Tag Archives: Relationships

FOR MEN: What’s Your Face Type?

BeerGirlsGuys may think they have a type that they are attracted to, but new research shows that face type is related to what kind of relationship a man in looking for. When a guy is looking for a short-term fling, one kind of gal is much more attractive. But when he’s looking for a solid, long term commitment kind of gal, another kind of face becomes attractive. The difference, masculine and feminine cues.

Anthony Little from the University of Stirling and Benedict Jones from the University of Glasgow conducted a group of 393 heterosexual men, within the group, 207 claimed they had a partner. During the study, participants were shown 10 pictures of women. Each photo was paired with another photo, the difference being that one was more feminine while the other had more masculine traits. The men were given the task to choose which photo was more appealing to them. What Anthony found interesting was how men tend to act the same way as women when it comes to short term relationships: women tend to pick a guy with more masculine features, and for men it is the more feminine traits a women carries that is appealing.

For longer term goals, men chose women who had slightly more masculine facial features.

Why the difference? Evolutionary psychologists could easily speculate that men who want to spread their seed, would choose a woman with fertile cues, but sharing a home, hearth, and bank account might be easier if the woman felt less alien. The other thought is that a less attractive wife would leave him less vulnerable to mate poaching. Trust me, marrying a “10” means a lot of maintenance and mate guarding.

For Couples: Dealing with Mismatched Libidos

iStock_000023453813LargeOne of the most consistent challenges of marriage and long-term monogamous relationships are mismatched libidos. Research psychologist, Robert Epstein, Ph.D., estimates that in many couples the issue is so extreme, that approximately 40 million Americans face the challenge of a sexless marriage.

For most people, sexual pleasure is a highly individualized experience. Because of that individualized experience, it’s not realistic that a couple is going to be in sync with each other 100% of the time. But beyond basic differences in the sexual needs of each partner, external pressures can negatively impact a couple’s ability to maintain a healthy sex life over a long period of time. Stress, anxiety, children, and even boredom can all impact a couple’s sex life.

The first step to addressing the problem of mismatched libidos is developing and showing empathy toward your partner’s side. Getting a sexual needs met by someone you are angry isn’t exactly a turn on. Understand that there is frustration on both sides of a mismatch, and talking respectfully about the experiences of each partner can take some pressure off. Acknowledging the problem in a non-judgmental manner is crucial to resolving it.

Next, create a space for non-sexual intimacy in the relationship. Sometimes it is difficult for one partner to engage physically because they fear that any physicality will have to lead to sex. In fact, most sex therapists prescript a strict “no sex!” rule for the first six weeks of sex therapy in order to get couples in a sex rut to explode others forms of touch and other erogenous zones. Don’t rush through things, and remember that intimacy doesn’t have to be sex! Feeling comfortable with physical intimacy is essential for a healthy sex life, and can jumpstart a transition back into a sexual relationship.

One company that understands this is Hello Cheri. A new brand of adult accessories for your love life, Hello Cheri believes that intimacy and physicality come in all styles. They want to help you to improve your romantic life, whatever form it might take.

Hello Cheri provides an entire line of scented massage oils and handmade massage stones. For those not ready to rush back into sex, these are a wonderful place to start, and a low-pressure way to be physical with a partner. Massaging builds intimacy and, importantly, sexual tension, and can help reduce stress surrounding physical engagement. Adding small touches like a scented candle can easily change the mood of a room, and help your partner relax and engage.

Communication and physicality are two large steps towards reconciling mismatched libidos, but sometimes couples do need professional advice. The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists is a phenomenal resource for locating trained therapists with the knowledge to help you develop a sexy health life. Meanwhile, don’t be afraid to discuss intimacy with your partner and find ways to explore physicality that make you both comfortable!

DR. WENDY WALSH IS AVAILABLE FOR TELEPHONE RELATIONSHIP COACHING. TO SCHEDULE, PLEASE CLICK HERE AND COMPLETE THE BOX ON THE LEFT. SHE’LL PERSONALLY RESPOND.

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FOR WOMEN: Six Sexuality Facts That May Surprise MEN

Couple having sex - woman on topThe study of women’s sexuality is relatively new in the grand scale of research history, but now science is finding statistics about women’s sexuality that make most women say, “Duh.” Here are a few recent studies that might surprise some men:

1. Women tend to become aroused by erotica involving men, men and women, and just women, indicating a bisexual arousal pattern. This doesn’t mean women all behave in a bisexual manner. It simply means they can be turned on by both thoughts or images of both genders. This is different from most straight men who only become aroused by heterosexual erotica, and gay men who mostly become aroused by homosexual material.

2. Women’s brains can separate mental arousal from genital arousal. For instance, even if she is not mentally stimulated, a woman’s body can have a physiological reaction to sex. (Thus the confusion of some rape victims who experience a spontaneous orgasm during the trauma.) And women can sometimes be mentally aroused and have trouble becoming wet and wild down below.

