Sunday, November 22, 2009

Friends indeed?

If you are single and want to find love you should stop listening to your friends. I know your girls are lovely and wise and when talking about the latest goss over a cup of coffee it feels like they totally understand you and want the best for you. But before you blindly take their advice, hang on a sec…

First of all, your friends want to stay friends with you, so they will not be absolutely honest. They will probably flatter you, make you feel a million bucks and always think you are right. This is a good sign, it means that they truly love you and stand by your side. But when it comes to love advice it’s not always positive to listen to your fan club.

A guy came to me for coaching frustrated by the fact that he’d been single for years, while his mates just said “You are such a great catch”. But if that was the case, where were all those girls who should want him badly? Why was he still single if there was nothing wrong with him?

The truth is that if a person has been single, and longing for love for a while, there is probably something wrong, and that person is better off being told than kept in silence. Your friends will not be the whistle blowers. Why not? Well, because the truth hurts sometimes. Imagine if your best friend told you that you gave the wrong vibe, that you came off desperate to men. That’s not a nice thing to hear, right? You would be insulted. So no, our friends will never really tell us what we need to hear.

The guy I coached needed to see his value beyond being “a good guy”. Calling on time and taking ladies for fancy dinners is not enough; he needed to bring out substance as well. He thought he could buy love, but a little self-esteem and edginess made him much more interesting and attractive. When he saw that, he changed easily.

What about you? If you accept the fact that you don’t have what you want because you might be doing something wrong, you open up a door to a better future. What three things can you do differently and make your life a better place?

Stop listening to your friends and face facts. Mates telling you “he’s an idiot, you should be happy he broke up with you” does not help. What if he wasn’t an idiot, what if you were the one stalking him, acting insecure or partying too much? It’s hard to accept, but just ask yourself the question and start changing. Compare with training with a girl friend or a personal trainer; a bossy muscle bloke will give you a harder time but also a fitter body, right? It’s worth it. You are worth it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

How to have that tricky conversation

In a perfect world, arguments with your man would involve him saying things like, “You’re right – I’ve never thought of it like that,” and end with some fabulous make-up sex. Unfortunately, we live in the real world, where tricky conversations are more likely to involve a bottle of wine, a pyramid of soggy tissues, and end in a shouting match to make the neighbours run for the hills. Here are some hints to help you through those toe curling tête-à-têtes – without the hole in the wall.

Before you start…
“Firstly, make sure you’re armed with a plan,” says relationship expert Jenni Trent Hughes. “Think through what he might say and decide how you’d respond. Secondly, make sure you listen, and give him time to digest what you’ve said. Finally, remember that some important conversations happen gradually – it could take a month of talking to get through everything you need to discuss."

The Dilemma: "I wish our sex life was more adventurous"
This is the one topic where a glass of wine might be helpful to get you relaxed. “Switch off your TV and mobile phones, and stay away from the bedroom, which is where you’re most intimate,” says Relate’s Denise Knowles. “Begin by asking how he feels your sex life is going, and if he’s happy – without pointing the finger of blame. Then say something like, ‘I thought we could try some new things together – what do you think?’ Make some simple suggestions, like having a shower together, then ask if he has any ideas of his own, so he doesn’t think this is about being bad in bed.” If he still does take it to heart, ripping off his trousers is a quick way of telling him you still think he’s sexy…

The Dilemma: "We’ve been a couple for years – will you ever propose?"
“You might feel like giving him an ultimatum, but don’t," Jenni warns. “If getting married is important to you, tell him so – but never guilt-trip him into a proposal. Marriages that start with tears usually end in them too.” The key is to make him think seriously about the relationship without being pushy. “Start with positives: tell him what you love about him, then ask where he sees the relationship going,” advises Jennie. “If he doesn’t see marriage, say something like, 'I’ll have to think about this – I see it differently.’ That way, you’re giving him space – and you’ll have time to decide what to do if he doesn’t change his mind.”

The Dilemma: "Are we ever going to agree on having children?"
“It always amazes me how many couples don’t have this conversation," says Denise. “It’s a crucial question, but a difficult one – you can’t just have a baby and decide you like it. The way to approach this subject is to ask what thoughts your partner has being on a parent – what he’d worry about or look forward to.” Once you know how he feels, you have to accept that when it comes to children, there’s very little room for compromise. “If you disagree, arrange to discuss it again later,” Denise says. “But never belittle his feelings – saying he’s being silly or stubborn isn’t helpful. If his answer is the same, you’ll have to decide if having a baby – or not – is more important than your relationship."

