I am also making regular posts about love and other topics of psychological interest at http://drbillykidd.hubpages.com/
There are lots of rock songs about a woman getting sexually excited about a man while at the same time her head says, “No.” Is this a verifiable biological phenomenon or is it all just in a woman’s mind?
The fact is that scientists have discovered that women’s YES/NO sex debates stem from the very core of their biological processes. It is not something women simply conjure up in their minds. In fact, studies show that it is common for a woman to feel the maybe-yes/maybe-no debate up to 20% of the times she’s sexually aroused. That is why she should not be guilt tripped by the whole thing when she decides to say “No.”
To better understand the YES/NO sexual debate, let’s compare the differences between the way women and men get turned on:
• Women Evaluate Potential Sexual Encounters on Two Different Levels. This creates two different takes on the situation: the physical and the emotional. These two perspectives arise from two semi-independent biological processes. So it’s natural that, on occasion, a woman will have conflicting feelings about sex—the physical feelings of arousal won’t match her emotional feelings about having sex. In certain situations, a woman may be focusing on the emotional content so intently that she may not even notice she that is physically aroused.
• Men Have Comparatively Fewer Conflicting Feelings About Sex. Men’s emotional responses about sex are often more closely aligned with their physical responses. That means that a man generally has a hard time arguing against his erection. Men, of course, are aware of the deeper emotional aspects of sexual relations. But they are not wired to closely monitor the difference between their emotional and physical feelings the way women are.
• Women Have Distinct Feelings of Physical Togetherness. Women tend to focus on the whole act of sexual engagement—that it is two bodies together, getting it on. During sexual relations, women are aware of how they are physically positioned and what is happening to them. A woman’s experience is also affected by her partner’s movements and actions. This means that a woman’s sexual arousal can reflect the overall toss, turn, and tumble of both bodies—reflecting the feeling of being physically together. Men, on the other hand, feel more independent during the early aspects of sex, like actors performing, where they have to stay on top of their job or they might lose it.
• Men Are Aroused By Bodies and Faces. In contrast to women, men generally do not focus so much on the sexual activity itself. Rather, they focus on a woman’s body and face, and how that stimulus rattles their genitals. Also, a man’s awareness is more self-focused when contrasted to a woman’s. This may give the impression that men need to take charge of the sexual activity—as if testosterone propels them to be sexually aggressive. But scientists have shown that this is not true. Rather, an amyloid protein regulates men’s sexual potency, and sexual aggressiveness is not related to testosterone levels whatsoever. Instead, aggressiveness is the product of a man’s values and his life experiences, not some innate compulsion to copulate with everything that’s around him.
• Women’s Feelings of Excitement are Conditional. Women’s emotional urges to have sex are generally dependent on the situation that she finds herself in. It’s normal for a woman to be thinking: “Is it safe, interesting? … ah, just too cool.” The relationship itself also matters to a woman. This is why women are concerned about men being friendly, helping, and cooperative partners. These things tend to make sex an intimate emotional act that takes place with a particular partner. Sex is generally personalized, in other words, unless a woman suppresses these natural emotions so that she can have the sexual experience without the feeling of attachment.
• A Man May Have Limited Emotional Engagement. Men get emotionally involved when they are in love and when their family-feeling buttons get pressed. So there are times when a man isn’t aware of his emotional involvement in a sexual relationship until after it grows on him. Men, like women, are hit with bonding hormones when they reach orgasm. That makes them want to be with their partners. But some men have been raised to suppress those innate feelings.
• Sexual Arousal is Just Half the Ballgame. Sexual relationships don’t take place in a relationship vacuum—unless you and your partner are working hard at having no strings attached. Sometimes, of course, no-strings-attached does not work out that way, and a person feels lousy afterwards. That’s because you slip and get emotionally involved and maybe guilt-trip yourself over it. That happens because there are five relationship feelings that can engage when you are being intimate with a partner: the sexual feeling, the in-love feeling, feelings of friendship, the feeling of being a couple, and the feeling of wanting to help each other out. This is why, from a biological standpoint, sex doesn’t always happen in an emotional black out.
• Dealing with ‘YES-NO’ Sexual Cues. A woman cannot simply change who she is to accommodate a man’s sexual interests. And she shouldn’t have to. When a woman is feeling the Yes-No debate, she really is not ready for sex. She needs time and her own space to understand what she is feeling. While she cannot argue with his erection, she can talk around it. So switching the topic and simply moving on to some other activity is her best recourse for the moment. A man who isn’t obsessed like an addict about sex should be able to move forward with her. Men who demand sex, and keep track of the sexually exciting females, are sex addicts.
• Machismo and Sex Addictions. Some men refuse to listen when a woman signals she’s not interested in having sex. They will badger and harass her because they want a quick sex fix to escape their feelings of frustration, anger, and powerlessness. Or, they enjoy exploiting and hurting women, and feel entitled to do so. For them, sex is not about the woman at all—it’s about the expression of male power and the use of force. Today, the majority of young men are not trained to think this sort of macho behavior is normal the way some of their fathers did. And most women won’t tolerate it. Yet, with half the world’s population, sexual exploitation is the norm.
• Men and Women Reach Orgasm on Different Pathways. Women, more so than men, have a Yes/No debate going on in their minds before they consent to sex. That reflects, in part, nature’s safety value that allows women to think before they act. But once it’s over, men and women end up at the same place. Their bodies and souls interpret orgasm the same way. Unless—they are working hard at being emotionally uninvolved.
