Archives for February, 2012
Studies universally suggest that somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of people in committed relationships sexually cheat on their spouse or significant other. Of course, in today’s world of chat rooms, webcams, instant messaging, and instant pornography, the concept of cheating is, in the minds of many who do it, somewhat malleable and easier to deny than in the past, when cheating meant actual live physical contact. So in consideration of our evolving Internet definitions and experiences of cheating, it is likely that 10 to 20 percent number is an underestimate. While our cultural stereotypes tend to focus on men stepping out on their wives or girlfriends, the fact of the matter is almost as many women are unfaithful as men. It does take two to dance the infidelity tango. Some women stray sexually when seeking some form of deeper romantic connection or emotional support seemingly missing in a primary relationship. But many others will cheat for the very same reason most men do: they just want more or better or different sex.
For as long as men have viewed pornography, women have asked, “Why?” Now they may be asking, “Why not?” While some women express concern about male pornography use, others are simply curious. Meanwhile, increasing numbers of women themselves are viewing pornography both with a partner and without. Some women in committed relationships fear that a partner’s porn use may be indicative of relationship dissatisfaction or a desire to stray. But in reality, a man’s use of pornography most often has less to do with his partner directly (though it may affect them), and more to do with his own innate characteristics and desires. And today, increasing numbers of women are finding their own reasons to purchase, view and explore their own sexual fantasies through pornography. Here are five things you may or may not know about sex and porn: #1 Men are more visually stimulated than women. A 2004 Center for Behavioral Neuroscience study confirmed a long-held belief that men are more stimulated by visual cues than women. Our amygdala, the area of the human brain that controls emotion and motivation, is more highly activated in men when viewing sexual images than women viewing the same content. Men are overall more attuned to visual imagery than women.
Today’s omnipresent fear that one’s personal identifying data (e.g., social security number or credit card information) may be vulnerable to hackers and identity theft has pushed millions of subscribers into the arms of “identity theft protection” companies like LifeLock. But is anyone really paying attention to what will happen when the sexually explicit language and photos that are sent via the latest “friend finder” smart-phone app or sex website get hacked or otherwise exploited? When “joining” sites like Ashley Madison or downloading apps like Blendr, participants are offered some measure of comfort via a click-it guarantee that personal information will be securely maintained. But somehow it seems off the radar to the same professionals and/or married individuals, who would never send their social security number online via an unsecured site, that when you sext and arrange app-based sexual hook-ups, every word and pic sent via these apps also resides in a far-away server. And that information lives there for a whole lot longer than the instant it takes to sext a potential hook-up.
There is never a dull moment in the sex-nology industry. If you don’t like what you see (or feel), just wait a few months and someone will invent a gadget or program to suit your every sexual taste and desire. In addition to their sex-partner-seeking, geo-location abilities, smart phones are among the latest gadgets revolutionizing the rapidly evolving world of virtual sexuality. Just as video sales in the 80s, cable and satellite TV in the 90s, and Internet growth over the past decade have been in part fueled by porn, the sex industry is now actively involved in smart phone-based virtual sex! Electronic hardware and software companies are also working together to evolve virtual male sex toys, some of which were shown at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show. Without doubt there is a highly charged technological race toward making virtual sex more like the real deal – then finding the best way to market, sell and profit from what can be considered an entirely new world of “personal products.”
Betty’s Story Betty has been referred into treatment for a binge eating disorder (BED) by her long-time psychotherapist, who sees out-of-control patterns emerging that need to be addressed outside of the outpatient frame. Betty arrives 75 pounds overweight and has a number of health problems, but with the right combination of therapy and self-care she starts looking and feeling better than ever. Once home and attending support groups and meetings, Betty finds that men are now taking note of her “improved look.” Betty finds herself both feeling sexy and wanting to be seen. So out she goes, looking for “the one” but settling instead for a lot of romantic attention and casual sex. Eventually she finds “the one” and settles down into a committed relationship. Sadly, within a few short months of playing house Betty begins to gain weight and within 18 months, Betty has gained back 60 pounds, but also loses her new romantic partner who walks out the door not having gotten the woman he bargained for. This pattern plays out not once or twice, but nearly every time Betty gets into a serious relationship. It has never been identified.