Consider a couple with an infant (or two) whose lives have become so harried and difficult the marriage is falling apart. Would it be ethical for them to take oxytocin to help them renew their emotional bonds, or would this be an unethical evasion of the hard work that keeping a marriage going requires? What if someone has sexual desires that they consider immoral – should they be able to take a drug to suppress those desires, or alternatively can society force them to? Debates about the ethics of using drugs for enhancement rather than treatment usually focus on the individual, such as doping in sports.In Love Drugs: The Chemical Future of Relationships (Stanford University Press, 2020), Brian Earp and Julian Savulescu consider the case for using drugs to alter our love relationships. Earp, who is Associate Director of the Yale-Hastings Program in Ethics and and Health Policy at Yale University, and Savulescu, the Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford, note that drugs that alter sexual desire and attachment are already available, although are restricted or illegal. What is needed, they argue, is more research into the interpersonal effects of drugs, and more discussion of the ethics of their use for non-medical purposes. Let’s turn to a fascinating interview on a complex topic with no easy answers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In the first part of a special mini season, Rosie is joined by Brian D. Earp, author of Love is the Drug, to discuss the ways in which drugs we currently take (such as SSRI antidepressants, contraceptive pills and recreational drugs like alcohol) are influencing our romantic choices. How could SSRIs and MDMA be used either to help us stay in a long-term relationship or to reduce the traumatic effects of leaving one? How should these biochemical interventions work alongside actions like starting couples counselling or deleting your ex from Facebook? When will they be appropriate? What are the authentic emotions we should listen to? Could something like the memory erasure machine in the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind ever be a reality? Could we redirect our attraction from an unsuitable, unavailable person to someone else? Could a love potion, as depicted by Shakespeare, ever exist? Could this biotechnology be used to redirect a person’s sexual orientation? This podcast includes content funded by the British Podcast Awards and the Wellcome Trust. Keep an eye on this link regarding the status of our London events. You can subscribe to The Breakup Monologues wherever you get your podcasts including in these places: Apple Podcasts Spotify Libsyn RSS Feed You can now follow The Breakup Monologues on Instagram @breakupmonologues
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