- One wrote an essay about a situation where they felt the most love for their partner.
- The second group wrote about a time they felt the most sexual desire for their partner.
- The third group wrote about a subject of their own choice.
Compared to the control group (who wrote about their own topic), people writing about love were 6 times less likely to think about the attractive person, and people writing about sexual desire for their partner were 4 times less likely.
The researchers also asked the students to describe the photo “hottie” after writing their essays. The love essay writers remembered only about 2/3 the number of attractive features as the other groups.
The researchers concluded that reflecting on the love you have for one person effectively filters out temptation for another.
Gonzaga, G., Haselton, M. G., Smurda, J., Davies, M. S., & Poore, J. C. (2008). Love, desire, and the suppression of thoughts of romantic alternatives. Evolution and Human Behavior.