If a woman feels conflicting feelings about sex, that’s OK. It is normal, not some sort of problem with her. Nor is it necessarily the case that she’s made a judgment against a potential partner. It’s simply nature calling. A woman can ignore these feelings and venture forth. Or she may believe that she is simply not ready and wait until she understands what those feelings really mean to her.
People respond sexually the way they do because it’s a part of who they are. The only time you need to work on trying to respond differently is where you are not satisfied with your sex life or when you are in the habit of getting in another person’s space when you are not invited.
There is a lasting lesson about human behavior and the nature of love in the Shakespeare’s story about Romeo and Juliet. Let’s look at it and see why love can be so deadly, and then see how these lessons apply in today’s Bold New World of Romance.
As the story went, Juliet had been set up by her parents to marry Paris, a man related to prince of Verona. Juliet could have carried on in a grand style if she wanted. But she let it all go when she fell madly in love the moment she met Romeo. That same night, they decided to elope. They were married the next day by their friend, the friar. But facing the danger of reigniting an on-going feud between their two families, they didn’t steal away together. Instead, they decided to meet the next night at Juliet’s home and make love for the first time.
Before Romeo got to her home the next day, he was caught up in the old inter-family rivalry with Juliet’s cousin, Tibalt. When Tibalt suddenly stabbed Romeo’s friend, Romeo killed him. The news got to Juliet’s nurse and she told her about it. Even though Juliet became upset, she still saw Romeo later, and they made love. Her man—the one she had known for two days!—was suddenly more important to her than her cousin’s life.
Romeo was banished from Verona by the prince because of the killing. So Romeo and Juliet used messengers to relay their communications. But Juliet’s most important message didn’t get through to Romeo. She had said she was going to fake her own death so she could steal away with him to another town without being recognized. Through the grapevine, Romeo got word of Juliet’s supposed death,. But he never received her note that would have told him she was really alive. So Romeo believed she was dead. And feeling distraught, Romeo killed himself. When Juliet heard that Romeo was dead, she killed herself.
People may exclaim: “That’s the power of love!”
You, too, may call this love if you define it as going whacko over someone at first sight. But the word love has a dozen different popular meanings and no clear agreed-upon definition. That is why so many of us cannot separate fact from fiction, or media dramatization from reality, when it comes to interpreting what is going on in our own love lives. And that is why it’s important get a modern scientific understanding about what love really is—the stuff that Socrates and Freud didn’t even understand!
Modern science has shown how love arises up within in us from 5 separate physiological systems. The effects of these 5 relationship systems combine—in various and sundry forms—to produce different motivational states. But despite the fact that people are capable of having dozens of different motivational states driven by these 5 distinct love systems, we call all of them by one name: love. And that is one of the biggest reasons we’re never on the same page when we talk about love with another person. We simply don’t know how to define our emotional state in terms of the 5 feelings that arise from the 5 biobehavioral systems. And that’s why we end up doing stupid things like killing ourselves.
If you’re getting confused, hang on a minute. This really isn’t rocket science. Let’s look at the first love system that gives rise to the crazy-in-love feeling. This love-at-first-sight form of romance—which was featured in Shakespeare’s play—arises from the effects of a particular type of serotonin that drives the in-love system.
When this neurotransmitter circulates in the brain, people’s thoughts become obsessive and their behaviors become overly dramatic. This creates the type of feeling people are referring to when they talk about in-love passionate romance—the feeling that makes you feel like you’re walking on a stage.
Romeo and Juliet’s actions are clearly understandable when we look into the psychological processes that motivated their behaviors. From a scientific standpoint, we can say that Romeo and Juliet’s in-love romance, biobehavioral systems got jacked up super-high the moment they met.
That’s not difficult to imagine if you think of a biobehavioral system as (1) a biological system that regulates thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, which is (2) an organic circuit that is hard-wired into our brains.
With Romeo and Juliet, their in-love, biobehavioral, relationship circuits impelled them to both see each other as the One–their dream lover come to life.. When that happened, their in-love relationship systems drove each of their thoughts, actions, and emotions related to love. That caused them to focus narrowly on each other, and tune out the rest of the world–and all other possible ways love can be expressed through the other 4 love systems: the sexual system, the friendship system, the bonding system, and the helping system.
What’s Shakespeare was trying to show us with this was that when the in-love system jacks all the way up to over-drive, dangerous things can happen. That’s why the story is about being crazy in-love, not about sexual attraction. Sex was kind of a “whatever” thing with them. Instead, they we’re using the in-love go crazy feeling to help them escape their vindictive, upper-class reality.
The in-love, romance systems that got turned on in their heads is distinct from the sexual biobehavioral system. These systems involve two diverse groups of thoughts, actions, and emotions. Each of these two distinct groups propels you toward a specific type of relationship outcome.
For instance, by falling in love, you select a partner from all the other available ones. On the other hand, when the sex system kicks in, an individual wants to make love. But it isn’t necessarily related to a specific person. It’s about getting turned on and having your body and soul exude a sexual feeling. People are turned on sexually, in other words, by something that caught their attention, firing up their sexual relationship system—not because they believe someone is their soul mate.
These two distinct relationship systems are powered by different neurotransmitters and hormones. Neurotransmitters are the chemical substances that regulate how the messages from nerve impulses flow through our brains. Hormones, on the other hand, are steroids and groups of amino acids that travel in our blood and regulate body functions.
