Archive for January, 2012

29 January 2012

Limits, avoidance & secret

We all have our share of frustrations every day. How we deal with it is very personal. Sometimes we learn by “trial and error,” we talk to someone, we get some advice, other times we “sleep on it” in order to avoid making mistakes, we can go out partying to forget our worries for a short while. We adopt a variety of strategies to try to be okay despite the events that life brings us. Human interaction can bring much pleasure and satisfaction but it can also be a major source of conflicts. For various reasons, when life is not going well, people adopt ways of dealing with it that are not always positive in the long run. I am not talking about behaviors that are used from time to time, but mechanisms that are used consistently, every time we find ourselves in a frustrating, unpleasant or uncomfortable situation.

Avoidance
Rare are those who have never been in a situation where all you want is to forget what happened. The action taken then was more to avoid the unpleasant feeling than solving the problem so one went for: shopping, partying, watching TV, spending hours in front of the computer, over-eating, etc.  That’s not bad in itself, what could become a problem is when the avoidance strategies would be the main way the person would act upon displeasure.

For example: I fight with my wife *, I let myself be overwhelmed by her demands, I don’t argue,  I am frustrated but I do not say anything…. I stay quiet, but in my mind, I know that later on I could either: 1. Go for a ride and search for a sex worker. 2. Connect to the Net and masturbate for hours, etc. 3. Grumble all week making it clear (telepathically) that I am frustrated to my partner by having an attitude.

In sex therapy, when you look at the events prior to episodes of hypersexuality, you can often find stressful situations, unpleasant circumstances, conflicts with the partner, etc. Another thing that we can observe when one analyses further the previous events is the lack of assertiveness of the individual when dealing with the spouse.  Sometimes,  the person has adopted a secret sexuality as a mean to cope with unpleasant feelings.
At first, the secret activity helps maintain a certain psychological balance. Even if the situation is not satisfying, one knows he can always go back to that secret activity. Somehow along the way, all the secret surrounding the illegal activity may become a perverse incentive in itself reinforcing the benefits of the secret activity and  the lack of assertiveness in the communication skills.

Not being able to set your limits in a relationship can be frustrating. In the present situation, the lack of assertiveness causes a lot of issues that could be avoid. Issues related to the lack of assertiveness are legion, but the benefits associated with assertiveness and good communication allow both partners to grow and evolve within the relationship.
Learning to be assertive and to set limits can be scary in the beginning: «If I say who I am, if I say no, if I do not agree, maybe the other will reject me? » Maybe yes, maybe no, but you have to try and give yourself a chance to grow. In the area of romantic relationships, bad habits can appear very quickly in the beginning of the relationship. Beware of extremes. As they say, we must learn to “Be neither an hedgehog nor a doormat.” (its cuter in french, sorry)

Some tips

• Choose an appropriate time together to address a sensitive topic;
• Say what one has to say  and avoid opening up on too many thorny issues at the same time;
• Avoid insults (you are stupid, you always-you never,  lazy, etc.).
• Do not to speak for too long before you let the other one talk;
• Make a step towards each other, think better for the 2 of you, not the best for only you.

If you want to learn more about communication skills, you could check under «assertiveness»  on the web.
Have a good week and  feel free to leave me a comment or to give me some suggestions.
Mériza

* The term wife is use here but the dynamic can be present with any other significant relationship: parents, family, friends, etc.

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22 January 2012

Nymphomania or female hypersexuality Part 2

This is Part 2 of an article about hypersexual women. These days, we hear more and more about women with hypersexual disorders. This is a reminder  to be careful in the assessment and not to confuse women who have a strong sex drive from those who suffer from hypersexual disorder. This article give some information on these differences. Sexual desire is fragile and women with strong sexual desire must remain free from random bias.

Kaplan multimodal approach(1)  (1995)
Kaplan described hypersexuality as «dysfunction or a lack of control over the sexual  motivation ». The hypersexual women have sex frequently and they often have several orgasms a day. They have fantasies, sexual thoughts to the point where they can interfere with their functioning at work or in their relationships. They meet with a wide range of stimuli.  This sexual urge  can be felt at any time, even in the absence of a partner or  external stimulus.
People with a sexual hyperactivity disorder consider sex as extremely pleasant and sexual activity provides in itself a betterment of the mood. The presence of their sexual desire is so strong that they will seek to satisfy it. Due to their inability to control their desire and their imperative need, they will find the gratification of their hyper desire without any consideration to their work, family or health. When trying to stop their behavior, they become tense, anxious, and dysphoric.  Hypersexual  can be demanding to their partner which can become, in the long run, a problem in the couple.

