Archive for the ‘blogging’ Category

A few comments on “The View”

March 4, 2008

I have the ability and pleasure to read a blog or two courtesy of Google Reader, mostly because anything by Blogspot is blocked by the workplace Goonware.  That also means that I’m not reading comments by most of you.

But Joe Flirt, who I read often (and I need to comment more, since I CAN comment on his WordPress blog) had an interesting post about something written by Bunni, who needs to be added to my Google Reader Club.  But I find that there are many people who seem to share Bunny’s sentiments, that they think that since they enjoy sex so much that all women must enjoy it as much as they do. 

But that’s not the primary thing I’m commenting on.  It’s the concept that men say they want a freak in bed, and then when confronted with that freaky chick, they run like scared bunnies.


There are two aspects of this that are equally troubling.  The obvious one is the scardy-cat men who are running away.  Or hopping away, if they are being like bunnies. The other is the heavy weight the women put on the view of these apparently weak-minded men.  If the guy is running off because you are being true to yourself, then nature is doing her job, right?  Weeding out the less confident, less fit and less capable?

 I’m trying to think if I’ve ever scampered off in the face of a more confident woman.  I’m trying to think of a time where I’ve ever scampered off.  I do think in my younger days, being massively inexperienced, I may have definitely been scared of women who were too womanly for me.  I was a total virgin until the age of 25, so there were a lot of years where I could have been running.  But once I got some experience, my first series of experiences were with younger women who were themselves insecure and inexperienced.  Even the one who had naked pictures of her taken by a professional.

The first time a gal wanted to go down on me, yeah I was uncomfortable with that but it was my own insecurity that made me a lousy lay.  It wasn’t until I dated someone several years older and who had been around the block a number of times that I became sexually confident enough to do and be done by my partner. 

Would I be a bit freaked if confronted by a bedsheet freak today?  Maybe.  But that’s all my own insecurity and doesn’t make me think less of any woman who likes to get down and dirty.  Unlike Joeflirt, my fantasies involve the demure school marm who wants to go down on her boyfriend and take it up the ass in her spare time or while grading papers.  Part of that is me being often perceived as being as straight and vanilla in real life as can be but knowing that I have a latent kinky side dying to be expressed and explored.  I don’t automatically assume the other Sunday School teacher down the hall from me is any different.  Another factor is just maturity.  As I get more comfortable with myself I’m able to feel less threatened by someone else’s differentness.  Many of the bunny-men are not as mature and will almost always feel threatened by anything that looks like it might make them feel inferior.  And that makes sense to me.  I’m not saying it’s right, but it makes sense.

Which leads me to the second thing; why are women all strung out about what the less mature and more inferior men are thinking about them?  I sort of get the sting of rejection when the guy might suddenly go limp, grab his clothes and go running and screaming down the hall.   But there seems to be a prevailing feeling that most men are like that.  Is that true?  Are most men freaked out when confronted by a sexually confident woman?

It could be true.  Confidence is a two-way street.  One must have it in order to appreciate it.  I think a lot of men want women who are sexually confident in order to raise their own confidence and esteem.  However when faced with the developmental task of being confident, they find they are not up for it, and go hopping off.  This relates to the topic of emotional fusion and borrowed functioning that Schnarch talks about.  A man wants the confident woman who will somehow make him more confident but ends up making him feel exactly the opposite!

A sexually confident woman who gets bunny-like because some bunny-men went hopping away in fear, isn’t really as confident as she is letting on.  I do understand why she might feel deflated, though.  When a woman decides to get sexually adventurous, she is practicing a form of disclosure which requires a certain level of trust.  However, the women act as if this disclosure is somehow riskier or more novel than what men have always had to endure.  Rejection and ridicule is a two-way street and it hurts no matter the gender of the person who is inflicting it.  The other-validated confidence game also goes both ways.  It takes a lot of courage to put oneself out there, and to endure the rejection when or if it comes.  The only real way to build that sort of fortitude is to actually do it, and step outside the comfort zone.


Ask Autumn Anything

January 31, 2008

It’s that time of the year again! I was just looking through my archives from a year ago, and saw that feature and wondered if FTN would give it a go, again. I also wondered if Autumn would. Because I’m such a nosy guy, I usually have a mittful of questions for Autumn. Plus she does sometimes give me insight into my own wife. While that is still true, I’m a bit more interested in helping her help FTN with his hypersexuality disorder, if she’s courageous enough to share.

Are you game, Autumn?

1. What is the biggest change in your life since last year?

2. What do you think your biggest challenge is going to be in the coming year? How do you plan on dealing with it?

3. FTN sometimes makes it seem like you don’t want to deal with problems and you sometimes come off looking like an avoider who would rather wait for the problems to disappear on their own. Is that true? How much do you rely on FTN’s willingness and ability to confront or solve problems within your relationship, if there are any?

