Smart Dating Insights With the Anatomy of Love’s Dr. Helen Fisher (April 2023)

Written by: Sheena Holt
Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro
Updated: April 15, 2023

Sometimes, it feels like all news is bad news. Murder rates are increasing. The economy is approaching a recession or facing staggering inflation. The housing market is about to collapse, but no one can afford a home. Climate change will bring on the apocalypse in 100, 50, or maybe eight years.

The front-page headlines aren’t necessarily wrong; in some cases, they’ve proven right. But they aren’t the whole story. Terrifying headlines make you want to click on them. They scare you into reading the article from start to finish.

But there is good news out there. It’s just harder to find.

Dr. Helen Fisher, Biological Anthropologist and Senior Research Fellow at the Kinsey Institute, wasn’t sure what she would find when she supervised the design and interpretation of’s Singles in America study.

“Every year, my colleagues and I create about 200 questions for singles,” said Dr. Fisher, the author and creator of The Anatomy of Loveand Chief Scientific Advisor to “About 5,000 people answer the questions each time. We do not poll the Match members; we use a nationally representative sample of singles based on the US Census.”

But over the 12 years since the inception of the Singles in America study, Dr. Fisher has seen many changes in the way Americans date. Many of them are for the better…

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Business Insider: Gen Z women are swearing off sex and entering their ‘celibacy era’

A Hand suggesting to stop towards a banana

Image by Tyler Le / Insider

  • Fed up with “dehumanizing” relationships with men, some Gen Z women are taking sex off the table.
  • The idea of a nonreligious “celibacy era” or “celibacy journey” is gaining steam on social media.
  • Though some women say it’s empowering and “healing,” experts say there may be downsides.

“When women say, ‘I don’t want anything to do with men,’ they’re giving up an opportunity,” agreed the biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, who’s studied sex and dating for decades and is the chief science advisor for “They’ve got very little to lose, and if they handle it properly, a great deal to win. I mean, they could win life’s greatest prize, which is an amazing partner.”

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The Woman Who Made Online Dating Into a ‘Science’

Helen Fisher photographed in The Atlantic
Photo by Lanna Apisukh / The Atlantic

Almost 20 years ago, Helen Fisher helped revolutionize dating. She has no regrets.

By Kaitlin Tiffany
The Atlantic, December 11, 2022

The anthropologist and famed love expert Helen Fisher seemed ready to dash into oncoming traffic. We were on a sidewalk in Manhattan, opposite the American Museum of Natural History, and nowhere near a safe place to cross the street. She wanted me to stare down the yellow cabs and charge off the curb, though she knew I wouldn’t do it: I’d recently taken the personality questionnaire she wrote 17 years ago for a dating website, which produced the insight that I am a cautious, conventional rule follower. She, however, is an “explorer”—she has visited 111 countries, including North Korea—but also, being high in estrogen, a “negotiator” who will use the crosswalk for my benefit.

“I am horribly empathetic,” she told me. “I cry at parades. I look into baby carriages and worry about their future with love.” (Really high in estrogen.) This is how Fisher, the 77-year-old chief scientific adviser for and one of the best-known, most-often-quoted experts on romance and “mate choice,” understands life: Personality is a cocktail of hormones; love comes from the buzz of mixing them just right. The human sex drive hasn’t changed for millions of years, she argues, nor has the human capacity for long-term attachment. If, as a cautious, conventional technology journalist, I’m preoccupied with the question of how we live now, Fisher has spent her career exploring the story of how we’ve lived (and loved) always.

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Infidelity: A Practitioner’s Guide to Working With Couples

Interview with Dr. Helen Fisher
Eds. Paul R Peluso and Taylor J. Irvine

Eds: On the topic of infidelity, what is the question that interests you the most?

Helen Fisher: The single most interesting piece of data that I’ve ever found came out of an academic paper in 1985.1 The scientists reported that 56% of men and 34% of women in their study were unfaithful to their partner, yet they were in long-term happy partnerships. That’s a revealing data point. Apparently, people sleep around—even when they are in really happy relationships. It made me wonder whether humanity has evolved a predisposition to philander for Darwinian evolutionary reasons.

Psychologists have dozens of theories about why people cheat. Boredom; poor communication; relationship dissatisfaction; opportunity; to solve a sex problem or have more sex; to feel more appreciated; for adventure; due to issues in their childhood; or feelings of entitlement (as when one partner makes more money, is better looking, or has a better education or background), or just because they want to get caught and terminate their relationship: there are hundreds of reasons that people say they are unfaithful.

“… adultery is so prevalent everywhere in the world.”

But this doesn’t explain why happily partnered people cheat and why adultery is so prevalent everywhere in the world—from those in hunter-gathering cultures to those who farm, herd, or live in postindustrial societies. Psychologists offer all kinds of cultural and psychological reasons for philandering. They’re all good. But could there be an underlying biological component as well? That’s what interests me.

