Category: Dating

Date nights and being playful as the summer ends….

So fall is coming fast and furiously. And with that (at least in our house) we starts thinking about dressing up. While I’ve had my Halloween costume since January I just saw the costume display set up in Costco for Halloween! It’s the chance for everyone to dress up as their favourite superhero or villain and not take themselves too seriously. For me, the opportunity to have fun is something I value in my life and I certainly try to walk the walk in my relationship. Talks on humour and playfulness are showing up in more Psychology conferences of late as one of the best ways to stay connected. A sense of humour and a willingness to be playful is listed as one of the five characteristics of couples who have great relationships. I was asked recently by a new counseling student what I emphasize to improve relationships between couples. The ability to have fun with each other is one of the first things I suggest. It has one of the fastest impacts to connect couples who are feeling out of step with each other.

Humour can keep things exciting, fresh, and vibrant. When you laugh with one another, you create a positive bond between you. Laughter evokes strong feelings and bonds you as a couple. It also helps push away depression and feelings of powerlessness. The doom and gloom you feel when you listen to the news or read a paper can be wearing on even the most optimistic of people, so I encourage you to think about ways to be playful this fall. It pays dividends. It’s doing things with a sparkle in your eyes, and having belly laughs with your sweetie. We try to take in comedy monthly and are a member of the free Sunday Night funnies group on meetups. It’s celebrating distraction and taking a break from the humdrum of everyday life.
Having fun also increases confidence. You stop worrying what others will think. And doing it holding your partner’s hand makes everything better. I describe it as embracing “childlike” with wonder and rapture. Borrow a kid if you need help finding that space.

Schedule a play date. Here are some suggestions:
It’s the time of the year to go to the Halloween stores and try on costumes. They will be open in a few weeks! They usually have giant change rooms and don’t be afraid to try on something zany.

Have a pillow fight. Walmart has $6 pillows if you don’t want to wreck one of the ones from your bed. Go to the park and have your partner push you on the swings. Or slide down the slide like you still want to. Make some bubbles. Bubble baths, bubble blowing, and bubble gum blowing contests.

Make a playlist together. It’s reminiscent of the old 80’s make-out tapes. Put some music on it that reminds you of when you met. Go get ice cream. Have your partner close their eyes and have them guess the flavor of as many samples as they will let you try. Dance in the rain, go see the fall leaves, take pictures of each other’s funny faces and see how long it takes for your partner to laugh.

Go play at the toy store. Come out with us on a Ducklings sexy date night and laugh! (www.sexwithsue.com/duckling-events)
Try strange, experimental cooking (or a new martini recipe). We love this new Dragon Fruit martini.
Ingredients
• 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) ice cubes
• 3/4 cup (175 mL) cubed peeled dragon fruits
• 1/2 cup (125 mL) guava or guanabana nectar
• 3 oz (85 g) vodka
• 1/4 cup (60 mL) coconut milk
• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) lime juice
Simple Syrup:
• 3/4 cup (175 mL) granulated sugar
• 3/4 cup (175 mL) water

Preparation

Simple Syrup: In small saucepan, bring sugar and water to boil; simmer, stirring occasionally, until clear and syrupy, about 2 minutes. Let cool completely.

In blender, purée together ice cubes, dragon fruit, guava nectar, vodka, coconut milk, 2 tbsp of the simple syrup and lime juice until smooth and frosty. Pour into cocktail glasses. Reserve remaining simple syrup for other cocktails.
Whatever you do HAVE FUN TOGETHER!!!

Local date night suggestions. Ottawa area things to do to keep relationships connected

couples3333Keeping Things Hot as the Temperature Drops
As the leaves fall the temperatures dip, it can certainly be difficult to find a good reason to leave the warm comfort of home. Luckily enough, The Capital offers a multitude of fun date night activities, making it a little easier to forgo your typical night of Netflix and takeout for an evening of romance and excitement!

Complimentary Oysters at Luxe Bistro
Every Tuesday evening from 4:30-6:30pm, Luxe offers a complimentary Oyster Happy Hour, where guests who order a drink and food are welcome to as many little creatures as their hearts’ desire. I’ve been known to eat upwards of thirty in one sitting! The delicious food, modern décor, and relaxing ambiance all make for a truly luxe-urious experience. And hey – oysters are said to be aphrodisiacs! While the science may still be a bit hazy on whether certain foods can actually stimulate sexual desire, there’s no denying that a romantic date night at one of Ottawa’s poshest restaurants is sure to get anyone in the mood!
A Night in Old Ottawa South
Old Ottawa south doesn’t get nearly the recognition it deserves. Just over the bridge from Lansdowne and the Glebe, this little gem is home to a fabulous selection of pubs, restaurants, and wine bars. Begin your date-night at The Belmont, a neighbourhood haunt specializing in unique small plates and creative cocktails using only the freshest ingredients from local farms. Afterwards, go catch a flick at The Mayfair, Ottawa’s oldest active movie theatre, operating since 1932. Inside, there are four faux-balconies, stained-glass windows, and wrought ironwork that will make you feel like you’ve been transported to another era for the evening. After the film, cap your night off at Quinn’s, a cozy little pub just a stone’s throw from the theatre.

