Credbility is key

Submitted by real_neuroscience on
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I have been in a warm and loving relationship for years now and the closeness and passion keeps growing with every orgasm we have. We have sex, to "completion" at least 2-3 times a week and just keep getting happier and happier.

Will it last "forever"?

I don't know and I don't care.

The bottom line is that nothing and nobody can take away the time we have had together. If it is our destiny to be together for the rest of our lives, then so be it. If not, that's OK too. This notion that "lifelong relationship equals good, anything else equals bad" is absolutely wrong on so many levels I can't even begin to list.

One would think Marnia would be one of the happiest, most fulfilled, warm and loving people on this planet. The truth is that she browbeats those around her into going along with what she says and viciously attacks everyone who disagrees with her. In fact, she behaves a lot like a lot of angry young men are behaving in the Middle East these days... men who are driven mad because their natural urges are constrained by religion and who blow themselves and fly into buildings in the slim hope of getting laid in the afterlife. Come on, you don't really think that they would be so eager to immolate themselves without the promise of 72 ethereal virgins, do you? Never mind that trying to go on a normal date in this lifetime would suffice to get them tortured and murdered.

Marnia has all the hallmarks of someone who has been in one too many abusive relationships and who has resorted to extreme measures under the guise of spirituality and healing but that is really all about control (in the power sense, not the healthy restraint sense). The title alone "Cupid's Poisoned Arrow" should be a dead giveaway. Peace Between the Sheets? Sure, provided the bed is being shared by UN peacekeepers!

The science in these books is questionable at best. Of course, they do contain enough valid research to have a good degree of "truthiness" to them but that's where their claim to veracity falters.

The problem with today's conservative/puritan societies is their (mostly religious) attempts to control billions of people by leveraging the strongest drive we have, that of reproduction. Thanks to countless priests (who are some of the biggest perverts around) of all religions, what is natural and good has become something to be feared and controlled. No wonder modern people are such masses of conflicted views and so so prone to so-called "super stimuli". Meantime, of course, violence is perfectly acceptable. For example, I know of few people with the fortitude to actually stand up to the author of these books.

The idea that humanity has lost its natural means of close companionship (paraphrasing a quote from one of the excerpts on this site) is laughable on its face. Human lifespans lasted no more than 20-30 years until very recently in our evolution... just enough time to have a kid or two and rear it to sexual maturity. Also, very close looks at our closest evolutionary cousins reveals little in the way of close companionship. To single people out as being somehow magically different is ridiculous since we share 98% of our genes with both chimps and bonobos. Bonobos, by the way, have sex almost constantly. Gay, lesbian, straight, they are lean mean shtupping machines. Result? Bonobo societies have very little violence. Do they have orgasms? Oh, yes, the more the merrier! Chimps have fairly little sex... and a lot more violence. Human societies exhibit a direct correlation between sex and violence as well. The most sexually open societies have the least violence and vice-versa.

The idea of trying to short-circuit human evolution and evolved instincts by not having orgasms is an artificial attempt to impose artificial morality (monogamy equals good, serial monogamy or even polyamory is bad) on instincts that have served us well for millions of years. It is puritanism driven by fear and deep-seated conservatism (which plenty of research indicates stems from fear and low self-esteem) wrapped in the guise of spirituality.

Can one be addicted to sex? Yes. Can sex cause problems? Yes. So can automobiles. You don't see anyone suggesting sitting behind the wheel of a parked car and making engine noises as a viable alternative for actual driving, do you?

Marnia's motives are less than pure. Her science is extremely biased and questionable at best. And both she and her husband are in dire need of some good orgasms, followed by the realization that the sun is still shining, the birds are still singing, etc. etc.

Sex is natural and healthy.

Orgasms are natural and healthy. I know. I had a strong one yesterday with the woman I've been madly in love with for years and with whom I have enjoyed hundreds of orgasms.

I am a grad student in evolutionary psychology and my other half has degrees in organic chemistry and neuroscience and is a psychiatrist.

Please, don't base your ideas on sexual health solely on these books.

Welcome to Reuniting!

A hearty welcome to you RN and thanks for your post.

You cover a lot of ground for a first post and of course it is always good to have diversity of opinions in our community.

