Archive for the ‘Sexual relationship’ Category

‘Neurological correlates’ – a blog worth a visit
January 4, 2008

Time to plug a blog readers may or may not yet be familiar with.

Swivelchair at Neurological correlates deals with neuroscience and human behaviour. He translates current psychology/brain research into understandable terms. But more than that, he formulates his own hypotheses. Here is one an intriguing idea:

I’m interested in white matter, which is sort of the neural wiring in the brain, connecting the areas of gray matter. I think that the trouble with disordered thinking may be because of faulty wiring between functional areas of the brain. If this is the case, then that give me hope that it can be fixed — growing new synaptic connections may be a matter of blocking inhibitors or of growing new connections.

In a series of excellent recent posts he considers psychopaths, etc. in the light of possible faulty white matter. Do have a look-see; they warrant reading. Here are a few things that came to my mind.

Do Psychopaths Dream?
January 4, 2008

I noticed that in recovering alcoholics I know, they don’t report dreams, and some have said they don’t dream. And then in suspected psychopaths I know, same thing — lack of dreaming.

If this observation is correct, he suspects a white matter deficiencies. Any feedback from readers would no doubt be appreciated. (more…)

Quickpost – Revenge! But should she have seen it coming? (Come to think of it, should he?)
January 4, 2008

Talk about losing face!

Perhaps you’ve heard about the case of the very public humiliation of Zhang Bin, news director and premier newsreader for CCTV 5, China’s main sports channel.

A fuller account can be read here, but the gist of it follows.

At its relaunch as the the channel of the Beijing Olympics, Zhang’s wife, Hu Ziwei (also a well-known sports newsreader), walked on stage and announced to the audience that she’d just dicovered that her husband had been committing adultery. It can be viewed here. Ouch!

Hu did not hesitate to link her husband’s values to those of the country:

Zhang Bin can’t even face up to his own hurt wife. I think China, to succeed as a great power….Don’t any of you have any conscience?! Let go of me! We’re very far from being a great country.

The scene was edited out before broadcast but, as always happens, found its way onto the internet. According to the Free Republic report:

Opinion was divided. While many enjoyed the humiliation doled out to the CCTV anchor – a breed held in much contempt by internet users – others pointed out that Mrs Hu should not have been surprised at her treatment. After all, Zhang was already married to his first wife when he met her.

So, help me folks – what, if anything, can we draw from this?

Photo: photos2 033, originally uploaded by céd

7 points to remember about dating and predators
January 3, 2008

[This post is by Donna Andersen from and the Lovefraud Blog. The goals of Lovefraud are to teach people how to know when love is a con and to wake them up to the danger of sociopaths.]

As human beings, we all want love and companionship in our lives. It’s a basic human need, right up there with the needs for food, water and shelter. When we are lacking an intimate relationship, most of us try to fill the empty space. That leads to dating.

Here is what you need to know about dating and predators.

1. Evil exists.
What the evil is called—psychopath, sociopath, antisocial personality disorder, narcissist—really doesn’t matter. There are evil people out there, and they can be found in all segments of society—rich, poor, male, female, all races, all religions, all communities. They look like everyone else, but they are predators.

2. If you are dating, you are a target.
As an unattached person, you’re probably feeling a bit lonely—that’s why you’re looking for dates. This is natural and understandable. What you need to realize is that predators specialize in targeting lonely people. They know exactly how to find this vulnerability and exploit it by seeming to take the loneliness away. They shower you with attention, flatter you and promise you a lifetime of happiness—exactly what you’re looking for.

3. Meeting people on the Internet is extremely dangerous.
Yes, there are normal people on dating sites. But there are also predators, and communicating via the computer you do not have the tools you need to spot them. Most of the true meaning of conversation comes from nonverbal cues—voice, facial expression and body language. None of that is available in an e-mail. So what do you do? You fill in the missing pieces with your imagination, and the person becomes what you want him or her to be. You fall in love with a fantasy. For more information, see Internet Threat and Online Seduction on

4. Predators are often charming.
If you meet someone who is glib, charismatic and has a quick answer to every question, be aware that these traits may indicate excellent social skills—or a psychopath. Pay close attention to what is actually being said. Are there gaps or inconsistencies? Is the person evasive? Does the person change plans or break promises—and always has an excuse? If you’re nodding your head, proceed with caution. For more information, see Key Symptoms on

5. Watch for the pity play.
According to Martha Stout, author of The Sociopath Next Door, the best clue that you are dealing with a sociopath is an appeal to your sympathy. If you’re dealing with someone who tries to make you feel sorry for him or her, blaming other people or “the system” for his or her problems, consider it a warning that the person may be a sociopath. For more information, see The Pity Play on

6. Predators are often great in bed.
Many people who were involved with sociopaths have told Lovefraud that the sex was amazing. Sociopaths are often skilled lovers for two reasons: First, with an excessive need for stimulation, they are hard-wired for sex. Second, they get a lot of practice, often with anyone who comes along. In reality, sociopaths want only two things: sex and power. They do not feel love.

