Can a Love Drug Fix Your Relationship?

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.–romance-200996041.html

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  • Andrea


    April 15th, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    A pill is never going to work to fix a problem in a relationship. We may be able to control the chemicals but we cannot control the emotions and feelings. A cheating partner is not going to seem great just by popping a pill. It needs the trust and time. Some things are better left to take their natural course. Call me conservative but that is how a relationship truly grows in my belief. Programming it is not going to work.

  • Kristin


    April 16th, 2013 at 3:47 AM

    I do not want for my relationship to have to depend on a drug for my husband and I to find a way to communicate with each other.
    I get it that there are some couples who eventually have to use Viagra to be with one another, and that’s fine.
    But it just seems forced and untrue if I have to have something to take to even have a conversation with my spouse. Something would just seem wrong about that to me.

  • A Acuff

    A Acuff

    April 16th, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    DO WHAT???!!! Therapists prescribe ecstasy? First of all, I didn’t think therapists could prescribe medications because they aren’t doctors. Second of all, ecstasy? It just blows my mind that a therapist would prescribe that for anything, much less a relationship problem. Seems that drug would cause a relationship problem.

  • Constello


    April 16th, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    Oh, for crying out loud people. Just do the work. Forget the pill and just do the work.

  • johnson


    April 16th, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    I definitely do not think that people can pop a pill to be more in love with someone
    i agree that it is not a matter of blood flow but of being committed enough to want to work on something with someone
    being in a lifelong committed relationship is not going to happen by taking a pill
    i think this is way over the top.

  • Kelvin


    April 16th, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    Guess I’m in the minority on this one. Umm…getting to take ecstasy legally is like a dream come true.

    Please tell me and the wife where to sign up.

  • Sondra


    April 16th, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    My husband and I are cracking up reading this. We are sitting here imagining telling our children that we are now addicted to oxytocin because our marriage therapist told us that is what we should do to feel closer to what another. What a riot. I can’t even imagine…

  • cool lava

    cool lava

    April 16th, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    divorce rates are going through the roof and more and more people are unhappy with their marriage. if a drug can help with all of this then why not?

    I do not mean to recommend this to every couple but for those that need something like this, why should we stop them from it?

  • Danna


    April 18th, 2013 at 3:56 AM

    If I need a drug to “fix” my relationship then I think that I would know that there are some serious issues there that need to be addressed. If you nurture your relationship all along the way, while I am not saying that there won’t be any hard times, there will be fewer of them than what there would had been if you always relied on something external to fix things.

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