Singles Sex: When To Have It, When Not To Have It

 

“I’m dating, when should I have sex?”

On the first date? Third date? After a month? As soon as you lose 10 pounds?

When to have sex depends on what you want, where you’re at, and most importantly, what your needs and goals are.

“I WANT THIS RELATIONSHIP TO LAST”

If you want a new romance to go the distance, then don’t jump into the sack too soon–you’ll only fuck things up, in my opinion. Better to wait and get to know the person. Find out who they are, and what they’re looking for.

As I like to say, feel them out before you feel them up.

If you introduce sex too soon, you run the risk of it becoming all about the sex—which is OK if that’s what BOTH parties want. The other risk with early sex is early flame out. You want this thing to build.

The goal here is sustainability and longevity.

Call me old-fashioned, but I think waiting makes things hotter and more meaningful once you do start having sex. Call me anti-feminist too, because I think men like the chase. Giving it up too soon does something to their primal instincts.

If you want a committed relationship, remember TIME IS ON YOUR SIDE. Don’t be in a rush, and don’t let yourself be pressured. When the time is right, both of you will jump each other’s bones accordingly.

As for heavy necking/light petting/oral, I’d give that a few dates too.

“Yeah, but what if he loses patience because I won’t fuck him?” If he’s truly interested in you, not just interested in getting in your pants, he’ll wait. And if he doesn’t want to wait, you wouldn’t want him anyway.

By the same token, you should never use sex as a way to snag someone. It should never be used as a bargaining tool, as fellow blogger Kris Gage cautions:

“If you want a relationship, you don’t use sex to get one. You have sex in it.”

“I NEED TO GET OVER MY EX”

There’s an old saying: “The best way to get over someone is to get under someone.” This works for some, but whatever the feeling you get from it–distraction, victory, a morale boost, or spiteful satisfaction– is usually temporary and short-lived.

Sex to get over an ex is probably a better strategy for guys who can disconnect from the emotional aspect. Most guys treat rebound sex as a triumph or ego stroke. If a guy gets dumped, he’s going to want to bone someone as soon as possible to make sure he’s still got it.

With women, it’s more complicated because sex is more complicated. For many women, sex is a way to bond and connect on a deeper level. It’s not just about getting off, it’s about getting off emotionally too.

Rebound sex for women can be the thrill of victory, or the agony of defeat if it goes wrong. It can backfire in your face (as can having sex with an ex, but that’s a whole other blog post).You may hate your ex, but screwing someone as an F-U has its perils. The same applies if you still love your ex, but with even more risks. One hasty roll in the hay with a new person not only can make you miss your ex even more, and it can leave you feeling worse than ever.

You never want to get out of bed with hurt feelings.

Post-breakup, if your feelings are still raw and your heart’s still healing, don’t get naked.

“BUT I JUST GOT OUT OF A 20-YEAR SEXLESS MARRIAGE”

What are you waiting for then? Bang away and don’t delay! Get back in the saddle, ASAP. If that means first date, fine; if that means in your car on the way back from your first date, fine too. The goal here is to restore your confidence, and feel desired and sexy again.

Whatever happens, just make sure you’re in the driver’s seat. Losing control isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but losing your power is.

“I’M HORNY AS HELL AND NEED TO GET LAID”

If all you really want is a hook-up without having to actually date, or you want something casual without strings, go ahead, it’s a free world. We’re all adults here, and being horny is human.

But as I said earlier, if you’re going to love ‘em and leave ‘em, bone and bounce, do it with the expressed understanding and knowledge of your partner, or else you’ll look like a selfish jerk.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

There are so many exceptions and caveats to all this: Like if you’re an alpha female who just wants to be serviced, emotions be damned. Or if you’re a horny guy with the patience of a saint. I know many people who had sex on their first date and got married. I know someone who waited two months to consummate, and the relationship didn’t make it to a year. Like I said, it all depends.

When it comes to sex, there are no rules, except the rules you want to make.

Whenever you decide to give it up, just make sure it’s on mutual terms, and at a time that feels respectful and right for both partners. That way, even if the sex sucks, at least no one will get screwed 🙂

ANNOUNCEMENTS!

