‘Not in the Mood’: The Case for Being More Sexually Receptive Towards the One You Love

Skjermbilde 2018-07-01 kl. 13.06.54“Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our natural lives.” 
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

No, not casual sex.

So firstly, this article isn’t in support of more sex in general. I’m not going to tell you to have more ‘empowering’ casual sex. I’m not going to suggest that you should “throw a pack of condoms in your bag and keep taking your birth control” to try and overcome the feelings of guilt and health concerns that many women report after engaging in casual encounters (For more on this I recommend my article: “Frigid” – The Societal Pressure to Become Sexually Active). This article also isn’t in support of sexual activity that is painful or forced by your partner. This article is only in support of more sex in a loving, supportive, committed relationship.

The idea for this particular blogpost sprouted after I watched the eye-opening lecture by the Australian sex therapist Bettina Arndt, titled ‘Why Women Go Off Sex’. Bettina discusses the common issue of the reduction in many women’s sexual desire after marriage, and exactly how this affects men.

Bettina discusses how women perceive men’s sexual advances to be purely about fulfilling an urge. Women often and easily fall into the trap of viewing male sexuality as an annoyance that’s pushed upon them – a selfish ask, another chore to begrudgingly complete, or a disregard of their desire for a more platonic display of affection. But it’s helpful to remind women that despite the current leftist gender-neutral agenda, men and women are different– we are different emotionally, hormonally, and physically. Sex cannot simply be reduced to ‘scratching an itch’ for men, just as wanting your man to bring home a bouquet of flowers is not simply a materialistic waste of money for women.

 

For men, sex with a woman they love is about connection and feeling desired.

A quote that really stood out to me from Bettina’s work comes from one of the men who she had asked to detail why he still caressed his wife, even if he knew his actions would be met with contempt and bitterness in return.“I know she doesn’t like it, but it’s me saying: Hello, here I am, I still love you, I still want you. Where has she gone, the lover I married?”.

Similar stories can be found on the r/DeadBedrooms subreddit, ‘a support group for Redditors who are coping with a relationship that is seriously lacking in sexual intimacy.’ The subreddit consists largely of men, whose accounts of their sexless relationships are riddled with intense disappointment, rejection, loneliness and low self-esteem. Some of these men resort to affairs with other women to fill the emotional void, entangled in their complicated marriages and reluctant to divorce their wife and break up the family. It’s very apparent that the partners of these individuals either completely misunderstand the importance of physical intimacy, or simply don’t care.

Psychotherapist Esther Perel explains the importance of male desire and sexual fulfilment in her blogpost titled ‘Men, Women, and Sexuality: More Similar Than Different’.

“Male desire needs to be looked at through a lens that incorporates relational and emotional factors. Sex is the language through which men have license to ask for love, tenderness, surrender, sensuality, affection and more. Often sex is the only keyhole he has to fulfil these emotional needs.”

“Fear of rejection, performance anxiety, guilt, shame, insecurity, and depression — all these are internal states that greatly influence a man’s feeling about himself and his self-esteem. They seep directly into his sexual self, his desires, and fantasies. And they determine his sense of entitlement and deprivation. This makes male sexuality very emotional.”

Perel describes sex as “highly relational” for men. It’s perhaps worth asking what the general consensus is about men denying women stereotypically “highly relational” things. Examples that spring to mind for women might be their man allowing and encouraging them to vent about their day, treating them to a romantic gesture, being chivalrous, or small acts of physical affection. In the current cultural climate women are encouraged to be entitled and find a man who values them however they present themselves. If he doesn’t live up to their expectations in the relationship, he isn’t worth it. This sentiment can be found in popular quotes like “If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best”. Female entitlement and third-wave feminism have made it socially acceptable to be disdainful towards men who fail to meet a woman’s exhaustive and unrealistic demands for a relationship. However, a man’s desire for physical intimacy is often seen as irritating and insignificant – something to roll your eyes over with your girlfriends at brunch. We need to fight to change this norm – if we want men to take our relational needs seriously, we must also compassionately tend to theirs.

 

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working” – Pablo Picasso

Women generally aren’t happy in a sexless partnership, either. They know it affects their relationship, and they want their desire to come back. But much like an artist wasting valuable time waiting for inspiration to strike before painting, women waste time ‘waiting for the right moment’ to bond with their partner. Bettina suggests not just waiting for the perfect moment to strike, but to simply try, even if you’re not feeling it.

