Saturday, March 10, 2012

Is Sex Supposed to Hurt?


"No, sex is not supposed to hurt."

For edification purposes, I usually set up the scenario before I answer the question. In doing so it provides a picture of the circumstance I discuss in the blog that day; you know "a picture is worth a thousand words" as the cliché goes. However, with regard to this circumstance - "Is sex supposed to hurt?" - the fact is there is practically no scenario for which I could see giving any answer other than "No" because under no circumstance is sex supposed to hurt.

Now, for purpose of edification, the question stems from a discussion about sexual fetish. To be more exact, the issue was whether it is "okay" for a man to choke a woman during intercourse if its gratifying to him, but painful for her (yes, it could be the other way around). But the answer remains the same:

"No"...absolutely not.

Indeed my answer is resolute, and as such I provide clarification and explanation for the purposes of edification.

Of course, I've heard the argument that "as long as two consenting adults say it's 'okay ...they can decide to have sex anyway they want." And to this I say, legally that is probably the case. However, as I see it "consenting adults" is not the crux of the question, "Is sex supposed hurt?"

The fact that someone is being hurt is the issue - and that is not a good thing in any circumstance. Moreover, although I can appreciate "wild and crazy" sex as much as the next "consenting adult" - nonetheless, there is no qualifying hurting someone so that you can feel good. I would even go so far as to suggest that such behavior demonstrates a lack of empathy towards others and represents the type of person who would manipulate others in order to get what they desire - which are fundamental signs of social, mental and spiritual imbalance.

Yet, my point is not to get into a deep discussion about the virtue or vice of a sexual of fetish  However, my resolute answer, "No, sex is not supposed to hurt" means just that - "because as human beings...we are not supposed to hurt each other in any circumstance and think its okay"-  because it's not okay to purposefully inflict pain  - on any living being. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Check Text Messages

Frankly, I don't see the purpose in checking text messages or the email of someone you love (or following them for that matter).

What are you looking for? What will you do with the anything you find? What good will come of it?

Whenever I hear a story like this from Facebook, online or word of mouth, it never ends in a good way. Because checking someone's text messages starts from place of negativity, namely suspicion and distrust, you'll end up in a place of negativity.

That means if you check the messages and find out the love of your life has in fact been unfaithful to the relationship, you'll be hurt. With that hurt you will be angry and you will want a confrontation in which case you will need to admit you checked the text messages. So now you've been unfaithful too. Did you find what you were looking for? Does it help your relationship? Will it help make your relation healthier and better balanced?

On the other hand if you check the text messages and find out there is nothing out of the ordinary about the text messages; maybe the after hours text messages were related to a special work project, or maybe a friend was going through a crisis and asked it be kept discreet, or maybe the love of your life has decided to cut phone cost and stop sending you so many text messages. The point is you checked the text messages and didn't find anything unfaithful. However, now you must deal with your conscience and the consequences. This can mean you will keep the act of distrust to yourself, which will inevitably eat at you until it does cause problems in the relationship. Or if you decide to tell the person that you checked their text messages that too will cause problems in the relationship because it says you don't trust the love of your life. And a relationship without trust - its a relationship in trouble.

So again I ask, what good will come to the relationship if you check text messages of the person you say you love?

Because if your answer for checking someone's text messages is to say you want to know who and why... then the best approach to take is the most direct approach: simply ask!

Communicate; because that's the way to cultivate and keep a healthy and balanced relationship.  


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sex Education

Can an intimate relationship with significant educational disparity succeed?

Yes! Of course is my immediate answer.

However, when I give it a little more thought, I tend to lean toward "No" because any relationship between with significant disparity is unbalanced and therefore, can not be successful.

To clarify, I'm talking about two people in the same or approximate age group who have disparate educational training; that is the stuff one learns in a scholastic institution. For example, could someone with a PhD in Physics have a successful intimate, loving relationship with someone who has a high school diploma?

Let me state clearly, I'm not saying that book knowledge, scholastic training necessarily means a better level of intelligence. However, it does usually indicate an advanced level of knowledge by virtue of quantity (the number of years and books one has studied). Of course there's something to be said for higher learning gained through experience and/or self-study.

