‘Toy’-ing with sexual lows in middle-aged couplesSeptember 14th, 2008 - 2:56 pm ICT by IANS
London, Sep 14 (IANS) A range of new generation sex toys is being designed for middle-aged British couples, just as news filters in of a study on why the first flush of passion new couples experience dims as years pass by.Scientists now tell us that they have zeroed in on the bodily chemistry that makes couples sexually attractive to each other, last, at most, two years.
The climb down from lust to cuddles couples experience as their relationship grows is caused by hormonal changes, The Telegraph quotes scientists from Italy’s University of Pisa as saying.
Just in case such couples, at least in Britain, are wondering how to enhance their sexual feelings, there is a collection of sex toys from Philips awaiting them shortly.
The Italian researchers tested the levels of the hormones called neutrophins in the blood of volunteers who were rated on a passionate love scale. Levels of these chemical messengers were much higher in those who were in the early stages of romance.
But in people who had been with their partners for between one and two years, these so-called “love molecules” had gone, even though the relationship had survived.
The scientists found that the lust molecule was replaced by the so-called “cuddle hormone” - oxytocin - in couples who had been together for several years. Oxytocin, is a chemical that induces labour and milk-production in new and pregnant mothers.
Donatella Marazziti, who led the research team, said: “If lovers swear their feelings to be ever-lasting, the hormones tell a different story.”
Similar research conducted by Enzo Emanuele at the University of Pavia found that levels of a chemical messenger called nerve growth factor (NGF) increased with romantic intensity. After one to two years, NGF levels had reduced to normal.
But one psychologist warned the hormone shift can be wrongly seen as negative.
Said Petra Boynton of the British Psychological Society: “This feeds into a 1970s view that when you meet it’s all sparky, and then it’s a downward trajectory to cuddles - which is seen as negative. I’m concerned that, having identified these hormones, there will be some move to suggest replacements to recreate the early passion.”
It is conjecture whether Dutch multinational Philips is aware of Boynton’s remark. Nevertheless, the company has announced it will launch a “tasteful” sex toy range for middle-aged British couples called Relationship Care in Selfridges and Boots stores.
Jayson Otke, a Philips spokesman, said the products are designed to enhance couples’ sexual well-being, and specifically target the hitherto “neglected” group of sex toy users aged between 35 and 55.
The three new products will be called collectively the Intimate Massage Range, consisting of the Warm Intimate Massage, the Warm Massage and the Intimate Dual Massage.
Otke told BBC News: “They are attractive to look at, targeted at the over-35 market, designed like beautiful stones with contours that vibrate and in a tasteful purple case. You would not be embarrassed to leave the product in full view of the family. The products are marketed for couples, are non-penetrative, not phallic shaped and are not meant to replace the partner but to enhance the sex life of both partners.”
The company is so confident about its new venture that it is predicting a 55-million-pound (over $98 million) profit in its first 12 months of trading.