I just watched The Science of Sex Appeal. I'm particularly intrigued by the work of Helen Fisher in studying companionship and love as they relate to brain systems. Her brain imaging studies fascinate me and have raised question or two.
She's found certain areas of the brain tend to "light up" or activate in brain scans when people think about the person they're in love with. I can't help but wonder if gay people's brains light up in the same way as heterosexual people's. And I wonder if a gay man's brain shows all the same areas of activity, including what she referred to as a little dopamine factory, when thinking of his opposite-sex partner as a straight man's or as another gay man's who's thinking of his same-sex partner.
If a typical gay man's brain activates in the same way for his wife as another's does for his male partner, I wonder how much that would quell the voices decrying his affections as fake, or if they'd still insist they're contrived. If it doesn't show the same activity, I wonder if it would change anything about the dialog. I still doubt it would deter most from trying.
Incidentally, she has found that the same dopamine-producing area of the brain which is active when people have recently fallen in love is still activated when long-term partners think of each other after many years together. It seems, she said, that people can, in fact, stay "in love" long after the initial romantic obsession (apparently connected with low serotonin, which is similarly correlated with other forms of obsessive thought patterns) has passed and the more lasting, established bond of security and attachment has developed.
So hey you out there in MOM-land, will you please go get your brains scanned to satisfy my scientific curiosity? :-)
Here's a lecture Helen gave at TED a few years ago (I love TED lectures):