The Biology of Intimacy & Making Love Last

Friday, February 14, 2014

floral illustration of two forest birds and blooming (Ann Paff/Shutterstock)

What makes our heart race for the one we love? Why do we feel disappointment after a break up? What makes some relationships successful?

On a day dedicated to cheesy cards, overly-expensive dinners and a few roses, we look at the science that lies at the core of Valentine's day—the biology of love.

See Also: This Valentine's Day, True Stories of Love & Tech

New research suggests that the secret to long-lasting love might lie in neuroscience and biology. Helen Fisher, biological anthropologist and professor at the Center for Human Evolution Studies at Rutgers, explains her recent research on the scientific underpinnings of romance.

Standing the Test of Time

"How do we make love last?" is the question behind The New York Times's column "Making it Last," which profiled baby boomer couples who have been together over 25 years. Many of these couples faced obstacles along the way, but managed to preserve their partnerships. 

Today, one couple explains how. Jack Connelly and Bob Gaither began dating 37 years ago, in the late 1970s. At that time, they truly defied the odds, as a gay couple and an interracial couple. They share their story, along with the relationship lessons they've learned over the past few decades together.


Jack Connelly, Helen Fisher and Bob Gaither

Hosted by:

Todd Zwillich

Produced by:

Jay Cowit, Schuyler Swenson and Jillian Weinberger


T.J. Raphael

Comments [4]

Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

My girlfriend decided that Valentine's day which also happens to be her birthday is the day we should dig the car out of the ice cube of the streets of New York.
4 Hours! 4 hours of digging and I knew the key was to not complain. I was ready to take a heart attack over complaining.
Rachel is sleeping soundly now, (or did she have the heart attack). I'll check in a minute.
Now, that's love, don't you think?

Feb. 14 2014 10:15 PM
Gavin Larsen from Portland OR

Todd, during the broadcast you made a couple of references to being a single guy yourself-- are you looking to use The Takeaway as your own version of an on-air dating service? If so, best of luck! How can listeners contact you if they're interested? Happy Valentine's Day!

Feb. 14 2014 02:26 PM
Malu from Sea Cliff

Obviously there's more than one thing that keeps people together,but without empathy, there's no sense-of-humor, no understanding, no self-reflection, intelligence, charisma; EMPATHY is the seed for interacting with anyone.

Feb. 14 2014 11:54 AM
JP from Neptune, NJ

I don't celebrate Valentine's day. Besides it being solely a holiday to encourage spending like Cinco de Mayo & even St. Patrick's Day, I'm married my Valentine's day is called my Anniversary. "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." George W. Bush

Feb. 14 2014 09:22 AM

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