More and more it seems the romantic landscape has become a pretty bleak one. Gone are the days of just-because-flowers and love letters. Not only are millennials waiting until later in life to get married, but they also have less sex than previous generations — an ironic twist given the prevalence of apps designed to facilitate hook-ups and relationships.
As our society becomes increasingly digitized, people treat each other more and more like they're disposable. A new dating app called Curtsy is designed to reduce that impulse, by only allowing matches to communicate via voice messages. As the potential partners become more verbally communicative with one another, they unlock opportunities to text each other and exchange phone numbers. The creators of the app say they're doing so in an effort to facilitate intimacy, which they believe isn't done through the disposable swiping that occurs so often. How sad that we’ve reached a point where hearing someone’s voice seems risky, and texting abilities are a privilege. Think about how many texts we leave unanswered because we simply can’t be bothered, or don’t want to.
Good news though, it seems all hope is not lost on the lust frontier. A new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests attentiveness and responsiveness to a partner’s needs increases sexual desire. Yes, you read that correctly -- good manners in the form of basic consideration lead to more satisfying sex in longterm relatio...
The study was comprised of three tests to measure partner responsiveness and intimacy-building behavior, and found responsiveness was positively correlated with desire for a partner.
“Responsive partners were seen as making one feel valued as well as better potential mates for anyone and thus as more sexually desirable,” reports the study. Responsiveness builds intimacy by making partners feel valued and special, and leads to increased sexual desire. Well, duh! Of course being made to feel special and listened to turns people on. We all seek to be understood and connected to something greater than ourselves.
It’s alarming that something as simple as “pay attention to your partner and you’ll have better sex” seems almost foreign. Is there a collective unwillingness for partners to meaningfully engage with one another? Or have we become so self-involved that we fail to retain information about our lovers as actual people with needs, desires and thoughts independent of our own?
A recent New York Times article noted what Moira Weigel, author of "Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating," refers to as people's general refusal to acknowledge the effort or intention required to sustain a long-lasting and satisfying relationship. We’ve become too comfortable with how easy it is to curate our lives, it seems — if you can’t throw a pretty filter on it, then don’t waste your time.
Attentiveness requires work in the form of mental and emotional fortitude, which can translate into being considerate enough to shoot a quick text response to a partner during a busy day — we all have ten seconds to do that.
Four hundred years ago poets wrote about what science now confirms. According to Shakespeare, “[love] lives not immured in the brain, but with the motion of all elements.” It takes more than amorous thoughts to produce a long-lasting love. Relationships require actively engaging with a partner.
Direct contact with people has become largely reduced thanks to modern luxuries afforded to us by technology. We twiddle our thumbs in between taps of our screens, and often zone out in face-to-face conversations. Our waning attention spans do us a disservice not only by coming across as rude; they can also damage our relationships by making our partners feel devalued or dismissed.
Thoughtfulness is now a refreshing quality in a partner due to its rarity. I understand that casual indifference is considered cool in many areas of our lives, but we miss out on the results when we skip putting in the effort that goes into caring. We entertain notions of romance but often neglect social, physical and emotional cues necessary to cultivate sustainable relationships of our own. Not to worry, though. It seems the way to reactive romance (or maintain it) is fairly simple: just pay attention.