The continuum of sexual desire by Kaplan provides an idea of the difference between a hyperactive sexual desire and a high-normal sexual desire.
High-normal sexual desires: sexual needs and sexual fantasies are intense and spontaneous. They manifest a proactive sexual behavior by initiating sexual intercourse. The frequency of sexual intercourse is high.
Hyperactive sexual desire: sexual needs are intense and spontaneous. Fantasies and  sexual behavior is compulsive. There is a high frequency of sexual activity, the impulses sex are inadequate and people live in distress.

The control of sexual motivation

Men and women who have no sexual conflict handle instinctively psychosexual stimuli to prepare for an erotic encounter. A person tends to accentuate the positive aspects of the partner, to idealize him or her when it’s the right person, the right place and at the right time. They put aside thoughts that tends to diminish or kill sexual desire. The lover is anticipating the erotic pleasures that will follow creating a sexual script that enhance and maintain the sexual desire.
On the opposite side, people who struggle with hyposexual disorder would tend to put the emphasis on the negatives aspects of an erotic encounter. Unless there is a clinical disorder, people with a  lack of sexual desire  tend to only see the negative aspects in the other which contributes to prevent an exciting and inviting vision of the partner. The erotic encounter is then perceived as a disadvantage, a threat to the well-being. This psychosomatic vision shows that the mechanisms of sexual desire are sensitive both to biological factors and  psychological stressors.

People who have high sexual desires have a proactive attitude to sexual pleasure. They have sexual activities similar to the hypersexuals in terms of frequency, amount of difficulty to concentrate when the desire is rising  but also in terms of frustration when they cannot find  an outlet to their desire. However, they are able to make the difference when sexual activity is inappropriate or would be to their disadvantage.  She does not live distress to her condition and her spouse neither. The intense sexual life they have tends to be a source of enrichment for their relationship and to their love life.

Sexual addiction according to Carnes (2) (2001)

Sexual addiction is defined as any sexually-related, compulsive behavior that interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones, and one’s work environment.

Sexual addiction has also been called hypersexuality, sexual dependency and sexual compulsivity. By any name, it is a compulsive behavior that completely dominates the addict’s life. Sexual addicts make sex a priority over family, friends, and work. Sex becomes the governing principle of an addict’s life. They are willing to sacrifice what they cherish most in order to preserve and continue their unhealthy behavior.

No single behavior pattern defines sexual addiction. These behaviors can take control of addicts’ lives and become unmanageable.  Common behaviors include, but are not limited to compulsive masturbation, compulsive heterosexual and homosexual relationships, pornography, prostitution, exhibitionism, voyeurism, indecent phone calls, and anonymous sexual encounters. Even the healthiest forms of human sexual expression can turn into self-defeating behaviors.

Carnes reminds us to be careful in the assessment by not mistakenly confuse sexual addiction with hypersexual episodes. Indeed, periods of change can cause a temporary hypersexual episode like: being newly single; the beginning of adulthood, compulsive masturbation in adolescence, periods of intense stress, etc. Some people will engage in compulsive sexual activities during a short period in their life and life their sex life in a more balance way afterwards.

With all the pleasurable sensations involved in sexuality, we can say that it  has an impact on the mood. Some masturbates when they are stressed out, others to help fall asleep, to release tensions, because one wants to be sexual , etc.  Sexual addiction is a way the person uses to escape unpleasant moods, affects or situations.  After some time, sexuality betrays the person, where she once had the appeasement, pleasure and comfort, it leaves shame and guilt. Pain becomes stronger than the expected relief. The addict then consider themselves harshly. They recognize the problem, but they believe that if someone knew who they really were, they would be quickly rejected and abandoned. The fear is legitimate.  To disclose the problem would imply to reveal previous situations they’ve lied about. When the secret identity becomes more important than the public identity, family, friends, colleagues know a false identity. To reveal it can mean losses and social judgment. For the hypersexual, the  relationship is with sex and not with the person and the secret serves as a strong stimulant.