Laura Doyle touches on this idea in her book ‘The Surrendered Wife’. She writes that a physical bond is important because it’s the “one thing that separates your relationship from every other relationship in the world”. Doyle notes that whilst rekindling a sexual relationship starts out as a discipline, with regular commitment a woman strengthens the bond between herself and her husband and remembers how “good it felt to love”. Lastly, Doyle presents the truth that “you’ll never feel more feminine, or him more masculine, than when you’re enjoying the zenith of physical intimacy with the love of your life”.

Perel also reveals a silent truth about female sexuality – “The unspoken truth about women’s sexuality is how narcissistic it can be — in the best of ways. The female’s ability to focus on herself is the pathway to erotic pleasure.” Perhaps better self-care is an antidote for women – when you focus on yourself and meeting your needs, desire and passion have space to flourish. If you’d like to try and introduce self-care into your life or improve on your existing self-care regimen (and who wouldn’t?!) I recommend my article ‘The Science of Relaxation in a Busy Modern World’.

In summary – understanding the differences between the genders is an important part of experiencing functioning, fulfilling and meaningful romantic relationships. With discipline, self-care and an open-mind, physical passion will likely follow.

Until next time,

Faye x

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How Human Evolution Influences Make-Up

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“While at first it seemed like a depressing realisation, I soon realised that make-up is powerful – it’s every woman’s secret weapon.” – Charlotte Tilbury

Ever wondered why we use make-up in the way that we do? Why we enhance certain features? How you can use make-up as a tool to enhance your attractiveness, according to research? Evolutionary psychology has the answers. In an age of Instagram models with orange faces, spidery eyelashes and aggressively contoured cheekbones, I investigate the roots of attraction and explore why and how natural-looking make-up enhances beauty.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to tell people that this way of applying make-up is the only way that’s attractive, or that you need make-up to look attractive, OR that you need to use make-up to attract the opposite sex. It’s simply an article about make-up that’s inspired by evolutionary psychology.

These make-up tips are based on research from evolutionary psychology, a theoretical approach in the social and natural sciences that examines psychological structure from a modern evolutionary perspective.’ It’s been proposed that we gravitate towards certain traits and characteristics of beauty because of the natural instincts that enabled our species to evolve and thrive. These instincts helped us to select healthy mates, who were more likely to produce healthy children to advance the species.

According to evolutionary psychology, men prefer youthful looking women because these women are more fertile and able to reproduce and spread his genes. For women, a ‘youthful face’ means having highly feminized features, because this suggests higher levels of the hormone oestrogen and lower levels of the ‘male’ hormone testosterone. This is because the female sex hormone, oestrogen, regulates the female reproductive system and therefore enhances a woman’s fertility.

I’ll now break the features down and we’ll explore each one, examining what’s attractive, why, and how you can enhance that particular feature in your everyday make-up routine.

EYES

What’s attractive, and why?

  • Women tend to be naturally darker around the eyes than men; the contrast between facial features and skin colour is greater in women. This is known by scientists as the ‘luminance contrast’. Because the luminance contrast is greater in women, we can appear more attractive by using make-up to enhance the contrast further. For this reason, a face is made up to appear more feminine with eyeliner, eyeshadow and mascara. (Interestingly, researchers have found that this increased luminance contrast is viewed as attractive in women, however for men, the greater the luminance contrast, the less attractive women find them.)
  • Another reason for applying darker eye make-up is to make our eyes appear larger, which is characteristic of infant faces. According to evolutionary theory, facial neoteny (child-like features) such as big eyes and full lips increase how attracted we are to a female face, because it indicates youth which again, is suggestive of fertility.

 

How can I enhance my eyes with make-up?

