Walking the Shoreline

The journey of someone just like you, on a journey just like you

Category: Sex (page 1 of 3)

Celibacy Syndrome, Rejection, and Preferring Sex With A Screen

Japan is experiencing a phenomenon known as celibacy syndrome, but it isn’t the only country where people are preferring sex with a screen over real relationships.

Are you preferring sex with a screen?
Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Mature written content warning, reader discretion advised.

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Is It Ever Okay to Cheat on Someone?

As time goes on, relationships get harder, and your heart becomes more unsure, is it ever okay to cheat on someone?

Is it ever okay to cheat on someone?
Source: Pixels

If you’ve clicked on this, you’ve done so for one of three main reasons:

  1. You’re a friend of my wife or I and are concerned Matt is about to do something stupid
  2. You’re in a long term relationship and you’ve started contemplating other options
  3. You’ve been affected by the fallout of someone cheating on someone else

Rest assured, number 1 is absolutely not the case. I even gave my wife a heads up that I was going to write this one so there wasn’t any alarm.

But you know, this is actually a real concern and a real pressure for a whole lot of people in the worlds of love and sex.

When I used to have Foxtel, there used to be entire blocks of TV programming dedicated to 3 or 4 different types of shows all about paternity and faithfulness checks. We’ve all seen the GIFs from the Maury Povich show where young men would get absolutely lit and burst out in the best prepared breakdance they knew how when the DNA test would come back and they would hear that “you are NOT the father!”. Usually the lady (but sometimes the roles are reversed on these types of shows, dunno why, probably stereotypes of infidelity) would be blaming this dude for the whole show about his women on the side and his various side hustles. Then when the truth came out that she was actually the cheater, it would be on for young and old.

Now this sort of stuff is fairly entertaining for a large variety of people, but when you’re the one worried about infidelity, whether someone else’s or your own, it takes on a whole different context.

People do cheat in shorter term relationships, but I think the real damage and the real concern is around cheating in long term relationships. A University of Chicago study which asks about affairs every year for the last 30 or so years has turned in that about 10% of people have cheated. That’s a lot of people.

So, is this ever justified? Is it ever okay to cheat on someone? While the answer should be obvious, I think it would be more pertinent to look at some of the reasons why people do what they do.

Look at all those options

As I’ve written about before in When Nobody is Good Enough For You, I think one of the most difficult struggles in modern relationships is the amount of choice, or at least perceived choice, that is out there. On the topic of cheaters and adulterous affairs, one of the most infamous events in recent history occurred when “life is short, have an affair” website Ashley Madison was hit by a data breach. This threw multiple relationships and individuals into mass panic as they scrambled to try to cover up their activities via the website that were now exposed for all to see.

I’m not so sure if Ashley Madison could even be considered the main site that people would use for hooking up outside of their committed relationships. That may even just go to the social media platforms of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. I mean, look at all those options out there, or at least perceived options. When people aren’t happy in their current relationship, all they have to do is scroll through their feed and see those seemingly available men and women that may accommodate them in ways their current partner isn’t.

Options are the greatest enemy of commitment. This is true in every area of our lives, but especially in our relationships with a partner. Whilst many are now turning to the idea of open relationships, ie. cheating with permission, the cheating options even in these types of relationships are still capable of eroding the initial commitment of the circle of people.

Failing to resolve the conflict points

When we were doing our pre-marriage counselling before we got engaged, the goal was to identify areas of our relationship that we seemed to have strong disagreement on, or hadn’t yet talked about. During the sessions, you would then talk about any differences or oversights and make sure you were on the same page about an issue, or had discussed how you were going to handle disagreements around it. I’d recommend such a course to anyone thinking of tying the knot, or even after you have if you haven’t done something like that before.

I think everyone would be familiar with a variety of different conflict management and resolution styles in the corporate world, but often we’re not well equipped to handle conflict with rings on. Our society terms irreconcilable differences as the breaking point of relationships, where what has occurred is refused to be dealt with by one or both parties. It only takes one person in the relationship to decide they no longer want to try for the relationship to break down, or even for a secret (or public) affair to become a viable course of action.

