Monthly Archives: May 2011

When Your Prince is Really a Frog

Let me start with a huge apology. I’m sincerely sorry guys for subtly calling you frogs. While I harbour no underlying resentment for men, I absolutely abhor frogs. The creatures are ugly, slimy and cold but trust me; there is some science to my comparison that has nothing to do with physical resemblance.

I’m sure that most of us are familiar with the numerous fairy-tales where the curse of the wicked witch turns a really wonderful man (usually a Prince) into a despicable frog. In the tradition of such stories, along would come a really divine Princess; a virtual paragon of virtue, flawlessly beautiful, who would love and see the beauty in the frog regardless. With her superior insight, unconditional love and that passionate lingering kiss, the hideous frog would then yield a handsome Prince. And boy would she count herself lucky! Of course to top things off, he would marry the waiting Princess and they would definitely live happily ever after.

Enter the real modern world of 2011 and not much has changed, except perhaps the order of these events. Is our man really a Prince or really a frog and does our love carry the power to change him? The writers of those stories just might have had a point; women have been in the business of trying to “fix’ men for centuries. Those of us, who have been around the same man for a while, if we’re honest, can testify to those moments where all we do see is the frog. In other words we’re faced with the reality of living with an imperfect man and boy do we know it!

Of course it’s not that we’re not imperfect ourselves but our emotional conditioning has wired us into expecting that the man we choose will be that perfect Prince who must solve a number of issues for us or fulfil our deepest desires and dreams. When his humanity becomes glaringly obvious, however, and he falls short of fulfilling all of our childhood fantasies, then we begin to question our own judgement and are quick to embrace unhappiness and discontent. But if “imperfect male” is here to stay, how should we then navigate this reality in our relationships?

The following represents a range of responses from which we can chose.

Lowered Expectations

The response of lowered expectations suggests a particular relationship philosophy. Instead of a lady expecting her man to fulfil all of her emotional, and sexual needs she realistically embraces the idea that men are emotionally inadequate and sexually over-rated; in this way, she buffers herself against the pain of unmet needs. In other words, what she expects from her relationship should be pretty basic and definitely not over the moon (you know, occasional straight-up sex, no flowers, wining, dining or “I love You’s” written on blimps across the skies). While at surface value this take on things may make some sense, it is usually promoted by jaded women who have been repeatedly hurt by the men in their lives and is more of a defence mechanism to harden the heart as it were, against being hurt again. Its internal flaw is that it lumps all men into the same mould and doesn’t give a new guy the chance to prove himself.

The “Poor-Me-I-Deserve-It” Syndrome

This woman has definitely had her share of lofty expectations but her self-esteem is likely to be in the toilet or somewhere similar. Her life-script may have yielded repeated acts of disappointment or loss and she grows to believe that happiness is just outside the ambit of her experience. Not only has unfortunate or hurtful occurrences told her that she does not deserve happiness but she believes that she is powerless to change her circumstances. This woman puts up readily with all the “frog” antics of her guy. She closes her eyes readily when he hops to other ponds because deep down she doesn’t think she has what it takes to really keep him satisfied. Because she puts up with his low-life behaviour and loves him nonetheless, she has really elevated him to the stature of a Prince even though he will never live up to this name. In relationship terms, this is a definite lose-lose situation.

The Super-Woman-Super-Fixer Response

This woman truly believes that she is God’s gift to all mankind. She has a super-saviour complex and believes that she holds within the power of her feminine wiles, the ability to change any man who comes into her purview. This response shows a woman who is not fazed by imperfection. Of course like every woman out there she would love to have her needs met by the man of her dreams but she doesn’t plan to lose sleep over her partner’s failure to come to heel on several matters. In fact, she is enthused by the very relationship challenges which might make another woman cringe. You see, getting that Prince out of her frog becomes a pet-project which she takes on with all the relish and gusto of a red-caped bull-fighter. The more resistant to change her man is, the more eager she is to make that change happen. She may even stoop to using sex and other emotional manipulations to try to bring about change in her man but very often these character adjustments are superficial and temporary because he is not intimately involved in his own growth. In fact, because he is spoiled by such a woman, he may see genuine change as highly unnecessary. In another spin on this, the bad-boy ‘frog’ may be a huge turn-on for the girl who thrives and gets off on a little self-punishment.

