Tag: dating

Fuck Yes: Sex-Ed Series for Adults

New sex-positive videos by F*ck Yes!

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“With issues of consent at the center of so many conversations lately, F*ck Yes is just the kind of raw, honest entertainment we need.”

A couple negotiates what it might be like to incorporate a little porn into their sex life.

Things have gotten hot and heavy, but there’s no protection in sight. What’s a couple to do?

 

Lesson: If you ask for what you *actually* want, you might *actually* get it.

 

Consent is still sexy, even in a long-term relationship.

 http://www.upworthy.com/this-new-sex-ed-series-for-adults-is-funny-sexy-and-actually-educational

Who is inappropriate to date?

Dr. Timaree’s excellent article, “Who is inappropriate to date?” is especially good to read if you are considering becoming involved with a person out of your traditional dating sphere.

Should you date a co-worker? How about your best friend’s ex? What about someone 20 years younger?

There are a lot of strongly held beliefs about these things, sometimes argued with a simple “you just don’t.”

A thought exercise

Sometimes I challenge my graduate students to explain – specifically – why incest is wrong.

Being grossed out is a perfectly good reason not to do something, sure. But neither disgust nor the fact there is a law against a behavior actually explains why it’s bad. Though the incest taboo is nearly universal, very few of us can articulate the reason for being immovably opposed to intra-familial sexual experiences.

Why do I ask my students about this? Because we’re examining our beliefs about sex and relationships. Which values are rational, healthy and necessary? Which ones are based on superstitions and traditions that no longer make sense in the modern world?

Why question the rules about sex?

Many of our deeply held ideas about sex are entirely unscientific and illogical. Only when we’re brave enough to question our beliefs can we be assured that they make sense and are serving us.

One area that warrants a closer look is who is and who is not appropriate to have as a partner. What makes it not OK to have a romantic or sexual attachment to someone?

When talking with students about what is problematic about incest, we discuss a number of things. We look at variations from culture to culture: how marriage to a first cousin is not only legal in most US states but incredibly common in many countries. We affirm that birth defects are a potential result of inbreeding. But we also acknowledge that they are a risk with any pregnancy and also that not all sex can lead to conception. We consider how these types of relationships are prone to be abusive, due to power differentials. We look at what is gained by looking outside one’s community for mates.

Eventually we come to the conclusion incest violates important boundaries and that the potential fallout from a breakup with a family member is not worth the risk. And, after this exploration, we can be assured that the taboo has a useful purpose and that it’s worth upholding. It also gives us a minimum threshold for what we can accept in a sexual relationship.

What are boundries anyway?

Boundaries are lines that separate and create limits. They maintain roles, rights and responsibilities. They keep us from losing ourselves, being taken advantage of, and becoming dependent on others. They’re important to sense of self, respect for others, and equality of power.

Boundaries sustain relationships. It’s possible to have a healthy coupling with a major power differential between partners… but it’s a lot harder. When someone is already in our life in one capacity, we take a risk by connecting with them in another way, potentially ruining the initial connection if things go south. Sometimes a relationship develops between two people that changes the dynamics for others around them, making it harder to live or work together.

Mutual attraction can happen anywhere – whether we indulge in the interest isn’t just about desire. It’s also about consequences.

Whose business is it?

We have the freedom to take any risk for love or sex, to choose any partner we like (as long as they are able to consent), if we are willing to accept the outcome. Whether we weigh how other people are affected is really a matter of allegiances. If your social network objects to your partner choices, only you can decide if you care enough to make that a consideration.

In a business setting, romance has the potential to: disrupt the chain of command, lead to differential treatment and, when flirtations are allowed to fly freely, opens the company up to lawsuits. For these reasons, there are often rules about fraternization among co-workers. And these policies are generally fair and reasonable.

But in friendships and families, boundaries can only be set by the individuals. There are not – and cannot be- hard and fast rules about whom you can date. There’s no one-size-fits-all guide that works for every person and situation.

The fail proof formula

Other than the minimum requirement of informed, enthusiastic consent, there’s no equation to figure out if a partner is too young, different, close, etc. While it might destroy one person to see her best friend and ex hook up, others are happy to see such pairings. Some folks have an easy time transitioning from lover to friend and risk little by dating those in their professional or friend circles; others have post-breakup Scorched Earth policies and those people should stick to dating relative strangers.

It’s possible to have a perfectly healthy coupling between employee and manager, for instance, but it’s probably not a good idea for those who’ve never dated seriously before, who have difficulty compartmentalizing, or maintaining cordiality during personal conflict.

The takeaway

The key is being honest with yourself about the potential consequences and your ability to handle them. The more experience we have with relationships and the greater understanding we have of ourselves, the better we can handle complex, potentially risky partnering. Bravely assess yourself, your potential mate, and the risks and rewards of being together. And, perhaps most importantly: enjoy.


 

Dr. Timaree Schmit earned her Ph.D. in Human Sexuality from Widener University, where she now trains future sexologists and clinicians. Her passion is bringing rational, empirically-based, sex-positive information to the world, empowering others to celebrate their bodies, build intimacy and experience pleasure. 

