The Reason Why Couples Use Child-Like Nicknames In Relationships Makes Perfect Sense

Hearing a couple refer to each other with pet names might be annoying to most people, but there's a very plausible reason why we use nicknames for each other.

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Having once worked in a chocolate shop as 'head icer', and had the painful task of icing 50 Easter eggs in one morning with various names and nicknames, I've developed somewhat of a encyclopedic knowledge when it comes to pet names.

Just you try and stare a customer seriously in the face when they've just asked you to smear 'Dearest Snugglebum' on a milk chocolate plaque.

And yes, while we may all roll our eyes or cringe at the sound of a pet name shared between a couple in films or on social media, there is, I admit, something oddly affectionate and compelling about a loving nickname when you come to think about it.

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And according to several experts in the world of idiosyncratic communication, pet names can actually me be a sign of a strong and prosperous relationship and form a sense of intimacy between a couple, similar to a shared joke or memory.

In an interview with Scientific American on the subject of terms of endearment, Carol Bruess – author of the preeminent 1993 study, 'Sweet Pea' and 'Pussy Cat': An Examination of Idiom Use and Marital Satisfaction Over the Life Cycle – revealed it's completely normal societal reaction to use a nickname when referring to a loved one.

'I think it's a really human, natural behavior to take language and shape it for our own purposes. I think that's how nicknames evolve. We name things, we give things symbols, and over time we tend to naturally manipulate those symbols toward a certain outcome,' she says.

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According to her research, the way in which couples speak and refer to one another in their relationship becomes 'part of the fabric of their relationship'.

That's all good and well for their relationship but why do so many couples choose so many infantile and preposterous names like 'baby' and 'munchkin' that has the rest of us wanting to gag?

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Well, according to Dr. Frank Nuessel, a University of Louisville professor and expert in onomastics (the study of naming) — the letters 'b', 'm', and 'p' are among the easiest to make as they require no tongue movement, and are some of the first sounds babies make, such as 'mama' and 'papa', as reported by Hellogiggles.

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'When parents, and usually it's the mother who interacts the most, tries to teach the baby language, they use the terms of the child: mama, papa, baba,' argues Nuessel.

'Then the adults transfer the language to other adults or significant others in their life, and they use those as terms of endearment,' he adds.

As a result, we have a tendency to carry on using this endearing use of speech into our adult lives as a sign of affection with our romantic partners.

Psychology Today even suggest that baby talk and pet names between partners mimic the sensation of being loved unconditionally by our parents as children which we crave in future loving relationships.

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Writing for the publication, Dr Leon F. Seltzer argues the use of pet names boosts bonding chemicals such as dopamine, oxytocin and phenylethylamine which make us feel more secure and close to loved ones.

However, like that scene in How Lose A Guy In Ten Days, when Kate Hudson's character nicknames Matthew McConaughey's penis 'Princess Sophia', pet names are only wine when both partners give permission to use the names.

Sex expert Ian Kerner, author of the Good In Bed series of guidebooks tells Scientific American: 'Names like honey, baby, babe, sweetheart (etc.) connote a special intimacy that's reserved for your significant other,

'Most couples tell me they're shocked or know something is wrong in the relationship when a partner actually calls them by their actual name and not their nickname,' he adds.

So, basically if you have always used pet names and now suddenly you or your partner has stopped, you might want to reevalute your relationship or pick a new moniker.

Princess Sophia is off the cards, alright?

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