How Limerence Impacts Gender: Men vs. Women Statistics

When we explore limerence, we find a deep emotional state. It’s marked by an intense crush and obsessive thoughts. But does limerence affect men or women more?

Limerence affects women 20% more than men. Men are more likely to express limerent feelings through actions and seeking closeness. They might try to spend more time with the person they are infatuated with or perform acts of service for them.

On the other hand, women might internalize their feelings more, often spending a lot of time fantasizing and thinking about the person they are infatuated with.

Statistics show that both men and women can feel limerence. But, how often and how intense vary. Also, where someone lives and their culture affects how they show these intense feelings.

Key Takeaways

  • Limerence involves intense romantic infatuation and obsessive thoughts.
  • Psychologist Dorothy Tennov first defined the concept of limerence.
  • Statistical data reveals gender-specific differences in the experience of limerence.
  • Men and women report variances in the frequency and intensity of limerent feelings.
  • Cultural and societal factors significantly influence the reporting of limerence by gender.

a man's finger in the center of a drawing of the symbol for men and women

Understanding Limerence and Its Symptoms

Psychologist Dorothy Tennov introduced the definition of limerence in the 1970s. She described it as an intense infatuation with another person. This feeling is more than just romantic love. It includes obsessive thoughts, fantasies, and a deep desire for that person to feel the same way.

Limerence has many telltale signs.

People with limerent attachment often think a lot about their crush. They become emotionally reliant on the person’s reactions. They also have vivid daydreams about these interactions. They go through extreme mood swings, feeling ecstatic or miserable, depending on how they think the other person feels.

Research has pointed out specific traits of limerence. These traits set it apart from regular attachment. They include a constant yearning for the person and seeing them as ‘perfect’. There’s also a deep fear of being rejected. It often feels like a strong need for the person involved, similar to how we feel about addictive substances.

Anecdotes from people who have gone through limerence shed light on the condition. They show how individuals felt both extreme joy and intense sadness. They also talk about how this state affected their daily routines and relationships. Such stories can help us understand the deep impact of limerence.

To truly grasp limerence, we must familiarize ourselves with its symptoms and traits. Studying Tennov’s definition of limerence and reading about people’s real experiences can be eye-opening. It helps to see the big picture of how limerence operates and deeply affects individuals.

Another study published in the “Journal of Sex Research” found that women are more likely to report feelings of unrequited love, a common feature of limerence. About 90% of women in the study reported experiencing unrequited love, compared to 80% of men.

This could indicate that women might experience the negative aspects of limerence more frequently.

[Source 1: Tennov, D. (1979). Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love.]

[Source 2: Bringle, R. G. (1995). “Lovesickness and the Experience of Romantic Love”. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships]

limerence intensity by gender

Does Testosterone Affect Men and Limerence?

Testosterone, a hormone found in higher levels in men, can influence how men experience limerence. Testosterone is linked to libido, aggression, and risk-taking behaviors, which might play a role in the intensity and expression of limerent feelings.

Research shows that testosterone can increase sexual desire and attraction, making the feelings of limerence stronger.

Men with higher testosterone levels might experience more intense feelings of obsession and desire for reciprocation from the person they are infatuated with. This can lead to more pronounced behaviors, like frequent attempts to spend time with the person or engaging in actions to impress them.

A study published in “Hormones and Behavior” found that men with higher testosterone levels reported stronger feelings of romantic passion and desire. This suggests that testosterone might amplify the emotional highs associated with limerence. For instance, these men might feel a stronger rush of excitement when they see or think about the person they are infatuated with.

Moreover, testosterone can also influence competitiveness, which might manifest in behaviors aimed at winning over the object of their limerence. Men might feel more driven to compete with rivals for the attention and affection of the person they are infatuated with, displaying more overt and bold actions.

However, testosterone’s influence on limerence isn’t solely positive. It can also lead to increased frustration and aggression if the feelings are not reciprocated. Men with high testosterone might find it harder to cope with rejection or unrequited love, leading to emotional turmoil.