When the sexual neurotransmitters and hormones kick in, we feel sexually aroused. That arousal relates to an environmental stimulus or a something that an individual recalls to mind. This causes a person’s attention to narrow momentarily on whatever has caused him or her to become sexually aroused. A person’s attention does not necessarily stay focused on this particular sexual stimulus afterwards. Once an individual consummates a sexual activity, the hormones and neurotransmitters that regulate sexuality stimulate a different action—which might be motivated by a feeling of relaxation, bonding and reward, or one of frustration.
On the other hand, when the passionate in-love neurotransmitters and hormones kick in, we go goofy and just can’t seem to stop thinking about a particular person. This can go on for months. It involves some of the same neurotransmitters that create obsessive-compulsive disorders—what psychologists call OCD. With our thoughts narrowly focused, we only want a particular partner—now and forever, or so it seems—so much so we can hardly be distracted. It follows that falling in love is about selecting a partner from all the others and not about having sex. That’s how we interpret the rush of hormones and neurotransmitters in our bodies and brains.
Being in love, then, is not necessarily about sex. When seen in this light, however, the idea that being in love legitimizes sex, and justifies rushing to get married, makes little sense. After all, just because your hormones and neurotransmitters drive you to go wacko about someone doesn’t mean it is going to last forever. After all, when you think about it, Romeo and Juliet weren’t even friends. They hadn’t known each other long enough for their romantic friendship biobehavioral systems to kick in.
This also helps to show why so many people have dysfunctional partnerships. If you get married when you are acting like someone with an in-love, obsessive-compulsive disorder, the odds are that you are getting hooked up with someone you don’t know much about. This is why they say the reality of the marriage sinks in after the honeymoon when individuals discover the truth about their partners. Some call this sobering moment the stranger in the bed experience, and they wonder what they were thinking when they got married. The answer is, they were not thinking. They were experiencing the Romeo-Juliet complex.
The other forms of love can be explained in a somewhat similar fashion—in terms of a neurotransmitter or hormonal response to a partner or potential partner. In my book, Low Stress Romance, I explain how the various love systems operate to create 5 different kinds of love. If you read the book, it’ll give you the tools you need to define exactly what state of love you’re in at any time in any relationships. For a summary of how those love systems work, see my blog article How Love Works — The Love Code.
In the meantime, remember is was unbalanced love—without friendship, bonding, or the true desire to help each other—that killed Romeo and Juliet. So when you’re flipped out crazy about someone, you might think about the fact that there are 5 love systems and you can’t have a satisfying long-term relationship until the all kick in.
Believe it or not, we get married because of five diverse feelings: feeling in-love, feeling like friends, feeling sexual about each other, feeling like family, and feeling like we want to help each other. Each of these feelings triggers neurotransmitters and hormones in our bodies to create a “need” to be with our partner. If that is so—and it’s been scientifically proven—then why does money play such a big part in today’s marriages? Is there, like, say, a “money hormone” that’s got to get triggered, too, for a long-term relationship to work in the modern world?
No. Rather, money, in a pay-to-play society does a lot to determine whether we’re going to be an effective couple. That’s because money helps us solve some of the problems that take modern day stress off our backs. To put it differently, the stress of modern life makes any relationship difficult at times. Even just being friends can be tough when you’re under stress.
There are so many stressors today that they can add up so high that it can knock a person over. Like the traffic stop after the insurance company fails to tell you that your car insurance check never got to them on the day that your boss tells you that your position is going to be eliminated. When we have enough money to cushion ourselves from these sorts of issues, it gives us more time and energy to feel the five feelings of love and to enjoy our relationship with our partner.
Across America, more and more people are acknowledging this–that money is central to their vision of a successful marriage. So they are waiting until their careers are well established before getting married. As far as companionship goes, they are learning to get by with the help of their friends. And twenty percent of the women are not going to get married and have a baby–as hard as they may try. They feel they are either too poor to be a success at marriage, or they get so involved in their careers that they just give up the thought of having a child. Some, of course, simply cannot conceive any children. Meanwhile, because of modern technology, age thirty is no longer the time the the biological clock stops.
But there is more going on here than what meets the eye. As we all know, the very nature of family and work is changing. Along with these social changes, the nature of marriage is changing, too. It is no longer a social contract with defined rules. Rather, each couple decides on their own what their relationship will be like.
So play it smart. Don’t be afraid to discuss your money concerns with your lover. This is an import part of building a relationship in today’s world. If you need a conversation starter, say that you think you’ve got the marriage, money hormone running through your veins! That’ll catch even the most distant lover’s attention.
Are you trying to get your man to change his behaviors? Let’s say, change those things that grate on your nerves, embarrass you, or just seem plain stupid?
Lots of women are in your position. But psychologists warn that it’s very difficult for anyone to get their lover to change unless their lover really, really wants to change. That’s why it’s important to look at at the major mistakes you might make in your reasoning when you start thinking you can get him to change:
● He’ll change for you just because he is in crazy in love with you. The problem here in your thinking is that it links together two unrelated behaviors: a) falling for someone and b) changing for someone. The first behavior—falling in love—that’s easy. It just happens. On the other hand, changing an ingrained love style takes a realistic goal, a good plan, and a lot of hard work. And just because you two are in love doesn’t mean he’s going to rewire his brain for you—regardless of what he says—not unless he has been meaning to make that change already.
For the full article on the seven mistakes women make trying to change their men, click here.
The research shows that there are nine common mistakes people make when they remarry. For instance, it’s easy to have a rebound love affair to put your last relationship out of your mind. But that doesn’t fix the underlying problem concerning you and your ex-partner’s lack of functional relationship skills–which caused your relationship to tank. Remember, you have to learn from your last relationship in order for the next one to be meaningful and fulfilling.
