Women Got ‘Married’ Long Before Gay Marriage

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Two women in the 1890s

[I]n 1880, on the first anniversary of her marriage, author Sarah Orne Jewett penned a romantic poem to her partner. “Do you remember, darling, a year ago today, when we gave ourselves to each other?” she wrote. “We will not take back the promises we made a year ago.”

Jewett wasn’t addressing her husband—she was writing to her future wife, Annie Adams Fields. Over a century before same-sex marriage became the law of the land, Jewett and Adams lived together in a “Boston marriage,” a committed partnership between women.

They weren’t the only ones: For several years near the turn of the 20th century, same-sex marriage was relatively common and even socially acceptable. These women shared kisses, hugs and their lives—but today, few remember these pioneers of same-sex relationships.

Though homosexuality was taboo during the 19th century, intense and romantic friendships among women were common. At the time, women were encouraged to exist in a sphere separate from that of men. Public life, work and earning money were seen as the purview of men.

Two young women, 1896.

This ideology isolated women from the outside world, but it also brought them into close contact with one another. As women were viewed as devoted, asexual and gentle, it was acceptable for them to do things like kiss, hold hands or link arms, and openly express their affection for one another. At newly founded women’s colleges, for example, students gave one another bouquets of flowers, love poems and trinkets and openly declared their love. Having a crush on another woman wasn’t blinked at—it was expected and considered part of women’s college culture.

A group of New England women took this concept one step further by “getting married.” Though they didn’t commit to one another legally, they combined households, lived together and supported one another for the long term. These independent women pushed the boundaries of what society deemed acceptable for women by attending college, finding careers and living outside their parents’ home. But since they did so with other women, their activities were deemed socially acceptable.

In 1885, novelist Henry James explored the phenomenon in his book The Bostonians. The novel, which pokes fun at independent women, features a relationship between Verena Tarrant, an outspoken feminist, and Olive Chancellor, who becomes fascinated with the fiery speaker. They form a partnership and move in with one another, but when Verena decides to marry Olive’s cousin the relationship falls apart. The popular novel is thought to have contributed to the use of the term “Boston marriage,” though James never used the phrase in his book.

Michèle André and Alice Sapritch in “The Bostonians”, the drama adapted by Jean-Louis Curtis from Henry James’s novel.

Boston marriages offered equality, support and independence to wealthy women who were determined to push outside of the domestic sphere. They also offered romantic love: Though each relationship was different, women often referred to one another as husband or wife, kissed and hugged, wrote passionate letters when they were apart and shared beds. However, this was not necessarily seen as sexual in the 19th century since women were assumed not to have the physical desires of men.

Were these women lesbians in the contemporary sense of the word? Though we can’t glimpse into the bedroom behaviors of people of the past, it’s certain that many of the women in romantic friendships and Boston marriages did share sexual contact.

For some women, Boston marriages were used as a front for relationships we’d see as lesbian in the 21st century. As historian Stephanie Coontz tells NPR, “a pair of women who actually had a sexual relationship could easily manage to be together without arousing suspicion that it was anything more than feminine affection.” But for others, sex didn’t appear to be part of the equation. Rather, Boston marriages offered something even more appealing—independence.

Ironically, the practice faded as people became aware of lesbianism. At the turn of the century, the concept of “sexual inversion” made it possible to categorize relationships that had once been considered socially acceptable as sexually deviant.

Though Jewett and Fields lived together for over two decades, Jewett’s publishers seem to have edited out telling details from her letters to Fields, a society chronicler, to prevent readers from assuming they were lesbians.

It would take 100 more years for same-sex marriage to be legally accepted in the United States. But even in death, the commitment and love of same-sex partners from the 19th century lives on, like that of American novelist Willa Cather and her longtime companion, Edith Lewis. The pair lived together as committed partners for almost 40 years—and now they’re buried together in a New Hampshire cemetery. If that isn’t love, what is?

Complete Article HERE!

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Long-term relationships may reduce women’s sex drive

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men-in-long-term-relationships-dont-think-their-girlfriends-want-to-fuck-them

[F]emale sexual function is an important component of a woman’s sexual health and overall well-being. New research examines the relation between female sexual functioning and changes in relationship status over time.

Female sexual functioning is influenced by many factors, from a woman’s mental well-being to age, time, and relationship quality.

Studies show that sexual dysfunction is common among women, with approximately 40 million American women reporting sexual disorders.

A large study of American adults between the ages 18-59 suggests that women are more likely to experience sexual dysfunction than men, with a 43 percent and 31 percent likelihood, respectively.

Treatment options for sexual dysfunction in women have been shown to vary in effectiveness, and the causes of female sexual dysfunction still seem to be poorly understood.

New research sheds light on the temporal stability of female sexual functioning by looking at the relationship between various female sexual functions and relationship status over a long period of time.

Studying the link between relationship status and female sexual desire

Previous studies that examined sexual functions in women did not look at temporal stability and possible interactions between different female sexual functions.

But researchers from the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University – both in Finland – looked at the evolution of female sexual desire over a period of 7 years.

The new study was led by Ph.D. candidate in psychology Annika Gunst, from the University of Turku, and the results were published in the Psychological Medicine science journal.

Researchers examined 2,173 premenopausal Finnish women from two large-scale data collections, one in 2006 and the other 7 years later, in 2013.

Scientists used the Female Sexual Function Index – a short questionnaire that measures specific areas of sexual functioning in women, such as sexual arousal, orgasm, sexual satisfaction, and the presence of pain during intercourse.

Researchers took into consideration the possible effects of age and relationship duration.

The average age of the participants at the first data collection was 25.5 years. Given that the mean age was quite low and the average age of menopause is much later, at 51 years, the researchers did not think it necessary to account for the possible effects of hormonal changes.

Relationship status influences sexual desire over time

Of the functions examined, women’s ability to orgasm was the most stable over the 7-year period, while sexual satisfaction was the most variable.

The ability to have an orgasm improved across all groups during the study, with single women experiencing the greatest improvement.

Women with a new partner had a slightly lower improvement in orgasmic ability than single women, but a higher improvement than women who had been in the same relationship over the 7-year period.

The study found that women who had stayed in the same monogamous relationship over the entire 7-year observation period experienced the greatest decrease in sexual desire.

By contrast, women who had found a new partner over the study duration experienced lower decreases in sexual desire.

Women who were single at the end of the observation period reported stable sexual desire.

According to the researchers, relationship-specific factors or partner-specific factors that have no connection with the duration of the relationship do have an impact on women’s sexual functions. Consequently, healthcare professionals should account for partner-specific factors when they treat sexual dysfunction in women.