Where are the hypersexual women ?

Ferree (3) (2001) noted that female sexual addiction is not recognized because of several myths about women like:
(a)  Generally, women are not dependent on sex, they lack sexual desire.
(b) Women are emotional or romantic, not sex addict.
This distorted view (romantic and idealized) of women would blind several clinicians to consider the possibility of sexual addiction among female consultants and not to address the issue. However, when women are clinically sex addict, judgments are strict. To deny the reality of hypersexual women is a sexist attitude which does not recognize the despair and the need for help for hypersexuals. many years ago, this double standard was identical with the alcoholic woman and/or drug addict wife. The latter was still considered more depraved than the alcoholic man. In equal conditions, women is found to be judge more severely than men. As mentioned in Coleman(4)  (1988)a man will leave his alcoholic wife more often than a woman will leave her alcoholic husband. Schneider and Schneider(5)  (1991) made the same observation in a relationship where the woman is hypersexual.

According to Carnes(6) (2006) during several years, sexual addiction was seen as a phenomenon typical to male behavior. While there was the same man/woman ratio in drug rehabilitation facilities (3 men /1 woman), the latter notes that in recent years, the number of women in therapy  equals men and sometimes exceeds men in therapy. We are far from the finding made by Kaplan(7) (1995) when she mentioned that out of 2336 women evaluated, only 2 women could be classified as sexually addicted. Fortunately, the new version of the DSM-V expected  in 2013 will include this new diagnosis of hypersexuality. If you want to look at it, here it is: Hypersexual disorder.

This is only a small overview of how hypersexuality is describe by some clinicians in the field of sexual addiction. Several authors present characteristics of hypersexuality that are easy to identify but the most  important warning is to be aware of our own bias as clinicians.

Female sexual addiction is a reality and more women start to seek help. After a few years of active sex addiction, many are unable to develop a committed intimate relationship or they are close to loose a long term one because  of  unstopable infidelities or seductive behaviors.

When women seek help, don’t expect them to disclose the situation right away. They will start by testing whether they can speak up or not. They are very sensitive to shame and judgmental remarks.

The clinician who receives hypersexual women should remember that  seduction and sexual behavior are automatic  mechanisms that won’t go away when she passes through the door. If the attraction is too high, if the clinician begins to fantasize about the client, he-she must recognize it and refer the woman to a colleague before it becomes unhealthy to both.

Breaking  codes of ethic, losing neutrality or victimize the hypersexual women by having sex with her are possible situations that one must be aware of. As a counselor,  seek help if the attraction is too high.

1. Kaplan, Helen S. The sexual desire disorders. New York, 1995, p. 332
2. http://www.sexhelp.com/sex-education/what-is-sex-addiction-faqs
3. Carnes, Patrick. Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction (3rd Ed) Hazelden, 2001, 219 p
4. Ferree, Marnie, C. Female and sex addiction: Myths and diagnostic implications. Sexual addiction and compulsivity. 8287-300. 2001
5. Coleman, Eli. Chemical Dependency and Intimacy Dysfunction. Coleman, Eli Ed NY: The Hawthorn Press, 1988, 268p.
6. Schneider, J., & Schneider, B. Women sex addicts and Their Husbands: Problems and recovery issues. American Journal of Preventive Psychiatry & Neurology, 3, 1-5, 1991.
7. Carnes, Patrick. Women and Sex Addiction. Counselor, The Magazine for Addiction Professionals, June 2006, v.7, n.3, pp.34-39.
8. Kaplan, Helen S. The sexual desire disorders. New York, 1995, p. 332
13 January 2012

Nymphomania or female hypersexuality Part 1

On October 21, 2011, an article signed Silvia Galipeau in the french cyber magazine Cyberpresse made me react negatively. Femmes avides de porno (Women eager for porn). It shocked me because I realized that hypersexual women do not exist in the media,  they are  invisible. They don’t exist because a woman cannot be hypersexual, she can only be a whore, a B*tch, a mentally ill person or a victim. Victim of a far away past or victim of whomever you want.  Hypersexual women do not seek help? Who would want to ask for help with that in mind?  According to the article, there ain’t really many hypersexual women. Big news, female sexual addict exist, just open your eyes, push your fantasies out of the way and open your mind and your definition of sexual addiction.  Female sex addiction is not better than men sex addiction. Shame, guilt, self-loathing and temporary relief is female hypersexual dynamics.

