Love is the Drug

The Chemical Future of Our Relationships

By Brian D. Earp and Julian Savulescu

Love is the Drug


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4541-3
  • Pages: 280
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £20.00
  • Published Date: January 2020
  • BIC Category: SCIENCE / Philosophy & Social Aspects, MEDICAL / Alternative & Complementary Medicine, MEDICAL / Ethics, SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Biology, Human Biology, Neurosciences, Philosophy Of Science, Bio-Ethics, Popular Science


What if there were a pill for love? Or an anti-love drug, designed to help us break up?

This controversial and timely new book argues that recent medical advances have brought chemical control of our romantic lives well within our grasp. Substances affecting love and relationships, whether prescribed by doctors or even illicitly administered, are not some far-off speculation - indeed our most intimate connections are already being influenced by pills we take for other purposes, such as antidepressants.

Treatments involving certain psychoactive substances, including MDMA-the active ingredient in Ecstasy-might soon exist to encourage feelings of love and help ordinary couples work through relationship difficulties. Others may ease a breakup or soothe feelings of rejection. Such substances could have transformative implications for how we think about and experience love.

This brilliant intervention into the debate builds a case for conducting further research into "love drugs" and "anti-love drugs" and explores their ethical implications for individuals and society. Rich in anecdotal evidence and case-studies, the book offers a highly readable insight into a cutting-edge field of medical research that could have profound effects on us all.

Will relationships be the same in the future? Will we still marry? It may be up to you to decide whether you want a chemical romance.


'A fascinating account of a future that is starting to unfold right now.'
Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University

'Game-changing. Many of the important ideas here could enrich-even save-lives around the world.'
Helen Fisher, author of Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray

'Not until this intoxicating, astonishing, dangerous book have we had the deep chemistry of our eroticism revealed.'
Clancy Martin, author of Love and Lies

'As psychedelic therapy enters the cultural mainstream, Love is the Drug takes the conversation beyond the clinic and its tick-box diagnoses into the underexplored hinterland of interpersonal relationships, cultural understandings of human nature and the wider context of chemically mediated minds. Earp and Savulescu's lucid and accessible survey ranges from ancient aphrodisiacs to cutting-edge psychopharmacology, and brings neuroscience into dialogue with psychosocial and philosophical accounts of our inner life. It sketches the outlines of a future in which the biotechnologies of "love drugs" will become more intimately embedded in our social world, and considers how they might be used to enrich human experience rather than diminishing or exploiting it.'
Mike Jay, author of Mescaline: A Global History of the First Psychedelic


Brian D. Earp is Associate Director of the Yale-Hastings Program in Ethics and Health Policy at Yale University and the Hastings Center and a Research Fellow at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford

Julian Savulescu holds the Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics and is Director of the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford


1 Revolution
2 Love's Dimensions
3 Human Natures
4 Little Heart-Shaped Pills
5 Good Enough Marriages
6 Ecstasy as Therapy
7 Evolved Fragility
8 Wonder Hormone
9 Anti-love Drugs
10 Chemical Breakups
11 Avoiding Disaster
12 Choosing Love
Epilogue: Pharmacopeia
About the Authors

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