Tag Archives: monogamy

FOR MEN: Real Men Hate the Word Love

love-limit-road-sign-trim-black-partsHave you ever noticed that I talk about relationships all day long and I only rarely mention love? And when I do, it is usually to caution that it is a delusion intertwined with sexual attraction. Or, I remind you that love is a verb, not a noun. An action word. Not a state of being. Long term love is an intellectual commitment, I say.

Could I sound any more unromantic?

Hey, and speaking of romance, I normally dismiss flowers, chocolate, fine wine, and high heels simple accoutrements to delusion. I should also tell you that my “brainy” ideas about love have garnered me a group of male readers who say, “finally a woman who gets it.” Men do love to make rational sense of things that are so irrational. And men love to hate the word love. It feels weak to think feelings for a woman might disempower them.

But do I really get it?

I certainly have some textbook notions about how biology and psychology get all tangled up and sometimes make people do things they shouldn’t be doing. Running off with a paramour when a perfectly good spouse is right in front of you. Staying with an abusive spouse because of love. Jumping into bed with a Casanova because you will be the one to change him. Thinking that a loss of sexual energy is a loss of love. And, my favorite transgression of love’s delusion: Dragging children through our delusions.

Could love really be that dangerous? Must it always involve some form of heartbreak, dysfunction, boredom, loss, or even violence? And if that is the case, why do we march right back into the fire when we should know better?

I have some of the answers. But only some.

Psychologists would say that love is a seeking out of early womb experiences and infantile bliss. A baby’s play and cuddling becomes an adult sex life. Parts of our brain consider a lover a kind of mother, a nurturer, a protector, even an executor of boundaries. We feel safe and cared for in a love relationship.

We do it, that is, fall in love because it is the single best chemical high in our lifespan. At least, the best high that both genders can experience. Women also get to do childbirth, which is pretty darn close to experiencing heaven and hell at the same time. But love is different. It is shared with an adult.

Both genders can experience love together. Love. An unconscious handshake between too souls who agree there is more to this world than work, play, and food. It is an exchange of mutual projections that when executed well, is better than any Academy Award winning movie. Love may be a delusion but it is one of the best ones we have. And sometimes it’s all we have. With so many people losing faith in old religions, I wonder if love is becoming our new religion. And what is faith after all? Merely a belief in something that we have little scientific proof of. I would venture to say that we have far more proof of love’s power than many religions do in their folklore. The selfless acts of love that happen every day are real, observable, and can bring us to our knees in awe of the God-like powers within humans.

Now I will really go out on a limb and say that Love (look, I’m using a cap now!) can feel like a spiritual experience. All we can hope for, is that each new love relationship will bring us different challenges. We hope that as we grow we will not become trapped in familiar, unhealthy patterns that get us stuck. Delusion or not, love is something we should all sign up for. It’s an antidote to fear, horrific TV news, sickness, and other suffering. Love is the answer. And when life gets us down, when we feel, shame, loneliness, victimized, pressured, indecisive, or angry, love is the only choice that will work every single time. It won’t always have an instant result and it won’t always come back directly to us with the precision of a ping pong ball, but a loving act will change our biology and change the world. One selfless act at a time. Don’t fear love, nor waste it thoughtlessly. It is the biggest gift you will ever receive. Ya listening guys?

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Is Rational Love Replacing Romantic Love?

FOR WOMEN: Find Mr Right, Right Now!

couple-on-dateWomen always ask me how they can tell if the new guy they are dating is commitment oriented or just around for the fun times. Most men have learned to say all the right things at the beginning of any dating situation to make women feel comfortable and to obtain sex, and sometimes it’s hard to tell the commitment oriented guys from the players. Sadly, research shows that the number one lie is that men tell women is, “I love you,” in exchange for sex. So how can you tell at the beginning? Here are five clues you can look for to see if a guy is commitment oriented:

1. Look at his parents’ marriage: Are they still married? Were they married for a long time? This is important because this is a model inside of his head.

2. Check out his social group: Does he still run with a pack of highly single, promiscuous guys? Do they spend a lot of time in Vegas? Are there strippers involved? That’s not a good sign. If his peers are starting to get married or some of them are married and having kids, this is a good sign.

3. What’s his income? Studies show that men of a higher income tend to get married more often then men of a lower income. Guess what, when you get married all that stuff costs money, kids, mortgage, babies, college, whatever. Men like to have their financial ducks in order.

4. How old is he? The average age an American male gets married is 27. If he is between the ages of 24 and 37 that’s a really good marriageable age if it’s his first time heading to the altar.

5. Is he able to delay sexual gratification? A study out of the UK showed when women said “No” to sex, the men that stuck around were the good guys. They ended up being the “Dads” rather than the “Cads”. Another study shows that couples who wait to have sex tend to have healthier long-term relationships. Why? People who have the intellectual ability to delay sexual gratification tend to make better partners.

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FOR SINGLES: How to Spot a Cheater

cheater-quiz-mainIf only the cheaters and bad boys came with a warning label, so they’d be easy to spot before you laid your heart on the line. Some people who are prone to sexual infidelity do have an M.O., and here are some helpful tips to spot them.

First, look at their intentions when you first meet them. Research has shown that people who tend to be unfaithful are often emotionally avoidant. They dance around the tender topics like feelings most likely won’t open up about their family. One way an emotionally avoidant person operates is to extract sex and move on or they will carry on multiple relationships where they don’t have to get close to any one person.

While you’re out, be aware of your date’s social behavior. Studies have shown that a healthy sense of guilt can keep people monogamous. Faithfulness comes out of a sense of not wanting to betray their lover or hurt someone’s feelings. So if your date isn’t showing a lot of empathy or compassion to the people around, maybe even by being rude to a waiter, not tipping well or littering on the street chances are they don’t carry a lot of guilt. Instead, try to seek someone with strong moral values. They don’t have to attend church regularly, but if they were raised with any kind of religion they will know the Golden Rule. Remember that one? “Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself.” It means somewhere deep in their soul exists early life moral programming that can be helpful.

