Should You Let Your Lover Visit a Dominatrix?

Should You Let Your Lover Visit a Dominatrix?

We often think of sexuality as a solid set of likes, desires, and characteristics. But as we grow and develop, our interests might change or deepen. Especially today with so much access to sexual material on the internet, and a looser attitude toward sexuality in general, people feel free to explore experiences and fetishes they may not have otherwise communicated. But this puts the monogamous relationship in a particular bind. Sometimes two people get together with very different thresholds of what is acceptable in the bedroom and what is not. What makes it doubly difficult is that many people do not find this out until later on, after the nuance of what the BDSM community calls “vanilla sex” has worn off. Usually one person gets comfortable with the repertoire, while the other gets bored with it. Another thing that sometimes happens is one person gets interested in a particular fetish, or certain aspect of BDSM, or finally feels comfortable enough to share their other-than-straight-sex interest. At this point, the vanilla loving partner gets freaked out. They may go through a point of insecurity, wondering if they are enough for the kinkier partner, which one hopes they are assured that they are. But then things come to a point where, each person has to ask, what do you do with this fetish or fascination if the other partner is disinterested, or unwilling to fulfill it? Should you let your partner visit a dominatrix for instance?

First of all, take a step back for a minute and realize that for your partner to divulge this to you, your relationship must have good communication. That speaks to a strong bond and a deep well of trust. These are not things to be taken lightly. Often the emotional paradigm and the sexual one are not at the same level. We may be getting all that we need and more in terms of emotional needs, but a preoccupation or overwhelming desire is waiting in the wings. This is a solid relationship. But the fetish if ignored is not going to go away. Instead, it will fester underneath the surface. You do not want to put your lover in a position where they may feel desire to cheat. Reconsider their fetish. Is it really something you do not wish to take part in? Perhaps you can have a playtime for the kinky one, and straight sex for the vanilla partner. If you are totally against taking part, consider allowing them to see a professional. There is no actual sexual interaction between the dominatrix and her client. It is really about focusing on the fetish itself, and fulfilling that desire. It may even make the relationship happier.

Do not think after years of marriage that you have your partner all figured out. Sexuality is a constantly evolving thing. It is one of the aspects after all, that keeps sex interesting. What the practice of tantra but also of BDSM teaches us is curiosity and compassion. Instead of acting out of fear or judgment, push these thoughts aside. Instead, move forward with curiosity. What is it about this act or fetish that they find so appealing? Where does it stem from? Through sexuality we can learn a lot about our partner’s psychology and our own. Supplant judgment with curiosity. Support your partner in their explorations. Set boundaries that both of you are comfortable with. Allow yourself the freedom to explore some fantasies and kinks of your own, and tell your partner about them. Make plans to have them fulfilled. Being open, honest, flexible, practice superb communication, and be responsive to our partner’s needs. This is what being in a long-term relationship is all about. Do not allow them to go if you have misgivings. Talk it out, until you both feel comfortable. You may even want to meet the dominatrix in the flesh. Whatever the situation, remember to make your relationship your own. Don’t try to fit into some preconceived mold of what you think it should be. Instead, make your relationship a place where both of you can be happy and yourselves.

For those who have changed their mind, and want to give it a shot read Dominatrix 101: The Good Girl’s Quick Guide to Dominating Her Man by Rebecca Lawson.

Love and Your Brain

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Love and Your Brain

Originally Westerners thought that love originated in the heart. Of course we’ve known for a long time that love originates in the brain. But more about the phenomenon of love in terms of what exactly happens has been uncovered recently by advances in science. Here’s all about love and your brain. One study used resonance imaging on seven men and ten women who said their love was as deep as a canyon. The relationships that they were in were between one month to just shy of two years. What scientists found when showing pictures of the beloved to participants was that the areas of the brain associated with persistence and reward lit up.

Psychologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and the study’s co-author Arthur Aron said of these findings, “Intense passionate love uses the same system in the brain that gets activated when a person is addicted to drugs.” So you crave your lover like you would a narcotic. Romantic love is the strongest of human emotions, say experts. Once we choose a mate, we are highly motivated to win that person over. Neuroscientist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the other author of this study Lucy Brown elaborates saying, “You can feel happy when you’re in love, but you can also feel anxious. The other person becomes a goal in life.” You want to win them. They are your objective. And you want to get them however you can.