4. We kind of went through the “sexual anorexia” question in a previous year, and I apologize for that. Let’s pretend that I have the ability to offer a cure for this in the form of a pill. If you take the red pill, your sexual desire will increase and you’ll be as horny as FTN! If you take the blue pill, FTN’s desire decreases to the point where it is exactly the same as yours. What do you choose? Red, blue or no pills?  Or both pills, in which case your roles would completely reverse.

5. I asked FTN why he had such high sexual desire and he gave a list of 5 reasons.  (No cheating, FTN!) .  What do you think his 5 top reasons for liking sex so much were?

6. Apart from sex, what does intimacy look like to you?  Would you describe your relationship with FTN as intimate (apart from sex)?

7. How do you know sex is over with?  Who is more likely to be the one that wants to talk after sex?

8. FTN is having a huge mental block when it comes to figuring out what his psychological issues and dysfunctions are (apart from his hypersexuality).  You guys did do counseling, right?  Could you help him (and help us help him) by giving a list of 5 (or more) issues that he could work on?  Or was the counseling totally centered on your issues?  Feel free to make the list as comprehensive as you need.  Blogging is another form of therapy and we’re all here to help FTN in whatever way we can.

9. FTN wrote about a half marathon or something like it he was going to do with you.   Could asking him to do this be likened to him asking you to do certain sexual things?  You know, you might be able to motivate him to train harder if you wagered certain sexual things if he beat you in the race!

10.  As a busy mom, I realize your time is limited so I’m curious as to how you might prioritize your “spare” time.  So I’d like you to look at each activity below and classify each as to how you feel about doing them on a scale of 1 to 5.  5 = Excited and looking forward to doing it, 3 = will do if time allows but not too excited about, 1 =not excited about it at all and possibly dreading it.  Ready?  You go, girl!

a. Watching Discovery Health (The morbidly obese marathon)

b. Running/working out

c. Reading a romance novel

d.  Singing at church

e. Sex planned 2 days in advance

f. Reading a self-help book like Passionate Marrage

g. Going to a movie (romantic comedy)

h. Going to a movie (Action/adventure)

i. Attending a party with friends (no kids)

h. Eating out at a Chinese restaurant (no kids)

j. Eating at McDonalds (with kids)

k. Visiting your parents/family

l. Visiting FTN’s parents/family

m. Making out on the couch with FTN after the kids are asleep

n. Visiting a foreign country

o.  Blogging

p. Computer games/internet surfing

q. Changing diapers

r. Eating out at an Italian restarurant

s. Having drinks at a bar

t. Sleeping

u. Running a 15 mile race

v. Cooking

w. Unplanned sex TONIGHT

x. Talking about sex

y. Praying with FTN

z.  Answering questions from strange anonymous bloggers.

I hope this wasn’t too stressful of an experience as I try to make it thoughtful and at least somewhat fun.   You got a lot of courage (and patience) dealing with FTN, much less all of his strange, anonymous blogging friends!


So You Want to Be a DDR King…

January 11, 2008

Or Queen, as the case may be. I was SSSOOO excited when I read FADKOG‘s (who shall henceforth be called “Sugar”) post on her new DDR Super Nova game. I totally got wood! Fortunately I was differentiated enough to remain calm enough and in control to composed a lovely and lengthy comment to that post. Unfortunately Blogger ate the comment.

Fucking Blogger.

Hey, I’m just staying with the theme, here!

Anyway, I knew very, very few of the songs she mentioned. The one by A-Ha being the only one that rang a bell, and Take On Me has limited utility for serious step dancing. But I’m totally thrilled to have someone who is of my 80’s loving generation who is willing to take this game on. So I’m going to pass along a few things I’ve learned along the way and perhaps Sugar’s enthusiasm will result in others taking up the game. Perhaps there could be a resurgence of step dancing game-playing as we combine our health consciousness and video nerdiness with some serious ’80’s tunes. After all, she is seriously cool with a kickass rack. If she can’t start a local fad, I have no idea of who else could do it.

So I’m your facilitator to the world of step dancing. And the first thing I’m going to do is steer you clear of DDR Super Nova 2. I read the reviews and looked at the musical line-up, and my hat is off to anyone who sticks with this version of the game. You’re seriously hardcore DDR. I am going to steer you towards the free and open source version, which is Stepmania. While you can download everything you want and need (and more) from the site, I do encourage folks to purchase the $20 CD which funds the various Stepmix contests. Or if you want me to send you a copy of mine, just let me know where to send it. Seriously, Open Source means FREE as in beer!

Fortunately Stepmania and DDR are similar enough that we can talk about the basic elements without causing too much grief. Dance Dance Revolution is a series of games (video and arcade) that involve stepping on arrows in time with the music. Hitting the arrows in time and in sequence is rewarded with points. Missing involves penalties. Hitting several arrows in a row is a combination or “combo”. A higher combo will multiply your score. Forr instance, hitting a 100 combo means that I’ve hit 100 arrrows in a row without missing. But if I miss at the 101st step, my combos have to start over. The scoring will multiply your highest combo so after missing that 101st step I can still better myself by hitting the next 110 arrows without missing.



