Pills That Trick Your Body Into Falling In Love Are 'On The Horizon'

·2-min read
(Photo: Jenpol Sumatchaya via Getty Images/EyeEm)
(Photo: Jenpol Sumatchaya via Getty Images/EyeEm)

(Photo: Jenpol Sumatchaya via Getty Images/EyeEm)

Love potions may no longer be the stuff of fiction. According to an Oxford academic, pills that trigger feelings of love in the brain are “on the horizon”.

Dr Anna Machin, an evolutionary anthropologist and author of Why We Love, said scientists now know about enough about neurochemistry to create pills that could trick the body into a love-induced state.

These pills could potentially “enhance your abilities to find love – or to increase the possibility that you will stay in love when it’s getting a little bit tricky”.

“There are lots of ethical questions... but love drugs are certainly on the horizon,” she told the Cheltenham Science Festival.

“And certainly one of the frontiers of love research commercially – can you imagine how much money you make? – is in exploring these possible love drugs.”

Dr Machin believes such pills could be prescribed by practitioners delivering couples therapy within three to five years. But it does beg the question: would  people not just give these pills to anyone (and everyone) they fancy?

As one colleague pointed out: “That’s the one thing the genie in Aladdin couldn’t do.”

It may sound futuristic, but studies have long shown a link between certain drugs and emotional closeness.

Evidence demonstrates that MDMA “enhances feelings of closeness to others” – and it’s been previously used in couples therapy.

“MDMA was widely used in the 1970s by couples counsellors in the USA to help people put their marriages back together – with anecdotal good outcomes,” David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College, explained during the talk.

Dr Machin speculated that any “love drugs” in the future would likely enhance oxytocin, often dubbed the “love hormone”, due to the fact that it triggers bonding behaviours and emotions. The hormone is released in large quantities during sex, breastfeeding and childbirth, but evidence also suggests it contributes to the initial stages of dating.

“Oxytocin could be available within a decade for people to squirt up their nose before they go out on a Saturday night – at the same time as a glass of prosecco,” Dr Machin said.

The mass marketing of love pills and potions is still a little speculative, but Professor Nutt reckons we’ll see MDMA licensed for conditions like PSTD soon, and the use of similar pills in relationship therapy could follow.

Want a pill-free approach to falling back in love?

Until then, if your relationship is in need of a reboot, these tips from therapist Lucille Shackleton may be just what you’re looking for, no pills required:

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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