>Peace, Love & Politics Part 2

What does the heat of Election 2016 have to do with the heat in your bedroom?  Quite a lot, depending on which side you lean.  The dating website, Zoosk, polled nearly 6,000 singles to see how they really feel about the candidates as it relates to their love and sex lives.


Here are some of the key findings:


  • Democrats are better in bed. 55% of singles think Democrats are likely to be better than Republicans in bed; 23% of self-identified Republicans agree.
  • The frontrunners are the most dateable. 49% of Republican singles say Trump is the most dateable candidate while 40% of Democrats vote for Hillary.
  • Trump is the most charming and funniest candidate. More singles (36%) find Trump charming than Bernie (25%), Hillary (16%), John Kasich (11%) or Ted Cruz (11%). When it comes to humor, singles think Trump is the funniest (41%) followed by Bernie (28%) and Hillary (14%).
  • Singles want to grab a beer with Trump. More singles want to grab a beer with Trump (38%) over Bernie (27%) and Hillary (15%).


While Donald Trump may be the preferred candidate to grab a beer with, singles are sick of talking about him on dates.  When Zoosk originally addressed this topic in its “Are Your Politics Getting in the Way of Finding True Love?” survey back in August, 77% would welcome a productive conversation about politics if their date brought up Trump’s campaign.  However, after 8 months on the campaign trail, only 29% of singles feel that way today.  Another noticeable change is as the campaign moves forward, more singles are open to dating across party lines.  The survey found that 84% of singles would date someone from the opposite party, a 9% increase from August 2015.


Author, Dave Willis, tackles the issue in his bestseller, “The Seven Laws of Love”.  He says that while differing worldviews can make for lively discussions, you may be wasting your time with someone who doesn’t agree with you on the really important issues.  “On areas where you disagree, you have to ask yourself the questions, “Am I willing to enter into this relationship knowing this issue may create a lifelong source of unresolved tension in the relationship? Will I be okay if my future children adopt my lover’s beliefs and convictions instead of my own?” If you can’t answer “yes” to those questions, then you may want to tap the brakes,” he says.


Of course, it’s certainly possible to have a happy relationship with someone of different political convictions, but the repercussions are much more complex than most couples may realize.


> Just How Much Are Couples Spending To Tie The Knot? $32,641

As we head into wedding season, The Knot is out with its annual report of the latest spending habits and trends of weddings in America.  And, it looks like couples are spending an insane amount of money on the big day.


According to The Knot’s 2015 Real Weddings Study, which surveyed nearly 18,000 U.S. brides and grooms, the average wedding cost has increased by more than $5,500 in the past five years with couples spending an average $32,641 last year.  That doesn’t include the honeymoon, BTW.  It’s estimated that the biggest increase was on the reception venue (+$1,950), ceremony site (+$652) and the reception band (+545).


No surprise here, that the most expensive place to get married is in the Tri-State area.  Manhattan topped the list with an average wedding cost of $82,299.  Chicago came in second ($61,265) followed by Westchester/Hudson Valley in New York ($57,501), Long Island, New York ($56,950), and North/Central New Jersey ($55,389).  The least expensive place to wed is in Alaska where couples spend an average $17,361.


And the timeline of the average marriage?  Statistics show that the most popular month to get engaged is December (16%) with an average 14.5-month engagement.  More couples are also choosing fall ceremonies with the most popular month to get married being October (17%) and September (15%).



Here are some of the top findings from the study:


  • Average spent on a wedding dress: $1,469. Average spent on the groom’s attire: $269.
  • Average number of wedding guests in 2015: 139 (down from 149 in 2009). But, the cost per wedding guest: $237 (up from $194 in 2009).
  • Couples are spending more on wedding professionals to help them plan a perfect day.  26% of couples hired a planning professional in 2015 (up from 19% in 2010).
  • Parents are still footing the bulk of the bill. The bride’s parents contribute 44% of the overall wedding budget and the groom’s parents contribute 12%.  However, the bride and groom are willing to help by contributing 43% to the cost.
  • Fewer couples are having destination weddings with 21% tying the knot abroad. That’s down from 24% in 2014.
  • Average spent on an engagement ring: $5,871


If the findings have left you with cold feet, there’s always the Little White Chapel, where saying, “I Do”, only costs $75.



