Entries in Love (37)


Dr. Ruth's Seven Tips for Spicing Up Your Love Life

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Dr. Ruth Westheimer is a renowned psychosexual therapist whose straightforward approach to sex and relationship advice made her an American icon for decades.

Dr. Ruth first made a name for herself in the 80s with her radio program, Sexually Speaking, in which she would speak frankly about all matters concerning the bedroom. Since then, she has appeared in every form of media: hosting her own national TV talk shows, having a regular Ask Dr. Ruth column, producing five documentaries, writing 36 books, including Sex For Dummies, and even on Twitter.

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Dr. Ruth offers her tips for spicing up your love life.

1. Bring Flowers

"Bringing flowers is good. Sending flowers ahead of time is better. A woman needs more time to become aroused so looking at those flowers all day will help put her in the mood."

2. The Best Gift of All? A Massage

"What's the best gift you can give your partner? A massage. It feels good, your touch will warm his or her body and soul, and best of all, it doesn't cost a cent."

3. Make Your Own Love Nest

"Instead of going out, order in and decorate with candles. Make your own love nest. Plus, you'll be closer to the bedroom."

4. Whisper Sweet Nothings

"Some men know they're supposed to be romantic but they are not sure what that means. The best way to set a romantic mood is to whisper sweet nothings in your partner's ears. If you make her feel treasured and special the two of you will be drenched in romance."

5. Have a Positive Outlook

"The key to good sex is to have a positive outlook. If you assume you'll be having good sex you will. If you assume you won't, you won't."

6. Play It Safe

"How important is birth control? If you're worried about causing an unintended pregnancy, you'll enjoy Valentine's day more if you play it safe. Don't think of contraceptives as a damper, instead think of them as an enhancement."

7. Do Something Active

"Most people think of going out to dinner as what you do on Valentine's Day but there are alternatives. Anything that gets your circulation going will make you both feel sexier. If there's someplace nearby where you can ice skate that would be perfect. Or go for a run, then share a nice warm bath. Get your circulation moving and I guarantee you that you'll have a great time."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Wheelchair Dance: Paraplegic Finds Family in Recovery

Courtesy Matthew Castelluccio(NEW YORK) -- After a tragic motorcycle accident that left then 26-year-old Matthew Castelluccio a paraplegic, his dreams of marriage and children seemed completely out of reach. But in one of life’s little twists of fate, the accident that threatened to steal Matt’s dreams made them come true.

During his treatment Castelluccio met Elaine Defrancesco, Director of Adaptive Sports at Helen Hayes Hospital in New York. His spirit and unwillingness to let his accident define him moved Defrancesco to fall in love.

The couple was married. Shortly after telling their story to 20/20 (broadcasting on Saturday), which focuses on Castelluccio’s involvement with Roll Call Wheelchair Dance, a nonprofit that helps the disabled through dance — they shared more great news. They welcomed twin boys, Robert James and Dominic Michael, to their family in April.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


What Makes Enduring Love? Researchers Want to Know

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- British researchers are reaching across the pond to find American couples -- gay or straight -- who have experienced love that has endured.

The Open University of Great Britain is looking for adults in long-term relationships to answer a confidential online survey about what their love means today.

The surveys from the Enduring Love Project will eventually be compiled into a book. So far, 4,000 Britons have responded.

"Quite simply, we want to find out what couples do that allows relationships to last, that lets them succeed in that most challenging of tasks -- continuing to love," said Susan Quilliam, editor of the revised Joy of Sex, and one of the researchers.

"There's been nothing done so far that's been as in-depth or far reaching -- and as well as being academically significant," she said. "Enduring Love will be hugely useful for society and for ordinary folk."

The study will not presuppose that "such relationships are uniformly loving or straightforwardly associated with contentment," said the Enduring Love Project's outline statement.

Rather, it will look at things that help people sustain relationships and "how cultural myths, such as finding 'the one' and living 'happily-ever-after,' are understood and reconciled by adult couples whose own relationships may fall short of these romantic ideals."

With a half of all marriages in the United States ending in divorce, enduring love is "rare," according to Gail Theon, a licensed psychologist from Plymouth, Minn., who specializes in the needs of baby boomers.

But those that do last, rely on trust.

"Right at the top of the list for these couples is trust, even beyond sexual trust, which is part of that," she said. "Basically, the person behaves in a way that is consistent with your mutual values."

