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The Cozy Spot

178 posts categorized "relationships"

July 29, 2008

Chemical Bonding: Lust, 'Love', Oxytocin & Bonding

At college and depending on the subject, study often involves thinking in straight lines. For example, studying chemistry or biochemistry, coupled with physiology, generally teaches about biological function and the psychological element is left out of the equation. It's only when subjects like psychological biology are taken that it all comes together, but even then, the focus isn't on sexuality, it's on general function. I remember my two and a half years navigating all of the above university subjects and the subject of sexual attraction never being mentioned. Maybe it wasn't important, but I've found this article on the web that's interesting and may, just may, partially answer the age old question pertaining to the sin most women commit – falling for the wrong guy (the asshole, bastard, emotionally challenged, etc) and the answer may lie in the sex.

Being attracted to the bad boy isn't just about the sex, but the perception of danger and the 'devil may care' attitude that bad boys generate, are – somehow – added to the sexual/romantic equation. The origins to these attractions may not be chemical, and they may vary from one person to the next (have deeper origins, like male models in early childhood – the human subconscious files bundles of information), but the chemical factors after sex may explain a lot, or tend to explain why women go back for more, even though their gut tells them that they're attracted to a dud. And I think most women are aware of duds irrespective of whether they admit it or not, it's an inkling, and although I don't like to use the word 'intuition' in a new-age way, it's just a feeling that may be primal or instinct and sometimes human instinct is sidetracked by the external image or social pressure.

Continue reading "Chemical Bonding: Lust, 'Love', Oxytocin & Bonding" »

July 22, 2008

The Islamic Polygamy Issue in Australia

Polygamy is always the subject of speculation, debate and outright controversy. I don't think there is any difference between polygamy in Utah or in Saudi Arabia (okay, the Saudis may be wealthier perhaps?). Polygamy is polygamy - a husband having more than one wife. In western societies, polygamy is just polygamy. There are few regulations or rules, and many women can be exploited, and men can (and do) take advantage. I've been surprised, on my online travels, to see men with a selection of 'slaves' who work for their master. In other words, the man is exploiting the females in his life, and they pretend they are sexually independent or assertive women.

Here's an interview that appeared on Sunrise about polygamy, that goes into the subject of Islamic polygamy and what it really takes to be polygamous in this community (the short version: if a man can't afford to equally balance finances, intimacy and love, then they're not allowed more than one wife:

July 12, 2008

The Balancing Act

I'm not disappointed being a female but it can be disappointing on certain occasions.  I know I'm not alone in experiencing irritating moments. The thing that peeves me off the most is the victim mentality, and while I'm quite guilty of denying my own tendency to step into the fresh pile of crap, it does happen and it has happened. I've often returned to the question that has dogged me for many years:

What is a victim? Is a victim self-created or does a person need other external forces to be completely sidetracked – and find themselves in Dead End Avenue. I kind of thing it's like a tango. Everything is like a tango. Everything requires a force. The force pushes and pulls, altering the path from time to time, and sometimes the force can be exaggerated and an individual tends to either exaggerate it or deny it until it becomes a formidable snowball. Thing is this: do you accept being snowballed from time to time – the unavoidable – and dust yourself off or do you stew about it? I've done both: steward and finally pushed myself up off my ass, but it can take time.

One of the most difficult things this year has been making a complaint about work victimization because it ultimately confirms me as a victim of sorts. The trouble with this is that I've never seen myself as a victim. The time away from work has allowed me to stew it over some more and arrive to the conclusion of simply ignoring the flotsam and jetsam, intentionally or accidentally, and finding myself in the craphole. Actually, I'll remove accidentally because some things aren't accidental. Is anything accidental in life? Probability tends to stand in the background and if I'm really honest with myself, I can't deny taking a more submissive stance on things that I thought were overwhelming for me to handle. I see the problem as me placing a higher value on things that aren't significant on their own.

I arrived at another question: how much hurt is appropriate? Personal hurt or people being slightly irritated 'hurt?' It all falls back to the issue of power: how one regards power. Does one regard oneself as having any legitimate power or does one relegate power to others or things?