The Dilemma: "I want to call time on our relationship"
“The best way to tackle this is to make it seem like the decision is mutual,” Jenni explains. “Saying, 'it’s not you, it’s me,' is a cliché that won’t wash. You need to be honest, but not too blunt." A good way to start is to massage his ego. “Focus on his good qualities, then break it to him gently.” Jenni says. “You could say, the relationship’s gone as far as it can”. After you’ve broken the news, it’s best to leave him alone to lick his wounds. “But make sure the break-up happens face-to-face,” warns Jenni. “The only time it’s acceptable to split up over the phone is with a long distance relationship."

What a break-up does to your body

It's over, but the symptoms have just begun…

When your heart is broken, you can end up wearing the pain on your face, says naturopath and skin specialist Ananda Mahony. “The additional stress can cause skin inflammation, worsening breakouts, sensitivity and blotchiness.

How to help yourself:
“If skin is inflamed, use serums containing vitamin C, rosehip and chamomile. If it’s dehydrated, use a richer cream and if it’s congested, run a bath, exfoliate, put on a mask and treat yourself to a pampering afternoon,” advises Mahony.

Dark circles:
If you’re doing a lot of crying, hide the evidence by placing two chilled green tea bags on your eyes. “It will get the circulation going again and reduce puffiness,” says Mahony.

When upset, women tend to either lose their appetite or comfort eat, says consulting psychologist and nutritionist Selina Byrne. The latter crave foods high in sugar or fat. “So-called ‘comfort foods’ bring discomfort [as] they lead to weight gain, which can make you feel worse,” says Byrne. Comparatively, people who lose their appetite often lose weight and are prone to mood issues.

How to help yourself:
If you’ve lost your appetite, “Eat small amounts so you don’t go into starvation mode, [increasing] your stress hormones,” says Byrne.

Break-up PMS:
Be aware of what is happening with your menstrual cycle, says Byrne, as PMS can be worse after a break-up. Note the days prior to your period in your diary so you can say, “OK, I’m premenstrual so everything seems worse, but it will get better in a few days.”

Digestive system:
“Anything that affects our central nervous system will affect the gut nervous system,” says Byrne. When you are distressed, it is common to feel like you’re going to throw up or experience IBS-type symptoms, like stomach pain and bloating, she adds.

How to help yourself:
Stay away from foods that trigger digestive problems like wheat, flour, sugar and fatty foods. Avoid alcohol, but if you must have a drink try vodka and soda instead of wine. “Wine can be a depressant, whereas vodka doesn’t have the same emotional effect,” says Byrne.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Sex Detective Is In!

You can glean a ton about a guy's libido and reproductive health just by eyeballing him. Harry Fisch, MD, author of Size Matters, reveals how to read the clues.

A guy may talk a big game and wear jeans that are tighter than Adam Levine's, but that doesn't mean he has what it takes to keep up with you in the sack...or get you knocked up when you're ready. The real signs of a highly sexual male are a lot more subtle and surprising. According to urologist Harry Fisch, the following six traits and behaviors indicate that a man is truly made for action.

He's Trim Around the Middle

You've no doubt heard that a dude with a gut is more likely to keel over from a heart attack later in life, but it's also a bad sign in the sexual realm. Testosterone is broken down more quickly in belly fat. So that big stomach? It's literally sucking him dry of the stuff.

"Testosterone is the gas that drives the car," Dr. Fisch says. "If it's low, he's going to be low on gas. He'll be tired, he's not going to be able to exercise very much, he's less likely to be in the mood, and his fertility will be lower because a guy needs a certain level of testosterone to produce sperm."

Waist size is especially a concern if your guy is over 30, when metabolism slows and testosterone levels decrease by about 1 percent each year.

He's Got Guns

If a great sex life is high on your list of priorities, find a guy who's trim and jacked. "Someone who regularly works out and lifts weights is likely to have a higher libido," says Dr. Fisch. That's because the body needs testosterone to build muscle mass, so if he has Mario Lopez-like biceps, he usually has more of the hormone. You can't say the same for men who are "skinny fat" — you know, the tall, thin guy who has a body like a noodle. "If he's too scrawny, he's not going to have a lot of testosterone or a strong sex drive," Dr. Fisch says. "Unfortunately, working out can only boost a guy's testosterone levels to a point, and some men will never build big muscles because they don't have high enough levels."

