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Nothing quite like a sibling bond

For Leah Guevarra, coming out to her OFW parents was difficult. And so she first came out to LA, her younger brother. Coming out as bisexual made their relationship stronger, which Leah appreciates because there were friends and other people who didn’t accept her for being bisexual. “(I) didn’t mind because one million words of non-acceptance was nothing… compared to one word of love from my brother,” Leah says.

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“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.”
Richard Bach

For Leah Guevarra, coming out to her parents was difficult. They weren’t there, to start, since they were overseas foreign workers (OFWs). And so – fearful that they would not take the news well – Leah first came out to LA, her younger brother. Leah thought that due to their closeness as siblings, coming out as bisexual to her younger brother would be a step forward towards being open to others as well.

“I decided to come out to him during the time I was with my first girlfriend,” Leah said. “At that time, I was excited to have finally accepted myself and have found someone I can be myself with. I wanted to share this with LA so I went on to tell him.”

Leah knew – or at least expected – that LA would accept her. She believed in the bond that they created over the years; a “bond that not even sexuality can break,” Leah said.

Interviewed by Outrage Magazine, they recalled the night when she bravely went up to her younger brother and said seven “dangerous but freeing words”: “LA, I have a girlfriend. I’m bisexual.”

“Okay, cool,” he quipped. “There’s no point in me trying to change you because that’s who you are and I accept you as who you are because you’re my sister and I love you.” Then, he added: “I’m your fucking brother.”

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Looking back, they can now laugh at that coming out moment.

As Leah expected, coming out as bisexual did not affect their relationship as siblings. If at all, it made it stronger. And this is something particularly Leah appreciates because there were friends and other people who didn’t accept her for being bisexual. “(I) didn’t mind because one million words of non-acceptance was nothing… compared to one word of love from my brother,” Leah said.

Having a positive response to her coming out to her younger brother made Leah a stronger person, and was also the stepping stone to her eventual coming out to her mother. It was LA, in fact, who explained to their mother that there was no difference if Leah loved a guy or a girl, or even both.

“I guess if it weren’t for LA’s courage, I still wouldn’t be out to my mum,” Leah smiled.

They now both stress that “when someone comes out to you, don’t treat them differently. Not being straight is not to be taken as a shock. A man and a woman love each other and no one objects; this is how (same-sex relationships) should also be seen.”

LOVE AFFAIRS

More than one in 10 want to be in an open relationship

Researchers found that people engaging in and preferring open relationships tended to be slightly younger. Men were also more likely to have reported being in an open relationship and to identify open as their ideal relationship type. Relationship satisfaction didn’t differ significantly between individuals in monogamous and open relationships.

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An open heart?

A sizable number of adults are either in or would like to be in an open relationship. This is one of the key findings from a research from the University of British Columbia, and which was published in the Journal of Sex Research.

The study was conducted in Canada, and is the first outside of the US to assess the prevalence of open relationships using a representative sample.

Researchers analyzing data from a nationally representative survey of about 2,000 Canadian adults found that 4% of those in relationships reported being in an open relationship, while 20% reported having been in an open relationship in the past. Meanwhile, more than one in ten (12%) reported that open relationships were their “ideal relationship type.”

“Our findings suggest that more people would like to be in an open relationship than already are, possibly because of the stigma associated with these types of relationships and the difficulty of broaching this subject with partners,” said Nichole Fairbrother, the study’s lead author and assistant professor in the UBC department of psychiatry. “Even with the stigma, however, it still appears that a sizable number of Canadian adults are either in or would like to be in an open relationship.”

Relationship satisfaction didn’t differ significantly between individuals in monogamous and open relationships.
Photo by Suhyeon Choi from Unsplash.com

Open relationships are those in which individuals agree to participate in sexual, emotional and romantic interactions with more than one partner. Examples include polyamory (engaging in multiple romantic relationships) and swinging (engaging in multiple sexual relationships outside of a relationship, alone or together, with minimal or no emotional or romantic involvement).

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For the study, the researchers had market research firm Ipsos administer an online questionnaire to a representative sample of about 2,000 Canadians between the ages of 18 and 94. Nearly equal numbers of men and women responded to the survey. Fifty-five per cent of respondents were married or living with a romantic partner, while 31% were single, 10% were separated or divorced and nearly 4% were widowed.