>10 Tips For a More Satisfying Sex Life

If it feels like your sex life has gone from out-of-control to sedated, it doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed.


“Average sex is where you’re experiencing satisfaction in one or two of those four ways, and feel it could be better, or that something is missing. Mind-blowing sex is when you’re connecting mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically while nurturing [your] own and [your] partner’s desires,” says Colin Christopher, a clinical hypnotherapist who specializes in helping his patients with relationship issues.


So, how can you can you kick your sex life up a notch or 50?


READ MORE: 10 tips that will wake your sleeping sex dragon

>Why Do We Close Our Eyes While Kissing?

Science may have the answer as to why we close our eyes when we kiss.  While studying how visual stimuli can interfere with the senses, researchers at the University of London deduced that the study’s findings could also explain why people like to close their eyes while kissing.


For the study, volunteers were asked to simultaneously perform a visual search task of varying difficulty levels, while also reacting to the presence or absence of a vibration to their hand.  Researchers found that participants’ sensitivity to the vibration was reduced among those who had the more challenging visual search.


Study author, Polly Dalton, told Medical Daily that, “Our research found that engaging in a more demanding visual task reduced people’s sensitivity to tactile sensations.  This does imply that reducing visual demands (for example, by shutting your eyes) can improve tactile awareness, and this could be one of the reasons that people shut their eyes when kissing.”


In other words, kissing with our eyes open feels strange because the brain is doing too much, which hinders pleasure.  So, to not lose out on the sensations associated with kissing, certain sensory sacrifices must be made—in this case, our sight.

>Do’s and Don’ts For Dating a Co-Worker

Thinking about dipping the pen in the company ink? In other words, are you trying to date one of your co-workers?


Since many of us work upwards of 50 or 60 hours per week, office romances can be hard to avoid. In fact, according to Vault.com’s Office Romance Survey, 51 percent of business professionals report engaging in some type of workplace relationship.


Just like relationships forged anywhere else, some office romances will work out — but many won’t.  However, dating within the workplace can have its advantages, as long as you follow these do’s and don’ts so you don’t end up with a failed relationship and without a job.




>Prince Charming, Happily Ever After, And Other Relationship Myths You Need To Ditch

It was destined for Cinderella to be rescued by her Prince Charming and live happily ever after, so why can’t this happen for the rest of us?  Because believing in such relationship fantasies can destroy your chances for REAL LOVE.  That, according to relationship expert and author of “The Heart of the Fight”, Dr. Judith Wright.


“Searching for your ‘one true love’ and believing that you’ll have a perfect fairy tale courtship doesn’t allow for mistakes, fights, and the disappointments that come with real relationships,” Wright says.  “Do yourself a favor and get rid of the fantasies that destroy your opportunity for real love.”



Here are 9 relationships myths that will derail your love life and the better ways to look for LOVE:


  • Myth #1: Prince Charming Exists.  Reality: He doesn’t.  Neither does his white horse and sword.  Plus, a man THAT charming, is likely a sociopath.  Wright says to look instead for ‘Prince Values’ or ‘Prince Substance’ like caring, loyalty and generosity.  “Looking for Prince Charming rarely leads to a king and queen ruling their realm equally with satisfaction and fulfillment,” she says.



  • Myth #2: You’re A Princess That Needs To Be Rescued. Reality: Where there is a rescuer, there is also a victim—a perfect formula for drama.  “Rescuing leads to dependence and resentment because the person being rescued will eventually need to heal themselves and then the entire foundation for the relationship falls apart,” says Wright.  Instead, find someone who builds you and up and makes you grow as a person.


  • Myth #3: A Frog Can Turn Into A Prince. Reality: He’s not going to change for you.  If he’s not who you want him to be now, don’t think anything will be different with some TLC from you. Wright says, “It’s great to believe in someone’s potential, but if you don’t have evidence of good stuff now (and if he’s not actively working on it in a realistic way) don’t think it will come later.”  Instead, dump him and find someone who doesn’t need “changing”.  You don’t have time for that anyway.


  • Myth #4: “If We’re Meant To Be, We’ll Never Fight.” Reality: It doesn’t matter how in sync two people are, no relationship is perfect.  And chances are if you’re not “fighting”, feelings and concerns are being bottled up.  “Overcoming conflict is an inherent part of relationship growth. Fighting is how you can get to know each other, forge stronger bonds, and become more intimate. Avoid fighting and you avoid intimacy,” says Wright.  In other words, don’t be afraid to fight…maturely.


