Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website www.lenoreskomal.net.   Read more about this blog.
Posted: February 13th, 2013
The key to long-lasting love

With Valentine’s Day just around the bend, the chatter is about love. But the obvious challenge about keeping it alive may have more to do with hormones than anything else. Specifically, the hormone oxytocin. Sometimes referred to as the “love hormone,” it’s been linked to ”feelings of contentment, reductions in anxiety, and feelings of calmness and security,” especially around the opposite sex.

While many studies have already shown a correlation between oxytocin and human bonding, increases in trust, and decreases in fear, a new study now shows a correlation between high levels of the hormone and longevity in a relationship. And those couples who had much higher levels of oxytocin in the first initial months had a better chance of staying together.

To further test the effect of the hormone on couples, researchers used a nasal spray containing the hormone to see if when applied to normally stressful situations, it would have any positive impact. The effect was notable. Introducing a fiery topic that would normally cause an argument between the couples, the researchers found that after using the oxytocin spray, men were more apt to communicate and even emote during the conversation, which made the women less defensive, less stressed and more open to compromise.

One of the conclusions drawn from the study was that men tend to withdraw when in conflict with their mates, which is the opposite of what women want. And oxytocin seems to help change that response.

 

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