There are several types of arrow combinations that include traveling around the mat, jumping and holding. Stepmania also includes mines and lift steps, but I turn those off because they are exceedingly nasty and hack my dancing groove. The steps are generally in 4-4 timing, musically although higher levels will include many half and quarter steps that require more speed and agility.


Let’s talk about levels and scoring for a bit. It’s my understanding that DDR has 3 basic skill levels with the various grades between them. Stepmania can have up to 5, but it is the grades or “feet” that really matter. A given song may have 3 or more levels, and each level is rated a certain number of “feet.” “Feet” are just the arbitrary symbol for degree of difficulty and more feet means more difficult.


One foot would be a beginner level with maybe 50 steps in the entire song. So they come relatively slow and far between. You may not be stepping every beat or even every other beat but you are learning how to time your steps and orient yourself to the mat. Two feet would be maybe 60-70 steps with a jump or two thrown in. You’ll know it’s a jump when you see two arrows come up at once and you have to hit them both at the same time. The only way to do that (assuming you have no more than two feet) is to jump.

Before going up to a higher level, beginners have a tendency to pick which arrows will be hit with which feet. For instance, the up and left arrow get the left foot and the right and lower arrow get the right foot, sort of playing zone defense with their feet. But this will break down in higher levels so you might as well get used to the idea of traveling all over the mat. That means not reorienting to the center after every step. Stepping is exactly that: walking, jumping or running from arrow to arrow. You are not penalized for being on an arrow that you aren’t supposed to be on, only for not being on an arrow when it comes up. Those of you who have played Guitar Hero will have a rough idea of how this works, only it takes some time orienting to the space of the mat.

Scoring is rated according to how closely you are timed with the music and your combos. At the end you get scored A-E, where ‘E’ is failing and A is pretty good. AA is way better and AAA and AAAA are impossible dreams, at least for me.


With DDR, you have to score well on the songs in each stage at a certain level in order to “unlock” more songs. High scores at higher levels unlock more songs. So this gives a person an incentive to keep working and keep playing in order unlock more songs. Thing is, some of the songs might be kind of crappy which means you might have to keep dancing to some crappy songs in order to get to the cool songs. And then you discover the cool songs aren’t all that cool so you dance to more crappy music hoping to unlock the REALLY cool songs.

The complaints I read in reviews of DDR Supernova 2 were that songs were not all that good. I have no idea and since I play Stepmania, it isn’t a concern. Yeah, there’s crappy songs in that game, too, but adding and deleting the music is not a problem. I’ll explain more about that later.

It’s easy to get carried away, as our friend Sugar discovered. On a lower level of play, you can literally play for hours at a time and not realize it. That’s because the steps are relatively far apart and it may take an hour to burn 200 calories. That’s okay because you’re just learning the game. These step games are good aerobic workouts because they are loads of fun and combine video games, dancing and music and possibly annoying a spouse, parent or sibling. But getting a really good workout means doing lots of steps in shorter and shorter periods of time which means higher and higher levels. I currently live at the 5-7 foot level, which is about 75-150 steps per minute which is easily 200+ steps per song which is a lot more than the 50 steps at beginner level. So take a song at 120 Beats per Minute (BPM) and throw in a bunch of half and quarter steps or a bunch of jumps and you get a decent workout. My groove is 135-150 BPM and anything less seems ungodly slow. That’s why the play list for DDR looks a little light to me, but 6 months ago I might have liked it better.

Stepmania page

I like Stepmania for a lot of reasons, besides the fact that it is free. First is that I have an unlimited song selection. I can make a stepfile for any mp3. I can also download hundreds of stepfiles from the web. Right now, I have over 400 songs with stepfiles. With infinite variety I can play whatever I feel like and most of the time it is hard and fast. Stepmania is also infinitely configurable. I can pick whatever animated character I want to dance with (or none), decline to do mines or hold steps, increase or decrease the tempo or choose a dozen different modes like “drunk mode” or “dizzy mode.” I rarely play “stage play” which is the default DDR mode but usually travel through a song group systematically until they are all mastered and then either find another group and increase the difficulty.

There are a couple of disadvantages to Stepmania that need mentioning. One is that most step mats are made for PS/PS2 consoles and so getting it on the PC involves a USB converter costing about $7-10. Not all mats and converters play well with a PC and one must be persistent to make it work. Configuring the mat to work properly can also be a pain compared to a PS2 game where you plug it in and it just works.

The configurability is a double-edged sword because with so many possible options it may take awhile to get it exactly the way you want. Hours could be spend tweaking instead of dancing, which takes a bit of nerdiness to really enjoy. But once everything works, it works wonderfully!

For DDR and Stepmania alike, I recommend trying a cheap mat to start with but once you get past beginner level, you’ll want to upgrade. I have some nice Red Octane mats I found on eBay for half price. The cheap mats slide around a lot when an adult body gets moving fast.

