The Bachelor Australia loves to take contestants on over-the-top dates where someone could die. But as with everything else on this show, it’s all part of a very calculated plan that gets people falling in love faster than in real life (you know, that place where we’re simply excited to get a response within a five-hour timeframe).
There are different factors that help contestants fall hard and fast for The Bachelor — like taking away their connection to the outside world, pitting them against one another, and removing any reminder of normal men on the outside — but a vital ingredient that brings the recipe together is fear.
Fear on The Bachelor is like popping a pinga on a Saturday night: it makes people horny.
I do not make the rules.
We are more likely to be attracted to people when we are experiencing higher levels of arousal. Not like “oh yeah right there keep going” arousal — think the alertness, engagement and an elevated heart rate we cop when we’re doing something that scares us.
There have been multiple studies pointing to the link between attraction and arousal (and fear’s role in arousal). A famous experiment by Donald Dutton and Arthur Aaron in the 70s showed men were more attracted to the woman if they had to cross a shaky and unstable bridge to get to her, as opposed to a safe and secure bridge.
There have only been more studies since, including one where non-romantic partners went on a rollercoaster in 2003. The researcher found that “ratings of attractiveness” and “dating desirability” were higher and that “residual arousal” from the ride only intensified the attraction. Wild.
The reason for this is because we are, according to researchers, misattributing our arousal when there is another presence. “Strong emotions are relabeled as sexual attraction whenever an acceptable object is present,” Dutton and Aaron explained.
Basically your misinterpreting your arousal (such as pumping blood because you think you may die) as sexual attraction. But while some scary activities are exactly that — scary — they can also leave your body and brain remain aroused after the experience is over. It’s called an “excitation transfer process”.
But think about it. Do you really think it’s a coincidence that so many Bachelor and Bachelorette couples once went on dates that required nappies?
Brooke Blurton and Darvid Garayeli had a picnic hanging off a cliff in the Blue Mountains.
Tim Robards and Anna Heinrich on the Scenic Skyway cable car with a glass floor — as did Elly Miles and Frazer Neate.
Richie Strahan and Alex Nation‘s chocolate bath date might not be your stereotypical adventurous date, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they were scared for that disgusting experience too.
Fast forward to now. The Bachelors‘ Alésia has been on an ice rink, rollercoaster and skyscraper with Jed McIntosh at this point — all things he has been scared or out of his comfort zone doing. Alésia is also a front runner and just might win.
Now, the woman is beautiful, mature and understanding — I’m not saying that her propensity for thrill-seeking is going to secure her the final rose, but I am saying that it will help.
Plus, there are plenty of cases where the lead didn’t choose a person that he went on an adrenalin-fuelled date with. Blake Garvey, for example, took Laurina Fleure skydiving only to follow it up with a dirty street pie. While they got closer after their skydiving date as science intended, things went pretty sour after Harry’s Café de Wheels.
So even though feelings might be through the roof after an adventure date, there’s nothing like a dirty street pie to give yourself the reality check you need.
But if you’re wanting to speed things along, remember that scary experiences are basically foreplay. And because plenty of men fumble through those pre-intercourse areas, I guess my next date will have to be a bungey jump.
Chantelle Schmidt is a freelance writer. You can follow her here.