Fear is the new viagra, allegedly…

Have you ever wondered why, when you’re one nil up with a minute to go against Man Utd in the 98th minute – of stoppage time – that you get stirrings down below? Or why, when the girl goes running out of the back door in the middle of the night to investigate that scraping sound she heard on the window in that gruesome horror dvd you’re watching you have to slide the cushion across your lap to stop your date from cottoning on to your inexplicable arousal?

Well, according to recent research, that scenario happens when your brain literally misinterprets the information it is seeing. It’s almost as if it’s telling you: “Oi, I don’t like this, even though I know it’s not real, it’s still scaring the bejesus out of me, cannot compute, cannot compute.” So, what’s the first emotion that kicks in for a male when his brain doesn’t know how to digest scary information? Arousal, of course!?!?

Okay, now that you know you’re not just plain wierd when the victim gets garotted with a length of fusewire that just happened to be lying around or that you’re having to walk out of the ground hunched over after the final whistle’s gone, what are you going to do with this information – after the relief’s set in, of course?

Well, there are boffins who actually study this area of expertise – blog about it, have even produced a book about it. And they truly believe that this emotion can be an aid to dating.

The theory goes like this, and it’s especially appropriate if you’ve met this first date on a dating site and you’re not sure whether they’re going to fancy you, or not. Even if your date is not totally enamoured with you at the time, being put, in a sense, in a place of imagined danger will stoke up this emotional turmoil and confusion.

Say, whilst you’re online dating you arrange to go ice skating for your first date; maybe you’ve both been individually before but neither of you are prolific.  That challenge, the fear of the unknown, will have you clinging to your new beau, without subconsciusly realising it – result!  Likewise, if you go see that horror flick together or watch The Wolves at home – or is that the same thing – hanging on for dear life means that contact is essential, even though it’s your first time out together.

It’s all clear and present danger but with the safety net of being harmless, from which our brains are somehow blinkered, that, after that first date is over, the pair of you will look back on and somehow recall just how aroused you were by your partner, and not the thought of Paul Scholes in a pair of tight white shorts running up to take the penalty (thank heaven for small mercies).

So, when your online dating days are over and you’ve just had your 25th Anniversary and need to inject a little spice, just remember that time at ‘The Silver Blades’ or ‘Evil Dead II’ or ‘Wolves 1 – 0 Man Utd’, and do something to recreate that sense of danger. Those old impulses will come flooding back and, once you’ve checked that, yes, the kids have finally left home for good, well – no need for the cushion, this time…

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