12 Random Stats That Might Explain Your Dating Situation
If there's one thing that I think all of us can agree on, it's the fact that dating is a bit of an enigma. The rules are always changing. The expectations are all over the place. Hell, some of us haven't been impressed while being on a date in so long that we wonder if the art of dating even exists anymore.
If I was able to figure all of this out, I'd be a millionaire—a few times over—by now. But I did do a little research on things related to dating in the hopes that it might help you to connect a few dots or at least get a little clarity on a couple of matters. So, if you've been wondering why guys keep wanting to meet up at Starbucks, why you are turned on by vegans or how long you should date someone before wanting to meet his mama or give him some, below are some answers I found that are based on various studies and dating experts. Check it out, forward it to your significant other, and also jump into the comments to share your views. With a little bit of input from us all, maybe—just maybe—we can figure out this whole dating thing together.
1. Where are the most popular dating spots?
As far as actual dates go, I'm the kind of gal who will give a guy major points for creativity. I guess that's why I found it pretty interesting—and disappointing—when I read an article onAsk Men's site that shared some of the most popular dating spots of last year. Some that cracked the Top 10 include—Starbucks (#1), Chick-fil-A (#2), Panera Bread (#5), Barnes & Noble (#7) and…y'all already know—Cheesecake Factory (#10). Le sigh. Am I the only one who isn't impressed?
I think this is why I am a huge fan of a couple of phone conversations leading up to a first date. That way, you both can get a feel for each other's personality, interest and overall vibe—and that can keep you out of Olive Garden (which also made the list). No diss to it, it's just…I am a firm believer that a man who puts forethought and creativity into first dates and marriage proposals is a man who is showing real sensitivity and fascination as it relates to the object of his affection.
Hmph. I must not be the only person who think this way because, according to The Art of Manliness site, their idea of great first dates are picnics, amusement parks, paint and sips—places that are fun and also places that are a little outside of the typical dinner and a movie idea.
Oh, and as far as signs that a first date didn't go so well, dating experts believe that if the conversation was dull, your date was distracted, no talk of a future date comes up on the date or a full day goes by without any sort of follow up at all…well, even if there are some great explanations as to why these things happened, you're still seeing, fairly early on, if you're going to be doing a significant amount of maintenance in order to keep things going. Just something to think about.
2. What subconsciously makes someone feel connected on a first date?
I can tell I'm getting older because my face frowned a bit when I kept reading that it was poor etiquette to ask someone what their last name is when you're first making a connection with them. What in the world? Even my homie-lover-friends, I know their middle name, birth date and where they were born—and I knew all of this before they got some. But apparently these days, last names are privileged information. Something else that I read is if you're on a first date and you really want to make the person feel special, you should say their first name a few times. It indicates that you are interested in them, that you care enough to retain their name, and that you want to be comfortable enough to remain on a first name basis with them in the future.
3. How long do individuals prefer to wait before having sex for the first time?
Chrissy Teigen has been pretty open about the fact that she slept with2019's Sexiest Man Alive on their first date. Now they're married with two children, so the taboo belief that having sex on the first date automatically dooms the possibility of establishing a solid relationship isn't one that holds a ton of weight (clearly, when there are articles out in cyberspace like "Why More People Are Having Sex on the First Date"). Still, that doesn't mean that sex on the first date is the rule; for most, it's still more like the exception. So, just how long do most people think that you should wait before getting it on for the first time? A Groupon study of 2,000 individuals came to the conclusion that it should happen after around eight dates; although most men were "cool" with waiting until the fifth date and most women preferred to wait until the ninth.
4. How often should you see your significant other to keep the relationship healthy?
This particular point I found to be interesting, mostly because it has something in common with how often married folks have sex in order to keep their relationship in a thriving state. If a married couple wants to feel happy and connected, they need to copulate the same amount of times a week that a new couple needs to see one another in order to get similar results. And how often is that? Once a week. Anything more than that can cause fires to burn out quickly. It can also prevent you from "pacing your way" into the relationship so that you can figure out if it's something that you want as opposed to merely being something that you feel (some of y'all will catch that later).