However, researchers also point out that sexual function needs to be further examined in a short-term study to have a better understanding of the diversity in sexual function variation.

Strengths and limitations of the study

Researchers point out the methodological strengths of the study, as well as its limitations.

Firstly, because the study was longitudinal, it reduced the so-called recall bias, meaning that participants reported their own experience with higher accuracy.

The study also benefited from a large study sample, validated measures, and structural equation modeling, which reduces errors in measurement.

However, the authors note that the long 7-year timeframe may not account for short-term fluctuations, and varying sexual functions may interact differently when studied over a long period of time.

The study did not examine sexual dysfunctions.

Finally, the authors mention that they did not have access to data about cohabitation, or about the duration of singlehood.

Complete Article HERE!

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What’s Your Sexual Destiny? Your Sex Life Can Be Helped Or Harmed By Your Mindset

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Our inherent beliefs about sex can have a far-reaching impact on our relationships, finds new research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

The way we think about sex may influence how satisfied we are with our relationships and sex lives, new research reveals.
The way we think about sex may influence how satisfied we are with our relationships and sex lives, new research reveals.

[U]niversity of Toronto researcher Jessica Maxwell, a PhD graduate, and her colleagues created a new scale to measure people’s general attitudes on sexual compatibility. They then tested their scale out across a variety of six different studies that involved nearly 2,000 participants. Overall, they found that people who strongly believe in sexual growth — a mindset that a fulfilling sex life takes effort and hard work from both partners — had better relationship and sexual satisfaction than those who didn’t. Meanwhile, people who believed in sexual destiny — that a good sex life is more a matter of finding the right person for you — had worse relationships when they started having disagreements about sex with their partner.

“People who believe in sexual destiny are using their sex life as a barometer for how well their relationship is doing, and they believe problems in the bedroom equal problems in the relationship as a whole,” explained Maxwell in a statement. “Whereas people who believe in sexual growth not only believe they can work on their sexual problems, but they are not letting it affect their relationship satisfaction.”

The differences between sexual destiny and growth aren’t easily apparent at first, Maxwell added, since many new relationships have their “honeymoon” phase when sexual desire is at its peak. It’s only later on in a long-term relationship that they begin to show up.

“We know that disagreements in the sexual domain are somewhat inevitable over time,” Maxwell said. “Your sex life is like a garden, and it needs to be watered and nurtured to maintain it.”

Interestingly enough, women were more likely to have a sexual growth mindset, which may reflect a reality about female pressure. Said Maxwell: “I think that this could be because there is some evidence that sexual satisfaction takes more work for women, so they rate higher on the sexual growth scale.”

Most people rarely belonged exclusively to one camp or the other, which is often the case in psychology research. For instance, some might be all for the concept of a sexual soulmate, while still believing that any good sex life requires communication. And even wholeheartedly believing in sexual growth doesn’t guarantee a successful relationship. But Maxwell believes their findings can be a source of relief to both the average person as well as therapists trying to reassure their clients that a flagging sex life isn’t necessarily the end of the road. And she does think believing in sexual destiny may be more trouble than it’s worth.

“Sexual-destiny beliefs have a lot of similarities with other dysfunctional beliefs about sex, and I think it’s important to recognize and address that,” she said.

Complete Article HERE!

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This is the secret to great sex in a long term relationship, study suggests

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Science may have discovered a way to keep the spark alive long after the initial fireworks have faded

By Liz Connor

Is this the secret to better sex in a long term relationship?
Is this the secret to better sex in a long term relationship?

How do you rekindle the passion and improve your sex life in a marriage or long term relationship after the honeymoon period is over?

While magazine articles might advise candles, hot baths and music, a new study suggests that the answer may lie in the way that you treat your partner.

Psychology professor, Gurit E Birnbaum conducted a series of experiments, setting out to determine the best conditions for a healthy sex life, for both men and women.

The results of the study, which were published in the American Psychological Association Journal, found that the secret to optimum sex is all to do with the way you talk to your partner and respond to their emotional needs.

What women want? A sensitive partner

Birnbaum found that being responsive and empathetic to your partner’s wishes made them more receptive and open to spicing things up in the bedroom.

Researchers conducted three experiments in order to determine the factors that might affect sexual desire.

The first saw 153 couples discuss a positive or negative experience with their partner. Afterwards, they were asked to comment on how compassionate their partner was, and how much they wanted to have sex following the conversation

Following the trial, men’s interest in interest in sex remained the same, whether they were met with empathetic or completely unresponsive remarks from their partner.

However, women reported feeling a “greater desire” when talking to a sensitive partner, rather than an unresponsive one.

Another tip for turning on your SO? Don’t dwell on the depressing anecdotes

The second experiment asked the couples to discuss both positive and negative life experiences with one another, face to face.

The results showed that both men and women experienced heightened sexual attraction to their partner – but only when they were telling a cheerful story.

According to researchers, this may be because moaning about bad life experiences can render a partner less desirable – as you’re more likely to notice their personal weaknesses or stressors.

The most important thing for both sexes? Listen to your partner’s needs

The final experiment saw 100 couples complete a diary of their nights together for six weeks.

They were challenged to write down the quality of their relationship based on how their partner made them feel.

Both genders reported feeling ‘special’ if their partner was compassionate and responsive to their conversation, although the number of women who reported this was far greater than the amount of men.

While women may be more sensitive to their partner’s conversational hospitality, all three experiments concluded that both men and women who felt valued in their relationships had the highest level of desire for their partners.

In short, listening + empathy = sexual chemistry.

Time to put the bubble bath and Barry White on ice and start working on your best listening face…

Complete Article HERE!

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How to Rekindle Sexual Desire in a Long-Term Relationship

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New research shows that couples who are responsive outside of the bedroom have more interest in sex

long-term-relationship

By Elizabeth Bernstein

[H]ow can a couple keep their sexual desire going strong for the long haul?

Be nice to each other.

New research shows one way to keep desire strong is to be responsive to your partner’s needs out of the bedroom.

People who are responsive do three things: They understand what their partner is really saying, validate what is important to their partner, such as his or her attitudes, goals and desires, and care for or express warmth and affection toward their partner.

“Responsiveness creates a deep feeling that someone really knows and understands you,” says Gurit Birnbaum, a social psychologist and associate professor of psychology at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), a private university in Herzliya, Israel, who is the lead researcher on the new studies. “It makes you feel unique and special, and that is very, very sexy.”

In the beginning of a relationship, neurotransmitters such as dopamine push the partners to have sex as much as possible. Scan the brain of someone in this early, passionate stage of love and it will look very much like the brain of someone on drugs.

The addiction doesn’t last. Research suggests the chemical phase of passionate love typically continues between one and three years. Desire fades for different reasons: the chemical addiction to a partner subsides; people age and hormones decrease; emotional distance can cause passion to drop.

