thanksgiving. Soyears ago, if you divorced, OK, so he walked out of the little camp with his bow and arrow, and that was it.
But you still had your mother, your aunts, your uncles, your cousins — a whole pile of people to support your child with you. You had a whole local community. Tippett: So one of the things I feel comes through in your TED talks — that this drive in us to mate and settle down is just one of the most fundamental things about who we are.
Fisher: Exactly. Well, I remember even learning that years ago, or up until the early — late 19th, early 20th century — was it something like the average marriage lasted for seven years, because life spans were so different?Sex dating in Fischer
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This Is Your Brain on Sex