I applaud your good relationship and well you should extol it as like a fine wine, it is something to be savored. Like you, I believe that "to orgasm or not" is best understood within the context of other key elements that are foundational to relational happiness. What about trust levels in the relationship? Respect? Gottman's work at the University of Washington seems to suggest that "contempt" is the biggest destroyer of relationships, not sexual/orgasmic preferences.

My experience also tells me that before I can love anyone else, I need to have healthy self esteem and love for who I am. From what you described in your post, it makes sense that you seem to have that going on in your relationship and that is very likely a key element in your success.

Values. Communication styles. Sexual arousal templates from childhood. Pretty soon we are viewing a complex matrix of our wonderful humanity with many variables that contribute to the holy grail of a happy relationship.

So with that common ground in place, there are some areas of respectful disagreement.

Forgive me, I have been away from the community for a few months in a season of self reflection but.....

I cannot resonate AT ALL with your characterizations of Marnia at all. Sorry...not in the least. Browbeating? Viciously attacking? Where are you coming from with that???

I have been here since January 2008 and that is so NOT the Marnia I know. I just met her IN PERSON just yesterday and she is so NOT ANGRY in any way, shape or form. As a matter of fact, from what I learned over a beautiful afternoon with her yesterday, Marnia may very well be one of the happiest, most fulfilled, warm and loving people on this planet - true story!

I say that readily confessing that I have been in therapy for years and also have spent a lot of time in 12 Step Meetings which is a wonderful part of my spiritual path. Point being, I know a lot about denial and defense mechanisms and I see none of that in Marnia personally or in anything on this site.

I cannot say that I have roamed every nook and cranny of this web site but I find the research credible and I have always been able to draw my own conclusions. In particular, an article from Dean Ornish on alternative healing here put me on the road to a major lifestyle change that has been instrumental in helping to heal the gift of cancer I received back in 2006. What a miracle that I am still alive and hornier than ever, having experienced profound loving care from many goddesses here at Reuniting along with some pretty terrific ladies in real life. Also, for the record, I have experimented with seasons of orgasmic celebacy along with seasons of free choice orgasm and for me, the jury is still out but that is a long story, best saved for another time.

So again, for a person that is new to our community - I am perplexed about your tone regarding Marnia and about the information shared on this site. You make some blanket characterizations about this site, about credibility and the information provided here without any specific examples of what you are taking exception to.

Something about your energy and written tone has me curious to hear more of where you are coming from. You sound angry to me whereas I have NEVER known Marnia to be angry in the least. That in and of itself makes me question where you are coming from? I have a very open mind developed over 57 years of academics, a life long spiritual quest, a successful 22 year corporate career so trust me, I am not the sort of person that would drink the Kool Aid and follow anyone or anything blindly. Conservative? Puritan? Are we talking about the same site?

What is going on here NS? I wish I had time to dig in and question more of your assertions but I must race off into the rest of this beautiful day.

Sex is natural and healthy - could not agree with you more! At least to me, this site is all about natural and healthy sex, along with integrating a wonderful spiritual component in sexuality that can take us beyond that functional biology of our evolutionary destiny.

If you can be more specific, perhaps I could better relate to your point of view. You are certainly welcome to tell us more!

Peace be with you!

Richard

Welcome, and thank you for your post.

I mean that sincerely, because it opens a debate that I’ve long thought needs to take place. As part of my preparation for writing the dreadful Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow: From Habit to Harmony in Sexual Relationships, I read a long, academic biography of Alfred C. Kinsey. It fascinated me.

Here was a man who truly was traumatized by a strict religious background. Yet his intellectual offspring seem blind to the possibility that he may have allowed his biases to distort his conclusions.

Certainly, it caused him to misrepresent his research. For example, he claimed to have produced statistically legitimate cross-population studies on sexual behavior, when in fact they were biased (disproportionately representing prison inmates, homosexuals and, apparently, prostitutes). He also drew conclusions that were not even borne out by his own statistics (such as his conclusion that more orgasms for women would guarantee more stable unions; his statistics revealed the opposite).