I discuss this and 8 other issues concerning remarriage in the article Crazy Love – Should I Get Married Again? – Check List. You’ll be surprised at how much it will help you if you are facing a decision about whether to get married again. Be sure to view the video interview with Pat Bubash, author of Successful Second Marriages. She takes you into the lives of couples who have achieved great second marriages and lets them show you how that have done it.
In a Mindy McCready song, her date has her body screaming ‘Let’s get it on!’ while her mind is saying ‘I don’t think so.’
Any woman who has been in this situation might have guilt tripped herself about the decision she made. But she shouldn’t have. Scientists have discovered that women’s YES/NO sex debates stem from the very core of their biological processes. It is not something women simply conjure up in their minds. In fact, studies show that it is common for a woman to feel the maybe-yes/maybe-no debate up to 20% of the times she feels sexually aroused.
To better understand the YES/NO Sex Debate, let’s compare the differences between the way women and men get turned on:
• Women Evaluate a Sexual Situation on Two Different Levels. This creates two different takes on the situation: the physical and the emotional. These two perspectives arise from two semi-independent biological processes. So it’s natural that, on occasion, a woman will have conflicting feelings about sex. Her physical feelings of arousal just don’t match her emotional feelings. In certain situations, a woman may be focusing on the emotional content so intently that she may not even notice she that is physically aroused.
• Men Have Fewer Conflicting Feelings About Sex. Men’s emotional responses are often more closely aligned with their physical responses. That means that a man generally has a hard time arguing against his erection. Men, of course, are aware of the emotional aspects of sexual relations. But they do not monitor the difference between their emotional and physical feelings as closely as women do.
• Women’s Feelings of Physical Togetherness. Women generally get caught up in the whole act of two bodies being entwined, getting it on. During sexual relations, women are aware of how they are physically positioned and what is happening to them. This means that a woman’s experience is considerably affected by her partner’s movements, actions, and sense of engagement. This is why her feelings of sexual arousal often reflects the overall toss, turn, and tumble of both bodies going at it together.
• Men Are Turned On By Bodies and Faces. In contrast to women, men generally do not focus so much on the sexual activity itself. Rather, they focus more on a woman’s body and face, and how that rattles their genitals. Also, a man’s awareness is more self-focused when compared to a woman’s. This may give off the impression that men need to take charge of the sexual activity–as if testosterone propels them to be sexually aggressive. But sexual aggressiveness is not related to testosterone levels whatsoever. Rather, aggressiveness is a product of a man’s values and his life experiences, not some innate compulsion to nail down everything that’s around him.
• Women’s Conditional Feelings of Excitement. Women’s emotional urges to have sex are generally dependent on the situation that she finds herself in. It’s normal for a woman to be thinking: “Is it safe, secure, non-hostile, interesting, or just plain cool?” The relationship itself also matters to a woman. This is why women are concerned about men being friendly, helping, and cooperative partners. These things tend to make sex an intimate emotional act that takes place with a particular partner. Sex is generally personalized, in other words, unless a woman suppresses these emotions so she can have the sexual experience without any feelings of attachment.
• Men’s Limited Emotional Engagement. Men get emotionally involved when their in-love and family-feeling buttons get pressed. Sometimes a man isn’t aware of his emotional involvement in a sexual relationship until after the fact. Men, like women, are hit with bonding hormones when they reach orgasm. That makes them want to be with their partners. But some men have been raised to suppress those feelings.
• Sexual Arousal is Only Half the Ballgame. Sexual relationships don’t take place in a relationship vacuum–unless you and your partner are working hard at having no strings attached. Sometimes, of course, no-strings-attached does not work out that way, and a person feels lousy afterwards. That’s because you slip and get emotionally involved and maybe guilt-trip yourself over it. That happens because there are five relationship feelings that can engage when you are being intimate with a partner: the sexual feeling, the in-love feeling, feelings of friendship, the feeling of being a couple, and the feeling of wanting to help each other out. This is why, from a biological standpoint, sex doesn’t always happen in an emotional black out.
• Dealing with YES-NO Sexual Cues. A woman cannot simply change who she is to accommodate a man’s sexual interests. And she shouldn’t have to. When a woman is feeling the Yes-No debate, she is not ready for sex. She needs time and her own space to understand what she is feeling. While she cannot argue with a man’s erection, she can talk around it. So switching the topic and simply moving on to some other activity is her best recourse for the moment. A man who isn’t obsessed like an addict about sex should be able to move forward with her.
• Machismo and Sex Addictions. Some men refuse to listen when a woman signals she’s not interested in having sex. They will badger and harass because they want a quick sex fix to escape their feelings of frustration, anger, and powerlessness. Or, they enjoy exploiting and hurting women, and feel entitled to do so. For them, sex is not about the woman at all–it’s about the expression of male power and the use of force. Today, the majority of young men are not trained to think this sort of macho behavior is normal the way some of their fathers did. And most women won’t tolerate it.
As we look at how men and women get turned on sexually, the bottom line, here, is that men and women reach orgasm on somewhat different pathways. Women, more so than men, have a Yes/No debate going on in their minds before they consent to sex. That reflects, in part, nature’s safety value that allows women to think before they act. But once it’s over, men and women end up at the same place. Their bodies and souls interpret orgasm the same way.
