1) Do new, exciting, slightly risky things together
Visit a foreign city, walk a challenging mountain trail, go white water rafting, swim after dark, buy last minute tickets to a sports event or theatre show…. Any new activity, but particularly risky or dangerous ones, prompts spontaneous attraction by stimulating adrenaline (closely related to dopamine and norepinephrine).
“Adrenaline makes the heart grow fonder,” says psychologist Art Aron.
Several studies show couples who do exciting things together feel more satisfaction in their relationship. But it appears sharing an exciting activity can also stimulate romantic love.
In a typical study, 28 dating and married couples were asked to fill our various questionnaires, then do an activity together, them fill out more questionnaires. One activity was exciting, the other dull.
Questionnaire responses showed those who did the exciting activity experienced increased feelings of relationship satisfaction, and more intense feelings of romantic love.
Danger Heightens Response
We’ve probably all known friends who have found a new love during an extreme experience – being brought together in seemingly random circumstances through unusual or tragic circumstances.
The “love matches” birthed during New Orleans’ Hurricane Katrina are the perfect example of circumstances where responses are heightened by the brain chemicals of adrenaline and dopamine produced in response to the danger.
The so-called “creaky bridge” experiment – which involved getting men to walk across either a steady, broad low bridge or a flimsy high suspension one above boulders and rapids – confirmed the idea that sharing exciting experiences can enhance feelings of attraction.
The two walking bridges span the Capilano Canyon in North Vancouver; In the middle of each bridge stood the same beautiful young woman (part of the research team) who asked each passing man to fill out a questionnaire. After each man completed the survey, she casually told him that if he had any further questions about the study he should call her at home. She gave each her telephone number. No one knew the woman was part of the experiment.
Nine out of thirty-two men who walked the narrow, wobbly high bridge were attracted enough to call the woman at home, while only two of those who met her on the low safe bridge contacted her.
Psychologists Donald Dutton and Art Aron concluded that the novelty of the situation – being on a high scary bridge – elevated levels of dopamine, the hormone of pleasurable attraction/addiction.
Boost Sexual Health
Many of the hormones involved in sex and love – including dopamine, serotonin and testosterone – are susceptible to stress or aging. They can be boosted by eating the right foods – including cottage cheese, chicken, dark chocolate, yoghurt, eggs, and oats, or by herbal and nutritional supplements like Herbal Ignite.