The new research—by psychologists at the IDC, the University of Rochester, Bar-Ilan University, in Ramat Gan, Israel, and Cornell Tech in New York, published this month in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology—consists of three studies of more than 100 heterosexual couples each. In the first, partners rated each others’ responsiveness and their own feelings of desire after a back and forth in an online app, where one person described a recent experience and thought his or her partner was responding. It was really a researcher.

In the second study, researchers reviewed videotapes of couples as one partner told a positive or negative personal story and the other responded. Then they were told to express physical intimacy. Researchers coded the subjects’ responsiveness and their expressions of desire.

In the third study, couples were asked to keep a daily diary for six weeks, reporting on the quality of the relationship, how responsive each partner felt the other was, and their level of desire. The participants were also asked to rate whether they felt their partner was valuable that day—someone others would perceive as a good partner—and how special he or she made them feel.

The studies showed that both men and women who felt their partner was more responsive felt more sexual desire for their partner. But women were affected more than men when their partner was responsive, meaning their desire for their partner increased more. The researchers believe women’s sexual desire is more sensitive in general to the emotional atmosphere than men’s.

The new research contradicts a decades-old theory that psychologists call the Intimacy-Desire paradox, which proposes that desire drops as two people become more emotionally intimate. It purports that people seek intimacy in a relationship, but desire thrives on distance and uncertainty.

Dr. Birnbaum says that certain types of intimacy are better for your sex life than others. Impersonal intimacy—familiarity without an emotional component—does kill desire. Think of your partner shaving in front of you or leaving the bathroom door open. But emotional intimacy that makes the relationship feel unique can boost it.

Tips to boost desire in your relationship by being responsive:

Start now. It is better to prevent a decline in desire than to try to revive it when it is lost, Dr. Birnbaum says.

Listen without judging. Don’t interrupt. Don’t spend the time while your partner is speaking thinking about how you will respond. “Most people want to give advice,” says Dr. Birnbaum. “It’s not the same as being there as a warm and wise ear.”

Pay attention to details. Look for ways to show your understanding and support. Does your wife have a big interview coming up and need solitude to prepare? Take the children out to dinner. Is your husband’s team in the playoffs? Don’t ask him to clean the garage right now. Being responsive is often expressed by behaviors, not just words, Dr. Birnbaum says.

Talk about your desire. Share your fantasies. Watch a sexy movie and talk about what parts you liked best.

Complete Article HERE!

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There’s No Such Thing as Everlasting Love (According to Science)

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Just in time for Valentine’s day!

A new book argues that the emotion happens in “micro-moments of positivity resonance.”

love story

By Emily Esfahani Smith

In her new book Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become, the psychologist Barbara Fredrickson offers a radically new conception of love.

Fredrickson, a leading researcher of positive emotions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, presents scientific evidence to argue that love is not what we think it is. It is not a long-lasting, continually present emotion that sustains a marriage; it is not the yearning and passion that characterizes young love; and it is not the blood-tie of kinship.

Rather, it is what she calls a “micro-moment of positivity resonance.” She means that love is a connection, characterized by a flood of positive emotions, which you share with another person—any other person—whom you happen to connect with in the course of your day. You can experience these micro-moments with your romantic partner, child, or close friend. But you can also fall in love, however momentarily, with less likely candidates, like a stranger on the street, a colleague at work, or an attendant at a grocery store. Louis Armstrong put it best in “It’s a Wonderful World” when he sang, “I see friends shaking hands, sayin ‘how do you do?’ / They’re really sayin’, ‘I love you.'”

sad on valentine's day

Fredrickson’s unconventional ideas are important to think about at this time of year. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, many Americans are facing a grim reality: They are love-starved. Rates of loneliness are on the rise as social supports are disintegrating. In 1985, when the General Social Survey polled Americans on the number of confidants they have in their lives, the most common response was three. In 2004, when the survey was given again, the most common response was zero.

According to the University of Chicago’s John Cacioppo, an expert on loneliness, and his co-author William Patrick, “at any given time, roughly 20 percent of individuals—that would be 60 million people in the U.S. alone—feel sufficiently isolated for it to be a major source of unhappiness in their lives.” For older Americans, that number is closer to 35 percent. At the same time, rates of depression have been on the rise. In his 2011 book Flourish, the psychologist Martin Seligman notes that according to some estimates, depression is 10 times more prevalent now than it was five decades ago. Depression affects about 10 percent of the American population, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

A global poll taken last Valentine’s Day showed that most married people—or those with a significant other—list their romantic partner as the greatest source of happiness in their lives. According to the same poll, nearly half of all single people are looking for a romantic partner, saying that finding a special person to love would contribute greatly to their happiness.

But to Fredrickson, these numbers reveal a “worldwide collapse of imagination,” as she writes in her book. “Thinking of love purely as romance or commitment that you share with one special person—as it appears most on earth do—surely limits the health and happiness you derive” from love.

“My conception of love,” she tells me, “gives hope to people who are single or divorced or widowed this Valentine’s Day to find smaller ways to experience love.”

Vincent Valentine RIDEHARD

You have to physically be with the person to experience the micro-moment. For example, if you and your significant other are not physically together—if you are reading this at work alone in your office—then you two are not in love. You may feel connected or bonded to your partner—you may long to be in his company—but your body is completely loveless.

To understand why, it’s important to see how love works biologically. Like all emotions, love has a biochemical and physiological component. But unlike some of the other positive emotions, like joy or happiness, love cannot be kindled individually—it only exists in the physical connection between two people. Specifically, there are three players in the biological love system—mirror neurons, oxytocin, and vagal tone. Each involves connection and each contributes to those micro-moment of positivity resonance that Fredrickson calls love.

When you experience love, your brain mirrors the person’s you are connecting with in a special way. Pioneering research by Princeton University’s Uri Hasson shows what happens inside the brains of two people who connect in conversation. Because brains are scanned inside of noisy fMRI machines, where carrying on a conversation is nearly impossible, Hasson’s team had his subjects mimic a natural conversation in an ingenious way. They recorded a young woman telling a lively, long, and circuitous story about her high school prom. Then, they played the recording for the participants in the study, who were listening to it as their brains were being scanned. Next, the researchers asked each participant to recreate the story so they, the researchers, could determine who was listening well and who was not. Good listeners, the logic goes, would probably be the ones who clicked in a natural conversation with the story-teller.

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What they found was remarkable. In some cases, the brain patterns of the listener mirrored those of the storyteller after a short time gap. The listener needed time to process the story after all. In other cases, the brain activity was almost perfectly synchronized; there was no time lag at all between the speaker and the listener. But in some rare cases, if the listener was particularly tuned in to the story—if he was hanging on to every word of the story and really got it—his brain activity actually anticipated the story-teller’s in some cortical areas.