  • Myth #5: “There is One True Love For Each Person.” Reality:  If you believe this, you’ll likely never find the person.  “Studies show that people who think they have a soul mate out there are less likely to work on the relationship when tension surfaces.  They figure they picked the wrong one and move on,” says Wright.  Instead, be open and give people and relationships a chance to take shape.


  • Myth #6: “…and they lived happily ever after.”  Reality:  You’re responsible for your own happiness.  Wright says, “Try to live happily ever after and you miss some of the most satisfying aspects of a relationship; the profound intimacy of crying your eyes out in your partner’s arms, sharing your frustrations and being understood, or working through tough times to forge a stronger bond.”  Instead, vow to living “deeply ever after” by sharing your light side and your dark side.  That is the real key to satisfying, intimate, loving relationships, she says.



  • Myth #7: “It was destined.” Reality: You create your own destiny with the choices you make. By over-romanticizing your relationship it’s likely you won’t work on it, says Wright.  Instead, challenge your partner, or do what you need to do to make it great. “It absolves you of responsibility of your own choice, which may make it likely for you to not take responsibility to make the relationship what it could be,” she says.


  • Myth #8: Physical Chemistry Is Needed To Fall In Love. Reality: Physical chemistry is great and is usually heightened in the beginning of a relationship, but a great relationship is more than just SEX.  It’s important to also connect emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Instead, Wright advises to focus on someone’s mind, their humor, their kindness – and not just their looks.



  • Myth #9: A Cinderella Love Story. Reality: Cinderalla had to pretend to be someone she wasn’t to make her Prince Charming fall in love with her.  Do you really want to spend eternity with a man who fell in love with you when you were pretending to be someone you’re not? Instead, be yourself and fall for someone who respects you for who you are, not who you’re pretending to be. Says Wright: “Otherwise, don’t blame them when they get disillusioned a year into the marriage when your true self is revealed.”



>You Can’t Put A Price Tag On Love, But Maybe You Should

It’s true what they say: “You can’t put a price tag on LOVE”. Maybe that’s why guys spend a small fortune on engagement rings. A University of Colorado Boulder study reveals that LOVE causes us to abandon budgets when purchasing sentimental objects for loved ones.


From cupcakes, to engagement rings, the study found that when shopping for such gifts, people will opt for the more expensive option—even when items in question are of the same quality.


In one experiment, when participants were presented two engagement rings—one more expensive with a bigger carat and the other less expensive with a smaller carat—the test subjects almost always chose the more expensive option. Besides passing up the less expensive, people would refrain from seeking out the lower prices all together. They would even avoid negotiating steep price tags!


Lead author of the study and associate professor of marketing and psychology at CU-Boulder, Peter McGraw, said, “People’s buying behavior changes when they’re making purchases out of love because it feels wrong to engage in cost-saving measures. People abandon cost-saving measures when it comes to sentimental buys because they want to avoid having to decide what is the right amount of money to spend on a loving relationship.” In other words, they can’t put a price tag on their LOVE.


But, just because we’re willing to burn a whole in our wallet for a loved one, doesn’t mean we’ll love them more or less. In fact, a separate study out of Emory University found that men who spent $2,000 to $4,000 on a rock were more likely to wind up divorced than men who spent $500 to $2,000. The same also applies for weddings. Couples who spent more than $20,000 to tie the knot were 3.5 times more likely to split than those who spent under $10,000.


While not putting a price tag on LOVE may seem romantic, if your purchasing outside your means, than you’re just being dumb.


“It’s important to be aware of this tendency not to seek cost savings because, over a lifetime, consumers make many purchases that are symbolic of love – whether for weddings, funerals, birthdays, anniversaries and even potlucks,” said McGraw. “The loss of savings can really add up and put people in compromising financial situations.”


The most common reason for a marriage’s end is financial stress, after all. So spend wisely, Lovebirds…

>A Little Touch Can Go A Long Way


Valentine’s Day is just days away and it turns out, couples are failing at doing the one, simple and inexpensive thing that instantly brings two people closer: touching each other.


Recent findings in a new Touch Initiative survey by K-Y and The Kinsey Institute finds that Americans are touch-starved. Here are some key findings:


87% of men and women in committed relationships rated touch as very or extremely important to building intimacy. Yet 34% of people say they’re not touched enough.

