A sexpert’s dating advice: Throw out the rulebook

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The dating scene may look way different than it did for prior generations—and for the most part that’s a good thing. You no longer need a good dowry to get a date, the status of your virginity is not a bartering tool, and (most) families don’t require a chaperone for two adults to grab dinner and a movie.

On the flip side, when we became less dependent on the town matchmaker or our parents for arranging marriages, dating became a more complicated venture. Now the burden is on us to find the perfect mate—and that pressure can be overwhelming.

The (old school) rules of dating
With all that pressure to find our soul mate, it isn’t surprising that people turned to dating guides and rulebooks to help navigate the process of courtship. The movie He’s Just Not That Into You, based on a book by the same name, explored the mishaps of couples misreading signals and fumbling through the rules of the dating game. The movie got one thing right—we use “the rules” to try to explain people’s behavior and justify the things we can’t understand.

What are these rules about? A behavior guide for young ladies in 1831 included:

  • Never be afraid of blushing. (Um, what?)
  • Read no novels, but let your study be History, Geography, Biography, and other instructive books. (Who doesn’t love discussing a steamy geography book?)
  • Trust no female acquaintance. (This would definitely violate the Girl Code.)
  • Dating advice didn’t progress much in the following 100 years—the rules for women from one 1938 dating guide advised:
  • Flatter your date by talking about the things he wants to talk about. (Well, that’s a little one-sided.)
  • Don’t talk while dancing. (And that sounds kinda awkward.)
  • Yikes, no thanks. As strange as people’s behavior may be, some of these rules are even more bizarre.

New rules, still bad advice
Unfortunately, dating advice from more recent years doesn’t get much better. The ‘90s brought an ambush of bad dating advice books, including Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus and Men Are Like Fish: What Every Woman Needs To Know About Catching A Man. (Seriously, the titles are bad enough.) One especially notorious book, The Rules, encouraged playing hard to get with gems like:

  • Don’t call him and rarely return his calls. (That’s just rude.)
  • Don’t accept a Saturday night date after Wednesday. (Scheduling could get so complicated.)

Besides being impractical and kinda sexist—spoiler alert—these rules don’t work, even for some of the people who came up with them. Starting a relationship by playing games isn’t a good strategy for finding a genuine connection. How can someone fall in love with the real you if you’re hiding behind all those rules?

Dating tips for the real world
Trickery and deception may or may not be able to get you a date—but manipulative approaches definitely won’t get you a meaningful connection with another person. Being able to be yourself in a relationship and know that the other person genuinely likes the real you is refreshing and empowering. So let your (real) hair down, and throw out the rulebook.

In all my training to become a sexpert, the best dating advice has always focused on communication and honesty (with your partner and yourself). Collected from my sex educator trainings, suggestions from sexuality and relationship experts, and personal experience, here are my top 5 tips for rocking the dating scene.

  1. Do you!
  2. Be clear about what you want
  3. Confidence is oh-so-sexy
  4. Find your mutual [email protected] yes
  5. Don’t forget your sexual health

For online dating advice check out here!!!

Here’s What Happened When I Tried Old-School Cosmo Relationship Tips on My Fiancé

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“Enjoy this time,” everyone and her mother has told me since I got engaged to my boyfriend of more than six years in September. “Relish every moment. Don’t sweat the small stuff! There’s no time in your life quite like this.”

It turns out the clichéd-prone Olds were right: There hasn’t quite been a time in my life like this one. Never before have I had to balance all the ridiculous twentysomething stresses I already have with planning a ridiculous twentysomething party that I would have to look back at when I was a thirty-, forty-, fifty-, etc.-something and think, Damn, good job, kid. I have been superficially stressed with bridal stuff and Life Stuff and it’s detracted from what this ~special time~ is supposed to be about: me and Michael.

Luckily, I work at a magazine known for it’s deliciously bat-shit sex tips and could take advantage of the archives. I wasn’t here to eat a doughnut off my betrothed(‘s penis) though — I was here to cement this time in our relationship as something special, dammit.

Enter the below article by Paula Munier, a writer, author, and editor who wrote this masterpiece entitled “LOVING GESTURES” for a 1977 edition of Cosmo. (When contacted, Munier said, “I can’t imagine how the story holds up these days, as times have changed so much for women over these decades … or have they?”) Well, if the BOLD headline of the article doesn’t scare you enough, let me hit you with the subhead: “He needs to be made to feel cherished, beloved, and adored to distraction, too! Herewith, twenty-five ways to sweetly stroke the man in your life and let him know he’s your special baby…” Woof.

Swallowing my pride, I committed. I was gonna sweetly stroke the man in my life so hard he wouldn’t even know what was coming. (Do you like my sex jokes?)

There were a few Paula points I had to cross off the list immediately (no. 7: Do not mention any affairs you have ever had or are having; no. 18: gift-wrap your apartment key; no. 21: throw/co-host a party; no. 24: invite him to a private bubble-bath party) because they (1) just don’t apply to us, (2) we live in one room that fits him and me and no one else, and (3) our bathtub is creepy and small. Otherwise, this was the perfect exercise. Michael is naturally a giver. He gives and gives, and somewhere along the way, I fell into the routine of taking and taking. That’s not to say he doesn’t know how much I love him (ilu bb, r u gna love me back after this?), it’s just who we are as two people and probably why we function so well together.

That was until I voluntarily created the How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days: 2016 edition. 🙂

On a normal day, Michael and I see each other for all of an hour or two before we fall asleep. He’s a doctor — up early, home late. I Internet for work so I am just home when he’s home. The little time we have is spent telling each other about our days, eating, making out, and, as of recently, frantically shouting, “SHOULD WE HAVE BOOKED A PHOTOGRAPHER ALREADY?” at each other. Eating is always the priority; the rest are divided up in the order mentioned.

I didn’t want to stray too far from our regular routine for fear of provoking suspicion (he has been the subject of many a Cosmo story before), so I skimmed the list and picked the least 1977-ish of the bunch. No. 13 stuck out as harmless: Send him a dozen long-stemmed red roses anonymously. Except it turns out I’ve never surprised Michael with flowers before.

Read full article here.

Couple married for 83 years give relationship advice on Twitter

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“We never hold grudges. Most arguments are about food.” ~John and Ann Betar

It was 1932 when John and Ann met. He was a 21-year-old Syrian refugee and salesman in the seaside town of Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Anne, 17, was a high school senior and his neighbour.

Her father wanted her to marry a man two decades older than her, as the depression of the 1930s gripped the US. But she couldn’t face a future without John, so the pair ran away to Harrison, New York, and eloped in November 1932.

Some 83 years later, the pair are still together aged 100 and 104-years-old, and claim to be the longest married couple in the US, the Washington Post reported.

To mark Valentine’s Day, the pair shared the wisdom on life and love that they have learned in the eight decades they have spent together.

Speaking to the Washington Post before the Twitter Q&A, Mr Betar said his one tip for a happy life was to: “Live day to day within your means. Be content with what you have. Don’t spend more than you have. Respect each other.”

“We’re just lucky to be together. So fortunate,” he said, adding that what makes him happiest is “just simply being together,”

Read full article here.