If men can express with pride their sexual explorations and conquests, a woman knows early in her life that she better  be discreet if she enjoys it a lot.  This article explains the view society had on  women sex life through different periods of time and the way hypersexuality is explain by a few experts.

Nymphomania:  Part 1

Female hypersexuality or nymphomania is a social phenomenon difficult to identify because of double standards attached to women for centuries. Often defined by the rules and standards of an era or religious dictates, it is still difficult today to recognize a woman who lives a real disorder related to sexual obsessions and compulsions from another one with a high sexual drive.

Part 1 of this article is an overview of the various definitions and explanations of female sexual desire and female sexual addiction through time.  It also presents the definition of female sex addiction according to Albert Ellis.

What is important in any work in sex therapy is to understand the client and to be able to propose a model where they can identify themselves and with whom we can  built a therapeutic plan together. A plan that will respect their values, beliefs and their intelligence to act  towards a solution.
The more someone can identify with a model, the lesser the resistance. Sexual desire is fragile. A clear definition of sex addiction is definitely a must. Professionals need a standard definition of sex addiction to assess this growing phenomenon and to protect the public from personalized definitions.

In the Middle Ages, a woman with exaggerated sexual desire was seen as possessed by the devil. If the exorcisms prove ineffective, they would burn her alive. Described by De Bienville D.T. (1) in 1772,

Nymphomania is a real disease of sex, uterine fury, bringing those who were living in the yoke imposing and glorious of decency and to seek from anyone their insatiable desires. Nymphomania is an exaggeration of female sexual desire, an attitudes leading to seduction and provocation that do not conform to the female role as is generally expected in society.

At the time of Queen Victoria (1819-1901), it is clear that no woman considered normal must have felt no desire and no sexual pleasure. More recently, in 1930, Magnus Hirshfeld(2)  described nymphomania as the result of excessive masturbation

Nymphomania develops on the ground of neurasthenia and serious brain disease and mental illness.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy,  Albert Ellis(3)  (1962)
According to Ellis, the addiction is:

A substance or activity that seems to be necessary to face conflicts or discomfort. In the case of female sexual addiction, it is easy to confuse a woman for whom sex takes a prominent place in its activities. It is in the cause and effect that we can distinguish the two. A woman may have several lovers, correctly select them and be able to control carefully the times when she will live her sexuality. Her sexuality is experienced in a balanced mode, it is a pleasure of life and if she were a man, she would be judged as normal or lucky.

Nymphomania is defined by four characteristics:
1)    Loss of control: The nymphomaniac desires are uncontrollable; she refuses to live according to a rational mode where sexuality is sought and lived in a sensible pattern. When desire takes hold her, she must quickly satisfy them, without regard for the consequences: job loss, loss friendships, broken family ties, etc.
2)    The constant need: An insatiable desire. Repeat the experience of orgasm. Even when it is experienced many times, she remains unsatisfied. The need to repeat the experience when tensions reappear.
3)    The compulsivity: The woman is driven to action or to seek to have relationships in spite of her desire to stop. Even when the compulsion leads to the act, she remains unsatisfied for reasons that remain obscure even to her. There is an absence of choice.
4)    Self-contempt: Because women’s sexuality has long been stigmatized in Western society, the nymphomaniac is judge severely by those around her. As a result, she is judging her conduct harshly.
The nymphomaniac seeks to escape the anxieties generate by her sexual activities not only because they are disturbing or demonstrate a serious emotional problem but because they lead her to feel even more self-contempt. She is caught in a vicious circle in which her conduct deeply affect her and lead her to denigrate  even herself more. These tensions again led her to seek sex. It may result that the judgment  she holds against herself becomes more important than the original sexual disorder.

Because of the double standard that characterize women’s sexuality, a significant number of them can feel troubled to seek sexual activity with a higher frequency then other women around or she might be label as such when her libido is higher than her partners. Being led to believe she is hypersexual when she is not. What characterizes the nymphomaniac is compulsion and self-loathing.

Still according to Ellis(4) (1992), a sexual addiction disorder starts in irrational ideas that are maintained by the people. Thoughts creates emotions which in turn causes the action. In transforming the beliefs that contribute to the addictive act, the person is given the power to move away from its destructive pattern. Once they removed the irrational thoughts, they can work on problems more efficiently.

