Helen Fisher Home Page

ANATOMY OF LOVE: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray
(W.W. Norton & Company, 2016)

A contemporary classic about love now completely revised and updated.

First published in 1992, Helen Fisher’s “fascinating” (New York Times) Anatomy of Love quickly became a classic. Since then, Fisher has conducted pioneering brain research on lust, romantic love, and attachment; gathered data on more than 80,000 people to explain why you love who you love; and collected information on more than 30,000 men and women on sexting, hooking up, friends with benefits, and other current trends in courtship and marriage. And she presents a new, scientifically based and optimistic perspective on relationships in our digital age—what she calls “slow love.”

This is a cutting-edge tour de force that traces human family life from its origins in Africa over 20 million years ago to the Internet dating sites and bedrooms of today. And it’s got it all: the copulatory gaze and other natural courting ploys; the who, when, where, and why of adultery; love addictions; her discovery of four broad chemically based personality styles and what each seeks in romance; the newest data on worldwide (biologically based) patterns of divorce; how and why men and women think differently; the real story of women, men, and power; the rise—and fall—of the sexual double standard; and what brain science tells us about how to make and keep a happy partnership.

"Is romantic love a creation of troubadours and poets, or has it deep evolutionary roots? Is the seven-year itch really the four-year itch? Does true love betray itself in a brain scanner? With the eyes of an anthropologist and the voice of a poet, Helen Fisher lays bare the many worlds and ages of erotic love. And she knows whereof she speaks."
-- Richard Dawkins.

"For journalists around the world, Helen Fisher has been the go-to authority on love and heartache since the first edition of Anatomy of Love. No one else knows the human heart so well—or explains it with such wit and style."
-- John Tierney, coauthor of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength

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Why Him? Why Her? By Dr Helen FisherWhy Him? Why Her?: How to Find and Keep Lasting Love
(Henry Holt, January 2010)

Why Him? Why Her? provides a new way to understand relationships, whether you’re searching for one or eager to strengthen the one you have. Beginning with a scientifically developed questionnaire to determine your prevailing personality type, Fisher tells you not only what type of person you might have chemistry with but how to find them, attract them, and keep them. Once you know the personality profile of the partner you’re with—or hope to find—you can use your knowledge of how your types match up to improve your love life.

More than eight million people in forty countries have learned Fisher’s techniques and are using these tools to make and keep lasting romantic connections. Based on proven results, this groundbreaking book goes beyond theory to show that the complex nature of romance isn’t so complicated once you truly understand yourself and others. Provocative and illuminating, Fisher’s book deserves to be read by everyone looking to be loved for who they really are. Buy from Amazon.com.

Hear Dr. Fisher discuss Why Him? Why Her? at Better World Books Podcast discussion with Dana Barrett.


WHY WE LOVE: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love
(Henry Holt, 2004)

What ’tis to love? Shakespeare asked. People probably pondered this as they lay around their campfires and watched the stars a million years ago. Anthropologist Helen Fisher and her colleagues have put 49 men and women into a brain scanner to understand this ecstasy: 17 who had just fallen in love; 15 who had just been rejected; and 17 who are still in love after 21 years of marriage. In WHY WE LOVE, Fisher follows romantic love among peoples around the world (the oldest love poem comes from ancient Sumeria over 4,000 years ago.) She discusses what happens in your brain when you fall in love, saying one area also “lights up” when you feel the rush of cocaine. She traces types of love, the feelings of love, the evolution of love, love among other creatures—from wolves to ducks and chimps, and the future of this beguiling feeling. "Romantic love," she says, "is a powerful and primordial mating drive that evolved to find and keep life’s most precious gift—an appropriate mating partner. "

"Helen Fisher's book will entice you, charm away your resistance to its thesis, seduce you into accepting it. It is poetic, sexy, beguiling, and all at the same time, scientific."
-- Richard Dawkins.

