Dawn Maslar knows what men want: a woman who plays hard to get. The South Florida-based dating expert and so called “love biologist” is the author of “Men Chase, Women Choose: The Neuroscience of Meeting, Dating, Losing Your Mind and Finding True Love,” and will be at Books & Books Coral Gables at 8 p.m. Monday to give advice to the lovelorn. We chatted with the twice divorced Maslar, an adjunct biology professor for Kaplan University online, who is blissfully in love — but not married.
Why did you give your book that title?
It’s based on the biological principle that the sex with the highest investment in sexual activity will be the most discriminating, and the sex with the least investment will compete for access to the higher investing sex. In most species this mean males chase and females choose. Of course there are exception such as the seahorse, where the male does most of the work. In that case he’s more selective [laughs].
Do you believe that love is more chemical than anything else?
It all begins with a chemical response. Interestingly enough we know this — we usually call it chemistry. The chemical responses will eventually produce a more physical response to your brain. When you fall in love, parts of your brain deactivate. This gives you those characteristics we know in love such as making you only see the good side in your partner. Sometimes referred to as love is blind.
So, in your opinion, should women always make men run after them?
No. Playing hard to get is a misinterpretation. A women needs to signal that she is interested in a relationship, but stop short of pursuing the guy.
What’s your best tip for making love last?
The two neurotransmitters for long-term love appear to be oxytocin for her and testosterone for him. When a man commits to a woman, his testosterone drops. The key is you don’t want it to go to low; it leads to depression. You also don’t want it to go to high, because it becomes a predictor of divorce. To keep his testosterone in the right place, he needs some wins. Either he needs success at work, success in sports or success at home. The best is all three. Appreciation and giving thanks gives him the so-called win that bolsters his testosterone level.
A woman on the other hand needs oxytocin. Too little oxytocin can cause her to lose interest in sex and feel disconnected and depressed. To boost her oxytocin she needs to be kissed, cuddled and talked to. Date nights are great, and so are activities with friends. It’s actually better for a woman to have more than one source of oxytocin. For example, children are a great source, but too much dependence can lead to empty nest syndrome. Community, activities, social media and friends are all great sources to enhance her levels.
What’s the most common problem you are seeing among singletons?
In our fast moving society, it seems like everyone is in a hurry. People are making decisions about dating in a split second. A quick glance or swiping an app can knock someone out of the running before they began.