7. Do not ignore red flags.
Maybe something seems wrong but you can’t put your finger on it. Perhaps there’s a nagging feeling in your gut. Pay attention. Do not let him or her explain away your doubts. Do not tell yourself he or she has gotten a raw deal and your love is the solution. To avoid becoming the victim of a predator, your instincts are your best defense.

An internet dating horror story PLUS a video of the perp paramoralising
December 23, 2007

Are you ‘virtually’ sharing your heart with an aged, obese person the opposite sex to what you imagine, perhaps?

We’ve all heard stories about internet relationships that are wrong in one way or another. People say it won’t happen to them, but people say a lot of things.

Do beware!
Wishful thinking will try to turn him or her into what want, but you have no idea. Even if you’ve spoken on the phone. Even if it goes on for a year and a half. 

You’ve been talking into a mirror.
Which could be harmless (actually, not really) but there’s someone behind that mirror. This story by Josh Olsen orginally appeared in LA Weekly:

Anyway, Janna knows this guy named Jesse, and she thinks he and Audrey would get along. She “introduces”them online, and they hit it off. Jesse is an amazing dude, a volunteer fireman, a cowboy, a tortured poet, a man with a past. He has an ex-wife he speaks of fondly, and a son. He lives on a ranch with llamas. He’s got posttraumatic stress disorder from having been in New York on 9/11. He knew some of the firemen who died, or something. An exceptional man. He and Audrey just click, in that special way we all hope can happen someday. (more…)

Dating – don’t do it! Some thoughts after blogging about psychopaths
December 19, 2007

Simply writing and reading about about human wickedness has a sobering effect on one. When reading what follows, please keep in mind the author has been, if not frighted rigid then, had his protectiveness ratcheted way up.

I once wrote a piece – mainly for women’s eyes – about how dating (by which I meant dating in the hope of meeting a partner/spouse) doesn’t work.

My argument was that men have an aversion to that kind of ‘energy’. (I could have written another piece about how what is attractive on a first date is a very poor predictor of what works in a long-term relationship.)

But I was talking there about decent men. What about dating when they’re, shall we say, not quite so decent?Advice from a female criminal profiler
Pat Brown from The Daily Profiler knows a thing or two about how things can and do go horribly wrong. Her advice: (more…)

That unsurpassable hatred that a man deficient in virility feels for a woman who is a better man (Rebecca West)
December 19, 2007

A series of posts on non-sexual marriage
November 19, 2007

Readers may be interested in the vexed and sad problem of the non-sexual marriage.

I have published a series of posts on the subject here:

13 types of non-sexual marriage

The asexual non-sexual marriage

The closet homosexual non-sexual marriage

The used-to-be-sexual non-sexual marriage

Men who have sex with men

Also, I’ve written a piece on:

Passive-aggressive celibacy

It’s a big, complex subject. I’m really interested on your comments on my views.

The non-sexual marriage #4. Married men who have sex with men
October 29, 2007

Married men who have sex with men – they’re gay, right? No so fast.

This post is the final in a series on non-sexual marriage. Strictly-speaking today’s topic is on the edge of the the main theme because some married men who have sex with men still have a sexual relationship with their wives. However, the matter is so complex and so often does accompany the non-sexual marriage that I’ll discuss it here.

An attempt at clarity
I’m not discussing men who are in an asexual marriage. Nor am I discussing married men who are homosexual – either closeted or unconscious).

The fact that I have argued for a category of unconscious homosexualtiy makes matters very tricky and blurry here: is the man straight or is he actually an unconscious homosexual? Each person can only be considered independently, but that’s why I have not subsumed this post under the one on homosexuals in marriage. (One ‘test’ a man might use to bring some clarity for himself is: Do I imagine/fantasise about having a proper relationship with a man, or don’t I?)

There’s the possibility, I guess, that the married man could be bisexual but I’m not going to make things even more complex here. Only to say that some people think that ‘so-called bisexuals’ are actually gays who can’t face up to it; some think that ‘bisexuals’ are the kind of people I’m discussing today – actually straight but have sex with men.)

I’m talking about married men who are straight and who more or less often engage in sex with men.

Larry Craig
By now every one has heard of the case of Senator Larry Craig who pleaded guilty to crusing an undercover cop in an airport men’s room, only to withdraw that plea saying, “I am not gay. I never have been gay.”

OK, the man is a politician so he may be out-and-out lying (i.e. he’s a closet gay). Or he may be lying to himself (i.e. he’s an unconscious homosexual). But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and consider that he’s telling the truth. He is not gay and he has sex with men.

Wha’ happens?
It is surprisingly common, psychotherapists will tell you, for straight men to cruise public toilets, attend gay anonymous sex venues, etc. As the public now knows, there are all kinds of secret protocols and signs and places for anonymous, one-off sexual encounters.

Indeed, women are generally amazed that men actually do frequent (as opposed to fantasise about) sex-on-site venues which are pitch dark and where verbal interaction is actively discouraged – just sex. (It gives new meaning to the term ‘manhandling’!) Men, on the other hand, might disapprove, never do such a thing themselves, but they do understand it.

Safe sex
By the way, safe sex is not really possible at such a place. Even if man A wears a condom, man B who grabs him in the dark might not.

The lives – not just the marriages – of the wives of married men who have sex with men are at stake. Ostensibly straight men are vulnerable to picking up sexual diseases not because they have sex as often with risky partners as do many gay men, but because their denial of what they’re up to makes it unlikely that they’ll take precautions.

What’s that about?
There are several scenarios and rationalisations. If ever they do discuss their actions these men produce ‘good reasons’: sexually frustrated in the marriage, cheaper than a prostitute, uncomplicated, easy…. It is important to see that these are rationalisations: cover-stories for deeper psychological issues.

Given the enormous risks he is taking one can appreciate just how insurmountable the emotions must seem to him. (Of course the risk of being discovered may be the point – ‘If this comes out it will ‘solve’ my current problems by making a different problem for me’.)

Here’s just one way it goes
A man has an emotional problem; he’s anxious, bored, guilty, ashamed, angry, upset, fiancial worries…. Instead of dealing with that problem, he temporarily soothes himself by having anonymous sex with a man. (Other people might soothe themselves with food, a drink, masturbating, etc.)

But he’s not soothed for long. Now he has a new emotional problem – he’s disgusted with himself, he’s frightened by how out of control he is, he is guilty and ashamed.

How to ‘deal’ with this new problem? Have anonymous sex with a man! If it wasn’t like this before, the sex now is valued in particular for its domination/submission. Why? Someone who is guilty/ashamed must be punished/humiliated, so he is the submissive partner. (Or reverses the roles and dominates the other.)

Now he’s really getting himself into a fix. The internal emotional pressure builds – doubt, self-loathing, guilt, shame, and (let’s not forget) excitement, etc. Matters seem insoluble. He is more and more driven to do exactly what is – if not causing – exacerbating his problems.

The danger and duplicity become part of the whole. ‘I am duplicitous because I’m a bad person.’ ‘I undertake risky acts because I’m bad and deserve to be caught and humiliated.’

Meanwhile, what is happening in the marriage?
Things are not right. The sexual realtionship has probably all but ceased because of his emotional knots and confusion and because she picks up that something’s amiss. (The sexual relationship may come and go in sync with the waxing and waning of his visits to the toilets.)

Or maybe the sexual relationship continues as before. Assuming that you agree with me that this marriage is ill, in a way the marriage furthest away from repair is this one where sex continues- because his ability to compartmentalise is so highly developed.


The non-sexual marriage #3. Used-to-be-sexual
October 28, 2007

In the last posts I considered non-sexual marriages which were either asexual (no actual sexual desire – ever) or homosexual (one or both spouses is closeted or unconsciously homosexual).

Today I’ll talk about marriages which once were sexual, but are no longer. Often more psychologically convoluted than the other types, this type has very good prospects for change, i.e. to become sexual again.

First, a visit to relationships which are sexual.

Sex as a psychological weapon
Example 1. He is angry with her and so he ensures that he orgasms early (or, less wilfully, he notices that when he is angry with her he orgasms early).

Example 2. She is angry with him and so decides that – because her orgasm is important to him – she won’t have and orgasm (or she notices that when she’s angry with him she doesn’t reach orgasm).

My point here is that if couples can consciously and unconsciously use sex in their emotional battles, it should be no surprise that they can and do use no-sex in these battles too.

Withholding sex
Most commonly this is to punish the other. It can be flaunted (“You can forget about sex tonight!”). Or it can be passive aggressive (“Not tonight, I’ve got a headache/I’m too tired”).

Sometimes it’s not because the other spouse must be punished but rather a spouse withholds sex because he or she doesn’t deserve it themselves (low self-esteem, poor body-image, guilt…).

Non-initiation of sex
A spouse has had their sexual advances turned down often enough (sometimes once is enough) and is now too hurt/angry to try again for fear of rejection.

A man in this position might resort to:

~passive aggressive game-playing (“Of course you’re happy because you don’t enjoy sex anyway”)
~insults and put-downs (“Who’d want to have sex with you anyway!”)
~pleading (“Can’t we have sex, honey?”)
~threats (“If we don’t have sex soon I’m out of here!”)

In other words he resorts to a boyish solutions – bullying or whining. The problem is that for her these are not sexy! If she is to be sexually re-ignited it needs to be by a man, not a kid.

Of course, it takes two to tango. The spouse who turns down sex must have good faith. He or she must investigate what problem not having sex is ‘solving’. I say ‘solving’ because it’s no solution at all – it’s helping to deaden the marriage.

No healthy person wants to have sex with an unwilling partner – we’re not talking about forcing oneself. But, there is a danger of getting into the habit of turning down sex because of not feeling 100% up for it.

Each spouse must honestly ask themselves whether there isn’t a small, low-burning flame of desire. If there is there’s hope – it can be fanned into life. And the more one does that the more ardent it is.

If there has been no sex for some time – slackness, laziness, taking the marriage for granted, time apart, etc. – spouses are sometimes too shy to begin again. Everyone carries some shame around sex (that’s the downside; the upside is that if sex wasn’t too some degree naughty, fun, etc. there probably wouldn’t be enough friction to ignite the flame).

The couple has slipped into being more like flatmates, cousins, or friends and suggesting getting down and dirty seems somehow wrong.

One way a gap happens in the sexual relationship is because of having a baby. This is a tricky one. On the one hand there are physical reasons why a woman might not feel like having sex – depression, tiredness, physical effects of the birth.

But again, she must have an honest self-investigation. Sex is far too important to simply omit from a marriage. As soon as it can be recommenced it should be.

Sometimes the wife’s changing from lover to mother freaks the man out (apparently Elvis Pressley couldn’t have sex with his wife once their child was born).

Incidentally, do be careful about the man-must-be-present-at-the-birth ideology. In principle it’s right, and in practice it’s very often a wonderful thing. But now and then a man has been so horrified by seeing his wife’s sexual organs apparently traumatised that he loses his potency. If you have any doubts, mate, don’t.

Myths in the magazines, etc.
Several ideas foat around which are half-truths and lies but which do stick damagingly in married people’s minds.

Myth 1: Sex is down-hill after the honeymoon period.
Truth: Sex isn’t as constantly urgent after the honeymoon period, but that’s just quantity. The quality constantly improves. If not, do something about it. Want it!

Myth 2: It’s boring having sex with the same person.
Truth: Besides the excitement of the one-night stand, there is no way in hell that sex can be better than with one’s spouse. It gets better and better – believe me – and if it doesn’t the couple needs to set about ensuring that it does. And the first thing to do is give up the myth of greener pastures

Common psychological factors
All of the above share the fact that they are the result of emotional and psychological difficulties. Don’t worry, that’s the good news. Every one of these can be resolved.

Simply reading an article like this can be enough to begin a conversation which leads in the right direction – after all talking about desire can begin to feel sexy….

It may be that some sessions of couples-therapy is needed. The therapeutic task isn’t doc-save-our-marriage, it’s we-care-a-lot-for-each-other-we-want-to-get-the-desire-going-again.

Actual sexual difficulties
Example 1: She wants harder, longer intecourse, but he has sexual disfunction
Example 2: He wants oral sex, she doesn’t
And so on.

Again these should be addressed. Physical difficulties can be solved with sex therapy and/or medical treatment. Everyone knows about Viagra. But how many people think to get testosterone prescribed? While Viagra works miracles for erections, testosterone helps generate sexual desire, assertiveness, etc. It is prescribed for women too, by the way (the dosage is much lower). Happy quote: “Now, I know what it’s like for men!”

The non-sexual marriage. #2 Closet (or unconscious) homosexual)
October 27, 2007

This is the next in a series of posts on the mystery of the non-sexual marriage. Today I consider the vexed subject of homosexuality in marriage.

There are several variables.
1. One or both spouses is homosexual
2. Conscious vs unconscious homosexuality
3. If conscious, in or out of the closet
4. If out of the closet, an agreed arrangement between spouses

One possible variant: an out homosexual man and a woman who is either afraid of sex or is sexually repressed.

However, the versions I’m concerned with today are the covert ones where there’s some blindness going on.

Say, he’s homosexual and knows it (and is probably having sex with men – see forthcoming post) but she kows nothing of this.

Or, he has sex with men but doesn’t consider himself gay.

There are two key honesty-activities that are needed here.

First, some serious waking-up is needed – stop lying to yourself. Get some therapy and figure out which of the several options I mention matches you.

Second, decide what, if anything to do about it. There are homosexual men who choose not to come out because of what it might do to the family. This is a moral decision which only they can make. (Though because of the human propensity of avoidance it would be good to think this through with a therapist – preferably not a gay or religious therapist who may have an agenda.)