relationships

‘Ooh, I love U in me.’ –Prince

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The current research investigates how people make sexual decisions when romantic partners’ sexual desires conflict, situations we refer to as sexual interdependence dilemmas.

Across an experimental study, a retrospective recall study, and a 21-day daily experience study, we found that people who were motivated to meet their partner’s sexual needs—those high in sexual communal strength—were more willing to engage in sex with their romantic partner, even when their own desire was low, and as a result, both partners reported enhanced relationship and sexual satisfaction.

The benefits of sexual communal strength were due to communally oriented people’s increased desire to promote their partner’s interests and decreased desire to pursue their own interests.

This is the first set of studies to investigate how people make decisions in sexual interdependence dilemmas and show that communally motivated individuals navigate these situations in a way that is beneficial for relationships.

{ Society for Personality and Social Psychology/SAGE }

related { Science says lasting relationships come down to 2 basic traits: kindness and generosity }

Now baby we can do it take the time, do it right, we can do it baby

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The sexual selection concept arises from the observation that many animals had evolved features whose function is not to help individuals survive, but help them to maximize their reproductive success. This can be realized in two different ways:

• by making themselves attractive to the opposite sex (intersexual selection, between the sexes), or
• by intimidating, deterring or defeating same-sex rivals (intrasexual selection, within a given sex).

Thus, sexual selection takes two major forms: intersexual selection (also known as ‘mate choice’ or ‘female choice’) in which males compete with each other to be chosen by females; and intrasexual selection (also known as ‘male–male competition’) in which members of the less limited sex (typically males) compete aggressively among themselves for access to the limiting sex. The limiting sex is the sex which has the higher parental investment, which therefore faces the most pressure to make a good mate decision.

For intersexual selection to work, one sex must evolve a feature alluring to the opposite sex, sometimes resulting in a “fashion fad” of intense selection in an arbitrary direction. Or, in the second case, while natural selection can help animals develop ways of killing or escaping from other species, intrasexual selection drives the selection of attributes that allow alpha males to dominate their own breeding partners and rivals.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

Canine teeth, horns, claws, and the sheer size and strength of certain male animals provide strong examples of physical weapons, and aggression is a behavioral weapon among humans and other animals. A peacock’s tail, which is useless and costly to sustain, is the most famous example of an ornament. Showing off and creativity may be the human equivalents of this ornamentation. Certain polygynous species, such as the elephant seal, become weapon specialists, relying primarily on intrasexual combat to achieve reproductive success. Other species, such as the peacock and numerous birds of paradise, specialize in intersexual selection to produce extravagant male ornaments. Humans are versatile animals who rely on a large brain to facilitate amassing and facultatively employing a large repertoire of survival and reproductive strategies, including weapons and ornaments.

Even though ancestral men may have used intrasexual combat more than intersexual ornaments in acquiring mates and much human female choice may also have derived from male contests, modern men use both intrasexual and intersexual mating strategies as evidenced by much research showing a clear association between mating motivation and various behaviors that constitute weapons and ornaments in men. Specific weapon-like behaviors under mating investigation include physical or direct aggression in response to provocation, social dominance and status, endorsing warring attitudes, and producing a low voice pitch. The studied ornament-like behaviors include conspicuous material consumption, risk taking, humor, being unique and non-conforming, becoming loss averse, making generous financial donations, and exhibiting heroic altruism, all of which are preferred by women.

These studies suggest that, similar to other male animals, men can exhibit weapon-like and ornament-like behaviors, but, unlike many male animals that specialize in either weapons or ornaments nearly to the exclusion of the other, men seem to have developed the versatility to acquire and apply both strategies to facultatively respond to intrasexual and intersexual competition. Men may use weapons and ornaments facultatively as situational responses to intersexual and intrasexual conditions and, over time, may also develop behavioral tendencies in using one strategy more frequently over the other, adding to the vast individual differences along a weapon-ornament dimension.

