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Porn shouldn’t damage a relationship

July 8, 2011
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UPDATE: I just discovered the most fabulous blog through Dan Savage (one of my favorite sex and relationship advice columnists) and his Savage love podcast. www.blaghag.com written by Jennifer McCreight. I just finished reading a post about her experiences at an anti-porn event and her arguments and sarcastic comments  had me both nodding in agreement and laghing out loud (I am especially fond of the horcrux/Voldemort reference. McCreight is a woman after my own heart). I thought it would be good reading for those who enjoyed this post (and maybe some enlightenment for those who think porn is evil?) The latter is probably too much to hope for, but a girl can dream, right?

I’m really so sick of hearing about girls freaking out if they find out their boyfriends/husbands look at porn. Really? Let’s be honest. A pretty high percentage of men (and I would bet even a good amount of women, thought they may not as freely admit it) look at porn. In December, Simon Louis Lajeunesse, a scientist and a professor at the University of Montreal, published some interesting findings about porn. He set out to compare the sexual views of men in their twenties who used porn to those who didn’t, but he couldn’t find ANY men who had NEVER viewed the adult material. (Check out the news story here) Looking at porn is not that same as cheating. Men do not look at it because they’d rather have sex with the porn stars than their significant other. It’s a novelty and it’s visually stimulating. That’s it. Critics of porn say it can lead to adultery, sexual violence and a corruption of a normal sense of sexuality. In the 1980s, anti-porn campaigns claimed porn led to increased sexual violence, however, since then the availability and ease of access to porn has grown exponentially, and rates of sexual violence have dropped by 85 percent. Many women say porn is misogynistic and glorifies the mistreatment of women.  While I agree some porn is down right degrading, jumping to the conclusion that men will treat women poorly just because they watch porn is probably a stretch. Obviously a large amount of the male population has watched porn on a regular basis. I’m sure most of my male friends fall in to this category, and all of them are generally smart, upstanding citizens, if not always gentlemen. And not ALL porn actually is degrading. There is even porn made and directed by women themselves. Not all porn stars are down and out women just trying to make a buck whom are being exploited. Many porn stars, like Jenna Jameson, have stated they really enjoy working in the porn industry. Read my With Love column on the porn subject to find out more about why Porn shouldn’t damage relationships. With love,

P.S. The comments on this column for the Index are some of my favorite. Two commentators “Girlfriend” and “n” have a little tiff and “n” tells “Girlfriend” she sounds like the dentist’s girlfriend in the Hangover…I literally laughed out loud.

Age gaps in relationships can be overcome

April 12, 2010
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Age differences in relationships are probably one of the silliest taboos I can think of in today’s society. Back in the “old days” it was common for people (actually back then just women) to marry a man upwards of ten years their senior. My grandparents had a 12 year age difference and were married for over 60 years. Of course back then a woman’s place was to be popping out baby’s and putting dinner on the table for her husband so it’s not like they had every thing right, but now days it seems like women dating older men (and the new trend of women dating younger men) seem to get a lot more raised eyebrows. Now they are gold-diggers or cougars. Really, however, though age can be the root of some relationship problems, it’s not necessarily the biggest problem a relationship has to overcome. If a couple has everything in common but the decade they were born in, it seems to me they are no more or less likely to work out or fall apart than any other couple. I look more closely at the age gap topic in this week With Love column in the Index: Relationships can over come age gap. Enjoy!

With Love,

He said, she said: Age difference in relationships

April 12, 2010
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The relationship savvy folks over at MarieClaire.com put together a he said, she said article about the pro’s and con’s of dating with and age gap. New York City based author Andrew Lloyd write his side, stating that age does matter in relationships, and his experiences dating outside his age range have not been happily ever after. Defending the May-December romance is Marie Claire’s associate web editor Diana Vilibert who says, in her experience, age difference is hardly a predictor for the success of a relationship. I’m going to have to say I’m siding with Vilibert on this one, but Lloyd makes some great points as well, though his point about finding younger women attractive but boring makes me think he just wasn’t dating very – ahem – “deep” younger women. Check it out and decide for yourself: Does a big age difference doom a relationship?

Sick of being single? Take a road trip!

April 11, 2010

Julia Yarbough worked in the TV news business for 22 years and decided that although her career was successful, she was missing something in her life: A man. She quit her job and, along with her best friend Silvia Harapetian, who had recently been laid off from her reporting job, decided to take a road trip to find a husband. They are journeying from city to city across the US scouting for a man for Julia to marry and blogging daily about their adventures on their website highwaytoahusband.com .

Recently the pair appeared on the Today show to talk about their unique adventure. Julia said on the show that she plans to keep on going until she hits all fifty states, she finds a husband, or the money runs out. Brave and a little bit reckless, Julia’s road trip to find “the one” is definitely not something for the weak of heart I find myself stuck between admiring her spontaneity and fearlessness and questioning her sanity. However, she knows what she wants and she’s not afraid to do what she has to to get it, no doubt how she was so successful in her career, and that’s something I think everyone can look up to. I do wonder, however, if once word gets out about the intentions of her journey, will the men sense commitment and run for the hills? What ever happens I wish Julia luck with her man-finding mission.