I've conquered the relationships issue. I took myself out of the game quite some time ago and have constructed a hard outer shell, so I'm unfazed by the game playing and I'm quite comfortable to verbally express myself in that regard but take me to the workplace and it is something else, something that is foreign to me or may as well be alien to me. One thing that astounds me is the way people can treat each other in the workplace and how certain people within a workplace use their supposed power over time to whittle away someone else's sense of power or confidence. When I'm bogged down in a job and doing my best to learn more and get ahead, I tend to ignore the other things that are significant. I don't think it is difficult to develop foresight or to acknowledge one's intuition from time to time, but I'm certainly guilty of denying both.

Whether a job, relationship or sexual autonomy, power is a significant and recurring subject.

Now the only thing remaining is to figure out a way to balance it all.

July 11, 2008

Christie Brinkley: The Victor

Women who aren’t supermodels or in the glam industry tend to agonize over their physical attributes from time to time. In fact, all women do irrespective of the industry they're in. Those who are partnered will experience doubts from time to time, wondering if they’re satisfying their partners. The Christie Brinkley divorce caper is something that gives us ordinary girls reason to pause and ask ourselves the real question: if Christie had difficulty than what hope is there for the rest of us? In other words, all women are in the same boat and it's not about looks or financial achievement - Christie has everything and yet her husband sought a teen and developed an Internet porn addiction - it's about ego, existential crises (like a mid-life crisis) and insecurity. Secure married men don't risk their reputation by doing teenagers on the side.

I don’t mean to be patronizing, but there are a portion of us who do trick ourselves into thinking that supermodels, actresses and socialites have it better. They get all the VIP invites, have first dibs on everything glamorous (from clothes to grand openings) and their lives are augmented by healthy endorsements, and yet they experience difficulties. I've been watching this case late at night (early hours of the morning) and it's been a cringe-fest. Sometimes woman have got to do what they have to do, even if it is beneath them to do so and Christie has been filmed arriving at the courthouse, and the testimony has been broadcast. Ordinary divorces are different; they don't reach the news and both parties move on but public figures have to live with the details of their relationship going public around the world - never an easy thing.

Did Christie’s hubby commit the crime of succumbing to a mid-life crisis? In my mind, he did. There is no other proof than his affair with a teenager. As for his Internet porn addiction? Which man doesn’t look at Internet porn from time to time? It’s accessible and filled with more variations than a calculus equation.

Christie has come out the victor in the public battle. A settlement has been reached and Christie retains the real estate holdings in The Hamptons and Long Island. She also gets sole custody of the children and the remainder is confidential.

I’m thinking, ‘you go, girl!’ Why? Because Christie is stylish, worldly and sophisticated. She is the type of women most men would give an eye for. And a grown man opted to have a fling with a teenager? It happens all the time. It's a way to bolster macho self-esteem by taking advantage of a situation; teenagers don't know much about sexual intimacy so they're more open to being molded to suit personal taste. A man doesn't really have to work as hard to impress a female teen.

July 09, 2008

Connecting the Dots: What Cosmopolitan Doesn't Tell You

How to have sex after marriage: it's the title of a new television series on the Nine Network. Straight from the UK, this show realistically depicts the work required to resolve sexual hiccups within relationships. The Sydney Morning Herald didn't appreciate it, the reviewer probably expected a 'racier' show, but resolving sexual hiccups within relationships doesn't necessarily translate to an X rated learning curve.

Continue reading "Connecting the Dots: What Cosmopolitan Doesn't Tell You" »

June 19, 2008

The Dark Triad

A global survey of 35,000 men has illuminated a common trait that confirms that nice guys finish last, leading to a classification of male personality characteristics: the dark triad. This phenomenon isn't new; at least in my mind it isn't new for novelists have been writing about bad boys for centuries.

One of my favorite bad boys in French literature is the Vicomte de Valmont in Choderlos de Laclos's Les Liaisons Dangereuses – most recently seen in film as 'Dangerous Liaisons' with John Malkovich playing the role of Valmont. Valmont is a narcissist; thrill seeker, deceiver and thinks along Machiavellian lines – a perfect fit for the contemporary profile that is considered The Dark Triad. In other literature, we have the most popular action man of all – James Bond. He exhibits the same traits: promiscuous, narcissistic, extroverted and impulsive, and some are domineering.