74% of people prefer to engage in regular or intimate touch (with their partner) rather than talking without touching (10%). However, almost one in 3 people engage in talking more often than touching.

86% of couples who did touch intimately, more than once a day, were more likely to be very or extremely satisfied with their relationship compared to 72% of the general population.


“Touch is important for sustaining a healthy relationship, but it’s also necessary for our feelings of connection, safety and overall well-being,” says Associate Director for Research and Education at The Kinsey Institute, Dr. Justin R. Garcia. In other words, touch is critical to our happiness. “People who experience regular loving touch benefit from increased oxytocin levels, which has been associated with lower heart rates and lower blood pressure, and over time can decrease a person’s risk for many serious health ailments,” he says.


So if touch is THAT important, what are couples risking by not touching each other enough? Renowned sex and relationship expert, Dr. Laura Berman, says, “The [Touch Initiative] survey shows that 88% of people would like to be touched at least once a week, yet so many couples come to see me because their relationship is being threatened by a lack of intimacy.”


Berman says that touch can be the first step to helping couples build intimacy.


“Touching to connect and inspire intimacy can be as simple as holding hands or stroking the back of someone’s neck. Connection comes from an accumulation of small gestures, and if it’s a loving touch, the specific type of touch isn’t as important as the actual act of touching,” she says.


So, next time you’re walking or driving together, hold each other’s hand. Or, touch legs when sitting next to each other. You never know where that little touch will take you.


The complete Touch Initiative survey:

>A Love Affair With Spending On Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day has come a long way since the day-of-love was first enacted back in the middle ages, when friends and lovers exchanged hand written letters and poems. Fast forward hundreds of years to today, where Valentine’s Day has become the third largest consumer holiday in the United States.


According to a new study by Wallethub, Americans will spend a total of $19.7 billion this year on cards, chocolates, flowers…with the average Valentine’s Day reveler spending about $146.84 on their love.


So, whether you love or hate the holiday, are single, taken or still not sure of your status, the numbers show how much of an impact Cupid has on our nation’s economy.


Here are some other fascinating findings about this romantic day noted in the survey:


53%: Of women say they would break up with their significant other if they got nothing for Valentine’s Day.
14 Mil: Proposals are made on Valentine’s Day.
1 in 5: People who will buy Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets.
250 Mil: Roses produced for Valentine’s Day.


Here’s another fun & factual infographic:

>Majority Of People Would Travel With A New Lover After Just 1 Month Of Dating

They say if you really want to get to know a person take a trip together because it will reveal the good, the bad, and the ugly about someone. Think about it. You’re spending a lot of time with that one person—standing in lines, splitting bills, deciding what time to get off the beach. This is the time when you see them outside their normal routine and often pushed out of their comfort zone.


“You might learn that together you’re a good team and you may return home closer than ever, says associate professor of psychology at James Madison University, Dr. Jaime Kurtz. “But traveling with someone might reveal things that you simply don’t like and never knew before: a fear of new cultural experiences and a general sense of closed-mindedness; excessive rigidity and an inability to compromise or deviate from routines,” she writes in a piece for Psychology Today.


Since traveling together can make or break a relationship, does it make more sense to wait to take that first getaway with someone new? Doesn’t appear so. According to a new survey by Expedia and the research company, GfK, a whopping 30% of people would take a trip with someone they’ve only been dating for 1 to 3 months.


The Expedia Heat Index survey of more than 1,000 American travelers also reveals:

25% would wait 4 to 8 months to travel with a new partner
15% would wait more than a full year
10% would take an overnight trip with a new partner within the first month
4% would take the trip on the first date


And, heartbreaks do happen on getaways with 4% of those surveyed having ended a relationship while traveling with their partner and another 4% say they have considered doing so.


Before going on a trip together, be honest about your “travel personality”. For example, do you sleep in or get up early to make the most of the day? Would you rather lay on the beach all day or take excursions?


Kurtz advises new travel partners to be clear about your need for alone time and also about your specific interests and goals for the trip.


“If you do find yourself in conflict while traveling, it is best to address it as soon as possible. After you’ve identified a specific problem, approach your partner with a calm, level-headed mindset,” she says.


If you let your lover know of your travel quirks ahead of time, it may help avoid arguments on the trip and a potential breakup when you both get back.