The mutual understanding and shared emotions, especially in that third category of listener, generated a micro-moment of love, which “is a single act, performed by two brains,” as Fredrickson writes in her book.

valentine

Oxytocin, the so-called love and cuddle hormone, facilitates these moments of shared intimacy and is part of the mammalian “calm-and-connect” system (as opposed to the more stressful “fight-or-flight” system that closes us off to others). The hormone, which is released in huge quantities during sex, and in lesser amounts during other moments of intimate connection, works by making people feel more trusting and open to connection. This is the hormone of attachment and bonding that spikes during micro-moments of love. Researchers have found, for instance, that when a parent acts affectionately with his or her infant—through micro-moments of love like making eye contact, smiling, hugging, and playing—oxytocin levels in both the parent and the child rise in sync.

The final player is the vagus nerve, which connects your brain to your heart and subtly but sophisticatedly allows you to meaningfully experience love. As Fredrickson explains in her book, “Your vagus nerve stimulates tiny facial muscles that better enable you to make eye contact and synchronize your facial expressions with another person. It even adjusts the miniscule muscles of your middle ear so you can better track her voice against any background noise.”

The vagus nerve’s potential for love can actually be measured by examining a person’s heart rate in association with his breathing rate, what’s called “vagal tone.” Having a high vagal tone is good: People who have a high “vagal tone” can regulate their biological processes like their glucose levels better; they have more control over their emotions, behavior, and attention; they are socially adept and can kindle more positive connections with others; and, most importantly, they are more loving. In research from her lab, Fredrickson found that people with high vagal tone report more experiences of love in their days than those with a lower vagal tone.

Historically, vagal tone was considered stable from person to person. You either had a high one or you didn’t; you either had a high potential for love or you didn’t. Fredrickson’s recent research has debunked that notion.valentine's_pose

In a 2010 study from her lab, Fredrickson randomly assigned half of her participants to a “love” condition and half to a control condition. In the love condition, participants devoted about one hour of their weeks for several months to the ancient Buddhist practice of loving-kindness meditation. In loving-kindness meditation, you sit in silence for a period of time and cultivate feelings of tenderness, warmth, and compassion for another person by repeating a series of phrases to yourself wishing them love, peace, strength, and general well-being. Ultimately, the practice helps people step outside of themselves and become more aware of other people and their needs, desires, and struggles—something that can be difficult to do in our hyper individualistic culture.

Fredrickson measured the participants’ vagal tone before and after the intervention. The results were so powerful that she was invited to present them before the Dalai Lama himself in 2010. Fredrickson and her team found that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, people could significantly increase their vagal tone by self-generating love through loving-kindness meditation. Since vagal tone mediates social connections and bonds, people whose vagal tones increased were suddenly capable of experiencing more micro-moments of love in their days. Beyond that, their growing capacity to love more will translate into health benefits given that high vagal tone is associated with lowered risk of inflammation, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke.

Fredrickson likes to call love a nutrient. If you are getting enough of the nutrient, then the health benefits of love can dramatically alter your biochemistry in ways that perpetuate more micro-moments of love in your life, and which ultimately contribute to your health, well-being, and longevity.

Fredrickson’s ideas about love are not exactly the stuff of romantic comedies. Describing love as a “micro-moment of positivity resonance” seems like a buzz-kill. But if love now seems less glamorous and mysterious then you thought it was, then good. Part of Fredrickson’s project is to lower cultural expectations about love—expectations that are so misguidedly high today that they have inflated love into something that it isn’t, and into something that no sane person could actually experience.

Jonathan Haidt, another psychologist, calls these unrealistic expectations “the love myth” in his 2006 book The Happiness Hypothesis:

True love is passionate love that never fades; if you are in true love, you should marry that person; if love ends, you should leave that person because it was not true love; and if you can find the right person, you will have true love forever. You might not believe this myth yourself, particularly if you are older than thirty; but many young people in Western nations are raised on it, and it acts as an ideal that they unconsciously carry with them even if they scoff at it… But if true love is defined as eternal passion, it is biologically impossible.

Love 2.0 is, by contrast, far humbler. Fredrickson tells me, “I love the idea that it lowers the bar of love. If you don’t have a Valentine, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have love. It puts love much more in our reach everyday regardless of our relationship status.”

Lonely people who are looking for love are making a mistake if they are sitting around and waiting for love in the form of the “love myth” to take hold of them. If they instead sought out love in little moments of connection that we all experience many times a day, perhaps their loneliness would begin to subside.

Complete Article HERE!

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More SEX WISDOM With Mandy Traut — Podcast #365 — 02/27/13

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[Look for the podcast play button below.]

Hello sex fans! Welcome back.

My new friend and fellow therapist, Mandy Traut returns for Part 2 of our chat for this the SEX WISDOM series. dsc_1634What a joy it was to meet her last week.

But wait, you didn’t miss Part 1 of this conversation, did you? Well not to worry if ya did, because you can find it and all my podcasts in the Podcast Archive right here on my site. All ya gotta do is use the search function in the header; type in Podcast #364 and PRESTO! But don’t forget the #sign when you do your search.

Mandy and I discuss:

  • Swinging and polyamory;
  • It’s an intimacy thing;
  • Poly in the popular culture;
  • Comprersion;
  • Tips for coming out;
  • Reclaiming derogatory words;
  • Who inspires her;
  • Her sexual heroes.

 

Mandy invites you to visit her on her site HERE! You can also find her on Facebook HERE! And she’s on Twitter HERE!

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for all my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s podcast is bought to you by: Dr Dick’s Stockroom.

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The Dog Days of Summer 2012 Q&A Show — Podcast #344 — 08/20/12

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[Look for the podcast play button below.]

Hey sex fans,

My, my, my! It’s been six whole weeks since our last Q&A show. That’s not good. Because, ya know what? I have a huge backlog of very interesting questions from the sexually worrisome. And this time around, all my correspondents are men. Why, that almost never happens. I trust you will find my responses will educate, enrich and maybe even entertain. With a little luck, I’ll even have just enough time to do a product review. Sound fun? I think so too.

Tyler is straight but has the urge to stuff his ass.
Paul has polio, but he still wants to jerk-off.
Robert and his partner are having big time relationship problems.
John need more sex than he’s getting at home.
Steven is pulling his pud a lot, now some of the sensations are gone..
Mike is having extreme muscle spasms after he cums.
Finally we review the Fat Boy Cock Sheath.

Today’s podcast is bought to you by: Dr Dick’s Sex Advice and Dr Dick’s Sex Toy Review.