Love is connected to both the pleasure center of the brain and the reward center. It is a crucial part to our survival. Another thing, as Brown puts it, “It helps us recognize when something feels good.” This drive is even stronger than the sex drive. One problem lots of couples run into is that once they’ve won their love and some years go by the spark dies. Does the intense feeling of romantic love have to fade? Not exactly. Aaron and his fellow researchers conducted another study in which seven men and ten women married in average around 21 years said that they were still immensely in love with their spouses. Their brains were also scanned on an FMRI. When shown pictures of their spouses the part of the brain that lit up was associated with enjoying a reward and attachment.

As Aaron put it, “For most people, the standard pattern is a gradual decline of passionate love, but a growth in bonding.” Scientists believe this bonding exists for the couple to raise children. Aaron said, “Most mammals don’t raise children together, but humans do.” These two experiments illustrate how love changes as time goes on. Of this Aaron said, “As long as love remains, we get used to the relationship, and we’re not afraid our partner will leave us, so we’re not as focused on the craving.” If you are in a long term relationship but want to feel that intensity, that craving again read, The Busy Couple’s Guide to Everyday Romance: Fun and Easy Ways to Keep the Spark Alive by Editha Rodriguez.

What Science Says About Love

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What Science Says About Love

Religious leaders, philosophers, and artists, poets, musicians and writers have been illustrating phenomenon and helping to shape our ideas on love for thousands of years. Science has been studying love for only a handful in comparison. But with the miracle breakthroughs of so many technologies and with advanced techniques for studying humans, science has now taken the lead on how we view love. Here are a wide range of scientists studying the subject and what they say about love. According to Albert Einstein College of Medicine neuroscientist Lucy Brown, love is like a thirst. When in the throes of an early romance, our mind is consumed with plans and thoughts of our beloved. How we express our love by being distant, clingy, or warm and nurturing depends upon the person. But all people feel it the same. We feel a euphoria and a magnetic pull toward the person we love.

Brown says that the key things for her are “Driven toward one person” and “euphoric.” FMRI or brain scans have shown that when a person is thinking about their lover or shown a picture of their beloved, all people have ancient areas firing in their brain, the places where euphoria, drive and reward dwell. Romantic love then, thought to be the arena to itself, our highest emotion, is in fact connected to our survival mechanisms such as hunger and thirst. Love also makes people pair-bond which increased survival. As Brown puts it, “We were built to experience the magic of love and to be driven toward another.”

According to biological anthropologist at Rutgers University Helen Fisher, love isn’t one phenomenon but, “…there are three basic types of love: sex drive; romantic love; and feelings of deep attachment for a partner.” Fisher and her colleagues used an FMRI to investigate what happens when someone falls in love. 60 participants of both genders from 18 to 57 years of age took part. “Special meaning” is the first stage. This is where everything the person does is incredibly special, the music they like, the way they dress, where they live, everything. Some people get there more quickly than others.

According to research Fisher did in tandem with Match.com, 44% of women and 54% of men have experienced love at first site. People in love are elated. But they are also easily crestfallen such as when a lover doesn’t call or text. Butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms and a pounding heart are all physical symptoms. We are also sexually possessive of those we love, what is known to animal behaviorists as “mate guarding.” According to Dr. Fisher, romantic love has reproduction at its root. It helped our ancestors get together and consummate their relationships, bearing offspring. As Plato famously wrote, “The god of love lives in a state of need.” This need to be with the lover, a drive to be with one’s one and only is, in an evolutionary sense, winning a partner for mating and what psychologists call pair-bonding. To find out more about love’s scientific roots read, The Science of Love by Robin Dunbar.

