Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

Saying “I do” … $20,000.  First twirl of the “virginal” lily white gown around the dance floor as husband and wife … $3000.  That dreamy oblivious newlywed stare as guests gorge on cake and romance… $1000.  One hell of a honeymoon night romp… $2000.

That sex-starved post-dreamy glazed over look of defeat after several years of marital reality…priceless.

A wedding day is pure bliss… So enjoy.

Quickly! …going, going…gone.

Weren’t those 24 hours worth every penny?  They say words are cheap…clearly, whoever said that never priced the words “I do.”

Now that the wedding is yesterday’s event, welcome to the marriage.  The two are not only opposites…but archenemies.  One promising eternal bliss.  The other proving to be a total diss.  One starring the happy couple.  The other starring the tantrum-prone offspring.  One boasting the price tag of a stellar college education.   The other roasting the price tag of 2 kids + college education.  WTF??   One teasingly offering frequent sex, shameless flirting, and permanent googly eyes.  The other delivering rare nookie, shameless averting, and loveless rolling of the eyes.  At some point every marriage departs from the land of the “dreamy” and enters the land of the “dreary.”  Such is the path life cruelly steers marriage down.  The sex dwindles and takes a back seat to…well, everything.  Who has time, right?

The once “sho” thing is now a “no” thing.  But sex is vital to the health of marriage.  It’s a deal maker and a deal breaker.

So, why IS sex so important…aside from the obvious?

~ Sex is a basic physical need ~

We physically need sexual release…our biology demands it.  And who are we to argue with biology?  It’s the one thing that draws us to the opposite sex…the only thing men and women have in common…aside from the ability to “release” multiple times.  Oh, wait…nope,  my mistake.  🙂  Sex is what brings us together to begin with, right?  We certainly don’t go looking for a mate to celebrate our celibacy needs…have a “burning of the condoms” rally.  First and foremost, we’re drawn to a partner to satisfy the howling horndog that dwells within.  And yes, consequently, we fall hopelessly in love.  But love is simply a result of satisfying those needs.  Sex releases a chemical into our brain giving us “That Lovin’ Feeling.” So, no sex…no love!  We marry because we ARE in love.  But let’s face it…without our pushy libido running the show, we never would have paired up and gotten married in the first place.  It IS the driving force behind our union.  The dirty ulterior motive behind the elegance and romance of the exchanging of the wedding vows.

We spend more money on the “big” day than is conscionable.  Why?  Because on this day, we’re forking over mega moola to say, “Hey!  I like banging her.  She’s mine, and no one else can have her.”  Or him.  We’re horny stingy overgrown kids at heart…MINE, MINE, MINE!  And sharing…out of the question!  So, part of this union deal is monogamy.  No extracurricular banging allowed!  Once married, we rely solely on our hottie of choice to fulfill our biological sexual needs “until orgasmic death do us part.”  Routine sex is the unspoken insinuation of “I do.”  And frankly, it’s the reason men put up with the rest of marriage’s shenanigans.  Sure, they love us…but without the dirty to keep them invested, they will meander off the marital path.  And honestly, so will we.  Women want it as much as men do…ok, so maybe not AS much.  🙂  But if it slacks off, trouble brews.  And if it, dare I say, ceases altogether…all bets are off.  All wedded promises null and void.  The irony?  After one day’s overpriced hoopla to celebrate the union and say “I love you,” a simple piece of paper suffices to say, “My bad…hit the road Jack.”

~ Sex is an intimate emotional need ~

We communicate through sex, through touch, through sensation.  We express love, desire, and affection…all through sex.  We reaffirm that love with every tender caress, every sweet kiss, every screaming orgasm.  Sex leaves us feeling exhilarated, desired, and alive.  Who doesn’t want to be an object of desire?  So, if our spouse doesn’t want us, we take a major hit to our self esteem.  We feel rejected, unloved, unattractive.  And we begin to doubt our sex appeal, doubt our sweetie’s sex appeal, and doubt “us.”  Human beings need affection.  We crave it…thrive on it.  It’s the language of love.  With it we can say, “I love you.  Can’t get enough of you.  Do me now!”  Or we can say… “Nah… I’ll pass.”


We don’t want to be with someone who makes us doubt ourselves.  Our ego won’t stand for that at all…and will convince us we don’t have to either.  You can bet we listen up when our ego speaks.  It’s our inner Gandhi!  Respected and revered.

~ Sex keeps us CONNECTED ~

Marriage is a river of problems.  From romance to finance.  From kiddos to low blows.  From families to failures.  Our only hope of crossing that river and surviving its treacherous waters is to join together and form a bridge.  An interlocking connection that will lead us safely to the other side.  If we don’t come together, interlock our pieces, and stay connected…we’re left with no means of crossing that river of problems.  And the only recourse will be divorce.

Our bridge is sex.

Sex is connection…a marital lifeline that bonds us.  So, if the sex fades, intimacy fades.  No more touching, hand holding, kissing, snuggling, talking, confiding, …No more anything.  Connection broken.  Bridge blown to pieces.  No way across.

Successful marriage is an endangered institution.  Sustaining it requires connection.  Connection requires sex.

So be proactive.  Change your world.

Bang!  🙂

Chick Hughes

“Sex is an emotion in motion” ~ Mae West

photo by: LilGoldWmn

Thrills, chills, and squeals.  Adrenaline junkies at heart!  We love to hate horror movies, push our fear factor limit by creeping through haunted houses, plunge from ledges with nothing but a glorified rubber band fending off the grim reaper, and flock to amusement parks in search of a thrill like hard ‘n’ horny “gentlemen” waving dollar bills in a strip club.  Some of us take on those thrills, climb on stage, and bump and grind…while others stand on the sidelines, live vicariously, and just…watch.  One group will leave with a thrill.  The other, only the bill. So, here’s the question:  If life were an amusement park and new experiences the rides, which rides would you stand in line for?  Which ones are worth it?  Worth the wait…worth the risk?  Would you opt to play it safe, take the short line, and settle for the Teacups, Tilt-a-Whirl, or indoor shows?  Or would you seek out the risk, build anticipation in line, and get your adrenaline pumping on the biggest, baddest, hair-raising, death-grazing roller coasters in the park?  The shush or the rush?

Relationships present the same dilemma.  Once we pair up, settle down, and marry…then what?  Do we settle into routine, expect the expected, and watch our zest for life run away with the hottie next door?  Or do we dare to dry new things, strive to grow as individuals, and sample life’s wide array of flavors together…as a couple?  Do we opt for a love affair with life…or bore one another, derail our marriage, and flirt with divorce?  Keeping a marriage on track is not for faint-hearted.  It takes work, work, and more work.  Hitched hoopla has it that marriage will falter under the strain of many things…paying the heating bill in a cold economy, disciplining an undisciplined child, a sexual affair in a sexless relationship, or who the hell’s turn it is to scrub the toilet.  While all are deal shakers, sheer boredom may just be the big daddy deal breaker.  After all, what does one do when bored?  Bored with monotonous chores, with do-nothing weekends, with rare ordinary sex?  Hmmm…look for something else to do?  SomeONE else to do?

Hold on to your pride!  YES!  Humans are inquisitive by nature.  We do NOT like to be bored…not with work, not with life, but most importantly…NOT with love.