New Scientist discusses the qualities that form the dark triad, and they (not surprisingly) exist all over the globe, as they have for centuries. So this survey does not give an indication of contemporary society, and can't make hefty statements about the causal aspects because the personality traits aren't exclusive to this era. There are biblical stories that display such characters.

Continue reading "The Dark Triad" »

June 04, 2008

Charlotte, Carrie, Samantha and Miranda: 4 Phases of Womanhood?

I never thought I'd ever read about Sex and the City topping Indiana Jones, but it's happened, and as it is happening, as every single article – from razor reviews to SJP's dummy spit at the secondhand Nina Ricci dress – appears on the web, I still think I'm going to wait for the DVD to come out before I fork out money to see it. Despite adding the London premiere on Lucrezia Magazine, I can't say I'm immediately sold on the idea of a film that may (or may not – or hopefully not) become a sequel.

Much has been made about the superficiality of Sex and the City. Susannah Breslin explores the views of noted sex writers, in her Salon article 'Those Dirty Girls,' and the views of prominent US writers are relevant. Rachel Kramer Bussel states that Carrie's life as a writer doesn't reflect her own experiences, and although I live all the way down here, on the arse end of the world, I'd concede. I was always amazed how Carrie could afford to shop at Dior, Blahnik, and never sweat her credit card bill. It was fucking amazing she was approved for a credit line based on her once weekly newspaper column. Susie Bright adds her view, and she is quite justified. As one of the pioneering sex writers who explored, discussed and wrote (and still writes) about sexuality before Candice Bushnell began her column in the New York Observer, she deserves more recognition than the imaginary Prada-Dior-Louboutin-Choo crew in Sex and the City.

SATC doesn't proclaim to be education, nor does it offer any tips/advice on relationships. Then again, it is comedy and is more about friendship and lifestyle, than sex and intimacy. I don't think the female characters were ever comfortable within their skin, and this has been a major issue for many women. Body image still permeates through mass media; women are forever going on diets in order to show society (or potentially significant others) they are in control of their lives. One would think that women, with a sky-high income (such as the SATC characters) would be comfortable with their identity based on their achievements, income and independence, but the show obviously says that independence isn't enough.

This morning, after my return from my local library, and seeing the computers hogged by Internet geeks (one of whom browsed every singe SATC web article), I decided to delete all my Google entertainment news alerts: talk about SATC saturation. Marketing is a strange thing. Before you know it, a film becomes embedded into one's mind. I arrived upon a sudden thought:

What if the four female characters in SATC don't represent individuals? What if they represent different phases in a woman's life based on social trends and fixations?

Let's begin with Charlotte. Charlotte can represent the earliest stage of a woman's life, fitting somewhere between the cessation of childhood and the onset of adolescence. She can be a new teen or a late teen. To her, love conquers everything but she has no idea how to define love, and it is defined by external stimuli: golden oldie television romances, the Brady Bunch, every single bullshit new-age soulmate guide, and it can go on. It is the primitive stage of womanhood, one that is draped with naïve ideas that have no real foundation, where one lives on a cotton candy pedestal: life will be complete once marriage occurs, the most important day of a woman's life is her wedding day, ad nauseum.
After the Charlotte stage is complete – when modern life conflicts with romantic ideals – the Carrie stage opens up. This is like the Destiny's Child phase; she is bootylicious and independent, making a life for herself but a part of her itches for the ideal relationship, one that sweeps her away from the headaches of her daily existence. She wants the soul mate, and although she is mature enough to know that people have faults, she continually puts herself last, possibly emulating her (idea of) mother: everything her mother failed at (in her eyes), she can better. She is the fixer-upper; the guy fucks her around, and she is left with the pieces, but not to worry because 'life is a challenge, and what better than a real-life jigsaw?' After all, she has everything or is led to believe that women can have everything, even fuck like men, and come on, she is smart enough to distinguish between the soul mate and asshole. What's wrong with having as many sex partners as shoes?