So remember, people respond sexually the way they do because it’s just who they are. The only time you need to work on trying to respond differently is where you’re not satisfied with your sex life or when you are in the habit of getting in another person’s space when you are not invited.
If you want to learn more about sexual relationships, see my book, LOW STRESS ROMANCE. It’s available in paperback and Kindle formatting. If you want to talk to me about the information in this article, please contact me at www.billykidd.com and tell me your thoughts. All responses with be kept confidential.
Everyone knows there’s a dozen ways to leave your lover. But if you feel ambivalent or confused, how do you know if it’s really time to go? For people who have been in a relationship for at least a year, there’s an easy way to figure it out.
Copy and print the list of questions below. Study them and then mark a yes or a no in front of each one. The questions are derived from the science-based Love Code. Your answers will reveal how much you and your partner love each other and how much potential there is in your relationship. If you’ve been together for a long time, it will show you if you’re growing together or growing apart. Ready? Here goes:
- Do I think about my partner without getting angry, or jealous, and want to be with him or her whenever I’m not out doing my own thing?
- Does it feel like my partner thinks about me quite a bit without getting angry or jealous?
- Do I trust my partner?
- Do I feel rewarded just to be around my partner, and do I get excited sometimes just because my partner shows up on the scene?
- Are there times that my partner looks excited when we meet?
- Do I talk to my partner about my sexual needs, and does my partner generally get it?
- Does my partner try out new things when we are in bed?
- Am I satisfied when the sex is over?
- Does my partner seem to be content when we’re done having sex?
- Does it feel like my partner is one of my good friends?
- Am I on my partner’s A-list when he or she wants to get together with someone to kick back and relax?
- Do I discuss my relationship only with people I trust rather than complaining all over town about it?
- Does my partner come to me when there’s a problem between us rather than holding it inside?
- Do I just let it go after I get angry with my partner?
- Does my partner forgive my mistakes, rather than reminding me of them?
- Do I see conflict as differences between us, not something lacking in my partner’s character?
- Does my partner acknowledge sometimes that we disagree without attacking me personally for who I am?
- Do I discuss my personal problems with my partner?
- Does my partner share his or her problems with me?
- Do I kick back and relax after I talk about my day with my partner?
- Does my partner loosen up after talking about a stressful event with me?
- Do I enjoy helping my partner when he or she asks for it?
- Does my partner look like he or she enjoys helping me when I ask for it?
- Does it really matter to me if my partner succeeds in life?
- Does my partner want me to achieve my goals on the job, at work, and at home?
- Do I tell myself I’d do it all over again because it’s hard to imagine being without my partner?
OK, that’s it! Now, count up how many times that you answered yes. Then, use the interpretive scoreboard below to help you figure out what it means.
- 21 – 26 Great Relationship – Keep it!
- 17 – 20 OK Relationship – Try a little harder to discuss what’s going on.
- 12 – 16 Troubled Relationship – Counseling could make it work better.
- 7 – 11 Almost Over Relationship – Get ready for the breakup.
- 0 – 6 Dead Relationship – There’s nothing to lose by leaving.
There are, of course, other ways to interpret your score. If you are feeling upset after reading this article, call someone and talk things over. If you have children, think of their safety before you decide to pack up and leave. Whatever you do, remember that it takes two people to make a great relationship work. You cannot make your relationship exciting and meaningful all by yourself.
If you’re thinking about leaving your lover after reading this, here’s something to think about: You don’t have to put someone down in order to go. Just go.
If you need help with your relationship, or just don’t quite get what’s going on with this check list, Contact Dr Billy Kidd.
Professionals: You can use The Relationship – Should I Go or Should I Stay? – Check List in your practice if you credit your copies to Dr. Billy Kidd @ BlameBilly.com.
Spring fever is real. Sure, we think of it as a time for young people to cut loose on spring break. But we don’t realize there’s a whole lot of biological action taking place to motivate people to get it on when the sun comes out.
Part of it is about the sun and increased levels of vitamin D and how that raises testosterone levels in our bodies. The rest is about exploring the world—which gets people primed and ready for sex. Let’s look at the scientific facts behind spring fever so you’ll be ready … no matter how crazy it gets … when you hit the beach!
• Sunshine raises vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is actually a hormone that is generated when sunlight hits your skin. During winter, your vitamin D levels drop by 50% unless you take supplements. When you get out and hit the beach at the onset of spring, your vitamin D levels jump back up—especially if you’re in the semi-tropics like Cancun, Mexico, Hawaii, or Thailand.
• Vitamin D is Associated with Testosterone. When vitamin D goes up, so does your level of testosterone. This happens because vitamin D increases the production of testosterone in men’s and women’s sex organs. And that is what makes Spring fever come alive.
• Testosterone is Necessary for Sexual Arousal in both Women and Men. It’s an urban myth that testosterone is strictly a male hormone. Women are dependent, too, on sufficient levels of testosterone in order to become physically aroused about sex. There is, in fact, a testosterone patch for women who just can’t get physically aroused about sex. Emotional arousal, of course, is different and related to another set of hormones and neurotransmitters.
• Exploring the World Increases Emotional Desire for Sex. When individuals get out and explore the world—like people do when spring fever hits—the willingness to engage in sex increases. That’s because exploring new things increase the neurotransmitters tied to the mental-emotional part of being hot to get it on. That mental-emotional part of sexual desire generally involves a debate about whether the time and place is right for sex. Exploring the world works to tune that out.
What this all amounts to is that spring fever is a biological Yes!Yes! reaction to hitting the beach: Yes—your body is getting aroused for sex. And Yes—your head says, “Why not?” to sexual encounters.