All the more reason for us to get good at resolving conflict. If we don’t learn to resolve it, it will take us out. Fortunately, there are heaps of great resources out there for how to fight fair and to resolve those issues that seem to keep us apart.

The unspoken destroyers

I was looking at some of the statistics for reasons citing it being okay to cheat on someone, or at least for the thought being present. What was very interesting about an Australian study was that men and women equally responded with the same reasons in relatively the same percentages, with both genders citing emotional disconnection as by far the number one reason for an affair. Our stereotypes would probably try to tell us that men would be doing it for the physical pleasure, but it just goes to show that there is a level playing field in the human heart. We really do desire the same things.

But we don’t often say what those things are.

What are you struggling with in your relationship that no one knows about? It could be someone’s sexual addiction, a fight that just has no end, a mental illness that derails or dominates every conversation. It could be that thing that you just will never ask your partner for, whether it be physical or emotional. It could be that you have a dream that you’ve never fully expressed and you now harbour resentment towards your partner for their inability to make it happen.

People aren’t mind readers. We are grown men and women. We have to learn to get good at saying things out loud.

And especially with the person we’re connected to. I’ve watched time and time again where someone will just up and leave or suddenly announce they’re dating someone else because of something they’ve never told their partner. I heard an amazingly accurate quote from a marriage seminar that turns out to come from Stephen Covey in The Speed of Trust – “We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behaviours”. We blame our partner for what we do see against what they don’t see.

We may be feeling like cheating is justified based on how we’re feeling inside, but we don’t make the same allowances for why the other person in our relationship may have acted a certain way. Something I’ve heard and read from counsellors and psychologists is that if you write down on paper what has happened as if it were a story book, it can really help see what’s real and what hasn’t been spoken yet.

Defining cheating

A first century Jewish rabbi threw a spanner in the works when he began to talk about infidelity and it being okay to cheat on someone. He said that adultery was pretty commonly accepted as being wrong and destructive, but took it one step further and said that anyone who lusts after someone else has already committed adultery in their heart. He later would say that “porneia” is the destroyer of relationships.

You’ve probably seen the word pornography – this is the word it comes from. Porneia is a powerful word that isn’t just someone looking at pornography or explicity having an affair, but it’s actually marital unfaithfulness.

This highlights the real challenge of long term relationships, in that it is any unfaithfulness to the marriage covenant that is problematic.

We have our standard in our heads that cheating means abandoning our partners or having multiple women on the side or having that Ashley Madison account or hitting up all the hotties on Snap. And while those are forms of cheating, these definitions show us that cheating is a heart attitude before it ever translates into those bigger actions.

In my relationship, am I being faithful? Am I being the best husband I can be? Am I attentive to the needs and concerns of my wife? Or do I let myself wander, disregard what’s close to her heart, make it all about me?

That is the true moment when you and I are unfaithful. That is the great equalizer for all of us in loving relationships, that we are to be faithful in the big and the small.

So, is it ever okay to cheat on someone? I haven’t explicitly said it yet, but of course the answer is no. But you already knew that. That’s why I thought it would be more worthwhile to look at those factors behind cheating, and the higher standard that’s been put to us that faithfulness is a position and attitude of the heart before it is a laborious or blown out series of affairs and infidelity.

And hey, if you’re struggling with any of these things, you need to involve someone. Your partner for one. If you can’t work it out, maybe it’s time to involve a professional or a trusted mentor. Deal with it before it deals with you.

How about you? Do you think it’s ever okay to cheat on someone? How would you address these sorts of challenges in life long love?

9 Obstacles to Sexual Utopia

Everyone wants a great sex life, but not everyone would describe their sex life as great. Here are 9 obstacles to sexual utopia.

There can be a lot of obstacles to sexual utopia
Source: Warner Bros

Mature written content warning, reader discretion advised.

