You might remember that I previously said I believe all behaviour is learnt. Well, today I have sort of defected from that view. Not entirely; I still think that the majority of things we do, say and think have been influenced and constructed by society around, but now I’m questioning one vital part of human behaviour: attraction.
We probably all have a type – for me it’s someone tall, dominant and cocky, who can make me laugh and make my skin tingle at the thought of him. I think that that ideal is constructed; we are attracted to certain types of people because we have been taught, through the media and other agencies of social control, that certain characteristics are desirable. By peddling images of Brad Pitt, Zac Efron and Channing Tatum, all tight, toned and manly, we start to see that as the ideal male to fawn over. Magazines, movies, adverts, all sell us the same body types over and over so in that respect I think that it’s fair to say that the type of person we find attractive is the product of social construction. But what about lust? What about that feeling we get when we fancy the pants off someone? How can that be made?
When I am attracted to someone it becomes more than just a physical thing. I find my heart beating like crazy, I start imagining how their skin tastes, how their body feels. It feels animalistic, something I can’t control. I don’t think that that feeling is learnt, or taught or the result of my surroundings; I think it is something innate, that we all have inside us. This ability to lust and find others attractive seems to me, to be more a result of the human need to reproduce. Mother Natures gives us this talent for sniffing out men who would be the equal to us, the other half. That person who can make your body tingle when they stare right through you and undress you with their eyes. The feeling is so intense, so heavy and so mind blowing that I simply can’t lump it in with the likes of the fashion we follow or the music we listen to. Even really complex behaviour characteristics like the gender roles we slot ourselves into or the bodies we idolise and try to emulate don’t seem big enough to compare with the feelings of desire and lust we all have. Bodies like magnets, drawn to each other. Some people argue that desire and lust are always right at the surface of everyone, that we suppress them in order to live an ordered, controlled life. If we gave into these desires whenever we felt like it, we’d never get anything done. That is what separates us from animals; this ability to reason and use wisdom to control ourselves.
Today I was thinking about the emotions that can result from desire; love, companionship, friendship. What starts as something primal, animal, becomes something so inherently human. We turn our acts of need and lust into socially acceptable relationships and positions. Again, that seems to be what separates us from animals. Sure, some do mate for life; swallows, wolves and swans for example, but are rarely monogamous like we are, and tend to stick together for safety and reproductive reasons. We rely on our partners, we invest time and energy into each other. Whilst I believe that lust is innate, I really think that love is taught. I have read that we have the ability to fall in love with anyone and everyone. The fact that we are ‘drawn’ to other people, the fact that we have types, the way we view love and marriage are all the result of society impacting on us. I don’t think that love is something innate. That sounds negative and I don’t mean that I don’t believe in love because I do. I truly feel that we can love another person so wholly, so totally and unconditionally that it hurts, but I also believe that it is a result of learnt behaviour and not something that is innate. We love because we crave stability and want an anchor to support us as we crash through life. We love because we crave company, crave emotional and physical support and have a desperate need to be validated, have a purpose. That love is the result of our intense desire for a person turning into a genuine need to keep them around. They become a part of you, they know every inch of you. That physical closeness is a great catalyst for other emotions to come rushing out and for it to turn out into something else.