We get emails from people every day who are having problems of various kinds in their marriage, and the simplest, most direct solution is often just have sex. Obviously this isn’t true in every single case, but you’d be surprised how often sex itself can smooth over differences and disagreements.
How does it make you feel when your partner is cold and distant? Or when they’re critical and prickly? Does it make you want to rip their clothes off, order in a vat of whipped cream and install a chandelier to swing from?
No? Well there’s your problem – according, at least, to Michele Weiner-Davis, the marriage-guidance counsellor whose Ted talk explaining her unconventional advice to warring couples has been viewed almost 3.5 million times online.
Her advice couldn’t be simpler: shag. Do it even if you don’t want to, do it especially if you don’t want to and, most important of all, do it frequently whether you want to or not. To make it even clearer, she’s borrowed one of the most famous advertising slogans of recent times: Just Do It. “Your partner will be grateful, happier and therefore nicer, too,” she explains from her clinic in Colorado. “It’s a win-win situation for both of you!”
Over the years, Weiner-Davis has honed her message. She’s now stripped it back to what she believes is the essence of a successful marriage. Gone is any therapeutic consideration of a couple’s history; of their emotional travails; of cause and consequence. Now she is entirely one-track minded: no matter how appalling the state of a marriage, she believes that kind, generous and frequent sex can bring it back from the teetering edge of collapse.
Let’s expand on the idea a little! Here are a bunch of related posts.
Create the Habit of Daily Sex: Make it the baseline assumption that you’ll be having sex every day, unless you talk about it and explicitly decide not to have sex that day. Don’t let your baseline be “no sex”.
Stare At Women’s Breasts Men’s eyes tend to wander from a woman’s face down to her chest. Previously, it’s been reported men who stare at women’s breasts tend to live longer, but this has been debunked. However, Men’s Health provided a scientific explanation for why ogling at breasts could boost longevity for men. They explained staring at breasts or looking at cute animals benefit a man’s health by creating a positive mindset.
Have Lots Of Sex If men need an excuse to have more sex, look no further than doing it for your health’s sake. A study in BMJfound sex could have a protective effect on a man’s health. Mortality risk was reduced by as much as 50 percent and life expectancy increased by three to eight years in the group who reported more orgasms.
Get Married Men, marriage, and mortality are the three m’s that go together. Men who have spouses tend to live longer than their single counterparts. A survey of over 127,000 American adults found men who marry after age 25 get more protection than those who get hitched at a younger age, and the longer a man stays married, the greater his survival advantage compared to his single counterparts. Researchers have questioned whether healthy men are more likely to marry than men with health problems, but unhealthy men actually marry earlier, are less likely to divorce, and more likely to remarry after divorce or being widowed than healthy men. Others wonder if marriage is linked to better health, or just living with another person provides the benefit. However, it seems to be both — people living with unmarried partners fare better in health than those living alone, but men with spouses tend to have the best health.
If you’re reading our blog then you’re probably already married! Good job — now stick with it.
Become A Parent Men who get married and become parents are more likely to live longer than their childless peers. A recent study in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health found men and women with at least one child had lower death risks than their childless counterparts. When parents reached age 60, the difference in life expectancy was two years for men and 1.5 years for women.
Phone sex. (We’ve had some requests to write about phone sex, but we’re not very knowledgeable on the topic.)
It’s surprising to me that three bondage-related activities make the top-10 for women (being tied-up, being handcuffed, and being blindfolded) while zero make the top-10 for men. We’ve written several posts about bondage, and they’re some of our most popular.
Husband: if you want to try bondage but have been embarrassed to bring it up with your wife, these bucket lists indicate that you might be in for a fun surprise!
The only items on these top-10 lists that are off-limits for Christians are threesomes and one night stands.
So, now that you’ve read the results from this survey you’re probably thinking, how can I use this? Here are a few ideas.
