Tag Archives: Experiences

Talk Ain’t Cheap

by Richard

Speaking of sex. . .

Writing about sexual health yesterday reminded me of something important. Okay, yes, that too. But I was actually reminded more of a friend of mine who’s in the process of raising his own little dude. My friend, let’s just pick a name out of the hat, is named John and trying to work up the nerve to talk to his little dude about sex.

The problem, you see, is John knows a lot about sex. I mean, a lot. The dude was a hound, if you knowwhutI’msayin’. His past experiences seem to be coloring his expectations for his talk with his little dude.

And that’s his first problem right there. See, sex isn’t something that should be completely ignored or have discussions about it actively discouraged right up until the time you have THE TALK. The things is, sex doesn’t need a talk. What it needs is a conversation and that requires more than one little sit down.

Still, that’s a conversation for another day. For now, let’s talk about talking.

For most people, the idea of talking about sex with your kids is, well, terrifying. Mortifying. Embarrassing. I’ve never really understood this fear, but I do know it’s there. The bad news is that if you go into any kind of sex talk with your little dude or little dudette sweating bullets and stammering, you’re going to probably leave them with the impression that sex is something to be ashamed of. And that’s not good.

What is good, though, is it’s not all that hard for you to overcome your fear. The first thing you need is a mirror. The second thing is a little privacy. Here’s what you do.

Get in front of the mirror and look yourself in the eye. Then say masturbation. Follow that up with every single word you can think of that has to do with sex, no matter how vulgar. Get it all out of your system. Think of all the funny euphemisms for penis or vagina you’ve ever heard and then say them out loud. Make sure you do this often enough so you can do it without laughing or grimacing.

The next step is to start holding a conversation with your mirror self. Imagine you’re sitting down in front of your little dude or little dudette and think about what would be the most embarrassing thing that could happen. Then talk about it. Repeat your lines over and over. Imagine the look of horror on his face, make it yours, and then keep talking about masturbation or getting to third base or whatever you fear. Do it again and again and again.

Familiarity breeds, in this case, ease. These sorts of talks will never be easy for you or your little dude, but they are important. Especially because they’re just the start. Embarrassing and educating your little dude is not going to be the end of it. You want your child to be comfortable talking to you about sex. Otherwise, where’s she going to go when she’s facing an actual practical situation if she can’t talk to you?

Opening a conversation with your child about sex is important because it allows you to help instil him with your values and your ideas, rather than what that sleazy little dude from down the drive thinks.

If you’re uncomfortable about this sort of thing, just think about this. Would you rather be embarrassed and open a conversation about sex with your child, or would you rather take him to the doctor to treat an STD? Or put your life on hold to take care of your new grandchild?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Conversing. It’s a good start.

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Freaky Friday: Contrary To Expectations

by Richard

Those wacky scientists are at it again. In results that run contrary to the very deeply held beliefs of every single dude on the planet over the age of, say, two, these big brains are saying that money can, in fact, buy you a sort of happiness. As long as you spend it on something like a massage, rather than a big-screen, high-def television with surround sound and a recliner with built-in mini fridge.

Whuuu-huuuuuuuuuu?

Yeah, I know. I couldn’t believe it either.

Consumers found that satisfaction with “experiential purchases” – from massages to family vacations – starts high and increases over time. In contrast, spending money on material things feels good at first, but actually makes people less happy in the end, says Thomas Gilovich, Cornell University professor of psychology and Travis J. Carter, Cornell Ph.D. ’10.

When it comes to material things, Gilovich and Carter found shoppers often second-guess their original buying decisions, comparing what they bought to other people’s purchases – or to better deals they missed.

But buying experiences provides greater satisfaction as time goes on, in part because of selective memory and because a consumer’s experience is highly subjective, making it much harder to make negative comparisons. Consumers also find it easier to decide on experiences, spending money on the first option that meets a set of expectations rather than painstakingly comparing all options.

And, let’s face it, if you’re the type of dude who buys the first flat-screen, hi-def television with surround sound and a recliner with built-in mini fridge he sees, well, there’s something deeply wrong with you. Half the fun of a new purchase is finding and reading everything about what you’re going to buy, comparing and contrasting and then hassling salesmonkey with questions that make it sound as if you really know what you’re talking about when, in fact, you’re just stringing together barely comprehensible babble as well as a couple of bits of information you got from the last salesmonkey. Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway.

Still, there is hope for makers of CDs and flat-screen televisions. The research found that how people view a purchase – as an expensive boxed-set or as hours of enjoyable music – also influenced their level of satisfaction.

Phew. For a minute there, I was seriously worried about that.

Me? I view that sort of purchase not as an experience or as a big box. I view it as mine, mine, MINE, ALL MINE. YOU CAN’T HAVE IT BECAUSE IT’S MINE!!!! HA! HA! H– erm. Ah. Sorry about that. My greed lust for life got the better of me for just a minute.

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Freaky Friday: Ghostly Visions

by Richard

So, here it is, the day before the greatest holiday ever invented. Halloween. The ghouls and goblins are about to come out, but what I wanted to talk to you about is ghosts. Real ghosts. Or, really, as real as they ever are.

More precisely, I’d like to talk about common characteristics shared by people who report seeing ghosts. And, not, I’m not going to say anything about them all being soft in the head. Although that might be right, now that I think about it. I’m a bit of a skeptic, see. I want to see proof, not vague visions and halting hauntings. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

Anyway.

It’s thought by two researchers, Michael Jawer and Marc Micozzi, MD, PhD, that there might be an actual physical cause of people seeing ghosts. No, not swamp gas. They believe the root cause is in the brain.

As surveys consistently show that anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of the public say they’ve had an extra-sensory experience – with nearly 25% of respondents stating they’ve actually seen or felt a ghost – anomalous perceptions are nothing to shrug off. “People have had these experiences down the ages and across all cultures,” comments Micozzi, a physician and anthropologist. “They’re quite universal. What we’ve begun to document is that there’s a certain type of person most likely to experience them.”

That kind of person, they said, is someone who is environmentally sensitive, prone to such things as pronounced or longstanding allergies, migraine headache, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, irritable bowel, even synesthesia (overlapping senses) and heightened sensitivity to light, sound, touch, and smell. Women make up three-quarters of this sensitive population but there are other markers as well: being ambidextrous, for instance, or recalling a traumatic childhood. The more we look at the people who say they’re psychic, or who have recurring anomalous experience, the more it seems there’s a mix of nature and nurture that predisposes them.”

So, basically, these dudes are saying that the paranormal isn’t really very para after all. More likely, these sorts of things are arising from the brain and the body, rather than the other side. I’m thinking they  might be right. Pretty cool, huh?

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