When legitimate statisticians among the faculty where Kinsey worked began to howl about his deceptive statistics, he and his staff always took one tack: they made loud, public claims about the supposed pathologies in the sex lives of the critics. They implied that they knew gruesome details about their critics, which, if revealed, would show that their critics were hopelessly biased. More importantly, they did not correct their statistical methods, or conclusions.

This had the effect of chilling debate, because, true or false, such spin (and refusal to acknowledge the need for more careful research) makes people less willing to put themselves in the line of fire. This seems to be the tack that experts are still taking, judging from your remarks and the remarks of many mainstream sexologists.

The use of this tactic means that important discussions, which would show up the weaknesses in flawed work like Kinsey’s, simply don’t happen. Not only is this reminiscent of Fox News-style spin, it can only lead to research (and research analysis) with big blind spots. Confident researchers welcome debate and steer away from slander as a tactic. They discuss substance.

I also learned from his biography that Kinsey was a sex addict. The details of his escalating sado-masichism would make even you cross your legs, Real! Just to give you one, of many, examples of his sexual behavior, about a year before he died (a rather early death), he hung himself by his testicles and jumped off of a chair…injuring himself.

Yet, my thought is that if I had about half an hour with Kinsey to explain to him how the reward circuitry of the brain works, and how orgasm can become compulsive, he would instantly see that this phenomenon was indeed at work in his own life, and rethink some of his conclusions. In fact, I think he was a genuine enough scientist (despite his religious-inspired bias) that he would actually welcome valid new insights. Alas, we’ll never know, because he did not have the benefit of this information, and unfortunately, his incomplete conclusions have now been codified in our psychology and psychiatry manuals as The Whole Truth, which no one dare question on pain of slander.

In the biography, I learned that virtually all of today’s sexologists (psychologists) are trained or heavily influenced by organizations that are offshoots of the original Kinsey Institute. This means that all are steeped in Kinsey’s perspective, which is that “orgasm is always good and there is no such thing as too many. And anyone who says differently is on an unhealthy religious crusade.”

I believe this Kinsey monopoly (which Kinsey himself might well have outgrown had he lived this long) is a problem because Kinsey didn’t have the benefit of today’s neuroscience findings about the effects of sex on the brain. We do. As a consequence, we need to open our minds and critically examine some of his old conclusions.

Gary and I welcome discussions about the merits of the science we collect here. We know there’s a lot more to learn, although we try to use a lot of integrity about what we collect and share. (In this regard, two psychiatrists have endorsed Cupid. One is an expert in sex addiction at a well-regarded university. The other has extra training in neuroscience in the form of additional degrees beyond those neuroscience courses required to qualify as a psychiatrist in England.) This doesn’t mean everything we say is “right.” Research is always a moving target, and we ourselves suspect that new research will lead to further revisions. We try to update our material as we learn, but we can’t update every article.

As for the personal assumptions about me… they are simply unfounded. I wasn’t raised in a “religious” household, I loved orgasm (just not the shifts in perception that follow it over the next two weeks), I have never been sexually abused, etc. Same with Gary.

Our only agenda is to look at the facts and theorize about how recent research may shed light on the amazing sexual experiences that mystics have been having for millennia. Those traditions generally call for rechanneling (not repressing) sexual energy. Maybe there are good reasons, which are also reflected in our neurochemistry. In any case, it doesn’t hurt to consider the possibilities with an open mind.

By the way, the bonobos aren’t as violent as chimps, but they’re quite violent. The urban myth that bonobos are proof that orgasms are purely beneficial is still kicking around, but has been overtaken by new research. (http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/2253/bonobos-have-violent-streak-too-...)

In any case, humans should be wary of charting a course for their love lives based on the sex lives of non-pair-bonding species, in my opinion. We are pair-bonders, with pair-bonders’ brains.

If the recent comparison between pair-bonding and promiscuous voles is any indication, pair-bonders' brains are more sensitive to dopamine, and therefore more sensitive to addiction - including, one would assume, sex addiction. (See “Amphetamine effects in microtine rodents- A comparative study using monogamous and promiscuous vole species”) Humanity’s experience of late may be bearing this out. As our relationships are growing more fragile, our addiction rates are soaring. I’m not suggesting that is the only factor at work, but I think it is a factor that bears looking at by our relationship experts.