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously, or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

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Come As You Are

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Name: Valeri
Gender: Female
Age: 38
Location: Dubuque IA
Dr Dick: I just went through a very painful divorce. My husband of 18 years up and decided that he wanted to start over…in a new job, in a new state with a new girlfriend, someone 12 years his junior. I must be completely blind, because I didn’t see any of this coming. Sure we had our problems, what marriage doesn’t? I want to move on too, but I feel so stuck. I feel like this big loser. The few tentative forays into dating have been horrible. Every guy I meet is this lying sack of shit. Sorry, does that sound too bitter? HELP!

Damn girl, that’s fucked…big time! It’s hell when relationships go belly-up, and I don’t care if they are business relationships or relationships of the heart. If there’s an established bond of trust that is broken it’s gonna smart. And when the bond is broken unilaterally, it’s even worse. But what can you expect when you’re dealing with humans.

Surviving a break-up is not unlike surviving a death. In fact, the demise of a relationship is very much a death in every sense of the word. I believe that any relationship worth talking about has a life of its own; you see, it’s greater then the sum of its parts. I gotta tell ya, I see a lot of this in my private practice. A couple drags in their relationship and it’s immediately apparent that it’s on life support. They’ve actively throttled the relationship to within an inch of its life, and they want me to fix it. Most of the time the option to “fix” has long passed. All we can hope to do, at this point, is preside over the death of the thing, providing its passing with as much dignity as possible. But to tell the truth, when a relationship is in such grave condition, and there is very little good will left between the partners, sadly there’s not gonna be a lot of dignity when the thing finally expires. It breaks my heart, but what are ya gonna do?

Many years ago a therapist working with sick and dying people wrote a book called, On Death and Dying. In it the author, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, identified five stages of dying — 1. Denial: The initial stage: “It can’t be happening.” 2. Anger: “Why ME? This is so unfair!” 3. Bargaining: “Just let me live to see my son graduate.” 4. Depression: “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?” 5. Acceptance: “It’s going to be OK.”

I find it helpful to use these same identifiable stages to talk about the end of a relationship, particularly a relationship that ends unilaterally. If you don’t mind I’d like to walk through these stages with you so that you can see how applicable they are to someone in your situation.

Grieving the death of a loved one, or a relationship, involves the whole of us — our physical, emotional and social selves. We have to relearn, or cognitively adjust to, our new self without the loved one or relationship. Moving through the end of things is hard to work. And to survive it; we need be patient with ourselves. You, on the other hand, seem to be having a particular problem with this since you say you feel like a loser. That kind of mindset is not going be particularly helpful. So, if you can please jettison that kind of thinking. Or at least try to have a bit more compassion for yourself. Maybe you could shelf that self-deprecation for a while, until you get your bearings once again.

A person is faced with a fact that is too painful to accept and so she rejects it instead, insisting that it can’t possibly be true despite overwhelming evidence. This is Stage 1 — Denial! “Honey, I’m moving out. I’m getting a new job in a new state. Oh, and I have this new, much younger girlfriend too.” “This can’t be happening! Sure we’ve had our troubles, I’ll grant you that. But so does every relationship.” Denying the reality of the unpleasant fact may actually serve a purpose. It’s a coping mechanism for dealing with something overwhelming and too shocking to take in at once.

We have a gut-wrenching emotional response to the injustice, humiliation, and betrayal. This is Stage 2 — Anger. Depending on the kind of person we are, we may actively express our anger by lashing out verbally or physically. Or we may passively express our anger — turning it inward becoming silent, sulking or passive-aggressive. We may even consider harming our self as a way of punishing the other.

We try to fix what’s wrong. This is Stage 3 — Bargaining. “We can make this work! I’ll change, I promise! I know I can make you happy. Stay for the sake of the kids. What will the neighbors say? This will kill your mother! What does she have that I don’t have? You’ll never be able to show your face in this town again.” Hmmm, does any of this sound familiar, Valeri?

All our efforts to reverse the inevitable course of things leave us emotionally drained and exhausted. This is Stage 4 — Depression. Why bother with anything — family, friends, work, personal appearances, whatever — life as we knew it is over. We can’t seem to project ourselves beyond the ending of things. In the bleakness we often begin to self-medicate. A little too much food, booze, drugs? As if depression is not punishing enough, we often pile it on. I’ve heard some many people say; “hurting myself is the only thing that makes me feel I’m still alive.”

Slowly we begin to regroup. Maybe it’s through sheer willpower, or the interventions of friends and family, or maybe it’s just time itself. But we stop resisting and move toward acquiescence. This is Stage 5 — Acceptance. We stop resisting what we cannot change. Even if the end was un-chosen, undesired and inescapable, we can still willingly choose to accept it.

I hasten to add that these stages are guidelines. They are not presented in the order that they always happen. Nor is one stage predicated on the other. How long a person is in one stage or another is situational. However, I do hope this was helpful. What is certain is you will experience a wide range of feelings and emotions.

Some suggest the therapy of keeping yourself busy as a means of healing and moving on. This may sound elemental, but it’s not as easy as it seems. Most of us tend to wallow in our misery. We are way too indulgent with sitting on the pitty-pot. While you definitely need time to recover from the divorce, this period of heartache will have an end. And ends of things always led to beginnings of other things.

You now have certain freedoms that you may not have had while you were married. Once the initial period of grieving is over, it is important to jump back into life. Become more involved in your social group. Going out might seem unappealing at first, but it’s better than staying home and feeling sorry for yourself. If you’re only dating assholes, I’ll bet you’re fishing in the wrong holes, so to speak. The internet makes it so much easier to connect with quality people of ever stripe. Use this tool wisely. May I suggest that you start by connecting with people with similar interests as you, rather than posting a profile and photos on a dating site.

Of course, it is necessary to have some time with yourself to realize that you can survive and even be happy without your dick of a husband. The secret to successful grieving is that you need to feel the pain in order to get through it. Therefore, using drugs (prescription or recreational) and alcohol to numb yourself only make things worse.

You might consider working with a therapist to help you understand why your relationship ended. With a little luck you’ll learn how to avoid blaming yourself for the demise. No one is without fault, and your husband definitely has more than his share. But blaming him for everything will do you no good. You are neither totally to blame, nor are you the helpless victim. Lingering at either extreme will rob you of your self-esteem.

At first, being single might seem weird or even unappealing. But being single has its perks. Being single allows you to focus on you and take better care of yourself. And what better way to do that then by reconnecting with your sexual-self. Masturbation is gonna be your best friend during this transition period. Lavish time and pleasure on yourself. You’re worth it! Indulge yourself; instead of chocolate, get yourself a supped up vibrator and kick that thing into first gear, maybe even second! By spending more private sexual time with yourself, you’ll reconnect with who you are and what you want. This will make it easier for you to later choose a partner who can and will satisfy your needs.

