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Tag Archive 'sex'

Oct 07 2013

What Can You Learn From Feeding Your Dog That Translates Into Having A Great Sex Life?

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Foreplay begins with longing, a mental state. Before the first touch, even before eye contact, there is longing.

This is not a new idea. The Song of Songs is maybe 2500 years old and when you read it, you sense that the lovers really get off on thinking about “next time.” Eroticism is much about longing.

For example, there’s the story of Rabbi Shefa Gold and Rachmiel O’Regan, one of the couples in our book, Rabbis In Love. (See http://rabbis-in-love.com) Rabbi Shefa wrote “In the Fever of Love,” her translation of the Song of Songs, after they got together. That probably says something about how their relationship unfolded. In their interview they talk about how, when they first met Shefa was so busy she couldn’t schedule a second meeting for three months, but when they ran into each other by accident only a month or so later they hugged with such intensity that their companions said, “Who was that!?” “It was like being in the Star Trek beam,” said Rachmiel. Their unconscious minds were already in the longing. (Her website is http://www.rabbishefagold.com/) One of the themes of their story is “Do not awaken love until it is ripe.”

The ancient text says that the longing is part of the fun. Contemporary neuroscience agrees. When ancient wisdom literature and modern science come to the same conclusions, there is a good chance that they are both onto something. What they are on to has something to do with cocaine.

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Oct 20 2010

Creating the Wise Conversation: Rules for the Searching and Fearless Conversation (SFC): The Heart of Relationship Hygiene

By Philip Belove, Ed.D.

In a New Yorker cartoon by Leo Cullum, the elephant is on the psychoanalyst’s couch and saying with a pained expression, “I’m right there in the room, and no one even acknowledges me.”

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May 20 2010

Ten Commandments, Shavuot, Zen, Happiness and Relationship Success. by Dr. Belove

Complex title, I know. But the pieces do fit.

This week I joined friends to celebrate Shavuot (Shah VOO oat) the Jewish holiday commemorating the day that Moses was said to have carried down from the mountain the tablets with the Ten Commandments.  The celebration was an all night study and discussion party, sort of like a pleasant version of a finals week all-nighter, with tea and cookies and singing.  Among other things we talked about something the Jewish philosopher, Martin Buber, had written about the Ten Commandments.  (Bear with me.  One point will lead to the next and will end up with me sharing something vital that I re-learned about how to be a good relationship partner. )

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Apr 25 2009

Between the STR and the LTR, the MTR, a stable, friends and benefits relationship.

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The personals specify STR or LTR, (short term relationship or long term) as if those were the only choices. I’m not so sure. I think that there is a growing hybrid, the MTR, the mid-term relationship.

As one very smart and very attractive 50 year old woman explained to me, the problem is how to be “looking for long term relationships and dealing with the libido in the meanwhile.”

I think it is The Central Issue in dating at midlife. It is the thing that everyone struggles with.

I think the problem of how to have a sex life when single at midlife is equally vexing to both men and women. Midlife adults are sexually active and want to be. But how?

The best answer is a good long term committed relationship. It’s the best sex, the easiest sex, the most emotionally satisfying sex and the richest, most textured sex. Far and away, most of the people who report having the best and most frequent and most satisfying sex at midlife are people who are married or settled into in long term relationships. Then sex simply becomes part of pleasant domestic tranquility.

Midlife singles, by definition, are people who experience long sexual dry spells. These are people who, for one reason or another have backed away from long-term committed relationships. By 35 or 40 they’d tried for the Big One and they’ve either left or been left or have avoided it altogether.

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Apr 25 2009

Sex for Singles at Midlife

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You can tell how midlife singles are doing in their midlife transition by how they handle their sex lives.

The midlife transition happens in stages. In Phase One people tend to panic or choke. Panicking and choking are opposite ways of being ineffective.

When you panic you become impulsive. Your perception narrows. You lose sight of the big picture. An example of this is believing the relationship is over at the first sign of angry words.

When you choke, you over-think. You freeze up, distrust your instincts and become controlling. An example of this is needing to be 100% right before you ask anything for yourself in a relationship.

Phase One is Crazy Time. People in this phase are sexually impulsive and reckless or frightened, frozen and shut down. It’s possible to sexy, warm, sensual and friendly and still be very responsibly and aware of what you are doing. But not in this phase.

Phase Two is very difficult for different reasons. I know that the name I gave it, “Quiet Time,” makes it sound rather like “nap time.” It isn’t. It’s more like those still moments you have just after you wake up from a disturbing dream. Whatever it is, it finally has your full attention, but you aren’t yet sure what it is. You know you have to change something.

In order to change, in order to stop doing the things that don’t work, you have to recognize one of two things. Either

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Apr 20 2009

Men and Sexual Intimacy

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Do many midlife single men know what it means to have sexual intimacy, not just sex but also deep affection for and knowledge of their partner?