Sex is a massive part of a person’s life. Whether it’s the sex they have or the sex they don’t, so many of our decisions and much of our life satisfaction is centered around how we’re feeling in this department. You don’t have to look very far to see how pervasive sexual issues and identity are in our world today, especially given the current political climate, the renewed discussions around gender and identity, and the state of the entertainment industry.

It makes up one of the most powerful and influential mechanisms we have for relating to one another. It makes us feel good, it relieves stress, can increase connection between two people, it can help you lose weight, it can allow you to communicate and reveal your deepest feelings, and it is the foundation on which all of society is built – no sex, no human race. You are most likely the product of a sexual encounter, or at the very least a sexual release.

For all the good things about sex, there sure are a lot of obstacles to sexual utopia. We all dream of relationships where the sex is amazing, fulfilling, sufficiently frequent, and only ever a source of joy. The truth is that it’s an area many people are frustrated, confused, confined and isolated about.

I’ve always had a keen interest in the topic, and being a married man, even moreso than ever. But I think that’s true of all of us. No matter what stage of life we’re at – young and old, single and not, contemplating the state and health of our relationships and personal wellbeing – sex is something we are readily open to look at and seek out. I mean, just look at how massive the sex industry is, how intricately “sex sells” is still ingrained in current marketing methodology, or even how quickly you clicked on this link.

I’m no expert, and I have much more to learn, but my current travels have led me to some fascinating and helpful material on the topic that I thought was worth sharing and discussing. I think if anyone were to become a true expert on the topic, they wouldn’t be for long since sexual experience changes as much as two lives do, minute to minute, week to week, decade to decade. So, how do you have that great sex life? Here are 9 obstacles to sexual utopia.

#1: Medical Issues

I would be remiss to write a blog about the obstacles to sexual utopia without first acknowledging just how many medical issues out there impact your sex life. There are multiple conditions which can make sex painful, such as vaginismus in women or phimosis in men. There are multiple drugs that impact libido or sexual performance, such as antidepressents. Periods of illness and mental health difficulties can also influence your ability to have a good time in the bedroom.

Hats off to our GPs out there who are so well versed in helping people deal with issues such as these. I think if you’ve been having any difficulties whatsoever, or even just for a general checkup or questions, your doctor is a good first point of call. I know 10 minutes with a doctor greatly helped me personally.

#2: An obsession with singleness

It’s amazing that our society is so sexualised, while at the same time, having such a preference for singleness. More than ever, concepts such as monogamy are old fashioned and old hat, with so many diverse new forms of sexual expression and experimentation around. You can even be asexual now!

The problem is that it’s very hard to be sexually fulfilled in the right ways without a partner, and yet so many people push the search and openness for a partner far out of their own reach. Career, busyness, and temporary relationships take up the place of something substantial and truly sexually fulfilling. And so, the sexual component of one’s life is often addressed in emotionless, mechanical, and empty ways. A recent peer-reviewed study showed that pornography use is more accurately represented at at least 60% of all people, meaning that a majority of people are trying to feel loved by a screen that could never love them back. In Japan, some experts believe the birth rate is declining due to the increase in use of sex robots over real partners.

This is real, people. The more we keep idolizing the single life to people who clearly have sexual desires, the more we’re going to make ourselves more frustrated. Being good at having an orgasm and being good at having sex are two very different things. Whether it’s because nobody is good enough for you or you’re not ready for a relationship, it’s time to stop worshipping singleness and progress this area in a healthy way.

#3: A lack of priority

The Gottman Institute produces some fantastic material and I would recommend their work to anyone who’s looking to make their marriage relationship better than it already is. I’ve particularly enjoyed their CardDecks phone app which has some really good single line ideas for a whole variety of aspects of your relationship.

They also have a lot of material on sex and have many success stories to back up their content. Dr John Gottman says that great sex can be summed up by doing two things: staying friends (love is friendship on fire after all), and making it a priority. “They don’t leave sex as the last item on a long to-do list of things they need to do”, he words it.

It’s the same as anything in life – if you make it a priority, you’ll get to it, and you don’t make it a priority, you either won’t do it, or you’ll do it with the scraps of energy you have left from your life.