  • Softly outline the eyes with a neutral shadow, subtly drawing attention to the eyes and making them appear larger. When going for the natural look, line the lashline with eyeshadow using a small angled brush instead of eyeliner to help create the appearance of naturally thick lashes when paired with mascara. Using natural earthy colours helps to keep the look ‘no-make-up make-up’ – for classical beauty you merely want to enhance features, not exaggerate.
  • Another way to make eyes appear larger is to apply a light, reflective colour in the corner of the eye and middle of the upper lid. A light pink/cream pencil eyeliner in the lower waterline can enhance the contrast further.
  • Eyeliner wings can elongate the eyes, however be sure to draw the flicks upward to lift your face and avoid droopiness. I recommend this video by Aly Art if you struggle with what I like to call ‘droopy cat-eye syndrome’.
  • Long, full lashes are a sign of good health. Curl the eyelashes to open up the eye and fan the lashes before applying your mascara for fullness. Heating the curlers with a hairdryer prior to application can help your lashes hold the curl for longer, though be careful not to burn your eye! If your natural lashes are short and sparse, you can cheat with individual lashes to give your natural look a boost.

 

COMPLEXION

What’s attractive, and why?

  • A clear, glowing complexion is attractive to both men and women – this is because facial symmetry, vibrancy, an even skin tone and texture signifies good health.

 

How can I enhance my complexion with make-up?

  • Use a light foundation to beautify the complexion, keeping things looking natural with a ‘dewy’ finish by applying with a damp beauty blender and/or by mixing a drop of oil into the foundation you’re about to apply. To avoid looking greasy/sweaty, powder the T-zone area (forehead, under the eyes and slightly over the tip of the nose). Too much powder can make the skin look old, dry and enhance fine-lines, so be careful to apply gently and tap any excess powder off of the brush before application.
  • Apply a nude-peach coloured blush to the high points of the face that the sun would naturally hit (cheekbones, bridge of the nose) to mimic a healthy, sun-kissed glow.
  • Freckles naturally appear after sun exposure, so lightly placing a smattering of faux freckles over the same areas as your blush will enhance youthfulness and make your skin look sunkissed and more ‘real’ after you’ve applied a layer of your foundation. You can use a brown eye/lip/brow pencil for this but be sure to blend the freckles slightly by patting them with your fingertip. Ideally, they’ll barely be visible, especially if you don’t already have freckles to draw over. I learnt this tip from the queen of make-up, Charlotte Tilbury.
  • Apply highlighter to the high points of the face – the brow bone, bridge of the nose (though not the tip – this can make it look bulbous and oversized) and the inner corner of the eyes to draw attention or slim down these features by drawing light to them.
  • Evolutionarily speaking, a smaller nose on a woman is more attractive because it’s more infantile-looking (remember, neoteny!). Highlighting the ridge of the nose will attract light to this area, creating the appearance of a slimmer nose (Warning: don’t apply highlighter to the tip of the nose unless you want to enlarge it, as this can make it appear bulbous and oversized). Here I’ve linked a video on highlighting the nose by the wonderful Wayne Goss. For wider noses, the sides of the nose can be lightly contoured for extra slimming power!

 

BROWS

What’s attractive, and why?

  • Plucking, shaping and filling in the eyebrows neatly frames the face, increases facial symmetry and indicates youthfulness in fulness because as we age, our brows become sparser and lighter.

 

How can I enhance my brows with make-up?

  • Using an eyebrow gel or pencil to achieve fuller, darker brows. Comb through your lashes with a brush before applying product to keep them neat. An eyebrow gel can be applied over any colour to ensure your brows stay put all day.

 

LIPS

What’s attractive, and why?

  • Prominent lips make a woman’s face more attractive, mimicking neoteny.
  • In Caucasians, much of the luminance contrast between the lips and facial skin is in the redness. Red lips have been considered attractive in women in cultures across location and time, possibly because they mimic vasodilation, indicating high oestrogen levels, sexual arousal and cardiac and respiratory health. In one study, participants could change the colour of the lips of face photographs. On female faces, participants increased the redness contrast to increase the femininity and attractiveness of the face. Wearing the colour red also improves attractiveness –  another study found that red grabs male attention in primates, as well as in humans – we find red sexually desirable. This ‘red-sex link’ most probably has roots in our biology – many female primates display red on their body (genitals/chest/face) when nearing ovulation – the most fertile period of the female cycle. So, it makes sense for this to be ingrained in our sense of what we find attractive.

 

How can I enhance my lips with make-up?

  • Drawing over your lip shape with lip liner can improve the symmetry of your lips and increase the size. Prominent lips can be achieved by using a colour that’s slightly darker than your natural lip colour and definitely no lighter than your foundation which can wash you out and make you look ill (and, to be frank, reminds me a little of Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride).
  • Applying highlighter to the cupid’s bow (the little M-shape above your top lip) draws light to the lips, making them look larger and more prominent, as does washing the lips with a sheer gloss.