Enter Samantha. Samantha is the inner slut, the woman who is sick and tired of all the double standards and moves forth to shatter the social myths, except that society is quite comfortable and stubborn; it does not want to upset the status quo and prefers to move through the path of least resistance. Samantha says, 'why can't I live my life like a man?' and she goes ahead and takes on that challenge, naively thinking that all men live this way or 'fuck this way.' She reels them in, and flings them out after they've satisfied their purpose – to fuck – and she eats breakfast alone and prefers the company of her neurotic female friends. It's any wonder that she evolves. Her friends are enablers, and they don't find any faults within the emotionally immature Samantha, whose priorities revolve around her sexual conquests. Up to this point, she has dealt with her naïve ideals, transformed into a fiercely independent woman but fails to grasp the reality of compromise. Although sexually independent, her bravado hides the chinks in her armor.

Samantha enters the Miranda stage after she lowers her guard, opens herself up to intimacy and trust, to see it wither away due to her own insecurities, that also shine light on ideals that never really dissolved: her hankering for her knight exists in her deepest regions. Shattered, embittered and slightly rattled by the realization that relationships require a little more than mastering the Kama Sutra, she knuckles down and becomes the uber professional. She earns more than most men, and this unsettles every partner she dates, not that she is worried. The idea of never being her mother, reliant on a man, comforts her immensely. She can pick and choose, but she fears doing so, so she settles for jocular asides, sarcasm and dry humor whenever the subject of men and relationships arises at the girlie breakfast. She uses cynicism to mask her perceived loneliness. She has lost her yen for 'fucking like a man,' and takes sex as she sees it, or according to her mood. Sex is no longer about frequency, numbers of partners or experience. She doesn't feel that she has to measure up to her friends, or society, but a part of her – due to mainstream society and/or its marketed images of female perfection (fashion, body, relationships and marriage) – still ponders the possibility of attaining a workable relationship.

The above 4 phases aren't concrete, there are many phases within an individual, but each SATC character - as an individual - is in transition, which is quite alarming when their ages and supposed professions are taken into account.

May 31, 2008

Wherever Sex Is, Technology Isn't Too Far Behind

Society is moving so fast, and I often take a few moments to marvel at all the developments that are a part of everyday life. For example, the common sex toy or phallic shaped vibrator is a godsend for many women. The Daily Telegraph has a piece on model Kristy Hinze, and it refers to her relationship with Netscape founder Jim Clark. The article asks:

"ON DISCOVERING a gal who looks like this is in love with a 63-year-old man, most Aussie blokes can be heard sobbing into their beers: "What's he got that I haven't?" "

He has money; you VB swilling dudes are wasting your money on beers and Playstations.

Then there is the well known fact that there is so much more conversation with older men, and if women do want a perpetually hard phallus, then they have the option of buying one and using it in bed, along with the Viagra. Sexual technology is a given in our world.

Infidelity isn't nice, but it's always nice to know that technology can come to one's aid when suspicion reaches fever pitch. Apparently Sydney is in the midst of an 'infidelity epidemic.' It seems creepy, but it's a cool marketing tactic for surveillance gadgets. According to the SMH, 1000 people (per month) want to Robot monitor their partners. One company, aptly named Heartbreakers, sweeps homes for devices each week (talk about paranoid adulterers). The other scary thing is that surveillance has reached sci-fi proportions; conversations can be tracked via laser five kilometres away from a house. It's no longer about private dicks sitting outside in cars – how much more obvious can someone be?

Technology has caught up, and is eager to make friends with any sexual activity imaginable. Imagine a world, twenty years from now, where single adults feel more comfortable with mess-free sex? There are no more wet spots, no messy money shots, or a partner that is programmed to fulfill your personal needs right down to the letter. That option isn't too far away. According to some, sex and marriage –to robots- will be a reality before 2050.

The future may be great: male robots who actually fucking call you when they say they will. For men, female bots who don't say a) "not tonight" b) "not tonight, I have my period or c) "I'm not swallowing your load, I don't like the taste." How fantastic would that be? No more angst, no more second guessing and no more frustration.

