Between the stress linked to the life of a couple, the modern will to have a fulfilled sexuality or the notion of commitment which sometimes poses problems, one can imagine that love life is not always synonymous with happiness or appeasement. However, we often hear that "love is health". What is it really like?

Love, a token of good health?

The love process, whether it is attraction, mutual attachment or desire, involves many hormones. These are related to sensations or emotions that are beneficial to health.   

The exhilaration of the first days

When we fall in love, the feeling of euphoria, exhilaration and elation is linked to the secretion of a hormone: phenylethylamine (PEA). It is nicknamed the "passion hormone" and chocolate, known for its positive effects on mood, contains it. Phenylethylamines act as neurotransmitters (= chemical molecules that ensure the transmission of messages from one neuron to another) which allows them to have a particular action on certain neurons.  In this case, phenylethylamine soothes stress and anxiety and is also a psycho-stimulant1.

Attachment and couple building

After the stimulating actions of phenylethylamine come those of dopamine (happiness hormone) and oxytocin (attachment hormone). Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure and dependence. It is believed to be involved in the attachment process and feelings of fidelity.

Oxytocin2 is naturally secreted by our brain. Also produced naturally during childbirth and lactation, this hormone is responsible for the feeling of relaxation, attraction and attachment to another person. It is said to be a powerful anti-stress and has doping effects on the immune system.  It is secreted during a hug, a loving thought or a simple look. 

Lasting love

Throughout the love relationship, endorphins are at the origin of the feeling of well-being. These hormones are neurotransmitters of the opiate family. They act in the same way as morphine by binding to specific receptors that block the transmission of pain signals and reduce the sensation of pain. They are believed to be used to combat anxiety. Endorphins can be produced by the body after a major effort such as a sports activity. Dependence on endorphins is strong but not harmful to health. Endorphins could also modify our immune responses favourably.

No two love relationships are alike. For some people, love provides a feeling of well-being and happiness that fills them up and helps them feel good psychologically. For others, it is the sharing and the perpetual discovery of the other that helps them to be happy. Falling in love has many impacts on mental health. A love relationship is often a way to surpass oneself in order to please the other, to feel reassured by the other, to blossom and to have self-confidence. Love, also thanks to the hormones secreted during a love relationship, is in fact a kind of antidepressant! In addition, sexuality would help reduce stress and generally lead to happiness according to a Quebec survey.

But love has not only good sides and can be synonymous with stress and worries. Like any relationship with the other, love is a succession of complex and opposing feelings: well-being, jealousy, fulfillment, anger, passion, stress, worries... Arguments within the couple, jealousy or infidelity can cause annoyance and generate stress and anxiety. Being in love is not always easy and it can have a negative impact on our mental health. The couple's health is often at the center of mental health, which fluctuates according to the good relationship or the difficulties encountered. 

Modern codes concerning love relationships and sexuality can also be factors of stress and anxiety. Wanting to conform to current clich├ęs about what a couple or a sexual life should be does not necessarily lead to happiness and would be an additional factor of anxiety and even self-denial.

 Many experts agree that there is a parallel between physical and mental health. Physical health would reflect emotional health. When a person feels depressed or stressed, their physical health can deteriorate, increasing their chances of getting sick compared to someone who feels happy.

Love, accompanied by a sense of well-being and happiness, would be a good way to stay in shape. According to one study, people living in couples have less flu and have more effective immune responses than people living alone.

Sexual relations are also a way to stay in shape. Numerous scientific studies have been conducted and find that sexual relations contribute to well-being and happiness. According to a study conducted in Great Britain, sexual activity may reduce the risk of heart disease and prevent hypertension and various cancers, including prostate and breast cancer.  

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