Embrace the Martian

Like the Princesses in our fairy-tales, the woman who tables this response, believes that her unconditional love has power. She believes that it holds the power to unearth the real Prince who is hiding somewhere inside the unsightly frog and to some degree she might have a point. Real-life however does not work quite like the stories with which we are familiar. There is no instantaneous change. The realisation that your spouse or partner exhibits qualities that are less than desirable is good, normal and healthy; none of us is perfect. Embracing flaws and providing unconditional love is also good but should not be used as a point of reference to rubber-stamp abusive practices.

Embracing the Martian in your spouse speaks, therefore, of accepting to a reasonable degree, his idiosyncrasies or the strange habits which to you may have become endearing. A woman should however not tolerate emotional, physical, or sexual abuse or repeated acts of infidelity in the name of love. There is a very real sense in which love for another must begin with love for the self. The practice of unconditional love should not be used as an excuse to put all of one’s needs on the back-burner.

There is scope in a healthy relationship for expressing expectations, needs, hurts and disappointments but one’s sense of happiness or fulfilment should never be entirely hinged on another; no matter how cute or sexy he is. Women must value themselves and see themselves as deserving of happiness. At the same time, they must also accept the role they must play in their own sense of fulfilment. This is why it is advisable for women to pursue interests, hobbies and dreams which connect them to their inner self and personal needs. While sharing these with one’s partner is important by way of intimacy, this does not preclude a woman independently going after what she wants, as long as this does not compromise the integrity of the relationship.

By the same token, men must come to the point of realising that Princes are not born but are made. This involves a man assuming responsibility for his own personal growth and development so that he becomes the type of spouse of which his wife can truly be proud.

That being the case, they just might live happily ever after.


What a Man Wants

I know that some of you, especially males, are going to think that it’s decidedly presumptuous of me to even think that I know what a man wants. But I’m no Johnny or Jane come lately. Having been married to the same man for over twenty-five years and the fact that I live in a house with four males, gives me the distinct advantage of getting up close and personal with this enigma called the male-species.

Men I believe have their own peculiar set of needs. While much time and energy is spent on deciphering how to make a woman happy and how to keep her satisfied, I think the brothers may have been somewhat hard done by. Because men try so hard to come across as happy go-lucky creatures who are not emotionally needy, we may have become convinced that all a guy needs is a full stomach and some good sex to send him on his way rejoicing. In fact, men thrive on perpetuating this myth that they are in fact one-dimensional creatures.

I recently heard a radio program where a husband admitted that while his wife needed friendship, intimacy, romance and emotional support, all he needed was plenty food and lots of sex. He admitted, to the roaring laughter of his audience, that he could think of nothing else. Of course the flippant response of his listeners confirmed that they had bought his lie; hook, line and sinker. Men, from my own observation, however, need a whole lot more.

The humanity in all of us, whether male or female, cries out for love, attention, a sense of security and affirmation. This is what sets us apart from the animals. Of course socialization and global concepts of maleness and femaleness have to a large degree influenced how we even perceive or articulate our relationship needs. While I don’t intend to make the huge mistake of lumping all males together in the same mold, I believe that males generally pass through three basic stages of emotional and sexual development. These stages, to some degree, do shape or determine the emphasis on specific needs. For instance, trying to navigate a relationship with a guy while he is not yet in his “relationship/settling stage” could prove disastrous to the lady who is hoping to make an honest man out of her guy.

It is imperative therefore that we women understand the male psyche if we are to experience any peace of mind in our relationships with them. Of course there are no absolutes and some guys will by-pass stages or not dwell there long simply because of their own emotional/spiritual development or because of rapid personal growth. Regardless, these frames are perhaps useful terms of reference for assisting us in deciphering the peculiarities of the male species.