#4: A lack of a definition of “normal”

How often does the average couple have sex? This is a question that has multiple answers. Dr Kevin Leman, author of Sheet Music, says that couples should at least try for two to three times a week. In Wanting Sex Again, sex therapist Laurie Watson cites that their industry thinks about once per week is typical (although not necessarily recommended by her). Others have differing definitions but a common enough defiition of a sexless marriage could be defined as two times a month or less.

So, the jury is kind of out on that one.

Next question, and more relevant to you and your life – how many times should you have sex? Twice a week? More often? Less often? Okay, and is that intercourse, or getting handsy, or just spooning naked for a while?

And what makes your sexual encounter successful? When the man gets off? Or the woman? What if neither does? Or both do?

And how long does that take? If a guy has premature or the rarer delayed ejaculation, it could be two to sixty minutes before he’s calling for recovery time. And what if she never gets there, or gets there first?

The point is, normal and success do not really have a common definition. The only common definition of sexual utopia you’re going to be happy with is the one that you and your partner settle on. And that’s going to change over time, but more on that later.

In the early chapters of Laurie Watson’s book, she points out that half the problem is that only sex therapists like her truly get an accurate sense of what normal may look like, or what the trends may be. In the average relationship, you’re only going off the “sense” you get from other people, or what the media portrays as passionate, hot and heavy, successful sexual encounters and frequency. And so, you may be feeling pressure or naive ignorant self-righteousness based on a feeling that you’re just vibing from out there somehow.

Gotta be careful where you get your view of normal from, because it may suppress or depress one or both of you.

#5: Commitment issues

I think it’s amazing that our “progressive” society has such a negative view of marriage nowadays. We say, “oh there’s commitment there”, “there’s love there”, and there likely is.

But the same people and the same world will spend inordinate amounts of money on fitness trackers and wear them proudly to convey their commitment to their health. They’ll spend thousands on looking after the appearance of their cars to demonstrate their level of commitment to their vehicle and image. There are so many flaming hoops and legal commitments you need to make before a bank will even consider you for a home loan to buy a house.

And yet we’ll get all weird about the idea of committing to someone for life before getting in the bedroom, even though sex is meant to be one of the highest levels of expression a person can make. You wouldn’t get the most out of a home that you didn’t fully commit to. Likewise, I’m a firm believer you’re not going to get the most out of your sex life until you do like Beyonce wants you to do cause if you liked it then you shouldda put a ring on it.

If you don’t believe that the commitment of marriage makes a difference in a sexual relationship, why do so many more previously co-habiting couples suddenly drop the relationship later on? Commitment changes everything. It’s simply not the same thing before marriage.

And commitment isn’t a one-off affair. It’s a daily decision. Are you committed every day, or just in convenient times when you want something from your spouse?

#6: Being unready for seasonal changes

Dr Kevin Leman and a number of other sexologists across various podcasts and resources highlight that a lot of sexual frustration can be resolved by simply being ready for the changes that are going to happen over the course of your sexual relationship.

Bodies change. The amount of sexual stimulation required changes. Vaginas stretch and penises need a lot more work to stay strong. The appearance of your partner will change over time as weight is added or lost, wrinkles form up, and life takes its toll, for better or worse.

More than the physical, your partner will change emotionally. She might not have wanted sex as much before, but her drive may increase and you’ll need to factor that in. He might start to want it less. The acrobatics may not be helping your partner feel so loved anymore and they just want to be close. Or further away.

Sexual utopia is definitely a moving target, and I think all of us need to be ready for it. What’s okay today might not be so okay tomorrow. Are you ready for when that happens?

#7: The Ghost of Christmas Past

In the same way Scrooge was haunted by memories of the past, so too our past sexual encounters or even non-sexual encounters may linger around while the two of you are in the bedroom.

It’s hard to be with your husband or wife when your ex is still in your head. Or the lack of support you’ve felt from your friends or family. Or the rejection you felt in that other relationship. Or what she said about the way you look. Or what he did about the way you felt.