3. Body image is connected to sexuality for women. Women who feel more positively about their own genitals find it easier to orgasm and are more likely to engage in sexual health promoting behaviors, such as having regular gynecological exams or performing self-examinations.

4. For women, physicality grows out of emotionality. Emotional availability activates their physical sexuality. Women are more apt to show up physically and sexually when their partner is emotionally present, while men tend more to just show up.

5. Women fear emotional infidelity more than physical infidelity and men fear the opposite. In one study women preferred that their husband see a prostitute once per week rather than have platonic, though intimate, lunches with a co-worker. This points to the fact that women fear a diversion of resources that might come with an emotional connection.

6. Women have less ability to have a stand alone physical relationship because their body releases oxytocin during orgasm. Oxytocin, the female bonding hormone, is also released during breastfeeding. For that reason women sometimes become bonded through sex even when they don’t mean to.

Watch my YOUTUBE Video on:

Five Sex Myths That Keep Women Single

FOR COUPLES: Can A Relationship Break Help?

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 12.58.45 PMPlenty of couples, especially young couples wanting to have more relationship experiences, think that taking a relationship break — separating as a test — can help them decide if they are with the one.”Do you believe taking a ‘break’ in a relationship can be a good thing?” is a question posed to me on a website called SixQuestions.com. You can watch my video answer below.

The short answer is no. Generally, when someone in a monogamous relationship suggests “taking a break,” what they are really asking for is a chance to dip their toes in the mating market and see what value they might have outside of their longterm relationship.

That’s not to say it’s always the case. There are circumstantial reasons that a couple might want to take a relationship break, like during a time that one is studying abroad. The difference lies in the intended goals of the person suggesting a break. Is the intended goal to slowly detach yourself from a longterm relationship, but keep that security blanket? Or is the goal to preserve a relationship for the long-term?

FOR COUPLES: Expressing the “F” word: Feelings

Communication problemsWhile some people seem to express emotions easily, most people have to learn. Having emotional language skills is crucial to not only the relationships we have with others, but also the relationship we have with ourself. If we can’t name our feelings and share them, we are a long way off from being able to process them and use them in a healthful way. Having an honest emotional vocabulary is crucial to emotional intimacy, though this communication art is easier for some of us than others.

There’s a joke I make about men. I like to say that most of them act like they’re afraid to say the “F” word — FEELINGS. And  I’m not totally off base here. Men and boys are socialized to express less emotional communication and I think the are also biologically wired to have less emotional awareness than women. There’s even a diagnosis is the therapist’s bible of mental disorders, the DSM, called Alexithymia, which basically means an inability to connect feelings with words. In recent years a Harvard professor, Dr. Ron Levant came up with the phrase “normative male alexithymia” to describe how American males are culturally conditioned  to repress their vulnerable and caring emotions, causing them to become underdeveloped in emotional expressiveness.

But a fear of talking about feelings is an equal opportunity affliction. Since feminism gave way to the no-rules relationship revolution, an age where emotions are less and less risked, many women have followed the example of men. I would venture to say that women’s greatest assets — an awareness of emotions and verbal skills — have been abandoned by too many of our gender.

The solution? To delve into the the squeamish sea of honest communication that focusses on personal feelings rather than points fingers at others.  One of the reasons this is a challenge for some is that this important skill was neither taught nor modeled by our parents. Parents of the 1960’s more often practiced critical parenting rather than emotionally intimate parenting. Critical parenting sounds like this: Johnny you are a messy boy! Look at that disgusting room. No TV for you, bad boy! Emotionally Intimate parenting sounds like this: Johnny, I feel angry when I have to clean up your mess and I want you to feel proud of your room, so I’m going to help you become neater by saying a clean room means a reward of TV. See the focus on feelings, in this case anger and pride, with a positive reward instead of shame as the behavior shaper.

So, assuming that you were parented in the more common, critical way, here’s a crash course in how to use emotional language to grow intimacy in all your relationships. First of all, in every communication, try to identify your own feelings and express them as a reaction to someone’s behavior rather than an assault on their behavior. People get less defensive when they hear the words, “I feel” than when they hear “You are.”

Having trouble labeling that uneasy feeling in your stomach? Here’s Dr. Walsh’s handy dictionary of the most common feelings people express. I like to call them the twenty power words of emotional intimacy. Next time you tell a story to someone, add your emotional experience by saying “I feel,” followed by one of these words: Nervous, Happy, Sad, Angry, Disappointed, Hopeful, Ignored, Embarrassed, Envious, Jealous, Lonely, Excited, Surprised, Proud, Scared, Guilty, Aroused, Uncomfortable, Rejected, Loved.

This kind of language will open the door to the most tender parts of your psyche and help you become more accessible and ultimately more lovable. It will also model skills for others, including your kids. Yes, even your sons. Using emotional language is a bit terrifying at first, but trust me, it can enrich all your relationships. “I feel” quite confident about this.

Watch my youtube video on:

How to Communicate and Be Heard