Show the bucket lists above to your spouse. Talk about what’s on each list, and maybe it will open up a dialog between the two of you that reveals some new activities you’d both enjoy — or at least be willing to try!
Create your own bucket lists. You and your spouse can create your own top-10 lists to share with each other. If you need inspiration, check out our “Would You Rather?” sex game — it has dozens of activities you can talk about, accept, or reject. If you’re too shy for that, you can use an online sex questionnaire that hides any mismatched ideas from your spouse to avoid embarrassment.
Check things off. If you’re like us, the best thing about a list is getting to check things off. If you do one bucket list item each week you’ll be amazed at how fast you’re trying new things.
Talk about it afterwards. After you check off one of your items, talk about it together. Did you enjoy it? Would you do it again? How could it be more fun next time? Maybe it’s a once-a-month activity, or only for special occasions, or maybe you want to do it again right away!
What’s on your sexual bucket list? Inspire the rest of us by leaving your ideas in the comments.
“For years we were told, ‘Have a bubble bath, calm down, listen to relaxing music, do deep breathing exercises, chill out before sex,'” she says.
“But my research shows the opposite, that you actually want to get women in an active state.
“So, you can run around the block with your partner and get them to chase you around the block, or watch a scary movie together, ride a roller-coaster together, even a good comedy act. If you really get laughing, you’re going to have a sympathetic activation response.”
Meston is talking about the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for subconscious muscle contractions that get us ready for the flight or fight mode, like heart rate and blood pressure. She has found that if this system is activated before sex it will help women respond more intensely and more quickly.
I recall a time when Lori thought I had fallen off a cliff (I had not). We went home and had really good sex. Now I know the reason for that was the adrenaline running through her system. Likewise, this is why teenage boys used to like to take a girl to a scary movie; their chances of something sexual in the back seat of the car were much better after such a movie.
We write a lot about games, activities, and novelty on our blog because they create excitement! Wives tend to be sexually responsive and usually don’t even realize when they’re becoming aroused!
Men’s subjective ratings of arousal were in agreement with their body’s level of sexual arousal about 66 percent of the time, while women’s were in line only about 26 percent of the time.
“The general pattern that I have seen in my laboratory is that women experience a genital response but do not report feeling sexually aroused,” Chivers told LiveScience.
Husbands and wives should both ponder that statistic for a while: a woman’s body often gets aroused before her mind does, and she won’t even notice.
Do you want to kick up the intensity of your sex life? Here are a few ideas from previous posts:
Sleep and sex really seem to complement each other, and not just because you’re likely to do them in the same place. If you want to sleep better and have more and better sex, try sleeping naked and waking up early.
The survey of 2,000 Americans, split evenly between self-identified early birds and night owls, found that early birds have more sex per week, on average, than their late-night counterparts.
The survey shows early-risers have sex an average of three times per week, compared to twice per week for late-risers — an impressive 50% advantage for early-risers. That’s more than 50 additional sexy times per year — maybe 2500 over the course of your married life. Seems worth it to me.
How do you and your spouse sleep? Are you intentional about what you wear, when you sleep, and when you wake up? Share your ideas and experience in the comments.
(Side note: I couldn’t find an image of a man and woman together waking up early and happy. Go figure.)
Brilliant new research indicates that older people are happier if they’re sexually active. That’s not surprising, but I’m shocked to see how little a difference sex makes.
In the new research, Smith and his colleagues examined data from nearly 7,000 U.K. adults ages 50 to 89. People self-reported how and how often they were having sex, and said how much they agreed with statements about their quality of life and well-being (such as “I enjoy the things that I do” and “I feel full of energy these days”). Based on their answers, each person was then assigned a total life enjoyment score on a 0-to-15 scale.
Adults who were sexually active tended to have higher total quality of life scores in general, as did those who reported feeling close to their partner. Sexually active men had average life enjoyment scores of 9.75, while those who were not sexually active had average scores around 9.44; for women, those ratings were 9.86 versus 9.67. These differences were small, but statistically significant enough to suggest an association.