Studies show that modern couples are looking for partners who make their lives more interesting, more fun, more…stimulating.  😉  We’re looking for the va-va-voom!  And according to divorce statistics, we’ll sacrifice family and finances to get it.  Dr. Gary Lewandowski, a professor in New Jersey, performed studies proving that individuals use relationships to accumulate knowledge and experiences.  That what we’re looking for in a partner above all else is self-expansion.  We want to learn, to grow, to view ourselves in new and exciting ways.  So, if we see our partner as a source of gained knowledge, creativity, and fun, we’re more likely to remain committed. But once we stop expanding, we grow bored and begin looking elsewhere to further ourselves.  Damn egos.

Researchers conclude that couples who have fun together, engaging in silly or intellectually stimulating experiences, report feeling more connected…more in love.  And on the flipside, those who only engage in boring monotonous stimulatingly challenged experiences — i.e. chores — report feeling disconnected…unhappy…wondering what else, or who else, could be waiting around the corner.  Disconnection precedes divorce.  No fun…no hon.  Laughter is, in fact, the best medicine…for all your boring needs.

Doubt our need for excitement?  Just count the zeros on the paychecks of entertainment stars.  We want, need, and will pay high dollar for entertainment. “Entertain me” may sound very self-serving.  It is.  But we are.  We ignore our self-serving ways.  Reject our selfishness out of guilt…blame our boredom on something more socially acceptable.  Irreconcilable differences, perhaps?  Reject away…but at our core, we’re self-serving individuals…human beings successfully evolved to outwit, outplay, outlast.  To do this, we must grow, learn, and expand.  Without the idealistic pressures we place on ourselves, without the societal expectations of being a do-gooder, without worrying about what someone else will think…drop the mask.  Explore the “banned no-man’s land” of your mind and ask yourself…

“Am I bored?”   No judgment…no one’s listening.

The reality is…as long as we’re growing, learning, experiencing, pushing life’s envelope, and having fun, we’ll stay committed.  We’ll plant ourselves in our spouse’s garden, reach for his sunny rays of excitement, soak in his nutrients, and grow.  We place great value on that garden…remain content basking in the “glow of the know.”  But once the sun recedes, the garden shades over, and the nutrients dry up…we begin to wither and droop.  Our buds drag the ground.  We long for someone to dig us up, transplant us to another, more promising garden, and bring us back to life.

Next up:  affairs, separation, and divorce.

Is it any wonder a new relationship is so exhilarating?  It presents us with new ideas, new experiences, new takes on life, and new sides of ourselves.  Makes us feel alive.  Being in any long-term relationship, good or bad, will usher boredom to our doorstep.  We can let it in, settle into our butt-imprinted comfy chairs, and fall asleep watching sitcom repeats…or we can meet it at the door dressed as our fun alter ego and take it…take us…for the ride of our lives.

So, how do we provide ourselves AND our sweeties self-expansion?

Step out of the comfort zone.  Try new things.  Go new places.  Meet new people.  Explore unexplored sexual taboos. Take a class together.  Discuss politics, news, the latest Chick Hughes article, culture…life.  Engage in a friendly debate. Constantly push and challenge one another.  Anything to keep us feeling fresh, new, relevant, ALIVE.  When we feel alive together, we feel connected…In Love!  Mi Amore!

So, while touring life’s amusement park, which rides will you get on?  Will you go for the rush or settle for the shush?  All couples can get on the Teacups together, but they may not get off together.  A terrifying toe-curling coaster with your sweetie will leave your blood pumping, your heart racing, your connection sealed, and sparks flying.  You’ve just self-expanded together.  Love and learn.

Avoid derailment.

Love on the edge.  😉

Chick Hughes

“Boredom: the desire for desires” ~ Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

Life’s many faces 🙂

photo by: Cambo

Love and war.  Shove and roar.  When we decide to go head to “head” in a heated Battle of the Sexes, we shamelessly fire off any and all ammo we can dredge up from the dark cobwebbed recesses of our minds…be it pertinent, or not…recent, or not…rational, or not.  Emotion knows no rationality.  So, once we’re hurt, we’re eager to return the favor.  All’s fair in love and war, right?  There’s a popular notion that we hurt the ones we love the most.  Novel notion, no?  Although we’re well aware of this tidbit, we’re repeatedly shocked with disbelief when a loved one uses our heart as a dart board.  Why?  Because we’re desperately passionate about the ones we allow close enough to throw those darts.  If we didn’t love them so fiercely, we wouldn’t be invested in the argument.  Wouldn’t care what they thought, why they thought it, or how it affected our lives.  It’s because we feel so deeply that we fight so passionately.  Any time we wage war on our sweetie, our emotions acts as our guns…our words the bullets.  The bigger our gun, the more deadly the bullet.  Words slinging around in the heat of angry battle like tiny grenades waiting to detonate can’t be easily rationalized, controlled, or unsaid.  The experts tell us to talk, rather than fight…to communicate calmly and rationally face to face.  But if we could manage that tip when our tempers flare…and successfully control emotion,  we may also feel the need to capitalize on our newfound powers and TAKE OVER THE WORLD! 😉

The truth is our emotions are powerful…and, at times, dominate rational thought.  When an argument breaks out, our bodies feel attacked, become overridden with emotion, and respond negatively.  We fight back.  We wage an ugly war.  A war so ugly, we sometimes imagine ourselves having an out-of-body experience…hovering and watching from above as our proudest chair-slinging Jerry Springer moment plays out in all its tacky cut-off jean shorts glory…and we watch helplessly wondering who the hell this untamed idiot is.  Personal shame has abandoned us.  We yell, scream, blame, avoid, cry, bully, play the victim…anything that makes us feel justifiably in the right…NEVER the wrong.  Whatever it takes to further our delusion of self righteousness.  Such is human nature.  But when our delusion is challenged, we feel angry, defensive, hurt, alone…all of which tell our body we remain under attack.  So, we pull out the big guns.  We shoot off explosive words and watch them crash into each other like Stephen King’s possessed cars in a dare devil drag race.  Explosion upon explosion.  The intensity!  But maybe there’s a better way to resolve our heated battles…leaving far less casualties in the wake, less blood on our hands, and make-up sex at our fingertips.  An E-fight?  Fighting via email?  U got it!


Couples WILL fight…over finances, sex, kids, finances, sex, family, finances, sex, a lost connection.  And sometimes, we fight over finances and sex.  When we fight, our techniques differ.  Experts say men tend to withdraw while women seek emotional support.  A study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family followed 373 couples over a 16 year time span.  They found that the couples’ fighting tactics were a predictor of marital success.  How they communicated their disappointments to one another ~ whether they reached an agreement, agreed to disagree, or fought to the death.  Essentially, it’s not our fighting that’s the problem, but HOW we fight.  The study found the most volatile combination of spouses consisted of one who tackles the problem head on plus one who withdraws and avoids the problem.  They found the spouse who faced the problem head on perceived the other’s avoidance as an uninvested disinterest in the relationship.  An unspoken “f**k you.”  So, if she’s pushing to fight and he’s avoiding the issue, she “rationally” comes to the conclusion that he just “doesn’t love me.”  Sound familiar?  But in reality, he just needs a cooling off period…time to think before speaking.  Probably not a bad thing.  After all, she may not want to hear what he’s thinking at the precise moment she’s rattling his ear drums with each and every fault he has the misfortune of possessing.