Among the key findings, the researchers found that people engaging in and preferring open relationships tended to be slightly younger. Men were also more likely to have reported being in an open relationship and to identify open as their ideal relationship type. Relationship satisfaction didn’t differ significantly between individuals in monogamous and open relationships. Rather, having a match between one’s actual and preferred relationship type was associated with greater relationship satisfaction, the researchers found.

As for why greater numbers of men tend to prefer open to monogamous relationships, the researchers suggest it could be partially due to the greater prevalence of open relationships among same-sex male couples. They say more research is needed to fully understand the factors behind men preferring open relationships more than women.

Fairbrother said the findings have clinical implications for mental health providers, especially for those who provide couples therapy.

“Given that a significant minority of respondents say they prefer open relationships, it may be useful for mental health providers to consider ways of making it easier for couples to talk about their relationship preferences in therapy,” she said.

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The researchers also collected survey answers from hundreds of UBC and Ryerson University students to analyze the characteristics of people who prefer different relationship configurations. They are analyzing this data now.

Men were more likely to have reported being in an open relationship and to identify open as their ideal relationship type.
Photo by David Clarke from Unsplash.com

The study was co-authored by Trevor Hart, a psychology professor and director of the HIV prevention lab at Ryerson University, and Malcolm Fairbrother, a sociologist at Umeå University in Sweden. It was supported by a Ryerson University faculty of arts new initiatives award, awarded to Hart.

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LOVE AFFAIRS

Study says sex helps initiate romantic relationships between potential partners

Sexual desire may play a causally important role in the development of relationships. It’s the magnetism that holds partners together long enough for an attachment bond to form.

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A budding relationship or just a one-night stand? The difference may not be immediately obvious, least of all to those directly involved. However, sex helps initiate romantic relationships between potential partners.

This is according to a new study, “Fueled by desire: Sexual activation facilitates the enactment of relationship-initiating behaviors” by Gurit E. Birnbaum, Moran Mizrahi and Harry T. Reis, and published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

The team of psychologists from the Israeli-based Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya and the University of Rochester’s Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology conclude that sexual desire may play a major role not only in attracting potential partners to each other, but also in encouraging the formation of an attachment between them.

“Sex may set the stage for deepening the emotional connection between strangers,” says the study’s lead author Gurit Birnbaum, a social psychologist and associate professor of psychology at the IDC Herzliya. “This holds true for both men and women. Sex motivates human beings to connect, regardless of gender.”

The study was – however, and worth noting – limited to heterosexual relationships.

Still, according to Birnbaum, some believe that men are more likely than women to initiate relationships when sexually aroused, but when one focuses on more subtle relationship-initiating strategies, such as providing help, this pattern does not hold true: in fact, both men and women try to connect with potential partners when sexually aroused.

In four interrelated studies, participants were introduced to a new acquaintance of the opposite sex in a face-to-face encounter. The researchers demonstrate that sexual desire triggers behaviors that can promote emotional bonding during these encounters.

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“Although sexual urges and emotional attachments are distinct feelings, evolutionary and social processes likely have rendered humans particularly prone to becoming romantically attached to partners to whom they are sexually attracted,” says co-author Harry Reis, a professor of psychology and Dean’s Professor in Arts, Sciences & Engineering at the University of Rochester.

In the first study, the researchers looked at whether sexual desire for a new acquaintance would be associated with non-verbal cues signaling relationship interest. These so-called immediacy behaviors are displayed in the synchronization of movements, close physical proximity, and frequent eye contact with a study insider who worked with the scientists. The study participants, all of whom identified as single and heterosexual, were recruited at a university in central Israel.

Study 1 included 36 women and 22 men who lip-synched to pre-recorded music with an attractive, opposite-sex study insider. Afterwards, participants rated their desire for the insider, whom they believed to be another participant. The scientists found that the greater the participant’s desire for the insider, the greater their immediacy behaviors towards, and synchronization with, the insider.

Study 2 replicated the finding with 38 women and 42 men who were asked to slow dance with an attractive, opposite-sex insider, whom they believed to be a study participant. Again, the researchers found a direct association between synchronization of body movement and desire for the insider.

Study 3 included 42 women and 42 men and established a causal connection between activating the sexual behavior system and behaviors that help initiate relationships. In order to activate the sexual system, the researchers used a subliminal priming technique in which they flashed an erotic, non-pornographic image for 30 milliseconds on a screen, which participants were not aware of seeing. Next, participants interacted with a second study participant–essentially a potential partner–discussing interpersonal dilemmas while being videotaped. Afterwards judges rated the participants’ behaviors that conveyed responsiveness and caring. The scientists found the activation of the sexual system also resulted in behaviors that suggested caring about a potential partner’s well-being–an established signal for interest in a relationship.

