Monthly Archives: June 2016

Romantic Gestures Tips

unduhan-12Valentine’s day is behind us and, for many, its passing comes with a sigh of relief. As I am currently single I wasn’t pressured into participating in the holiday’s annual, and largely empty, gestures. But I did observe many men and women dutifully purchasing trinkets, candy, or flowers from the local grocery store to bring home to their partners as symbols of their affections.

I think what I find dismaying is that the holiday condenses our romantic rituals into a singular, annual event. In my book, Wild Connection: What animal courtship and mating tell us about human relationships, I consider how we might be inspired to change our perceptions about our own relationship behavior by looking through a biological lens and exploring how animals engage in relationships with each other.

One key difference when it comes to rituals is that when other species form long-term bonds, they have daily behaviors that serve to maintain the pair bond and demonstrate continued commitment to the partnership.

Siamangs, a type of gibbon, are a great example of this. They are pretty famous for their singing; two siamangs in a relationship sing together every day (video here). Their duet has three separate parts—the introduction, the organizing, and the great cal and is made up of barks, booms, and screams. The pair will sing for about l15 minutes, and, most important, they continue this ritual every year they are together. New siamang pairs might fumble through the song for a bit before they get it just right. However, once they do learn to coordinate they don’t just bang out a few notes after a couple of years and call it a day. No, they go through the whole sequence every time, every single day. And it’s not just singing that takes place: They spend a considerable amount of time grooming each other and just hanging out with one another as well.

While siamangs sing when they get up, French angelfish couples take another approach. Because life on the coral reef means sometimes a pair has to spend time apart, it’s important that when they come back together they re-establish their connection. How do French angelfish accomplish this? By twirling around each other every time they come back together.

I suppose that French angelfish twirling is akin to dancing, but various species of grebe, a group of freshwater birds, have some of the most elaborate water dancing rituals around. They glide and rush through the water, almost lifting themselves out, necks arched seductively. Tango, anyone? But at the end there is no exchange of roses, simply reeds.

Tips to start the relationship

unduhan-10Forget “The Rules.” Stop believing “He’s just not into you.” In fact, skip all the self-help confusion that instructs you on how to morph yourself into the perfect match for Mr. (or Ms.) Right.

People who are genuinely happy with their romantic choices spend more energy working on their own self-development than on appearing a certain way to attract love. Instead of focusing on playing the game to entice a partner, put your focus on these five principles and, over time, the right match for you will present itself:

1. Understand yourself, sexually and emotionally. If you have not done the work ofunderstanding yourself emotionally and sexually, you will enter romantic relationships from an emotionally dependent place. You may have the unrealistic hope that someone else will know how to understand you and make you happy—even when you, yourself, may not know. Directly communicating to your partners about your emotions and your sexual side is important; hoping others will intuitively perceive who you are emotionally and what you need sexually is a fantasy. Make a conscious effort to become aware of your ongoing emotional reactions to the people and events in your life. Observe and label your emotional reactions. Reflect on your feelings and talk with people about how you feel or what you are noticing about yourself, without expecting them to put you back together again.

2. Believe what people show and say about themselves. It is common when attracted to someone to want to rationalize their poor behavior. If someone treats you with disrespect or chronically lets you down, take this as data about whom he or she is as a person. If you try to talk with someone and he or she dismisses you or rationalizes mistreatment of you, take this seriously; this may not be a suitable match. If a man says he is not looking for “anything serious” or he needs a lot of “space,” let him go. This person is not in the same place you are and may not want the same things you want.Believe what people communicate about themselves. If they are acting immaturely or disrespectfully, or saying things that hurt you, move on. It is not your job to show someone a better way; it is your job to work on growing as a person.

3. Avoid “sextimacy.” As I describe in Having Sex, Wanting Intimacy, sextimacy is a cycle of working to achieve emotional intimacy through hastened sex. If you are hoping that a sexual relationship will eventually lead to a more emotionally intimate or committed relationship, cease and desist: Research shows relationships that start with sex before emotional intimacy is present typically do not become committed unions. You will spend your time hoping and working to get someone to change or “step up to the plate” when you could be putting your energy into growing as a person and finding someone who likes the person you have become.

4. Separate psychologically from your parents. This is no easy task and many think they have done so when, in reality, they have not. As an adult, if you continue to allow your parents to meet all of your emotional needs then you siphon off some of the energy that needs to go into your romantic attachments. As much as possible, little by little, work to be independent of your parents. This does not mean you can’t enjoy their company, spend time with them, and share what you wish with them about your life. It does mean: Work to become comfortable making your own decisions. Excessively asking for their opinion, reassurance, or guidance, or allowing them to control your life means you are not living for yourself. And if you allow your parents to continually do the heavy lifting for you, then you will not be a whole person when the right match presents itself. Entering into a romantic relationship believing that the person is going to take care of you in the way your parents have can turn a healthy match into a toxic one. You have to be in control of your own life, self-aware of your goals, needs and emotions.