Just thinking about playing? Try and you can play with the arrow keys on your keyboard! Stepmania can also be played on the keyboard and I’d say a majority of the folks actively playing it are keyboard players. It was useful for me playing that way because I learned the game basics, tweaked the program and was able to rate song difficulty before getting on the mat. So I highly recommend trying it before investing any money

For exercise, it compares favorably to a treadmill although you may find yourself do more either because of the game aspect or liking the music aspect or both. But the impact on the bones and joints is about the same, depending on the thickness of your mat and your floor. It is mainly targeting the lower body, but as anyone whose been reading me knows, it can be an effective weight loss tool.

These games also have one other drawback though. Their loudness can and will annoy anyone else in the house. I do my workout after work at work when everyone else is gone. Sometimes I do it at home but Arwyn usually retreats when I do and sometimes the boys go with her. Doing it late at night or early in the morning isn’t going to work unless you find wireless headphones that work, which I haven’t found. Notice Joe Flirt making a hasty retreat after his daughter got one as well as Sugar’s family.

I’m encouraged to see other folks trying it out so maybe it can be a more popular activity at RWB reunions.


Schnarch: Passionate Marrriage Chapter 1

December 3, 2007

Wow. I can see why Schnarch comes so highly recommended, or at least so recommended to me. In the first chapter he verified a few positions that I thought were suspect and then challenged a few that I had held close to as well as opened some doors that hit upon some themes I’ve been hitting recently though not in the same exact way.

Passionate Marriage is fundamentally a spiritual book by nature. Many of the revelations can easily be applied (and are sometimes meant to be applied) beyond the realms of marriage and sex. And for those of us that can think in those terms, marriage and sex are meant to be spiritual exercises. As Rod said in a recent article, sex is as much an act of worship as driving to a building on Sunday morning. For most of us, this is revolutionary thinking that is difficult to wrap our minds around.

My urge to write about this probably is similar to the more academic and sophisticated approach that 2amsomewhere has taken when he has discussed the book. While he does not take on many spiritual themes, he does incorporate the emotional and rational emotive aspects of Schnarch’s writing into his marriage. Or at least what’s left of his marriage. I do think that not having a personal theology is akin to 2am having only 2 legs on a 3 legged stool that also includes his substantial intellect and his emotions. I think spiritual work could really enhance the personal work he has already done.

Rod was wondering about why Arwyn and I have different church group affiliations. Having only read one chapter, I can already see that Arwyn and I may actually be differentiating in a spiritual way that is congruent with what Schnarch talks about. Neither of us is really asking the other to conform to the other’s way of practicing Christianity, but we do have similar enough core beliefs.

In the religious sense, we are actually getting along better than when we were attending the same church, either the Methodist or Saddleback East groups. We often will discuss the sermon she heard or the Sunday school lesson I heard or taught when we get back together on Sunday afternoons. When I attended her CGM church, I had its flaws and shortcomings in my face and felt my integrity constantly under attack. While at the mainstream church, Arwyn felt her own integrity under assault. What we have now is a spiritual harmony born out of our differences but bound by similar convictions. I’ve come to accept that God wants her where she is, and God hasn’t told me to move on, yet. We can move independently without each other feeling under attack or under each other’s constant judgment. There’s actually more unity and community here than there has been previously.

And this is a terribly odd thing that defies conventional wisdom, thought and belief. But this is exactly the sort of challenge that Schnarch goes about doing in his book. He challenges the biological imperative of sex, in that it actually inhibits intimacy and kills sexual desire. For someone who wrote about sexual anorexia (which Schnarch challenged as a notion stright away) and who has a fondness for the food analogy of sexual desire, this was a big deal. He challenges the ideal of emotional enmeshment, comparing it to a procrustean bed where we each try to fit the other into a comfortable size and shape to fit ourselves. He challenges the idea of psychodynamic work, where a therapist spend years uncovering past unresolved and unconscious issues that may be replaying in adulthood. He prefers dealing with the issues as they appear in present circumstances and moving beyond them instead of forever revisiting and revising our history. He challenges the idea of better communication being the key, as it is simply a fiction we promote because we like the idea we can talk ourselves out of any tough situation.

He strips away a lot of dead wood, here, as well as hacks away at some very sacred cows.

His is not a formula/skill based approach. It is a growth approach, which is where the spiritual component really has the potential to kick in. Our character is shaped by our trials. Schnarch doesn’t explicitly quote scripture but anyone familiar with it would recognize that which is written in the book of James about the relationship between trials and character.

Schnarch repudiates a one-size-fits all approach, which is where this clicked for me. It’s my main beef with Christianity the way it is practiced today. Jesus Christ used a crucible approach to teach His disciples about the kingdom of God and about how to exercise their faith. It was relationship-based, practical, and based on who those disciples were while they were with Him. Today, the one-size-fits-all prescription is so entrenched that each group feels threatened by any follower that does not explicitly toe the doctrinal line perfectly. Heresy, apostasy and blasphemy are not threats to a body that is healthy, growing and thriving. It is only a threat to a sick, weak and withering institution.