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Study 4 included 50 women and 50 men. Half the group watched an erotic, non-pornographic video scene from the movie The Boy Next Door. The other half watched a neutral video of rainforests in South America. Next, study participants were assigned an attractive opposite-sex insider and told to complete a verbal reasoning task. The insider pretended to get stuck on the third question and asked the participant for help. The researchers found that those participants who had watched the erotic movie scene were quicker to help, invested more time, and were perceived as more helpful, than the neutral video control group.

What then could explain the role of sex in fostering partnerships? Human sexual behavior evolved to ensure reproduction. As such, sex and producing offspring don’t depend on forming an attachment between partners. However, the prolonged helplessness of human children promoted the development of mechanisms that keep sexual partners bonded to each other so that they can jointly care for their offspring, says Birnbaum, whose collaboration with Reis spans 20 years, dating back to her postdoc days at the University of Rochester.

“Throughout human history, parents’ bonding greatly increased the children’s survival chances,” she says.

Prior neuroimaging research has shown that similar brain regions (the caudate, insula, and putamen) are activated when a person experiences either sexual desire or romantic love. The researchers surmise that this pattern hints at a neurological pathway that causes sexual activation–the neural processes that underlie a sexual response–to affect emotional bonding.

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They conclude that experiencing sexual desire between previously unacquainted strangers may help facilitate behaviors that cultivate personal closeness and bonding.

“Sexual desire may play a causally important role in the development of relationships,” says Birnbaum. “It’s the magnetism that holds partners together long enough for an attachment bond to form.”

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LOVE AFFAIRS

Tips on learning to communicate better with ladies

No matter who you are, you can actually transform yourself to become a Prince Charming, a man who is such a darling when around ladies.

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The dream of every man is to be a Prince Charming, someone who woos women by his diction and the way he expresses himself. Unfortunately, not all men or should we say, a lot of men aren’t what they want i.e. they are not Prince ‘Charming’s’. While this indeed is a terrible thing, the good thing is that it can be changed.

No matter who you are, you can actually transform yourself to become a Prince Charming, a man who is such a darling when around ladies. In order to do this, all you need is to understand the following transformative tips.

BE AN ACTIVE LISTENER

Listening in communication is as much important as talking. There are two types of listening and if you want to be a good communicator, you have to be very good in one of these. The two types are active listening and passive hearing. To be charming and to build strong relationships, it’s important for one to master the art of active listening.

When we talk about active listening, we are talking about someone who listens with patience, who concentrates when listening and who is modest in his listening. Active listeners, therefore, are people who listen to understand first and foremost before they listen to respond. Patience is important so that you get the ‘verbal’ message being relayed and concentration is important so that you read the ‘non-verbal’ message being relayed.

Modesty is also important so that you let the other person talk with interrupting her even if you feel your person is being attacked.

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Go on as many dates as you want to horn your communication skills. Errors that you do on your first experience will be rectified on your second experience and so on and so on.
Photo by Jonathan J. Castellon from Unsplash.com

MAKE TIME

They say experience is the best teacher and you know what, this is very true for those looking to learn the art of communicating better with ladies. You may read a lot of stuff online but if you do not practice what you are learning, then it’s safe to say you are wasting your time. In order to learn how to communicate better with ladies, you need to make time to ‘actually’ communicate with the ladies. Go on as many dates as you want to horn your communication skills. Errors that you do on your first experience will be rectified on your second experience and so on and so on. As you do that, you will realize that you are actually perfecting your communication skills from just communicating.

Married men can also make time to learn how to communicate better with their spouses. Rather than chatting about what kids want for the holidays or who is going to fetch groceries from the mall, you need to make time (an hour or two) every day where you just talk about different stuff not related to family life.

Even when you are involved in an argument, always make sure that you remain calm and composed and ensure that you always show her the caring side despite the circumstances.
Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN from Unsplash.com

BE COMPASSIONATE

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When communicating, it’s important that you do not take any conversation as an argument in which one party has to lose and the other win. Communication is not about winners. Even when you are involved in an argument, always make sure that you remain calm and composed and ensure that you always show her the caring side despite the circumstances.