It doesn’t matter who you are or what your relationship status is. Do yourself a favor. Take a spring break and hit the beach. Bring your lover or spouse, go with a friend, or jump on a plane and just arrive. Don’t ask why, just go do it! It’s great for your health—both emotionally and physically. And for your love life. Let the sunshine give it a tune up!
– Dr Billy Kidd
In order to have a successful relationship, we, as partners, both agree that we each have certain rights, as well as responsibilities, to uphold in our partnership. In accepting that reality, we affirm, to the best of our abilities, that:
• We will each accept responsibility for our own actions.
• We will assume that our partners tried the best they knew how when something goes wrong.
• If things don’t go our way, we won’t blame each other.
• We will accept the fact that stuff happens and that things in life don’t always go the way we wanted them to go.
• We will always attempt to find a common solution to our problems.
• When we cannot find a common solution to our problems, we will seek outside help.
• We will not sacrifice for each other, but rather, we will find a solution to our relationship issues that benefits both of us.
• We will never attack each other’s character or motivations.
• We will treat each other with common dignity even when we are angry.
• We will share our thoughts and feelings and will take time to discuss what really matters to us without withholding any of the essentials.
• We will check in with each other to see if either one of us is harboring fears that we have not yet articulated.
• We will look to the future and try to imagine how things will be when we have worked through our relationship problems and the real world issues that we are facing.
• We will work toward our shared vision of the future rather than harboring resentments about what happened in the past.
• We will not worry about our relationship, but rather, we will let our relationship lead us to discover new aspects of our selves and the world.
• In doing these things, we will treat each other as family and friends.
• If things are improving in our relationships, we will celebrate.
• If things are not improving in our relationship, we will seek help from a psychologist or another relationship professional.
• We will be optimistic about our relationship and see it as a win/win situation regardless of what happens and what the future brings our way.
These guidelines can give us direction in the future, and we can turn to them to affirm our relationship at any time. We understand that our relationship is a work in progress and that some of these rights and responsibilities will take time to actualize.
The Relationship Bill of Rights and Responsibilities is based on a study of high-functioning couples. Highlighted here are the things they do to make their relationships exciting and meaningful.
If you want to work toward learning how to do these things, let me show you how. Get my book, Low Stress Romance. It will simplify your journey. If you need help, Talk To Me about it.
*The Relationship Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. Copyright 2009 Dr. Billy Lee Kidd. From the book Low Stress Romance. Copy for personal use only. For commercial use, contact Romantic Relationship Institute, LLC.
Romeo and Juliet fell in love at first sight. Then they bet everything on love, so much that it killed them. You’d think we’d have learned something from that example in the last 400 years. But betting it all on love is still the hottest game in town. Did you ever wonder why? Well …
Here’s the scientific short take on love at first sight:
• Gambling on Love is in Our Blood – Literally. Love at first sight is kind of like seeing someone who strikes you as sexy. That releases sex hormones. When your in-love button gets pressed, it causes a blast of a special type of serotonin to circulate in your blood stream and into your brain. That can cause you to think obsessively about one person—so much that you think he or she is the One. Psychologically, it’s a little like having an obsessive-compulsive disorder focused on one person.
• Obsessive Thinking Creates a Great Escape. When you’re crazy about someone, your mind blots out the rest of the world. Stress hormones jack you up while neurological growth hormones protect your brain from damage. This acts as a buffer against the everyday stress you’ve been facing. It also allows you to imagine changing your entire world—maybe even escaping a life situation where you feel trapped. That happens because crazy love is not simply a feeling. Rather, it motivates you to achieve a new goal—getting together with a particular person. So why not make a high-stakes bet on love? Well … because it’s going to end.
• Love At First Sight Always Ends. After the in-love serotonin starts circulating, you and your lover have 30 months—usually less—to get your act together. That’s because the elevated serotonin levels return to normal as your brain chemistry rebalances. That’s when the honeymoon is over. Or—if you are a good gambler—you move into the second stage of being in love.
• Crazy Love Can Evolve into Reward Love. If you and your partner have your act together, you’ll stop obsessing on each other and establish a life together. When you are with each other, you’ll feel rewarded, rather than angry, revengeful, and jealous. To achieve that goal requires that you have a balanced relationship. This happens if you engage the other four feelings of love in a functional fashion. Those other love feelings are: feel-good sex, feeling like friends, feeling like family, and feeling like helping each other to achieve your life goals.
• Winning at the Game of Love. Marketers and screenwriters intuitively know how people turn love-at-first-sight romances into successful relationships. That is why they show couples who are crazy in love having great sex or acting like best friends. Or, they show partners having deep family-like feelings for each other and creating emotional ties that bind. They also show love-at-first-sight couples helping each other. What the media ignores–as it cuts to the chase–is the fact that some of these feelings take time to develop.
• Moving Beyond Instant Intimacy. What you can learn from the popular media is to start thinking early about having great sex. Also, you can learn to share your thoughts honestly on almost anything the way friends do. And why not take a hint from the movies and try to feel like a family and to help each other? It all makes sense, doesn’t it?
OK. That’s the scientific short take on love at first sight. Some people become a little leery of it at about 26 years old. They have “loved and lost” a few times—the serotonin faded away and left them feeling empty. And now, they want something more. That’s great! Scientists have shown us what that “want more” feeling really is. It’s the need for you and your partner to have good sex, treat each other equitably like friends, feel like family, and to help each other.