Explore Gatineau Park
There’s nothing more romantic that an escape to the Gatineau Hills in the fall. The Champlain Lookout, best known for its stunning bird’s-eye views of the hills over the Ottawa Valley, is the perfect place to sit back, relax and enjoy each other’s company. Breath in the crisp country air on a hike along the 1.2-kilometre hiking trail surrounding the lookout. On your way back to town, take a stroll through the charming streets of Old Chelsea, where you’ll find plenty of little cafés and specialty shops to enjoy. The Cafe Chat Siberien and the Chelsea Pub are two of my favourites!

Cooking and Wine Classes at La Bottega Nicastro
La Bottega Nicastro in the Byward Market offers cooking and wine tasting classes led by various guest chefs and wine experts from the region. As you sip on fine Italian wine, you and your date will be guided through the preparation of a gourmet three-course meal that you’ll get to enjoy along the way. Check out their website for upcoming classes and registration: http://www.labottega.ca/pages/cooking-classes

A Night at the Museum

Come party with the creatures of your planet at Nature Nocturne. Every month, the castle-like Nature Museum is transformed into Ottawa’s best dance party. It’s a fabulous opportunity to dress up, let loose, and discover the Museum after hours. The event combines DJs, live music, mingling, dancing, food stations, bars, and fascinating exhibitions.

Thanks to B for all of these. Watch here for more of her ideas and thoughts.

How Facebook and Gaming impact your relationships

video
We are all guilty of it. Reading Facebook posts, answering emails, or hitting the next level in Candy Crush while our partners are trying to get our attention. We knew it vexed them. Now it has been shown to make your spouse feel like they are not as nearly as important as another few minutes of gaming or of liking your neighbours garden pictures.

We all know how we feel when we are standing in a store and the sales person answers the phone from another customer while you are looking for service. It makes us feel devalued. But how does it really influence relationships? According to the research, recently published in Journal of Family Economic Issues, wives typically use social media more often than their husbands, but that imbalance does not necessarily correlate with marital dissatisfaction. However, when husbands spend more time on social networking than their wives, they are more likely to report marital conflict and so are their spouses. Gaming, too, seemed connected with marital dissatisfaction. If either the husband or the wife was spending more time playing video games, it was associated with higher conflict, lower satisfaction and higher perceived instability in the marriage.
So is the answer simply less technology?

It turns out one of the best markers to deal with increasing speed of life and more social media and phone interruptions is to schedule date nights. Check out my new list of new date night ideas for late summer early fall. Or if you are local join our fun, zany date night group called The Ducklings that is the fastest growing social group in the city. It’s somewhere between Rotary or Church groups and crazy swingers and is all about being sexy but safe with your partner. Connecting with your sweetie takes work, time and mindfulness. Do something with your partner today that makes them feel important. And do it without technology.

The male unicorn. Why guys over 35 aren’t interested in settling down.

unicorn
There is a concept in modern sexual culture about unicorns. The term is used to describe an attractive single woman (who isn’t crazy and likely to boil your bunny), and who would be delighted to join a couple for a threesome with no strings attached. That combination, while not being impossible is extremely difficult to find. Hence the term unicorn as they are almost a mythical creature.

Lately there appears to be another class of individuals that women are lamenting don’t exist. The title of “unicorns” can also be given to men who are between the ages of 35 and 60, who are smart, professional, heterosexual, sexually potent, successful, attractive, and confident and who are looking for a long term, monogamous relationship. These are the “happily ever-after guys”. In the dating pool these men are becoming increasingly rarer. It’s not that men are being body snatched, turning gay, or dying off in droves. It’s just that social expectations are changing and changing quickly. I’ve been talking about the culture of sexuality in North America for over 20 years. And I am always surprised at how quickly the sexual norms can change. In 20 years we went from monogamy being the only option to it being one of many options men are considering for the second half of their lives.