But getting back to Schnarch, he’s on to some good things here. At least that’s what I’m thinking so far. However, one troubling aspect is that while his work is based on some impressive qualitative experience, he has not presented any quantitative findings in his research so far. Maybe I’ll see some in later chapters, but for me this is a pretty glaring weakness. I appreciate his insight, but I want to see more tangible results, which is the behaviorist in me. We need to be able to see something measurable in order to be convinced that the intervention is the key to the progress being made and not just some sort of placebo effect.

I’m looking forward to reading and sharing more.



August 29, 2007

I managed to Hoover up a few more of Finished Last’s blog before it went dark, and it’s a pity he had to take it down. But I do understand as his real life seemingly comes crashing about his ears, one can’t afford to be all sentimental about a blog. I was interested in his posts about his job and family as well as his phenomenal weight loss program. Who sets out and loses 50 pounds in 6 months? That really inspired me to seriously attack my diet and I’m seeing major results. So if yer readin’, FL, tanks!

I just finally had a chance to download that FTN-FADKOG podcast. That was interesting and a bit surreal to actually be linked in a podcast. Thing is, each of them had voices similar to what I would have imagined them to sound like. FTN had a certain whimsical quality to it, while FADKOG had a sexy sarcastic quality that comes through in her writing.

Seriously, I do find sarcasm to be sexy sometimes.

And now let’s get to the premiere reaction post of the week, which would be to Xian Husband’s post “Disfunction.” In it he takes a decidedly pointed jab at various unnamed bloggers who happen to claim to have wives with low libidos and tells them that they need to be real men and suck it up and fulfill their God-given roles as husbands to love their wives just as they are.

My first reaction was to rip the guy’s head off, and take a crap down his neck. Figuratively speaking, of course.

But if one can get past a few of the smaller issues and minor prescriptive over simplifications, there’s some truth to what he says. quite a lot actually. In fact he resonated with his question, “Why are you wanting to have sex so bad, anyway?”

Why indeed! That’s fodder for a future blog post.

I may return to this in a moment, but first I do need to clarify a couple of things. First off, XH has made no secret that he has problems with labeling anyone low libido (LL). He simply rejects the notion that people just might have a temperament that is asexual or perhaps even aversive to sex. This view threatens to undermine all of his credibility since hypo sexual desire disorder is a pretty well known and documented condition amongst those in the medical profession. I call it low libido and perhaps that’s an oversimplification but I do it mostly out of convenience. LL certainly casts a wider net than HSDD.

My Top Ten list is designed to be sort of diagnostic rather than prescriptive. In fact, I rarely offer much in the way of prescriptions for sexual dysfunction because I’m all too familiar with the complexities of the topic. I was on iVillage getting a female perspective (both LL and HL) long before blogging.

When XH suggests that a guy do more household chores in order to obtain more intimacy and affection, this is equivalent to asking the ladies in the same boat to wear sexier lingerie. It’s a bit insulting and a gross over simplification. There is even less cause-effect here than with the lingerie.

One really surprising thing in XH’s suggestions for solving the “imaginary” CL problem, is that he omitted the single biggest thing that contributed to him getting his own relationship turned around. Why he omitted all of the work he put into implementing Harley’s Love Bank principle’s, I have no idea. But it was when he began spending real genuine quality time with his wife that it appeared he was gaining some real traction in his quest for better intimacy.

He suggests loving a wife exactly as she is as the perfect prescription, but again that is not exactly where XH went, himself. Again, he omits his very important decision to sacrifice his sexuality to God in an attempt to draw closer to God. Perhaps these two things happened in tandem, and one would seem to follow the other. I do think his spiritual dedication played no small role, here.

I’m not prepared to discount his entire post,though. I think rededicating ourselves to mutual service (even if done unilaterally) isn’t a bad thing. It’s pretty much what God did for us through His Son.

I think I would be much, much more interested in reading Zanaleigh’s take on this topic. Afterall, she’s in a much better position to talk about when the light bulb went on and what it was, specifically, that began turning things around for her. Was it the extra housework? Was it XH’s selflessness in the face of her selfishness? Was it XH’s steadfast determination and faithfulness in the face of constant rejection?

Perhaps there will be a follow-up to this later.


Post edit: Oddly enough, FTN was the only one to really challenge XH in the comments and he certainly would have cause. His dedication towards his wife has made more than one female blogger pretty much swoon or at least become very envious. And most of us guys feel fortunate that our wives don’t read him. Otherwise, XH’s unsolicited advice was pretty favorably received.

This book caught my eye and the title sort of reminded me of XH’s position:

If You Don’t Die to Self, I May Have to Kill You: An Extreme Marriage Makeover


Finished Last

August 17, 2007

Real life often interferes with blogging, especially nowadays. But occasionally I’ll go on a jag where I’ll still explore new blogging territory. New to me, anyway.

I just finished reading a big bundle of posts from a fellow identifying himself as Finished Last. I read the whole sordid “Story of Us” series and decided to go ahead and react to it here. After all, the original concept of Unsolicited Advice was to look at other bloggers and give…er…. unsolicited advice. But I’ll say upfront that I have little in the way of advice to offer at the present time. Sorry about that.