She has an award-winning podcast, “Sex with Timaree“, and hosts a BYOB sex ed, comedy/game show “DTF: Darryl and Timaree Fun Hour” which can be seen every second Friday at the Franky Bradley’s (1320 Chancellor St.)

Dr. Timaree’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sexwithtimaree
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/sexwithtimaree/Dr-Timaree-Who-isiInappropriate-to-date.html#hDseJcG4LROlb55d.99

For Single Women, An ‘Infinite Variety Of Paths’

NPR: The Changing Lives of Women

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Over time, the image of the single woman has evolved — from Mary Tyler Moore to When Harry Met Sally to Sex and the City to 30 Rock‘s Liz Lemon.

Writer Rebecca Traister says until very recently, getting married marked the beginning of a woman’s adult life. But in the past few decades, there has been a dramatic jump in the average age women get married — from around 22 to around 27 — a change that’s been profound.

“We have now shifted our vision of what an adult woman’s life path usually entails, and it now entails some period of economic, social, sexual independence,” says Traister, a senior editor at The New Republic and author of an upcoming book about unmarried women. And she says that while the shift in marriage patterns is mostly a good thing for women, it can also be seen as a destabilizing force in society.


Single In America

105 million: Number of unmarried people in America 18 and older in 2013

53 percent: Percentage of unmarried U.S. residents 18 and older who were women in 2013

62 percent: Percentage of unmarried U.S. residents 18 and older in 2013 who had never been married

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Interview Highlights

On the messages associated with the rise of single women

The lack of marriage is being blamed for almost every social ill — whether it’s gun violence, whether it’s poverty, whether it’s the dropping birth rate. You have demographers worried about the fact that as people marry later, they’re having fewer children. Single women come in for an enormous amount of blame, politically and culturally.

So that’s one set of messages. Another set is this kind of glamorization — whether it’s Sex and the City, which is now 10 years old, or whether it’s theNew Girl or Mindy Kaling — you see all new depictions of women living independently and having interesting, varied lives.

On the reality of shifting marriage patterns

I think we make a mistake when we create binary between “you’re either married or you’re unmarried.” Once you lift the imperative that everybody get married at age 22, what you get is an infinite variety of paths.

It’s not simply some argument that single life is inherently better than married life. The fact is there are all kinds of married lives and all kinds of single lives, and more people are now free to go down a variety of paths.

On this “mass shift”

You basically have the creation of a new population. One clear example is that single women actually in 2012 made up 23 percent of the electorate, and they voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama over Mitt Romney. You have women who are earning money in places where they’d never earned money before. You have women who are single who are having babies out of wedlock. More than 50 percent of first births are now to unmarried women. It destabilizes the power structures that had existed before because to have women living independently in these ways — voting, having babies, earning money — it removed some of the power that had traditionally belonged to men, who have long been in economic and political power.

On how much of this shift is about the economy and not necessarily a choice [a 2010 Pew study shows that marriage is still a life goal]

I think the fact that women have unprecedented economic opportunity, that they are now permitted to, and in fact in many cases expected to, go out and earn money, they are busy doing other things. That does not mean that many women and men don’t still have the desire to partner, to fall in love, but the actual economic tolls of marriage and motherhood — which are very real — mean that often they’re electing not to take on those tolls of marriage and motherhood early in their careers when they are now in the position to be out stabilizing themselves economically. …

It’s not necessarily politicized, it’s a human sense of “I don’t want to get tied and distracted by my emotional life right now as I’m establishing myself as an adult.” That doesn’t mean that the desire for love, partnership and companionship is removed. The kinds of strategic choices that women across classes are making — about when to marry, when to have children, how to commit themselves to their career, how to make money — doesn’t mean that any of them don’t yearn for companionship. But there are also a series of practical choices now available to them, ways of balancing the different things they can do with their lives, that often mean that marriage doesn’t necessarily have to come first, and in fact in many cases, it doesn’t make strategic sense for marriage to come first.

http://www.npr.org/2014/09/30/352661280/marriage-pattern-shifts-seen-by-some-as-destabilizing-society

The Psychology Of Loves That Last A Lifetime

Interesting information both for personal use and writing erotica.

Article by Carolyn Gregiore

The trifecta of a romantic relationship — intense love, sexual desire and long-term attachment — can seem elusive, but it may not be as uncommon or unattainable in marriages as we’ve been conditioned to think.

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“We are born to love,” writes anthropologist and author of Why We Love, Helen Fisher. “That feeling of elation that we call romantic love is deeply embedded in our brains. But can it last?”

The science tells us that romantic love can last — and more than we often give it credit for. As a culture, we tend to be pretty cynical about the prospect of romantic love (as opposed to the ‘other’ loves — lust and long-term attachment) enduring over time and through obstacles, and for good reason. Roughly 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, with 2.4 million U.S. couples splitting in 2012. And among those that stay together, marital dissatisfaction is common.

In long-term partnerships that do succeed, romantic love tends to fade into companionship and a love more akin to friendship than to that of a couple in love.

