Neurophysiology of Love – Attachment Types

Love is a broad collection of behaviors and emotions characterized by emotional intimacy, desire, intimacy, commitment, and caring. It often involves emotional bonding, caring, protection, romance, affection, and desire. Love can range in intensity from a light “I love you” to an overpowering “I love you not” love statement. In general, love demonstrates a willingness to devote personal time, energy, attention, and focus on the other person involved, as well as a sense of shared responsibility for others.


As a child, we are taught to love our parents and family, as well as being taught to feel love for someone else. By the time we are an adult, this love has usually been diluted by all the baggage of childhood conditioning. So what does it mean to be fully in love? To feel love for yourself, as well as those you love, can be one of the most rewarding and life changing things you will ever experience. James Baldwin said that the only thing between love and failure is the change in how you use love.

Love is an amazing phenomenon in the human brain. It is much more powerful than a simple chemical or neurological function in the brain. In early stages of love, the connections and feelings are so powerful that even negative stimuli such as stress, anxiety, frustration or rejection do not interrupt the relationship. The result is an incredible sense of connectedness that transcends physical distance. This is the fruit of the oxytocin hormone that bonds you to another individual.

Scientists have shown that there are several different types of love neurophysiology. In the context of human sexuality, two different types of love neurophysiology can be observed. The first is the passionate love, or more commonly referred to as sexual attachment. This is the love that occurs when two individuals are engaged in a physical act such as intercourse. While this type of love is very common, it does not reflect the real physiology of love.

The second type of love neurophysiology is unconditional love. This form of neurophysiology is more rare but is also seen in less uncommon cases. Unconditional love is often characterized by an emotional bonding without any sexual interaction. With the exception of infrequent, emergency situations, this form of love between two individuals is usually seen in long-term relationships, friendships, families and other long term relationships. Unconditional love allows us to have trust, security, and other essential human needs without having to resort to physical intimacy.

The final type of love is the oxytocin attachment. Oxytocin is found in both humans and animals. Oxytocin is the neurotransmitter in the human brain that encourages bonding, attachment, trust, safety and other important human behaviors. In early stages of development, this substance is also linked to maternal bonding. When a relationship is established with adequate bonding processes in place, oxytocin allows for the two people to experience a level of emotional intimacy that can lead to long lasting relationships.