Primal Male

This is man on the prowl. Basically he is hunting and hoping to gather a mate to satisfy his cravings for sex. He is usually enamored by the panacea of choice before him. In other words, he can’t decide from the vast array of women he sees. Whether short, tall, black, white, big or small, Primal Male loves women and sometimes wishes there was a way for him to have them all, of course without losing life or limb. If Primal Male is smart, however, reality eventually sets in and he grows to recognize that he can’t very well have his cake and eat it too. This usually happens when one woman enters the picture and effectively convinces him that she is all he really needs. If this “love-of-a-lifetime” experience never happens for Primal Male, he may spend his years on a constant quest for a variety of sexual encounters. On another take, he may come into an experience of emotional development or enlightenment where he becomes tired of his own behavior and yearns for change. The woman, who however, tries to tame this man before he has brought his own savage beast under control, is in for the ride of her life. Primal men at their rawest levels can’t be forced to commit because they are ruled by their desire for sexual conquest. If a Primal Male does marry while still in his prowling stage, then his wife is likely to be confronted by a series of infidelities over which she will have little control.

Settling Male

If Primal Male thrives from the thrill of the chase, then Settling Male has chased, grown tired and wants to pause long enough to put down roots. No seriously, quite a lot is said about the maternal instinct and a woman’s biological clock. Precious little is discussed about the fathering instinct and a man’s desire to proliferate his genes in a secure environment where he can actually influence how his son is allowed to grow into a better version of himself. Yes, despite their reputation, not all men are canine in their activity and just content to spray their sperm around for target practice.

There comes a distinct time in every discerning male’s development when he does recognize that life is not all about him and that he must make active preparation for the next generation and the continuation of his legacy. And of course you will not find men sitting around in packs or groups discussing these things as women do on a regular basis in coffee shops (if you ask a man about his biological clock he’ll probably ask you where he can buy one). To admit this need is an almost unspoken code in the school of masculine initiation but I do believe that it is deeply embedded at the level of the sub-conscious. Remember, men are not prone to admit to any needs unless pure sex is involved. Nonetheless, my experience and observation tells me that the need to father is a distinct male need that more often than not, goes unmentioned.

This need then influences how males do go about selecting a mate or a life partner to facilitate their instinct for fathering. Maybe this explains (not excuses) why some men will run around with a particular woman or women for years and then “select” an entirely different woman to marry and mother the children he wants to father (and this is not a judgement call or an aspersion on women; just a fact of male sexual behavior).

Companioning Male

Now I do believe that every man is terrified of growing old alone with no one around to clip his toe nails. As men come into their own (which admittedly does take some of them a very long time) they grow to recognize that self-exposure and  vulnerability to one woman is not such a bad thing after all. Am I suggesting a diminishing interest in sex or competitiveness or in any of the things that make a man identifiably male? Of course not! There are some core behaviors that will not change even as males mature. Nonetheless, as a man exposes his bad behavior over time to one woman who will often tolerate it (leaving the toilet seat up, socks on the floor, farting loudly, ogling other women) he grows to appreciate how close to God most women are in their behavior. You know what I mean; we’re forgiving, gracious and merciful and our men appreciate that we do put up with their idiosyncrasies even if they never admit it. And how are we rewarded?

We become the companion to whom they begin to expose their thoughts; their deep fears, hopes and unfulfilled dreams. It is perhaps a fact of human nature that it takes several instances of trial and error, foul-ups, bleeps and blunders before we can really reach the potential that has been lying dormant inside of us for so long. This is particularly true of men and their relationships. In other words, the learning that takes place as a result of early relationship mistakes serves a purpose. Very often it causes the true prince to finally emerge from the frog that many are sure they really married.

All Men?

Am I suggesting that all men will navigate their lives in these three distinct stages? Of course not! And yes there is a fair amount of generalization here. But those who have lived with, researched or observed men know that they can be as predictable or as complicated as the next girl. The fun part comes when some aspects of these stages are actually experienced simultaneously. For those of us who choose to love them regardless, it is important to note that reciprocal forgiveness, on-going self-exposure and the lessons learned, do serve to cement the bond. And oh yes, the sex does get better.

So You’ve Been Cheated On; What’s Next?

In my experience as a counselor, I’ve come across a variety of cheaters and cheating styles. There are those who cheat with one-night stands where there is a one-off never-again-to-be-repeated episode (hopefully) of infidelity. There are those who have long-standing, deep emotional and sexual affairs, where very often the individual fancies himself/herself to be in-love with someone else. Then there are those no-sex affairs (ah-huh); those close friendships and soul-ties which can prove lethal to the marriage or primary relationship even when they remain only at the emotional level. There is also serial infidelity, as in, sex with a different person every time even when trying to maintain the semblance of a main relationship. Flirtatious infidelity, describes the behaviour of one partner which is inappropriate either through language, touching or looks, even when this never leads to sex; the problem here is that the affair is alive and well in the heart. Finally, there is cyber-sex or techno-sex; sex that is aided and abetted by the use of technology and or the internet.

