Oxford University researchers believe real-life 'love pills' - that solve common marital woes and keep the passion alive - could soon be making their way into a marriage counselling session near you.
According to recent figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), recession-hit couples do try and stick together, but marital disharmony (caused by the pressures of job losses, uncertainty about the future and rising debt) often gets the better of them, causing divorce numbers to soar.
And with weekly reminders about high-profile unions, such as loved-up (and extremely wealthy) Heidi Klum and Seal hitting the rocks, combined with the worrying fact that one in three men don't marry for love - is it any wonder we struggle to keep the love alive?
But before you give up on love altogether, consider this – could the solution lie in a simple pill?
Not that pill (the contraceptive type that apparently alters a woman’s love for her partner) but a drug that is a potent concoction of essential neurohormones that make us fall – and stay – giddy in love.
According to a team of neuroethnicists, who have written an in-depth paper about the possibilities of a psychopharmaceutical ‘love drug’ - this could well be the future of marriage counselling.
Yes, soon you’ll be able to cut out the middle-man (the Relate counsellor) and get a prescription for love. Perhaps.
In Neuroenhancement of Love and Marriage: The Chemicals Between Us, Oxford University researchers Julian Savulescu and Anders Sandberg claim that scientists may soon be able to interfere with the biology of human attraction with the help of chemical blockers and enhancers.
To do this, they would have to create a pill that contains the “modulators of love”, which could potentially help us stay together longer, increase attractiveness and decrease infidelity.
The essential ‘ingredients’ of the pill are:
These are odourless chemicals that trigger emotion responses, mainly sexual and attractiveness, between the opposite sex. If this was popped into a pill, it could potentially help people maintain the attraction they first felt for their partner.
Oxytocin and Vasopressin
Also known as the ‘bonding chemicals’, oxytocin and vasaopressin are hormones released in the body that promote physical bonding. The brain releases a high amount of these hormones during the early, romantic stages of a relationship. If these hormones were present in a pill, they could strengthen the sense of togetherness and bonds between couples.
High levels of testosterone increase the amount of sexual desire between the opposite sex. A testosterone-induced pill could aid flagging libidos.
Although this hormone (corticotropin-releasing hormone) can sometimes cause depression and anxiety, it also creates the fear of separation, which can help deepen the bond between two people.
This drug (found in MDMA pills like ecstasy) creates the feeling of openness and the desire for emotional closeness, claims the paper. This could increase the connection and sociability between people if it was present in a pill.
Would you give it a go?