But no matter how cynical we are about the prospect of life-long love, it still seems to be what most Americans are after. Romantic love is increasingly viewed as an essential component of a marriage, with 91 percent of women and 86 percent of American men reporting that they would not marry someone who had every quality they wanted in a parter but with whom they were not in love.

This type of love is good for both our marriages and our health. Romantic love — free from the craving and obsession of the early stages of falling in love —can and does frequently exist in long-term marriages, research has found, and it’s correlated with marital satisfaction, and individual well-being and self-esteem.

Although science has given us some insight on the nature of love and romantic relationships, this fundamental domain of human existence remains something of a mystery. Love, particularly the long-lasting kind, has been called one of the “most studied and least understood areas in psychology.”

There may be more questions than answers at this point, but we do know that bothbeing in love and being married are good for your physical and mental health. And psychologists who study love, marriage and relationships have pinpointed a number of factors that contribute to long-lasting romantic love.

Here are six science-backed secrets of couples that keep intense romantic love alive for decades and entire lifetimes.

Life-long romance IS possible.

Despite high rates of divorce, infidelity and marital dissatisfaction, it’s not all hopeless — far from it, in fact. A 2012 study of couples who had been married for a decade, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, found that 40 percent of them said they were “very intensely in love.” The same study found that among couples who were married 30 years or more, 40 percent of women and 35 percent of men said they were very intensely in love.

But don’t be convinced solely by what these couples reported — research in neuroscience has also proven that intense romantic love can last a lifetime.

2011 study published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neurosciencelooked the brain regions activated in individuals in long-term romantic partnerships (who had been married an average of 21 years), and compared them with individuals who had recently fallen in love. The results revealed similar brain activity in both groups, with high activity in the reward and motivation centers of the brain, predominantly in the high-dopamine ventral tegmental area (VTA). The findings suggest that couples can not only love each for long periods of time — they can stay in love with each other.

Sustaining romantic love over the course of many years, then, has a positive function in the brain, which understands and continues to pursue romantic love as a behavior that reaps cognitive rewards, according to positive psychology researcher Adoree Durayappah.

“The key to understanding how to sustain long-term romantic love is to understand it a bit scientifically,” Durayappah wrote in Psychology Today. “Our brains view long-term passionate love as a goal-directed behavior to attain rewards. Rewards can include the reduction of anxiety and stress, feelings of security, a state of calmness, and a union with another.”

They maintain a sense of “love blindness.”

When we first fall in love with someone, we tend to worship the ground they walk on and see them as the most attractive, smartest and accomplished person in the room. And while we might eventually take our partner off of this pedestal after months and years of being together, maintaining a sense of “love blindness” is actually critical to long-lasting passionate love.

A University of Geneva review of nearly 500 studies on compatibility couldn’t pinpoint any combination of two personality traits in a relationship that predicted long-term romantic love — except for one. One’s ability to idealize and maintain positive illusions about their partner — seeing them as good-looking, intelligent, funny and caring, or generally as a “catch” — remained happy with each other on nearly all measures over time.

They’re always trying new things together.

Boredom can be a major obstacle to lasting romantic or companionate love, and successful couples find ways to keep things interesting.

Psychological research has suggested that couples who experience the most intense love are the ones who not only experience a strong physical and emotional attraction to one another, but also who enjoy participating in new or challenging “self-expanding” activities together, Psychology Today reported.

“Novel and arousing activities are, well, arousing, which people can misattribute as attraction to their partner, reigniting that initial spark,” writes Amie Gordan in the Berkeley Science Review.

They avoid neediness by preserving their independence.

Neediness is the enemy of long-lasting desire (an important component of romantic love), according to psychologist and Mating in Captivity author Esther Perel. In apopular TED Talk, Perel asks, “Why does sexual desire tend to fade over time, even in loving relationships?”

Neediness and caretaking in long-term partnerships — which can easily result from looking to the partnership for safety, security and stability — damper the erotic spark, Perel explains. But if couples can maintain independence and witness each other participating in individual activities at which they’re skilled, they can continue to see their partner in an ever-new light.

“When I see my partner on their own doing thing in which they are enveloped, I look at this person and I momentarily get a shift of perception,” Perel says. “[We] stay open to the mysteries that are standing right next to each other… What is most interesting is that there is no neediness in desire. There is no caretaking in desire.”

So if you’re looking to keep that spark going, give your partner the space to do what they’re good at — and make sure to take the opportunity to observe them in their element, when they are “radiant and confident,” says Perel.

Their passion for life carries over into their relationship.

Psychologists have found that a strong passion for life can help to sustain passion in a life-long romantic relationship. The 2012 Stony Brook University study examining personality qualities that predicted long-term passionate love found that individuals who exhibit excitement for all that life has to offer are more likely to find success in their romantic partnerships.

“People who approach their daily lives with zest and strong emotion seem to carry these intense feelings over to their love life as well,” Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., wrote in Psychology Today. “If you want your relationship to have passion, put that emotional energy to work in your hobbies, interests, and even your political activities.”

They see their relationship as a journey together towards self-fulfillment.

Whereas individuals used to be more likely to look to marriage for safety and security, the societal standard has shifted such that more men and women enter into marriage looking for 

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/21/psychology-of-lasting-love_n_5339457.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063