The Heart Beat The Heart Beat blog

Marriage Failing? Pop a Pill

You may soon be able to get a prescription for love.

By Kristin Wong May 2, 2012 2:38PM

Photo: George Doyle/Getty ImagesLove might soon be available at your local pharmacy. Researchers at the University of Oxford have written a paper proposing a real life love potion—a pill that would recreate the feeling of being in love.  So if your relationship is on the rocks, and counseling just isn't working, maybe meds could save your marriage.

In Neuroenhancement of Love and Marriage: The Chemicals Between Us researchers assert:

"Love is one of the fundamental aspects of human existence. It is to a large part biologically determined."

They then argue that the reasons for divorce "seem to point at emotional issues as being important."

Their proposed pill, a combination of five types of drugs, would biologically manipulate the brain into thinking you really, really, want your spouse—enough to put your differences aside.

Here's a rundown of the ingredients:

Pheromones. While the paper addresses the fact that it's often contested whether pheromones are effective, researchers argue: "That has not prevented the cosmetics industry from selling many products purporting to contain pheromones."

By all means, then—toss those suckers in there.

The second ingredient is testosterone. But while testosterone can increase sexual desire, it doesn’t do anything for romance or attachment. We need other drugs for that.

Enter Oxytocin and Vasopressin—also known as "bonding chemicals." During the early stages of a relationship, when you're filled with romantic thoughts and feelings, you're actually filled with Oxytocin and Vasopressin.

CRH would also be included in the pill. It's a hormone that creates the fear of separation, and while it can lead to depression, it can also help bring two people together.

And then there's Entactogens, a drug found in MDMA pills like ecstasy. The paper argues its use:

"There has been therapeutic use of MDMA to develop emotional communications skills, and it is not implausible that it, or similar drugs, could be used to deepen pair bonding."

Far be it from me to question neuroscience, but isn't this whole idea just a bit…well, Matrixy?

Researchers address the philosophical concern of manipulating biology—the question of authenticity. As Morpheus put it: "You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe."

The paper argues:

"Even if love were not authentic, authenticity is not an overriding or exclusive value. People can trade a degree of authenticity for other values in their lives."

Basically, the effects of this pill might be worth it to some people.

But what happens when you can't afford to pay for your prescription anymore? Are you just postponing a relationship that might not be right in the first place? And is true love really just a mere mix of five different ingredients?

There's a long list of questions, and while a "love pill" might seem far off, these researchers are arguing that it's time to start studying:

"We should use our growing knowledge of the neuroscience of love to enhance the quality of love by biological manipulation."

Would you take a pill for love? Tell us on Facebook.

Photo: George Doyle/Getty Images

love: friendships, dating, sex & marriage

  • Lies wives tell

    7 lies your wife tells you

    How to flag her little fibs. By Laura Tedesco

  • A new study on attraction may help explain why fashions change. AFP Photo, ©Serg Zastavkin, shutterstock.com // A new study on attraction may help explain why fashions change. AFP Photo, ©Serg Zastavkin, shutterstock.com (A new study on attraction may help explain why fashions change. AFP Photo, ©Serg Zastavkin, shutterstock.com)

    Being the odd one out may make you more attractive

    A new study on attraction may help explain why fashions change.

  • The Viceroy Anguilla

    Great getaways for a spring-summer honeymoon

    As a general rule, any island that offers great weather year-round is going to attract the most visitors in the winter (high season) when we’re all trying to escape the snow. Once summer rolls around, many islands see a sharp drop-off in tourism since many people have beach weather right in their own backyards.

  • Getty Images

    The top 10 complaints from unhappy husbands

    And how you can attack the issues together.

  • 25 wedding photo bombs

    25 wedding photo bombs

    A wedding is an exceptionally special day. Sometimes, an opportune photo flub makes the occasion even more memorable. Here are 25 awesome wedding photo bombs.

  • He takes you on nondrinking dates.

    7 signs he’s getting serious about you

    Somewhere between the first few butterfly-inducing dates and the committed-for-life stage, there’s the period of wondering if you’re both on the same page about how serious you feel about a future together. If you’re not quite at the point of "that talk" but you’re looking for a few clues you’re heading in that direction, here are some signs he’s in it for the long haul as your relationship progresses.

  • 'Have you tried online dating?'

    15 things single people are tired of hearing

    What’s that sound? It’s white noise blocking out the well-meaning person proclaiming groundbreaking news about where you can meet someone, asking why you’re still single, or bugging you about when you’re getting married already. Don’t be that person. Here are 15 annoying things all single people don’t want to hear.

  • 1. New Hair Color

    11 things to avoid the week before your wedding

    With just a few days left before the big day, you already have a mile-long checklist of to-dos—now meet the don’ts! From impromptu skin treatments to all-night movie marathons, here are 11 things to avoid at all costs.

  • 'It’s a Wonderful Life'

    13 movie romances we can learn from

    A new study shows that watching and discussing romantic films can drastically reduce your chance of divorce. These flicks more than fit the bill.

  • About you and someone else

    10 things he’ll never forget you said

    These seemingly innocent phrases still have the power to wound… big time.

  • He or she is the first one you want to tell

    6 signs your marriage will last a lifetime

    Making "I do" last forever is one of the biggest challenges you'll ever face—and it's normal to worry about how you'll do it. But, if your connection involves any of these things, rest assured that you're in it for the long run.

  • Simone Becchetti, Getty Images // Simone Becchetti, Getty Images (Simone Becchetti, Getty Images)

    Can you stay together after a marital affair?

    Ultimately, as hard as it may seem at the beginning, a marital affair can be a turning point.

buzzing now on msn living
The Heart Beat is a Great Dating Blogs Winner The Heart Beat is a Great Dating Blogs Winner
relationship videos
editor's picks
the heart beat