If you’ve been cheated on, chances are you may not be interested in an intellectual or academic discussion of the thing. So much has already been said and analyzed as to why people cheat and many of us already understand that cheating occurs for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the cynics among us will say that as long as there are relationships, there will be cheating. As long as there are rules, boundaries or parameters for relationships, people will break and defy them; that’s just human nature. If this is at all true, how then does a victim of infidelity cope? How does such a person live with the reality of betrayal, especially since cheating is evidently here to stay?

Factors like relationship philosophy, personality, and even gender will to a large degree significantly influence the way we choose to respond. The following represents some of the options which victims may have at their disposal after an experience of infidelity. Please note that these do not refer to initial responses but to the ongoing or long-term way an individual chooses to handle being cheated on.

Going It Alone

Some decide that they want out of the relationship that has caused them so much pain. The hurt from the betrayal has lodged in such a deep place that a separation or divorce seems like the only viable option. For such an individual, infidelity has already sealed the deal on the question of loss. Since in their books their partner is already lost to them, walking away is just a formality.

Deciding to “go it alone” has the distinct advantage of giving individuals the option of starting over again in the future. It can also provide a vital space for clearing the head and soothing the emotions. The down-side can be seen when the decision is based on unresolved anger and bitterness.

While being alone is sometimes a good thing, it is seldom a permanent state. Failure to deal with the why and the how of the infidelity as well as failing to forgive can be lethal to the victim’s sense of self and can affect the “peace” of future relationships. At the same time, a decision to distance oneself from any romantic involvement and to take the time to reflect and regroup, can lead to an amazing experience of self-discovery, especially when victims grow to understand their own self-worth.

Infidelity in a pre-marital arrangement can and perhaps should halt or delay wedding plans. It provides a window of opportunity for the engaged couple to re-evaluate their choice of a life-partner before a serious covenant vow is made. Of course deciding to leave an already established marriage is serious business and should be well thought out from all angles before a separation or divorce is finalized.

Seeking Revenge

Deciding to do a “tit-for-tat” is perhaps one of the more common and understood responses to cheating. This can be a well thought out and premeditated response or it can occur almost inadvertently because the victim’s hurt causes him/her to more readily let their guard down with another. Those who themselves pursue an affair in response to being cheated on, have decided to maintain their primary relationship but seek to exact revenge for being hurt.

Such individuals are intensely angry and seek to salvage their own hurt by inflicting pain on the one who caused it to them. Some pursue an affair in an attempt to repair damaged self-esteem and to assure themselves that they are still desirable. While some will themselves keep their affair secret and allow it to function more as a psychological boost, others will deliberately engineer a discovery in order to inflict a similar wound on their partner.

More often than not, however, the satisfaction obtained from revenge is short lived, since it is built on a faulty notion that causing pain eases pain. The retention of anger and bitterness which motivates this behaviour means that the source of the first affair is never exposed and dealt with. Such a decision of revenge is likely therefore to be counter-productive and simply ensures that the cycle of pain and disappointment continues.

Staying Depressed

A decision to stay in a state of depression usually exposes a significant problem with low self-esteem. There are admittedly different types and levels of depression and this is not meant to trivialise the issue. It is obvious that an incident or incidents of cheating cuts at the core of a marriage or of an exclusive relationship. Because we look to others for love, acceptance and affirmation of our worth, we can misguidedly take on the opposite message when infidelity occurs. We can believe that we are undesirable and unlovable. Many women especially blame themselves when their spouses cheat and this can be debilitating to the psyche. Dwelling in self-pity encourages depression and a feeling of powerlessness. This can rob victims of the belief that they have the power to act on or change the challenging situation in which they find themselves. Victims find it easier instead to focus on their pain, to own it and to repeatedly re-live the details of the affair in their minds, until the effect is emotionally crippling. This response spells disaster for the future of the relationship.