A fight is a natural part of any relationship…a healthy part.  A chance for growth if managed properly.  But the instigator sitting on the sidelines capable of destruction and egging it on is none other than EMOTION.  Experts agree emotion is a perception of the bodily state…a mental understanding of a physical arousal.  An event…such as her cleaning like a housewife gone mad while he reconnects his butt to the couch and his hand to the remote…leads to arousal in the body (likely negative).  This physical arousal leads to an emotional feeling…such as resentment or anger.  The emotion leads to a reaction…yelling, for example. Yelling is simply a byproduct of pain… “expressing your own pain through anger.”  Or perhaps, sharing the “love.”  But obviously, yelling is contagious, breeds more yelling, and drowns out hearing.  Emotion has successfully brought about war with both now feeling pain and expressing it simultaneously.  Both want to be heard.  But neither is.  We can’t seem to hear over our own anger.  We’ve reached…an impasse.

But what if we took our fight to cyber world?  A world free of irrational ammo AND emotion.  Send our enemy an email explaining why we’re upset.  No irrational emotions running the show.  No speaking before we think.  The very act of typing out a thought requires us to deliberate on its rationality.  Our tears may short circuit the keyboard, but they’ll be productive tears…healing our pain instead of adding to the strain.  Our thoughts and feelings ~ minus the accusations ~ will be listened to, and heard, in the neutral world of email.  Both parties feel less attacked without our opposition looking us in the eye and combating us.  Therefore, we listen more, contribute more, and counterstrike less.  Win…win!

Whether we E-fight from completely different locations or just take turns on a joint computer, it’s a chance to pour our hearts out to our sweetie without assaulting him/her with every negative emotion that impatiently and inconsiderately spills forth from our mouth.  And as we sit and read our spouse’s thoughts, feelings, and fears…we feel empathy rather than anger.  Come together, rather than forcing a divide.  Listen, rather than yell.  We’re more likely to open up in a calm stream of thought-out emails.  More likely to clam up in a steady stream of “go to hells.”  When we type out our rebuttals, we eliminate the emotional trigger that sends our bullets flying and avoid hitting our spouse right between the eyes with heavy artillery. So, think before you shoot.  If we shoot up today’s enemy, who’ll be tomorrow’s ally?

Next time a war is brewing, don’t go head to “head.”   Send an email and go heart to heart.  Through your glowering snarl and clenched teeth, look your opposition in the eye and growl…

“You’ve got mail!”

Chick Hughes  🙂

Because we can all use a little editing sometimes.

photo by: wreckedm

You, me, WE.  Yours, mine, OURS…c’est WE!  Who knew those bitterly plotting pronouns would follow us long after we bid adieu to our rigid English instructors’ bloody war zone of red corrections slaughtering our diligently written papers.  Stalking us like ninjas in the night…ready to obliterate us with their nunchuck skills the minute we utter our marriage vows binding “me” to “we.”  Singular pronouns D.O.A.  Your plans.  My savings.  Your house.  My car.  Your money.  My kids.  Married adults declaring “Mine, Mine, Mine, Me, Me, Me?”  Much like a couple of preschoolers brawling over the only light up Buzz Lightyear toy.  One difference…preschoolers are way easier to deal with.  🙂  We adults sometimes get so caught up in remaining individuals, we forget that we married for a reason…to join TOGETHER.  But, understandably, with a 50% divorce rate, we may find ourselves in self-protection mode, keeping assets, experiences, and problems separate…just in case.  The problem is “me” can’t manage a marriage.  The mindset of “we” is what keeps us bonded together.  Without it, “me” usually ends up becoming a divorce statistic.  Me, you, us, we, mine, yours, ours.  The language of marriage quickly devolves into one down and dirty pronoun throwdown!

It seems obvious enough.  For a marital union to remain happy, it must be…well, united.  A union is formed when two become one.  Two individuals merging together to form a singularity.  If two individuals don’t wish to become one ~ financially or emotionally ~ they should also avoid a marital merge  and should, instead, travel as a parallel pair on a perpetual dating road.  But for those who do choose a marital merge and wish to prevent fatal accidents, the traffic lingo must be WE.

A study published in the journal Psychology and Aging followed 154 middle aged couples and had a front row seat to their pronoun throwdown.  Blood and gore galore!  Last one standing:  “WE!”  Those couples who stuck to plural pronouns… “our,” “us,” or “we” …were happier with one another and showed less physiological stress.  When conflict did arise, these couples showed more relaxed heart rates, had lower blood pressure, and were better able to resolve their conflict.  Opposite the plural pronoun victors were those who emphasized their separateness…using singular lingo such as “I,” “mine,” or “me.”  These couples weren’t as content in their marriages, had more difficulty resolving conflict, and displayed more negative facial expressions, tones of voice, and body language.  Hmmm…they were sore losers even before they lost.  🙁

In today’s modern matrimony, some couples predict their own failure.  Before the marriage license is even signed, they anticipate divorce and make it a point to keep anything and everything separate…mine, yours, no confusion.  Some see it as savvy business sense or self-protection.  Some see it as a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Our expectations sometimes predict, or cause, our outcomes.  Things like prenups, while my logical brain can justify them, scream “red light” to my emotional brain.  Entering into a union that is based on trust without trust seems a moot point.  Why open the door if you’re expecting an armed stranger?  And if you do open the door and arm both yourself and the “stranger” with ammo, fear and self-preservation will eliminate one…or both.

But that’s just finances.  Some couples choose the more treacherous road…emotional singularity.  Rather than focusing on financial assets, they focus on more intimate day-to-day experiences and problems.  Day after day, reiterating their separateness.

~ to the sick spouse ~ “You’re sick?  Ok, you stay home.  I’m going out.  See ya.”

~ to the wife who pleads for help with birth control ~ “Your body.  Your problem.  I’m not getting a vasectomy!”

~ to the husband who worries about money and struggles to support the family ~ “I AM buying this for myself.  I deserve it.”

~ to the wife who’s crying over a lost connection ~ “What’s your problem?  I’m here.  What more do you want?”

“Sticks and stones may break my bones…”  but words can break our bond.

Turns out words are much deadlier than sticks and stones, acting as poison darts firing upon an already choking emotional connection.  When we disconnect emotionally, we tend to quit thinking in terms of “we” and focus on “me.”  We’re no longer a team.  Gone are the days of “us against the world.”  We divvy up our metaphorical weapons and prepare to stand alone.  We stop making together plans, stop considering the other’s feelings, and begin carrying out our days alone only crossing paths when absolutely necessary.  Result…LISTEN UP!  The fat lady is singing.  D.i.v.o.r.c.e…it’s D-Day.  He finally has those double D’s he’s been dreaming of since his pubescent afternoons spent in the john.  Unfortunately, the only thing he’ll be “jerking” on is his wallet as the divorce lawyer charges him for giving her half of everything.  Uh-oh…the fantasy has gone horribly awry, no?

So, how do we take back our marriage?  And control our looming pronoun throwdown?