What does this mean for you? If you want a great relationship you have to:
- work at achieving your sexual potential by discussing your sexual needs with your partner
- actualize your ability to be a good friend by being honest, friendly, and thoughtful
- discover what good family feelings really are by letting go and not thinking of your painful memories
- learn to help the one you love simply because you enjoy it
Do you want to talk to me personally about love, relationships, and reinventing yourself? Let me hear your thoughts. It’s confidential. Go to Billy Kidd Dot Com Feedback. If you want to read more about how love works, see my book, LOW STRESS ROMANCE. It’s now available in a Kindle electronic format.
It has been demonstrated that following a natural or manmade disaster, the rates of ADHD and autism increase. That’s because of the stress that pregnant women suffer during such crises.
What’s happening is that the increase in stress changes the way the placenta barrier between mother and child operates. This causes the infant to experience a change in the nutrient blood flow from his or her mother. This impacts how the infant’s brain develops. It also reprograms the infant’s “set points” that govern his or her biological functions after birth.
It is common in the press to talk about the ADHD/autism epidemic. But very few people have related it to the 9/11 disaster. Women’s lives changed forever that day when New York and Washington were attacked. And then, the wars came, and pregnant women suffered stress when their partners were sent to fight. This had an impact on their developing infants. Meanwhile, the stress of daily life increased for everyone. That was due to the recession which was caused, in part, by the disaster, the wars, and the spending spree that followed.
This is why I’m calling the current surge in developmental disorders the 9/11 ADHD-autism syndrome. If you have children born after 9/11 who have developmental problems, I’d like her hear from you. Write to me at Contact Dr. Billy Kidd. Also, if you have any other insights into this syndrome please tell me about them.
I fully understand that there are multiple causes of the long-term increase in the rates of ADHD and autism, and that the surge appears to have started in the 1980s. But remember, prenatal stress of any kind can affect the development of your child’s brain. Stress is also a primary cause of spontaneous abortion and premature birth.
This is why in my book, Low Stress Romance, I discussed how it is important to have a low stress romantic relationship if you are expecting to have children. Stress in romantic relationships and home environments are a common risk factor for ADHD and autism, as well as other disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.
Regardless of what future investigations eventually show about 9/11, my point here is to get the discussion rolling concerning developmental disorders. We need more information about how stressors impact infant brain development. We also need to move faster than we did in the past. It was well over two hundred years ago that it was noted during London’s Gin Craze that the stress caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy caused fetal alcohol syndrome. And like the warnings about smoking during pregnancy, that information took a long time to get out.
So let’s start a new discussion now: How does stress during pregnancy impact developing infants? And let’s offer more help to women during national crises like 9/11 and at other times when they are dealing with stress. Please join me in this conversation.
-Dr Billy Kidd
When I broke the love code, I saw that our feelings of love arise from five different biological systems. These five systems work together to create all the different feelings of love. Any, all, or none of these love systems can respond to a partner or potential partner. This is why we can love each other in so many ways. Let’s look at how the five love systems work:
• The In Love System. The in-love system is what causes you to think about one person–so much so you might think he or she is The One. Being crazy in love like this fades away, however, when your hormones rebalance, generally within thirty months. At that time, you move into the second stage of being in love. That is where you feel rewarded when you are together. If you do not have a functional relationship, you won’t move into this second stage. Instead, you will get the feeling that the “honeymoon is over” or that you are “in bed with a stranger.”
• The Sexual System. Scientists realized years ago, of course, that the male erectile system is driven by testosterone. But more recently it was shown that testosterone also regulates women’s potential to become physically aroused about sex. What’s more, it was demonstrated that vigorous exercise raises men’s and women’s physical desire to have sex. Cuddling does the same thing for both men and women. The emotional desire to have sex, however, is different than the feeling of sexual physical arousal. Sexual emotional desire increases when you get out and explore the world. This is why exercising and going on vacation beats sitting around arguing about your sex life.
• The Friendship System. The friendship system sets the general tone of how people treat their lovers and how they handle relationship conflict. When partners are friends, they are able to resolve conflict in an equitable fashion through a mutual decision-making process. That eliminates the competition and the winner-take-all arguments that are so common in dysfunctional relationships.
• The Bonding System. The bonding relationship system is similar to the friendship system. But it reaches much deeper into the soul and creates the ties that bind people together. Those ties are what generate a family feeling. Unfortunately, people who have dysfunctional relationships try to bond with people they really don’t know. This is what sets the stage for having a cling/clung relationship, or one of mere convenience.
• The Helping System. When the helping system engages, you want to help your lover achieve his or her goals. But some people only help in order to try to get control over their partner. Sensing this, their partner simply does less and expects more. As a result, the helper will slave away until he or she ends up resenting his or her partner. People in functional relationships have an intuitive understanding of this. So they do not give unsolicited advice and do not act like martyrs. They also know when to ask if their partner really wants some help and when to stay out of the way.
Now, let’s look at an example of how this works. Let’s imagine that you fell madly in love with someone you just met. And let’s say that you thought about this person all the time and wanted to be with him or her seemingly forever. These feelings arise, of course, from your in-love system. Yet, let’s say, you don’t know your partner well enough to be friends, nor have you had time to bond to your partner so he or she feels like family. But you may want to help your partner achieve his or her goals.
