The way to a woman’s heart

Tabloid magazines are full of cheap and dubious wisdom that tells you how to win a partner. If you don’t feel lured by the promise of the “top tricks to keep him/her happy in bed” or “five conversation starters to have him/her eating out of your hand” then perhaps you are looking for something a little more stable to base your relationship on? If so, you might want to start with a good meal because although traditional wisdom has held that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, a new study has shown that might hold true for women as well.

The study involved young women in their late teens and early twenties and used fMRI to measure brain activity during the experiment. Some of the women were fed a meal before the study while others remained hungry. All of the women were then shown romantic pictures.

The researchers were looking to see what happened in reward centres in the brain because previous research has shown that there is greater activation in these centres when people are hungry and see pictures related to money, food, and even drugs.

However, in this study there was found to be greater activation in brain reward centres in response to romantic pictures when the women had eaten. This was true both for women with a history of dieting and those with a history of normal eating, although those who had dieted did show more intense activity.

The theory goes that being fed and feeling happily satiated may prime the brain to rewards beyond food. It also suggests shared neural pathways for food and sex.

At the very least this is great news for the restaurant industry.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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