I think it will turn out that we pair-bonding humans need to be more attentive to steering for the behaviors that help to maintain balanced brain chemistry than chimps or bonobos do. Constant orgasms are not necessarily benefiting us, especially as they apparently accelerate habituation (and separation) in mammals.

Stable, affectionate pair-bonds are one way to achieve better brain chemistry (and I am happy to hear that you have one). Meditation, exercise, lots of other social ties, service to others, etc. are other ways. Psychotropic drugs are a risky third option, because they have so many unintended, and little understood, effects.

For the record, Gary and I lived the many-orgasmed life…for most of our sex lives, in fact. We’ve also have lived the karezza approach for about 8 years. We prefer the latter, and we think other people might, too, if they tried it. You have clearly not tried it. Yet you are absolutely sure it should be condemned. This would be puzzling…except that too many orgasms also make me start projecting my stuff all over others. Wink

PS Believe me everyone, regardless of Richard's glowing report, I still get angry sometimes. [schock]

Interesting...

You made this post almost immediately after joining this site...so do you actually know Marnia at all? Without giving any background, it's a bit much to expect people to take your conclusions seriously.

I'm sure if you stick around to argue about facts or theory, you can have some interesting discussions. However, if you are looking to argue against people who think that sex is bad or unnatural, you should go elsewhere, because you won't find many here Blum 3 And if you're looking to make personal attacks against someone who is preaching against sex in a controlling way...surely you can find a lot of better examples out there! So...what gives?

Marnia Angry?

OK. It is all coming back to me now. I CAN remember you boxing my ears now and then but only because I was acting like an orgasm addled juvenile and I needed some tough love. Even then, you were actually quite nice about it as your healthy anger was tempered with a caring spirit.

But of course, now that I think about it, I suppose I should be quite angry at YOU for refusing me lodging at your Inn when in fact, all I wanted was to visit for some tea and sympathy! The nerve!!!

[bigsmile]

Richard (yes, that richard!)

Does one size fit all ?

Its great to have someone who will post in a fashion that "does not tow the line". Reading the ideas proposed in the web site I have thought that anyone whose experiences do not match that which is expounded by the site would probably just browse somewhere else. So having someone that sticks his oar in is great.

One point where I do sometimes wonder about the conclusions that come about is that there is the assumption that we are all the same. Its a bit like alcohol addiction. Some people are just predisposed to it and studies have shown that it seems to run genetically through family lines. Some fatal little switch just turns some people towards alcohol more than others. And its the same with a lot of other drugs. In the Vietnam war many US soldiers took heroin to make life more bearable. Some easily chucked the habit when they got back to functional society life and some just could not.

Some people can watch a heavy porn movie and have no inclination to see more and in others may find an incredible craving to see more and get the turn on. Some people get turned on by chocolate and sugar and others can just take it or leave it.

I look at the orgasm hangover which Marnia postulates. Most of the evidence seems to be based on anecdotal evidence and little long term scientific study. So can one really say that 100% of the population will get a orgasm hangover to the same degree? Maybe there will be some where it is very mild and some where it does not apply. My personal observations would place me more towards the mild bracket. And I do believe that for many it is huge, just not everyone.

Really the subject needs a lot of serious research. Unfortunately in our very commercially based society which there is a better market for some kind of a wonder drug which will cure our depression or give guys a wonderful erection.

And also, maybe there are people who can have hot sex with one partner for the rest of their lives. Others (like me) where this mysterious thing happens that my partner that I could not sexually resist in the early years I find totally uninteresting after a couple of years.

Life is a total mystery and the workings of nature are incredibly complex. Just when we think that we have the answer to something we will always find that there is another dimension. Ultimately we can only surrender to the magic and mystery of it all. I do however love the way that some of this neuroscience stuff shows me how much of my thoughts and actions are propelled by the chemistry of the incredibly complex piece of meat that I am.

real_neuroscience wrote.....

"Will it last 'forever'? I don't know and I don't care."

"If it is our destiny to be together for the rest of our lives, then so be it. If not, that's OK too".

I wonder, real_neuroscience, how and when in the world You will have ever a chance - considering Yourself a "puppet of destiny" - to progress to the realization that Your present "certainties" are invalid. I wonder, also, why in the world a "puppet of destiny" would be a "grad student in evolutionary psychology". What's, really, the purpose, if Your destiny has already inexorably assigned You to the unchangeable certainties that....