Flying Free

In Tyler Perry’s “Diary of a Mad Black Woman”, the main character played by Kimberly Elise describes herself as being “mad as hell” after her husband turns her out of their house so that he can finally be with his other woman. Although she subsequently meets a very charming guy who turns out to be everything that her husband was not, she is unable to totally relax in this new love. Instead she discovers that she must process her anger, hurt and pain, articulate it to the one who hurt her and then choose to forgive. Her decision in fact “frees her” to love and live again.

Forgiveness is an act of ultimate self-empowerment. It reflects the choice to extend grace towards an individual who has done us wrong. This should not be interpreted as weakness or as an act of cowardice which condones what was done. Instead it reflects an inner resolve to be free from the hate, anger and bitterness which places the victim under the emotional power or control of their partner.

Forgiveness in fact places victims of infidelity in a psychological and spiritual space where they are better able to assess what happened to them and make the right choices. Forgiveness should never be rushed prematurely. Although it is an act of the will, it is a process and not an event. This means that it involves the articulation of anger and hurt and individuals must believe that they are “ready” to forgive, before they can actually attempt to do it.

Many individuals are unable to arrive at this place on their own but often need the intervention/assistance of a counselor, therapist, pastor or friend to help them through the process. Because women are socialized to articulate emotion, they tend to be more comfortable with the expression of anger and pain through sharing, crying and journaling. This often makes forgiveness an easier process for women than it appears to be for men. Men who have been cheated on are in fact more likely to hold on to anger and bitterness because they see expressing pain and hurt as a sign of weakness. This affects their ability to ever be free from the effects of the cheating and this baggage they take to subsequent relationships.

While forgiveness will not cause an automatic erasing of painful memories, it at least robs those memories of the power to control an individual’s pursuit of happiness or peace. If individuals are to survive infidelity and live to tell the tale, this means getting in touch with a well thought-out response which should be in their best interest. For those who choose to walk away, without forgiveness, all future relationships will suffer the effects of the infidelity. If both parties value the marriage and want to make it work again, then choosing the path of forgiveness is the better option.

Keeping Love Alive, Fresh and Kicking

Much has been said about the four-year itch. For the uninitiated, this refers to the period after marriage where both husbands and wives begin to develop a roving eye (or so the theory goes). There develops according to this trend of thought, a decided propensity for looking for greener relationship pastures. Scientific research already confirms that we humans are creatures of habituation. This simply means that after exposure to a particular stimulus over a period of time, we exhibit a decreased response to the said stimulus.

In psychology, this particular form of learning is called dis-associative learning. This simply means that through repeated exposure, we actually learn how not to respond to the stimulus in question. When we make the connection between this phenomenon and an institution like marriage which is based on longevity and over-exposure, we can begin to see the problem on our hands. In other words, if there is any credence to this theory, the more we are around someone, the more non-stimulated we are by them.

This brings us to the question of the nature of the marriage relationship. If we are to be guided in principle by this philosophy of habituation, then chances are none of our relationships would last as long as an ice-cream in the Caribbean sun. Marriage by its very raison-d’être connotes permanence and repeated exposure in the context of a voluntary and mutual agreement.

When we sign on the dotted line, we more or less agree to wake up next to that other face for the rest of our lives. We in addition make a commitment and at the highest level a covenant to keep all of our sexual eggs in one basket. When we look however today at the number of incidences of infidelity and of divorce, we must begin to question the extent to which our behaviour, may perhaps be shaped by this notion of habituation.

As a proponent of applied psychology, I take particular interest in this concept. If studies prove that adults and infants tend to gaze less at a stimulus the longer it is presented to them, what are the implications for my attempting to appear sexy to my husband after twenty-five years? Is he psychologically bent towards ignoring the body he has seen for so long and directing his gaze elsewhere? Are we human beings helpless cogs in a wheel of behavioural determination against which we have no willpower? Are we really programmed by our human DNA to become sexually bored after four years or so of being together? Can we do anything to turn this situation around in our favour?

The question of whether our adapting to the familiar automatically brings less pleasure is somewhat debatable. As much as science would like to render us human beings as entirely predictable, there is much of our behaviour that still remains a mystery. For example, if habituation is always true why do people become addicted to porn or to food or to anything else for that matter? There is in fact, an entire slew of human behaviour that thrives on and is empowered by repeated exposure.