"Like the words of a talented lover, Fisher's prose is charming and engaging...In hands as skilled and sensitive as Fisher’s, scientific analysis of love only adds to its magic."
-- Scientific American

Selection of the Scientific American Book Club; Discovery Book Club; The Quality Paperback Book Club; Bertelsmann Media Spolka (Polish book club); Recommended in: 360° of Reading: A Literature Guide for the College Bound. 16 foreign language editions. Buy from Amazon.com


The First Sex: The Natural Talents of Women and How They are Changing the World By Dr Helen FisherTHE FIRST SEX: The Natural Talents of Women and How They are Changing the World
(Random House 1999)

Why can’t a man be just like a woman? Why can’t a woman be just like a man? Anthropologist Helen Fisher looks closely at gender differences in the brain and behavior, and there are many. Then she shows how—as women enter the work force in societies around the world--the female brain is changing our modern business, sex and family lives. Women think contextually, holistically—bringing a broad perspective, imagination, and fresh ideas to the work place. They are, on average, superior at long term planning, at dealing with ambiguity, at working in egalitarian groups and at seeking win-win solutions. They are, on average, more mentally flexible, better at many linguistic skills, and express more compassion. Men have many natural talents too. So Fisher proposes we are moving toward a collaborative society, in which the talents of both sexes are becoming understood, valued and employed. As she says, “Men and women are like two feet; they were built to put their heads together.”

"striking...an original and often quite enjoyable book."
-- The New York Times Book Review

"Provocative...Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University, synthesizes the insights of her own discipline and those of psychology, sociology, ethnology, and biology into a good news for women."
-- Publisher's Weekly

Published in 13 foreign countries. Selected by the New York Times Book Review, as a “Notable Book of 1999.” Buy from Amazon.com


ANATOMY OF LOVE: The Natural History of Mating, Marriage and Why We StrayAnatomy of Love: The Natural History of Mating, Marriage and Why We Stray

Love at first sight; the copulatory gaze; who pays for dinner (and why): Fisher looks at marriage and divorce in 58 societies and adultery in 42 cultures to explain the “four year itch”—an ancient human tendency to marry and remarry. She concludes that we are moving forward to the past. For millions of years women commuted to work; the double income family was the rule; and women were social, sexual and economic equals with men. Times changed when our forebears settled down to farm, and many of our modern misunderstandings about the sexes emerged. Today, we are shedding many of these beliefs and returning to patterns of business, sex, love and marriage that are highly compatible with our ancient human spirit.

"Helen Fisher weaves a persuasive and consistently surprising new explanation of the roots of human marriage, sex, and love. Her account cuts more deeply than the ordinary literature on human sexuality."
-- Edward O. Wilson

“Drawing on a wealth of anthropological and ethnological data, Helen Fisher proposes a thought-provoking new theory of the evolution and future of human pair-bonding. It will give everyone who reads it a lot to talk about."
-- Deborah Tannen

"delightful to read....fascinating."
-- The New York Times Book Review.

“Anthropologist Helen Fisher may have solved one of the greatest mysteries of
evolution, the origin of the family.”
-- The Toronto Globe and Mail

Book-of-the-Month Club "Best Seller;" Quality Paperback Book Club (main selection); chosen as a “Notable Book” of 1992 and “Notable Paperback of 1994 “ by The New York Times Book Review. Buy from Amazon.com


The Sex Contract: The Evolution of Human BehaviorTHE SEX CONTRACT: The Evolution of Human Behavior.
(William Morrow, 1982)

Why can a woman have sex all month long, while other mammals like dogs and cats have a period of “heat?” Why do the vast majority of men and women fall in love and form a partnership to rear their young, while monogamy is common in only 3% of mammalian species. In this book, Fisher discusses the evolution of human female sexuality and the origins of the nuclear family—a hallmark of humankind.

“A delightfully readable and illuminating account of the origins and evolution of human behavior.”
-- Ashley Montagu

“The book has many virtues…quite enthralling…a very interesting and in some ways deeply daunting anthropological survey.”
-- The Times of London

Selection of the Book of the Month Club. Six foreign language editions.