Canadian men are becoming increasingly gun-shy of being locked into an exclusive commitment. Single men over 35 who are available in the dating pool are often recently out of divorces. And like most divorces, these guys were beat up through the process. Breakups are emotionally draining and often very expensive. I’m seeing these men as clients of my sex therapy practice. The marriages these men are coming out of were sexually unsatisfying (or sexless), and these guys felt trapped by expectations, kids, and social conventions. And once the upheaval and heartache of a marriage breakdown is over the last thing these guys are interested in is getting back into an exclusive relationship. Many men felt that they couldn’t grow within the confines of the relationship they just left. And for many men that includes growing sexually. They are still interested in women and certainly still interested in sex but they aren’t interested in trying the storybook ending anytime soon. These men want to play, date, kick some tires and look at models beyond monogamy. They have played by the rules and found themselves unfulfilled.
I don’t think it makes them players (unless they aren’t being transparent about their intentions to date a number of women), but they realize that going back to sex with only one woman isn’t very appealing. The men I’m meeting are stand up guys. They take care of their kids, will buy you dinner and will treat you well. They want intimacy but find themselves very guarded about women who want to pin them down.

I’ve long believed in the idea that “men don’t fall in love with a partner; they fall in love with how that partner makes them feel.” And for men to feel relaxed enough to fall in love they have to know that their new partner isn’t trying to shuffle them towards the alter. They are looking for kind women who look good and who like sex. Creative, “hang from the chandelier sex” so much the better.

What’s also happening at the same time men are becoming more skittish is that the whole issue of monogamy has come under scrutiny. With an over 53% divorce rate, monogamy’s track record has been less than stellar. And more and more people are talking about swinging, polyamory, or some kind of friend with benefits arrangement while maintaining a primary relationship. It’s been much more common in Europe with an acceptance of transparent mistresses, but “outside the box” relationships are starting to become more commonplace in North America. All this doesn’t mean that marriage and long-term relationships are dead. It just means that the dating rules are changing again. Up until the last few years I would have encouraged people to try some of the conventional dating sites like Match and Plenty of Fish. Now I see online dating as more fraught with hucksters and more insincere people than it has ever been. Prudent daters can still find great people online but more caution and work is required. Groups like meetups, dating coaching, matchmakers, and community clubs are taking up some of the slack. Meeting face to face seems to be on the upswing. Everyone is still looking for love, but it may not be the exclusive love of your parent’s generation.
Neil Strauss in his new book The Truth has this to say about modern relationships.

“We expect love to last forever. Yet as many as 50 percent of marriages and even more remarriages end in divorce. Among those who are married, only 38 percent actually describe themselves as happy in that state. Unfortunately, it’s only getting worse. Thanks to technology, we now have more dating and hook –up options than at any other time in human history, with countless desperate men and women just a click or swipe away, making fidelity-or even committing in the first place-yet more of a challenge. In a recent Pew research survey, four out of ten people believed that marriage was an obsolete institution.”

So what’s a conventional single girl to do? How do you date in the modern world without getting your heart broken?

I think it starts with letting go of the fantasy of how things should be, and start looking at what you really want. Modern women have their own jobs, houses and cars. What they want is positive male attention and companionship. Women in the dating world need to be better educated about what life could be not what Walt Disney has fed them over the last few decades. That means embracing independence, but still wanting to need and be needed. It means reading books like The Ethical Slut, Why Men Love Bitches, and Mating in Captivity to see if anything resonates. And more than that it means being able to roll with the fact that modern love may open up new possibilities for love and intimacy. If the men can play the field, then so can women. And while I believe that few women have the makeup to be Samantha from Sex in the City, most have a little Carrie in them. In the end, I recommend you shouldn’t have so many lovers you can’t keep track of them, but you can be a modern girl about town and entertain a few men of quality. So go out and find your Mr. Big. And be open to men who are more than a little gun shy. And remember, unicorns need a delicate touch.

Some New Valentine’s Date night ideas 2015

val3
So Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. It’s the day in the year when we celebrate all things romantic. We tell our sweetie that we would pick them all over again, and make an extra effort to be creative in showing our love. Or if you find the whole thing cheesy and commercial then it’s the day when you may want to embrace the growing movement of Anti-Valentine’s Day. Either way February 14th is a moment to be mindful about the need for love in our lives.
If you’ve followed my newsletters for anytime, you’ve heard me preaching about the importance of date nights. A regular check-in is one of the main criteria for couples who stay together. The other factors include kindness, generosity of time and responding positively for your partner’s need for emotional attention. Read the brilliant article that had me upping my game with my husband.

But what are the hot new date ideas?

