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The Chemical Future of Our Relationships

Is there a pill for love? What about an anti-love drug, to help you get over your ex? This book argues that certain psychoactive substances, including MDMA—the active ingredient in Ecstasy—might help ordinary couples work through relationship difficulties and strengthen their connection. Others may help sever emotional ties during a breakup, with transformative implications for how we think about love. Oxford ethicists Julian Savulescu and Brian D. Earp build a case for conducting research into "love drugs" and "anti-love drugs" and explore their ethical implications for individuals and society. Why are we still in the dark about the effects of common medications on romantic partnerships? How can we overhaul scientific research norms to put interpersonal factors front and center? Biochemical interventions into love and relationships are not some far-off speculation. Our most intimate connections are already being influenced by drugs we ingest for other purposes. Controlled studies are already underway to see whether artificial brain chemicals might enhance couples' therapy. And conservative religious groups are already experimenting with certain medications to quash romantic desires—and even the urge to masturbate—among children and vulnerable sexual minorities. Simply put, the horse has bolted. Where it runs is up to us. Love is the Drug arms readers with the latest scientific knowledge as well as a set of ethical tools that you can use to decide for yourself if these sorts of medications should be a part of our society. Or whether a chemical romance might be right for you.

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Brian D. Earp and Julian Savulescu

experienced her entire life, began to fall into a more coherent pattern. Later, when she heard about a study on “autism, feelings, and MDMA,” she signed up. “The usual barriers that exist within my headspace—my usual circuitry—becomes more fluid and I can find the contours of the issue or the thing I’m usually unable to obtain.” That’s what she said about MDMA to the researchers who conducted the study. Autumn said she was “buoyed” by her personal experience and decided to take MDMA with her romantic partner to “tackle some heavy issues.” She wanted to share her feelings

in Love is the Drug
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Pharmacopeia
Brian D. Earp and Julian Savulescu

. But so long as we use drugs for medicine—as societies have always done and will continue to do indefinitely—we will need better drugs. More effective drugs. Drugs with milder side effects, with less risk of dependency and abuse, and with the capacity to encourage more serious engagement with the underlying problems that plague our minds and relationships. The researcher we just mentioned is, once again, Ben Sessa, the psychiatrist we interviewed about MDMA. He argues that the current “pharmacopeia” often does little more than mask the symptoms of our mental and

in Love is the Drug
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Brian D. Earp and Julian Savulescu

Ch a pter 1 REVOLUTION to combat divorce.” At least, that’s what a blogger at Dose Nation said we were doing when we first started writing about the chemical enhancement of love and relationships. The blogger was referring to an interview we’d done with The Atlantic, where we argued that certain psychoactive substances, including MDMA—the key ingredient in the party drug Ecstasy—might help some couples improve their connection if used in the right way. The truth is, we were not promoting the use of MDM A outright. We were calling for research into this

in Love is the Drug
Synthetic drugs and subverting the state
Stephen Snelders

Cannabis, heroin, and cocaine markets prospered despite the attempts of the Dutch state to control them. The state's problems with drug markets only further increased as, from the mid-1960s, the drug regulatory regime was extended to other, synthetic drugs: hallucinogens, amphetamines, and MDMA and other substances known as XTC or Ecstasy. The prohibition of amphetamines and later of XTC especially offered new chances for criminal entrepreneurs. Moreover, criminal and chemical expertise combined to create a thriving underground economy of drug

in Drug smuggler nation
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Stephen Snelders

counterculture after 1965 and became more and more normalized after 1980. In the early 1970s new groups of heroin consumers threatened public order in Dutch cities and created significant problems of addiction. In 1988 MDMA was scheduled under the Opium Act; demand for the drug has since multiplied. Failure of the regime to control the drug markets led to a continual imperative for more regulation: to bring more drugs in the prohibitive framework, to increase sentences, to regulate industries that facilitate the drug trade. All these strategies of the state have certainly won

in Drug smuggler nation
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Brian D. Earp and Julian Savulescu

treatable, unhappiness.” There is certainly a risk of turning to medicine to solve your problems when what you need to do is learn and mature. But not all medicine is created equal. As we mentioned in our discussion of MDMA, some drugs may actually increase your ability to reflect more deeply about the reality of your situation. During our interview with Ben Sessa, the British psychiatrist and expert on MDMA, he brought up some of these considerations. “I think, in a way,” he said, that MDMA provides an opportunity for self-reflection, which is an enlightening experience

in Love is the Drug
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Brian D. Earp and Julian Savulescu

attention to in this book—namely, oxytocin and MDMA—are already in existence and would not themselves be a patentable source of profit for pharmaceutical companies (although processes for producing them in large quantities could be). And second, with MDMA especially, insofar as the relationship problems are due to an underlying trauma in one or both partners, the effects may be such that other medications are no longer needed. This is what we saw with the Iraq War veteran, Jonathan Lubecky. Ben Sessa, the British psychiatrist we met earlier, draws an analogy between

in Love is the Drug
Youth, pop and the rise of Madchester
Author: Steve Redhead

Madchester may have been born at the Haçienda in the summer of 1988, but the city had been in creative ferment for almost a decade prior to the rise of Acid House. The End-of-the-Century Party is the definitive account of a generational shift in popular music and youth culture, what it meant and what it led to. First published right after the Second Summer of Love, it tells the story of the transition from New Pop to the Political Pop of the mid-1980s and its deviant offspring, Post-Political Pop. Resisting contemporary proclamations about the end of youth culture and the rise of a new, right-leaning conformism, the book draws on interviews with DJs, record company bosses, musicians, producers and fans to outline a clear transition in pop thinking, a move from an obsession with style, packaging and synthetic sounds to content, socially conscious lyrics and a new authenticity.

This edition is framed by a prologue by Tara Brabazon, which asks how we can reclaim the spirit, energy and authenticity of Madchester for a post-youth, post-pop generation. It is illustrated with iconic photographs by Kevin Cummins.

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Brian D. Earp and Julian Savulescu

the effects of partner support in reducing the subjective experience of pain. In a relationship therapy context, these effects could make it easier for partners to approach each other with less defensiveness and take on the other’s perspective (like the preliminary findings on MDMA we discussed before). If so, this would likely aid the therapeutic process. In another study, OT-primed male participants who were in a committed heterosexual relationship—but not OT-primed single males—kept themselves at a significantly greater distance from an attractive female

in Love is the Drug