Just take a look at our current cosmopolitan lifestyles which are defined by our addictions and dependence on a number of media-driven technological gadgets and gizmos. What is it about these inanimate or non-relational things which keep us coming back for more, while the people or institutions that should mean the most to us (our spouses, marriages and families) become expendable entities to be changed with every passing wind?

I think the answer lies in another lofty term called acculturation. We have been cultured into believing that these modern trinkets are things we cannot do without. Our commitment to “things” is sold to us on the basis of how such are essential to our quality of life. At the same time, every new version or upgrade keeps our interests alive. Maybe we can look at these ideas as a means of tricking the brain into not getting bored by the overt familiarity of our relationships.

If we take this at face value, then this may mean that as individuals in a relationship we have to assume responsibility for keeping ourselves fresh and literally “upgraded”. Lest I be misunderstood, this is not meant to absolve our partners from the responsibility of commitment but should act rather, as a vital accompaniment to it.

Explosive passion after a planned sex-break can do wonders for a marriage.

The following ten tips represent some of the strategies we may use, to actively keep  ourselves fresh and interesting to the one who sees us and lives with us daily:

  1. Preserve a sense of mystery in the relationship by not doing every single thing together; whether man or woman pursue your own interests, bring something back to the relationship that you can discuss with your spouse; something with which he or she is unfamiliar
  2. Occasionally reinvent yourself; a new wardrobe, a fresh hairstyle, a manicure and pedicure can add some pep to your steps causing you to exude confidence and an irresistible sexiness; having the exact same hairstyle, using the same fragrance or the same method of applying make-up as when you first met spells bore, bore, bore. The same goes for the guys; keeping yourself well-groomed and making sure your wardrobe is current, shows that you understand that your woman is visual too
  3. Develop a new skill or pursue a new course of study, learn a second language or pursue a new hobby, which confirms that you are all about developing you
  4. Keep some personal rituals private; intimacy does not mean you have to “do the bathroom business” while having a conversation about the kids or the mortgage
  5. Keep your date-nights diverse; going out regularly does not mean eating at the same restaurant for five years in a row; introduce each other to new cuisine, remembering that eating together is a terrific way to bond
  6. Do something spontaneous and adventurous together; (bungee jumping, hiking, paragliding?) something that may reveal a whole new side of you that your partner may be totally unaware of (I remember during my second pregnancy climbing fearlessly down the side of a cliff (at about seven months), with my husband holding me firmly of course, just so that I could get some new rocks for my rock collection)
  7. Switch up your sex life as regularly as your busy schedule will allow; try sex in a new location, a different position, with new trinkets (lingerie, feathers, candles, music, silk, mirrors), you get my drift
  8. Agree to fore-go sex for about a week or so or longer if you can handle it (the longer the better for this experiment); practice lots of teasing touching and hot glances during this time with zero sex; come together afterwards for a night of explosive passion guaranteed to wake up the neighbours; this can definitely add some freshness to the routine which sex may have become
  9. Call your spouse with a surprise suggestion/plan that knocks him or her for six; for example, “your bags are packed and we’re spending the night/weekend at a hotel”, “I’ve arranged baby-sitting and we’re going out tonight”, “I’ve booked a spa day for you just so you could unwind”; being thoughtful or showing that you have your partner’s best interests at heart, is a sure-fire way to inject some needed energy into a flagging relationship
  10. Travel together as much as possible; being tourists in a foreign location can affect the way you see each other and you get to experience new sights and sounds in a mutually fresh environment

Why Women Need to be “Bitches” in the Bedroom

Our responses to sex and our own sexuality can be as complicated as they are mysterious. The truth is, we don’t learn about sex in one fell swoop. Our attitudes, behaviours and responses to sex are often a hodge-podge of multiple influences over time. The traditional socialisation of women as the more genteel and nurturing of the sexes, has meant that many women end up feeling very conflicted about their own sexuality. The media is very good at portraying the sexually liberated woman as one who is aggressive, seductive, in-charge of her own sexuality and virtually willing to claim what she needs in order to have her sexual needs fulfilled. So can the good-girl be “bad” without really being bad? What happens as a result of this anomaly?