Romantic Spark Alive Tips

There’s no great mystery in understanding why couples become less sexually active as their relationship matures: As passionate love mellows into a relationship characterized byintimacy and companionship, long-term couples will almost certainly have sex less frequently. The demands of daily life and the reality of taking care of a household mean that many couples devote less time exclusively to their physical relationship.

But it’s an issue worth addressing: We may prefer not to think about our parents or grandparents having sex, but plenty of older couples maintain physical intimacy in their later years. There are real benefits in continuing sexual activity throughout life, as shown by researchers studying sexual life expectancy. If for no other reason than to support your long-term mental and physical well-being, figuring out the formula for staying sexually active with your long-term partner is a good idea.

To answer the question of what keeps the sexual spark alive in long-term relationships, University of Toronto psychologist Amy Muise and her collaborators (2013) studied 44 couples who were in relationships lasting from 3 to 39 years. On average, these couples had been together approximately 11 years. All were living together; about two-thirds were married; and about half had children. These couples, then, represented a range of length and types of relationship and family status.

Unlike so many studies on relationships that involve undergraduates completing questionnaires over the course of an hour or so for experimental credit, the participants in this study answered questions 10 minutes each night for three weeks. They were paid a modest amount ($40), and about three-quarters of them also responded to a follow-up survey about four months after completing the daily ratings.

Finding Out What Works

Maintaining strong sexual connections, Muise and her team argued, requires that each partner in the couple put the other partner’s needs first. Like the impoverished couple in O’Henry’s “Gift of the Magi,” a partner in a successful long-term relationship is willing to sacrifice what he or she needs to be happy in order to please the other person. Rather than foreshadowing a woeful ending, however, the self-sacrificing made within happy couples should bring joy to both partners. This view of relationships, known as thecommunal model, contrasts with the exchange model, in which Partner A weighs his or her own contributions against those of Partner B. Couples strong on exchange motivationonly help partners who will help them in turn.

In a relationship characterized by high communal strength, for example, you would be willing to give up the convenience of a relatively short commute to work if by moving a bit further away, your partner would also have a shorter distance to travel. In the exchangerelationship, you’d only make this sacrifice if your partner would agree to some other condition, such as contributing more to household chores or helping out more with child care.

If you’re a communal type of person, the benefits of a relationship premised on this model would seem obvious. Your partner’s happiness becomes more important than your own, and there’s an inner satisfaction and even delight that you get out of giving. Making the logical jump to the sexual domain of your relationship, wanting to please your partner can be more of a turn-on than expecting your partner to reciprocate your every sensual gesture.

There’s more to long-lasting sex than wanting to please your partner, however. Muise and her team believed that scoring high on approach motivation would also benefit your long-term satisfaction in the bedroom. In high approach motivation, you look to sex for thepleasures it provides, either to yourself or your partner. Why else would someone want to have sex, you might ask? Consider, for example, situations in which sex primarily provides a distraction from problems. In avoidance motivation, partners regard sex significantly as a form of stress reduction or escapism.

Putting these two dimensions together, Muise and team believed that couples high in bothcommunal and approach motivation would have sexual relationships that would most likely withstand the test of time. In their study, they measured communal relationship strength with questions such as, “How large a cost would you incur to meet a need of your partner?” and communal sexual strength by asking, for example, “How high a priority for you is meeting the sexual needs of your partner?”

In their daily rating questions, participants reported whether or not they had had sex that day, and each time, they were to indicate whether it was to enhance their (or their partner’s) pleasure (approach) or if it was to avoid feeling upset, either for themselves or their partners (avoidance). The participants also provided overall ratings of their relationship happiness, sexual desire, and preference for alternative relationships. On average, participants reported having sexual activity once a week, with a range of once per day to once every 10 days.

By following their participants over the 3-week period (plus the four-month follow-up), Muise and her collaborators were able to track the connection between sexual motivation, desire, and relationship satisfaction. As they expected, the partners with higher levels of sexual communal strength (and not just general communal strength) had higher levels of sexual desire, especially if they were also higher in approach motivation. These findings persisted over time—the higher the communal/approach motivation, the less decline couples showed in relationship satisfaction.

Bringing It Home

There is a clear take-home message in this research: Using sex in exchange for other favors reaps few rewards in a long-term relationship. You also will find diminishing returns from using sex as a way to escape either your problems, your partner’s problems, or those that plague you as a couple in general.