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Is sexual attraction necessary for romantic love?

  1. Yes

    1 vote(s)
  2. No

    2 vote(s)
  1. Aug 31, 2016 #1
    From an evolutionary standpoint, humans evolved to have the ability and tendency to fall in romantic love because combination of DNA (via sex) served a huge advantage in propagation of genes, and because of the enormous time it takes to successfully raise an organism until it fully developed a (in relation to overall body size) a very large and intelligent brain (thereby creating evolutionary pressure for mates to stay together during that time of rearing offspring). Therefore, from logic, sexual attraction must be present in romantic love because without sex, organisms will have no mechanism to procreate or combine DNA. Without sexual attraction, romantic love would not serve an advantage or function in evolution. And anytime sex exists, sexual selection must also exist, which means sexual attraction must exist. So does it follow that sexual attraction necessary for romantic love, which means that asexual people cannot fall in romantic love?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 31, 2016 #2


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    This is an interesting explanation of the existence of romantic love. Is it the one commonly accepted by evolutionary biologists? (I'm sorry for this question, but I am not well-informed about the topic.)
    I'm not sure I agree with this. From the first quote I gather that sexual reproduction in humans implies the existence of romantic love, because romantic love ensures that mates stay together long enough for their offspring to become fully developed.

    However, in this quote you seem to turn the implication around by suggesting that romantic love, in turn, implies the existence of sexual attraction.

    This makes me think that I do not agree with your
    argument, because it is not clear to me that there could not be other evolutionary reasons for people to be romantically in love.
  4. Aug 31, 2016 #3
    I said that romantic love ensures that mates stay together long enough to rear offspring, but there has to be some selection process for choosing mates (people aren't going to bond with just anyone), and that thing i think, with no other alternative, is sexual attraction, and then they stay together if their is existence of a bond in addiction to after sexual attraction brings them together. I think romantic love = sexual attraction + platonic love. If you can think of a better definition of what romantic love is, i would love to know. And yes, it is well accepted by evolutionary biologists what the evolutionary purpose of romantic love is.

    If romantic love existences for the purpose of procreation, then it follows that it must be linked to sex, and therefore sexual attraction. I don't get what you don't get about that?
  5. Aug 31, 2016 #4


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    As fas as I could see, the logic in your OP was not sound. If P and Q are propositions (P = "sexual reproduction exists in humans", Q = "romantic love exists in humans"), then "P implies Q" does not demonstrate "Q implies P". That was all.
  6. Aug 31, 2016 #5


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    There are two issues abut what OP is suggesting:
    1) The OP is saying that the romantic love is the result of evolutionary need to reproduce and s\he already understands that this means it should only provide an attraction to the opposite sex and can't distinguish different people in the opposite sex. So s\he suggests that sexual attraction distinguishes between different people. But this doesn't make sense and is too superficial and also is in contradiction with observations. What we call romantic love is the part that is affected by the person's personality and sexual attraction is more towards the physical beauty. From the evolutionary perspective, the natural explanation is that the physical beauty can somehow be an indication that the person is fit to reproduce and so it seems more natural to assume that sexual attraction is the result of revolutionary need to reproduce and that makes sense according to what we know about it. We can have sexual attraction to any one of the other sex but we can love a smaller group of people! So what is love? I don't know!

    2) How does this theory explain homosexual love?
  7. Aug 31, 2016 #6

    jim mcnamara

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    From google - courtly love
    Ovid's Ars amatoria discusses the subject early on. See:

    So, your question really is: Can courtly love exist? Which is really more of an arts and history topic, IMO.
  8. Aug 31, 2016 #7
    That was not what i said at all. More like P = 'romantic love exists because it serves an advantage of propagation of genes', Q = 'passing on genes requires sex, which requires sexual attraction'. then P implies Q DOES INDEED demonstrate that Q implies P
    the prerequsitie to my argument is the understanding of natural and sexual selection. Please don't comment until you learn the basics of how it works. (a quick glance at a relevant wikipedia page will do!) I don't mean to be disrespectful, but i'm just going to a broken record explaining the basics of how the mechanisms of evolution works. That's why i want to post on a science site and on the biology board too - i'm assuming that people have the prereqs.
  9. Aug 31, 2016 #8
    the question was not is romantic love = sexual attraction. Rather, the question was does romantic love require sexual attraction? in other words, given that romantic love requires platonic love, with y being platonic love, is romantic love = y , or is romantic love = y + x, where x equals sexual attraction?
  10. Aug 31, 2016 #9


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    Please do not refer to
    in your OP until you understand the meaning of proposition and implication. Such an understanding is basic to ANY academic activity and should not depend on the particular field.

