Friday, July 22, 2011

Sex on the First Date, Taboo or To Do?

Although dating rules have changed tremendously over the years, most people have steadfast opinions about sex on the first date.  Regarding first date sexual activity, the common theme appears gender specific.  Women should be ashamed of their easy and immoral ways while men are expected to "seal the deal" and celebrate their conquest. 

Most of my female friends agree that sex on the first date is not a good idea.  Although many women have had this experience, the majority still disagree with it as a common practice.  Men, on the other hand, have much more varied views on the subject.  Half of them agree that women who "give it up" on the first date fall into the bad girl category and are not worthy of a commitment.  The other half don't judge women based on this and attribute sex on a first date to good chemistry or their male powers of persuasion.    

Clearly, there is a double standard that exists in acceptance of first date sex.  Men are split on the topic and women seem against it, although they frequently do it.  The divergence of opinion can be explained by gendered expectations of behavior and the reasons why people chose to have sex on the first date.

Women tend to have sex on the first date because they are:
  • Under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
  • Seeking intimacy through sexual activity
  • Asserting their protest against traditional gender roles
  • Assuming it will make the guy like them
  • Insecure and looking for validation 

Men have tend to sex on the first date because they are:
  • Under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
  • Eager to accept the offer of sex
  • Wanting a woman to develop an attachment to them (yes, this does happen)
  • Able to separate sex from emotions

So, should you have sex on the first date?  My answer depends.  I am not suggesting that men or women jump into bed with wanton disregard, but I do see three (and only three) reasons that make sex on the first date okay:
  • You want to have sex with this person
  • Your decision to have sex is based on what you want and nothing else
  • You can deal with the ALL of the consequences of this choice (i.e., possible pregnancy or STDs, not seeing this person ever again, a clingy emotional attachment, feelings of guilt and/or regret, etc.)  

If you can honestly answer yes to the above questions, go ahead and have fun (protected fun that is).  If not, you may want to wait until you can answer yes or you are in a committed relationship.

For more information, read some of my previous posts:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Self-esteem: Not Just A Woman's Problem

Researchers have found that both women and men have similar levels of self-esteem during adolescence and young adulthood.  

Instead of gender as a factor, differences in self-esteem are found when comparing people of different racial/ethnic categories.

The result of this research has many implications for parents, teachers, and clinicians who have historically attributed lower self-esteem to women and girls.  The lack of a gender separation in self-esteem can shed light on determinants of behavior for men and boys.  Also, more research can examine how racial and ethnic differences attribute to a young persons level of self-esteem.

To read the entire article, click HERE

Monday, July 18, 2011

Should Contemporary Women Play Hard To Get?

Throughout time women have been told to play hard to get.  Our mothers, sisters, aunts, and girlfriends insist that men should be the aggressor.  Even the men in our lives agree, sharing stories about their disapproval of aggressive women.  Playing hard to get has worked for generations, but does the same ring true today?    

Contemporary men report that they like when women are aggressive.  According to some men, women who make the first move appear to be confident and sexy, making them more approachable than other women.  An aggressive woman lessens the fear of rejection men have felt for centuries.  It makes their job in the dating game much easier.  

On the other hand, there are men who disagree and do not like it when women are aggressive.  These men feel that their job is to "hunt" and they get excited in the thrill of the chase.  Therefore, when they are approached by women, they feel emasculated and that their contribution to the ritual of dating has been taken away.

With conflicting information as to what men prefer, what should contemporary women do? Should they be aggressive and render men powerless OR should they wait for someone to approach them, thereby risking loneliness?

The answer is that genetics and culture do not lie.  Men are biologically wired and socially conditioned to value the "hunt".  They enjoy being the aggressor and are more than eager to test out their skills.  Women have been socialized to be the "damsel in distress", appearing available and worth the wait.  But contemporary women also have a need to assert their independence and work for what they want.

In my opinion, there is a middle ground here.  Although the game has changed and new rules may exist, the old method is still the better method.  The difference is that "playing hard to get" has taken on a new meaning.  Today's woman can be aggressive while still allowing a man be a man.    

Being aggressive means that you should make yourself more approachable.  Make the first move by getting his attention, pulling him to you, and allowing him to hunt.  Make him think he is the hunter and in control when in all actuality, YOU CHOSE HIM.  But instead of pursuing him, you are allowing yourself to be the target.

To assert your independence while playing hard to get, you should:

Establish and maintain eye contact
The trick here is maintaining the eye contact.  Once you catch his eye, smile and keep looking for about 5 seconds.  After that, look away for a second or two then catch his gaze again.  If he's still looking, chances are that may be interested.  Continue to smile (not too wide making you look insane) and show him that you are open to being approached.  The rest is history.

Initiate the conversation
Scary thought for some women but men appreciate a sign that they have a chance.  Here you do not want to be the aggressor and ask him out, but show him that you are open to being hunted.  Choose what to say depending on the situation.  If you are in a bar or other social setting, you can use a cheesy line to show you have a good sense of humor.  In a more relaxed atmosphere (i.e., mall, book store, friends' house, etc.) bring up something that is relevant to the situation.  Ask him what he is reading, directions to a store, or his relationship to the person whose home you are visiting.  Or use the simple, yet effective, "Hi.  I'm .... and you are?".