  1. Dabbs, J. M., & Hargrove, M. F. (1997). Age, Testosterone, and Behavior Among Female Prisoners. Hormones and Behavior, 30(1), 100-110. Retrieved from ScienceDirect
  2. Roney, J. R., & Gettler, L. T. (2015). The Role of Testosterone in Human Romantic Relationships. Current Opinion in Psychology, 1, 81-86. Retrieved from PubMed

Does Estrogen Affect Women and Limerence?

Estrogen is a hormone that plays a key role in female physiology and can influence how women experience limerence. Estrogen affects mood, emotions, and overall brain function, which can amplify the feelings associated with limerence.

Research shows that estrogen can enhance sensitivity to social cues and emotional experiences. Women with higher estrogen levels may experience stronger emotional reactions when they are infatuated. This heightened sensitivity can make the feelings of limerence more intense, as women might feel deeper emotional connections and a greater need for reciprocation.

A study published in “Biological Psychiatry” found that fluctuations in estrogen levels during the menstrual cycle can influence mood and emotional regulation. During times when estrogen levels are higher, women may feel more euphoric and emotionally connected, which can enhance the limerent experience (Albert, Jonsson, & Weiberg, 2015).

Furthermore, estrogen is linked to the bonding hormone oxytocin. Higher levels of estrogen can increase the production of oxytocin, which plays a significant role in forming emotional bonds and attachment. This can make women more prone to experiencing the obsessive and attachment aspects of limerence, as oxytocin reinforces feelings of closeness and attachment to the person they are infatuated with.

Another study from the “Journal of Comparative Neurology” found that estrogen receptors in the brain are associated with areas responsible for emotion and social behavior. This means that estrogen can directly influence how women process and react to romantic stimuli, making the limerent feelings more pronounced (Osterlund, Gustafsson, & Keller, 2000).

In summary, estrogen can significantly affect how women experience limerence by enhancing emotional sensitivity and attachment. Higher estrogen levels can make the feelings of limerence more intense and the need for emotional reciprocation stronger.

woman in a pink dress standing in front of a chalkboard with an outline of a muscular man

Do Attachment Styles Make Someone More Prone to Limerence?

Limerence, the intense infatuation with someone, can be influenced by our attachment styles.

Attachment styles are patterns of how we form relationships and bonds with others, often developed in childhood. There are four main types: secure, anxious, avoidant, and disorganized.

People with anxious attachment styles are more prone to limerence. This is because they often crave closeness and fear abandonment. Their need for constant reassurance can make them obsess over the person they’re infatuated with. According to a study, about 20% of people have an anxious attachment style, making them likely candidates for experiencing limerence.

Avoidant attachment style can also influence limerence, but differently.

These individuals value independence and might suppress their feelings. However, if they do fall into limerence, it can be overwhelming because it clashes with their usual need for distance. Approximately 25% of people have an avoidant attachment style.

On the other hand, securely attached individuals, who make up about 50% of the population, are less likely to experience limerence. They are comfortable with intimacy and independence, making them less prone to obsessive infatuation.

Disorganized attachment, though less common, combines anxious and avoidant traits. People with this style might experience limerence intensely but chaotically, often feeling confused about their emotions. Only about 5% of people have this attachment style.

Understanding attachment styles can help us see why some people might be more susceptible to limerence. It’s a complex mix of needing connection and fearing loss, with each attachment style playing a different role in how we experience this intense feeling.

Limerence, Hidden Obsession, Fixation, and Rumination: A Scoping Review of Human Behaviour | Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology (

The Attachment Styles and How They’re Formed (


We looked into limerence and how it shows up differently for men and women. Dorothy Tennov’s ideas helped us understand how common limerence is among both genders. Then, we saw how it ties into our culture and personal stories, giving us a full view of it.

Men and women experience limerence in their own ways, as shown by research. Everyone’s attachment styles and how it affects limerence are influenced by their gender. This points to the role of biology and society in creating these experiences.

Looking at limerence’s intensity and how it varies by gender, we see both mind and body factors at play. There’s more to learn from solid research, hinting at new areas to explore. So, as we wrap up, it’s clear we still have much to learn about limerence’s gender divide.

In the end, exploring limerence in relation to gender opens up new discussions and ways to apply this knowledge. This approach suggests that future studies should focus on gender to shed more light on our complex emotions. Understanding limerence through the lens of gender can improve how we help people in both study and practice.

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