I listened to a great podcast listing out all the ghosts that can float in during a sexual encounter, or may even be preventing one. And they said it well that we have a choice what to do when that happens – will we tolerate the ghosts, or will we deal with them before they ruin our sex lives? Only you have the answer.

#8: The pressure to perform and be accepted

Does she want me?

Does he love me?

Am I worthwhile?

Three of the biggest questions in the bedroom. You both want answers, and you’re both under a lot of pressure to find the answers, as well as to convey the answer to your partner with your body.

Whether it causes performance anxiety for men or a lack of libido for women, or vice versa, the challenge of sex is to answer the deepest questions of the heart in amidst all the other voices in life that have had things to say about those areas of your life.

One sex therapist said the trouble with these is that they can cause a snowballing effect in the relationship. As such, they need to be addressed as soon as they appear. You might need to swallow the pride and seek some help on a few of these issues, but it will definitely pay off in the long run.

#9: A spirit of withholding

Sexual rejection can have a profound impact on a person’s wellbeing, especially in a marriage relationship. It can make someone feel like their partner doesn’t want them or value them. You’re telling your partner that their needs aren’t important to you.

Remove the word “sex” from that previous paragraph, and you’ll have exactly what the marriage bed represents in physical form, which is an outworking of the attitudes you may hold towards your partner – negligence for the needs and desires of the one you say you love.

Scripture advises marrieds not to withhold (or deprive their partner) sexual relations, even for the most spiritual reason you can find. It’s not so someone can domineer and take whatever they want (and it shouldn’t be), it’s so that your attitude towards your partner isn’t doing the least you can do, but being generous with your life with the one you love.

And hey, I don’t blame some people. So many men especially but all sorts of people really complain about their partner withholding sex from them, but they in turn withhold love, safety, a listening ear, a coffee in the morning, a sense of value, the protection of their heart from their partner. And then they complain their partner has difficulty giving their body and being compliant when you haven’t considered his or her needs at all.

The power struggle that destroys so many sexual relationships is “what’s the least I can do for you?”. Instead, I love the attitude of the Shulamite woman and King Solomon in the Song of Songs. She says that she’s a garden that’s specially prepared for her husband, and wants the wind to blow through the garden and invite her lover in. She’s not talking what the minimal effort she can exert is, she’s open whenever he needs or wants it, enticing him to take and receive what he needs. He is generous with his words, his time, his body, and all he is. He’s not domineering or crass or demanding of his own rights (he knocks but doesn’t barge down the door), but is completely open to her. He even helps her see herself in a new light and gives her the confidence to stand up for her own sense of value.

I wonder if your husband or wife can say that you’ve done that for them.

You have what your partner needs. Whether it be sex, love, time, emotional support, whatever. The question is, do you have a withholding attitude towards your partner? Are you depriving them of what they need because of some reason that you think is more important? Your husband or wife needs sex to hear that they are valued by you. Your spouse needs your best support. They need your heart. They need your love. They need to see you regularly. They need you to not be behind a closed door all the time. Generously, not begrudgingly, not hesitantly, not “okay I guess if it’s really that bad let’s get it over with”.

You can’t control the generosity of your partner, but you can control your own. And it’s a heart attitude. What can I do for you? How can I serve you? With my body? How about my time? What do you need from me emotionally? The bedroom is just playing out what two hearts are really trying to find.

And then you find it. Sexual utopia. He is loved, and so is she, and they both know it oh so well.

This is obviously a very involved and layered topic. There are so many different opinions and other factors involved. Pornography use can help you get aroused but to someone who isn’t your spouse, so you’ve invited someone else to the bed at the expense of your partner. Sexual abuse can cause flashbacks and severely limit your comfort in the bedroom. Libido can go up and down like a yo-yo if you’re not giving it some proper consideration. Doing it by yourself at a time you could be doing it with your partner robs you of a shared experience.

I think finding sexual utopia is close to the heart of many of us, and hopefully you’ve found something in here that resonates that’s made you think, whether you agree or disagree.

How about you. What are some obstacles to sexual utopia you’ve found in your life or in your journey?

