The Science Behind Why You Keep Texting That Idiot

You know he dumb. What you can't figure out is why you can't get enough of it. Time for a chemistry lesson.

He sleeps on a futon. He thinks “irregardless” is a word. The only thing impressive about him is a charming smile (and how much he spends on whiskey). You need this dude like a bad habit. Unfortunately, like a bad habit, you wish you could quit him, but you keep jonesing for more. Why?!

You can thank your hormones for that, particularly one called oxytocin. Let’s find out more about how it makes us attracted to morons.

What Is Oxytocin?
Oxytocin is sometimes known as “the love hormone” because it’s released when you are in an intense bonding situation with someone. It occurs in high doses when women have children, fall in love, and, unfortunately, orgasm. It is the closest thing your body has to a love potion.

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This’s why one hot roll in the hay can turn that womanizing bartender into the perfect man you keep picturing yourself holding hands and riding Ferris wheels with.

Why You Can’t Always Trust Yourself To Trust
Studies have shown that oxytocin makes you feel more trusting toward a person you’re around when under its influence. In other words, if you find yourself lending money, your car or your time to a dude everyone else sees as sketchy but whom you “see the good side of,” know that his “good side” is likely a figment of your hormone-drunk imagination.

When You Accidentally Turn Into A Sugar Mama
According to the American Psychological Association, oxytocin is closely correlated to the brain’s decision making skills, particularly when it comes to making choices about generosity and spending money. Next time you find yourself buying every meal for a dude whose idea of dinner conversation is looking at the Instagram of his favorite porn star, you can send your pituitary gland the bill.

Isn’t This Happening To Him?
While oxytocin is released in both men and women during sex, both genders react to the hormone differently. While men get a nice hit of the hormone’s euphoric feelings after sex, they often respond with a desire to chase that high all the way into another woman’s bed.

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In fact, studies found that men had a less favorable view of faces they looked at after a receiving a dose of the drug. Oxytocin makes you want to stay, and it could make him want to leave.

Is It Possible To Have A Friend Idiot With Benefits?
Perhaps you’re aware that this guy is the human equivalent of cheap cologne, but you’d like to take your chances. Is it feasible to take advantage of whatever hormone led you to drive 45 minutes at 3 a.m. to his place without finding yourself envisioning long tandem rides on his skateboard?

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In short, yes. If you are someone who has successfully had no-strings-attached hookups in the past, you may be one of the lucky individuals whom oxytocin doesn’t affect. If, however, you have a history of going to bed with a bad boy and waking up finding yourself convinced that he’s an a-hole with a heart of gold, you may want to proceed with caution.

Tess Barker is a stand up comic and co-host of the Lady to Lady podcast.