If I asked you to list the qualities that make for a good sexual partner, what would you say? Maybe you would want a lover who focuses on your sexual needs, someone who understands your feelings, or perhaps a lover who is sexually skilled and confident in his or her abilities. These different ideas about what makes a good sexual partner suggest that narcissism could either be linked to greater sexual satisfaction (a lover who is confident in his or her sexual skills) or a lower quality sex life (a selfish lover).
In previous posts (see here, here, and here), we have discussed why narcissists tend to be poor romantic partners (they are self-absorbed, low in empathy and more likely to cheat on their partners), but what about the sex lives of narcissistic people?
PlentyofFish. Match.com. OkCupid. eHarmony. These are just a handful of dating websites that offer users the opportunity to seek out romantic partners and, if lucky, develop a fulfilling, committed relationship. Such dating sites promise access to a large selection of potential partners, the ability to communicate virtually with other users prior to meeting face-to-face, and (allegedly) rigorous matching with compatible potential partners. It is unclear, however, whether meeting partners online yields more positive romantic outcomes1 than do more traditional avenues (e.g., meeting a relationship partner through friends or by chance encounter). Should you leave it to your computer to play matchmaker, or are you better to stay offline and wait for Cupid’s arrow to strike?
I'm currently in a long-term relationship where, after a difficult year of dealing with depression, my partner has claimed to have fallen "out" of love. However, she tells me that she is committed to trying to make things work. Is this feeling really something that can be regained over time? Or is now a point where one has to make the decision to love the person they're with?
Thank you for your question. Your experience is not uncommon, and the answer lies in a number of articles about love that have previously appeared on Science of Relationships (e.g., My partner has been less affectionate lately, what gives?). Love is defined in so many different ways—it sounds as if your partner does love you, just not in the way that she used to.
In case you missed any of them, here are links to our articles from the last two weeks:
- "Wanna Go to Bed With Me?" (a.k.a. "Get Away from Me, Creep" vs. "Where Do I Sign Up?")
- Catfish: A Cautionary Tale (Too Bad It Came Too Late For Manti Te'o)
- Do Those Who Buy Together Stay Together? Treating Homeownership as a Relationship Decision
- Is Sleeping Separately Bad For Our Relationship?
- Are You the Jealous Type?
- How Your Family Upbringing Helps or Hinders Marital Conflict Resolution
- A Bun In The Oven and Still Hungry?
Here's what we've been reading recently:
- Is Your First Sexual Experience The Most Important? (lehmiller.com)
- We’re Through. Check the App. (nytimes.com)
- Is Having A Child A Rational Decision? (npr.org)
- Sex is Better for Headaches Than Painkillers (mnn.com)
- No Scientific Basis for Prohibiting Same-Sex Marriage, Key Associations Argue (sciencedaily.com)
- Nate Silver Offers Up a Statistical Analysis of Your Failing Relationship (gizmodo.com)
What if you were sitting at a café, the park, or a beer garden (the latter being where you’re most likely to find me) and someone you’ve never met before approached you. Doesn’t seem too bad at this point, right? Now, what if this stranger then attempted to solicit casual sex from you? What would you say?
My new obsession is Catfish. No, I’m not talking about the whisker-faced, water-dweller. I’m referring to the documentary and subsequent MTV reality series about online romances. Given the heightened frequency of internet dating, the premise doesn’t sound all that unique. However, this show highlights relationships that have gone on for months, and in some cases years, without the partners ever meeting face-to-face. In a fascinating and unfortunate twist (SPOILER ALERT), the show typically ends with one partner realizing that his or her online love is not who he/she has been pretending to be. Think it couldn’t happen to you? Just ask Manti Te’o how real a virtual romance can feel.
My fiance is a mortgage broker, and recently we decided to combine our two passions (mine = relationship research, his = finances) and share some thoughts that might help couples who are thinking of buying a home together. For more information, blogs and videos on finances, visit the Loewen Group website.
Buying your first home? Chances are this is not only a financial decision, but a relationship decision as well.
I've been dating the same guy for 2 years and we rarely spend the night with each other, mainly because he can never fall asleep or stay asleep when we do. I sleep much better when he is with me despite his tossing and turning all night, but I don't want to keep him from sleeping. I've always thought that married couples who don't sleep in the same bed have issues, but maybe there's nothing wrong with sleeping alone. Is it important for couples to sleep together or does it matter?
Thank you for your question. It is not surprising that you would feel some concern about what sleeping together means for your relationship; does it mean that you and your partner are becoming less intimate?
Jealousy can be a very painful and destructive emotion. People typically feel jealous when they sense some threat to their relationship (perhaps some smooth operator is making moves on your significant other, and you worry this rival is more attractive/desirable than you are). These feelings of jealousy are sometimes justified; if you and your partner have made an agreement to be sexually exclusive (monogamous), but then s/he is sneaking off to have sexy time with someone else, this is normally a jealousy-provoking situation for most people (i.e., it freaking sucks!). Jealous emotions can be agonizing and often create intense conflicts/fights between partners, and furthermore, these jealousy-provoking situations may sometimes motivate you to exit the relationship.
However, some people are prone to be jealous more often and more consistently than others, even when there are no actual threats to the relationship.
If you are in a romantic relationship, it is nearly inevitable that you will experience conflict with your partner at some point. How you deal with conflict influences your relationship. When disagreements arise, some people manage them better than others. For example, some are able to talk through their problems in a supportive and respectful manner, whereas others fail to express their concerns and resolve their disagreements. These different conflict resolution skills (or lack thereof) come from many places, but recent research in Psychological Science suggests that your family climate during your adolescence may have something to do with how you manage conflict as an adult.
A good friend of mine (who is 7 months pregnant) told me recently that she is concerned about her sex drive. I recalled that my sex drive dropped to almost zero when I was pregnant with both of my boys, so I assumed that this might be the case for her. Surprisingly, my friend’s experience was quite the opposite: she wanted it all the time. When her husband couldn’t help her out (and he was generally happy to do so), she felt compelled to masturbate. She was worried something might be wrong with her.
Unfortunately, there's not much evidence to support the chicken's theory. But relationship science has weighed in on this topic (read more here).
In case you missed any of them, here are links to our articles from this week:
- When a Flash of Skin Makes a Man Flash His Cash
- What if You Never Met Your Partner?
- Wanna Make You Feel Wanted: Husbands’ Sensitive Support Predicts Relationship Outcomes
- Happy 2nd Birthday...To Us!
Here's what we've been reading this week:
- Is Your First Sexual Experience The Most Important? (lehmiller.com)
- Another Dingbat Sexual Selection Theory (slate.com)
- 9 Interesting Things You May Not Know About the Clitoris (alternet.org)
- Traditional Divisions Of Housework Likely Lead To More Sex In A Marriage (medicalnewstoday.com)
- CE Corner: Sexual Hook-Up Culture (apa.org)
- 7 surprising facts about Charles Darwin (mnn.com)