I originally saw the guy commenting on FTN’s blog and tabbed open his and few other folks commenting over there who are not on my blogroll. FTN, comment whore that he is, manages to elicit a fair number of regulars and I had seen that Charlie Brown icon on several occasions. So when I went over there I landed on the last post of his series and it didn’t take long for me to see that I wanted that entire story. I’m an avid consumer of other people’s drama. So I copied and pasted all 11 of those posts (31 pages) into a word document so I could read on my PDA while lying on the couch.

As I read from the beginning, I saw some similar themes that I saw with Xi Summit‘s story. At least at the beginning. But remember that I’m reading this series from beginning to end without any other entries in between to color my perception. What I ended up with was a story that contained more and more surprises as I moved along. It’s a good read that also gets quite painful as it moves from young idyllic college life to the stark realities of a marriage cascading towards disaster.

It is written with some biting honesty. Finished last often cautions readers that his wife, E will look unfavorably early on, even as he goes into the telling of how he eventually loses respect for her. While it is true that E does look a bit like an angry shrew at times, I came away feeling more pity for her than anything else. So he succeeds in balancing his story sufficiently as to buffer her from too many ill feelings from at least one reader while making me believe that I’m lucky not to be married to such a person!

I’ll have to dig around in his blog some more to see what other treasure’s lie within. Without having read anything else by him (other than comments to FTN) I am left with some question. The biggest issue that looms largest in my mind is his spiritual story. I followed the progression from Christian school to Christian college and the to youth pastor. Then when he went into teaching at the Christian school I sort of got lost until he eluded to the effect of his affair on his church as its pastor. That was a bit of a jolt that brought new perspective to things.

I’ve written extensively about my growing unease with the institutional church. What the institution does to its pastors is…well….sinful. Pastors often are without close friends, and if they struggle with any kind of addiction, hang-up or even have marital problems, the congregational sheep often turn into vicious rabid creatures akin to the rabbit in Monty Python’s Holy Grail movie.

So Finished Last has had to endure his greatest trials and tribulations pretty much alone. It’s no wonder he has faith issues.

Anyway, no advice here except that once he detoxes himself from his present occupation he might be able to better understand the true nature of relationships. It’s something none of us are particularly good at and all have much to learn.


Unsolicited Advice: 2Amsomewhere

July 6, 2007

It has been a long time since this blog has lived up to its namesake.  I have given very little unsolicited advice, but seem to be taking an inordinate amount.  Let’s see if I can fix that a bit.


At the top of the list is 2Amsomehwere, whose story is really moving along.  Reading him gives a good view how regular therapy keeps things moving and keeps the pot stirred.  In this case, there are two therapists stirring jointly and separately.  Season this with a generous supply of anxiety and stress over a job change, garnish with some sexual anorexia and you’ve got yourself one hot dish of a read.


One issue that 2Am‘s wife (who needs a name, by the way) has been pushing is the whole chronic masturbation and sexual addiction theme.  Most folks reading this will not be a stranger to this topic, covered most extensively by FTN and to lesser degrees by Christian Husband and myself.  Cagedone also has been writing about this more lately.  The husband masturbating has come up a time or two in Tajalude’s and C-Marie’s blogs.   I might as well mention Xi who has mentioned taking matters into his own hands, and who is probably blushing right now.


Oh, and it was the central theme of the now-closed Horny Old Guy’s blog.


But 2Am‘s case is a good one, because here we have a wife who seems to be preoccupied with his masturbation and sexual acting out, while not wanting to actually have any sex with her husband.  In the case of Xi, me and even FTN, the wives could probably care less if we yanked and wanked as long as it wasn’t hurting anyone or costing lots of money.  However 2Am‘s wife is using it as leverage to guilt and shame her husband.


The solution to this is really pretty simple.  And elegant.  Basically, all 2am has to do is get a chastity cage and give the keys to his wife.  Then see what happens.


My own experience, somewhat matched by Cagedone, is that a typically LL wife has serious difficulties with this position.  Because the guy is placing his sexuality totally into the hands of his wife, it actually tends to increase the pressure over time.  And we know how much LL people like pressure.  In 2Am‘s case, the result is that her objections over his masturbation is rendered totally moot.  She doesn’t have it anymore.  What’s more, now she has some responsibility as the keyholder towards her husband.  The elegance is that it disarms her while shifting the balance of responsibility and power over to her.  My guess is that she would give the keys back in short order and the whole masturbation argument disappears.


But I think 2Am is already preparing to unbind himself from this relationship, so it’s unlikely we’ll ever see it play out.  So much bitterness and resentment is there between them and while therapy has helped him individually, I don’t see it as having helped the marriage or his wife.  As he said, she simply hasn’t bothered to really show up.



The Ow Factor

April 24, 2007


This is it.  This is conclusion of this little project of looking at identifying a person with a low libido and looking at various factors with some serious depth.


This is obviously a companion to an earlier entry about the Eeww Factor.  I’ve seen a writer or two attempt to borrow and sample from that concept and rename it the Ick Factor but this is where the pay off is from that earlier name.  Eeww and Ow are companions that only made the list after it was initially created and posted on iVillage.