7 Things To Consider Before Throwing Your Relationship Away

When things don’t go the way you hoped, breaking it off with someone seems to be the most viable option. Here are 7 things to consider before throwing your relationship away.

Check this before throwing your relationship away

Source: Focus Features (and a brilliant move on this topic!)

I’m writing this towards one of the most reflective times of the year – Christmas. Like birthdays and New Year’s Eve, it’s one of those repeated items of the calendar that make you think about this time last year. It’s one of those times you reconsider everything in your life – your work life, how close you are to achieving your dreams, the decisions you’ve made this year, and – yes, of course – your relationships. David McCandless did a study for a Ted Talk whereby he found that one of the most common times of the year to breakup is the two weeks leading up to and including Christmas. Continue reading

6 Books I’m Glad I Read Before I Got Engaged (And One During!)

It’s a time of preparing for a lifetime of eternal bliss, sexual fulfillment and everything always being perfect and wonderful… right? Here are 6 books I’m super glad I read before I got engaged.

Books I'm Glad I Read Before I Got Engaged

A little happy snap from our engagement

And one I’m even more glad I read while engaged.

Last night I wrote a post about the questions I get asked the most about writing online. In it I wrote a small snippet about the importance of being honest, in which I wrote two different paragraphs about the engagement season to illustrate the difference when you’re being open about yourself. Thinking about it today, I was thinking that there really is a lot more I could write about the final months leading up to The Big Day. The bestowing of The One Ring to Rule Them All. The end of my old mancave life as I know it.

Oh, and I also wrote about the importance of writing consistently, so this is probably me making up for a few weeks that I’ve skipped over on the regular content! Continue reading

#MeToo: How Men Should Treat Women

Alyssa Milano asked, and thousands upon thousands responded. At the centre of a hashtag and a Hollywood scandal, we see underlined a problem that endures today: the issue of how men should treat women.

Mature written content warning.

How Men Should Treat Women

For the past week and a bit, I had been thinking it’s time I wrote another article looking at men’s attitudes towards women in modern society. Then enters this week, with the litany of allegations towards Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, and a growing awareness of how truly apathetic people have been towards his actions over the years, whereby acts of harrassment and assault have been brushed over. Discontent with the overall response and what seems to be a prevailing culture of chauvinism, celebrity Alyssa Milano put out a simple campaign idea asking women to simply retweet or repost “Me too” if they have also been victims of assault or harassment.

And what a response it has been. Continue reading

10 Reasons We Withhold Love From Each Other

Everyone wants to be loved, and yet so many times, love is the hardest thing for us to express and receive. Here are 10 reasons we withhold love from others, and maybe why they withhold it from us.

A meme about how we withhold love

I like to climb the nature reserve next to my house every Saturday morning, and yesterday I was joined by a friend of mine. He’s a pretty smart guy and likes asking questions about things he already has good ideas about in an attempt to learn more about it. Yesterday he asked me what my thoughts were on what it means to guard your heart. I shared some thoughts from a post I wrote quite a while ago about the topic, but it got me thinking on those lines again yesterday. And then last night I saw a few posts on social media about what our parents were like “at our age”, and about our desire to avoid human interaction, like the ones above.

Our society really has become obsessed with independence. For all the talk of people wanting to find a significant other, of finding and falling in love, in being adored and cherished by others… we sure do find it hard to love others. I’m not saying that to be judgmental – just as an observation of a truly prevalent difficulty in our society. Looking at posts like the above and seeing the millions and millions of people who reshare, tag all their friends, and relate and go “omg this is me”, I couldn’t help but feel sad that these sort of posts are as relateable as they are.

Love is one of the most wonderful things a human being can ever experience. Unfortunately, it’s also an area of our greatest pain and frustration. As a result, it’s quite common for us to withhold love from others, and for us to feel like others withhold love from us. So I thought this time around I would have a look at some of those honest, painful and sinister reasons why we do this to each other.

#1: Love is scary

To be seen as you really are, to be cherished, to have someone stay… that’s a scary idea enough on its own.

