Advice from a Relationship Guru
You probably know Dr. Laura Berman from her many appearances on Oprah or the Today Show. She's the sex educator and therapist who cuts through the psycho-babble with her down to earth approach to sex and relationship issues. An assistant clinical professor of psychiatry and obstetrics/gynecologyat the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, Dr. Berman isalso thehost of Oprah Radio's"Better in Bed," that airson SIRIUS XM Radio. Here, she offers some tips on how to keep your relationship strong and healthy.
- Have Sex: Never go more than two weeks without having sex. Having sex regularly keeps you more emotionally in tune, more connected, you get angry less easily, and you fight less often. It's also great for your immune system and your health.
- Take Time: One key to keeping your relationship strong is making sure you take time to create your own life, what psychologists call "individuation." Make sure that you have your own friends, your own hobbies, and your own life. While it's very important to spend time with your partner, you also need to find time for yourself.
- Treat compulsions: Soft addictions (such as the incessant use of Blackberries, fixation with video games, or excessive shopping) get in the way of intimacy between partners. National research shows that partners who spend more than an hour every evening tending to their soft addictions have significantly less sex than those who don't.
- Expect Differences: When men and women experience stress, they respond to sex differently. Men fall into a "fight flight" response, which increases their adrenaline and makes them want to have sex to let off steam and feel more powerful. Woman fall into a "tend and befriend" response, which lowers their testosterone levels (the hormone of desire) causing them a lowering of libido. If you're aware of this difference, you can be more sensitive to your partners' needs.