"You must have 100 percent loyalty and love, either in an erotic or an enduring sense," she said. "When you are always anxious about the other person, it takes away from the joy of love."

Couples whose relationships are enduring have a shared sense of humor and mutual respect, she said. Sex, but more importantly, intimacy, is also critical.

"Freud would tell us from a classical sense, it's all about sex, life and death," said Thoen.

Not everyone can have sexual intercourse, especially as they age, but there are "modern interventions."

Other elements that can make or break a long-time relationship are communication and money, she said.

"There are shared commitments they have to live up to," Thoen said.

To participate in the survey, go to the Enduring Love Project. The deadline is Dec. 31, 2012. Results will be public in February 2013.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Can Sex Without Orgasm Bolster Marriages?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Matt Cook hasn't had an orgasm in seven months, and he hopes never to intentionally have one again. The 51-year-old publisher from Virginia isn't celibate. Happily married for 25 years, Cook said his sex life is more exciting than ever and giving up the goal-oriented climax has improved every aspect of his life.

Cook, the father of two adult sons, is a newcomer to karezza, a form of intercourse that emphasizes affection while staying far from the edge of orgasm. Climax is not the goal and ideally does not occur while making love.

"It creates a deep feeling in a relationship that is very difficult to describe -- much deeper than conventional sex," he said.

Cook is one of a growing number of men who have embraced karezza and have found it has helped heal their marriages, inject more spark into their sex lives and even shed porn addiction.

A recovering porn addict, Cook suffered from performance anxiety with girlfriends. Sex got better with his wife, but he didn't know how much until he discovered karezza.

Now, he has sex almost every day.

"It kind of never ends," said Cook. "Why would I want to give that up for a 15-second orgasm?"

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Deb Feintech, a counselor from Portland, Maine, uses karezza to help couples repair their broken relationships.

"The people most interested are men," she said. "It's very radical for them, but they are finding the emotional intimacy far outweighs any of the thrill of the chase and the mating mind."

And Feintech said the practice is not just helpful for middle-aged couples struggling with the ennui of a long marriage, but for young couples headed to the altar.

"I offer this to them as something to try for a month or so," she said. "They wake up every single morning and they are not even thinking about genital stimulation. They are snuggling, holding and breathing with eye contact and flow. It's very conscious -- from the genitals to the heart."

It puts the emphasis on attachment, not climax.

The word karezza was coined by Dr. Alice Bunker Stockham, a Chicago obstetrician and early feminist who promoted birth control, a ban on corsets and sexual fulfillment for both genders. In 1896, she wrote a book by that name -- from the Italian word carezza, which means caress.

For strengthening marriages, she encouraged what was then called "male continence," although in the interest of equality, she asked that women abstain from orgasm, as well.

Marnia L. Robinson has carried the contemporary torch in her 2009 book, Cupid's Poisoned Arrow, and on her website, Reuniting: Healing With Sexual Relationships.

"Even for those with the highest libidos, performance can become a grind and drive a craving for novelty," said Robinson. "Such feelings, although perfectly natural, can create projections and resentment that cause disharmony, especially after our temporary honeymoon neurochemistry wears off."

Technique is "virtually immaterial," she says. "It's a practice about not doing, about getting your goal-driven mammalian mating system out of the way long enough to fall into a state of relaxed union."

A former corporate lawyer and now a devotee, Robinson argues that karezza's power is rooted in neuroscience.

"Orgasm really isn't in our genitals, but actually between our ears," she said.

In the "passion cycle of orgasm," the hormone dopamine rises in anticipation of sex, and then crashes after orgasm, creating a biochemical "hangover," according to Robinson.

In men, that happens almost immediately after ejaculation; for women, it can be two weeks before the brain returns to homeostasis, according to Robinson.

"Karezza turned out to be an enjoyable way to tiptoe around biology's agenda," she said.

Overstimulation of the pleasure receptors can also desensitize the brain to pleasure or create a craving for more. When men are addicted to pornography or have frequent orgasms, "no amount of pleasure can satisfy," she said. "We are always looking for something novel."

But in karezza, lovemaking never finishes, so sexual energy continues to flow, helping to prevent boredom with a partner, say advocates. Karezza also elicits the relaxation response and encourages the brain to release the "love" hormone ocytocin, which helps in bonding behavior.