I’m co-hosting a new internet radio show with my husband Robby called DONE BEING SINGLE, on the VoiceAmerica Network. Tune in live every Saturday, 12p PST for tough love dating advice, tips, and tools to help you conquer single life and triumph at love!

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Is Donald Trump F-ing With Your Love Life?

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It’s been over a year since the 2016 presidential campaign, nine months since the election, and six months since the inauguration, and I’ve just gotta know: Is Trump cramping your dating style?

Are you a Republican finding it harder to hook up? Are you a Democrat getting laid left and right? Are you red-hot in a Blue state, or do you have blue balls in a Red state?

Is your dating pool getting deeper with prospects, or is your swamp getting drained?

Politics, especially in dating, has become a lighting rod, a third rail of attraction or revulsion. Everything is supercharged, and everyone is hot and bothered.

POLITICS IS SEXY!

Whether politics has made dating easier or harder is debatable, but one thing’s for sure: Donald Trump has become the new measure of compatibility. It’s not enough anymore to know someone’s age, religion, interests, marital goals, or career, you’ve got to know if they’re a Nasty Woman, a Bad Hombre, or a fellow Deplorable.

In other words, you need to know where someone stands. Or, do you? Does it really matter if that cute girl on Tinder voted for Trump, or that hunk on Bumble voted for Hillary? Do you care if the man/woman of your dreams wants to make America great again?

In today’s dating world, party affiliation is either the greatest aphrodisiac, or the world’s worst allergy. It’s the difference between a match made in heaven, a relationship destined for hell, an instant turn-on, or a complete turn-off.

Swiping on a dating app is not unlike pulling a lever in a voting booth. Case in point from a real Tinder profile:

“Trump voters please swipe left, and go to your room and think about what you’ve done.”

OPPOSITES ATTRACT (except when it comes to Trump)

According to data from dating site Match.com, 60% of singles say they are less open to dating across party lines than two years ago. It’s even harsher among liberals, who tend to really dig in when it comes to Trump. In fact, Match found that a whopping 91% of liberals judge potential dates negatively if they voted for Trump. Conservatives, on the other hand, are slightly less judgmental. 57% said they are more likely to date across party lines.

Data from another dating app, CoffeeMeetsBagel, seems to back this up. A poll of 1,320 of its users found that 70% of Democrats feel “politics are impacting their dating lives ‘slightly to profoundly,’” while only 43% Republican singles feel the same way. 66% say being aligned politically is more important than good sex.

Conclusion: What’s in your heart is more important than what’s in your pants.

Sometimes opposites do attract though. Take conservative commentator Mary Matalin and Democratic strategist James Carville. They’ve managed to stay married for 24 years by keeping politics out of the bedroom (or maybe by keeping them in, who knows).

Like I said, politics can be sexy!

For the rest of us though, the political division– and resulting lack of desire from liberals and conservatives to date each other– is why David Goss launched TrumpSingles.com, “a regular dating site where people who are fans of Donald Trump can go and meet each other,” as it’s described.

Goss, a Trump supporter himself, saw the dating divide, and instead of bridging it, he enabled it with Trump lovers. Even though he hopes everyone will make love and not war one day, he knows full well that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

“Yeah, it goes both ways. You know, like a liberal doesn’t want to date a Nazi, and a Republican doesn’t want to date, well, a whiny snowflake, and that’s what they’re viewing each other as.”

YOU KNOW IT’S TOUGH OUT HERE FOR A DATER

My friends on both sides of the political spectrum recently shared some thoughts on love in the time of Trump:

My friend Bob, 58, describes himself as not so much a Trump lover as he was a Hillary hater, but went for Trump anyway.

Last November, he was fixed-up on a blind date, but the meeting place was an election night party (advertised as a Hillary victory party). Knowing he was going into hostile territory, he passed on the opportunity. It ended up being no big loss since a few months later, he met a fellow Trump voter, with whom he’s hot and heavy.