{ Evolutionary Psychology | PDF }

photo { Jerry Schatzberg }

She said, Damn fly guy I’m in love with you

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{ Margret: Chronicle of an Affair – May 1969 to December 1970 | found materials relating to a private affair conducted between a German businessman and his secretary in the late 1960s and early 1970s. }

And now we’re flyin’ through the stars, I hope this night will last forever

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{ American scientist James Stuckey and volunteer Judy Creeden demonstrate the human body’s ability to function as a conductor of electricity during a lecture in New York sponsored by the Atomic Energy Commission, 1966 | photo by F. Roy Kemp }

What one refuses in a minute, no eternity will return

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8,000 Years Ago, 17 Women Reproduced for Every One Man

[A] member of the research team, a biological anthropologist, hypothesizes that somehow, only a few men accumulated lots of wealth and power, leaving nothing for others. These men could then pass their wealth on to their sons, perpetuating this pattern of elitist reproductive success. Then, as more thousands of years passed, the numbers of men reproducing, compared to women, rose again. “Maybe more and more people started being successful,” Wilson Sayres says. In more recent history, as a global average, about four or five women reproduced for every one man.

{ Pacific Standard | Continue reading }

When love absorbs. War! War! The tympanum.

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The ability to express empathy — the capacity to share and feel another’s emotions — is limited by the stress of being around strangers, according to a new study.

{ ScienceDaily | Continue reading }

related { People in the study were more likely to disclose something personal about themselves after laughing together, although they didn’t realize it. }

Another day has gone, I’m still all alone

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“I’ve actually never met Chris in person but I am definitely in love with him,” Sarah said.

“He’s just spectacular. Chris and I have discussed getting married - I believe Chris does consider me his wife.”

Chris claimed he was originally from Milan and moved to the US 18 years ago, saying he was on a business trip to South Africa when they met and is now stuck in Benin because of “trouble” with the government.

Sarah has sent him money for stolen cards, phone charges, hotel bills, lawyers, a nanny, an expired visa and when Chris claimed the money she posted had been stolen. […]

“He assured me that when he gets home he’s going to pay me back – every dime,” Sarah told Dr Phil.

“He’s made five or six attempts to come back to the US to meet me. Every time they arrest him and put him in jail and then they want more money. […]

The pair talk for up to four hours on the phone a day […] “He sounded Italian, now his accent’s kind of changed I don’t know if he’s adapted to where he’s at… in Benin,” she added.

{ Independent | Continue reading }

art { Luis Camnitzer, This is a Mirror, You are a Written Sentence, 1968 }

‘It is no more in our power to love always than it was not to love at all.’ –La Bruyère

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Darwin made a famous distinction between men’s and women’s mating strategies, between choosy, coy females and ardent, promiscuous males. […]

Yet, as also anticipated by both Darwin and Trivers, empirical studies of both non-humans and humans reveal extraordinary flexibility in mating and investment behavior, both within and between the sexes. Reproductive strategies are clearly not an invariant, species-specific characteristic, but rather facultative responses to individual- and population-level social and ecological circumstances, rendering conditional mating strategies optimal. […]

For example, across the ethnographic record, human societies can range from polyandrous to polygynous mating patterns, same-sex marriage can be institutionalized as with woman-to-woman unions in East Africa and men can spend considerable amounts of time and effort in beautifying themselves as in West Africa. […]

Until recently, the study of sex-differentiated reproductive behaviour has relied on the long-standing model of sexual selection developed by Trivers. This model links sex roles directly to the differential investment in young by males and females. In its simplest form, this model posits that because males invest less initially (in sperm), they have a higher potential reproductive rate (PRR) and benefit more from mating multiply than do females. As a consequence, selection typically would favour mate-seeking and competitive behaviour in males, and heavy investment in parental care in females. […]

Using data from eight Makushi communities of southern Guyana, characterized by varying adult sex ratios contingent on migration, we show that even within a single ethnic group, male mating effort varies in predictable ways with the ASR. At male-biased sex ratios, men’s and women’s investment in mating effort are indistinguishable; only when men are in the minority are they more inclined towards short-term, low investment relationships than women.