Experts say it’s simple…equality.  Neither husband, nor wife, dominating the relationship.  No “his.”  No “hers.”  Just “ours.”  Whether it’s financial assets, debt, problems, or plans…the concept of “us” suggests a team…working toward a common goal and providing support and confidence for one another.  Without the team mentality to help us through life’s storms, we’ll be drenched in the pouring rain hoping our tiny umbrella for one won’t attract the crackling lightning from above.

Scientists say our pronoun lingo is as telling about what goes on inside our marriage as an x-ray is of what goes on inside our body.  It can show a healthy body…or it can reveal a nasty cancer festering, growing,  and destroying its host. They say to master our marriage, we must master the art of togetherness while maintaining our own identities.  That we must share interests, feelings, ideas, experiences, and memories.  When shared, this common ground serves as our marriage fingerprint…gives it a uniqueness all its own.  No two alike.  This fingerprint is bonding as a couple and helps to create a sense of “we.”  Together, we’ve survived terrible twos, teenage rage, job loss, and dysfunctional families that make us want to bitch slap the Cosbys.  On the other hand…together,  we’ve enjoyed births, anniversaries, school plays, vacations, and holidays that would put a tear in Clark Griswold’s nostalgic eye. “We” persevered…together.  And together, “we” stand united to face whatever more this fickle life has to throw our way.  As long as WE control our pronoun throwdown.

Ditch the “‘me.”

Say “OUI” to “We!”

Chick Hughes 🙂

“The goal in marriage is not to think alike, but to think together.” ~ Robert C. Dodds

photo by: sasa eh

She’s a good girl.  She’s a bad girl.  She’s everywhere in between.  She’s the steamy release from every woman’s boiling pot of hidden thoughts, feelings, and desires…a pot stirred by the hand of sexual expression, but sealed by the lid of sexual repression.  She’s the woman torn between the safety of being wholesome and the risk of being whoresome.  The moment she enters puberty, she’s met with the paradox that will forever shape her sexuality ~ Men love openly daring, sexually confident women…but they won’t marry one.  And there it is.  Her “how to” manual for landing a hubby summed up in one contradictory load of crap.

Marriage is the big finale to her youth and launching of her “happily ever after.”  She sees but one road leading to the brainwashed bliss of marriage, babies, and baking so subtly implanted by society…that road is good girl conformity.  She mustn’t be too in touch with her own sexual feelings, arousal, or satisfaction, lest she be labeled promiscuous…and therefore, alone for eternity or stoned to death…depending on the soil she dares get horny on.  So, she plays down her sexuality, suppresses it, and denies it.  Becoming quite the pro.  So much so that she wouldn’t recognize her own sexuality if it crawled up out of her panties, grabbed her hand, and offered her a privately guided tour of the ghost town down under.  She’s a stranger to herself.  But, hey…society must have been right.  After all…she did marry, have children, and live “happily ever after.”

For a minute.

Once the exhaustion from tending to everyone else’s needs wears off, she has a moment to think.  And in that moment, she realizes that “happily ever after” came at the expense of her inner sexual powerhouse.  And her lackadaisical sex life is starting to get on her nerves.  Not only that…but her “prince’s” wandering eye indicates a desire for a sexual shakedown as well.  Unfortunately, she still believes that he doesn’t want THAT out of HER. That he prefers a conservative wife in the bedroom as he merely fantasizes about a liberal one night stand.  And so, her struggle continues.

Conservative homemaker or liberal lovemaker?

It’s widely publicized that she reaches her sexual peak somewhere between age 30 and 40.  But does she?  Some experts in sexual education suggest that her “peak” isn’t hormonal at all.  Perhaps she’s been sexually conservative for so long that she has a sudden sexual awakening at this age.  That upon this age of maturity she, at last, feels comfortable enough in her own skin to experiment with her sexuality.  She’s long been taught that, unlike boys, girls aren’t “supposed to” experiment with sex…it’s unladylike.  The message is sent that she’d be labeled a jezebel and no boy would want her.  A message she hears loud and clear, despite it’s covert deliverance.  But once she reaches this golden age of maturity, she no longer cares.  Having spent too many years doing what everyone else wanted of her, she’s now eager to discover what SHE wants.  So, she explores the “forbidden.”  Only to discover the sexual freedom that’s been eluding her.

“O” yeah!

So, like any kid with a new toy, she wants to play with it.  Here, there, and everywhere…much like an 18 year old boy hitting what we call a “sexual peak.”  Boys are said to reach their peak at 18.  Or is it that everything is just new and exciting in his UNforbidden world at 18?  As is hers at 30+?  Maybe it’s simply taken her longer to climb her sexual mountain and reach the peak…what with all the societal ropes holding her back.  And what awaits her at the peak?  A poke!  😉

Unfortunately, not every woman is afforded the chance to discover her sexual self.  It’s hypothesized that long ago, men felt threatened by her sexual capacity and feared her pleasure would entice her to leave and experience pleasure with other men.  They didn’t want to share her, nor did they want the competition for sexual power.  So, to this day, in 28 African nations, she is forced to participate in genital mutilation, or removal of the clitoris…to keep her from feeling pleasure during sex.  No pleasure, no risk.  As a young girl, she’s taught that men won’t marry her unless this procedure has been performed…because she isn’t a woman until it’s completed.  So, ironically, the elder women perform it on young girls themselves to ensure her arrival as a “woman.”  In African culture, sex is purely for a man’s pleasure.  For her, it’s a necessary and painful duty to please her husband or to bear children.  She has no comprehension of her own sexual potential because it was stolen before she ever even hit puberty.  Her “wings” clipped to prevent her from flying the coop.

While the African culture takes a more direct approach, more varied forms of subtle female sexual repression span numerous cultures across the globe…and one of its biggest cheerleaders is religion.  Synonymous with guilt, religion teaches that a sexual woman is a sinner and will take her rightful place in hell…alongside the other fornicating sinners.  This is true for any religion.  Guilt and fear are powerful suppressors.  But, why do we conform to cultural traditions and religions that have negative effects on women, both mentally and physically?  Because we dare not question tradition.  Not only do we risk becoming an outcast, but we upset the brain with new unexplored roads after years and years of following a set-in-stone map. NEVER veer off path!  Our brains prefer the path of least resistance, so we conform.  To rationalize, question, or rebel against years of culture or religion is risky.  Too risky.  And our brains are too lazy to face risk.

Risk or no risk…the irony of sexual repression is blatant.  He prefers her to be daring in the bedroom, as does she…secretly.  But society teaches her to be a “good girl” ~ code for “bore him to death.”  They both want exciting sex lives, but, in a weird twist, the repression has a negative effect on both sex lives.  By suppressing her sexuality, his sex life suffers along with hers.  Neither gets to take a romp on the wild side.  Alas, the lusty sex drive lurks just under the surface yearning to erupt forth and ravage its victims like Kathy Griffin in a room full of tightly wound conservatives.  It will burst through…one way or another.  Whether it be affairs, divorce, or pornography addiction…the sex drive WILL be dealt with…even with religion preaching its should NOTS.  So, lose the shame.  Turn her “good girl” into “should girl.”

Regardless of the times, her sexual walls continue to surround her.  Built by years of guilt, shame, and fear, those walls may confine her.  But she SHOULD embrace her sexuality, express herself, and…

Graffiti the hell out of them.