"Sex is natural and healthy. Orgasms are natural and healthy"?

Really wondering.........

jb Mirabile-caruso.

Slander

is a cheap way to get attention....but it works.

[quote]The truth is that she browbeats those around her into going along with what she says and viciously attacks everyone who disagrees with her.[/quote]
Show me, I have read many of Marnia's posts and see nothing but wisdom, curiosity, love, and support.[quote]In fact, she behaves a lot like a lot of angry young men are behaving in the Middle East these days... men who are driven mad because their natural urges are constrained by religion and who blow themselves and fly into buildings in the slim hope of getting laid in the afterlife. Come on, you don't really think that they would be so eager to immolate themselves without the promise of 72 ethereal virgins, do you?[/quote]Outrageous! to liken Marnia to bullies, rapists, and murderers. My blood boils, and...
You show a deeply flawed understanding of Islam and the problems in the Middle East. People are indeed manipulated into violent acts by powerful religious and political leaders. Your statement suggests you have bought into the government's demonization of Muslims. Has it worked? Are you ready to kill?

As for me: You have attacked my beloved and I challenge you to a duel at dawn.

It's good that you are in a loving relationship. I am too, but sex has been a problem. I do not intend to chuck the relationship because of that. Simply not seeking orgasm has been very helpful.

Life is a Mystery

Quote Rascalian: Can one be addicted to sex? Yes. Can sex cause problems? Yes. So can automobiles. You don't see anyone suggesting sitting behind the wheel of a parked car and making engine noises as a viable alternative for actual driving, do you?

I feel like I've traded my car in for a Lear jet. Everyone lives in their own world.

I loved Graham Mason's post most of all. It was very serious and and it made me laugh too. Very clear philosophy.

Quote Graham Mason: Life is a total mystery and the workings of nature are incredibly complex. Just when we think that we have the answer to something we will always find that there is another dimension. Ultimately we can only surrender to the magic and mystery of it all. I do however love the way that some of this neuroscience stuff shows me how much of my thoughts and actions are propelled by the chemistry of the incredibly complex piece of meat that I am.

That is truer than true! I find that life is totally incomprehensible. My guides tell me, "That is the beauty of the thing." The RA material says---

Questioner: Can you expand on the concept which is that it is necessary for an entity, during incarnation in the physical as we know it, to become polarized or interact properly with other entities and why this isn’t possible in between incarnations when the entity is aware of what he wants to do. Why must he come into an incarnation and lose conscious memory of what he wants to do and then act in a way in which he hopes to act?

Ra: I am Ra. Let us give the example of the man who sees all the poker hands. He then knows the game. It is but child’s play to gamble, for it is no risk. The other hands are known. The possibilities are known and the hand will be played correctly but with no interest.

In time/space and in the true color green density, the hands of all are open to the eye. The thoughts, the feelings, the troubles, all these may be seen. There is no deception and no desire for deception. Thus much may be accomplished in harmony but the mind/body/spirit gains little polarity from this interaction.

Let us re-examine this metaphor and multiply it into the longest poker game you can imagine, a lifetime. The cards are love, dislike, limitation, unhappiness, pleasure, etc. They are dealt and re-dealt and re-dealt continuously. You may, during this incarnation begin—and we stress begin—to know your own cards. You may begin to find the love within you. You may begin to balance your pleasure, your limitations, etc. However, your only indication of other-selves’ cards is to look into the eyes.

You cannot remember your hand, their hands, perhaps even the rules of this game. This game can only be won by those who lose their cards in the melting influence of love, can only be won by those who lay their pleasures, their limitations, their all upon the table face up and say inwardly: “All, all of you players, each other-self, whatever your hand, I love you.” This is the game: to know, to accept, to forgive, to balance, and to open the self in love. This cannot be done without the forgetting, for it would carry no weight in the life of the mind/body/spirit being-ness totality.---RA, Session 50

http://www.lawofone.info/results.php?session_id=50&ss=1

The sun is out and I'm going to earn my hunger for breakfast by mowing some of my field with my newly purchased scythe. Cheers.