{ Royal Society Open Science | Continue reading }

Using new data from the United Kingdom’s Annual Population Survey, we find that […] marriage may help ease the causes of the mid-life dip in life satisfaction and that the benefits of marriage are unlikely to be short-lived. We explore friendship as a mechanism which could help explain a causal relationship between marriage and life satisfaction, and find that well-being effects of marriage are about twice as large for those whose spouse is also their best friend.

{ National Bureau of Economic Research | Continue reading }

ooo (ooo) it feels just like we’re floatin’ in this pool and the water brought this fire out of you

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Lacan said that there was surely something ironic about Christ’s injunction to love thy neighbour as thyself – because actually, of course, people hate themselves. […]

The way we hate people depends on the way we love them and vice versa. According to psychoanalysis these contradictory feelings enter into everything we do. We are ambivalent, in Freud’s view, about anything and everything that matters to us; indeed, ambivalence is the way we recognise that someone or something has become significant to us. […]

We are never as good as we should be; and neither, it seems, are other people.

{ London Review of Books | Continue reading }

art { Gisèle Vienne, Teenage Hallucination, 2012 }

‘Perhaps the feelings that we experience when we are in love represent a normal state. Being in love shows a person who he should be.’ –Chekhov

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Although much attention concerning the potential impact of sexualized media has focused on girls and women, less is known about how this content effects boys’ perceptions of women and courtship. Accordingly, the current three-wave panel study investigated whether exposure to sexualizing magazines predicts adolescent boys’ (N = 592) sexually objectifying notions of women and their beliefs about feminine courtship strategies. The results indicated that when boys consumed sexualizing magazines more often, they expressed more gender-stereotypical beliefs about feminine courtship strategies over time. This association was mediated by boys’ objectification of women.

{ Journal of Adolescence | Continue reading }

[V]iewing sexual music videos by male artists increased the acceptance of female token resistance (i.e., the notion that women say “no” to sex when they actually mean “yes”) among adolescent girls, but not adolescent boys.

{ Communication Research | Continue reading }

This too is for the best

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The scientific study of heartbreak is extremely new, with nearly all articles on the matter appearing in the last 10-15 years. In fact, the notion that strong emotional stress can impact health was not widely accepted in academia until recently.

In the 1990’s, Japan started accruing cases of a disease called “takotsubo cardiomyopathy,” where patients’ hearts would actually become damaged and their ventricles would be misshapen (into that of a “takotsubo,” or octopus-catching pot – a very bad shape for a heart chamber). Curiously, these cases were not heart attacks, but instead were a form of heart failure brought on by a rush of stress hormones.

After 15 years, the syndrome was finally mentioned in a 2005 New England Journal of Medicine article, where it was renamed “Broken Heart Syndrome.” Among the causes of Broken Heart Syndrome are romantic rejection, divorce, or the death of a loved one, and the outcome can be as serious as death.

{ NeuWrite | Continue reading }

I never was in love, you know that you were never good enough

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On February 14th, Kakumei-teki himote doumei (革命的非モテ同盟) — literally, “Revolutionary Alliance of Men That Woman Are Not Attracted To”– will gather in Shibuya, an area of Tokyo popular with young couples, to protest Valentine’s Day and its roots in what they call “romantic capitalist oppression.”

The group, known as Kakuhidou for short, was started in 2006, when its founder, Katsuhiro Furusawa, returned home one day after being dumped by his girlfriend and began reading the Communist Manifesto. He quickly came to the realization that being unpopular with girls is a class issue.

{ Spoon & Tamago | Continue reading }

Women tend to prefer men who make them laugh and men tend to prefer women who laugh at their jokes. However, it is unclear how robust this pattern is. Here we report a replication of one of the first studies (Bressler, Martin, and Balshine, 2006) to examine the sex differences in preferences for humor receptivity versus humor production. […]

We found that men viewed humor receptivity as a necessity and humor production as a luxury when they were asked to create an ideal long-term partner. For women, it was just the opposite.

{ Evolutionary Psychology | PDF }