Be a good girl.  Be a bad girl.  Be everything in between.


Chick Hughes

“You don’t have to be anti-man to be pro-woman.”  ~ Jane Galvin Lewis

Photographer: Suat Eman

Bad health leads to doctors.  Doctors to health insurance.  Health insurance to stress.  Stress to bad health.  Round and round we go.  Nothing revs our ailing engines more than America’s five-star health careless system…a system riddled with fickle coverage loopholes, high premium sinkholes,  deep deductible manholes, and pre-existing condition hellholes.  Notice the common denominator?  All holes leading to the big daddy…the health insurance Black Hole!  We pull money from our asshole, throw it down the insurance black hole, and end up digging our own financial hole.  The holes are many, and regardless of our tap dancing talent, we fall in repeatedly.  When faced with failing health, we’re forced to take a crash course in the crooked ways of our greedy private insurer’s coverage plan.  If we weren’t sick before, we are now.  If only we could fund our ever-rising insurance premiums with the money our sue happy lawyers won on our behalf for the emotional suffering inflicted by the complications of “our policy.”  You know…give them a taste of their own “money.”  Tell them where they can stick “our policy.”  If only we had a choice!  We may not have a choice when it comes to going to the doctor, but we may have a better health care plan already in place that can help us avoid the doctor…one free of loopholes, sinkholes, manholes, and hellholes…one secured by our better half.  A happy marriage?  Could it be that Dr. Love is our best insurance policy?  That marriage actually promotes our health?

Medicare, Medicaid…Medimarriage?

All experts agree…YES!  A happy heart is a healthy heart!  Countless studies confirm that a happy marriage helps keep our bodies healthier and private insurers poorer.  But scientists say marriage itself isn’t the key.  That it’s the relationship or commitment — not the institution — that keeps us healthier.  A matter of how close we are as a couple.  The intimacy we share, rather than the space.  A disconnected, stressful marriage is, in fact, worse for the heart than single or divorced life.  Stress is the bearer of bad health.  It manifests itself physically via high blood pressure, low immune system, depression, gastrointestinal problems, rashes, or emotional disorders like anxiety.  And let’s face it…avoiding daily stress is about as easy as making actual eye contact with Jessica Rabbit.  Her eye color is as much a mystery to us as the elusive stress-free day.  Marriage itself can create extra stress, but a stable loving connection with our sweetie combats that psychological stress and keeps it from physically running amuck in our bodies.  How?  L.O.V.E.  Love lowers the stress hormone, cortisol…less stress translates into a happy heart.  It boosts our immune system and reduces heart disease.  Those who are happily married are healthier, less stressed, and live longer than those unhappily married, divorced, or single.  The happier the marriage, the healthier the spouses.  The more hostile the relationship, the weaker the immune system.  When stress takes over, our body falls apart.  But when love is the artist, it’s a “work of heart.”

Psychologist John Gottman says the benefits of a happy marriage are “better health, more resistance to infection, fewer infections, and a reduced likelihood of dying from cancer, from heart disease, from all major killers.”  And those benefits are consistent across age, race, education, and income groups.  Love is a universal band-aid.

Interestingly, for singles or unhappily married adults, having a network of supportive friends didn’t improve health.  Only when the heart is involved…when we have that unconditional bond of love…only then does it reduce our stress hormones and promote better health.  What does that mean?  Marriage is all heart!  🙂  When our heart is happy, our bodies reap the benefits.  When our heart is unhappy, our bodies pay up…as do our wallets.  The sicker we are, the more insurance costs…until eventually, we’re “too sick” to cover.  Yes, apparently there’s only so much “sick” the private insurance companies will tolerate.  Health coverage only for the healthy?  Hmmm, corporate sarcasm perhaps?

Some scientists speculate that the reason we’re in better physical health when in a happy committed relationship is that our spouse inspires us to drink less, smoke less, get regular health checkups, and have better nutritional intake.  Well, isn’t that obvious?  But there’s more to it than that, right?  Even infants thrive with loving skin-on-skin, heart-to-heart contact and deteriorate without it.  Maybe everything begins and ends with the heart.  Our heart thirsts for a connection, a bond, an unconditional love.  When that thirst is quenched, our bodies thrive.  But when that thirst is denied, we deteriorate.  We need love like we need water.  Without that bonded love to ground us, we fry when handling life’s electric stress.

Our heart/body relationship seems to be like any other…surviving on the give and take.  A loving bond gives the heart what it needs.  The heart reciprocates, lowers stress, and keeps the body healthier.  Give and take.  The heart may regulate the physical body, but love regulates the heart.

So, next time you’re stressing over the latest in “hellthcare,” or getting one too many doses of daily stress…slow down.  Find your better half.  Cuddle, connect, and let love medicate you.  Look into your sweetie’s eyes, and say, “Do you need a checkup?  Possibly an XXX-ray?”

“Lay back…the doctor is in.”   😉

Chick Hughes

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.” ~  Mother Teresa


Give and take.  Push and pull.  “Come” and GO?  Wait…no fair!  It takes two to tango, right?  The sexual tango is best when both parties crash from exhausted pleasure.  But that dance doesn’t always go off without a hitch.  And that hitch can be a bitch…in the form of a selfish lover.  Most of us have been on one end or the other of the selfish lover see-saw.  The selfish lover goes up, “comes” down…and leaves his partner hanging in unfulfilled expectation.  Where’s the fun in that??  Obviously, an overly self-gratifying, greedy lover who completely disregards our sexual needs isn’t winning Best Sex Coaster of the theme park award:  most twists and turns, ups and downs, ins and outs, and adrenaline pumping excitement.  Not a chance.  More like Best Kiddie Coaster:  no meandering, no unexpected tummy flippers, no adrenaline, just straight from point A to point “O.”  What a snoozer loser!  But is a selfish lover all bad?  Don’t we prefer a lover who knows what he/she wants and is confident, direct, and uninhibited enough to  take it?  Is a selfish lover oh so good, oh no bad, or oh…somewhere in between?

When asked, most people scream “bad” faster than it takes to flip that selfish sex partner the middle finger.  Even if we enjoy pleasing our partner…eventually, we’ll want something in return.  And if that person is unwilling to return the favor, it could mean all bets are off.  At some point, we’ll tire of doing all the work while our partner’s greedy hand is out and his drawers are down.  The day will come when we enter the bedroom adorned with a sign hanging from our neck reading “Payment expected upon services rendered.”  Is that direct enough?  😉

What drives a person to selfish lover status?

Insecurity…A person who has yet to embrace his/her own sexuality won’t likely be interested in embracing that of his partner.  Some people are afraid of their sexuality.  Afraid or not, it’s there.  Embrace it.  Only then do we enjoy it.

Inexperienced…He/she may honestly not know how to give pleasure.  In this case, it’s time for a little “show and tell” …wouldn’t you say?

Inability to prolong the fun…Some overly anxious participants simply can’t wait to reach orgasm.  If so, it’s time to drop the “F” bomb with them…FOREPLAY!

Unwillingness to reciprocate…For whatever reason, some partners just refuse to return the favor.   Advice:  GO ON STRIKE!