Here are five you can use this February to try and raise the romance bar:
1. Try Ice fishing. There was even a local Groupon to rent an ice shack. Bring plenty of snacks and hot cocoa, make sure the fish shack is warm, and you have fish-biting music.

2. Think about creative sweets. Give your partner 3 sealed envelopes and ask her to choose one. Each envelope has a different dessert destination in store. Or, try pulling out a couple of dessert recipe cards and take your sweetie to the store to buy the ingredients together then head home to make it together.

3. 50 Shades of Grey premiere. It opens Valentine’s weekend. The Ducklings are going en mass on Sunday the 15th if you want to do a group date night. (see below for details).

4. Take me to Paris! Think French music, French hat, get a baguette, French wine and cheese and have a carpet picnic. You could also do Take me to Jamaica, Greece etc.

5. Create Your Own National Holiday. So why not create your own national holiday, mark it on your calendar and celebrate it each and every year? How about “Make-out-in-a-car-day? Or “Go Commando day?” These suggestions or (insert yours here____) could be fun to act out on a date night.

PS. Here are the details about the Ducklings. We are doing a group date/movie night on Feb 15th in Ottawa if you want to join us! Send me an email!

The Duckling manifesto
We are the Ducklings. We are proud, kind, flirty and fun. We try new things even though they give us butterflies. We accept everyone as friends and equals. Drama, aggressive and mean people have no place here. We laugh out loud, suggest group adventures and are gentle with each other. We cautiously go (often holding another duckling’s hand) where we haven’t gone before. Integrity, connections, and friendship is our mantra. We are sexy but safe. Activities done with friends are not as overwhelming. So join us for guided, pressure-free, sensuous outings. Referrals and friends are welcome but they need to buy into our philosophy. Being a duckling enhances relationships, increases intimacy and builds community. Wouldn’t you like to be a duckling too?

How we evolved
Over the last few years we have been teaching courses to couples and singles who want to spice up their sex lives we called “Loving Hedonist classes.” Our courses were an introduction to what is out there sexually. The courses were to offer information on what is possibly out there for you to walk the walk in a way that was comfortable for you. We went on a number of field trips from burlesque shows to a visit to Easter Canada’s most famous dominatrix. By going places and learning things together, and by sharing the experiences the events became fun instead of scary. We stared to gather (and quack a bit) and we were described a “ducklings”. The name stuck.

The 10 things you absolutely need to know about to attract a life partner of quality.

At any given time in your community approximately 28% of the people out there are single and looking for love. You may be one of them. Or you may know one of them. Or you may be wanting to leave a relationship and become one of them. And if you haven’t been on the dating market for while you may be struggling with knowing how you should act or where you should start in the quest for love. Finding love takes work and clarity. You need to know what you are looking for in order to do the steps necessary to bring in the kind of person you will be compatible with. But the truth is that there are plenty of singles out there with whom you can create magic. Someone asked me this week about the road map for what they need to do in order to land a lover of the highest quality. The tricks of the trade so to speak.

There is no one size fits all in relationships (and the minute I start thinking that people fit into eharmony boxes of sameness then I am dead in the water). However there are some evolutionary biology rules that see to apply to us as a species. And the anthropologists have tried them out in a variety of different cultures with similar success. So here is the list of what potential partners find attractive.

1. People are attracted to, and remember strong emotion. Present something or develop something truly interesting about yourself. Raise chameleons, learn to play the ukelele, or take them to a haunted house. Your date will remember you. Anything that gets your adrenaline up is a great first date. Strong movie, ziplining, lasertag.
2. Ramp up your masculine or feminine features. If you want to create heat cultivate that day old stubble (if you are a man), or find those pantyhose with the seams down the back if you are a woman. The more you can exaggerate gender roles the hotter you will appear to be.
3. Show your neck. Both men and women find it sexy and it is also a sign of trust and trustworthiness. Also make excuses to touch their arm or shoulder. Study after study emphasizes touch as necessary pack ritual in picking a partner.
4. Make eye contact. The opposite sex (especially men) needs 11 contacts with eyes and smiles to make a solid connection.
5. Be vulnerable and self deprecating. I tell people to not to brag. Mention what a bad golfer you are, not that have a house in an exclusive neighborhood or drive a cool car.
6. Figure out a way to let a potential partner either wear your jacket or carry your jacket. The pheromones you put off will be concentrated and they will feel closer to you for the action.
7. Be happy, positive and interesting. This goes without saying but being positive and clean (think great oral hygiene) are two of the most significant qualities people want from a mate in the survey done at the University of Arizona.
8. Everybody is a Big Deal. What this means is that everyone wants attention. They want you to notice them and not be on their phone when you are spending time with them. Make whoever you are with feel important and special.
9. Play love songs in the car or house when you are entertaining a new person. bribe the staff at the coffee shop if you have to. Love songs makes us feel more romantic and connected to the person we are with.
10. People don’t fall in love with a person, they fall in love with how that person makes them feel. Meaning, work on being gracious and not too needy. Let a potential partner do things for you, and don’t think about all the things you can do for them.