Drop something
Seriously.  I have seen this work a million times and not just in the movies.  When the object of your attention walks by or when you pass his way, drop an item.  No clothing ladies (please don't do that) but drop something unbreakable like a book, a pen, your lip gloss, or anything else you can find the bottom of your purse.  If he is a gentleman, he will pick it up.  Then work your magic with the two suggestions above.  If he does not pick it up, cut your losses and move on.

As you can probably guess by now, I am a fan of more old-fashioned rules of dating.  The way I see it, if it ain't broke....        


Sunday, July 17, 2011

10 Ways To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

What are the things needed to keep your relationship healthy?  

Most people would answer that question with the big four: Trust, fidelity, communication, and conflict resolution.  

While these are needed in order to have a successful relationship, there are many others that should be considered.  These, in conjunction with the big four, will increase your relationship satisfaction.

I recently stumbled across an article that sums up what most healthy relationships need.  I totally agree and could not have said it better myself.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Rules of "Friends With Benefits"

While I am eagerly awaiting the release of Justin Timberlake's (I LOVE him btw!) new movie "Friends With Benefits", I wonder whether or not men and women are capable of maintaining such relationships.  Romantic comedies try to convince us that friends with benefits (FWB) will eventually fall in love and live happily ever after.  Although they may go through some bumps along the way, they express their love and get it together in under 2 hours.     
Regrettably, most real life FWB situations don't turn out as well.  

So this got me thinking.  Can a FWB relationship be a good thing?  In my opinion, yes, but it depends.  There are many factors which will determine whether or not friends can have sex with each other yet keep their original friendship in tact.  I am not suggesting that friends should use each other for sexual gratification or that an arrangement such as this is for everyone.  The truth is, most friendships will not be able to withstand the complexities that are a direct result of having sex.  Emotional turmoil will keep most FWB from returning to their normal friendship.  Therefore, entering into a FWB relationship with your friend is probably not a good idea. 

But, for those who throw caution to the wind and have no-strings sex with their friends, a few things to consider:  
Rule #1: Establish some ground rules
Both parties should agree on their own FWB etiquette.  There needs to be a clear understanding of what is/isn't okay.  Do you spend the night together?  Are your encounters spontaneous or planned?  Are you sexually exclusive (if so, what is the point of being FWB)?  Do you tell other people?
These are better answered before sexual activity occurs.  Each party should know what is expected of them in order to decrease the potential for drama in the future.

Rule #2: Communication is key!     
I get that the point of a FWB situation is that you don't have to talk about relationship stuff.  But, in order for it to work, you DO have to talk about relationship stuff.  After the ground rules are set, continue to discuss the situation.  It is important to check in to see if it is "still working" for both parties and how to proceed if it is not.

Rule #3: Know when to say when
Remind yourself that this person is first and foremost your friend and the goal is to remain friends.  Therefore, you may have to put their needs ahead of yours.  Is he/she acting differently?  Do you have a feeling that they are wanting more/less from the situation?  If so, it may be time to end it.
Unfortunately, most FWB relationships only benefit one person.  The one who can remain emotionally unattached and doesn't equate sex with love.  Usually the male will have an easier transition in and out of the FWB situation.  



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Can You Love Someone Else Without Loving Yourself First?

I ran across an article in which the author argued that you do not have to love yourself in order to love someone else.  He states that for some, self-loathing has no bearing on the ability to love another.

Check out the article here.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I Can Forgive, But I Won't Forget...

I heard this statement during a conversation with a family member after hearing a sermon on forgiveness.  My pastor spoke on its true meaning and stated that in order to be forgiven for our sins, we must forgive the sins of others.  The concept is simple enough, but the action proves to be one of the most difficult tasks faced in a relationship.

Disappointment and heartache encountered in relationships are often the direct result of another persons actions.  An unfaithful partner, a scheming friend, an absent parent, or a disrespectful child can test our patience and willingness to forgive.  When we are betrayed, the event lingers in our minds and can appear in random thoughts.  We may even dream about the incident and how we could, would, or should have reacted.  Our spirits are scarred.  On those occasions that we are able to forgive, the above mantra rings true..."I can forgive, but I won't forget."

Forgiveness is necessary when we are wronged and is the basis for maintaining authentic relationships.  To truly forgive, we must also forget.  In order for healing to occur, the event and any negative feelings about the offender should be free from our thoughts.  True forgiveness is not meant for the offender, but for the offended.  Therefore, forgetting is a key step in the pathway to forgiveness.

In order to forget, we must understand the true meaning of forgiveness.   

Forgiveness of others IS NOT:
  • An acceptance of the behavior
  • A license to be offended again
  • A sign of weakness

Forgiveness of others IS
  • An expression of self-love
  • A necessary step toward healing
  • The only way YOU will be forgiven in the future 

Try forgiving and forgetting those who offend(ed) you.  Most likely they have moved on and don't remember or care what they did.  Shouldn't you enjoy the same freedom?  


Monday, July 4, 2011

Reasons Why Women Are Unfaithful

According to a recent article, while there are many reasons women are unfaithful, they are more likely to stray when there is no passion left in their relationship. 

The article goes on to list 6 other things women report as the reasons why they had affairs.

For the record, I disagree with all of them.  Just like men, women are unfaithful for TWO reasons:

1.  They desire to be with someone else,  AND

2.  They have the opportunity to be with someone else.  Period.

Read the entire article HERE

Also, refer to some of my previous posts on infidelity:
Statistics on Infidelity
Is Your Marriage At-Risk for Infidelity?
Infidelity: To Tell Or Not To Tell?
Does Premarital Sex Increase Risk for Extramarital Sex?