Suffice to say all relationships have disparity, because no two people are exactly the same, have the exact same experiences or education (even if they attend the same class). Still there's no denying, the greater the disparity in a relationship, the greater the possibility for imbalance, problematic issues and obstacles that affect the success of the relationships. Yet, provided the two people involved are consenting adults - who are at least comparatively mature, it is possible they can succeed in a relationship that has great disparity. (For the record, my gut says an 18-year old has not yet reached a level of maturity to have a "healthy" and/or "balanced" relationship with a 30-year old; but that's just my spiritual barometer).

As I see it, a more thoughtful answer would be to consider:  Is it possible or even realistic for two people to date, fall in love, enjoy each others' company and create a respectful, loving and healthy intimate relationship regardless of and/or in spite of significant disparity in education?

"Yes" and "No"...

No, because it's impossible to have a successful intimate loving relationship if the two people involved are not respectful, considerate and willing to work at creating and maintaining a healthy and balanced relationship in spite of disparity.

Yes! It certainly is possible to have a successful intimate loving relationship if the two people involved are respectful, considerate and willing to work at creating and maintaining a healthy and balanced relationship in spite of disparity.

As always, its about balance!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

An Affair to Remember

When a movie leaves me thinking; stays with me for days, weeks, months even years later, its usually because I'm wondering if it was real - you know based on real life experiences.  Sometimes this is clear, like when a movie  is based on a historical event such as Watergate or with media release to promote a movie like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which is loosely based on a real life experience of Stieg Larsson, author of the book.

By now you must know how much I love movies.  And there are those times when a movie like An Affair to Remember, is so moving, its almost impossible to discern if it is based on real-life.  A romantic drama, An Affair to Remember, released in 1957 is ranked # 5 on the AFI list of America's greatest love stories, and is based on the original 1939 film Love Affair.  So stirring, An Affair to Remember has since inspired several remakes, including Sleepless in Seattle and a Bollywood version.

The powerful storyline, as you may have guessed is based on an affair between a man and a woman, each involved with other people.  To be brief, Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr meet on a cruise and are immediately and hopelessly attracted to each other.  However, they both have other obligations -  they have committed partners back at home.  Neither wants to hurt those partners, but find after meeting each other they can't stay  with those partners  back home,  and won't be able to live without each other.  They agree to go home and wrap up (end) the other relationships, and then meet each other in six months at the Empire State Building to begin their lives together.  But guess what...when the six month rendezvous date of them doesn't show up, leaving the other feeling confused, angry and hurt.  And thus it simply becomes "an affair to remember" and nothing more, except there is more - and this is what makes this movie so powerful, so stirring and for me, so unable to shake years later.  Not to mention my own "an affair to remember" experience that has stayed with me.

I don't want to spoil the plot (for those of you who are now so inspired to run out and rent An Affair to Remember) but let me say this, if you ever meet someone you really dig and you want to get together again, I mean really want to get together again:  1) make sure you have good contact information, 2) keep the date and if you can't - let the person know and 3) if perhaps, by chance, should some unforeseen circumstance make it so that you can't meet and you can let the person know that...try not to go away with anger in your heart.  Yes, you will certainly be confused and hurt, but sometimes 'life just happens' and there can be any number of  explanations for the no show that have absolutely nothing to do with not wanting to be with you.  So, if for nothing else but for the sake of healing your heart,  keep the experience as "an affair to remember" on your journey of love.

To be continued...


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Different strokes, for different folks.

This is an obvious pun, but I do get a little 'ha ha' moment when I can work these into a posting.

I recently heard that for every 3 calls a man makes to the women of his interest, she is "allowed" to make 1 call (back) to him.  I say "allowed" because these rules are part of some ethereal guidebook I have yet to locate (indeed there were those two women who made a killing 10 years ago [and continue to do so] selling other women their self-defined rule book for dating ).  But let's say for the sake of argument that their rule book is not the be-all-to-end-all dating resource.

This discussion amongst a couple of us women was generated by an online NPR article about the new and surprising disparity between men and women as it relates to income.  The online article states "a study found that young, urban, childless women make more than similar men do."  

The issue that prompted the use of the cliche is whether it is still expected or appropriate or even  fair that men still bear the "bulk of responsibility" in dating given that men may no longer make more money (which was traditionally the case).