Insensitivity to partner’s needs…Then there are those who simply don’t care about anyone other than themselves.  In this case, forget the strike…QUIT altogether!

While we say we don’t want a selfish lover in our bedroom, experts are proving us hypocrites yet again!  A study conducted at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver revealed that, as usual, we have no idea what we REALLY want.  We like to think we want what sounds socially acceptable…appropriate.  But again, we overestimate ourselves.  We lie to our egos.  Why?  To protect ourselves from the animal ugly lurking just under our perfectly superficial tanned and toned exteriors.  This study found that “as a partner’s sexual self-focus decreased, their partner’s satisfaction decreased.”  Say what?  Even the experts were stumped.  It would seem to our idealistic self-perceptions that we would reject the sexual “taker” and prefer a lover who is overly generous and zeros in our needs.  Now who’s being selfish?

Selfish lovers are better lovers?  It would seem so…to a point.  Results from the Vancouver study showed that younger couples reported having sex for purely selfish reasons…to satisfy personal needs and sheer horniness.  On the other hand, older couples reported having sex to show affection for their partners or because it’s part of the “weekend routine.”  Obviously, the younger couples reported greater sexual satisfaction.  It’s hypothesized that selfish lovers make sex more enjoyable for their partners simply because they really wanted to have sex.  But could it be that simple?  If our partner is enjoying him/herself, it’s not only a turn on…it’s an ego boost.   It means we’re doing something right.  If we know our partner is having a good time, it frees us up to indulge in our own naughty selfish pleasures.  But if our partner is completely dependent on us for a good time, we feel pressured.  It’s possible to get so caught up in whether we’re doing a good job pleasing our partner that it hinders our own pleasure.  We’re over-thinking it.  Too stuck in our head…can’t get off in bed.

Here’s another perspective.  One can try TOO hard in the pleasing department as well.  Just as one who is TOO selfish can seem overbearing, one who is TOO eager to please can seem needy.  And that’s a turn off.  If our partner is trying relentlessly to bring us to orgasm, it can make us feel pressured and on the spot.  Result:  NOTHING!  Or maybe a fake-out.

What’s the saying?  “A watched pot never boils.”  But if our partner is a little less caught up in us and a little more caught up in themselves,  the pressure if off.  And the heated moisture will transition to a boil, which will inevitably release into steam.  Or so says science.

According to us, we prefer generosity in the bedroom.  According to the experts, we prefer a bit of a selfish partner.  Some degree of sexual self-focus is required to keep our partner satisfied.  So, there you have it.  We seem to prefer both…a fair amount of generosity doused in selfishness.  Give and take.  So, selfish sex…not oh so good, not oh no bad…but a healthy mix can lead both partners to the “O” Scream!

I scream, you scream…maybe a little whipped cream?  😉

Chick Hughes

“There are two kinds of egotists: Those who admit it, and the rest of us. Dr. Laurence J. Peter


First comes love.  Then comes marriage.  Then comes…love handles, beer guts, and muffin tops?  Wait a minute…that wasn’t covered in the wedding vows, was it?  I remember “For better or worse” …or maybe that was code for… “For hot or not.”  Though not a topic we like to address (unless we’re wagging our finger in any direction but our own), it’s a topic most every couple finds piled on their plate sooner or later.   We’ve all looked back on pre-wedding, pre-kids, pre-pounds pictures…and wondered where that once slim sexy siren slithered off to…you know…the siren that was apparently called to one too many chocolate covered emergencies, meat and potato domestic disputes, or deep fried drug deals.  Busy siren.  🙂 Whether it’s a few measly pounds or double digit doozies, it can tame the once wild flames of marital bliss into a faint hiss.   Maybe we should more closely inspect that marriage license before giving it our John Hancock.  Maybe…just maybe we overlooked the tiny, barely there disclaimer:  “Warning:  possible side effects may include bloating, weight gain, or widened ass syndrome?”  Jokes aside.  We vow to, and do, love our spouses no matter what.  But, why DO we let ourselves go once we say “I do?”

While in dating mode, we’re on the hunt for our perfect mate.  To attract that perfect mate, we must be in tip-top shape.  After all, the first thing we’re attracted to is NOT a winning personality.  Never do men scope out women and say, “Damn!  Look at the brains on her!”  The same goes for women.  Our first impression of a man isn’t “OMG!  He just radiates intelligence and wit.”  No.  It’s that pure animal magnetism, that gleaming “come hither” sex light in our eyes, and that sweaty hand, blushed face, crush giddiness that initially catches our interest.  So, we take great care of ourselves when we’re dating.  We work out.  We’re well groomed, etc. etc.  We’re on the market.  No one wants to take home a fatty piece of meat.  We want fresh lean meat!  At least that seems to be what our social dictator, Mass Media, has washed our brains with.  So, in competition with media pecs and butts of steel, we work on our “meat.”  However, once we’ve been taken home, we’re no longer on the market.  So, the pressure to stay fresh and lean is lessened.  We become…comfortable.  Interestingly though, with divorce comes weight loss.  Once we’re back on the market, we know we better slim down.  The plea to “Eat mor chikin” won’t be necessary.  In this meat market, the fatty cow is simply not in demand.  😉

An expert on the sociology of obesity, Jeffery Sobal, claims that “body weight is largely a reflection of one’s culture, socioeconomic and marital status, life stage, and ethnicity.”  According to Sobal, some cultures — obviously not the U.S. — value larger rounder bodies.  In this country, the higher one’s socioeconomic status, the thinner a person is likely to be.  He found that the married weigh more than the unmarried, parents weigh more than non-parents, and Hispanics and African Americans weigh more than Caucasians.  Sobal also found that while obese women are actually happier in their marriages than their slimmer lady friends, obese men are more miserable in their marriages than their buff male buddies.   It’s hypothesized that obese women are happier because they’re aware of their diminished meat market value, internalize that negative value, and thus are content in the marriage they’ve been dealt.  Here’s a twist…obese men are less likely to accept their negative meat market status and may come to project the resentment they feel for themselves onto the marriage.  Hmmm, the irony!!!  Typically, it’s the men internalizing and the women projecting.  Oh how the tables have turned.  Tables?  Let’s eat!

After tracking nearly 7,000 married/living together participants, psychological studies reveal that after a few years of marriage, we do, in fact, begin to pack on the pounds.  It was found that married partners were twice as likely to become obese as those simply dating.  While both men AND women will put on a little weight after swapping vows, women are prone to putting on more.  But then again, women’s bodies do bear children…women grow amazingly complex little people in their bodies.  And having babies is so beautiful…yet SO UGLY!  It inflates, twists, and knots the female body like an inexperienced clown beating the hell out of a balloon animal.   Ever seen a balloon after it’s deflated?  But men are visual spectators.  A balloon is a balloon is a balloon.  Either it’s hot…or it’s not.

Why do we put on extra weight after marriage?

* married couples attach greater meaning to shared meals (food becomes the main attraction, “together” time for family)

* we stop trying to attract a mate (we’ve wooed…and wooed…and wooed…at some point, we just have to say WHOA!)