Viva la sexual revolution…

May 17, 2008

Sex & Relationships in the Underworld

Every single underworld figure or identity I’ve met has one thing in common: a poor education and a chip the size of the Rock of Gibraltar on their shoulder. Power and money are the foremost goals. Relationships and women are secondary. In fact, women are mere appendages, existing to either inflate the ego (used as an image accessory), be domestic appliances or a portable vagina to bang on demand. Many men within this arena have mistresses. The wives function to serve, clean and raise children, as well as present the image of ‘perfect’ family, and the mistresses satisfy all other things: they rarely say no, they’re obedient/subservient and they have a bag of sexual tricks.

These types of men are the genuine article - the 100% bad boy. This is what makes them exciting. They’re James Dean with a touch of the sociopath. They wake up, do business and don’t blink if they have to arrange to ‘take care’ of someone, and return home, eat dinner, and fall asleep in front of the news (if they’re tired). Nothing fazes them, or that is the impression they give (they’re sociopaths), and this creates an illusion of masculinity and control. Women often perceive them as being great providers (the money), macho (their aggression) and virile. The fact that they’re  frequently pursued by women, adds more icing to the allure. They’re pursued because they’re seen in the company of women, and they act out: they spend, order the finest, purchase the most luxurious and live for today, and that is true. They live for today because they may not be here tomorrow. It’s something they’re aware of. Their charm is about their arrogance, acting out, and lying - they’re adept at lying. They’ve probably lied ever since they were children or teenagers.

Continue reading "Sex & Relationships in the Underworld" »

May 12, 2008

Benedictsaurus Rex

Australia will be hosting World Youth Day, which is more about spreading the Vatican’s view on everything; we will be hosting Pope Benedict, and no doubt he will give a few fancy speeches, and I find it all amusing, considering his most recent speech about the ‘shame’ of his priest’s abusive actions. The not so funny thing is that this church tends to avoid prosecuting its errant priests. Rather than incarcerate a portion of past sexual predators, avoidance is the preferred option, and this idea, coupled to the reality that my state is paying to host this shindig, is an abomination in my mind, because I tend to add it to the current crises people within Sydney are experiencing.

There are currently many homeless families who find it difficult to find a rental property, and then there were those families who have had their homes repossessed after the sub-prime collapse overseas, and yeah, the adverts for World Youth Day are gaining momentum, and the Pope is gallivanting around spreading his thoughts on sexuality, namely that in our world, a world of rising costs, contraception is almost ‘evil’. How dare people plan their families? How dare people take control of their lives? But most of all, how dare people have sex without wanting pregnancy as the final resultant?

According to the Pontiff, sex could become like a drug. Horrendous huh?

I’m not sure what to make of our politically (and religiously) correct world. It’s a world where everything is evil/bad/hazardous or politically/religiously incorrect, when everything a person does is never enough as it doesn’t fit into the main current.

Pope Benedict has recently said that no mechanical technique can substitute for the act of love that two married people exchange as a sign of the greater mystery. How the fuck would he know? It’s not like pontiffs every ‘marry’ to be considered married. Many of the past popes had mistresses anyway, and many fathered children ‘in sin,’ and not only that, many of the modern ‘leaders’ of this church have crossed the ethical line that is consent after sexually interfering with minors. So who are they to tell the rest of the world how to conduct their sexual relationships? All these priests live a homogenous life, that may as well be technically described as ‘homosexual’ in the sense of them living with other men for the duration of their lives. Here they are, expounding on their belief of heterosexual marriage, when many have never related to women in an intimate way, and it doesn’t make sense.

What bothers me a little more though, is the idea that the state government is going to pay millions to host this Papal dinosaur, when many families who try their best, are currently struggling to find a home to live in.

I am a great believer in people practicing their own faith, and having the freedom to do it, but Benedict, like every pope, is like a dictator, thrusting the patriarchal ideas of a controlling church, on society.

Besides, World Youth Day should be renamed World Catholic Day because it is a PR roadshow. It's quite ironic to call it World Youth Day, after all the sexual misconduct (against youths) this Church is accountable for and continues to cover up.

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© Anastasia Mavromatis 2005 - 2008