5. What is an underrated key to relational happiness?
While on the surface, this one seems a little odd, if you really stop to think about it, it makes sense. One study that featured 1,000 men and women discovered that whenever an individual is dating someone who is a conscious and healthy eater, they are happier in the relationship—even if their own eating lifestyle totally sucks.
I'd venture to say that, even if it's a subconscious thing, people probably admire someone who is intentional about caring for their temple. Not only that, but if that person is interested in caring for themselves, it could be a good indicator that they will take care of the person they are seeing too.
6. How many dates, on average, lead to exclusivity?
If you've been on about 3-4 dates with someone, you really like him, and you're wondering if it's time to have "the talk", what a lot of dating experts believe is you should wait until you've gone on eight dates before bringing up the topic of exclusivity. If you go on a date with someone once a week, that averages out to being a couple of months, so that sounds about right. Whatever you do, just make sure that you conduct a little "pre-commitment interview" first. A whole lot of us have found ourselves falling for the wrong men or totally wasting our time, oftentimes because we assumed that they wanted what they did when…they didn't.
(Sidenote: Did you peep that exclusivity and sex both require eight dates? Interesting.)
7. What is the “expiration date” on most new relationships?
Cuffing season can really be a trip; especially when you factor in that the most popular times for couples to break-up is either right before Christmas (I'm willing to bet that is men) or right after Valentine's Day (wouldn't be surprised in the least if that was women). Some folks don't want the pressure of taking things to the next level during the holiday season while others put a lot of stock into Valentine's Day, only to get disappointed and determine that they deserve better.
Now, as far as how long new relationships typically last, in general? According to several Google links that I checked out, the average is somewhere between 3-5 months. Why is that? Five months usually gives us enough time to know if we're motivated by nothing more than lust, if the person is doing things that are deal-breakers for us and/or if we're simply too impatient—or disinterested—to put the work in to make the relationship last. If you're seeing someone new, how long has it been? Have y'all made it over the five-month-hump yet?
8. What things turn men off about women they’re seeing?
A website that I used to write for back in the day is The Good Men Project. In an article published on the site entitled "5 Secret Male Turn-offs Women's Magazines Won't Tell You", what I appreciated is it didn't ask women what turned men off; they asked men. What the men shared where things like belittling a man's sexual needs, comparing him to other men or trying to guilt trip him for wanting to do things outside of spending time with you. To me, that sounds pretty realistic. In fact, I'd think that the only women who "feel some type of way" about those things are women who are doing those types of things. And, in the wise words of Dr. Phil, "How is that workin' for ya?" As far as a list of what turns men on, check out "I Asked 10 Men What Turned Them On. This Is What They Said." for a little insight.
9. Does astrology actually play a role in compatibility?
Some of y'all are gonna fight to the death on this one. But apparently, the online dating site OkCupid conducted a study that included 500,000 people to see if there is any truth to astrology and compatibility. You can click here to read the entire break down, but the bottom line is no, there isn't. So, if you're a Gemini like I am, you're currently digging a Scorpio but you're hesitant because you read somewhere that they're not a good fit, I'd still go on a couple of dates if I were you.
Putting too much emotional weight on astrology can create self-fulfilling prophecies; you can determine someone isn't good for you due to some chart when, in all actuality, they just might be your perfect match. Not because of when their birthday falls but because of who they are as individuals.
10. When should you introduce someone to your parents and friends?
They say that if you've been in a relationship with someone for a while and you haven't met any of their family members or friends, that could be a red flag; maybe they are involved with someone else, they don't take the relationship as seriously as you do or, it's an indication that they've got layer of things to hide, with their loved ones only being a layer of that. If you've been seeing someone enough to go through all four seasons of the year once, I would be inclined to agree. At that point, you should've at least spoken with someone who is a part of their world.