Good luck

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Pros and Wannabes

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When it comes to sex, pro and amateur alike have issues. (It’s a good thing too; otherwise I’d be out of work.) Weather one is just getting the hang of things or one is making bank pleasuring others, body awareness and sexual technique can be fine-tuned.

In our culture just about everyone, regardless of age, faces some kind of bugaboo about sex and/or intimacy. When we are young, inexperience and the sexual misconceptions and misinformation that accompanies youth can seem charming to some. Youth, after all, is a time for stumbling about.

Not so when we’re all grown up. Those who are old enough to know better, but don’t, are not judged as indulgently as greenhorn youth. Older folks are expected to learn the lessons of youth while we are young. And while there are a whole set of particular issues that arise for us in our middle years, it’s exasperating to encounter an oldster who is still clueless about the fundamentals.

Hey Dick!
As you know, I am an escort. My business is doing very well. In fact, so well I need to ask if you know of any meds, besides Viagra, that I can take that will help me maintain an erection over a longer period of time?
Can I be frank? Here’s the deal, let’s say I have I have two one-hour clients during the day. Then a regular of mine calls and wants an all-nighter. That’s not a problem other than the fact that this particular client wants to get fucked hard. I mean real hard, for hours at a time. He’s an insatiable power bottom.
I want to be able to ride his ass, like the bitch he is. Hell, I’m even attracted to him. I just can’t stay hard enough to fuck him like he likes (especially after having had the two clients before him that same day). Sometimes I have difficulty getting it up for him, and wind up finger-fucking him till my hand is sore. I do not want to lose this client. And shifting days is not the solution. Because when he wants it he wants it and I have to produce. That’s what I do, I sell “muscle.” I have a reputation for giving the best hard driving, dominating and controlling sex around.
Again, is there a medication I can take to maintain the erection?
Works Hard

Dear WH,

Your life reads like a cheap porn movie script. Lordy, the good doctor nearly got the

copy-of-ego_jock0.jpg

vapors simply reading through your very explicit missive. (As you can see, I had to edit out some of the more gory details so I could protect your identity in this public forum.) Of course, as you suggest, it never hurts to advertise. You’re so bad!

I thoroughly understand the pressures you and other sex workers face. It’s not as glamorous a life as it is often portrayed, huh? Ok, so you’re beautiful, men idolize you and crave your attention. You’re getting loads of sex, putting all those “bitches” in their place, and crying all the way to the bank. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. But then again, there are all those sniggling performance issues that even a he-man like you must contend with.

The trouble lies in the fact that you are a workaholic. And that’s never good, regardless of the work one does. Sex work, like any other work, will burn you out if you’re not careful. If you don’t learn to pace yourself, darlin’, you’ll fizzle. (How’s that for an appropriate euphemism?) And from what you tell me, this is already beginning to happen. Keep it up (no pun intended), you won’t be the first causality in this line of work, nor will you be the last. But If you ask me, and I happen to know a little something about sex work myself, the object here is to grow old (or older in your case) in your chosen profession.

I’m tellin’ ya, WH, if the erectile burnout don’t get ya the psychological torment will. I’ll bet you’re terrified the word will get out that MR. Big-Beautiful-29-year-old-Stud-Power-Fucker can’t get it up. That would be real bad for business. And you know how those johns can gossip. Bitches! They don’t know that you’re servicing men at a rate that would make a superhero blush. All they see is limp willie and that spells trouble right there in River City.

It’s not surprising that you are having erection concerns given the number of clients you are seeing in one day. I mean, girlfriend, when do you find time to eat? You don’t need a new med, you need a vacation. If Viagra and a good cock ring don’t do the trick, then, in my humble opinion, your body is telling you to slow the fuck down.

And here’s another tip; research is beginning to show that prolonged and persistent use of Viagra can have some very unpleasant side effects. Those who overuse this potent cardiovascular drug, particularly young men who use it recreationally, may be in for some very unpleasant surprises down the road. So, I have one simple suggestion, WH, have a care about your sexual wellbeing and treat your dick gently. Despite the pounding you can inflict with it, it is a very delicate mechanism.

Good Luck

Dear doc, I am just about to turn 50 years of age. Is there a sex life ahead for me? I love sex clubs and anonymous sex. But is it too late for me to get into a relationship.
Washed up?

I regret to inform you, Washed, sex does, indeed, come to a screeching halt right as you turn 50. In fact your dick is gonna fall off too, cuz you ain’t gonna be needin’ that little thing no more.zoo_3_bg_070402.jpg

I mean, come on, I’m sure you know better than that. Thanks to the wonders of modern pharmacology even Bob Dole is getting laid, for Christ sake. Wake up and smell the coffee, Washed!

Oh, and one other thing, since there’s no guarantee that you’ve taken note of this subtlety, especially seein’ how you missed the big picture above, I have a tip for you. If it’s relationship sex you’re after, you’re gonna have to look for that in a different venue than where you are currently skulking around for stand-up sex. And you can pretty much count on the fact that relationship sex is gonna demand a whole different set of skills than anonymous sex. Do you have what it takes? Hmmm, the jury is still out on that. But if you’re just now lookin to nest at 50, I’d say an acquittal is highly unlikely.

Good Luck

Dear Doctor, I am gay, 49 and after a “broken heart” in my 30’s I went back to the closet for 20 years. I feel so lonely. Seems I have wasted my life. At my age, how can I ever find a lover with whom I can truly be happy, both spiritually and sexually? This is very difficult for me and I really would appreciate any good advice. Thank you. Kind regards.
Lonely in Louvain

Dear LL,

Hey, it’s never too late to find what you are looking for. However, this particular questleavemealone.jpg is not for the faint of heart. If you’re prone to retreat into your shell, or closet as the case may be, every time you are disappointed or rejected, don’t even start this adventure. But, if your life of loneliness and isolation has taught you to value the companionship and love of others, then your years in the closet may not have been a total waste. Get out there and make a difference.

Live authentically; it is the best aphrodisiac. You may not find everything you are looking for in one package, but that shouldn’t matter. That’s the stuff for fairytales. The object is to satisfy your needs. So, if you find satisfying sex with one person and spiritual fulfillment with another, so be it.

And may I suggest that you try and expand your concepts of what defines happiness for you. You don’t want to box yourself in now that you’re finally venturing out of the closet.

Good Luck

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Sex Advice With An Edge — Podcast #06 — 03/19/07

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[Look for the podcast play button below.]