The client learns to put into perspective the benefits and losses associated with his irrational beliefs and disruptive behaviors and the losses and gains associated with change. REBT promotes long-term autonomy for patients actively involved in their therapy because the gains are transferable to all other areas of life.

Part2 will continue with the definitions of  nymphomania according to Helen Singer Kaplan and finally according to Patrick Carnes.
  1. De Bienville, D.T. La nymphomanie ou traité de fureur utérine. 1772
  2. Gellman, Charles & Gellman, Josette. Les thérapies sexuelles. Les éditions ESF, Paris, 1983, 130 p.
  3. Ellis, Albert. Sagarin Edward, Nymphomania, a study of oversexed women. New-York, 1962.
  4. Ellis, Albert. Harper, R.A. L’approche émotivo-rationnelle. Edition de l’homme, 1992.
11 January 2012

Viagra for young men

To all my new english readers, I am starting to translate all my articles from french to english. As some of you may know or guess, this is a DIY project and my moto is:

it can only get better!

Here’s some information on erectile dysfunction inspired by the reading of an article written by Dominique Forget in the journal L’actualité:  Viagra pour jeunes hommes November 14, 2011.

Viagra for young men

Men suffering from erectile dysfunction can now access a new treatment. Made of the same family of molecules than Viagra: Staxyn. Staxyn is for patients under the age of  55.

Young men age of 18 can have erectile problems, says Dr. Serge Carrier, urologist and professor at McGill University. Some may suffer from stress, others are suffering from blood diseases or suffered radiation treatment”.

“These patients are reluctant to take a pill to get an erection, said the doctor. They consider themselves too young. Staxyn tablets come in a package that looks like a pack of gum. It helps. “

At the age of 40 years, 40% of men suffer from erectile problems. In most cases, these men have neglected their health, they do not exercise or they don’t eat well.  The erectile dysfunction should therefore be seen as an alarm signal. If we do nothing, other problems will follow. “

*****

I agree with Dr. Carrier. Indeed, erectile dysfunction in a man under 40, is worth a visit to the doctor.

If you suffer from erectile dysfunction, don’t panic! You should be aware that certain factors can cause temporary erectile dysfunction:

  • Too much stress at work;
  • Mourning a loss;
  • Financial problems;
  • Performance anxiety during sex with  a new partner happens to many men;
  • etc.

There are 3 systems working together to make you have a glorious erection:

  1. Vascular system: the blood has to flow easily in your veins,  into your penis to make it hard;
  2.  Muscular system: some muscles when relax allows the blood to fill the penis and the muscles also play a role in the ejection of the sperm.
  3.  Neurological system:  Erection and ejaculation are a neurological reflex.

As a sex therapist, I may have to refer the client to the doctor for a medical checkup before I can assess the situation. Its not always ”in your mind” or psychological. It can also be physical. With all the anxiety caused by an erection failure sometimes the effect will last a long time. You did not achieve an erection once and then you become anxious that you may not achieve an erection once again.  It can become a never ending vicious cycle. Anxiety and erection are not 2 words that goes well together.  If you met the doctor and your physical condition is Ok  but still, it’s not working, seek help with a professional sexologist.

For those who do not know, November is the month for the prevention of prostate cancer. The only way to cure a prostate cancer is prevention. The Movember website contains a wealth of information about men’s health. You can donate online and there is a list of fundraising activities you can participate.

5 January 2012

Who is looking for love online? part 3

This is the 3rd and final part of the  Online Dating series. The 1st was about the phenomenon of online dating. The 2nd, the way people present themselves and the 3rd and last part is about  online dating Etiquette and basic safety tips.

* Etiquette*Golden Rules *Good manners*

With a little research I quickly found a wide range of tips and ways of doing online dating. Depending on your personality, you will be comfortable with some advice and not with others. Take what you need and drop the rest.

Here is a collection of good advice that I found adorned with small extra of my own. Enjoy!