    A quick rehearsal of basic grammar and syntax would not hurt you either.
  11. Aug 31, 2016 #10
    Only the field of mathematics can be understood by pure logic alone. Even physics requires understanding of scientific principles, which is what differentiates it from the field of mathematics. Can you point out to me where my grammar is incorrect?
  12. Aug 31, 2016 #11
    Even by pure logic, your argument would not make sense. I say that romantic love is to keep mates together long enough for development of offspring, and the creation of offspring requires sex, which requires sexual attraction.
  13. Aug 31, 2016 #12
    Sure, or you can just admit you made a logical error.
  14. Aug 31, 2016 #13
    please explain to me. how could one understand Physics, Chemistry, with only logic, instead of knowledge of the field? why do people learn physics in school? why not just logic, which would enable them to learn physics, chemistry, or any other academic subject? why are there even different subjects? Would not pure logic in itself cover them all? why is this site the physics forums, not the logic forums? Surely by your logic, logic would be sufficient to understand physics. The word "physics", then, would be redundant.
  15. Aug 31, 2016 #14
    Nobody here is claiming that logic is sufficient to understand physics, chemistry or any other academic subject. We're just pointing out that you made a reasoning error, and you respond very hostile to it.
  16. Aug 31, 2016 #15
    References please!
  17. Aug 31, 2016 #16

    Fervent Freyja

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    Falsify this: Romantic love is a myth. It cannot be measured or shown to truly exist at any objective level, show me the genes responsible for this romantic love. It's merely a belief and not a natural byproduct of human physiology, it's a social ideal that exists in some, not all, societies.

    You have to realize that love, romantic love, or romance are all recently invented concepts. They were only introduced into the belief system of some societies within this last century. Even still today, many cultures and regions in the world do not place weight upon romantic love or even believe in it- it's more about survival. Humans have gotten along just fine without romantic love for many tens of thousands of years. It is not required for our species nor any other organism to be successful in reproducing.

    Maybe you should face some hard facts. Men don't really place so much weight on romance or emotional attachment being a precursor to having sex. In the absence of young, healthy women they will have sex with what is available (see rape also)... Look at the sex industry. Sex is often just sex to them, only the abundance of attractive women and social rules allow it to look as if romantic love is human nature. It certainly is not.
  18. Aug 31, 2016 #17
    what was the reasoning error that i made?
  19. Aug 31, 2016 #18
    See post #2.
  20. Aug 31, 2016 #19
    it is needed for humans, whose brains take a long time to develop and whose pregnancies are relatively long. Mothers (at least way way back) needed their mate's help to at least give them some resources. Paternal care is very important for survival of human offspring until about at least age seven (if not the teenage years). Romantic "love" simply just means an attachment with your someone you have sex with.
  21. Aug 31, 2016 #20
    see post 3 and post 11
  22. Aug 31, 2016 #21
    I did. Your reasoning error still stands.
  23. Aug 31, 2016 #22
    the burden is on you, then, to point out how so. you seem unable to say so
  24. Aug 31, 2016 #23
    You want me to formally prove that ##P\Rightarrow Q## does not imply ##Q\Rightarrow P## or what?
  25. Aug 31, 2016 #24
    see post 7. P and Q were inaccurately defined to make a strawman argument against mine. GIven how i define P and Q,prove to me that ##P\Rightarrow Q## does not imply ##Q\Rightarrow P##

    so does romantic love require sexual attraction?
  26. Aug 31, 2016 #25
    Then show how it follows by logic that romantic love requires sexual attraction.
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