When Viagra hit the market as a potential cure for impotence, sexual relationships were revolutionized. Couples who had experienced difficulties in the bedroom and even problems with intimacy were able to restore their sexual activity to healthy levels and strengthen their relationships through physical contact. The mere act of sexual intercourse with a romantic partner can spur openness, communication, kindness, and a deeper union. In recent years, researchers have begun to explore whether or not a pill can fix emotional dysfunction in adult sexual relationships. Instead of popping a little blue pill to ensure an erection, what would happen if partners could pop a pill to fix their feelings toward each other?
In a recent article, several researchers and relationship professionals debate the pros and cons of such a solution to problems in committed relationships. The idea of taking oxytocin or ecstasy, which marriage therapists occasionally prescribe to foster communication between partners, is viewed as a slippery slope by some. Arthur Schafer, an ethicist with the University of Manitoba in Canada says that this theory would only add support to the belief that every problem should be blamed on a chemical imbalance. “I just don’t buy it,” he said. Schafer and others think that physical attraction and feelings of love are based not on physical issues like blood flow restriction, but on deeper cognitive and psychological concerns relating to honesty, trust, communication, and attachment. Improving these aspects of a relationship can lead to more kindness, respect, and physical contact.
Other experts theorize that romantic attraction is part of the procreation process. As long as we are able to make babies, we are able sustain loving feelings toward our mates. But as humans have begun to outlive childbearing years, we have outlived the natural stages of romantic attraction. In other words, these experts say, we weren’t designed to be head over heels in love with someone for decades on end. Maybe this is why the divorce rate climbs higher with each new generation. However, Marian Morry, a psychology professor with the University of Manitoba disagrees with that theory. She believes that the disillusion that occurs in relationships is not a product of evolution, but a consequence of having unrealistic ideals of what a loving relationship should be. “Perhaps we should stop buying into Hollywood images of romantic relationships and instead focus on the work that is required,” says Morry. And that work, according to her, involves active, open communication and commitment that strengthens the friendship at the core of the romantic relationship.
Vesely, Carolin. (2013). Chemically altering emotions to prolong relationships. Winnipeg Free Press (n.d.): n. pag. Web. http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/columnists/enhance-the–romance-200996041.html
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