But if you feel like your significant other is on the up-and-up but since it's only been a few months you're still not sure when the right time to meet their loved ones are, here's the deal. A lot of millennials tend to think it's cool after about 10 dates or so. At the same time, a lot of dating experts think that is way too early; they believe that you need to take at least five months to see if the relationship is serious. Then, after that time, introduce the person you're seeing to some friends; then family. Oh, and when it is time to see the fam, avoid family functions at all costs. Those types of events will only put more pressure on you. Plus, it sends the message that you know exactly where the relationship is headed when, after only a few months, you probably don't.
11. Who has a harder time healing from a break-up? Men or Women?
This is something that I am glad is getting more attention because, while it might be assumed that men aren't as affected by heartbreak as women are, what's actually going on is we tend to grieve and heal earlier and faster than they do. In fact, there's a study that supports the fact that since women invest more emotionally into their relationships, they are more emotionally self-aware in how to handle a break-up. Meanwhile, many guys don't spend as much time processing emotions. As a result, when a relationship (that truly matters to them) ends, they see it as an irrevocable loss than can take years for them to get over—if they ever do. (I know at least 10 guys personally who can personally attest to this; they still talk about their first love like the break-up happened last year.)
12. Who actually says, “I love you” first? Men or Women?
Talk about debunking a myth. I'm willing to bet that at least half of y'all read this question and immediately said, "Duh. Women." However, that isn't the case. According to several published studies, it is the fellas who experience feelings of love, as early as a few weeks into a new relationship. Now, that doesn't mean that all of them have the best of intentions when it comes to saying "I love you" because, there are also reports that indicate some do it in order to win our trust so that they can "get the meats". Still, that isn't the case for everyone, so if you're seeing a guy and he says, "I love you", if his words and actions complement one another, chalk it up to him being honest and society underrating a man's true sentimentality—at least until or unless he proves otherwise.
Welp. There you have it. Dating, in a nutshell—kinda, sorta. Whatcha think? Did it make things clearer or more confusing than ever? Sound off in the comments. Let us know.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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A dead bedroom can kill any relationship. In all long-term, committed relationships, couples experience various phases, from the initial passion to a more complex and enduring connection. Yet, as time passes, sex may decrease, which introduces an issue often referred to as "bed death."
According to Advance Psychology Partners, 'bed death' occurs when individuals in a committed relationship experience a decline in the frequency of sexual activity and fall short of the desires of both or either partner. It is sometimes labeled a "sexless relationship" due to the infrequency of sex. In the U.S., an estimated 20 million people find themselves in such relationships.
This shift is a significant change for couples. Let’s face it: no one wants to be in a sexless marriage or relationship. But how can couples effectively confront the impact of fading physical intimacy on the overall health of their enduring partnership?
"I have found that many factors influence one's desire to dive, and it is often not a majority of just one thing. Most people assume that if they don't desire [sex], they are no longer physically attracted, but in my experience, that has little to do with it most of the time," explained Brittanni Young, LMFT, CST.
"Some of the heavy contributors that I see most often include excessive goal orientation towards orgasm, people not prioritizing their own sexuality, and the landfill of ‘should’s’ that develop from toxic sexual scripts created long ago in upbringing," she added.
Furthermore, these issues are not exclusive to any particular orientation, but it does manifest differently.
Young is a licensed marriage and family therapist, sexologist, and board-certified sex therapist who practices in Georgia and Florida. She has worked in the sexology field for over a decade. Young helps couples and individuals looking to get through challenges of all facets facing sexuality and intimacy, such as desire mismatch, over-compulsion, and dysfunctions. She recently launched a deck of intimacy connection cards called "Show Me Your Cards." Young is working on another product that helps teach children to consent and negotiate appropriate touch. She sat down with xoNecole to discuss what causes the decline in the bedroom, the myth of 'lesbian bed death,' and recommendations on overcoming "bed death."
The Decline In Intimacy
Intimacy often dwindles within relationships, a phenomenon triggered by various factors such as stress, the insidious monotony of routine, and the toxicity of unresolved conflicts, to name a few. While couples manage daily life, exchanging intimate desires and concerns may take a backseat. Sadly, this gradually erodes the closeness once shared in the relationship.