Lastly, research has shown that positive facial expressions enhance facial attractiveness for women because they signal interest and kindliness – evolutionarily speaking, resting bitch face isn’t very alluring. 🙂

Until next time,

Faye x

 

References:

Kościński, K. (2007). Facial attractiveness: General patterns of facial preferences. Anthropological Review, 70(1), 45-79.

Stephen, I. D., & McKeegan, A. M. (2010). Lip colour affects perceived sex typicality and attractiveness of human faces. Perception, 39(8), 1104-1110.

Mulhern, R., Fieldman, G., Hussey, T., Lévêque, J. L., & Pineau, P. (2003). Do cosmetics enhance female Caucasian facial attractiveness?. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 25(4), 199-205.

Elliot, A. J., & Niesta, D. (2008). Romantic red: red enhances men’s attraction to women. Journal of personality and social psychology, 95(5), 1150.

The science of relaxation in a busy modern world

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Modern life can be stressful. It’s busy, and we’re often left feeling rushed or restless, just trying to get through each day, living for the weekend. If we can just make it until Friday… or this next deadline… then we’ll be free. Until Sunday night or the next laborious task is upon us, bringing with it a small pit of dread in our collective stomachs. It’s a feeling we’ve all experienced, whether it was a temporary blip during a hectic schedule or a day-in day-out affair. Even describing this pattern feels slightly dread-inducing, so I’m going to stop now!

My reason for writing this article is I myself, as a fairly neurotic individual, have had trouble relaxing. Stress has always been fairly overwhelming for me and manifests in very physical and sometimes painful ways, the latest being chronic tension headaches. I’m also a psychology graduate, so I’m always intrigued about the evidence behind why X is able to help people, how it can affect the mind, and consequentially how it can affect the body. In this case, how can we reduce stress, and how do these blissful self-care rituals work? I’m learning alongside you as I research and write. 🙂

We’ve all heard of the health-risks of stress. Simply put, we’ve been told that stress increases rates of death and illness, both mental and physical. However, stress only increases risk of death in those who view stress as being a harmful response. Otherwise, you’re no more likely to die, and have a lower risk of dying than those who report the lowest amounts of stress. It is the BELIEF that is important for your physical and mental wellbeing: changing your mind about stress alters how your body responds because the mind and body are connected. To learn more about this (and to verify to yourself that I’m not just making it up as I go!), I really recommend watching this game-changing TED talk by health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, titled ‘How to make stress your friend’. In her talk, she explains how to reframe stress, envisioning how it can help you rather than hinder you, and the amazing benefits of doing this alongside the differing bodily reactions that occur.

Whilst mentally reframing stress is an amazing way to drastically lessen its harm, helping the mind and body relax is also able to offers a plethora of health benefits. A handful include lower blood pressure, improved digestion, better concentration and mood, higher quality of sleep (and obviously a much lower risk of the reported stress-related health issues).

Something I find amazing, and the reason why I’m including the science behind these tips and tricks (many of which you’ll have heard of before), is that when we *think* that what we’re doing is beneficial, we can reap benefits, regardless of whether the action in question is actually providing us said benefits. Again, our health is reliant on BELIEF. The term for this is the ‘placebo effect’. Wikipedia describes a placebo as ‘a substance or treatment of no intended therapeutic value. Common placebos include inert tablets, inert injections, sham surgery, and other procedures.’ Placebos work because our brain expects the placebo to benefit us, which in turn releases endorphins, which are chemicals similar to morphine in their ability to quell pain.

Amazingly, scientists have found that the placebo effect works even when we know what a placebo is, AND even when we know that what we’re doing/taking IS itself a placebo. Open-label placebos (sugar pills) were found to dramatically improve self-observed symptoms like nausea, pain, fatigue and IBS. Pretty crazy, right? (So don’t worry, I haven’t hindered any potential placebo-derived benefits from the following relaxation tips by clueing you in). I’m hoping that by enlightening you to the evidence behind the relaxation tips given, you’ll either reap benefits via the placebo effect or via the activity itself (and very possibly, both).

Anyhow, without further ado, I’ll introduce the tips themselves and then explain why/how they work. To play at a more advanced level, combine the tips for extra relaxation points!