Many women, unable to reconcile this female “tigress” with the kinder-gentler-nurturer, feel an overpowering need to adopt a new sexual personna in their heads, in order to feel sexually gratified. This is especially true of women who are mothers or for those who have been raised in conservative environments. But all women, regardless of what they have inculcated about sex, being the natural, sexual, creatures that they are, long for great toe-curling sex. They do so want to swing from the chandeliers in absolute ecstasy and many are willing to surrender who they “normally” are, in order for this to happen; even if they experience some emotional conflict as a consequence.

Such women will therefore ask that their partners address them as ‘slut” or “bitch” or “whore” during sex, because that is the personna or alter-ego in them, who can orgasm and scream the house down; this is what their psyches have been trained to do in order that they may “let themselves go” sexually. Much of this is however influenced by the reading of erotica or by the viewing of porn which by the way, studies confirm, is a growing trend among women!

In some women’s attempts to ensure that this “wild sexual animal”, does not conflict with the socially induced perceptions of what it may mean to be traditionally feminine, there is then an overpowering need to separate these “two” women. This explains why the” whore” fantasy is so popular with many women and becomes an arousal and orgasm-inducing prop. Some may argue that there is no harm in such a fantasy; our minds are made for imagination and we should just let ourselves gravitate towards whatever will bring sexual gratification. After all, why should a woman explore her sexuality as a good upright and moral citizen, who nonetheless deserves some good loving, when she can metamorphosize into something much “hotter” and in keeping with today’s media-driven sex-industry?

I beg to differ however. While there may be absolutely nothing wrong with using our imaginations in wholesome ways, I shouldn’t have to become an individual who on a normal day would conflict with my value-system, just so that I could get off. This I believe is damaging psychologically and spiritually. If I am sexually whole, I should be able to enjoy great sex from a point that embraces my genuine personality and physical characteristics. So whether black, white, thin, fat, blonde, brunette or afro-kinky; whether school- teacher, waitress, priest or power-broker, I should know that I am beautiful and loved (if indeed I am loved) and deserve a great sex life, in the context of my relationship.

Yes; it is time that we women acknowledge that “bitches”, “whores” and “sluts” have no monopoly on “great sex”. In fact very often, their “fulfillment” may not last as long as their last orgasm. A relationship of deep commitment and marriage should provide the environment for the sexually well-adjusted woman, to explore her inner “tiger” without feeling that she has to give something up in the process.

We women are multifaceted and can be all of that and more!

When a Woman is a Vulture and Your Man the Prey

Usually, vultures have mastered the art of seduction.

We’ve all met this kind of woman I’m sure. We can sense her a mile away. She is a bird of prey and most likely, she’s preying on your man. Lest I be misunderstood, this article is not an attempt to absolve men of any of the guilt or responsibility which they must acknowledge when it comes to cheating. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Men are not babies. They know what they are doing when they decide to take that plunge and sleep with another woman. Be that as it may, it is critical to note that when men fail sexually in their relationships, they don’t do it alone. Their weakness is cheerfully egged on and facilitated by the women they make themselves vulnerable to.

This comes as no surprise because as long as there have been Sampsons, there have been Delilahs. For those not familiar with that story, Delilah was a woman (in Biblical times) who got the better of the man she targeted by playing the oldest trump-card in the world; sex. Even though she had somewhat of a Political agenda, basically she was a spy for the Philistine nation, she understood how to “work it” to get what she wanted. Centuries have passed and not much has changed. There are women who are experts at plotting and planning for men just to get what they want whether that be money, status, bling, more money or plain old sex.

Vultures have a particular way with men. It’s not just that they may be physically appealing (and very often they are) but they have an intimate knowledge of men. They understand what makes a man tick and are very good at breaking down a man’s defenses to their own advantage. Usually this intimate knowledge of men comes about as a result of their wide and varied experiences with several men. Make no bones about it, these women have been to the school of life and have studied men like an out-of-print textbook. What makes a woman a vulture therefore is not her innate sexiness, charisma, nor her ability to befriend, empathise with or “counsel” although these are all vulture strategies. Women are categorized as vultures because of their selfish agenda. Primarily Vultures care about numero uno. You see this woman is never what she appears to be at face value simply because she doesn’t have a genuine bone in her body. She wants what she wants, when she wants it and to hell with you if you try to get in her way!