And perhaps even more scary is, if you put yourself out there – if you communicate your affection, if you give the best of your heart to your wife, if you tell your man how you really feel, if you talk about the love you have for that person… what if they don’t love you back? What if you decide that you will stay with someone through all the things they do wrong, and they don’t decide to stay? What if they misuse your affections? What if they take advantage of your kindness? What if what if what if?

The what if’s usually win out when it comes to love. We end up remaining afraid of the very thing that’s meant to set us free.

#2: Love is new

For some of us, all we’ve every really known is a life where it’s just about us. We make dinner plans for ourselves, we see the friends we want to see, we’re used to managing our schedule the way we want to manage it. So when love comes our way, we withhold our expression or our response. It’s unfamiliar territory. My career, I can control that, I’m in charge there, I’ll throw my effort there. My hobbies, man I’m good at my hobbies, I’ll keep my effort there. Casual sex, that’s easy, no strings attached, no heart things, I’ll keep my effort there. My pets, my housework, my volunteerism, my whatever. We like safe, predictable, familiar.

But to open the door to your heart is something many of us have never really done before. We’ve only ever engaged in our relationships with half our heart involved. Or less.

To love with all our hearts is unfamiliar and so we don’t always know how to go about it.

#3: Because we don’t recognize the right types of love over the wrong types of love

Sadly, our society is dominated by people who have “loved us” in all the wrong ways, and to quote Bon Jovi, many people give love a bad name.

My Fair Lady is a very popular and beloved musical that’s doing the rounds in Brisbane at the moment. I had never seen it, and to find out what I’ve been missing, I watched an adaption of it online a few weeks ago. I couldn’t believe it. The story centres around an abusive, angry, selfish professor trying to teach a cockney woman to live a life of class. Sure, it has some endearing moments, and the professor ends up falling in love with the woman, but there is no pay off – he doesn’t change, he remains angry and abusive towards her.

We call that love?

And yet when we see love in our own lives… from the right people, from people who genuinely care, from those who aren’t harsh, from those who aren’t abusive, we fail to recognize, receive, or reciprocate when we see the real deal because we have grown accustomed to its cheap imitators from those who claim to be loving.

#4: Our personality type

I’m pretty introverted, and it can be very easy for me to give into my introverted, introspective nature and keep all my thoughts and affections to myself. So when people tell me they struggle to demonstrate love to their husband or wife, when they say they don’t know how to go about asking someone out or maintaining a growing relationship, when they feel down on themselves because their parents never said that they loved them because of “personality”, I can understand that notion, as my tendencies are inclined to be the same as those who withhold.

I think the real issue here is that good intentions aren’t enough. It’s amazing to hear of how many well meaning, love filled people do not actually express it in a way that their partner, their new girlfriend, their children or their family can understand or receive.

They say love unrequited is one of the most damaging things in life. I think love uncommunicated is perhaps just as bad.

#5: Our family of origin

On that note, if you grew up in a family where people didn’t hug each other, where no one used the words “I love you”, where people routinely belittled each other at the dinner table, even a home full of violence or abuse, you are more likely to withhold your love from others.

One things psychologists frequently discuss when counselling people in these areas is the impact of your family of origin. Why? Because patterns and cycles repeat themselves. The traits of the parents, the marriage, the treatment of children and extended family all perpetuate almost without end, until someone gets the help they need to break the cycle.

Are you repeating a cycle of withholding love?

#6: We don’t know how to balance career and relationship

Can you study and love at the same time? Can you be striving for promotion at work while also building a family?

Many people in our generation can’t. I have heard many of my older mentors attribute this reality to selfishness. You know… they’re probably right. We don’t really know how to put anyone besides ourselves first at times. My dreams, my goals, my aspirations, and no one better get in my way.

Unfortunately, we get to climb the heights of success, only to realize we have no one with us there to celebrate it or share it with.

#7: We don’t understand it ourselves

Man, love is confusing. Especially our own love. Why does this person have so much of my attention? Why do I find myself shifting thought to them continually throughout the day? Why am I deferring my own needs or desires for the sake of others?

