Archive for 2010


Martha Mahan’s husband of 39 years is, in her words, a “professional nagger.”

Fred had been nagging Martha for some time to put away the laundry rather than just taking it out of the dryer, folding it and leaving it in piles in the bedroom.

Recently, Mahan started a ritual. She wrapped the clothes in beautiful blue paper, tied it up with string, and placed her husband’s favorite Vienna Sausages in a can on top of the pile.

“To transcend all this nagging, you have to put yourself into a playful, humorous, creative mode,” says Mahan.

Fred still puts the laundry away himself, but he doesn’t seem to mind anymore.

What death and taxes are to life, nagging is to marriage. But it doesn’t have to be the bane of anyone’s existence. If the two of you learn how to laugh at and have fun with nagging, it will only make life sweeter.

One of the secrets of a long, successful marriage is being able to nag — or respond to nagging — playfully and lovingly, according to cognitive therapist Kathleen Burton.

In fact, a wife’s nagging can be good for her husband’s health, says a study from the University of Chicago. According to the study’s lead researcher, sociologist Ross Stolzenberg, men are conditioned in our culture not to think about their health. A wife plays a valuable role in this dynamic, at least on the health front.

Burton says the playful approach works only in a relatively loving and happy relationship. In the case where one nags compulsively or the other refuses to budge, the defenses are so strong for one or both that not even humor and creativity can break them down.

Even healthy relationships demand nagging with discretion. Here’s how to nag like a pro:

Don’t dish it if you can’t take it.
Before you tell your spouse to get out there and exercise, you had better be prepared to throw on your sweats and jump in the action yourself, says Burton.

Nag as a team.
Instead of nagging your spouse about walking the dog, suggest you do it together.

“Would you like some company when you walk the dog?

Confess your own sins.
Chances are you’ve procrastinated on a few occasions. Your nagging should acknowledge this fact: “I know I haven’t gotten to paying the bills as I said I would, but could you clean out the car so at least one of us does what we said?”

Present options.
Sometimes the task at hand is more important to the one doing the nagging than it is to the one being nagged. Acknowledge this by offering alternatives: “Maybe we ought to just break down and buy a doghouse rather than have you build one.”

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Category : Blog

Men make love more intensely at 20, but make love better, however, at 30.

What could be more encouraging than a professional opinion agreeing with Catherine — unless, of course, it’s confirmation that you can expect the same into your 40s, and 50s, and perhaps, into your 60s?

“Passion knows no age,” says psychologist Bernard Apfelbaum, Ph.D. ”People are amazed that when they’re in their 60s, they can get a crush on someone — be in their 60s and feel like they did in high school.”

But does aging affect a man’s sexual performance? We asked Apfelbaum, who’s director of the Berkeley Sex Therapy Clinic in Berkeley, Calif.

“If a man is healthy and doesn’t have any relationship problems, his sexual functioning shouldn’t be affected. This usually doesn’t come into play until a man reaches his 60s. Actually, the differences between men themselves are greater than what happens with age,” he stressed.

“You can look at it as sexuality vs. sensuality,” he added, confirming that men peak sexually in their late teens and early 20s. ”Earlier on, men are more hormonally driven. As they age, what arouses them is more psychological. They’re looking at being in the moment, in touching and connection in a relationship, and for lack of a better term, less interested in getting off.”

Then what makes so many men turn to younger women? we asked. Apfelbaum’s answer:

“The problems come up when men try and recapture the sex of their youth. Many men get anxious if they can’t perform in exactly the same way they used to. They look for younger women, fantasies, and even pornography as a way of going back.”

Finally, we asked Dr. Apfelbaum whether he would agree with the following statement:

“There will be sex after death, we just won’t be able to feel it.”

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Category : Blog

Sexuality education starts in infancy and continues through childhood. It’s in adolescence, though, that we develop conscious models of proper sexual functioning, sexual goals and sexual relationships. Many people, unfortunately, retain that adolescent model throughout their lives, even though both our relationships and our bodies have changed by adulthood.

So although we may want something different from sex, and are probably using different equipment, we’re making love using the same old conceptual model. And that often leads to disappointment. Perhaps we don’t function as we used to, and we don’t know how to create satisfaction. Or even if we function the way we used to, we don’t get the satisfaction we expected.

Thus, it’s crucial to update your internal models of sexuality. You wouldn’t run a new computer on old software; well, all adults need an updated version of their sexual software. That might include:

  • New assumptions about what you need to get excited
  • New criteria for choosing a partner
  • New expectations about your sexual functioning
  • New ideas about what “good sex” includes
  • New communication skills for when sex doesn’t go the way you want

Ultimately, we all need adult ideas about how our adult bodies should function sexually, and the kinds of emotional communication we want with a partner. As we age, our bodies often become less dependable, and our sexual functioning more vulnerable to disruption. It’s critical to de-emphasize the role of our genitalia in sexual satisfaction.

Being stuck with the old software limits how well our sexual hardware will work – and no amount of anger, shame or regret will change that. What makes it hard to change our software?

We don’t want to admit we’re getting older. We’re afraid we won’t be sexual if we can’t depend on our genitalia. We don’t have exciting models of adult sexuality, so we’re stuck with adolescent ones. We’re afraid we’ll be abandoned.

Change your software so your body’s hardware can work as well as possible – and so you can get the emotional satisfaction that adult sexuality has to offer.

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Category : Blog
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