The title of the article is taken from a question I got in the mail. The writer, Patricia, a woman in her mid-forties, two years out of a rough marriage, and, as she put it, ” older and wiser,” is “looking for the sex that knocks your socks off because you know and care for the person first.” Was this a reasonable expectation? She wanted to know. ” Do men my age even know what I am talking about or are they just rare?”

Do they all want sex first? You can hear her frustration. She wants “the emotional satisfaction of intimacy, not just sexual physical satisfaction.”

She describes her typical dating experience. “Several times a month I meet men through the personals. But we usually just go out once. I think it went nice and I never hear from them again. And they are nice men, not jerks.”

She questions herself. “Is it me? I am conservative and very complex… I also keep my sexual side under wraps, to not give them the wrong impression. Am I wrong in doing that? Do men need to see that?”

She has, of course, described the essence of the battle of the sexes. For midlife women, her question is one of the most nagging: How do single midlife men think about sex and relationships?

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Apr 20 2009

Truth, Daring and Dating at Midlife

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Jerry, who is a man I’ve worked with, told me this story. Maybe it was an off night, or maybe it was second or third in a series of off nights, he wasn’t sure, but while he was in bed making love to his sweetheart, whose name was Angel, Jerry found himself thinking about calling his old buddy, Jennifer, for a friendly evening of sex. He caught himself rehearsing what he would say to Jennifer, who was bound to ask him, “Aren’t you involved with this new woman?” He heard himself sorting through possible reasons for not “busy” next Friday, or maybe Sunday night. He watched himself working out his ethical justifications. The only thing that was different from what he had done in the past – could it have been fifty times? More? –  was that he saw himself doing it and got scared.

Jerry was 48 and divorced twice. That in itself was not remarkable. Half of all marriages end in divorce and two-thirds of all second marriages. He’d been single for seven years with two major (two year long) relationships and a handful of minor encounters. You could say he was a veteran of the midlife dating scene. Angel was 45, with similar statistics.

There’s an old Irish joke that goes, “When all else fails, tell the truth,” and next morning, after breakfast, Jerry was scared enough to try it. He said to Angel, “I didn’t very much like our love making last night.” He left out the part about Jennifer.

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Apr 20 2009

Whadayacallit Relationships in Midlife Dating

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Please help. I’m searching for a good, funny, accurate name for this relationship, so common in midlife dating. It is a relationship with a built in limitation – geography, marriage to someone else, not-enough compatibility beyond sexuality, whatever. Sometimes the limitation is named. Sometimes it’s implied. The relationship always includes sex.

It isn’t casual and yet it’s not a full relationship. It is always limited in some important way. It is always smaller than full out commitment.

Maybe it ought to be called a relation-ette, like dinette or raisonette. I don’t especially like STR, or Short Term Relationship which sounds about as passionate as a financial instrument. And besides, sometimes these relationships aren’t always short term. They can last for years. I’ve interviewed people who’ve had discrete affairs, which have lasted as long as ten years and which included monthly trysts and even “business trips” that were really erotic vacations.

There is a French phrase for a friendship with tenderness, safety, sex and love, Amitie Passion, but I want an English term. I thought about “Limited Partnerships” as a term, but again, the phrase sounds so Wall Street, even though I like it because it captures the idea of intentionally built-in limitations.

These are definitely not casual relationships. We’re not talking about casual sex although the fact that they include sex is central to what they are. If we are bound to be single for many years between 40 and 60 or more, we are still going to want to have a sex life. One woman, recently divorced said that despite it all, she and her husband had a good sex life. “I didn’t believe how hungry I got.”

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Apr 20 2009

Sex and the Midlife Single

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Elizabeth described herself in her ad as an accomplished, mature woman with excellent communication skills and happy sensuality. She has been exchanging email with Thomas. The correspondence moved to phone calls and they arranged to meet for the weekend. Thomas would stay at her place. She had an extra bedroom but maybe they wouldn’t be needing it. The chemistry was good but Thomas said that he was waiting for “a special woman” to appear in his life and while he liked her a lot, he wasn’t sure she was the one. After the weekend, which included some very good sex, Thomas wrote her a poetic thank you note and she responded with a short note in which she told him how much she appreciated the weekend and she wished him luck in his search. She didn’t write again.

Robert had been a long-time friend of Marsha’s. They both sang in a community choir, and it turned out they both had a taste for weird movies. She invited him over one Sunday evening to see her DVD of Lost Highway, the director’s cut. After the movie they started kissing and when Thomas put his hand on her breast she said, “Where are you going with this?” He stopped and said, “Well, I don’t think there is enough of a fit for a long term relationship but I thought we could at least have some fun.” She said, “Okay but it’s late and if we’re going to do that, let’s make it a whole evening,” And she invited him back for candle light supper on Thursday.

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