A) Monsieur, when you approach a woman on the web, avoid at all costs to make a too simplistic introductions like: “Want to chat?” Or “You’re beautiful!” period!  When we do not know someone, this is not enough  to start a conversation. If you are brave enough to approach women, read her presentation, customize your first move, go with «You’re sailing?», «I read on your presentation that …» followed by an anecdote and an invitation to come see your page and come back to say hello if she likes it.  Remember that women receive a lot of messages on the web, you must stand out from the crowd  by making it nice and easy for her to chat with you.

One situation that unfortunately happens often: A sends a message to B but B is not interested, 2 options are possible:

1. You are not interested then why write and give a negative answer? No response = A response

2. You are not interested but you want to answer. No need to tell a long story or to be rude. A thank you but: you live too far; I have started to correspond with someone;  I prefer men of my age, etc. is acceptable.

How to deal with a refusal?

You can not please everyone. A No for an answer is a refusal  not a rejection of who you are. To write back a rude message is not good for your image and it’s not very mature either. Keep your chin up, a light heart and keep looking.

In the virtual world, it’s ok to chat with more than one person at a time. To chat and exchange emails on the Internet does not oblige you of anything. Sometimes you can be chatting a few times with someone and suddenly it stops. When everything has remained virtual,  you should not be offended if all of a sudden its over. But if you exit the virtual world and meet the person once or twice and it does not click, the least courtesy is to send a short message stating that after these encounters, you realize that your goals are too different and you prefer to stop there, good luck in your search, etc.. If you’ve met more than three times, it might be smarter and nicer to announce your intention to stop dating in person. To end without saying anything after you met is rude, be nice and keep your digital love print clean!

If you meet someone and it does not produce any sparks or the person is not attracting to you, stay calm, do not complain publicly on any forum naming the person’s name! Shouting loudly your disappointment, may push away many attractive partners and  you do not show your beast feature. Unless you have experienced an episode of violence in that meeting, be fare, believe in yourself, keep looking and smile!

You have a rendez-vous?  Great!

Ladies: It is important that you have basic information about the person you’ll meet. Be careful, manage a safe call with  someone you trust and let him-her know about this event: location, time, name of the man you’ll meet,  real name and nickname, email, cell phone number, where he works, in short, as much information as possible. Ask your friend to call you in the middle of the meeting and agree  on a code to say that everything is ok. Call again when the meeting is completed. Be sure to have condoms on you if you happen to want to have sex. Dress comfortable, avoiding perhaps to show too much of your cleavage. You never know, if you are not enjoying yourself too much, it might become awkward to send a double message.

Mister: You were waiting for that moment for awhile so you want to put the odds in your favor. Be punctual, gallant and clean. You have to be at your best. Make sure you look good and smell good. The first impression is important. As I mentioned in my article # 2, people spend an average of 12 hours per week on dating sites, do not take any short cut  now. Remember to bring condoms and if the situation evolve that way,  make sure to use them.

***

So this is the first time you meet?  Please, do not you turn that rendez-vous  into police interrogation, stay cool and  relax. Avoid talking about your ex, politics, your countless material possessions, alimony, your unfortunate adventures  with people you date, etc. Talk less, listen and smile more!

You also have to be careful if you tend to drink faster when you are nervous or stressed, you would not want to do a bad move, say stupid things or become too intrusive. If the chemistry takes you both and you spend the night together, make sure you use condoms . Breathe, smile and be Zen!

***

Congratulations! Yes! that’s the right person and you decide to give it a chance.

What to do with your online profile?

Keeping your online profile active is not  a good idea. If you want to put the odds in your favor and close the door on temptations, you have to do something. You don’t  want to erase it completely? Then make it clear on your profile that you have started dating a wonderful person and you focus on your love project. Discuss with your new partner about that situation and try to reach an agreement that will please you both. The beginnings of a new couple are a very exciting time and we should not hesitate to set limits when necessary. Some people have all sorts of funny ideas like if this was real love we should not have to talk about this or if I state my limit he-she will leave me. What makes a relationship last is not the absence of conflict but the way conflict is handle when it comes up. Communication and relationship are about managing your needs and wants individually and together. Make sure that both of you are willing to do a lot to make this relationship work.

Online dating is quite special. It is easy, you show beautiful pictures of yourself, write a good presentation and you have lots of messages. It can be even easier, you show some sexy pictures of yourself and instantly,you can be very busy. All this attention can be quite addictive. Some people are addict to sex but you can become addicted to romance as well. If you’ve been online for many years and you seem to go nowhere, never meet the right person, always needing to feed the adrenaline, perhaps professional help could be appropriate. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

There is so much to say about online dating but I’ll save some for later. Feel free to ask questions, to write  a comment or make suggestions.