The quality of life difference is small (around 3%!), and the study doesn’t determine whether sex causes happiness or happiness causes sex. Both are probably true. This study is stupid and the results are useless — you don’t need to survey seven thousand people to “suggest” that sex and happiness are “associated”.
“Even the lightest touch can make it difficult to stay in contact if both persons are not properly anchored.
“The astronauts would need to brace themselves against the space station, and even each other.
“A shared sleeping bag, or similar, would perhaps be the most useful.”
Or velcro-covered suits with strategically-placed openings?
“Because of the micro-gravity environment sweat and tears don’t run down the astronaut’s bodies like it does hear on Earth, instead it pools like small ponds of fluid near where it was secreted.
“If the motion is vigorous enough it could be ejected from the surface of the body.
“That seems decidedly un-romantic while also possibly bringing challenges to physical movements.”
However, the academic believes that despite the difficulties a couple “could certainly become aroused and reach climax in space. “
There was a report several years ago that NASA had performed space-sex “experiments”, but it turned out to be a hoax.
In his book The Last Mission, French author Pierre Kohler claimed that NASA had commissioned a study on sexual positions in outer space. He cited a fictional document, widely available online, that describes subjects experimenting with 10 different positions, six of which required an elastic band or sleeping-baglike tube to keep the couple together in zero gravity.
I haven’t been able to find the “widely available” document, but if anyone sees it please post a link in the comments! In the meantime, scientists can only speculate:
He said: “Any mechanism that would help keep the bodies of the couple pressed together, like a sleeping bag anchored to the wall, would help facilitate intercourse. “In that situation – a couple in a sleeping bag – the natural positions would either be missionary – face-to-face – or in a spooning position. “So, I would guess that either of those positions would be the most likely to succeed.
Where would you most want to have sex if you could get away with it? Let us know in the comments.
Classical conditioning (also known as Pavlovian or respondent conditioning) refers to a learning procedure in which a biologically potent stimulus (e.g. food) is paired with a previously neutral stimulus (e.g. a bell). It also refers to the learning process that results from this pairing, through which the neutral stimulus comes to elicit a response (e.g. salivation) that is usually similar to the one elicited by the potent stimulus.
For our purposes, we’re going to talk about how to train yourself and your spouse by pairing a sexualbiologically potent stimulus with a neutral stimulus so that we can elicit sexual arousal by activating the neutral stimulus. A concrete example, from the link above:
Sexy Corte has Pavlov’ed me to get turned on whenever I see her put her hair up. When we’re getting into sexy time, especially Old Faithful, pulling her hair up is usually the final bit of preparation. No matter if we’re alone or in public it really gets me going, especially when she catches my eye in the process. It isn’t just seeing her hair up that does it, it’s seeing her in the act of putting her hair up that turns me on.
When her hair goes up, she goes down — the two events are linked in my brain so that I get turned on merely by watching her put up her hair. I know we’re not the only couple with this conditioning, because there’s an internet meme about it.
So what exactly is classical conditioning? Here’s some terminology to get started:
Unconditioned stimulus: Pavlov called the biological stimulus — the one that doesn’t need to be trained — the unconditioned stimulus. This is the stimulus that naturally, biologically, leads to the response you’re trying to elicit. For example, kissing, genital stimulation, and dirty talk naturally lead to arousal (the unconditioned response) because of human biology. These stimuli don’t need to be conditioned to get the right response, they just work.
Unconditioned response: The unconditioned response is an unlearned, biological, reflexive response to the unconditioned stimulus. This is the natural response to the unconditioned stimulus that you’re going to train yourself to pair with a neutral stimulus. For example, when your spouse kisses you (unconditioned stimulus) you get aroused (unconditioned response).