He Parties Smart

Smoking and heavy drinking have the same effect on a guy's mojo as a Rosie O'Donnell striptease. "Smoking constricts blood vessels, which means there's less blood flowing to his penis," Dr. Fisch says. This may cause him to have problems getting — and maintaining — an erection. Downing more than three drinks also can leave him limp because alcohol is a central-nervous-system depressant, which once again, limits blood flow to his penis. So a guy who knocks back lots of cocktails? He's probably not going to be the life of the party in bed.

His Testicles Are in Top Shape

You can learn even more about a guy's long-term sexual potential once his pants are off. First, check out his testicles: Each should be the size of a walnut, says Dr. Fisch, and they should be nearly equal, though small differences are normal. If one is considerably smaller — say, the size of a cherry — then that's a fertility red flag. Around 95 percent of a testicle is made up of sperm-producing cells, and 5 percent is made up of testosterone-producing cells. A smaller testicle makes for a smaller sperm factory.

While you're feeling around down there, note how heated his boys get. "If his testicles run hot, it could be due to a group of pronounced veins in the scrotum, called a varicocele," says Dr. Fisch. "These veins are filled with warm blood, and the extra heat reduces sperm count." A varicocele can be flat or raised and can look similar to a group of varicose veins in the legs. To find out for sure if he has one, cup his balls and firmly — but gently — run your thumb along the scrotal skin, being careful to check for raised portions or lumps (which may feel like coiled string).

He Has Stellar Semen

You can glean a lot from the volume, clarity, and taste of a man's semen. A guy's ejaculate should be about half a teaspoon. If he's producing less, it could mean he's been ejaculating a lot from sex or masturbation or that he has an infection or blockage of the ejaculatory ducts, Dr. Fisch says.

Semen is mostly fluid, but about 1 percent of it is sperm, which is what gives it a cloudy appearance. If you notice a man's ejaculate has a watery consistency instead of a creamy one, he likely has a low sperm count and he may have difficulty fathering kids. As for taste, "a guy's semen is a mixture of fluid that contains sugar — fructose — from the seminal vesicles and a salty taste from the prostate," Dr. Fisch says. If a man is having sex or masturbating frequently, as in every day or several times a day, he's going to deplete the fructose-containing fluid, so his semen will taste saltier. If he hasn't ejaculated in a while, it's going to be sweeter.

He Takes Just Long Enough

You don't need a PhD to know that a guy who comes too fast can put a damper on your sex life (anything less than 2 minutes is considered premature ejaculation). But a man who takes forever to peak despite being hard also may be cause for concern. For one, he may be giving himself a hand too often. "Some men masturbate so much that they know their trigger points and it becomes more difficult for them to come inside a woman," Dr. Fisch says. It could also indicate that he's on an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication, which can cause prolonged ejaculation.

Biggest Guy Sex Myths

We felt compelled to clear up some misconceptions.

Despite common belief, the size of a man's hands and feet has nothing to do with the size of his penis.

If a guy is big all around — say, he's a 6-foot-4 football player — that doesn't mean he's going to have a humdinger of a hummer. And a small guy could be very well hung.

A veiny penis does not indicate that a guy has a problem. In fact, it's totally normal.
Hairiness has zero correlation with virility. Men with hairy chests are genetically predisposed to it — it has nothing to do with testosterone. Similarly, if a guy is balding, it's not a sign that his libido will be lacking. In some cases, it actually may suggest that he has more testosterone.

Not every man masturbates regularly. About 5 percent of the male population doesn't do it.

First-Time-Sex Bloopers

Remember that steamy-yet-romantic scene in Titanic when Rose and Jack get it on in the backseat of a car? These first-time stories are nothing like that.

All Pain and No Gain

"My first time was definitely awkward. The guy I was with kept saying stuff like 'How's that for you, you dirty girl?' and 'Tell me how much you want me.' He also dragged me into about 30 different positions. I felt like I was doing Pilates! When we were finished, I went to hug him but accidentally swung my hand out too fast and ended up whacking him really hard on the penis. I was embarrassed, and he was in pain. At least I can laugh about it now." —Emily, 21

Overly Gushy Guy

"My boyfriend and I finally decided to do it after having multiple talks about making sure the first time would be special. Afterward, I mused 'I can't believe I'm not a virgin anymore,' and he freaked out! Turns out, he thought we had been talking about having our first time together. He kept asking 'Did I hurt you?' and 'Are you okay?' which got to be way too much after a while. He ended up being the emotional one, not me!" —Jessi, 24

The Devil Made Me Do It

"I was raised by a very strict father, who doesn't believe in premarital sex. Being the rebellious teenager that I was, I ended up losing my virginity with a guy friend...during a church picnic. We did it on the gross floor of the girls' bathroom while everyone was in the gymnasium for a service. And believe me, it wasn't a celestial experience." —Halle, 32

He's Not So Handy

"My first boyfriend and I were both virgins. He was trying to use his finger down there and accidentally stuck it in the wrong hole. It lasted all of two seconds, but I lost it. I died laughing, and he was completely mortified. In fact, just remembering it right now has me cracking up." —Ashley, 25

Oh, We Started?

