His public persona shattered, Jian Ghomeshi’s overweening narcissism has become the subject of public scorn. His reported violence against women, whether inside or outside sexual interplay, has been rightly denounced. Yet making this scandal all about Ghomeshi, we risk ignoring the broader sources of male narcissistic rage towards females. We are dealing here with far more than the pathological quirks of an apparently disturbed and charismatic individual.
We live in a society steeped in male narcissism, one in which aggression towards women is deeply entrenched in the collective male psyche. Nor is male sexual predation confined to a few “sick” individuals: that we see it portrayed, relentlessly and voyeuristically, in movies, TV shows, and advertising is beyond obvious, except for those mired in denial.
Acknowledging such realities is not “a tremendous slur against men,” as one denial-mired national columnist suggested recently; it is not to label men as “pigs.” It is simply to recognize that Ghomeshi’s reported behaviours arise from a misogynistic culture that degrades and confuses people of all genders. Few men enact extreme hostility, but few are those who do not harbour anti-feminine aggression somewhere in their psyche.
In other countries, media analysis is the norm; in Canada, for some reason, it’s not. Jesse Brown—a veteran journalist who has reported for Maclean’s, the CBC and Toronto Life—tried to fill this gap the old-fashioned way, pitching media criticism to various news organizations. When that didn’t work, he started doing it himself. Last year, he launched Canadaland, a podcast and blog, and began uncovering troubling stories from within Canada’s news organizations. He has called out Peter Mansbridge for taking money from an oil sands lobby group, and he probed the Globe and Mail’s questionable endorsement of Tim Hudak. On Sunday, a story he had been working on for months made headlines worldwide when the Toronto Star, in collaboration with Brown, published part of what he says is an ongoing investigation into Jian Ghomeshi’s alleged history of sexual violence. On Wednesday, a second article related stories from eight different women who all claim to have had violent encounters with the radio host. Shortly after the first Star story was published, we met up with Brown to talk about the tricky process of reporting on the CBC’s golden boy, the timidity of the Canadian press and what it’s like being a crowdfunded journalist.
The famous psychotherapist, Dr. Albert Ellis, helped launch America's sexual revolution. He is well known for stating his views on love and sex in an earthy tone. For women he offers this advice: "She’d better let her partner know, in no uncertain terms, what she really wants in bed and what he can do to help her get what she wants.” (Ellis, The Sensuous Person: Critique and Corrections pp. 15-16.)
Here is a sample of Ellis' ideas that apply to having an extraordinary love-sex life:
1. The sexual revolution that started in the 1960s encouraged people to choose what they sexually wanted to do, and what they did not want to do. This invigorated communications among couples about being loving as well as sexual.
2. Sexual flexibility (choosing among positive alternatives and acting with openness to experience) is consistent with good mental health. Although this is less likely today, some still suffer from rigid, puritanical, sex ideas, such as sex is wrong and wicked. This sex is sordid view places artificial restrictions on sexual enjoyment and can lead to sexual guilt.
Sexual and verbal intercourse--intercourse being a fancy word for connecting--are two of the main ways that two people experience being one couple in a long-lasting and healthy relationship. Shared words and shared sexual feelings both can provide a glue that bonds two into one. At the same, important factors during these bonding activities determine whether sex and talking together will loosen or strengthen the bonds.
Symmetry makes for more satisfying intercourse for both partners.
When people talk together, equal airtime creates a relationship in which both people count. Same with the symmetrical pleasuring of sexual activity; equal attention to both partners' satisfaction conveys that both partners care about each other.
There are few phrases more loaded than "I love you." New research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology examines who says it first–and how it's received. —Andrea Bartz
The vast majority of study subjects believed that women normally say "I love you" first, near the two month mark. Surprise: In more than 62 percent of relationships, the man said it first.
All of us get caught up in the grind of worrying about ourselves, worrying about our jobs, worrying about our money, worrying about our kids, and so forth. With all this attention focused on our own lives and affairs, it’s easy to forget that other people are suffering. Unfortunately, it’s probably easiest to forget that many people encamped in long-term care facilities are inconvenienced a lot more than we are. Without a doubt, many people who live in nursing homes are treated like chattel. They are deprived of some basic joys of being human—most notably sex.
I was shocked and saddened to read a short article authored by Rebecca Clay and published with the American Psychological Association titled “Sex in long-term care.” From this article, I learned that older residents aren’t allowed to have sex—and even ridiculed or chastised for asking--by staff. Such staff are particularly insensitive to the needs of LGBT residents who sometimes pretend to be siblings in order to remain in close contact with a lover!
A spouse unexpectedly walks into a room where her partner’s email-in-progress is lit up on the screen. In a blink, a work email replaces the previous one. Why the abrupt switch? What is being hidden? The internet is making it possible for many to find long lost loves, relationships discarded in the past that nevertheless hold elements of remembered magic. Sometimes these email exchanges are workplace relationships or casual acquaintances that have become something more.