So you are still single? New ideas on meeting the right person. How to win at in-person and online dating.

I was recently asked about the best way to meet, fall in love or at least in lust and connect in a real way. Help Sue, where do you meet someone to love?

It’s fall, time of pumpkin pie, crisp apples and sheering myself hoarse at football games. But if you are doing it by yourself, those things are not nearly so much fun.

So where exactly do you meet someone who gets it? How do you find someone who thinks your collection of Star Wars figurines are cool, or who knows how to make a incredible creme brule? Where is YOUR person to be found?

I think online dating is still a great way to connect but there are plenty of pitfalls. I know tons of people who are now happily married after meeting online. Even the basic free sites like plenty of fish (the site that I call “the Kmart of dating sites”) can work to find a kindred spirit. I also know two women who had long conversations with men who turned out to be Nigerian scammers looking for laptops and money. The good, the great the bad, and the scary are all online. Dating via the internet allows you to correspond safely, google someone in advance to be sure of their authenticity, and at least know that they can spell. Things you can’t find out when you meet at a bar. But safety and prudence are important.

I think if you are strategic, prepared to do the work you can meet someone special online. The work I mean is time consuming emails, and regularly changing your profile, spreadsheets to keep track of who you are talking to and meeting different people for lots of coffees and “so what do you do” conversations. You need to kiss a number of frogs before you meet someone who rocks your world.

There are a couple of new interesting sites like marriageminded.com, zoosk or our time.

I liked the founder of marriageminded’s thoughts on being the kind of person you would want to date:

“If you have succumbed to watching Netflix from the couch while eating fast food and you want a partner who is physically fit you had better run not walk to the gym.” Be interesting. Do not put your life on hold or defer happiness until you meet The One? Take that trip overseas, become a homeowner, get a new hobby or entertain more. It will eliminate the smell of desperation and make you a much more interesting and confident person.”

There are lots of articles and blogs about finding love online. I’ve written a couple of them so have a read at

But where else can you meet these days? Stella Ellis, the plus-size sex maven who is the muse of the design world says she meets men sitting in outdoor cafes. She always has something interesting on her table and then makes friends with everyone around her. If you aren’t so naturally outgoing come up with your own schtick for meeting prospects. I advised one client, a sales rep who worked lots of trade show to keep her bag stocked with Hershey’s kisses when working the floor at trade shows. She then asked attractive men “if they wanted a kiss”. She said she gives out chocolate and gets phone numbers. Or a friend of mine who helps his grandmother sell her knitted scarves at craft fairs in November. He spends time with his favorite Nanna and she acts likes the world’s best wingman talking him up to any woman in earshot.

Try places where the opposite sex congregate. I have struck up more conversations with hunky guys in tool belts at Home Depot then I can count. I also like beer tasting, playoff parties, and political events for meeting men. If you want to meet women, try wine pairings, lectures, and anything with chocolate. I’m convinced that all women are sugarholics. And international chocolate day is next week. Find an event in your city. And simple be passionate. Go to places where people are passionate about things they believe in. Animal rescue groups, save the river, or support your local city counselor. Just get out there and put your best foot forward. Your person is out there waiting for you.

The best new Fall date night suggestions. Especially if you live in Ottawa

 

Top new date nights in Ottawa, Fall 2013

1.     Nature Nocturn. Friday nights at the Museum of Nature. $20 from  8 to midnight. Starts Sept 20 and runs until May 23rd once a month.  Get tickets in advance at nature.ca/nocturne. Bands, themes (including Star Wars, and The Arctic), food wine and friends.

 

2.     The Tribe pool and House parties. Nudist/lifestyle friendly pool parties outside of Almonte that has a potluck, prizes and very, very interesting scenery. If you are looking for a naughty community this is it. The hosts, F and Wayne are gracious (protective if you need it) and run a great bi-monthly Saturday party for couples who want to walk on the wild side. Tell them I sent you (they will make sure you get the complete tour and are taken “under wing” a bit). Write me and I’ll send you the contact info.