If you live on this planet earth, chances are you will meet a vulture in your lifetime. She may be your husband’s or guy’s work colleague. She could be a neighbor, an old cherished friend of his or the girl he meets at a game or at the Gas Station. She might even be one of your girlfriends. The point is, if she fancies sinking her teeth (and other parts of her anatomy) into some fresh prey, then she could very well pose a problem.

Vultures are good at inventing excuses as to why a guy needs to spend time with them. It could seem as innocent as a request to have a tyre changed, the need to have something heavy lifted, or the need to have a shoulder to cry on. Whatever the case, Vultures know how to make a guy feel needed and wanted and they really don’t care if he’s married or in a committed relationship. In fact that seems to make him even more attractive to Vultures! That being said, don’t make the mistake of believing that every Vulture is a desperate single-woman, some are married but live their “other-woman” existence underground.

The woman who is categorized as a Vulture, like her name-sake, watches her victim from a distance. She studies him carefully, assesses his wants and weaknesses and then moves in for the kill. As a Vulture tries new ways to get close to your man, she is really gathering the information needed to guarantee his downfall with her. If he’s a man on the look out for some extra sex, then her job is made even easier.There is really no rocket-science to her having her wicked way with this guy. However, if her prey is a family man, a husband who loves his wife but maybe a bit bored or needy in some way, she understands that her tactics have to be a lot more studied and sly.

The Vulture will therefore seek to undermine a marriage by pointing out very underhandedly, all the ways a man’s wife has not been meeting his needs. If she’s smart she might not actually bring up the wife’s name but will find ways and means of presenting herself as a viable and better option. So a Vulture, unlike most wives, will always make herself sexually accessible. She never says no. She might even do those things that some wives would never, ever dream of doing in and out of bed. She is a connoisseur at being the “better other woman” and knows how to play her cards well.

The truth be told, some Vultures are hardly interested in marriage to the guy. Being tied to any one man may actually cramp her style since she may like to leave all of her options open to new and potentially more promising experiences. So why go after any man in the first place you might ask? It’s important that you understand that a Vulture thrives on power and on exercising it. (And contrary to what you might think, not every woman out there wants the husband and the white picket fence). She just wants to know that she can steal your man from right under your nose; so beware of the “best-friend” who ogles your husband when she thinks you’re not looking. It boosts her sexual ego to know that she is able to “get” your husband or guy literally from right under you because a Vulture really believes she is in some unspoken competition with every other woman out there.

If a woman is to guard her marriage against the permanent threat of the Vulture, then there are a few things she must take to heart:

  • be weary of late-night telephone or cell phone calls to your husband from other women, especially those he keeps hidden
  • be suspicious of women who want to befriend your man but are not interested in being a friend of the couple or family
  • if your partner spends an inordinate amount of time on social networking sites like Facebook, observe whether this “habit” is open to you or if you are free to peruse his page at any time
  • as a couple, set parameters and boundaries in your relationship where other members of the opposite sex are concerned
  • have a common philosophy about the “best-friend” issue; (there is no way my husband should have another woman as his “best-friend” I don’t care how much of a childhood friend she is)!
  • be honest in your relationship about expectations, needs and disappointments; relationships become vulnerable to adultery when they are built on dishonesty and a lack of communication
  • strengthen the levels of intimacy in the relationship by spending quality time together
  • keep your man sexually happy and fulfilled without being his sexual slave (a delicate balancing act I admit)
  • preserve a sense of sexual-mystery in the marriage relationship by keeping things fresh as much as possible
  • demand respect from your partner by not tolerating emotional or sexual infidelity in any form or fashion
  • listen to and trust your intuition; most of the time that you are suspicious of another woman’s motives where your man is concerned, YOU ARE RIGHT!
  • act on your intuition; if your partner displays suspicious behaviour and there is any reason to doubt him, CONFRONT him
  • don’t be the naive woman because you want to be liked by all; know that Vultures don’t play; don’t befriend one, she is the ENEMY
  • if you decide to keep your husband even if he has fallen prey to a Vulture, make sure that he accepts responsibility for his actions and seeks help independently of you, through counselling, therapy or mentorship by a man who has his head screwed on right
  • if your relationship is to survive the attack of a Vulture, then ultimately, you must learn to forgive; this is a process, not an event and should not be rushed; take time to examine the relationship, access its weaknesses, vulnerabilities and strengths and together plot a path to progress so that it never falls prey again to the wiles of the “other woman”