DO try these at home:

1- Keep a gratitude journal

What’s a gratitude journal?

A gratitude journal is a way of keeping tabs on all of the good things that happened during your day. All too often we focus on the negativity around us. An evolutionary psychology approach would argue that this is only natural – the brain is programmed to remember negative aspects of life in order to attempt to prevent them from happening again, to protect us. However, ruminating over modern-day stressors such as the fact that Susan took all the credit for your good idea at work, or that your youngest child threw a horrendously embarrassing tantrum in the middle of the store is not beneficial to your wellbeing.

Your gratitude journal can be left beside your bed – try filling it in before you go to sleep at night and implement it into your routine this way. Try to think of 3 good things that happened during your day (however small). If you made the perfect cup of tea, that could be 1 grateful thought out of 3. Want more tips for making a gratitude journal?

Why would I try this?

The benefits of being a more grateful person are well-documented. Increasing the amount of gratitude you have improves both your mental and physical health (due to the fact that better mental health generally leads to better physical health). People who keep such journals have reported experiencing less toxic emotions such as envy and regret, better sleep, a reduction in aggression, and an increase in mental strength and self-esteem. Personally, I think keeping a daily gratitude journal is well worth the small amount of time it takes to write down a couple of points each day.

 2- Take more hot baths

This one’s pretty obvious. Just fill up the tub, lower yourself into the hot steamy water, and soak. You could add in a bath bomb or a soothing bubble bath if so inclined. Certain smells can enhance your relaxation experience – lavender is renowned for its relaxing qualities, alongside sandalwood and jasmine.

Why would I try this?

We all know bathing feels great – there’s nothing quite like the luxurious feeling of immersing yourself into a hot bath of water after a long day. One theory (quite wacky) of why this is so comforting is that warm baths remind us of being in the womb, protected, nourished and submerged in water.

But what you might not know is, bodily benefits can also be derived by bathing. Regular bathing has been found to reduce the likelihood of strokes, high blood pressure and hypertension. A steamy bath can also clear your sinuses, strengthen lung capacity, reduce pain and inflammation, calm the nervous system and improve blood circulation (which can aid digestion). A healthy body = a healthy mind.

3- Drink chamomile tea

What is it?

This mild tasting tea is made from one of the most ancient herbs on the planet. I personally enjoy the subtle floral taste – especially with a teaspoon of honey added for sweetness.

Why would I try this?

Camomile has been proven to not only improve sleep quality (and feeling well-rested will alleviate stress in itself!), but researchers have also discovered that even when tested alongside a placebo (a placebo which was unknown to both the lab-rats and researchers at the time of testing), there was a statistically significant reduction in anxiety level for those suffering from an anxiety disorder, suggesting that the camomile itself should take the credit!

Studies have found that camomile tea has more benefits than simply increased feelings of relaxation – camomile can improve the functioning of your immune system, improve your heart-health and offer some protection against cancer. As stated before, healthy body = healthy mind. All the more reason to pick up a box during your next supermarket sweep.

4- Practice mindfulness

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a way of bringing yourself into the here and now. It gives you (or rather, you give yourself) an opportunity to be still, calm, and present in whatever you’re doing. You don’t have to tangle your legs in the lotus position to accomplish mindfulness – it can be achieved during pretty much any activity. Focusing on the sights, smells, sensations, temperature, taste, sounds, and the breath all enable you to be truly in the now.

Why would I try this?

Being in the present moment can put the stresses we all experience in life into perspective, increasing your sense of wellbeing. Reported effects of mindfulness are (but not limited to): being less consumed by worry and regret, more self-esteem, stress relief, lowering the blood pressure, reducing chronic pain, better quality sleep.

Scientists have found that being mindful literally causes changes in brain structure and function – specifically in areas related to the regulation of attention, emotion and self-awareness.

Neuroscientist Sara Lazar found that after only 8 weeks (30-40 minutes per day) of mindfulness, brain volume increased in the hippocampus (which enables us to store memories and control our emotions) and in the temporoparietal junction (which enables us to be empathetic and compassionate). Brain volume also decreased in an area of the brain. The amygdala shrunk (which is responsible for triggering our stress-response to perceived threats). Meaning that mindful practice lessened the participants’ stress-reactions to their environment.