My friend Jill, 48, a diehard Dem, had a promising start with a guy on Match. After taking it off-line and on to the phone, they found an easy rapport. He was interesting, funny, and she was liking him more by the minute.

They had great chemistry, and talked for hours. But when the conversation turned to politics, it all went to hell. Turns out, he was a Trump supporter, and she couldn’t get past that.

“I was in shock. We lined up on so much, I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I kind of lost respect for him, and came up with excuses not to see him again. For me, it’s not about politics, it’s about values.”

*Caveat: If you’re a liberal, there’s no reason why you can’t date a Trump supporter just as long as they’re willing to call Trump out on his BS. And by BS, I mean his compulsive lying (an automatic dating disqualifier for me). Liberals also have to look at themselves when their team fucks up too. It goes both ways.

THE POLITICS OF DATING

Like David Goss of TrumpSingles.com, I too hold out hope that one day we can put aside our differences, find common ground, and sing Kumbaya. I hope one day a Repugnant can love a Libtard, and the GOP can party with the DNCC.

But I’m not getting my hopes up too soon, because as I have realized (for better or for worse) you are your politics, and politics is principle. You can’t separate them.

Daters, ask yourselves: Are we on the same page? Do my values align with his? Do my politics jibe with hers? If so, you’ve met your match. If not, well, there’s always the next Trump rally or women’s march to find what you’re looking for.

Politics might have no place in dating, but let’s be honest: it’s the fastest way to weed out the riffraff, and for that, you can thank Donald Trump.

He could be the best f-ing thing that’s ever happened to your love life.

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Make Dating Great Again!

 

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Maybe It’s Time To Go On A Digital Dating Diet

 

shutterstock_243839119“Enough!” said a friend recently who had it with online dating. She was fed-up, burned out, and ready to breakup. It’s too much work, with little return, she complained. In protest, she was going to delete all her dating apps and join a nunnery.

She’s no nun, but she does have a point. Digital dating IS a lot of work. All that searching, swiping, typing, texting, winking, liking, browsing and chatting is practically a full-time job. Add in the lack of follow up from potential dates, and you can see why my friend is frustrated.

Online dating is a giant time suck. A recent survey from online magazine The Week found that online daters spend an average of two hours a day on their mobile dating apps. That’s two hours of having your head down in your phone every day. My neck is killing me just thinking about it.

And then there’s the issue of “ghosting,” that online dating practice most used by cowards who disappear into thin air after making contact. Don’t they know it’s shitty dating etiquette to leave someone hanging?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-technology; in fact, I think technology is the greatest thing to ever happen to dating. So many apps, so many options! Swipe right or right click and you can find lasting love, or a quick hookup if you’re bored and horny.

Just in case you haven’t been introduced, there’s Tinder, a location-based dating app that matches up strangers; Hinge, a mobile app that accesses friends of friends on Facebook; Bumble, the app where chicks are in control; and The League, a dating app for elitists. And let’s not forget old standbys Match, J-Date, PlentyOfFish and OkCupid, which also have apps.

There’s a lot to love about digital dating: it can build your confidence, boost your ego, keep you busy, and get you back in the game if you’re newly single. I went back online after every breakup and I found it good therapy.

Thanks to technology I met my husband on Facebook, so I’m not complaining!

But digital dating isn’t everything. When you rely too heavily on your phone to play matchmaker or when your computer becomes your sole source of social contact, you’ve got problems.

Your dating life shouldn’t exist on a screen.

That’s why I suggest going on a digital dating diet. It’s not a breakup, and it’s not forever, it’s just a way to add balance and quality into your dating menu.

Diets are horrible and I hate them, but this one’s different. It will free you. You’ll feel lighter, less stressed, more liberated, and your neck will thank you. Here’s how to get started:

PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN, PICK YOUR HEAD UP, AND LOOK AROUND!

I guarantee you will see just as many dating options in front of your face as you do online, except these options are real walking, talking people, not profile pictures and usernames. You can see for yourself if they’re really that old, that out of shape, or that good looking!