To learn more about communication skills with ladies, signup here.

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LOVE AFFAIRS

People who prefer casual sex still desire intimacy

Those who prefer sexual hookups to traditional relationships more likely to want affection.

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Casual sex among emerging adults can be a source of intimacy, and often is. This is according to a new study conducted by an interdisciplinary team of researchers, including Binghamton University faculty and researchers at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute.            

Intimacy through casual sex: Relational context of sexual activity and affectionate behaviors” – published in the Journal of Relationships Research –  was designed by Ann Merriwether of Binghamton University and Justin Garcia of the Kinsey Institute, and conducted with Sean Massey of Binghamton, Amanda Gesselman of the Kinsey Institute, and Susan Seibold-Simpson of SUNY Broome.

Researchers sent a voluntary online questionnaire to several hundred college students, and asked about their affectionate and intimate activities during sexual encounters in the contexts of both romantic relationships and casual sex hookups. The researchers found, as they expected, that partners were more likely to engage in affectionate and intimate activities in relationship sex than in casual sex– but the rate of these acts in casual sex was much higher than hypothesized.

Ann Merriwether, a developmental psychologist and lecturer at Binghamton, said casual sex is largely misinterpreted in today’s society.

“We have a stereotype that casual sex (hookups) are just about meaningless sex, but this research shows this is not necessarily true,” said Merriwether. “It shows intimacy is important and desired by many people, especially those who prefer hookups to more traditional relationships.”

Justin Garcia, research director of the Kinsey Institute and Ruth Halls associate professor of gender studies at Indiana University, said they’ve been working on the topic of casual sex for over 10 years with a focus on integrating concepts from evolutionary and gender theories of human behavior, and are conducting further studies as part of ongoing collaborations between researchers at the Kinsey Institute and Binghamton University.

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“We are continuing to explore dynamics of casual sex behavior, and how interpersonal factors like intimacy and demographic factors like gender and sexual orientation influence the motivations, experiences, and outcomes of sexual activity across different relationship contexts,” Garcia said.

The students were randomly selected from a university in the US Northeast and answered questions about whether or not they engage in affectionate and intimate acts during sex, including cuddling, spending the night, eye gazing, and engaging in foreplay. They also indicated which of these acts they preferred during casual (hookup) sex or sex in the context of a romantic relationship.

The researchers hypothesized women would report being more likely to engage in intimate acts in all scenarios. The information they found supported this hypothesis, but the data also showed many men were likely to engage in intimate acts as well, with no gender difference found in relation to engaging in foreplay or eye gazing.

The participants specified which type of sexual context they preferred: sex in a long-term relationship or in casual hookups. Study coauthor Sean Massey, a social psychologist and associate professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies at Binghamton, said the team found results they had not anticipated.

“Young adults who indicated they prefer casual sexual encounters over relationship sex were more likely to want affection and intimacy from them,” said Massey. “This suggests they seek to meet their need for intimacy through those casual encounters.”

Massey hopes this study will help to eliminate some of the stigma that still surrounds casual sex and increase public understanding of uncommitted sexual encounters among college students and emerging adults.

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Love Guides

The single’s guide to online dating

Are you ready to jump headfirst into the world of online dating? If so, this guide is for you.

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The world of online dating can feel intimidating if you’re just getting started as a single today. Whether this is your first time downloading a dating app or you’ve swiped casually for months now, there’s a lot to learn about this brave new world. The odds of finding a match through online dating are in your favor with 66% of users dating someone they met online.

Are you ready to jump headfirst into the world of online dating? If so, this guide is for you. Stop being intimidated by the possibility of finding your match online. It’s time to embrace this technology for the tool it is: a revolutionary way to connect with other singles in your area without the pitfalls of traditional dating.

FINDING THE RIGHT PLATFORM

When you’re first getting started with the world of online dating, you probably are overwhelmed with the sheer number of platforms out there today. Across the globe, there are more than 7,5000 online dating websites according to Online Dating Magazine. With so many options, it’s easy to get confused.

It’s time to embrace this technology for the tool it is: a revolutionary way to connect with other singles in your area without the pitfalls of traditional dating. PHOTO BY BRETT SAYLES VIA PEXELS.COM

How you choose a website for you will depend on a number of factors:

  • Are you introverted or extroverted?
  • Do you prefer to make the first move?
  • Are you interested in long-term dating or hookups?
  • Are you gay or straight?
  • How much work do you want to put into meeting others?
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There are no right or wrong answers. For example, if you’re looking for gay singles near you, you’ll probably want to choose a platform designed with your needs in mind. If you’re not interested in putting in a lot of work, at least at first, choose an app that focuses less on comprehensive matchmaking and more on first impressions. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a platform for you.