If you’re not really sure where to start, I recommend trying mindfulness apps. My personal favourite is Headspace.

Supplementary ideas:

  • Limit tech time before bed and use ‘night mode’ or applications such as ‘f.lux’ in an evening to increase ambient light and aid in sleep.
  • Use ambience videos/white noise to aid in relaxation (e.g. rainymood.com, asoftmurmur.com)
  • Play upbeat music to lift your mood (the cheesier the better).
  • Keep your space tidy and your body well-groomed.

 

To sum up, there’s many little things we can do for ourselves to regain control of what we perceive to be stressful circumstances, or even just to treat ourselves to me-time. It just takes a bit of mental recalibration and self-care. This list is in no way, shape or form an exhaustive one – it might take you a little time and research to find the most effective method of relaxation for you. Or it may take booking a spa day (massage is another great way to relax). Totally your call.

Until next time,

Faye x

Finding the balance between self-control and self-compassion

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I’m going to let you all in on a little secret when it comes me, I work hard. I don’t say that to be arrogant or to seem cool. I am the person you would see in the library every Saturday for 10 hours minimum (not even kidding, Faye can testify to this) looking at drunk people across the street ready for the town. Cool isn’t the first word you thought of is it? Me neither (#nerd). Nevertheless, working hard is what I do. Why? Because when I want something I have an understanding that it does not come for free. Therefore I approach the challenges with determination.

The science of self-control and discipline is a fascinating one. Freud (1930) even argued that the self’s capacity to inhibits its antisocial impulses and conform to the demands of group life is the hallmark of civilized life. More recent research has shown that a lot of the personal and social problems in today’s society can be linked to a substantial deficient self-control (Baumeister, Heatherton, & Tice, 1994.). Some examples of consequences of low self-control are crime, deviant behaviour, poor relationships, lack of impulsive control and more. When you think about it, you don’t really have to be a scientist to see the link between self-control and success. Some people are better at managing their lives, keeping their schedules, rein in their tempers, controlling their lusts, saving their money, fulfilling their promises, stopping after a few drinks… and on and on it goes. Although most of the data we have on the topic is highly correlational, thus precluding strong casual conclusions, we can still assume that the more self-control you have, the amount of success and well-being in your life will increase as well (Tangney, Boone, & Baumeister, 2018).

BUT, and there is a big but here. What do you do if you have too much of the good stuff? The good stuff here being self-control, in case you had forgotten. Back to me; you know how I said that I work hard? Yeah, that is still true. What I forgot to say is that sometimes (okay, often) I work so hard that I forget to eat, I forget to drink, I don’t sleep enough and I don’t spend enough time with my husband, family & friends. My husband sometimes tells me that I would starve in front of a fridge full of food. I have over the years worked myself ill, I have fainted, thrown up and felt burnt out. Therefore, although I am all for people developing their capacity for self-control and discipline, I am advocating for some self-compassion as well.

Even God rested & He created a day for us to rest. I don’t think it has to be a Sunday, but try to find 1 day in your week when you can take a moment or two to just rest.

Genisis 2:2-3
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

I don’t think that it is a coincidence that God rested. Work is immeasurably important, a way for us to find meaning in our lives. We need to find joy in our work and try to be the best that we can be in it. However, we can’t forget to rest. Go home, eat well and rest. Spend time with those who build you up or if you’re an introvert like me, read your book with a good cup of coffee or tea. Find strength in He who never tires:

Matthew 11: 28-30
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Restore yourself and get ready for a new day where you do it all over again.

My 5 tips for improving your self-control;
1. Set yourself some achievable goals, and work towards them with determination.

2. Make a schedule that you can live by (remember to include rest). Time is money.

3. When you hit the wall (which you most likely will), go do things that are good for you like exercise and eat healthy food. Don’t do that which is destructive for instance partying and eating poorly.

4. Surround yourself with people who are helping you reach your goal, not drag you down.

5. If you fail, don’t give up. Get up and try again.

– Frøya.

 

References:
Baumeister, R. F., Heatherton, T. F., & Tice, D. M. (1994). Losing control: How and why people fail at self-regulation. San Diego: Academic Press, Inc.

Freud, S. (1930). Civilization and its discontents. London: Hogarth.