Initially, for former lovers, the messages back and forth tend to be updates about what has transpired in the intervening years. For workplace buddies and acquaintances, the messages amount to learning more about each other. Most of the time this is as far as it goes, but in some instances the email exchanges grow in frequency and intensity. The exchanges become more personal, turning toward intimate subjects such as what is missing from each person’s marriage, which longings have gone unanswered and which hopes unfulfilled. Since there are no longstanding relationships without compromises and disappointments, this kind of discussion can evolve naturally enough. Both people feel deeply seen. This other person gets it. Without the messiness of day to day life, the exchanges in this virtual relationship can gradually evolve into a special and private treat. This is when the messages start to feel like something that should be kept hidden.
Women gather around a dinner table to have a free-ranging, uncensored discussion about life, including sex and partnering and marriage. The organizer is a Susan Walsh, a Wharton MBA who stays home to raise her two kids. Sometimes the women are high school students, other times college students.
It sounds intriguing, doesn't it? I like the idea of conversations across generations, especially in comfortable informal settings. The description I just gave you came from Kate Bolick's wildly popular story in the Atlantic magazine, "All the single ladies." Susan Walsh started the Hooking Up Smart blog to continue the conversations with the high school students who graduated and went off to college.
I don't read that blog, but I do have a Google Alert for my name, and so I got a heads-up when I was mentioned in a post there a few days ago. It was a day when I was inundated with other emails and appointments and such, so I just skimmed the post at the time. I noticed this last line:
"The Single by Choice movement is political, not personal."
In the Atlantic this month, Shawnee Barton wrote a detailed account of how she and her husband arrived at a decision about whether to circumcise her newborn son. Barton and her spouse pored over studies tracking penile cancer and urinary tract infection rates in cut and uncut men. They surveyed friends about their experiences putting their kids’ genitals under the knife. And, of course, they carefully weighed their son’s chances of receiving oral sex as an adult. One friend lobbied for the Barton family to lop off the boy’s foreskin because “it’s hard enough for a guy to get blowjobs as it is.” A friend-of-the-family OB-GYN concurred: “Don’t you want him to get blow jobs some day?”
And here I thought teens and young adults were handing out blow jobs like candy. Apparently, some parents remain concerned that their son's penis won’t be granted any mouth access unless they start planning for their future sex lives at birth. But is it really that hard for an uncircumcised man to receive oral sex?
There’s no great mystery in understanding why couples become less sexually active as their relationship matures: As passionate love mellows into a relationship characterized by intimacy and companionship, long-term couples will almost certainly have sex less frequently. The demands of daily life and the reality of taking care of a household mean that many couples devote less time exclusively to their physical relationship.
But it's an issue worth addressing: We may prefer not to think about our parents or grandparents having sex, but plenty of older couples maintain physical intimacy in their later years. There are real benefits in continuing sexual activity throughout life, as shown by researchers studying sexual life expectancy. If for no other reason than to support your long-term mental and physical well-being, figuring out the formula for staying sexually active with your long-term partner is a good idea.
There’s nothing like the joy of a new relationship, when the road ahead seems sunny and bright. Your world becomes centered around this object of your latest passion, and you throw caution to the wind as you start to make serious plans. As Henry Alford wrote in the New York Times, it’s all too easy to become “heedlessly romantic,” ignoring the rules of etiquette, if not common sense, and get too close too fast. Sure, there are times when these passionate affairs become the basis for a long and beautiful relationship. However, when they come to a disastrous conclusion, we suffer inner torments at best, and outer humiliation at worst (think the Winona Forever tattoo on Johnny Depp's arm). Alford cautions his readers to avoid the fast lane in the romance highway. For that matter, if you want any relationship to last, there’s good evidence that taking it slow is the best way to ensure that the relationship will not only survive but maintain its quality.
Alford’s article made me wonder whether the tendency to get into what I would call “bad, mad” relationships varies by an individual’s personality. Some people seem able to make good relationship decisions fairly consistently, whereas others just go from one romantic hot mess to another. The most likely candidate among many possible personal qualities for this discrepancy is what social psychologists call adult attachment style. Based on research conducted a number of decades ago on babies and children, psychologists who study close relationships developed a scheme for classifying the way that adults relate to their intimate partners. The resulting body of literature is now the cornerstone for much of our understanding of adult relationships.
Having someone toxic in your life is never a good thing. It affects nearly every aspect of your being, in all of the wrong ways, and seeps its way into any possible situation. It causes stress and anxiety, and for what? Why is putting up with these kinds of people something we have all been guilty of at one point or another?
You may think this person is good for you, but his or her behavior begs you to question what you are putting yourself through.
This person’s behavior towards you and the effect it has on your actual relationship is detrimental to your mental health and will only get worse the longer you keep this type of person around. You can’t live a full and happy life by continuing to tolerate bullsh*t.
Because these people tend to be those closest to you, it’s not always easy to spot them as you are most likely making excuses for their behavior.