* we decrease physical activity (after work, kids, and chores, a tight derriere is no longer topping the to-do list)

* we have babies

* we have the added stress of children, work, and providing for a family (that stress often results in unhealthy eating habits)

* we use food as a solace to fill a happiness void in our relationship (TIP:  Have more sex!  The sex will fill the time we may otherwise snack AND it’ll reconnect us with our sweetie!  WIN…WIN)

Scientists say that just having a close relationship with an obese person (whether a friend or spouse) makes us more likely to become obese ourselves.  And that if one engages in weight loss activity, the other tends to lose 5 lbs on average.  In essence, we facilitate one another in one direction or the other.  Why?  Good old competition!  As long as we’re not the fattest one in the room, we’re good.  😉

Because we facilitate one another, experts say a few offensive moves against the post vow bulge may include:

1. Exercise — Stay active.  Whether it’s walking, biking, or playing a sport, do it TOGETHER!  That time spent together is bonding.  And the exercise produces arousal hormones that will spice up the bedroom cardio!  So, get pumpin’.

2. Creative activity — Share a hobby, not a meal!  art, music, reading together…engaging in a little creative couple time puts our imaginations to use and allows us a joint escape from daily pressures without provoking that fickle zipper on our favorite pair of jeans.

3. Laugh — We can get so bogged down with stress and financial security, we forget to laugh and enjoy each other.  Laughter reduces stress hormones, creates connection, and keeps our mouths preoccupied.

With marriage comes many positives and negatives.  Love handles, beer guts, and muffin tops…all, of course, “weigh” in on the negative side.  But here’s an interesting thought…if we put on a few extra pounds because we’re comfortable, that probably means one thing:  complete and utter commitment.   If we’re not perfecting our credit score, we’re certainly not looking to buy new real estate.  There’s the up side!  But as the saying goes, “what goes up must come down.”  We shouldn’t totally let ourselves go.  Too much around the MIDsection simply isn’t good for the Erection.  Get comfortable…but not too comfortable.  If we get too comfortable in a position, we may slip into a deep sleep and not realize that our marital comfort zone has morphed into our marital danger zone!

So get up and “SHAKE IT!”

Chick Hughes

“Food has replaced sex in my life; now, I can’t even get into my own pants.”  ~Author Unknown


He’s mad.  She’s mad.  He yells.  She rebels.  He decides to call it a night.  She demands they stay up and finish the fight.   None of us is unfamiliar with the best marital advice this side of a divorce.  Drum roll please… “Never go to bed angry!”  It’s said that if we don’t hash through a disagreement before our head hits the pillow at night, it’ll lead to resentment and ultimately dismantle our relationship.  Well, I don’t know about the rest of the married world…but if I had to resolve every marital argument before going to sleep at night, I’d quickly resemble a zombie from the Thriller video.  And on that laughably inadequate amount of sleep, I’d be much less passive…think cross between “Zombieland” and “NightBitch On Elm Street.” Yeah, this is what happens when I “Never sleep again.”  🙂  But it turns out sleep-deprived fight nights and  groggy dark circle-eyed days don’t pave the spit-swapping way to make up sex.  So, in the event of a night brawl, should we stay awake and duke it out…or put our head to pillow while we internally shout?  Is “never go to bed angry” sound advice?

Psychologists say NO…it’s a myth.  They say couples are afraid of fighting…when, in fact, fighting (in moderation) is a sign of a healthy marriage.  We all fight.  It’s inevitable.  Spending minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day with the same person WILL lead to disagreement from time to time…unless you’re a deaf-mute…and even then the sight of their annoying breathing pattern may eventually tip your tolerance scale.  We coexist, therefore, we fight.  😉  Sometimes over our passionately differing viewpoints…and sometimes over mundane little details of our deceptively delightful days.  Whatever we’re sparring over, experts say the fact that we’re sparring at all is a good sign.  It means we’re comfortable enough with ourselves, AND with our partners, to disagree.  That we won’t go along with whatever the other says just to avoid an argument.  They say it’s THIS bobble-headed “whatever you say” attitude that leads the bobbler to, one day, tire of nodding his head and leave the marital bed.  So, go ahead…speak up!

If you do speak up one late night opportune moment, emotions are running high, and the argument is going nowhere…pushing the issue while both partners are emotionally and physically drained will be more harmful and counterproductive than going to bed while angry.  When we’re exhausted and seething furiously, the last thing we want to do is LISTEN.  And just as important as sharing our opinion is LISTENING to that of our partner.  Listen, share, listen, share…compromise OR agree to disagree and move on.  But none are likely to happen in the middle of a war with lots of ammunition and little rational thought.  We’ll just keep hitting lower and lower below the belt trying to make our point.  In the end, we’ll still go to bed as our heads boil over with tears…however, now more damage has been done…and that damage cannot be undone.  This emotional unleashing is due to what psychologists call “flooding” …when we’re so overwhelmed with anger and emotion, all rational thought has evacuated our firehouse head, our hearts are pounding, and we lose all ability to fairly and justly resolve an argument.  It’s better to table the discussion until  morning and go to bed mad.

When you find yourself head on with a night fight, remember the three R’s:

Recharge: Go to sleep, get rest, and recharge your battery.  The issue at hand will be clearer with a rested mind.  With rest comes rational thought.  With rational thought comes perspective.

Regroup: Think about the point your partner was trying to make.  Was it valid?  Was yours?  More often than not, with a fresh perspective, we realize the argument wasn’t ALL THAT!

Revisit: Choose a time to revisit the issue with your partner.  Discuss it with a clear mind and emotions in check.  If the issue remains ALL THAT upon revisiting, then more discussion is needed.  If not…then let it go, apologize, and get geared up for make up sex.  Established emotional and sexual connections are the ties that bind our love.  Heated fights will unravel those ties.  And failure to reestablish them will burn the edges so they may never bind again.  So, manage your relationship and “tie” it up with a pretty little bow.  🙂

We all fight.  It’s not a sign of the end times for our marriage.  It’s simply a sign that we’re together every day, we have our own opinion, and we’re comfortable enough with one another to vocalize that opinion.  A healthy couple will fight.  A smart couple will fight when the time is right.

So…go ahead.  Sleep on it!

Chick Hughes

“Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry.”  ~Lyman Abbott

Kathi B

One lover, two lovers, three lovers, four…rocking traditional marriage to the core.  For most people, just one intimate relationship is a juggling act consuming patience, sanity, and brain cells.  And those are the successful ones.  Making up most of society, these jolly jugglers are, in the interest of political correctness, “poly lover challenged.”  But for some overachievers, juggling just one love, one sex life, and one emotional minefield isn’t challenge enough.  They want more…more lovers, more drama, more sex…you know, just more.  But in exchange for more, these juggling gamblers are also willing to take on more baggage, more responsibility, more emotions, and more confusion.  Damn do-gooders!  🙂  But more could be good.  After all, we all want MORE.  It’s the American way, no?  In theory, the utopian lover smorgasbord sounds intriguing.  It resonates curiosity in any and all human minds.  Granted, we all react differently to that curiosity…but it captivates us just the same.  We’re drawn to it, mesmerized by it.  Much like a multi-car pile up on the interstate.  Too many cars…too close together…too much shared space…eventually, one car crashes into another ending the fluid traffic flow and causing mass chaos. No matter how we want to look away, the unknown outcome has a grip on us like a croc with it’s prey.  We simply can’t fight it.  We await doom…maybe it’ll come…maybe it won’t.  When it comes to group marriage, our minds are pre-programmed to expect doom…and short circuit when it never comes.  Can a polyamorous marriage be successful?  Or are we simply not able to share the “space?”