Tangney, J. P., BOONE, A. L., & BAUMEISTER, R. F. (2018). High self-control predicts good adjustment, less pathology, better grades, and interpersonal success. In Self-Regulation and Self-Control (pp. 181-220). Routledge.

“Frigid” – The Societal Pressure to Become Sexually Active

 

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Today men expect to be able to treat all women like prostitutes, only without just compensation, and the virgins are the ones who are now stigmatized, told that no man will have them – just as the prostitutes of old were once told that no man could ever love them” – Excerpt from ‘A Return to Modesty’ by Wendy Shalit

I remember the impact of hook-up culture and the sexual revolution from a young age. I can remember early in my teenage years, in secondary school, when at around the age of 14 it became cool to have ‘done things’ with another person. It started with innocent kissing. Just a peck. Then ‘getting off’ with someone (A.K.A making-out, for you Americans), which seemed terrifying enough. Why do you put your tongue in their mouth? Will I be awful at it? What does a tongue taste like? Will it be slimy? It seemed that year after year, the social pressure grew and grew. Girls who wouldn’t sexually satisfy their newly-gained boyfriends were smeared with the label of ‘frigid’, a horrible term to describe, according to Google “(of a woman) unable to be sexually aroused and responsive”. For some reason, wanting to leave the adult stuff to adulthood was really quite uncool.

At the time, it felt wrong to be socially coerced into sexual relations with someone when in my mind I still felt like a girl. I watched as one by one, my friends passed through this invisible sexual threshold, submerging themselves into adulthood. These girls became surrounded by curious, excited peers asking about the taboo details of the act that relieved her of a ‘frigid’ reputation. I always wondered how these friends appeared so cool and collected about their early sexual encounters. How did they know what to do? Did they enjoy it? What if they did something embarrassingly awkward, and the whole school found out?  I had many questions, all of which I kept inside my head – I’d have felt embarrassed at my naivety asking such things and didn’t want to expose my own sexual inexperience for fear of being at best, judged, and at worst, exposed. I only wish I’d known what I know now, that it’s easy for people to keep up appearances on the outside, and still be anxious and unsure on the inside, scrabbling to secure the façade of socially acceptable normality.

Thankfully, I waited for the right person to lose my virginity to. Someone I’m still with today and expect to be with for a very long time. However, there are other things that I didn’t wait to do, in my eagerness to relieve my anxieties about social judgement. Though I by no means went wild, I regret not waiting for the right person to share such special and intimate parts of myself with. Only in my immaturity and naivety, in a rush to clear myself of some stupid label, would I make such awful judgements. The relief of knowing I was now a little more ‘normal’ was not worth the possible emotional and physical dangers of being both naïve and sexually active. I know dear friends who have, albeit at an older age, put themselves in similar situations on numerous occasions and now have a lifelong STD to worry about – a disease that makes them feel in their own words ‘dirty’, that they will have to tell each new partner about, that could potentially increase their risk of further health issues.

I’ve known acquaintances who thought they’d be fine not using protection, thinking they could have sex without the consequences (because isn’t this what the ongoing sexual revolution preaches?), and ending up in an abortion clinic with both an unwanted baby (which was swiftly aborted) and chlamydia. A number of my friends have turned to casual sex in times of desperate depression, loneliness and boredom. They wanted to explore; they wanted to feel empowered. It was not the antidote to their feelings of hopelessness, but arguably exacerbated the feelings further.

My teenage experiences and the experiences of those close to me have left me with all the more admiration for people who really do wait until they find ‘the one’ before they become sexually active or put off sex until marriage. Yet I fear that these individuals will become rarer and rarer. When I was younger, I only remember the pressure being from my peers, not from the adults around me. The teen magazine I pleaded my mum to buy on our weekly supermarket shop wasn’t weighing up the pros and cons of casual sex or reviewing sex toys. Yet now, Cosmopolitan magazine does just this – a magazine for young women. Examples are listed below.

It doesn’t get much better with Glamour magazine, my girlhood favourite:

Maybe it’s more rebellious to abstain from the casual sex that’s being pushed on us, now more than ever. Perhaps it’s time to reject the current wave of feminism and the sexual revolution that puts women in much more danger than they were ever in waiting for a husband who valued their innocence. Though, it’s easy to say this now in a happy relationship, with a little more wisdom, and some distance from the tight grip of teenage conformity.