Hey sex fans,

This week we have a slew of written submissions —

  • Roxy is a cock in a frock and his marriage is on the rock-s!
  • Young Pete is queer, and his yahoo family hates fags.
  • Gwen is over the hump, but still wants to hump.

And finally A Sexual Enrichment Tutorial

  • Suppressing the Gag Reflex!

BE THERE, OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s dr dick’s toll free podcast voicemail. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.Got a question? No time to write? Give dr dick a call at (866) 422-5680. Again, the toll free voicemail number is (866) 422-5680.

Dr Dick is now on iTunes. You’ll fine me in the podcast section under the heading — Health, subheading — Sexuality. Or search for Dr Dick Sex Advice With An Edge. And don’t forget to subscribe. I don’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s Podcast is brought to you by: Daddy Oohhh! Productions, Quality Adult Entertainment, Enrichment and Educataion

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Slippery When Wet

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Getting to the bottom of things, so to speak is not always as easy as it appears at first glance. I’d like to share with you an exchange I’ve been having with very articulate correspondent from Chicago…dr dick’s hometown. Pay attention to how the topic moves from a concern about finding the proper lube to issue of much greater importance.

Hey there Dr. Dick,

I’m a 31 year-old gay guy from Chicago, Illinois, and I’ve been in a completely monogamous relationship with my partner, who is 38, for almost nine years.I consider myself to be on the bottom side of versatile–what can I say? I love it when my guy fucks me! But my partner is never able to cum when he makes love to me because of the lube on his dick. For whatever reason, it desensitizes him, and he’s unable to get off either from fucking or masturbation. We’ve tried various brands of lube, as well as different kinds of lotion, but nothing works.

We’re both HIV- and haven’t used condoms for many years. One of my biggest fantasies is to feel him shoot his load inside of me. Unfortunately, he is unable to get to that point. Furthermore, I hate that I get to cum and he doesn’t. I’ve looked for different kinds of lube online, but to be honest, I just don’t know which one might do the trick. Do you have any suggestions?
Thanks, Dr. Dick,
Daniel

Hey Daniel,cum10.jpg

Let me see if I understand what you’re saying. Your partner is unable to ejaculate when he uses either lotion or lube while either masturbating or when fucking you. Right? Does that mean he can masturbate to ejaculation just fine with a dry hand?So when you guys have sex, and he’s fucking you, and you cum, what happens next? Does he pull out of you, wipe off the lube and beat off till he cums?

Daniel, I need a bit more information before I can advise you. I hope you take the time to respond.

dr dick

Thanks for your thoughts on this, Dr. Dick.

That’s right, my partner can’t seem to bring himself to climax using either lotion or lube.He can masturbate to ejaculation with a dry hand. However, I will say that it often takes him a little longer to ejaculate in general, which may just be one of those things that happens to us all sooner or later. He goes wild when I go down on his butt while he masturbates — he usually cums pretty quickly then.

So if there’s no fucking involved, we’ll play around together for awhile, then I’ll concentrate on him until he cums, and then I either jerk off or he’ll jerk me off.When he’s fucking me, it usually becomes all about me, which I don’t think is very fair, because unless he takes a shower and washes off the lube with soap and water, he can’t cum at all. He is generally content to just enjoy our love making on these occasions without necessarily having an orgasm. That’s all well and good, but like I said, I don’t think it’s very fair, and I wish I could figure out a solution.

T hanks! Please let me know if you need any more information. I’m looking forward to hearing you’re thoughts on this.
— Daniel

Hello again, Daniel.

This is all very curious. I’d be willing to speculate that what you present here is nota.jpg merely a wet hand vs. dry hand issue. I took particular note of these comments of yours: “I will say that it often takes him a little longer to ejaculate in general…” “He goes wild when I go down on his butt while he masturbates–he usually cums pretty quickly.” and “… I’ll concentrate on him until he cums…”

First, it’s not unusual for a man not to cum as a top in anal (or vaginal) intercourse. Sometimes there’s simply not enough of the right kind of friction. If, for example, your BF is like another client of mine and his masturbation style is very vigorous, or like my client who is only able to cum by concentrating his manual stimulation on his frenulum, he’ll not cum in anal intercourse…or any intercourse for that matter. He has to get himself off by hand.

You say your BF enjoys being rimmed, and this hastens him to orgasm. Does he enjoy any other butt play, like prostate massage? If he does, you guys could try something like this. You eat his ass while he is masturbating on his back. Using a small vibrating dildo stimulate his prostate. As he approaches ejaculatory inevitability add lube to his dick, straddle him and sit on his dick.This may sound like a whole lot of work, and it may very well be. My suspicion is that your BF has, for whatever reason, talked himself out of every cuming in your ass and the lack of success with traditional anal intercourse has reinforced that. However, if you can help him break down his resistance with a fucking success, some positive reinforcement might turn the tide.

I hasten to add that if what I describe above interferes with spontaneity of your sex play, you may just want to enjoy the sex as you already have it.

Good Luck!

Now that’s really interesting, Doc.
My partner is a bit vigorous when he masturbates, and that’s how he finally gets off 100% of the time. I can’t think of a single other instance when that wasn’t the case. But I just suddenly remembered something he told me a long time ago about his first sexual experience with a dude.

My partner was receiving a blowjob, and as he was cuming, he farted. Now, that particular fart was certainly unfortunately timed — and probably the result of the relaxation that comes with an orgasm — but now I wonderrimming2.jpg whether or not, way back when, something psychological occurred. I would certainly speculate that switching to masturbation as he’s getting close might not be some kind of mechanism to shift the focus from down there to somewhere else, if you see what I mean.

We’ve never tried any other kind of ass play. I fuck him sometimes, which he enjoys. But we’ve never been much for toys or anything like that. I did get him a latex dildo as a joke one Christmas — nicknamed Gloria, for some reason — but I think I played with that when I masturbated alone more often than when we were having sex. Anyway, Gloria’s gone now — it slowly turned a funny yellow color so we tossed it. A small vibrator sounds like a fun idea…I know I’d use it at the very least!I’m always a little disappointed when our love making isn’t as successful as I’d like it to be, but I’m always careful not to show it, because my partner genuinely feels that he’s not great in the sack — which is nonsense (it really is nonsense).

Sex is always great, and especially between two people who love each other like we do. That sounds a bit trite, but we’re always laughing and doing silly stuff when we’re in bed together, and generally having fun, and I think we communicate well too.I have to admit, we’re not as spontaneous as we would like when it comes to sex. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that lots of couples fall into this trap where the events of the day — work, school for me, dinner, paying bills, answering emails and phone calls, surfing the Internet, booking travel, etc. — gets the better of us, and before you know it, everyone’s tired and ready to fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow.

