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5 Terrifying Ways Being in Love Chemically Impairs You

#2. Love Makes Everything Taste Sweeter (Literally)

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Since time immemorial, love has been associated with sweet things. It's a safe assumption that poetry lyrics about love being sweet as honey (the song "Sugar, Sugar" by the Archies further elaborates that the girl in question is Archie's "candy girl") exist because love and the sensation of sweetness are two pleasant things, and pop musicians are bad at writing. We also use the words "honey," "sweetie," and "sugar" as terms of endearment. Candy makes us feel good; so good, in fact, that we will hide in a closet or behind a desk to shovel handfuls of it into our mouths, because we know it's a shameful display, but we want it so badly that we don't care. The same can be said of sex.

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If sex takes your teeth, you may be doing it wrong ... or right, depending on your mileage.

Well, some researchers in Singapore wanted to see if there was any science behind this age-old association. They collected a bunch of college students and asked them all to write essays -- one group was asked to write about a personal experience with romance, another group was asked to write about jealousy, and the third group was allowed to write about whatever they felt like (presumably the scientists gave them coloring books and told them to go wait in the car). Afterward, they gave all of the students some bittersweet chocolates and asked them to rate the candy's sweetness. Across the board, the students who wrote about their own personal love stories ranked the candies as tasting sweeter than people in the other two groups, whose assigned topics seemed to have no effect.

The researchers then collected an entirely new group of students and ran the same experiment (a phrase here meaning "forced a bunch of teenagers to write an essay on what was presumably a Saturday"), but this time, instead of chocolate, they asked the students to taste test a new brand of flavored water. It was actually regular bottled water, but the researchers told the participants that it was mixed with some special sweetener, and they asked each student to rate the water's sweetness. Once again, those people still mooncalfing over their romantic essays ranked the water's sweetness higher than the other two groups, even though in reality it was just plain old Aquafina.

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Because they'd drunk more. Romance cost them precious fluids.

So why the hell does this happen? Simple: The brain is an incredible organ capable of doing very complex operations, but it is also embarrassingly easy to confuse. You see, thinking about love and romance activates the anticipation and reward region of the brain, which we assume shows up in neon pastels on an MRI. The same region is also activated when we taste sugar.

When we think about love and/or nude bootyness, the brain sends out "sweetness sensations," regardless of whether we're eating anything, or if whatever is in our mouths is sweet or not. Consequently, we end up associating love and sweetness simply because they live in the same neighborhood of our skull meat. It's kind of like grape soda -- it doesn't actually taste anything like grape, but it is sweet and delicious, so forever more that flavor is grape to us. Really, if you're going to take one thing away from this, it is that love is like grape soda.

#1. A Couple's Bodies Synchronize in All Sorts of Weird Ways

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You already know that when two people are in love, they gradually begin to adjust their habits to accommodate each other, because otherwise they'd both just continue pursuing their own interests and doing what they enjoy, and that would be chaos. Some of these adjustments are conscious, such as scaling back your daily intake of pizzeria Pringles in order to preserve both your marriage and your blood sugar, and some are unconscious.

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Sometimes, their periods sync up. Not all couples experience this.

And some are downright bizarre.

For example, when a man is in love with a woman, he will automatically walk slower when he's with her to match her shorter stride, but won't do the same for a female he's merely friends with. "But Cracked," you say, "that's just common courtesy! What kind of a dick makes his girl chase him through the park?" Wait, it gets weirder.

Another study took 32 different couples and had them lie down within a few feet of each other while hooked up to heart and respiratory monitors. The study found that the two people would begin breathing and beating their freaking hearts in sync, which suddenly makes every Sting song make total sense. Heartbeats are a physiological response that cannot be consciously controlled, let alone detected from across a room -- being in love gives us not only super senses, but the power to slow our own circulatory system like a Shaolin monk. And according to the researchers' results, women are more adept at doing this than men, which is another way of saying that all women are superhuman mystics.

Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty 
Where do you think Beyonce got the beat for "Crazy in Love"?

Wait, there's more! The mad scientist that is human biology will actually adjust the level of hormones swirling throughout your innards -- specifically, the amount of testosterone -- to match your partner.

You see, nature wants one thing, which is for us to gleefully spread our DNA with the same enthusiasm as a toddler smearing peanut butter on every item in your home entertainment center. And testosterone governs sexual development and reproduction. So, when a heterosexual couple is romantically involved, the woman's testosterone levels will actually increase, whereas the man's will subtly decrease. The goal, essentially, is to make women more manly and men more feminine. It doesn't go as far as sprouting lumberjack beards on ladies' faces or turning men into Arnold Schwarzenegger in Junior. It's more about balancing the two partners out on common ground.

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Until their lovemaking looks like twincest.

The testosterone levels begin to go back to normal as the relationship evolves. According to evolutionary theorists, this is because women start to focus on the upbringing of the children who inevitably resulted from the extended nudity festival, and thus their testosterone (and sexual desire) decreases. Meanwhile, men's testosterone goes back up to normal, which means they actually want to have sex more. It's almost a comedy routine, sort of like The Odd Couple, if Walter Matthau spent the entire time leering suggestively at Jack Lemmon.

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Related Reading: Fuck love songs, have a like song instead. Oh and by the way, if you've been looking for a soul mate you've been sabotaging your own love life. That's just one of the many ways in which how we define love itself is wrong.

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