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Tuesday
Aug282012

How Gay and Straight Men and Women Influence Their Partners’ Health

Research has long suggested that saying “I do” to a significant other is similar to saying “I do” to better health.1 Married people – especially married men – report better health and live longer than single people.2,3 But marriage itself is not necessarily the reason for these differences; there are many explanations for the health benefits of marriage including increased social support, improved health behaviors by folks who are married, more positive attitudes about health by the married, as well as the benefits of having a partner to help provide health insurance.4,5 

Why are men more likely to experience health benefits in their relationships than are women?

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Monday
Aug272012

Relationships 101: What Students Need to Know About College Relationships

For a .PDF version of this article, please click here. This article is free to any college/university for purposes of dissemination to students (e.g., as part of college orientation, first-year seminar, or college course).

College is all about new experiences: the start of a new life, new friends, new freedom, and new relationship experiences. Not surprisingly, romantic relationships are responsible for life’s happiest moments. For that reason, it is important to avoid problematic relationships that could jeopardize your college education. To help, we’ll identify qualities of healthy relationships in the context of common relationship experiences that students encounter during their first year in college.

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Sunday
Aug262012

Lyrics of Love and Relationships: Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons is a British folk rock band who are Grammy Award nominees, and Billboard Music Award Winners. Read more here.

Album: Sigh No More

[click here to purchase Sigh No More]

Sigh No More (pic)

Love that will not betray you, dismay or enslave you, will set you free. Be more like the man you were made to be.

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Saturday
Aug252012

Week in Review: 19-25 August 2012

Saturday
Aug252012

Hey Girl, You're Stupid Hot...

This isn't just an expression. In fact, research shows that men who interact with an attractive woman experience cognitive impairment (i.e., they do worse on a test) and that this mental collapse occurs even when the woman is not present. Does this same thing happen to women? Nope, they're too smart for that. If you'd like to read more about this study, click here.

Saturday
Aug252012

My Lover, My Friend

How often do we hear people say, “I married my best friend”? Certainly, unmarried people in romantic relationships consider their lovers to be good friends as well, but are these friendships with lovers important? Not surprisingly, yes, they are. Across two survey studies, valuing the friendship in one’s romantic relationship benefitted the couples tremendously. Those couples were more likely to be in love, committed to each other, and sexually fulfilled, and these benefits got better with time. Simultaneously, valuing one’s partner as a friend was also linked to a reduced chance of breaking up.

 

VanderDrift, L. E., Wilson, J. E., & Agnew, C. R. (in press, 2012). On the benefits of valuing being friends for nonmarital romantic partners. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. doi: 10.1177/0265407512453009

Friday
Aug242012

Will You Be My “Rock”? (Because My Chair is Wobbly)

We regularly hear people refer to their romantic partners as their “rock.” (My wife always says that she wishes I was The Rock, but that’s a different story altogether). What is it about large, dirty moss-covered stones that people love so much? Just joking, of course – the metaphor really centers on the idea that people want their partners to be there, through thick and thin, and to provide a sense of stability to their lives.

Generally, embodied cognition (also called embodiment) is the theory that individuals’ physical experiences subtly and unconsciously affect their psychological states. Recently, researchers used an embodied cognition approach to examine whether seemingly unrelated experiences affect individuals’ preferences for stability.

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Thursday
Aug232012

When Are Pick Up Lines Most Effective? 

Have you ever been out at a bar or at a party and had someone try a pick-up line on you? These lines can be corny (“Hey, how much does a polar bear weigh? Enough to break the ice”) or straightforward, (“Do I know you from somewhere? You look really familiar”). Researchers refer to these types of pick-up lines as “opening gambits” or “relationship initiation strategies.” (Editor’s Note: If you use either of those terms in public, you probably won’t be picking up anyone). 