Robinson, unable to sustain intimacy, had been married twice before meeting her husband Gary Wilson, a former science teacher who helped her in her research. He had experienced depression and alcohol addiction, but after the couple explored karezza together, he was able to give up Prozac and drinking.

She found she was able to sustain a lasting and harmonious marriage.

"We sit tight, next to each other 24/7 and are never apart," said Wilson. "I don't feel the need to have my space, which is unusual."

Though many other men look at Wilson "like I am crazy," he said karezza can surprisingly help "rekindle things" in a long-term relationship.

For each couple, the experience is different.

"The natural 'karezzanauts' would be committed couples who want to sweeten the harmony of their relationships," said Robinson.

But young people, too, can try their hand at karezza, she said. In the very least, the practice is an effective form of birth control.

"I doubt any of us forget how to have conventional sex if pregnancy is desired," she said. "You can still ride a bike, even if you drive a car."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


‘Anti-Cheating Ring’ Vows to End Infidelity YORK) -- The wedding band is a precious, shiny symbol of marital commitment. That’s why men take them off when they want to cheat. has designed a ring that aims to make this suspension of commitment a little harder. The Anti-Cheating Ring has a “negative engraving” on the inside that leaves the phrase “I’M MARRIED” on the finger after the ring is removed.

This might prevent cheating by: (1) reminding the would-be John Edwards of his vow and/or (2) alerting would-be Rielle Hunters that a man is married. Of course some women don’t care or are even more turned on by that. In these cases, the ring is inoperative.

Geared for stamina over looks, it is made of strengthened titanium valued at $550. Unlike a wedding vow, it comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Are You In Love or Lust?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MONTREAL) -- Is it love, or just lust? The answer, it turns out, might have to do with which part of our brain is being activated.

The study, published Wednesday in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, analyzed 20 studies related to the effects of sex and love on the body. The research included brain scans of people who viewed erotic photos, photos of their significant others, food and other pleasure triggers.

Two parts of the brain, the insula and the striatum, are responsible for tracking the way in which sexual desire develops into feelings of love, researchers said. Lust triggers parts of the brain that control pleasurable feelings, associated with sex and food, but love triggers parts of the brain associated with habits.

“We assign different language to love and sexual desire and addiction,” said Jim Pfaus, a professor of psychology at Concordia University in Montreal and lead author of the study. “But really, they’re all being processed in a similar place. When we see this, the idea of love at first sight probably isn’t true. People are feeling desire.”

The brain treats love like a habit that has been formed over time. So, after lust may come love, and those feelings of love move to different part of the brain that processes habits and reward patterns. The same brain pattern occurs when people become drug addicts.

“Habits usually get a bad reputation, but it’s an important thing that the brain imposes,” said Pfaus. “The change from desire to love is the bonding mechanism in relationships.”

These brain mechanisms involve monogamy and connection in a variety of different kinds of relationships, experts said. It activates the need to defend the interests of one’s children or lover, Pfaus said.

“So, really, drug addiction is an embellished expression of something perfectly normal,” said Pfaus.

Pfaus said the research acts as a cornerstone for other research on the subject.

“This research speaks to evolution,” said Pfaus. “And it could help understand addiction, love and other social neuroscience research.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


What Makes 'That Loving Feeling?'

Thomas Northcut/Thinkstock(PASADENA, Calif.) – Ever wonder why brushing hands with your crush feels like a slow-motion caress, while that same brush of the hand by a bad date feels like a mistake?

Neuroscientists at California Institute of Technology say the reason the same touch can be both attractive and repulsive may lie in the way the brain registers it.

In their study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to monitor the brain activity of 18 straight men as a female research participant gently stroked their legs.

The men could not see the woman. Although the same woman caressed their legs, the first time the men were told an attractive woman was caressing them and the second time they were told it was a man. Before each part of the experiment, they were shown a video of how to visualize the person caressing their leg, although, unknown to the participants, the image was not true to the actual person.

The researchers found that although the same person was giving the caresses, a part of the midsection of the brain called the primary somatosensory cortex became more active when the men believed an attractive woman was touching them as opposed to a man.

“Intuitively, we all believe that when we are touched by someone, we first objectively perceive the physical properties of the touch — its speed, its gentleness, the roughness of the skin,” said Valerie Gazzola, a co-author of the study. “Only thereafter, in a separate, second step based on who touched us, do we believe we value this touch more or less.”