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Bloomberg: Decode Your Colleagues’ Personality Types for Maximum Productivity
February 7, 2023
By Arianne Cohen

5 minutes with…
Biological anthropologist Helen Fisher. She’s the chief science adviser to and has spent the last two decades using neuroscience to help people choose optimal romantic partners. Now she’s applying her Fisher Temperament Inventory to the business world. She says that by identifying the personalities of coworkers and clients, you can adapt how you interact with them to boost success. I asked her to explain how it works. (Her answers have been edited and condensed.)

What don’t people understand about personality and the workplace? We talk about cultural diversity and ethnic diversity, but we’ve missed diversity of the mind — the basic styles of thinking and behaving. I’ve found four broad styles based on the brain systems of dopamine, serotonin, testosterone and estrogen, each linked to a constellation of personality traits. When you understand them, you can climb into people’s heads and reach them.

What mistake do people make in relating to coworkers and clients? They follow the Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would do unto yourself.” I don’t believe in it. Figure out who your coworkers and clients are, and then tell them your content and data in a way that they can hear it, understand it and use it.

Can you give an example? Traits linked with the dopamine system are novelty seeking, curiosity and high creativity. They’re explorers: independent, self-reliant, energetic, impulsive and mentally flexible. In the office, their outstanding trait is idea generation.

How can one work best with them? They’re going to have a good eye for opportunities, a good sense of timing, and will end up being the troubleshooters. One of the problems with most personality tests is they tell you who people are, but it’s really important to know who people aren’t. Don’t smother explorers in details and don’t require rigid schedules. They find rules and regulations constraining. Give them varieties and possibilities, be spontaneous, be creative and speculate with them.

What are the other three types? The high serotonin people are the opposite: I call them builders. They enjoy the familiar, they respect social norms and authority, and are detail-oriented. They’re calm, controlled and modest, and a major feature is numeric and figural creativity. They might not invent it, but they’ll develop it and bring it to market. With them you don’t speculate or exaggerate or be unorganized. Discuss concrete topics, be orderly and calm, stick to schedules and emphasize the right way to do something. Know that they’ll resist change.

What are the other two? The high-testosterone type is direct, decisive, tough-minded, logical and good at rule-based systems like math and engineering. And they’re fair. They’ll take command, do strategic planning and they’ll invent. With them, you get right to the point. Give the big picture first and then the details. They’re very comfortable with disagreement and debate.

And tell me about the estrogen system. I call them negotiators. They’re empathetic, holistic long-term thinkers who can see many ways of doing something. They’re very good at reading office social cues, resolving conflicts, hiring, firing and teambuilding. With them I would emphasize moments of agreement and balance facts with feelings — it’s okay to reveal your feelings, but also give ancillary data. Don’t be competitive or confrontational.

Does everyone fall into one of the four? No. You’re not just in one bucket or another — but you’ve likely got more traits in some systems than others, which lends you to a certain style of thinking and behaving.

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Couples: There’s Hope For Your Sex Life


There’s Hope for Your Stalled Sex Life
Passion often drops off in a relationship after a few years. Here’s how to bring sexy back.

Originally published in the Wall St Journal
May 31, 2022

Confidence is sexually appealing. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist who studies people in love, asked more than 5,000 people what trait they found most important in a sexual partner. The answer wasn’t good looks or charm or a sense of humor. It was self-confidence.

“It doesn’t matter if you are 75 and flabby,” says Dr. Fisher, a senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute. “If you are happy and self-confident, with a sense of independence and flair, you will be attractive.”

Many of us feel like we’ve lost a piece of ourselves during the pandemic. It’s time to get it back and regain our zest for life. This will help us reclaim our own sense of joy and confidence. And it will make us more interesting to our partners—we’ll have something to talk about other than the kids and work and what we just watched together on TV.

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12 Things People Get Wrong About Relationships

Psychology Today, 

Problems don’t disappear, and you don’t always have to be happy.

  • Love is important—but too many couples focus on the passion and forget the friendship. Passion fades and there are many ways to feel love.
  • Believing in soulmates is a myth that leads to a lot of unrealistic expectations about what your partner “should” do and who they “should” be.
  • Love is tough. You won’t always be happy and problems don’t magically disappear.
  • Successful relationships start with knowing yourself and knowing what you want.

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This is Your Brain on Heartbreak

Love changes us at a physiological level, making us more sensitive to joy—and to pain.
By Florence Williams

We all know that when love is good, it’s really good. Research shows that romantic attachments, when they’re healthy and supportive, can be immensely beneficial for our health. Married people tend to live longer than single people and seem to fare better when seriously sick. But as poets and pop singers have long told us, when love goes awry, it hurts like nothing else. After my marriage ended—not by my choice—I found some comfort in art, but what I really wanted was science. I wanted to know why we feel so operatically sad when a romantic attachment dissolves. What I discovered is that love changes us so deeply—at a physiological level—that when it’s lost, we hurt more than if we had never loved at all.

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