"I held out until after college to lose my virginity, and it was definitely not the orgasmic event I was hoping for. My less-than-endowed boyfriend and I decided we'd do the deed one night, and during a heavy petting session, I told him I was ready. His response? 'I'm already in you.' Oops!" —Chelsea, 27

One Hell of a Mating Call

"When my guy and I decided to get intimate, we had roses, candles — the works. He didn't utter a peep during the act, and I thought maybe he wasn't into it. Finally, he let out this crazy noise that sounded like 'gaaah-guh-guh-guh!' It was his orgasm! I laughed so hard, I couldn't finish." —Tracy, 19

5 Annoying Things Guys Do on Facebook

Recently, our buddies over at listed the Crazy Things Women Do on Facebook. They made some valid points — okay, okay, we can be a little passive-aggressive with our status updates — but some men are guilty of bad FB behavior too. Here, five habits that leave us frowning at the computer screen.

1. They Hide Their Relationship Status
The beauty of Facebook is that we can instantly find out if a guy is available or off-limits. No 30-minute talk in a bar, trying to suss out if he has a girlfriend waiting for him at home. But if that info is kept a secret, we’re forced to look through and analyze his photos and wall posts to figure it out — which makes us feel like stalkers. Guys: If you’re single, do us both a favor and make that info public knowledge. And if you’re part of a twosome, own up to it. Especially when we’re one of the two.

2. They Block Their Photos
We can understand a guy wanting to keep certain people from viewing his pictures. But seeing as how we’re not his mom, boss, or pastor, it bugs us when we can’t see a dude’s photos. Here’s the thing: We always imagine the worst. So when we’re kept in the dark and can’t click through a guy’s albums, we imagine he’s blowing lines, hooking up with two girls at once, or running around naked at a party. Unfair, but true. He’s not saving his reputation by blocking his photos. In fact, not being able to click on them makes us think a little less of him.

3. They Ask Us Front of All Our Friends
Next time a guy gets tempted to leave us a wall post that reads, “Let me know if you want to hang out sometime,” he should imagine standing up in front of a room full of our family, friends, ex-boyfriends, and coworkers and then asking us out. Because that’s essentially what he’s doing. We don’t want all 889 of our friends to be a part of the courting. Oh and P.S., we’d appreciate a little more effort. You know, maybe an old-fashioned e-mail or text like we see in those historic romantic comedies.

4. They Detag Themselves in Our Photos
This is the online equivalent of a guy pretending he’s just asking for directions when his friends catch him talking to us. There is something strangely offensive about scrolling through your recently uploaded albums and discovering that a guy you tagged has detagged himself. If a photo of the BBQ he ate last Saturday is profile-worthy, we can’t help but wonder why the nice shots with us get shunned.

5. They Let Their Douchebaginess Show
What is it about Facebook that makes even cool, down-to-earth guys post quotes like “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog,” write status updates that read, “Matt is giving out free mammograms,” and upload shirtless photos of themselves with wannabe-model gazes that they obviously took in the bathroom mirror? Maybe they think it's funny or impressive, but the behavior only makes us roll our eyes and want to start a Website or Facebook group called “Hot Chicks Without Douchebags.”

Friday, August 14, 2009

Do Single Women Really Prefer Attached Men?

According to a recent study, women seem to prefer guys who are attached. When researchers showed a picture to female participants, 59% said they would go after him after they heard he was single. But, when the same photo was shown to a different group with the explanation he was attached, 90% of the women would go for him.

To me, that seems shocking. I’ve never gone after anyone who’s attached. In fact, when I hear a guy is dating or married, I feel like my attraction towards him tones down a little. I’m much more interested in pursuing someone who’s single. But, obviously, I’m in a lonely 10%.

Which makes me so much more nervous about other women now! I’ve never been the jealous type, and I’ve always dated guys who have a wide circle of male and female friends. I don’t have a problem with a boyfriend hanging out with a girl who’s his friend—and I’ve never understood when my female friends get nervous when their guy friends suddenly reconnect to old flames on Facebook, when they grab an afterwork drink with a coed group of colleagues, when they find themselves hanging out with a group of bachelorette party girls on a boy’s night out. But now, I wonder—should I be paranoid? What do you think?