Mériza

2 January 2012

Who is looking for love online? Part 2

In 1995, the first online dating site has been created. Although the arrival of these sites has been greeted with some skepticism, there are now hundreds of dating sites and they are targeting just about every specific clienteles there is: sports meeting, meetings for outdoor enthusiasts, for gays; professionals , 50 and over, etc. in short, there is something for everyone and for all categories of people.

Such a gathering of people do not go unnoticed for researchers and anthropologists. Apart from the Who? When? How? Where? With Who?  Researchers try to understand what motivates people and how far their presentation reflects the truth. If you previously did not consider online dating as the real thing, the encounters that starts online are now  part of the real life experience and this phenomenon will increase. Between 2007 and 2009, in the US, 21% of straight couples and 61% of same-sex couples have met online. On a larger scale, we say that now, 1/9 couples formed through the Internet.

Cited in The Taipei Times, Pai-Lu Wu from Cheng Shiu University and Wen-Bin Chiou from National Sun Yat-Sen University of Taiwan found that more search results on dating sites, the less they pay attention to the choice of partners. According to Chiou, a large number of prospect can be a double-edged sword.

They described the phenomenon as a “double-edged sword,” meaning that even though the users preferred to have more choices during their search for romantic relationships online, they might not be able to assess every aspect of the candidates because they would experience “cognitive overload.”Although the Internet has become a platform for users to develop intimate relationships, recent research shows that users of dating Web sites do not necessarily benefit when they are presented with a wide selection of possible dates.

A study by Chiou Wen-bin (邱文彬), a professor of education at National Sun Yat-sen University, and Wu Pai-lu (吳百祿), a professor of education at Cheng Shiu University, of 128 Taiwanese teenagers and adults who had experience with online dating showed that the participants tended to make less careful choices if they received more search results on dating Web sites.

According to another study published in 2008 in The Journal of Interactive Marketing, members of dating sites will spend an average of 12 hours  on the sites per week to view files, send requests to contacts, etc.. for less than two hours of meetings in real life. Much more time is used to search for partner versus the assessment of partners encountered. When they encounter one, the person is evaluated superficially at the expense of an evaluation where success of a real a couple would actually be estimated. Also, when the possibilities of contacts is high, love seekers tend to increase their unrealistic expectations. They start looking for  Mr or Ms. Perfect, a partner that only exists in their imagination.

Truth or lie?

According to the systemic approach in sex therapy, we all have a “false self”. A facade that we erected in order to show others a socially acceptabe self. Under some  circumstances, strategically, we will show others  some aspects of who we are and we hide some other ones. Meetings on the Internet is similar and given the fact that online competition is strong, people are looking to stand out positively.

A study  from Leah Lucid in the Wesleyan Journal of Psychology: Representing the Self in Online Dating, the lies are mostly benign and are often done to avoid the constraints of the search engines.

81% of people lie about their size, weight and/or age. The lies are small because people want to meet eventually. In some ways, its sort of an embellishment of the truth. People will also mention an activity or a sport that was practice before or where the person would like to do more or they will name an activity they would like to start. Although many people would like to see people describe their “real self”, they will describe themselves as “self-ideal” as well.

Of course when the lie is too big, its not good. The greatest disappointment comes from false photos, married people who had not mentioned it, people who pretend to be someone of the opposite sex and obvious discrepancies in size, weight or age.

The anonymity of online dating sites also allows individuals with malicious intentions to exploit others.  A certain degree of caution is always advisable. When you are not sure about the intention of a prospect lover, do not keep it secret.  Many people are being ripped off financially. Pay attention when it comes to sending money, giving banking information or paying for a plane ticket or lending money for a ticket. If you are very lonely and you need love, you can be an easy target for bandits.  These people can go very far to trick you. If you are in a strange situation and you are too uncomfortable or shameful to talk to your family or friends(its not a good sign), go seek professionnal guidance.

Online dating is here to stay, some predict  it will become the norm in the future. The next article of this Online dating  Serie will be about the Netiquette of dating online. Come back soon!

Meriza

PS Your comments, questions and suggestions are welcome.

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