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Wednesday
Aug222012

I'm Not That Kind of Doctor, But I've Never Said This Either

Wednesday
Aug222012

Of Elephants and Onions: Rape, Pregnancy, and Labeling

Rape, an all-too-common occurrence in the USA,1 was recently thrust back into the political spotlight, following the unfortunate comments of Rep. Todd Akin (R-Missouri). Akin, like many Americans (particularly those who identify as Republicans), is an avid Pro-Lifer. On Sunday August 19th 2012, Akin, who is vying for a seat in the U.S. Senate, had this to say about his opposition to abortion in the case of a rape-related pregnancy:

It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s [rape-related pregnancy] really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape [emphasis added], the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”

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Wednesday
Aug222012

No Pleasure for Women in a Land of Genital Mutilation

Michelle Kaufman is a researcher that focuses on sexual behavior in the developing world. She globe trots regularly, conducting ethnographic work all along the way in order to inform both the quantitative and qualitative research that she conducts. Recently, Michelle spent several weeks in Ethiopia teaching research methods at Jimma University. During that time she learned a lot about how Ethiopians view sex and female circumcision.

Spend a few weeks with 20-something year old men on a university campus and the topic of sex is bound to come up. I was teaching a course on Qualitative Research Methods at Jimma University in Ethiopia recently, whose student population is 90% male. True to form, once the students learned of my research background in sexual relationships, they eagerly started asking questions. I did the same.

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Tuesday
Aug212012

Sometimes a Cigar is Just An…Unsupportive Partner

Ever dream about your significant other? What was the dream like? Was it happy or painful?

For my dissertation project (published in Attachment & Human Development), I wanted to study the dreams people have about their romantic partners, and how those dreams relate to secure or insecure attachment.

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Monday
Aug202012

A Dating Downer: Ascension Deficit Disorder

Things have been heating up with The Consultant. Ever since deciding to give him a real chance I have pleasantly discovered that we have a lot in common. I look forward to our next dates more and more, and I find myself counting the days until I get to see him again.

He recently texted me an invitation for dinner at his house. I knew what that meant. Dinner. Alone at his place. Wine. No kids. Things were clearly about to get more physical.

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Sunday
Aug192012

How (Not) To Talk Your Way Out Of A Forgotten Anniversary

Saturday
Aug182012

The Origins of Reverse Psychology: The Jedi Mind Trick

Saturday
Aug182012

Week in Review: 12-18 August 2012

Friday
Aug172012

Opening Up: Challenging Myths about Consensual Non-Monogamy

What do sex columnist Dan Savage and politician Newt Gingrich have in common? Probably not a lot, but they have both been in the media recently in regards to open relationships.

In a recent article in the New York Times, sex columnist Dan Savage discussed the benefits of a monogamish relationship – one where partners are committed to each other but free to occasionally pursue sex partners outside of the primary relationship. He believes that opening up a relationship in this way can promote honest communication and prevent actual “infidelity.”

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Thursday
Aug162012

Relationship Feeling Like a Hurt Locker? Try Tylenol

Let’s face it, relationships aren’t all “sugar and spice and everything nice.” Sometimes, love stinks. R.E.M. had it right, romance can be downright painful and “everybody hurts sometimes.” What if I told you that you could lesson some of life’s heartache with a (totally legal and over the counter) pill? Well, it’s true, and the remedy is probably already in your medicine cabinet. It’s Tylenol!

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Wednesday
Aug152012

Four-Legged Support: The Benefits of Owning a Pet

Decades of research show that close relationships play a critical role in our health and wellbeing. People need to feel connected to others, and so they fare much better when they have supportive, nurturing relationships with people such as family members, friends, and romantic partners. But what about our relationships with our four-legged friends? Are pets just cute and fun to play with, or can they actually help to meet some of our important psychological needs?

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Tuesday
Aug142012

Death, Derogation, and Double Standards: What’s a Sexy Woman to Do?

You do not need to look hard for evidence that North Americans are uncomfortable with female sexuality. Women, for example, are derogated for engaging in less common sexual behaviors, like threesomes. Male sexuality, alternatively, is often viewed positively or—at worst—ambivalently. This ‘sexual double standard’, when society evaluates women negatively than men for comparable sexual behaviors, is an extensively researched phenomenon.

Perplexingly, some of the research on the double standard has indicated that men are the most likely to endorse it. Why would a man derogate a sexual woman, when it would seem to be more in his interest to encourage female promiscuity? Research conducted by Dr. Mark Landau and colleagues provides an interesting explanation for this phenomenon. According to these researchers, men degrade sexual women because these women make them feel lusty, and thereby remind men of their ‘natural creaturely origins’. If this argument seems far-fetched, bear with me. Let me explain...

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