September 21st –  George’s Pig Roast BBQ      (Pool Closer)  

October  5th –     Disco Party
October 26th  –   Bark at the Moon   (Hallowe’en)

November 9th –   Seven Deadly Sins    

November 23rd –   Starry Night         (Van Gogh’ s inspiration)

 December 7th –    XXX   Dutch Christmas   

 December 31st   –    A Tribal New-Year’s Eve! 

 

3   Rockabilly burlesque. Ottawa’s longest running burlesque troop. They had an information night September 14th, and their annual zombie Halloween evening is coming up. It’s perfect for couples. Thursday, October 31st – 9pm $10 adv
4th Annual Zombie Strippers Halloween Show w/ Rockabilly Burlesque, Fevers, The Mansfield Brothers, MC Greg Houston & more

https://www.facebook.com/events/173142002874785

 

Other Burlesque troops to watch are Capital Tease, Sin Sisters, and Sexual Overtones.

4.      Try Milestone’s Wednesday date night. $50 for 2. They have a caramel, gingered apple crisp which is best shared and without panties. Just saying….

 

5.      I like the Fall fairs for Ferris wheel rides, caramel apples, and cute, fuzzy bunnies at the petting barn. The Richmond Fair is on this weekend, Carp Fair is next weekend and so on. Get out, hold hands and watch wear you step. Smile.

 

6.      Fall football games on Saturday afternoon. Many of us are Carleton and Ottawa U alumni (Go Ravens!) and this is the first year that Carleton’s much missed football team is back. Check out the listings for both Ottawa U and Carleton Athletics and carry on a rivalry with your sweetie if they went out of town for school. Spif still has is purple and silver Western Mustangs jersey 25 years later. Find info at  http://www.geegees.ca/, and http://goravens.carleton.ca/teams/football/

 

7.       Venus Envy classes. They have ones coming up that include Bigger Orgasms for her, Lessons in Monogamy, and the big Impact (light to not-so-light paddling). Get more info at http://venusenvy.ca/schedule/workshops/ottawa

8.       Tantric Sex Classes. Find out what all the buzz is about! MC and her husband are up and running with their new tantric sex workshops!  Do it in a PG 13 forum with grace, and meditation. Perfect for the partner that needs to be nudged gently into sensuous date nights.  More info at: http://www.lemonbliss.com/sexibliss-for-couples/

9.       Camp Fortune Ziplining. Anything that gets your adrenaline up qualifies as a great date night. Ziplining safely 25 minutes outside of the City is a perfect outing. You can then go and soak in the hotsprings at Le Nordik in the area as well. A little more money, $17 per person but you can’t beat it for the experience. http://campfortune.com/summer/welcome-summer/. Make a reservation at The Le Nordik  at lenordik.com/en/. I’ve written both the ziplining and Le Nordik to see what couples offers they can suggest for my listeners. I’ll keep you posted. J

10.   Spirit the Halloween Store.  I love Halloween and think these stores that open in September until November 1st are great date nights with your sweetie. They have lost of zombie buttons you can push for cool animatronics.  You can dress up as any fantasy in skanky costumes, and the change rooms are big enough for two. Any props you might require for your year (you can start a tickle trunk of inexpensive sex dress up gear) can be had. Their website offers a 20% off coupon at www.spirithalloween.com that will make anything that catches your eye affordable!

The prescription against divorce. 3 hours of connecting time a week and put down the cell phones.

Like most people I communicate all day long by email, text and social media. I have over 4,000 facebook friends (I’m feeling the love.!..) and I try hard to stay on top of my correspondence. It’s hard not to use the same technologies in my intimate communications despite the fact that I preach snuggling, date nights, and regular face to face snogging. There was an article this week in a UK magazine (Sourced London University) that reminded me of the challenges of social media. Apparently, text flirting, facebook, and online adultery sites were cited as being responsible for 60% (Agh!) of divorces in 2011.

Time and the challenge faced with work/life balances is the theme for most of the lunches with my girlfriends. Finding time for personal contact with friends amidst work kids (can’t WAIT for school to start!), and personal time. I gave a controversial quote in my interview with Glow magazine last week. I said that “if couples can’t find 3 hours of uninterrupted intimate time each week for conversation, sensuous touch and a general positive check in of the relationship they won’t make it.” With a divorce rate over 52% for first time marriages, traditional marriages can be viewed by some as a failing experiment. I tell couples that of they can’t regularly carve out that 3 hours a week for conversation beyond “what’s for dinner”, then partners feel taken for granted. And with marriages, the truth is that they take real work and transparency with your communication. I often ask couples if they would be able to exchange phones for the day. If you have flirty emails that you might not want your mate to see, maybe its time to look at an exercise in what I call “open-minded communication”. It’s about  really testing the limits of your comfort zone and honestly asking your partner to meet some of your intimacy needs. It’s scary stuff.