The League dating app says it aims to “make offline cool again.” Excuse me, but when was being offline ever uncool? The last time I checked, meeting people the old-fashioned way, FACE-TO-FACE was preferred, not passé.

But just in case you’ve forgotten how to go offline, here are some suggestions:

A local coffee house

The grocery store

The putting green at a public golf course

The gym

The subway (not in L.A. yet, but we’re getting there)

A yoga studio

Hobbies and classes

Jury duty

One of the best places to meet people is volunteering. You can hook up while you change the world!

These places may not be fancy or sexy, but that’s the point. They’re opportunities to meet people that don’t exist on a screen. You don’t need to boot up, log on, or check in. All you have to do is make eye contact and smile. It’s like swiping in real life.

If you can think of dating apps and sites as a supplement, not as your entire subsistence, you might actually free yourself up to make a real connection– that is, if you can look up from your phone long enough.

So good luck with your digital diet, and don’t worry: if you get too bored and horny, relief is always a swipe away.

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Dear Ladies of Online Dating, This Letter Is For You

shutterstock_32443075A few months ago, a college friend of mine who’s an avid online dater, received a note in her dating site inbox. It’s a love letter of sorts, in that the guy who wrote it was genuinely interested in her. But as you’ll see, the love didn’t last long. It was over before it even began, and they never ended up meeting.

According to her profile, she was everything he was looking for, that is, until he scrolled down to a certain point in her profile, and then it all went to hell. Suddenly, his hopes and dreams were dashed. He was no longer smitten.

Was it something she said? Yes, and he let her know it.

Most online dating exchanges are warm and fuzzy, fun and flirty—especially in the beginning. However, this get-to-know-you email was hardly that. It was a tongue lashing.

As you’ll read, he gave her a piece of his mind about life, love, and finding a good man with integrity. I was so struck by his commentary that I felt compelled to share it with you (with her permission, of course).

Below is his letter in its entirety. Other than leaving out names and identifying information, it’s all him. His words may make you cheer or make you angry, but they will definitely make you think.

He titled it “Sigh”

“I approached your profile the way I approach all profiles that catch my eye. I read your words…then look at your pictures…and then scroll down to the information listed at the bottom.

I thought there might really be a connection here. A couple of unhappily single, middle aged people. We would have a blast cooking together, traveling together…loving together.

 I feel the same…passionate about life, believe in love, honorable and honest at all times, good values, big heart, good soul and a sense of adventure you wouldn’t believe. 

And then…

I’ve gotta be athletic and toned, huh? Maybe when I was 30, but I’m 55 now…I’m working on it full time. I’ll never have 6 pack abs again…but, Jesus Christ, I’m 55…How in shape am I supposed to be?!! I can still get an erection without Viagra…isn’t that enough?

And then…the killer…

Why?! Why?! Why do so many women feel the need to put down $150,000+ in that stupid income entry line? Some years I make more than that…some years, a lot less…This year I’m starting a new business and it will be significantly less. But, this is extremely besides the point. Extremely!

Every man I know…every man I’ve ever talked to that I respect…and it’s absolutely true for myself, finds it insulting and extraordinarily irritating when a woman, any woman, feels the need to actually state how much money he needs to make before she’s willing to see him socially. To a man, it feels like you’re saying, ‘If you want me, you have to be able to afford me.’ To a man, it feels like you’re shopping for a fat wallet, rather than a good and honorable man. To a man, it feels like you’re prioritizing money over love. It’s so unbelievably shallow and superficial. Is this the message you’re trying to send? I’m not exaggerating this. Pretty much every honorable man I know feels the same. This is ALWAYS a deal breaker. You see the number and you immediately move on to the next profile. 

In your case, that was hard for me to do…hence the lengthy email.

Yes, you’re used to living a certain way…Yes, you want to make sure your man is a provider…Can you imagine how many quality men you are chasing away because you need to tell him how much money he has to make just to talk to you? What if some incredible guy, a guy who is so perfect for you it would make you weep with joy, only makes $100K or $75K or $50K…Are you going to toss him in the trash heap simply because he doesn’t have enough money to walk in your exalted company? This does NOT reflect sound values.