Love messes with our sense of control. Even though we are still fully in control, its sway is powerful and makes us feel like our decisions aren’t our decisions any more.

#8: Because of what happened last time

Once bitten, twice shy. If you’ve had your heart broken to whatever degree, it can be an abhorrent, frustrating, brutal idea to even consider loving someone again.

I’ve written more on this one in How Do You Move On?.

Choose healing.

#9: We’re trying to pour from an empty cup

You can’t give from what you don’t have. And if you don’t know you’re loved, if you don’t have strength, energy, capacity, willingness or desire within yourself, how will you ever communicate it to someone else?

Love must come from a source higher than ourselves if it is to be faithful, constant and true. I have to know inside myself that I’m loved, I have to feel it and be consumed by that reality myself before I can successfully open up my heart and love another in return.

Great, great message I heard about this by Steven Furtick that you can watch here. Best 40 minutes of your life if you feel this way.

#10: Because we don’t think we’re worth loving

Are you worth the effort? Are you worth people going out of their way to love you? How does your heart feel about those questions?

You are worthy of being loved. Not because of what you’ve done… man, if it was because of what we’ve done, I’d be screwed.

It’s because of who you are.

You are enough to be loved. You are enough for someone to wake up in the morning with you on their mind. You are enough for someone to pour out their whole life, just to see you smile.

Do you know it? Do you know you’re loved? Do you know you’re worth loving? Because if you don’t, you’ll never be able to give to others the way you want to. You will always have something holding you back. Even with your best intentions, without a clear understanding of your own value, you will never be able to instill in others a clear value of theirs.

Then you’ll know what a great love you carry yourself, and what a great love you have to give to someone else.

There can be many more reasons we withhold love from others, and that they withhold love from us. These were 10 that I’ve been thinking about. How about you? What are some reasons you’ve seen for why we withhold love from people?

The Challenge Of Our Pansexual Gender Fluid Society

With an increasing shift towards a pansexual gender fluid way of life, perhaps we are introducing a new challenge whilst trying to address an old one.


Another day has gone by and another slew of events have happened all around the world. All eyes are fixed on the United States election, with everyone awaiting more alleged illegal activity uncovered featuring Mrs Clinton, or another derogatory comment from Trump. There’s the destruction being wrought by the horrible Hurricane Matthew. In Australia we’ve had the death of the proposed plebiscite on gay marriage in our country.

Oh yeah, and all the news outlets were quick to report on Miley Cyrus once again commenting on her life as a pansexual. Continue reading

7 Dating Pressures That Didn’t Exist 30 Years Ago

The love advice that used to work so well doesn’t fully apply in a new world. Here are 7 dating pressures that didn’t exist 30 years ago.

Dating Pressures Overly Attached

This past Sunday night I went out with one of my favourite couples. They’re great leaders and mentors to probably hundreds of people (no exaggeration), and I’m fortunate to call them friends. Something I’ve really enjoyed in the last 10 or so years is branching out in my friendships beyond my age group. Being in my 20s, it’s very rewarding for me to not just stick to people in my own set of life experiences, but those who are further ahead. And this couple in particular is winning in so many areas of life that they truly are two amazing people to learn from in a whole lot of areas. Continue reading

Men and Rape Culture

It seems like more and more, the voices of women are crying out for a solution – what can be said about men and rape culture?

Men and Rape Culture

WARNING: Mature written content and trigger warning

You’ve probably seen recently the horrendous actions of the former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner. His recent actions and the incredibly lenient 6 month sentence given to him by a judge have been the subject of enormous public uproar. He has officially been banned for life by USA Swimming, and public outcry is demanding greater justice with both his actions, and also the ruling of the judge. I believe the only appropriate word you could call it is a “travesty”. Continue reading

Addressing the Sexual Elephant in the Room

Attraction, addiction, assault, even appetite – can we address the sexual elephant in the room?

Mature written content warning.

Sexual Elephant In The Room

Source: DPC

Continue reading

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