So what can you do without going through a therapist led facilitation?  I suggest two things.  The first is to do a “couples mission statement”. Think of it as a life plan, paragraph of values and New Year’s Resolutions all rolled into one. Write out what’s important to you as a couple, your one and three year life plan, and the things you want to aspire to be in your relationship. Guys get it because its linear, and offers up a target they can hit. Women like it because its intimate and building a future.  The second it to schedule a weekly date night, block of time, parking appointment whatever you like that allows you 3 hours of time together. Find a time when the kids aren’t around, put a lock on your bedroom door, and make your mate the priority for that time. You will be amazed at how effective that it. If you can’t implement those two, drop me a line. I’m can give you a boot camp before you need to look for lawyers.

Top 5 suggestions for finding a new love

marriage
Oprah came to Ottawa this month to talk about love, the universe and her awesome shoes. Women came from all over to be inspired, connect with other great women, and hear about what’s relevant to modern women.

One of her speakers was Columbia University-trained social worker Vasavi Kumar who spoke about how people can renew their dating life. Vasavi, who went from suburban married life to back on the dating circuit had some great ideas about finding a new partner. I just expanded on them and offer up “Sue-isms” that will keep you in play this spring.

Give the nice guy/girl a chance. Kind people don’t always finish last. I hear from my patients all the time. There is something about the bad apple that makes us weak in the knees. I wish I had given all the High School geeks more time when I had the chance. They all grew up to get amazing jobs and treat the women in their lives like princesses.

Don’t get stuck in a “type”-why to be open when choosing a date.
I tell women to look twice at the short guys, and for men to know that the “librarian types” usually burn hot. Don’t be shallow. Look past the looks, past the way he fills out his wallet, and find out if he/she makes you smile.

Find Beauty in Imperfection: “Ever wonder how some couples just seem to have it all together? Like their life is simply ‘perfect?’ With the age of Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites, It’s really easy to get caught up in the ‘their life is so AH-mazing and my life sucks’ mentality’. I have a secret to share with you. Most of the time what you see ‘out there’ is rarely ever a true representation of what actually is. You see, it’s easy to get caught in the ‘perfection’ of other people’s lives and miss out on the beauty of our own life”.

Don’t be your own worst enemy. Don’t sabotage yourself by listening to the voices in your head. Love Yourself First: “Dating isn’t hard at all. It’s hard however when you don’t have an intimate relationship with yourself. The problem is, when we are not happy in our lives, we bring that energy into our personal relationships. When you don’t know who YOU are, you will fall for anything and everyone OR you will continue to push away a potential partner because you believe dating has to be hard and how could it be this easy.” Think No BS. Don’t keep saying, ‘Why is dating so hard? I just can’t seem to find the right one!’ The fact of the matter is, if you tell yourself it’s hard, it will be and you will manifest that in every potential relationship.

Make yourself marketable. As a sex therapist I know that “men are looking for kind women that look good, who like sex.” Dating is the time to re-jig your look and spend some time honing the packaging. If you are really stuck, call the local modelling agencies. They can usually recommend an image consultant that will take you from geeky to gorgeous.

The best new ways to meet the man you can love this spring.

meetingI did a speech this week to a women’s group in a neighboring city. It was a professional women’s association made up of women 35-55. I was doing my talk I like to call “Even Superwomen get Stretchmarks”, about women, intimacy and work/life balance. I was going into the best ways to stay connected with your partner, when one of the women piped up that “she didn’t have a partner so how was she to stay connected?”

The room quickly dissolved into a discussion about being single again (or still). It turns out that in most major metropolitan areas singles constitute over 30% of the population. With a majority of those over the age of 40, being women. Despite being a proponent of smart, targeted online dating, many of the women present had been disappointed by their experiences online dating. So what’s a girl to do?

If you think you are ready to find a relationship I offer up 5 things you have to be aware of, and then a list of the best places to go to meet them.
1. Are you too shallow? Meaning is looks all that matter?
2. Are you are gold digger? Meaning all you care about is how he fills out his wallet?
3. Are you crazy? Is you past issues getting in the way of you finding love?
4. Are you too picky? Do you have a list of partner qualities that even Superman couldn’t fill?
5.Do you have that scent of desperation? Do you already have your wedding planned out and just need to “insert some groom here?” Are you rushing the relationship?
6. Are you a doormat? Are you willing to overlook any poor behavior in order to have a partner?