By "bulk of responsibility" I mean:
  •  Are men still supposed to call the women first before she calls him?
  • Are men still supposed to pay for meals, every meal, even after you two are an official couple? 
  • And are men supposed to say "I love you" first?  (This one is really tricky).
In our discussion, I was surprised at one remark in particular because one young women said she never thought men should bear the bulk of responsibility - not when came to calling or not calling, or paying for meals or who says "I love you" first.  But that was when she was a feminist; now she sees things differently.  Perhaps, she suggested, her perspective changed as result of a really bad break up.  Maybe if she had been less of a "giver" in that relationship, the ex would not have taken so much from her, taken advantage of her or taken her for a granted as he did.  Now, she believes that men should bear the "bulk of the responsibility" in the relationship  - even if the woman does make more money.

Obviously, the bad break up strongly affected her opinion.  However, I gather most women,would tend to agree with her perspective:  it doesn't matter whether the man makes more or less money, he is the man and is bears the "bulk of responsibility" when it comes to dating.

I'm not so sure.  In fact, I have never been so sure about this.  There have been times when I called, without being called (lots of times).  There have been times when I paid for the meal (even before it was officially a couple relationship), and yes, I think I probably have said "I love you" first.  Most of those relationships were good, some weren't so good.  And I still don't know if I should have done it the way I did it - especially since it was usually the case that men were making more money than me. That was that.  That was then.  And yet, I think I have learned a lesson from doing it that way.

To tell the truth, I think there is some ethereal guidebook that both men and women have agreed to that says for the sake of clarity, less misunderstandings and societal "normalcy" - the man is the aggressor and as such the man does bear the "bulk of responsibility" for getting and keeping the woman.

Now for women like myself and the former feminist, if we decide to from "societal normalcy" in order to self-define our own dating rules, the cliche "different strokes, for different folks" definitely fits. However, you will certainly want to be clear that in going against the grain, working outside the box, taking responsibility to self-define - in any situation - will likely contribute to misunderstandings. Therefore, you will need to be prepared to make peace with that choice and the outcomes.

Because in this society, regardless of income disparity, its apparent both men and women still agree that: No matter who makes the most money, the man is the aggressor. And as such the man does bear the "bulk of responsibility" when it comes to courtship, dating and getting to the state of official couplehood...the man is going to pay.

One way or another.

To be continued...

Loving Thought
Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
Unknown; often attributed to Albert Camus


Monday, March 5, 2012

Truth and Consequences

You have one.

I have one.

Everyone has one.

Or maybe you are one?

I'm talking about one of those friends who is smart, successful and sweet. She/he is not only one the nicest people you know, but brilliant in his/her chosen field of work, unique skill or personal lifestyle. And yet, you sometimes find yourself asking "Why? Why does she/he make make such...dumb...well 'unhealthy' relationship choices?"

She comes to you with the same issue she's asked your advice on many times before (I refer to 'she' - not because men don't have this dilemma - but because women are more likely to talk to someone about these unhealthy choices).

She's having an affair - with a married man. And this is no fly-by-night affair. She, your smart friend, is heavily vested emotionally, physically and psychologically because she's been doing the affair for at least three, maybe more years. And every time she comes to you in a state of high stress or deep depression or extreme confusion, you give her the same caring and compassionate advice; hoping it will be the last time you will have to let her know this is not good for her; it's an unhealthy life choice (and it will never be right for her).

It's like that scene from one of my favorite movies, When Harry Met Sally which made Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal one of the most unforgettable couples in movie history. The scene goes like this:

Three girlfriends meet for brunch. Each are attractive and successful in there own way. Likewise, each have their own particular "stuff" going on with the men in their lives: one is in a long-time stable but stale marriage, the other (Sally) has just been dropped without warning, for a younger model by a man she had been dating for a couple years and the other, Marie (the "one" we all have) has been having an affair with a married man for several years (it's not clear if she's had the guts to tell her friends how many years she really been doing it).

So she’s complaining to her girlfriends that she recently found a receipt in her married lover's pant pocket for a beautiful gift he purchased his wife. That the gift is an expensive nighty compounds the issue for Marie and she just can’t believe he'd actually do such a thing! Because as her friends all know and have heard from her many times before, he doesn't even love his wife and if he could he would leave his wife, but he just can’t leave her right now, she explains for the benefit of herself.

