This year, at locations all around the country, Valentine’s Day is going to be a little bit different. Valentine X is a haunted house event with a Valentine’s theme, and it’s a fun, new way to experience the holiday with friends or with your special someone. The idea of getting scared on a date is not as out-there as it seems. Turns out, a little fear can actually help you fall in love! Studies have shown that there’s a real, scientifically proven, bio-chemical connection between love and fear. The cascade of reactions that occur in your body when you go through a scary experience can open you up to romance in a lot of different ways. Read below for the science behind this phenomenon.
When something scares you and you walk away in one piece, your brain is flooded with its feel-good drug, dopamine. You survived, and you feel awesome. It’s no surprise that you associate those good feelings with whoever’s holding your hand at the time.
When your body perceives a threat, it pumps adrenaline through your body, which makes you more alert, energized and ready for action. At the same time, however, your stimulated adrenal glands are also producing sex hormones, including testosterone and some natural estrogens. So, when your heart’s thumping out of your chest, it’s also getting primed for romance.
Oxytocin is a chemical your body releases during sex, and it works to create an attachment to the specific person you’re with. Recent studies show that oxytocin is also a powerful anti-anxiety chemical. It actually erases scary memories. As you’re calming down after a sudden fright, oxytocin comes to the rescue, dulling your fear, relaxing you, and, last but not least, causing you to bond with those who went through the experience with you.
One fun experiment conducted in 2002—titled “Love at First Fright”–showed that people getting off a roller-coaster were more attracted to photographs of others than were people who were in line to get on. The theory is that a general emotional excitement takes time to fade away, so there’s a window after a frightening experience in which all emotions, include love and lust, are heightened.
All this might sound dry and scientific, but the results are real: getting the daylights scared out of you and falling in love go hand in hand. That’s why Valentine X is the perfect way to spend your Valentine’s Day weekend. You’ll have fun screaming at terrifying Valentine’s-themed scenarios and characters in a spooky haunted mansion, and so will your date or friends.
Haunted houses aren’t just for Halloween anymore. Getting scared is fun all year round—and it can be pretty romantic, as well. This Valentine’s Day, give that special person a reason to call you Boo!