If you can honestly say that the above questions don’t apply to you then read on. If they do, send me an email at radioshrink@rogers.com and lets work through them either in person or by skype/webcam sessions.

If you’re ready then make an appointment at the spa, look as good as you can be and pick out a man hunting outfit that you feel confident and sexy in. Get up to speed on current events (I read Time Magazine’s website) and find a wingman. A wingman is a girlfriend or buddy you can go to events with.

Here’s the list of great places to frequent to meet that new partner.
1. Crash a party or wedding. It takes guts but if you’re well dressed and confident you can meet a whole new group of people. The best excuse is that you are scoping the venue as you are planning a future event.
2. Moonlighting. My favorite idea is the contracting desk at Home Depot where all those masculine guys with tool belts hang out. Go work at a sporting event, bar, or somewhere men congregate.
3. Go to as many parties as you can. Every Christmas when I was single four friends and I would swap Xmas party invites. I went to the chiropractic parties, my friend Dirk would come to my medical events, and we both would go to Betina’s law events. The food was always great at those. I met people who’s paths I would seldom cross.
4. Food/wine tasting. I love those things. You may have to diet the week following, but in Ontario the LCBO has lots of classes, as many of the upscale restaurants.
5. Co-ed volleyball. Bar none the best place I’ve heard of to meet fit, interesting men.
6. The same can be said of pool/bowling leagues, and believe it or not, latin dance classes.
7. Car shows. The place is crowded with men, and they are all imagine you lying across the hoods of those shiny vehicles.
8. Dog walking. Borrow a friend’s if you don’t have one. It’s a fabulous way to make friends.
9. Golf club. Take lessons from the pro and get out there. One of life’s social activities like skiing that helps you connect.
10. Investment seminar. Or upscale retirement living seminar if you are of that generation. Don’t commit to anything but get some tips and mingle.

How not to marry a jerk

What was interesting about the new Canadian Census stats that were released this week is just how many more single people there are living alone than in years gone past. The numbers from Stats Canada shows that more Canadians are living alone – 5.6 million people aged 15 years and older did not live in census family. It illustrates just how hard it is to meet, connect and to stay in a relationship.

I think it is also a lesser tolerance for bad relationships. Dr. Martin Rovers along with Capital Choice Counseling Group runs a great session at his relationships matters monthly seminars called “How not to marry a jerk”. I think it’s a mandatory course for people who keep picking the same person over and over – and those people tend to be jerks.

Dr. Rovers has got a list of things you can do to define and manage any potential jerk love interests.
“Dr. Rovers thinks there are permanent jerks and transitional jerks. A permanent jerk is someone, wounded from childhood, with features such as:

Persistent resistance to ever changing their core qualities

More than willing to put the blame on everyone else

Break boundaries and promises

Inability to see things for another person’s perspective, a poor listener

Dangerous lack of emotional control and balance, any or withdrawn.

A transitional jerk is someone who has never really learned the skills and attitudes for emotional connectedness in relationships, but can make changes when care-fronted. These are the husbands and wives who need to learn interrelational skills, but are willing and capable when pushed. Jerk is a masculine and feminine word, even if men have much more difficulty with intimacy, as it is defined in society today. ”

Some of the things you can do is to work on your own boundaries in respect to a partner, and make sure you ask a ton a questions before hooking up. As I recently said, very few women especially can do casual sex, so you better be sure a potential lover is not a jerk before jumping into bed. I also suggest a selection committee. One member of your posse (family, friends, co-workers) might not like a potential partner, but when a few people keep singing the same tune, (and they love you) then you might want to listen. If your partner won’t commit, introduce you to their family, and treat their own family members or even wait staff with disrespect then RUN.

Check out the upcoming Relationship Matters seminar (www.relationshipsmatters.ca) with Debra-Lynn Menard and the 50 Shades of Change.

The realization that you need to be desired in order to be turned on.

Everyone wants to feel wanted. In fact I would even say it’s a basic need of sex to be desired by your partner. For …

Low Libido and improving desire workshop starting this November 2017.

Low libido or decreased sexual desire is still the #1 thing seen by Sex Therapists in North America. In my office low desire …

It’s Oktoberfest! Understand how drinking the right kind of beer can increase your sex life!

If you are planning on taking in some of the Oktoberfest celebrations this October you might want to pay attention to the …

The season of Sex. Great fall date night suggestions to take advantage of snuggling under the covers weather.

Did you know that there is a season for sex? It turns out it’s fall when moose, sheep and apparently people go into …

It turns out it isn’t getting rich (or being skinnier) that makes you happy.

It’s sleep and sex that rate as things that make you feel the most content. Although preferably not together. A study …