The Ow factor is actually from a little entry done a while back by a blogger by the name of FATSO.  Even though he’s pissed at not getting a Thinking Blogger award, perhaps this will meet his need for significance.  I see this as actually a bit bigger since I see the list and its significance enduring longer than the Thinking Blogger award.


So what is the Ow Factor?  Fatso does a good job of introducing the topic and when I saw it I instantly knew I would be adding it to the list.

3. low discomfort threshold. I hate it when someone goes “OW! My leg…Ow…my cervix…OW…my arm is cramped..OW…not so (whatever)” Yes we have to take our lover’s feelings into account. But, shit, do we have to walk on eggshells when you are doing something as delicious as having sex?


Obviously Fatso has some experience with this and so do I.  At the beginning, it seems a bit endearing to be with the delicate flower.  But when it comes to sex and just making out, this complaining and fragility gets old really fast.  And over time, it seems to only get worse.  For instance, in an early encounter a partner may complain about a certain position being painful for some reason.  Okay, that’s fair.  But over time, more positions become painful.  Noises become painful.  Ideas become painful.  Thoughts about things become painful.


It’s amazing how selective this pain can be, though.  For instance, I know of a woman who will think nothing of hiking and climbing all day long.  Perhaps running and jogging half marathons.  But at any given moment in time, she is too tired or too sick for sex. In the beginning a partner will be cajoled into waiting and over time they will find themselves waiting longer and longer for a smaller and smaller malady.


Fragility and poor health can affect the relationship in other ways, for instance when it comes to housework, taking care of the kids or having a job.  Desperate Husband’s situation is an object lesson in what happens when a spouse becomes empowered by their disability and uses it to manipulate.  His wife is too sick to hold a job, take care of the kids or do things around the house.  However she’s not too sick to demand an ever-higher standard of living and to make other demands.


Early on in a relationship, one tends to overlook a lot of things.  The LLs themselves endure more than they will later if the commitment is deepened.  This is why complaints and whining early on should be heeded and taken seriously.  Someone with a minor ailment who uses it as an excuse to avoid sex will likely keep using it over and over and will expand their list of ailments over time.


If the following becomes a major part of your sexual conversation, you’re becoming a slave of the “Ow Factor.”



“Oops, sorry.”

“Ow! Hey!”

Oops!  I’m sorry….how’s that?”

“Better…Ummm…wait….no, that’s still not working.”

“How about now?”

“No….wait….no, try again.”


“Okay.  Yeah, that’s better.”


“Better.  Not too bad.”


And repeat as necessary.  The hallmark of the Ow Factor is centered around some degree discomfort that is seemingly small and gradually becomes more acute.


There is another side to this that is more serious and is definitely more deeply grounded and legitimate than any other single item on this entire list.  Pain during intercourse can be because of lack of lubrication and this can be lessened by lubrication if one can get past the Eeww Factor.  However fibroids and endometriosis can also be sources of pain and these tend to be more serious.


Pain during intercourse can sink a libido faster than anything else and for a longer period of time.  Even if the underlying medical condition is dealt with and treated, the psychological aversions can and do usually remain.


There are obviously some men who are not all that into sex.  It stands to reason that such men would be well suited to women who are similarly inclined.  However, due to the cocktail of hormones nature produces early in a relationship, no one seems to notice or care about the early signs of a low libido.   They naively believe that love can conquer all and that such differences are insignificant.


I’m not saying that LL people are not worthy of being loved.  In fact, I’m saying the opposite.  They deserve to be loved by people who can appreciate the alternative aspects of their personality without the sex being such a huge issue.  Faking interest in something doesn’t serve anyone well over the long run.  If you don’t like onions, why would you pretend to like them in order to marry an onion lover?  This sounds silly but this is exactly what many LL people do all the time.  They pretend to like sex with someone who apparently loves it and then spends the remainder of the commitment making up excuses to avoid it.


Which is why I have a list like this.  A person can have a characteristic or two on the list and still enjoy sex tremendously.  However, if a person has several of these things and seems to have a terribly low pain threshold, I would be cautious.  If they have half or more of these characteristics and you really like sex, you are in for a world of hurt just as you might if you hooked up with someone who hated anything you had a real love for.


I’d say if you hear “OW!” more than once or twice during a particular activity that you really like, you may have to be willing to give it up or give the person up.  The Ow Factor can be a definite indicator that the other person isn’t into what you like.


Since I sometimes deal in kink, I feel like I need to at least mention this.  Other items on the list will deal with kink friendliness and being willing to explore, so obviously this isn’t the same.  However, it can be somewhat of a factor when paired with other factors.  For instance, if the person is a bit shy about trying something new and instantly responds to a new position or activity with “Ow” beyond any reasonable expectation of pain, then there might be an issue.  When you are applying lube and hear an Ow-like response, there could be an issue.