BUILDING YOUR PROFILE

The next step once you’ve decided on the right platform is to create a profile. This is where most newbies make the most mistakes. Realize that your profile isn’t the same thing as your resume. It’s also not your life story. You need to find a balance between introducing yourself and sharing what you’re looking for.

Here are the basics of a quality profile:

  • Username – You want your username to be unique, interesting, and relevant to who you are as a person.
  • Photos – Use clear, nicely taken photos that clearly show your face. Don’t be afraid to include photos of you participating in your favorite hobbies or sports if that makes sense for you.
  • Bio – Depending on your platform, you’ll have a lot of room to introduce yourself. Keep it to the point and genuine. Most people won’t read through a drawn-out profile. Remember you want to save some conversation for your first date!
  • Interests – What are you interested in? Make sure this is clearly shown on your profile so potential matches can get a feel for what you’re like. They also make great conversation starters.
  • Location – Don’t lie about your location. You want to meet singles near you, so don’t list that you live somewhere you don’t.
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Write your profile from a place of authenticity. Don’t try to be someone you’re not, and also don’t go overboard explaining every part of your life. This should be a highlight reel. Talk about who you are, what you do, and what you’re excited about. People are attracted to passion, so let yours shine through.

Realize that your profile isn’t the same thing as your resume. It’s also not your life story. You need to find a balance between introducing yourself and sharing what you’re looking for. PHOTO FROM PIXABAY.COM VIA PEXELS.COM

MAKING A MOVE

Once your profile is live and ready to go, it’s time to start meeting your matches. Try not to be too picky, but also know your deal breakers. This is a great chance to chat online with some interesting people near you. Start a conversation and see where it goes.

When you’re ready to meet someone you met online, make sure you take safety precautions. No matter how much you think you trust them, they’re still a stranger. Always schedule your first date for a public place, and let a friend know where you’ll be at all times. Online dating can be great fun, but only if you take safety seriously.

FINDING A MATCH

It’s okay to just put yourself out there and have fun. That’s what online dating is all about. Don’t get hung up on the perfect profile or finding a 100% match. This is the best time to explore your options and get to know what you like and don’t like.

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If you’re not feeling a certain dating platform, just move on to the next one. There’s a platform for everyone, and you don’t have to settle for anything that doesn’t feel right to you. You never know. Your perfect match might only be a few clicks away.

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LOVE AFFAIRS

Top three 2019 relationship resolutions

Here are three top tips for couples who want to deepen their love connection and strengthen their partnership in 2019.

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It’s that time of the year again, when romantic partners all over the world will be celebrating the new year together. With this, relationship expert Kailen Rosenberg – author of “Real Love, Right Now: A 30-Day Blueprint for Finding Your Soul Mate — and So Much More!” – said that those in relationships may want to consider “relationship resolutions”.

Nonetheless, while having relationship resolutions is great, “none of them really matter unless you have true admiration and respect for one another’s life journey to begin with. Celebrate where you have been and how the experiences in your relationship helped you both grow into the individuals and couple you are today — the good, the bad, and the not-so-gorgeous,” Rosenberg.

Rosenberg shares three of her top tips for couples who want to deepen their love connection and strengthen their partnership in 2019.

  1. Honor your relationship’s evolution: “Remember who you were and who your partner was when you first fell in love. Notice how the two of you have grown and changed into who you’ve become today. Look at the ways each of your souls have impacted one another and woken each other up. Today, you are in a place where you both know each other and yourselves better than ever before, and that never would have happened for either of you without the other.”
  2. Date each other again: “Next, it’s time for you to come together as two loving beings (‘grown-ups’) who have evolved to a new awareness. Believe it or not — yes — you can tap into the love you felt when you first met and start to date each other again.”
  3. Experience everything new together: “Even things you may have done a thousand times. How can your favorite wine taste different? How can the same restaurant feel like a new place? How can your partner’s body feel different when you make love? You have an opportunity to create a new, fresh connection with each other that has never been possible before. When couples reconnect in this way, they often find that their love is stronger than they knew and things don’t have to be as mundane as they had come to believe.”
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