But the findings suggest that the primary somatosensory cortex is less objective than previously believed, and that the two parts to processing touch — one of understanding the physical component, and the other of assigning emotion to it —  may not necessarily be true, Gazzola said.

The primary somatosensory cortex is thought to represent how touch feels on the skin, but the findings suggest that its activity is modified by what the participant thought of the caresser, according to Ralph Adolphs, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Caltech and director of the Caltech Brain Imaging Center, where the experiment was carried out.

“We see responses in a part of the brain thought to process only basic touch that were elicited entirely by the emotional significance of social touch prior to the touch itself, simply in anticipation of the caress that our participants would receive,” said Adolphs.

These initial findings with only a small number of participants may not apply in a larger group. The researchers plan to test whether women’s brains would respond the same way as men’s did, and whether the brain would respond the same way across different sexual orientations.

“Nothing in our brain is truly objective,” said Christian Keysers, a co-author of the study. “Our perception is deeply and pervasively shaped by how we feel about the things we perceive.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Just Married? Just Update Your Facebook Relationship Status

Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Hey, new bride, you just got married. What’s the first thing you’re going to do -- after you kiss your spouse, of course?

The Wakefield Research online survey commissioned by David's Bridal discovered that nearly 50 percent of the 500 married or engaged respondents said they had updated or would change their Facebook relationship statuses to “married” in the period between tying the knot and arriving at the reception.

If it was good enough for Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his new bride to immediately update their profiles at their wedding last weekend, it should be good enough for everyone else, right?

San Diego wedding planner Melissa Brand has experienced this phenomenon up close with brides and grooms often hanging their statuses during cocktail hour.

In fact, Brand has even witnessed it happening during the actual ceremony.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Can Facebook Ruin Your Marriage?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It turns out the kiss of death for marriages might be more like a poke.

A third of all divorce filings in 2011 contained the word "Facebook," according to Divorce Online. And more than 80 percent of U.S. divorce attorneys say social networking in divorce proceedings is on the rise, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Divorce lawyer Marian Rosen, who practices in Houston, said she's increasingly seen social media cited in divorce proceedings and child custody battles.

"We've had instances where they pull up Facebook in the course of a deposition," Rosen told ABC News, adding that in addition to proving infidelity, she's seen cases in which children's profiles are cited as evidence to suggest bad parenting. "Once it's out there for the world, it's very difficult … to erase from the past. There are going to be trails that can be followed."

Three years ago, 20 percent of divorce filings contained the word "Facebook." By 2011, it had risen to 33 percent, according to AAML. Despite the increase, the top Facebook mentions were the same: inappropriate messages to "friends" of the opposite sex, and cruel posts or comments between separated spouses. Sometimes, Facebook friends would tattle to one partner in a relationship about bad behavior by the other.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Improve Significant Other’s Listening Skills with a Vitamin?

Cultura/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A new survey shows 63 percent of Americans take a vitamin or supplement, but many wish the manufacturers would come up with a vitamin that would improve their significant other’s listening skills.

A survey commissioned by The Vitamin Shoppe finds 50 percent of respondents wish there was a pill that could improve their partner’s listening.  Forty-three percent wish there was a vitamin that would improve their significant other’s cleaning skills, while 31 percent expressed a desire for a vitamin that would improve their partner’s “bedroom” skills.

Respondents were asked: “If your significant other could take a vitamin to improve upon any of the following areas, which would you choose?

  • Listening, 50 percent
  • Cleaning, 43 percent
  • Physique, 37 percent
  • Cooking, 35 percent
  • “Bedroom” Skills, 31 percent
  • Dancing, 24 percent
  • Don’t know/Refused, 20 percent

Additional findings from The Vitamin Shoppe survey:

  • 93 percent of Americans feel more confident about their health when taking a vitamin or supplement.
  • 72 percent of respondents take multivitamins on a regular basis.
  • 56 percent believe vitamins and supplements are necessary to achieve your health and fitness goals.

Respondents were also asked: “What would put you in a better mood – good sex or a good workout?

  • Good sex, 57 percent
  • Good workout, 35 percent
  • Don’t know/Refused, 8 percent

The Vitamin Shoppe survey of 1,000 U.S. adults was conducted by Wakefield Research.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio