a top hat valentine: satisfied, single

from the top hat, in honor of you-know-what-day-it-is: How can someone who likes sex and affection [like you, Emily] be so content being single? Well, to start with, being single neither necessitates nor implies being without sex or affection. But let’s assume the question means something like, “Don’t you get lonely? Don’t you get horny? Don’t you wish you were in a relationship?” From my point of view, the question is asking how I get the things a relationship offers, without a relationship. So let’s think in an organized way about what we give and receive in relationships. I tend

why do we fall for people who are bad for us?

It’s the questions about relationships that break my heart. A lot of sex questions can be resolved simply by giving an answer: no, you can’t get addicted to your vibrator; no, there are no ill health consequences related to masturbation, only ill health consequences related to shame about masturbation; yes, if you’re on hormonal birth control it’s safe (like 95% safe) for your partner to ejaculate inside you, but if you’d like to back up with a condom, that’s cool too; yes, Saran wrap is actually effective as a dam during cunnilingus – but only the regular kind, not the

other father – aka “look at me”

I’ve been thinking about eye contact. Seen Coraline? LYRICS: Making up a song about Coraline, She’s a peach, she’s a doll, she’s a pal o’ mine. She’s as cute as a button in the eyes of everyone who ever laid their eyes on Coraline! When she comes around exploring Mom and I will never ever make it boring – Our eyes will be on Coraline! Now the “eye” thing is part of the story – in the alternative world, everyone has buttons for eyes. But what’s compelling about the idea of button eyes, anyway, and of having eyes on someone?

Occam and attachment

Speaking of attachment… You guys, there are things I don’t know. I bump into brand new stuff – even stuff I think ought to have known before – pretty regularly. Example: Clelia Mosher‘s work was unknown to me until a couple months ago. So I’m absolutely certain that there are plenty of things that I’ll learn in the future and plenty of things that I’ll feel like I ought to have known before. But here is something I’ve never heard before, from our old friend the Evolutionary Agony Aunt that just sounds like… well… total bullshit: Human behaviour seems to

attachment styles – a primer

How can it be that I’ve never done a post about attachment styles? I talk about it all the time with students – it’s useful stuff. It’s the kind of thing that makes people go, “Why did no one tell me that 10 years ago?” Some background: the attachment system, as I said previously, is an adaptive mechanism whereby humans experience a social bond with others. It helps us survive infancy and it ties us to our adult romantic partners. The way we attach to others in adulthood is shaped by the way we are parented. There might also be

100th post: a letter to my favorite species

Dear Homo sapiens, Douglas Adams, my authorial hero, said, “The thing about evolution is, if it hasn’t turned your brain inside out, you haven’t properly understood it.” Right on. I find it thrilling – I literally feel a physical thrill – when I consider what we are as a species, particularly what we are sexually. At the sex retreat I led a this winter, I actually cried, like the girly nerdy freak I am, while talking about the wonder that is the evolution of life on Earth. Embryology, man. Embry-fucking-ology. My point is this: Boiled down to our essence, we’re

the honeymoon phase

By request: Is there a honeymoon phase? Does it end? Yes. And yes. The honeymoon phase is made of attachment, the wildly powerful biological experience we tend to call “falling in love.” (I’m such a romantic, eh?) It can last, oh, maybe about 4 years, give or take. It has to end. That passionate phase is actually quite stressful – delicious and wonderful, but stressful, with its constantly heightened emotional state and the lack of sleep and the replacing food with sex. That shit can kill you! So yeah, it goes away – or, more accurately, it develops into something

In which Emily is right about attachment. And the Guardian is wrong. Um, again.

Oh Guardian Science, you make me feel like a critical mother. I’m licking my thumb to smear dirt off your cheek, I’m poking you between the shoulder blades to make you stand up straight, I’m suggesting that maybe your recital would have gone better if you had just practiced more like I told you. I’m sorry. I love you. But I expect more. I expect, in fact, at least two of the following: good science, good writing, good advice. Oh Guardian Science. So this week the Evolutionary Agony Aunt offers us two bits of advice. In the first… well gosh,