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'Spaniards prefer red hot, passionate love'

entertainment Updated: Feb 16, 2009 17:27 IST

Spaniards of all ages believe in and act out of an irresistible passion, which involves great intimacy and strong physicality, described as 'Eros' love.

Eighty per cent of those surveyed agreed with the idea of a passionate love. "In this respect, we are similar to other Latin countries... and differ from others that are geographically closer but have a more different culture," said Victoria Ferrer.

Ferrer is the director of the research study and professor of social psychology at the University of the Balearic Islands, which led the study.

Ferrer finds it surprising that this "mythical idea of love" also predominates among older sections. "The acceptance level dips a little in middle aged groups, when people are more pragmatic, but it rises again among older age groups."

Hollywood has a lot to do with "Eros" being the dominant conception of love. "Cinema has created many myths, and has made us believe things that are not real" because in reality "passion dwindles, and life in a couple is a transactional game in which one has to overcome frictions," said Ferrer.

Far fewer of them see the sentiment as a lasting commitment based on closeness, friendship, companionship and affection (amiable love), a model which is more common in northern Europe.

Behind 'Eros' comes 'Banquet' or altruistic love, also equally acceptable by Spaniards, which implies making sacrifices for the welfare of the other.

Pragmatic 'Pragma' love, based on searching for a partner based on rational criteria, along with friendship-based love, both have a similar level of acceptance in Spain - around 54 per cent.

These are the highlights of a research project headed by five psychologists from the University of the Balearic Islands, based on 1,351 phone interviews,

'Maniacal' or obsessive, love, characterised by its intensity and intimacy, but also by jealously, lack of communication, and "physical and psychological symptoms", and which is "closer to gender violence", was only rejected by 25 per cent of those surveyed.

Almost 40 per cent viewed it with indifference and more than 30 per cent said it was acceptable, said a Balearic release.

Love as a game (lust), with little emotional involvement, and no expectations for the future "is not our cup of tea", she said. This concept was rejected by 66 per cent, particularly women.

These findings have been published in the journal Psycothema.