Check out the Today show appearance here

She also appeared on NBC  in Miami:

With love,

Cohabitation: The Relationship Death Knell? I Think Not

March 28, 2010

There is no question that relationship landscapes have changed drastically in the past few decades. Now, more than ever before unmarried couples are living together first, before tying the knot. While this used to be frowned upon (the whole “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” business), and past research led us to believe that the rates of divorce were drastically higher for those who lived together before they were wed, new findings suggest something different. A report release earlier this month by the CDC and the National Center for Health Statistics finds that, based on the National Survey of Family Growth, there is not a significantly greater difference in divorce rates between couples who lived together before exchanging vows, and those who didn’t. 13,000 men and women were  surveyed and of those who had been married for over a decade, 60% of women and 62% of men had cohabitated before marriage, and 61% of women and 63% of men had lived with only their current spouse. On the other hand, 66% of women and 69% of men married for 10 or more years never lived with a partner. In an story from USA Today, Sociologist Pamela Smock from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said that on the basis of those numbers, pre-marital cohabitation has no negative effect on the possible future of the marriage.

The 6% difference between couples that lived together and those who didn’t is more likely linked to other factors than just the fact that they cohabited. There are multiple web-sites set up by conservative groups dedicated to alerting the public to the “dangers” of living together before marriage, such as Mike McManus’ Marriage Savers ministry.  Personally, however, I don’t really think having a piece of paper and a religious deity giving you the “go-ahead” to share an address (and – GASP – a bed) really makes that big of a difference. If it’s right, the relationship will work out regardless. What seems to be more of a factor is a couples intentions. Those who moved in after getting engaged, i.e. they intended to spend the rest of their lives together, had no difference in divorce likelihood at all. Those who just started living together with no communication about the future or ideas about where they would like the relationship to end up, had a higher risk of ending in divorce.

Another thing to think about when it comes to people and statistics is that it’s really hard to get perfectly accurate findings because, in most experiments, researchers don’t have complete control over the variables. To get the most accurate findings about a question like “Does living together before marriage make divorce more likely?” you would ideally have to have couples who are exactly alike in all other variables except cohabitation, however that is obviously impossible seeing as how all couples are different. This can lead to there being other variables that are the causation of a marriage working or not working, other than cohabitation. For example, those who choose not to live together before marriage may have religious views which frown upon that circumstance. Those with these religious view would also probably be more against divorce and therefore religion is a third variable not factored in. My bottom line is this: The 6% higher divorce rate for those living together before marriage suggests a correlation, however it  does not necessarily show causation.

With the housing markets and economy in the gutter, living together and sharing rent/bills rather than commuting back and forth and wasting time and gas is just smart. Obviously it’s not something to jump into right away, living together should be treated like the next stop on the route towards marriage (or for those opposed to the whole marriage thing at least a life-long commitment). If you’re having doubts about the relationship’s future, living together will surely not fix any problems. In fact, it will probably create more. But, if you’re sure they’re “the one,” and living together seems the logical next-step, a marriage license is not a necessity.

With Love,

Couples Cite Unexpected Reasons for Moving In

March 28, 2010

Many seem to think couples who decide to move in together do so in order to play house or have a trial marriage period before deciding on the real thing. However, an article in USA Today from last July, reports on a study that suggests something different. The article says that the number of couples living together before exchanging vows has been growing so rapidly that research has had a tough time keeping up (hence the outdated idea that shacking up before marriage makes a couple more susceptible to divorce). Right now 50% to 60% of couples live together before marriage and the growing numbers suggest that 70% of young adults will cohabit at some point before settling down. Couples most cited reason for living together? Simply wanting to spend more time together. I think these days people are busier than ever. Both sexes are much more focused on “making it” in their respective careers. Success at work, which we are taught to strive for, makes less time for a significant other. Living together makes it much easier to spend time together. Only 9% of men and 5% of women said living together was simply to test the relationship before marriage. Anti-cohabitation arguments have stated that those who feel the need to test a relationship before marriage likely have a lack of confidence in that relationship already and therefore will probably not work out for the long-term. However, if “testing the relationship” is not the reason most couples are moving in together, it stands to reason that the outlook for most couples living together before marriage is much brighter than some may previously have thought.

First Dates: The Simple Tips You Might Forget

March 4, 2010

We’ve all heard the phrase K.I.S.S. or Keep It Simple, Stupid, but what you might not realize is that it can also apply to first dates. When faced with the dread of talking to someone you barely know through an entire meal and maybe dessert, a tangle of nervousness writhes in our stomachs and a flurry of “what if’s” flutter in our brains. What if we run out of things to talk about? What if he doesn’t think I’m funny? What if I have something stuck in my teeth and he doesn’t tell me? While trying to remember hilarious stories to regale our dates with and stalking their Facebook pages to try and find some common ground, we often forget to keep it simple. Be yourself. Be polite. No need to create a plan of attack to rival the U.S. Navy. In this week’s With Love Column, with the help of some of the experts at eHarmony, I lay out the simple things that should be remembered for the first date: Tips for the first date.

With love,