Conditioned stimulus: This is what you’re working to create! The conditioned stimulus isn’t naturally (biologically) paired with your desired response. This is a neutral stimulus that you want to link to the desired response by using classical conditioning. For our purposes, just about anything non-sexual can be a conditioned stimulus: non-sexual touch, non-sexual speech, non-sexual clothing, a sound, a look, etc.
Conditioned response: The conditioned response is a replica of the unconditioned response, but excited by the conditioned stimulus.
The goal of classical conditioning is to pair the conditioned stimulus with the unconditioned response, so that when the subject experiences the conditioned stimulus he or she will reflexively exhibit a conditioned response that replicates the unconditioned response. For example:
Unconditioned stimulus: Sexy Corte (puts her hair in a ponytail and) performs oral sex on me. (The italic part is the conditioned stimulus embedded in the unconditioned stimulus for training purposes.)
Unconditioned response: I get an erection.
Conditioned stimulus: Sexy Corte puts her hair in a ponytail.
Conditioned response: I get an erection.
Classical conditioning is amazing for several reasons:
Classical conditioning works even if you know it’s being done to you. Classical conditioning doesn’t need to be done secretly or through trickery. You and your spouse can talk about conditioning each other and then make it happen. There’s some evidence that it works better if you know you’re being conditioned.
Classical conditioning works on everyone. Whether you have a high or low sex drive, varying love languages, or difficulty talking about sex, you can train yourselves with classical conditioning. You don’t have to believe in it for it to work. It’s biological, and it works on everyone.
You can condition yourself. By triggering unconditioned responses in yourself you can modify your own behavior — for example, to cultivate a taste for coffee, vegetables, or that sex act your spouse is always asking for.
(Note: operant conditioning is a bit different — it’s about training a subject by rewarding or punishing voluntary behavior, whereas classical conditioning is about linking biological involuntary responses to neutral stimuli.)
Let’s get to it: how can you condition yourself and your spouse to enhance your sexual experience?
Pick an unconditioned response you want to trigger and the unconditioned stimulus that naturally elicits it. For discussion purposes here, we’re going to assume that you want to trigger sexual arousal. The unconditioned stimulus is anything that naturally leads to the desired unconditioned response — so anything sexual that naturally creates sexual arousal.
Pick a conditioned stimulus you want to link to that unconditioned response. For Sexy Corte, I use a light touch on the upper-middle of her back as the conditioned stimulus. This stimulus isn’t sexual on its own, but I want it to arouse her (unconditioned response).
Condition acquisition: Execute the conditioning by performing the unconditioned stimulus at the same time as the conditioned stimulus. It doesn’t matter too much which you do first, but you want to do them as close to the same time as possible. For Sexy Corte, I rub her upper back in a circular motion when she has an orgasm. All the sexual stimulation is the unconditioned stimulus, and the orgasm is the unconditioned response; by performing the conditioned stimulus (back rub) at the same time, I create a linkage between the conditioned stimulus and the unconditioned response (arousal and orgasm). The more frequently you execute the acquisition behavior, the stronger the conditioning will be.
Conditioned stimulation: After the subject has acquired the conditioning, you can trigger the conditioned response by performing the conditioned stimulus. For Sexy Corte, she gets aroused and starts to purr when I rub her upper back, often without her even noticing. In addition, when she is close to orgasm I can often push her over the edge by rubbing a small circle on her upper back.
Condition extinction: When the conditioned stimulus is used to excite the (un)conditioned response in the absence of the unconditioned stimulus the conditioning will eventually degrade and become extinct — the link between the conditioned stimulus and the unconditioned response breaks down. For Sexy Corte, if I rubbed her back all the time without direct sexual stimulation, eventually the conditioning would break and it wouldn’t turn her on anymore. This extinction process means that it’s important to repeat the acquisition behavior of the conditioning frequently, to keep the conditioned stimulus tightly linked to the unconditioned response. However, even when conditioning becomes extinct it is generally easy to reacquire or renew it simply by repeating the acquisition behavior again.