Sometimes, though, if my partner is home when I get home, we’ll find ourselves lying on the bed playing with the cats. When they get fed up with our antics, we usually joke around with each other, talking, laughing, which may or may not lead to sex. It’s great when it does. Other times, especially at night when we’re getting in bed, one or both of us might be horny and we’ll have sex. Many times, I’ll be in the mood but not him, and I’ll jerk off while he rubs my balls and my chest, or he’ll jerk me off, and then go to sleep. That’s about as spontaneous as it gets for us.

Sexual spontaneity is definitely something we both know we need to work on. I’d love to have one of those moments where we have to leave dinner, jump in a cab, and get home ASAP, because we’re so worked up that we gotta jump in bed and play!

— Daniel

rimming03.jpgDaniel,

Thank you so much for all of this. It’s brilliant. Sounds like you have an exceptionally enviable relationship. Also sounds like you have plenty of room for spicing things up too.It’s so interesting that you mention your BF’s fart incident. I’ve had other people tell me similar stories. Almost to the one, each reported that this single fart incident during sex, altered their entire sexual response cycle for years. Isn’t that amazing? Aren’t we incredible creatures?

All the best,

Dr Dick

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INTER GENERATIONAL FUN!

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A cluster of email arrived lately from folks in inter-generational relationships. They raise some very interesting issues. Check it out.

Dr. Dick, I’m a 20-year-old lesbian and have been involved in a relationship for a year and a half. She is also 23 years older than me. As much as we don’t want to admit it, our age difference is becoming a problem for us. We have had a difficult and stressful ride for the time we have been together. We are just at different places in our lives. Neither one of us truly wants to break it off; we have put far too much effort into this. I don’t doubt our deep feelings for each other, but is love enough to keep a relationship healthy? I would like to think so, but then of course I don’t have any prior experience. I am young and have many years and many possibilities in front of me. This doesn’t concern me, because more than anything I want this to work. What can we do? – Dena

Dear Dena,

The issues you present get right to the heart of some of the stickiest stuff of human relationships — sex, intimacy and love. Each one of these is different from the otherlesbian01.jpg and each satisfies (or frustrates) a specific need in each of us. The problem, of course, is that many of us jumble them all together and make a muddle of things. Let’s see if we can parse things out a bit.

You ask, “is loving someone enough to make a relationship work?” The short answer is, yes, absolutely. The rub comes with defining what that particular relationship will look like. Simply loving someone will NOT be enough to satisfy a need for sexual expression, nor will it satisfy every intimacy need.

That being said, if maintaining your relationship at all costs is your objective, I’d suggest that you consider making some kind of adjustment to your current relationship to allow you to experiment with satisfying your sexual and intimacy needs outside the relationship. Of course, this is often easier said than done.

If your girlfriend is mature enough, she’ll understand your needs and give you the permission you request. If not, you’ll have to do it on your own. You need to grow; so does your partner. Pretending that this issue will somehow disappear, just because you love one another, is foolish. Unattended, these needs will worm their way into every facet of your being together and they’ll destroy everything you currently have in place.

I always favor the up-front approach. Have a frank discussion with your partner. Work out some new, temporary parameters for your relationship. Check in frequently with one another. Take note of how each of you is adjusting to this fresh approach to problem solving. Assure her of her rightful place as your primary partner. All other relationships are merely satellite relationships that are meant to augment what is available on the home front. Of course, you’ll need to grant her the same latitude you seek for yourself. Honesty, communication and assurance will be your keys to success.

Good luck,

Doc, I am 72 years old and I live with a 38 year old young man. Ours is a celibate life but with lots of touch and love. We decided that sex between us could be destructive so we put that aside. We are free to make sexual liaisons outside the relationship, but they have been minimal. We enjoy each other so much without the tension of having to perform that we would like to share the idea with others. We have a freedom that others could cherish. Many have sex without love why not love without sex? I am happy for the first time in my life and suggest these kinds of alternatives in every forum I can. Thank you for your time. – Bill

Dear Bill,older01.jpg What a joy it was reading your e-mail.

You and I share the same mission. We’re both encouraging others to consider the array of different models of loving, intimacy and sex that are available.

Most of the mail I get is from people who, despite being intelligent and sophisticated in most other matters, have absolutely no creativity in terms of the relationships they form. Just about everyone wants to know how he/she can mimic the look and feel of the dominant heterosexual, sexually exclusive model. As if that were the only legitimate means of being together. Why are gay men and lesbians so eager to buy into a lifestyle that rarely works for straight people? Maybe the wisdom you speak of is that which only comes with age and life experience.

There is one thing I’d like to point out. You say, “Ours is a celibate life…” I think you mean to say that you and your partner live a sexually abstinent life together, correct? Celibacy means something very specific; it means not being heterosexually married. This is a common enough mistake, one that permeates the popular culture.

I applaud your determination to bring the “good news” of alternative models of loving, intimacy and sex to every forum you can. I’m doing the same. Good luck in your efforts. You have a kindred spirit in Dr. Dick.

Dr Dick, I’m currently in a long-term relationship with a man who’s 18 years older than I am. I’m 29. It seems that I want to have sex more often than he does. It may be the age difference between us. I have tried masturbation to relieve my need, but it does not work too well. Whenever I’m with him in bed, I feel like touching him and so on. What should I do? – I Need More

Dear INM,

Congratulations! You’ve discovered the joys of inter-generational relationships. And I see you’ve also discovered the challenges.The issue you present is a common one, even for people dating within their own ageolder_male2.jpg group. A disparity in terms of sexual needs often appears between individuals in a relationship. This can be an opportunity for some creative problem solving or it can destroy the whole damn thing.

Here’s my suggestion.

  • First, try to discover if the difference in need has to do with sex or with intimacy. They’re not the same things, ya know. Does your partner even know that you are withering on the vine? Give yourself permission to explore other options to satisfy your libido. Could you have a sexual playmate outside the relationship? Is a three-way possible? Spice things up with some role-playing or a new sex toy. It’s easy to lose interest in sex when the play is boring, repetitive and ho hum.
  • There are lots of sex manuals on the market, to be sure. You could consult one of them for ideas if you can’t tap into your own god-given creativity. Of course a less expensive, and I think a more fun way to do this is to visit your local sex emporium. Don’t have one in your town? Too embarrassed to darken the doorway if there is one in your town? Never fear there are loads of them online. Make a date with your partner to visit a store. Pick out something new and naughty for him/her. Let him/her do the same for you.
  • Remember that sex oughta be an adventure even for an old “married” couple like you. Take all the opportunities that present themselves to make magic happen. You’ll be saving more than your LTR.

Good Luck

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