"Typically, the first thing I do when working with a couple on desire challenges is rule out medical causes by referring them to their primary care physician or other provider they are working with," Young shared. "There are times when unmanaged or mismanaged conditions factor into low desire levels. Also, many medications can wreak havoc on keeping desire levels up, such as antidepressants, SSRIs, anti-anxiety, and blood pressure medications, to name a few."
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"Next, I look at the state of the relationship. If there is dissatisfaction in the relationship, then it definitely affects how close and intimate one wants to be to another. There are also plenty of individual factors one can bring into the equation, such as low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, feelings of shame or guilt around one's own sexuality, and external life stressors that can get in the way. I find that life stressors can be a big one for folks, as once you get in the habit of not prioritizing sex, it tends to stick," she added.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent "bed death." It can involve prioritizing your wants and open communication about sexual needs.
"What tends to be effective for all couples is taking an inventory of how satisfied they are with their sexual behaviors and engagement. Being truthful in this vein can be the start of unlocking inhibitions that can keep you from seeking out and being genuinely vulnerable in intimate spaces," Young explained. "Next, I suggest opening up lines of communication around these truths. When people assume that nothing can be done, hope is lost."
The Myth Of 'Lesbian Bed Death'
The notion of "lesbian bed death" perpetuates a simplistic and inaccurate stereotype about the sexual dynamics within lesbian relationships. Contrary to the myth, the experience of a decline in intimacy is not universal among lesbian couples. The diverse spectrum of relationships among women challenges this oversimplified narrative, emphasizing that the complexities of sexual dynamics extend beyond stereotypical assumptions.
"The notion of 'lesbian bed death' is based on a research study done by Pepper Schwartz in 1983 that found that lesbian couplings fell behind in sexual frequency compared to heterosexual and gay male couplings," Young revealed.
"Several other studies [after] have replicated these findings but give very little information about sexual satisfaction. Despite there being more research needed overall in the sexuality field, more recent research did find that when it comes to the length of sexual encounters, lesbian couples had the longest duration of encounters. To that end, sexual quality over quantity is a better marker of satisfaction, and that is what I pay most attention to in my work. With that said, dissatisfaction can happen in all couplings over time," the sexologist continued.
Factors influencing reduced intimacy among lesbian couples may include communication challenges, societal pressures, and individual variations in libido. Menstruation can also play a role, with some couples navigating discomfort or hormonal changes during this period.
"There are certainly some nuances that come into play with lesbian couples that differ from heterosexual or other-oriented couples. As I stated earlier, physiological factors can factor into the rise and fall of libido. The hormone fluctuations that come from menstruation and menopause can impact desire levels, and it is double present in lesbian couples. Another nuance is the lack of a sexual script from society on lesbian sexual behavior. There are patriarchal roots to sexual research, which have created our societal norms that tend to leave out anyone who isn't heterosexual," Young stated.
Overcoming The Challenges
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While 'bed death' challenges couples, solutions are within reach. By identifying and addressing the underlying causes, couples can rekindle the flame of intimacy and ensure a healthier, more fulfilling relationship.
"In the words of Esther Perel, another sexual professional in the field, 'love enjoys knowing everything about you; desire needs mystery.' I recommend keeping it in the front of your mind, prioritizing, and keeping it interesting. Be open to learning more about your own sexuality every day, as well as your partner. You are always growing; what worked for you 20 years ago may not be the same today. Stay curious with one another and be open to exploring new ways to pleasure. You deserve it," Young said.
For instance, Young advised that couples should "keep sexual encounters light and playful." And not be afraid to introduce new elements, such as toys.
"Touch often in ways that are consensual and feel safe! I made 'Show Me Your Cards' to serve this purpose specifically. Just because you do not feel in the mood to go all the way does not mean you aren't in the mood to hold hands, exchange body massages, or dance together. Connecting often in any physical form, as long as it feels pleasurable, still counts as 'being in the mood,'" she said.
Overcoming the hurdles of "bed death" and debunking myths surrounding 'lesbian bed death' offers a unique perspective for couples grappling with the difficulties of sustaining a connection. Learning the proper ways to work through a sexless relationship can help foster a healthier, more fulfilling relationship.
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