Dr. Pepper Schwartz knows good relationships like Carrie Bradshaw knows good sex. Author of 16 books, coauthor of Glamour magazine’s “Sex and Health column,” and PerfectMatch.com relationship expert and algorithm creator, Schwartz visited BC to give the “Intimate Bodies: Love, Sex, and Relationships” lecture in collaboration with the Women’s Resource Center and “Love Your Body Week."
The short blonde with a raspy voice enlightened the mainly-female crowd on the chemistry of love, and how to have healthy sex and healthy relationships. Dr. Schwartz’s final recommendation to the audience was to “give the best of yourself while demanding your rights, safety, integrity and future."
She began with the basics, the innate chemistry of passion. She called it a hunger, a drive within all of us. Humans were designed for passion because of our chemical makeup that includes testosterone, dopamine and oxytocin. Oxytocin is the bonding hormone released in breastfeeding and in orgasms. The brain often combats these animal instincts and must mediate what the body wants. Bring to mind Mer and Der’s infamous exam room scene, anyone?
Dr. Schwartz went on to discuss the gendered nature of passion and hooking up. Hooking up is passionate, but usually initially just for men; she used this diagram to illustrate her point. She believes that our passion is gendered, so men can have passion without an emotional attachment, whereas women’s sexual response begins with intimacy and then moves on to arousal, which generally requires more than a one-night stand.
Everyone knows the principle of least interest; it is most often referred to as “The Game.” By this principle, there is always someone in a relationship who is less interested which leads to him or her having greater power, being more secure and seeking greater distance. Conversely, there is the more interested person who has less power, is more insecure and seeks to be closer.
Schwartz said the greater the gap between the two, the less likely it is the relationship will work out. Many factors contribute to this gap including social status, looks, money and the rate at which infatuation fades for each partner among others. So while you may dream of this or that, a large difference between their looks, income, or social status would probably doom any potential relationship. And when that gap is too wide then it’s best to take this advice and get out, don’t be in denial…
She concluded by warning the audience about the factors which damage sexual relationships:
- Comparing yourself to others
- Comparing your partner to others
- Ignoring your body and its health
- Not paying attention to your partner
- Not being able to ask for what you want or explore what you might like
- Not knowing your partner’s background or experience
- “Do unto others as they would do unto themselves,” i.e. Know what he/she wants and deliver it
So basically R-E-S-P-E-C-T for yourself and your partner and it will be all good. I’m thinking of this kind of love…