My knee-jerk reaction is no.  We’re not able to share the space.  But maybe that’s just me…perhaps I’m being narrow-minded.  After all, social improvement comes not out of conformity.  Every drastic change society makes, for better or worse, is initially met with resistance.  Poly marriages aren’t exactly a new concept.  Some of the very first marriages were ones of polygamy, with only the most revered Biblical kings holding the reins.  So, the religious stance against poly marriages, to me, seems a bit hypocritical.  Even today, some other cultures practice polygamy, as they have for hundreds of years.  Where polygamy consists typically of one man and multiple wives, polyamory allows for both spouses to have multiple loves…it technically means “many loves” and allows for a more equal playing field.  Poly pretties are suppressed no more!  This is where the difference lies.  A one-sided polygamist marriage is so chauvinist, so male ego-serving, so vomit-Bobbit inducing…it makes a liberal woman’s head spin with fury and combust in disbelief.  “Clean up on aisle polygamy!”  The brainwashing it must require to convince women they’re infinitely and irrefutably inferior!  Now that takes balls!   But hey!  It’s 2010 ladies, you can “shake, rattle and roll” with the best, or worst, of them!  Enter stage right:  polyamorous marriage…the give AND take.  Give a little booty, take a little booty…all are equal to tutti-frutti.  😉   If a couple’s plans are to open the marriage, then open it on BOTH ends.  Otherwise, a dead end awaits.  Polyamory does just that…it refers to an open marriage with lovers coming and going OR group marriage with all participants living together and remaining monogamous within their group.  Sounds complicated.  And, according to those practicing, it IS.  But some very ambitious families make it work, or try to.

According to Deborah Anapol, PhD and expert on polyamory, people may seek out this lifestyle for many reasons:

*  to fix problems in existing relationships…humans are natural problem solvers and may consider opening the marriage as a possible fix…however, that fix will be temporary…at most

*  to mask or excuse sex addictions…providing the cover needed to get it on…and on…and on

*  to take a stand for cultural change and aim for utopian/spiritual rewards…requiring both profound self-confidence and leadership

*  to satisfy what just comes naturally to them

*  to rebel against religious prohibitions or family expectations…rebellion, not being a bad thing, is a prerequisite for personal growth and independent thought

*  to fulfill sexual or emotional desires that can’t be met with existing partners, such as unequal sex drives

Researchers say some polyamorous couples find they married too young and simply defaulted to monogamy solely because it was the norm.  But later realize that neither of them had much investment in exclusivity and recognized that the only reason to continue with it was fear of the unknown. So, tossing “No Man’s Land” to chance, they dare to venture into “All Man’s Land.”

With a whopping 50% divorce rate, the “traditional marriage” isn’t exactly a pillar of success.  Obviously, we’re doing something wrong…well, half of us anyway.  Marriage is a difficult endeavor.  We encounter stress, disagreement, and boredom…on a good day.  When braving the “scary as hell” ups and downs of a long term monogamous marriage, it’s only natural that some of us jump the track every now and again.  Some opt for divorce.  Some opt for an affair.  Some opt for polyamory.  Depending on perspective, any of which, may be an attempt to satisfy all needs involved…adult, family, and kids’.  Who’s right?  Who’s wrong?  Which is better?  Which is worse?  Who’s to say?  One thing is definite though.  Our brains control our words, movements, physical feelings, decisions.  But with all of it’s control, it remains but a mere minion to the heart.  Our heart, the rebel.  Whatever social norms dictate as an accepted marriage…whatever our minds tell us is the right thing to do…whatever we want to do…our hearts have a “mind” of their own.  What may seem practical to the  mind isn’t always realistic to the heart.  We can’t control what we feel.  And what we feel changes throughout the course of our lifetime, regardless of the boundaries we attempt to impose.

Some psychologists argue that humans are not monogamous by nature.  And that we defy our very biology by practicing such.  Yet others argue that while we may not be monogamous by nature, monogamy is a social tool invented to create harmony and aid in the raising of children.  A secure growing environment for the sake of our future society.  But we’re well aware that this security will be challenged time and again by the vast array of variables popping up in a marriage like a child’s game of Whac-A-Mole.  Whatever the variables, a monogamous social structure does, in fact, help to maintain some semblance of family order.  Critics of polyamory say marriage and family are sacrificed by this lifestyle.  Advocates dispute that claim and say the opposite holds true.  They say the expanded family provides more support and unity…that opening up a relationship depends on the individuals involved.  When two or more people are well matched, opening it usually makes them stronger…when not well matched, it can be destabilizing.  They insist it’s, by no means, an easy way out.  But, instead, a compromise that requires HONESTY above all else…honesty about biological needs, honesty about feelings, honesty about desires.  Maybe we monogamists aren’t so honest with ourselves?  Or maybe we are…but realize our limitations.  Different strokes…different folks.

The emotion to stir the most commotion is jealousy — both ugly and destructive.  While we may not be monogamous by nature, we’re certainly jealous by nature.  And that jealousy is deeply rooted in insecurity. Another emotional downfall we use as a slip-n-slide.  Regardless of what some experts say, it seems that pair bonding is a natural behavior.  When placed in a group of people, we tend to pair up.  We find the one we mesh with most, have the most in common with, and begin knitting our match…our go-to “booty”.  And anything that comes between us and our “booty” is competition.  We DON’T like competition.  Women, in particular, will lie, cheat, steal, and reveal anything to remain in his favor.  In the situation of 4 or more live-in loves, we’ll worry… “Does she like him more than me?”  “Is she better in bed than I am?”  “What does he give her that I don’t?”  It’s human nature…the insecurities, the fears, the jealousy.  When we subconsciously pick favorites…and we WILL…insecurity will fester and multiply quicker than Octomom, herself.  Even when we think we’re “choosing” not to choose one, the heart will seek out the one who makes it beat the hardest.  Leaving another heart broken.

As I’ve researched this topic, one theme continues to emerge…the human struggle for happiness.  We crave intimacy, love, and sex…and we’ll do anything to get it.  If that means monogamy, so be it.  No social confines there.  If  it means risking social conformity and abandoning monogamy in the hopes of securing ideal love AND sex…some are brave enough to leap into that social piranha pool.  Different people, different ideas, different paths…same desired destination.  Whatever the means, the motive is the same:  love and sex…sex and love.  So, take your own stand on monogamy vs. polyamory.  But don’t pull the legs out from under another’s.

It seems the heart and the libido are ever negotiating for happiness, satisfaction, give and take.  If we begin with one, two (me and you)…and then decide to add a few, perhaps the few we’ll be adding will be named Competition, Jealousy, and Insecurity.

It’s my firm belief that the Few will inevitably wipe out the Two.  Unfortunately, such is the tale of our jealous nature.

The polyamorous equation is open and ever changing:  One, two…add a Few.

But as a monogamist, my equation remains:  One, two…skip the Few.

Which are you?  🙂

Chick Hughes

Great thinkers have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. ~Albert Einstein