Here’s some research you might find fascinating, the higher a male’s IQ and education levels are, the less likely he is to cheat. Think about it, if we drive by a fast food restaurant and don’t stop it’s because we have made an intellectual decision not to put the fat and sugar in our body. The same goes for a man passing up a sexual opportunity. He is making an intellectual decision not to cheat, because he knows there will be consequences. A strong brain with good intellectual functioning can help him avoid his body’s temptations.

Here’s another fact that surprised me. Most would expect the alpha male, manly man, to be the one who wants to spread his seed, however, men with sexual anxiety issues are the ones to be wary of. These are the men who aren’t 100 percent confident in their sexual performance. These guys might think it’s their choice of partner, so they are more likely to see if it works better with someone else.

Final tip, pay attention to that paycheck! We are at a time when many women, particularly in the age range of 22-32, are making more money than their male peers. Research is showing that if a man makes significantly less money than his wife he is more likely to be unfaithful. Men love to self-identify by being the provider and when they can’t do so their self-esteem takes a hit. Sexual prowess becomes a way to help raise their self-esteem. On the other hand, if a man makes significantly more money than his wife he is more likely to have an affair because he might feel a form of entitlement. Couples do better in terms of fidelity, when they make around the same amount.

FOR WOMEN: Why We Love Bad Boys

112408requiredWe all know what a bad boy is. He’s the kind of guy who comes in, uses amazing short term strategies, the guy who makes us feel so beautiful, so cool. Bad boys may be rich, they may be tall, they may be gorgeous, they may be have an exciting career, that we are interested in. And then they disappear for a while. Days. Weeks. And then they come back again. And everything is back on. They come and they go. They dance around conversations about commitment and clearly are not the kind of guys who are going to settle down and have a long-term relationship. (Although plenty of women hold the fantasy!)

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Now here’s why so many of us are addicted to bad boys.  First of all, some women have an anxious attachment disorder. One third of American women suffered some kind of child abuse in their early years, and that abuse often came at the hands of someone they loved. They only know bad behavior and inconsistency. They are hoping somehow to make daddy love them this time, so they are more attracted to the guy who is less care giving.

Secondly, some women are insecure and they confuse a bad boy’s emotional unavailability with self-confidence. He’s aloof, he’s cool,. And they think, “I’m going to be the one to change him. I’m going to be the one to make the bad boy love me, because then I will be able to love myself.” But actually if you stop and learn to love yourself first, you’ll realize how bad boys are definitely the one thing you don’t need.

Finally, plenty of well-meaning women become ensnared by a bad boy through a learning theory called the “Random Interval Reward System.” Remember Pavlov and his dog, all the ways to shape human behavior through rewards? There is none better than the random interval reward system. It’s what Las Vegas is based on, and bad boys do it so well. It means the reward varies in size and the interval it’s administered varies in length as well. Just like a Vegas slot machine. So a bad boy shows up, he calls us, he takes us to a great date and every thing is amazing! It (he) pays off in a big way and then he kinda disappears. But we do still get drips and drabs of rewards. He calls every once and a while, he texts a bunch of times, maybe he does a drive by date with us and stops for a drink somewhere, while you’re waiting for the next big exciting date or the hot sex again. That’s how the bad boy gets you glued to him without you even knowing! And, by the way, he doesn’t even know he’s playing a game either, but the fact that he gives his attention in a random way, at different intervals, makes you addicted.

So it’s really important for you to become aware, if you are a bad boy chaser, whether it has to do with your attachment style, self-esteem or whether you’re just addicted to his random rewards.

 

FOR COUPLES: Hand Down Best Sex

BDP7TR_1731100cYou might think monogamy is boring. It’s certainly a common excuse that some people use for remaining single: They fear the monotony of sex with the same person for the rest of their lives. Many imagine that married sex is a duty-bound exercise where spouses fall into the same old routine and get stuck into a “sex rut.”
But contrary to popular belief, married couples aren’t sexually deprived individuals.

According to her recently published research in the Journal of Law and Family Studies, Marsha Garrison found that, “On average, married individuals rate their happiness, mental health, and sexual experience more highly than unmarried individuals.” That’s right, married couples say they have better sex than single individuals. This superior sexual experience is attributed to a different kind of sex on the sexual scale Dr. Douglas LaBier, psychologist and Director of the Center for Progressive Development in Washington, DC, discussed in The New Resilience. Dr. LaBier explains that “Marital Sex” and “Making Love” differ from “Hook-up Sex” because of increased levels of communication and understanding. Although “Hook-up Sex” can be a great sexual experience, partners typically do not voice their needs or desires, they are simply using the other’s body for sexual pleasure. Dr. LaBier states, “But your sexual relationship elevates to that higher plane only when you join that energy to the energy that comes from open communication and equality in your daily behavior with your partner”. The higher levels of communication, respect and equality that come with most committed relationships and marriages are what take the sexual experience to another level.

Not only do married couples have better sex than single individuals, they are going at it more often. Jeff Wilser author of The Maxims of Manhood and The Man Cave Book explains reasons why married individuals have a more active sex life than unmarried individuals. Married couples have more access to each other, typically every night if the mood strikes. Malcolm Gladwell argues, 10,000 hours makes a person an expert, which means practices makes those lovemaking skills almost perfect. And why wouldn’t couples want to engage in intercourse when marriage removes the pesky aspects of condoms, secret fears and insecurities, as well as awkward fumbling? Married sex just looks better and better!