You seem like such a terrific woman. Men and women will never truly understand each other…I’m wondering if perhaps you don’t realize how honorable men of integrity and character view this obnoxious number.

This is the first time I’ve ever written a woman about this. We seem so compatible in every regard, but I was so completely disappointed when I saw that entry, I just felt compelled to write.

If my words or thoughts have offended you, I’m truly sorry. I meant no offense. I apologize profusely. This was not my intent. I guess my intent was to express my frustration and disappointment. This is really the first time I was significantly disappointed to find that number in the profile of a woman who appealed to me on so many other levels. “

I told you it was a tongue lashing – but a teachable moment at the same time. My friend got schooled and scolded, but she learned the lesson and wasn’t offended. Actually, she felt horrible. Horrible that filling out a particular field on a dating profile could end up making her look bad, which she’s not. In fact, she’s one of the most honorable people I know. She wrote back to thank him, then promptly changed her profile settings.

True, most women want security. But wanting a provider shouldn’t be the driving force in one’s search for love. If all you’re interested in is what’s in the income field, you’re doing love a tremendous disservice. You’re counting out possibilities and dismissing potential. Can you imagine how many quality men you are chasing away because you need to tell him how much money he has to make just to talk to you? He said it, not me. But I’m saying it too.

The prospect of meeting your soul mate should never have a dollar amount, or a price for entry. But if you have requirements, I say keep it private. You’ll find out soon enough if they have a fat wallet or six-pack abs –or neither– which is OK too.

Whoever this guy is, I praise his honesty and respect his message: no one’s perfect, nothing’s perfect. Whether it’s one’s body, age, or bank account, there’s always something that makes us human and beautifully imperfect.

P.S. A man with money doesn’t necessarily make him a great guy, but you know that already.

When it comes to love, you should never compromise. You should never settle. All you need to do is keep an open mind, an open heart, and an open field on your dating profile.

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Feel Love, Be Free, Live Life, And Other Things To Do Before You Die

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Me and artist Candy Chang

What do you want to do before you die? Who do you want to be? How do you want to live?

Taiwanese-American artist Candy Chang’s urban art installation project “Before I Die” is not about death. It’s not a bucket list of things to do and see before you die. Rather, it’s a thought-provoking way of looking at how you’re living right now.

Are you realizing your potential in life? Have you achieved your goals? Are you honoring your highest good? Are you getting the love you deserve? What are you grateful for? What’s still missing in your life?

Life’s greatest questions now have answers, and they can be found on a chalkboard near you.

In September, I moderated a panel discussion at a conference sponsored by the Motion Picture Television Fund (MPTF) called Deal With It: A Women’s Conference, held at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills. Part of the program included a breakfast keynote address by Chang. In her show-and-tell presentation, she introduced the audience to her piece “Before I Die,” a powerful, soul-searching exploration of the human condition.

I was blown away by what I saw and what I learned.

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A Before I Die wall in New Orleans

PAIN AND SUFFERING ARE UNIVERSAL, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Candy Chang created “Before I Die” as an interactive global art project that invites ordinary people to share their personal aspirations, desires, hopes and dreams in the unlikeliest of spaces: on public walls, on abandoned buildings, on city streets. Not exactly typical places for self-examination and confession,  but that’s what makes it so striking – the combination of its logistics AND the collective emotions it stirs up.

before-i-die-writingsBONDING + CATHARSIS = ART

After losing someone she loved and falling into a depression, Chang initially created this experiment on an abandoned house in her New Orleans neighborhood as an anonymous place to help heal and share intimately with her neighbors. The project gained global attention, thanks mainly to the curiosity and passion of its participants. Since its inception, over 1000 Before I Die walls have been created in over 35 languages, in over 70 countries, including Kazakhstan, Iraq, Haiti, China, Ukraine, Portugal, Japan, Denmark, Argentina, and South Africa.

Before-I-Die-05-writingWE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER

The walls are “an honest mess” of the longing, pain, joy, insecurity, gratitude, fear, and wonder that you would usually hear only in the confines of a therapist’s office or church confessional. Publically, the project brings communities together by fostering honesty, trust, support, and understanding. Privately, it allows people to let it rip.