Until next time,

Faye x

Why I love being a woman, but won’t call myself a feminist

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When I was thinking about what my first article here should contain, my immediate thought was to dive into some psychological research and ponderings (stay tuned for that). However, it struck me that it might be more logical to start at the core of things. And the core of Frøya (oh, don’t go there, you know that is not what I am talking about) is that I am a woman.

I have been called sexist of my own gender by my own gender at earlier points in my life. For what you may ask? For not calling myself a feminist. Therefore, before we get into why I am not a feminist, let me make something crystal clear: I love being a woman. I love how God made me and how He talks about women.

  • She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (Prov. 31:26)
  • She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. (Prov. 31:25)
  • She is worth far more than rubies. (Prov. 31:10)

I also love wearing pretty dresses. I love putting on make-up and looking beautiful for my husband. What I love even more is when he prefers me without it and thinks I’m at my hottest on a Sunday morning before my coffee with bed hair and everything. I love that we are created to be mothers and caretakers, called to create a home and safe haven for those who need it. I love to read, to learn and grow wiser as I grow older.

Do I think that you have to be a woman to have these traits, no I don’t. The strengths and weaknesses in men and women overlap. These are however some of the traits predominately found in womanhood. Have I made myself clear yet? Just in case I haven’t, let me say it one more time, read it slowly. Men and women are different, but in no way or form do I think that women are worth any less than men.

And it is here me and feminism have to walk our separate ways. Because I have this super controversial thought. Buckle up. Men are equal to women. Woah, I know right, crazy times to be alive. I love men. I love their strength, their practicality, their protectiveness. I think men have some amazing virtues and I value them deeply. When me and my husband moved into our new flat about 1 month ago I tried (read: I really did try) to help him build the furniture. Sadly, let us just say that furniture building is not one of my strengths, even though most of it was IKEA. Towards the end of it my husband begged me to just go do something else like make dinner whilst he finished the dreadful task that is building an entire flat worth of furniture. In this situation I could have chosen to be offended, that he did not find me equal… or I could choose the humble way which is that we are different and we help balance out each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Where I am strong he might be weak and the other way around. Thank God for that.

However, feminism rejects that. The third-wave feminism of today is more preoccupied with rejecting femininity by encouraging  women to be careless in their sex lives, to not start families by aborting their babies and to reject men and change them into someone they are not (#soyboy). Feminism today will tell you that it is wrong of you to get married, to be submissive of your husband, to try to look beautiful for him and choose a family over a career. Today’s feminism is more concerned about creating a society where women rule rather where equality thrives. Feminism of today will blame and shame men, and when then try to ask for help they will ridicule them. The hateful rhetoric feminism preaches is basically arguing for the destruction of families and making men feel like they don’t hold any value in our society. And I, Frøya, just can’t get behind that.

Much more to be said on the topic, but we’ll save that for later. For now, this is why I won’t call me a feminist even though I love being a woman.

 

– Frøya.

Who, what & why?

Good questions. Here are some answers:

WHAT – Well, it’s a blog… Sorry, we suffer from a thing called sarcasm. There should be a support group. Let’s continue. This is indeed a blog, where we plan to discuss femininity, traditionalism, culture, faith, and more, with a little psychology thrown in for good measure. It’s all well and good having an opinion, but ideas hold much more weight if they’re informed by science, which is what we’ll try to do (although sometimes we might just want a good old-fashioned rant)! This is our humble attempt to explore the femininity and traditionalism that appears to have been lost in our present-day third-wave feminist society. Yup – we’re two women in our twenties who created a lifestyle blog. But maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised – especially if you’re fed up with the mainstream alternatives (hands up if you’re sick and tired of the degeneracy that is Cosmopolitan magazine). We hope we’ll become your new guilty pleasure.

WHO – Let’s be on a first name basis. You can call us Frøya & Faye. …I never said these were our real names – for the sake of full disclosure, they’re not. We just feel like we can be more honest about our thoughts and lives if we remain anonymous. Everything besides our names will be true (but what is even truth? Oh, you see this is why we need a blog, we have so many things talk about). Want to know more about us as individuals? Check out our “About Us” page if you’re curious.

WHY – Because we both have a deep need to explore, write, and share. This blog is a way for us to work on a project together that we’re passionate about and learn more about each other through our writing, since we live in different countries.

 

– Frøya & Faye.