Now, let’s imagine that one day you wake up and you’re feeling like the honeymoon is over. You don’t think about your partner the way you used to, and you don’t feel rewarded when you see him or her. This would mean, of course, that you are no longer in love with your partner. Your in-love system has rebalanced without advancing to the second stage of being in love. But you may still want to help your partner–even though you’ve decided to move on. With what you know, now, you do not have to settle for saying “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.” Instead, you can say that the in-love, go-crazy magic about the relationship has ended. But you still feel a little like helping out.
Want to know more? Browse through my book at http://LowStressRomance.com
.- Dr. Billy Kidd
What are the real facts about young adult relationships? If you can get some young people to talk about it, you will hear a common theme: It is very hard to find a partner for a serious, long-term relationship.
Some individuals say that it is so difficult that they have become ambivalent about relationships. Others say that singlehood may be the way to go. Yet the majority of young adults expect that a partner will appear in their lives at about age thirty–when they are ready for it. Until then, the world “commitment” is often not in their vocabulary.
These modern love behaviors really have little to do with a generational change in values. Rather, they reflect the social-economic revolution that is going on worldwide. In that context, young adult behaviors are understandable. But you have to get out and talk to a lot of young adults to fully appreciate what is going on.
In interviews across the U.S., young adults told me that there were seven things that made romantic relationships difficult and confusing for them:
- Society is Changing. Things are evolving so fast that the guidelines for romance that you saw in operation when you grew up do not work very well when you reach adulthood.
- Adult Statuses are Hard to Obtain. In today’s economy, making money and getting the full responsibilities of adulthood do not come easy. That is why individuals cannot commit to a relationship in the same time frame that their parents did.
- Female Economic Liberation. Young women often seek economic liberation rather than a husband. These young women are simply not willing to settle for a man who does not meet their expectations.
- Changing Demographics. There is a large segment of the population that is single. This makes it seem like there is some sort of liberating power in singlehood. Many young adults give this as a reason to put off serious relationships and marriage.
- Self Fulfillment. Seeking self-fulfillment stands in competition with serious long-term relationships. Young adults want to get out and discover the world and how they fit in it before they think about settling down.
- Lack of Male Role Models. Young men are not all that sure of what role they are supposed to play in today’s relationship environment. They face changing expectations from their friends, families, and female partners. Some say their fathers live in a different world and cannot offer much in the way of targeted emotional support. In response to this situation, many young adult men move cautiously when starting serious, long-term relationships.
- Mobilization of Relationships. In the modern world, people are on the go and so are their relationships. Both partners move at the same time while texting or calling on their cells. This takes place in the context of a digital, online social world. At the confluence of all this activity, friends often act as coaches in each-other’s relationships and group activities often replaces dating. This new cultural reality has put the brakes on the rush to marry someone who is not your friend and whom you do not really know.
When taken together, these issues make it difficult for young men and women to have serious long-term relationships. Yet they do not report feeling defeated or remorseful. Rather, they see opportunity. A majority of men and women say they are working on improving their intimate communication skills and earnest self-assertion. They have to work hard at communicating because they never know what to expect next in today’s constantly-changing world.
As we look at the future of modern love, nobody really knows what lies ahead for young adult relationships. Society will continue to change and so will their behaviors. That will be okay for those young adults who keep an open mind and strive to learn new communication skills. When individuals do these things, their relationships will be as meaningful and exciting as they care to make them.
For more on 21st century romance, go to my book Low Stress Romance.
You know the feeling. When you are madly in love, it seems like it will never end. So you carry on like there will be no tomorrow. Recent research has shown, however, that the wild, crazy love feeling always comes to an end.
That is because the hormones and neurotransmitters that regulate this aspect of the human in-love system inevitably return to normal. So you stop thinking obsessively about your partner day and night. And somethings you stop thinking he or she is “the One.”
You don’t need to take this peronally, however, if it happens. It has little to do with you or your partner. Rather, it involves a normal biological balancing process. So what you need to remember is that after your in-love system readjusts in this fashion–and you’re not acting totally insane about your partner–you will have three choices:
• You can move into the next stage of being in love, which involves becoming more deeply affectionate. That’s called reward love–feeling good about being with your partner.
• Or, you can deal with your confusion and try to work it out with your partner. That might involve seeing a therapist or just toughing it out.
• And, of course, there is the final option of moving on.
This really isn’t hard to understand because most of us have been through it. We went wild about someone and wanted to be with that person. We thought about that person almost constantly. But no one warned us that we would wake up one day and not be obsessed about our lover. This was especially frustrating if we believed that we could hold the relationship together by simply being crazy about each other. But that’s the stuff of dreams and movies. In the real world, our biology works differently.
You go crazy about someone when your levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin drop way down. Then, you start thinking obsessively about your partner or potential partner, kind of like someone with an obsessive-compulsive disorder. That’s fun while the in-love high lasts. But recent studies have shown that your serotonin levels will always return to normal—between 12 and 30 months down the road.
That’s when you will get excited to see your partner if you have moved into the second stage of being in love. That type of love is powered by the dopamine reward system. When you’ve got it, you don’t think obsessively about him or her, anymore—unless you have a dysfunctional relationship style.
This might sound complex, but it really isn’t. And don’t let this information stop you from falling in love. Enjoy yourself. Just don’t make any big decisions until you have been with your partner for at least a year. It takes that long to know whether your relationship is serious and is moving into reward love. And remember, crazy love–where you think about your partner day and night–that’s a feeling that generally always ends.
For more information about crazy love and reward love, see Dr. Billy Kidd’s book Low Stress Romance.
If you click on Ask Billy!, Dr. Kidd will answer your questions about reinventing your life and your relationship. It’s completely confidential.