Here are some examples of unconditioned stimuli you could easily link to sex. Simply use one of these consistently before or during your sexual encounter, and your spouse will get aroused when you exhibit it again. They key is that while training you should only the selected stimulus when you’re going to quickly initiate sex — once the conditioning takes hold you can space things out a little more, but keep an eye out for signs of extinction. If you use the stimulus and then don’t follow through you will frustrate and upset your spouse, so don’t do that, it’s mean.
Sight: Wearing certain piece of jewelry; wearing no panties; putting your hair up in a ponytail; a special wink; bending over a certain way
Sound: A bell (that’s what Pavlov used!); a few special code words; a certain song or playlist; a growl or purr; a command (“go get in bed and take off your clothes”); a request (“please sir”)
Smell: A certain perfume or soap; incense you burn during sex
Taste: Have your spouse lick your neck or finger; a certain candy
So what are some things you can do with your conditioned spouse?
Conditioned arousal. As described in the examples above, you can condition yourself or your spouse to become sexually aroused by non-sexual stimuli — a ponytail, a touch on the back, etc. However, conditioned arousal can be especially useful if you or your spouse struggle with being attracted to each other in general! We get lots of email from people who want to be more attracted to their spouse than they are, and we often suggest that they condition themselves to be aroused by their spouse. How? Link sexual stimulation and arousal to the presence and touch of your spouse. If you don’t allow yourself any sexual stimulation without your spouse’s participation your body and mind will quickly learn just how attractive your spouse is!
First off, let me say that we’re not advocating for or against the use of birth control pills. We used them, and when we decided we were done having kids we stopped using pills and selected a permanent method to prevent conception. The point of this post is simply to remind people that hormones (and medication) can have a significant effect on how you feel, think, and act — whether the hormones are produced by your own body or come in a pill.
In recent years, scientists have started to realise that the brains of women on the pill look fundamentally different. Compared to women who are not taking hormones, some regions of their brains seem to be more typically ‘male’.
There are behavioural changes, too. Women on certain types of pill are not as good at coming up with words – something our gender are usually highly skilled at. On the other hand, they are better at mentally rotating objects, as is often the case in men. Finally, women on a different type of pill are better at recognising faces – something women are usually good at.
In 2015, neuroscientists from the University of California, Los Angeles in the US took brain scans of 90 women who were either currently using the pill or not, and found that two key brain regions were thinner in pill users – the lateral orbitofrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex.
These two regions are involved in emotion regulation, decision-making and reward response, and the researchers believe that their findings could help explain why some women become anxious or depressed when taking the contraceptive pill.
And in 2010, a team from Austria also found that the contraceptive pill could change the shape of the brain regions associated with learning, memory and emotion regulation.
What’s more, new research suggests that oral contraceptive use doesn’t just reduce your risk of certain cancers, lighten your period, alleviate horrible cramps, clear your skin, and improve your mood (among other benefits).
It shows that women who take the pill or use other methods of hormonal contraceptive for more than 10 years may end up with better memories and critical thinking skills post-menopause, according to a study that looked at 830 women around age 60, which was recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
The researchers affirm it is unknown whether the cortex would become thicker again if the women on birth control stopped taking the pill or whether it would remain the same. “Maybe you go off the pill and it persists for a week, and, by week two it is back to normal,” Petersen said, Braindecoder.com reported.
This study contradicts the results of a 2010 study published in the journal Brain Research, which found women on the pill showed larger gray matter volumes in the prefrontal cortex, pre- and postcentral gyri, the parahippocampal and fusiform gyri and temporal regions, compared to their non-pill counterparts. It was not determined whether increased gray matter translated into enhanced performance. Similar to the recent study, the findings remain inconclusive and warrant further research.
The point of sharing this information isn’t to make anyone worry. Birth control pills have been used for decades without serious problems for most women. However, it’s worth considering how your medication (or change in medication) may be affecting how you think, feel, and act. The same goes for men — we take medication and have hormonal cycles too!