Romantic Intuition

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Can you fall for someone even before you’ve seen them face-to-face?  Lots of people actually think so. This is called romantic intuition, an intense resounding feeling nested deep within one’s heart.  Though intuition itself seems like a mystery or a mystical experience, it is in fact part of our deeper psychology. It’s made up of schema—ideas, feelings and understandings that form evaluative processes which feel like emotional shockwaves that strike us out of nowhere. But in fact this schema is based on previous knowledge and experience that has been internalized and banked way down in our subconscious. Our biology, our experience as children watching our primary caregivers and our experiences in love ourselves all help to form this mental scaffolding. Romantic intuition then is very much like love at first sight. This begs the question then, is romantic tuition reliable? Should we utilize it in search of a mate?  Not necessarily. If you have a healthy schemata or mental scaffolding in terms of love, romantic tuition may be helpful. But if you carry emotional baggage, had parents who displayed a dysfunctional relationship, or took part in dysfunctional relationships of your own, romantic intuition may lead you down the primrose path toward romantic disaster.

Though the thought is very attractive to people falling in love with someone before even meeting them, a real relationship has to be built on not just love but trust, honesty, mutual respect, shared values, mores, similar visions for the future and more. Many people have a romantic profile of the person they are seeking and waste their entire lives searching for that person, only to be disappointed, bitter and heartbroken in the end. Novelist Tom Robbins put it this way, “We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.” Others think they found the perfect person. But when problems arise they panic and the relationship takes a nose dive. Surely we can’t be too impractical. Love needs both the powerful forces encapsulated and released from the heart as well as a practical understanding of the do’s and don’ts, ins and outs of a relationship and how it should be administered in order to run smoothly. Love certainly is not enough. Problem-solving skills, commitment, an acceptance of each other’s shortcomings and a coming to terms with our own baggage are necessary for love to last. Surely intuition shouldn’t be ignored. But it should be explored, understood, unraveled and judged whether it is a healthy magnetism toward a certain person or an unhealthy infatuation with a potential mate that isn’t good for us, or isn’t good for a long term relationship. Enjoy the feelings of love and the intuition that often hits us. But use logic to sort through things and make the right decisions moving forward. To learn how to use your intuition to make better decisions, follow the guidance of Linda Johnson in her book, Intuition- Your Most Powerful Tool: How to Make Decisions You Won’t Regret.

Attracting the Wrong Guys?

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Everyone runs into a situation where you meet someone, start dating, and think things are great, only to realize for one reason or another he isn’t for you.  But when you’ve had a string of boyfriends that weren’t right for you, something else may be going on. If you see a pattern of attracting the wrong guys in your dating history, take heart. You can reverse the pattern and start drawing toward you the right kind of guys. Here’s how. First, realize that it isn’t just how it is. You aren’t destined to attract the wrong guy. Instead, realize that it’s all up to you. You determine who you date and who you let slide. So don’t think its fate or some sort of trick nature has played on you. The fact is it’s all about you. And you are the only one who can and should change this pattern. Instead of languishing and cursing your fate, devote yourself to changing it. Make a list of the qualities you want in a guy. So the next time a guy approaches you, don’t lower your standards. Don’t settle for someone you know won’t make you happy. Instead, reach for that list and then see that he doesn’t worm his way into your life. Don’t be afraid to be single. If you are just going to jump from guy to guy, of course you’ll pick the wrong one. Instead, find out what you love about yourself. Be okay being single. It’s when you love yourself that someone worthy of you can love you, too.

If you want a higher quality guy, boost your confidence. Worthy men are attracted to worthy women. If you feel good in your skin and exude confidence, all the guys will come out of the woodwork and start chasing you. Then all you have to do is pick the right one. Make sure you have that list handy. Even if you are attracted to a guy, realize that it isn’t enough. You also need someone who has the same interests, who’s funny, charming, dependable, considerate, kind, and caring. Don’t throw these other traits away when you find someone that flips your switch. Instead, hold off and try to get to know them better. Take things slow. And if they don’t have other important character traits, let them slide. Take some time to evaluate your love life. What do all the guys you’ve dated have in common? Why were they wrong for you? What is it that attracted you to them in the first place? This may be a time to consider your own psychology and how it plays a role in the men you choose to date. Find ways to counteract the psychological bend towards men that aren’t good for you. What is your goal? If it’s to get married and have kids, don’t date guys who want to be bachelors their entire lives. Always keep a positive outlook. You will break that habit of dating the wrong men. And soon you’ll find a guy who has all the qualities you’re looking for. For more guidance on attracting the right guy, read the advice of Laura Doyle in her book, The Surrendered Single: A Practical Guide to Attracting and Marrying the Man Who’s Right for You.