Finally we have a scientific excuse to ditch the housework and watch horror movies! Horror fans could even be investing in and nurturing their relationships when they sit down to watch gruesome films with their other halves. Michael Roizen is a doctor who has found evidence to suggest that couples who share a passion for horror are likely to end up happier. While some couples might wish to consider options such as dates night or therapy – it seems that a good scary movie can also go a long way in creating a happier lasting relationship.
Taking a date to a scary movie might be a time honored tradition, but science is finally figuring out the reason behind so many of these ‘back of the cinema’ experiences. “When we’re scared, our brains pump out the feel-good chemical dopamine, the same chemical we release when we’re infatuated with someone,” explains Michael Roizen, M.D.
Watching horror films often triggers the release of hormones including dopamine and serotonin, the same reaction our bodies have when we fall in love. Of course, the fact that we may be more likely to get physically closer when we watch horror movies goes some way to explaining this. But there’s more going on than just snuggling. Watching a scary film means that a couple are partaking in a shared emotional experience. They experience the highs and lows – the fear and the relief – of the film’s characters through the course of the movie. This sharing of vulnerability is what brings couples closer together, Roizen has discovered.
The physical reactions many of us experience while watching our favorite slasher films; heart racing, sweating, loss of appetite – are very similar to the experiences we have when we share affection with our partners. Adding to Roizen’s findings, Psychology Advisor Art Markman, Ph.D. said “If you do some scary activities the main thing it’s going to do is increase your overall arousal level. You are much more likely to be more passionate about anything when your arousal is high than when it’s low”. It’s only natural then that sharing the experience with someone you are attracted to causes the feelings of fear and arousal to become mixed.
“If you’re watching a scary movie, you’ll attribute most of the arousal to the movie. It’s an easy explanation for why you’re scared out of your wits,” Dr. Markman added. “That said, when the movie is over, the arousal doesn’t disappear right away. You’ll still have some energy in your system. That energy is going to go into what is going on in your life. This means if you’re attracted to your partner, you can get more attracted.”
Of course, horror fans have known for years that the genre is good for the soul. It’s proven to be the only genre that can help you burn calories, manage anxiety and relieve stress. Many fans describe their favorite movies as providing an escape from the stresses of everyday life. It seems that these overall health advantages, when combined with a great relationship, can only make a couple closer and happier. The only question that remains is what horror film to chose for your next night of romance!