"The point is, he just spent $120 on a new nightgown for his wife. I don't think he's ever gonna leave her," Marie says.

Her friends listen patiently, passing condiments and repositioning food on their plates until she's finished. And then after taking a deep breath instead of saying we've told you this a million times dear, her best friend Sally lovingly reminds her once again:

Marie..."No one thinks he's ever gonna leave her."

And as though she's never come to her friends with this dilemma before and or that they've never said it to her before, Marie reluctantly says:

"You're right, you're right, I know you're right."

I really dig that scene because not only is it clever enough to be funny and sad at the same time; it's a real life look at the lies people can tell themselves to do stuff they have no business doing.

Its what I call a "pivotal point of pain" because its the point one must realize that its time the "unhealthy relationship of unfaithfulness" ends we must make a move toward getting real, getting out and getting on with a better life.

Sometimes it can be done alone; the person wakes up one morning and decides this is the day! She faces the truth - that this is an unhealthy choice - and decides to end it (it's rarely that easy to let go of the insanity). Sometimes friends can help a person like Marie see the light and support her as she makes the move toward a healthier relationship choice. And sometimes - most of the time, it takes grace, the loving energy of Spirit to lead us by the hand (as in meeting a single man you like) or kick us in butt (as in finding out the wife is pregnant).

Either way a friend like this "one" will have to realize sooner, better than later, that "No, he's never going to leave his wife" long as he can keep you living a lie.

To be continued...

Loving Thought 
Someone is staring at you in "personal growth".
Marie from the movie When Harry Met Sally


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Trees in the Forest

What are you looking for in a mate?

And more to the point, if you found it...would know...would you see it?

I was reminiscing about an old friend and a conversation we had that took an unexpected turn.

Just a few years older, I remember feeling like I was getting a "talking to" as though I were a teenager just going out into the world of dating (My friend O and I were both on the other side of 30).

Anyway, we started talking about dating and I've never forgotten what my friend said to me:

There is someone out there equally waiting for a love such as yours. And you don’t have to do anything but be yourself. And show people that you love yourself so others will love you. And that means, not letting anyone treat you in a manner, that’s not deserving of your love. Hold your head up high. I love who you are. I love the feeling I get when I’m near you or talking to you. I love that you love God. I love you being my friend and my sister. I love the fact that you are a fighter. I can find so many things that I love about you. If I can love you like this, then your partner whom you wish to spend the rest of your life with should love you more. This is my opinion of you; don’t let me think more of you, than you think of yourself. And anyone who doesn’t love you, at least as much as I do - doesn't deserve you.

That's all I could say when he finished, because even for us - as close as we were - this was new territory; somewhere we didn't go. And I don't know why or how the conversation took a turn like that, but I discovered he was right.

It took a few a relationships, time, distance and marriage (his) to see that this wasn't just a friend-to-friend talk, or "older brother"-to-"little sister" advice or just a man talking to a woman. This was a man talking to a woman he was in love with (duh...yes, imagine the tap of upside the head I gave myself when I figured it out).

And yet, isn't it often that way - from both sides.

You say you're looking for someone who will love you for you - just as you are, someone who will be a friend, someone who appreciates who you are, someone who will support you; someone who will have your back; someone who respects you, and perhaps if we're honest, we all want someone who adores us.

My friend O was all those things, but I didn't see him.

It's like that old adage, "Can't see the forest for the trees" because too often we pay too much attention to the little details of what we're looking for in a partner. You know...things the height, the color of the hair, the clothes, the car, the college degree, and the job, even the last name. It's as if the right mate be created by filling in the boxes of an online dating application. Yes, I will concede these can be meaningful "points of interest" but these "points of interest" can also be like  not seeing forest for the trees - meaning you might not be able to see that the right person you're looking for - is right there for you.

I can't say O and I could have been a match made in heaven or that we would have been married and lived happily ever after. I don't know (we both chose different paths).

But I will say - O's "talking to" might provide some good insight for where to look when trying to decide "What you're looking for in a mate"

Loving Thought
I believe in the imagination. What I cannot see is infinitely more important than what I can see.”
Duane Michals

To be continued...