If you are stuck with someone who employs the Ow Factor regularly, a referral to a medical professional may be in order.  This might be difficult if #10 comes into play.  I like the approach of Berman and Berman, whose clinics work on both the physiological and psychological factors at the same time.  It’s unfortunate that such clinics are few and far between as there seems to be a great need. 


Otherwise, some painful times are ahead for each partner regardless of which one is employing the Ow Factor.    



#4: Satiation

March 4, 2007

Okay, I need to start moving this series along because there are other things to write about.  In fact, I’m going to go ahead and take advantage of my blogger space to do just that i.e. write about other things.


But here, today, it’s on to the next post about identifying a LL partner.  Namely #4 on my list:


.4. Low libido people are generally easily and quickly satiated. Read an article below concerning LL from a sensory integration framework for more detail. In a nutshell, after having sex, the LL person will be satisfied for a longer period of time. They get irritated in a major way if they just finished having sex (meaning it was just an hour, a day, a week or even a month ago) and their partner tries to initiate again too soon. For HL folks, the more they have, the more they seem to want.


The central focus of this point is the concept of satiation, and how convenient that FTN just happened to bring it up in a comment on the last post.  In a behavioral context, satiation is a phenomenon that diminishes something’s reinforcing power.  For instance, you might love a certain kind of food.  However, there is a point of consumption where you’ll grow weary of it.  The more satiated a person is, the less likely they are to work for the reinforcer. 


Just like reinforcement, satiation is a highly individual thing.  You may be satiated by one scoop of ice cream.  To me, that’s just a tease.  Give me a spoon and a gallon bucket!


How long satiation lasts is another thing.  My wife went through a period where she was eating baked potatoes at work almost every day for almost a year.  Then, she was suddenly satiated.  And she still is satiated 11 years later; she does not like baked potatoes that much.  I try to cook them and she reminds me of when she ate them every day and now she doesn’t like them anymore.  Fried potatoes on the other hand…who gets tired of them?


Things that have very limited reinforcing properties will have a very low level of satiation.  I can be satiated on lima beans after about 3 bites and I’m good for another year or two.


Sex is one of those things that is subject to satiation just as it can function as a reinforcer.  High Libido (HL) people generally have much higher satiation points.  A Low Libido (LL) person will have a much lower point of satiation. 


And there’s something else that happens with satiation that is interesting; when and how the satiation point changes.  This is important because when two people first meet and get together it might seem like they are well matched, libido-wise.  However, when satiation is eventually reached, something interesting (but disturbing) begins to take place.  The HL person’s satiation point with actually increase and it will take more sex with more stimulation to satiate them.  However for the LL person, their satiation point gets lower as sex becomes less and less reinforcing.  They’ll reach satiation sooner and it will last longer.


When a HL and LL hook up, there will come a time when the HL wants more and the LL wants less as their satiation points diverge.  As I think about this, I now realize the HL can actually make things even worse by pressuring and demanding more from the LL person than they are comfortable with.  That divergence will be accelerated the more the HL pressures and the more the LL person gives in.  Because with every sex act that is unsatisfactory to the LL person, the less they will put into it and the smaller the reward to the HL person in the form of intimacy.  So in truth, the LL person isn’t doing anyone any favors by giving in to HL demands.  By the same token, the HL isn’t serving their own cause by exerting pressure.


So what can be done to increase the satiation point of a LL person?


Going back to my lima beans, there might be some things that make them more reinforcing.  When they are with other vegetables they are less aversive.  If they and those vegetables are stir fried, I’m all over them.


So finding some aspects of sex that are reinforcing to a LL person and sticking close to them will help increase that satiation point.  For instance hand jobs became much more palatable when my wife could watch TV or talk to me while she was doing it.  This may sound like a turn-off to some HL people but that is sauce for the goose.  If I can lower the HL satiation just a bit we’re meeting half way, right?


This dovetails so well into other issues that I’ll discuss elsewhere.  But suffice it to say that HL people are often accused of being insatiable, and after satiation points have diverged between a couple, it can really look like it.


So if someone were in a new relationship, I would encourage a HL to be sensitive and mindful of where their partner is.  If you see a divergence in desire keep on mind that the other person is probably already putting out 2 or 3 levels higher than they want.  They’ll keep putting out for fear of losing a partner or out of guilt.  Who really likes guilt-sex, anyway?  So dialing way back might be the answer.


This makes me think that the Catholics might be on to something with NFP and the various phases.    With always an extended phase of NOT having sex, this might be able to buffer a couple’s libido from diverging as quickly as satiation is less likely to be reached in the first place.




An Index to Other Entries in this Series

December 1, 2006

1. Church and spirituality Pt. 1


2. Church and Spirituality Pt. 2: Presbyterianism


3. Church and Spirutuality: A bit more from the Presbyterians


4. Travels into a Wilderness


5. The Journey Continues: Suzy


6. Rome


7. The Dream


8. Back to Germany


9. The Holy Spirit Moves


10. Finally


11. NYC


12. Home

13. Basic Training

14. My Intro to AFC

15. My Departure from AFC

16. Rebellion

17. Going South