And boy, do they let it rip. With a simple piece of chalk, people bare their souls and unload their consciences. Responses on Before I Die walls range from hilarious to heartbreaking, from gutsy to gut-wrenching. You laugh, you tear-up, but most of all, you THINK. And that’s the purpose of the project: to be contemplative and comforting all at the same time.

BEFORE I DIE I WANT TO….

“I want to live 100%”

“I want to abandon all insecurities”

“I want to be fearless”

“I want to get my wife back”

“I want to do a cartwheel”

“I want to figure out how to let go”

Before I DieIt goes on and on, because life’s to-do list goes on and on. It never ends, and nor should it. We’re all imperfect creatures, works-in-progress that keep seeking and evolving. Everybody’s got some chalkboard goal they would like to achieve this lifetime. The question is: are you willing to make it happen, or are you willing to make peace if it never happens at all? I think you have to be prepared to do both. Whatever you do, don’t wait. Life’s too short.

During her presentation, Candy Chang handed out Post-It notes to the conference attendees to scribble down their deepest, most innermost Before I Die thoughts. Afterwards, they were assembled on poster boards outside the hotel banquet room. Like the responses on walls around the world, these were just as poignant, moving, and excruciatingly honest. You could feel the grief and hope in every word.

My response is included somewhere in these Post-It notes. I can’t tell you where, but I can tell you this: I could’ve written any number of them.

It’s good to know I’m not alone.

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Yoga Teachers: Be One Or Date One, It’s All The Rage

Yoga teacher w/ studentA funny thing is happening in the yoga world according to the Wall Street Journal and the Hollywood Reporter.

Not exactly your go-to fitness resources, but there they were – stories about how yoga is changing the landscape of people’s careers and social lives. It seems that yoga enthusiasts are so enthusiastic about their practice, they’re taking it to the next level:

They’re either becoming yoga instructors themselves, or they’re marrying their yoga instructors.

According to the WSJ’s “Why Everyone’s A Yoga Teacher,” the rate of new teacher training is outpacing the growth of new students. The Yoga Alliance, the nation’s largest yoga-teacher registry, reports that more than 14,700 new teachers have registered. The number of newly registered yoga teachers in the U.S. has rose an average of 18% a year from 2008 to 2014 – that’s three times as fast as the 6% growth rate for yoga participation overall.

Yoga is many things to many people: exercise, discipline, relaxation and restoration. But it’s the higher, more spiritual calling and deeper connection of yoga that people are seeking. For this reason, they’re getting their teaching credentials.

Some will teach as a second career, but most won’t even teach at all. Instead, they’ll use their teacher training purely as continuing education to further their knowledge of yoga, deepen their practice, and get closer to Nirvana by way of the proper down dog.

It seems everyone’s getting into the act. My friend David Bender, a managing director at StockCross Financial Services, still has his day job in the bond and equity markets, but teaches a few classes a week. Even my own cousin, a former high-power talent agent, is in the process of opening up his own yoga studio.

There is definitely a deepening love affair with yoga, and by all accounts, the love is deepening with its instructors too.

In the Hollywood Reporter article “Hollywood’s Moguls’ Arm Candy Du Jour: Goodbye Asians, Hello Yoga Instructors,” it appears the newest trophy girlfriend (at least for the male power elite of the entertainment industry) is no longer found at nightclubs, or on yachts, or at Hef’s pad, but rather, at a yoga studio near you.

Just look at the Crown Prince of Sweden, or actors Alec Baldwin and John C. McGinley – they all married their yoga instructors. Two of my female yoga colleagues at Equinox met and married their yoga students from class.

This has me thinking: Is it possible that had I become a yoga instructor instead of a personal trainer, I might’ve gotten married years ago? All those hours of studying exercise physiology when I should’ve been learning Sanskrit. @#*!

The truth is, guys dig chicks that are natural, spiritual, and of course, flexible as Gumby. Women dig male yoga instructors because, well, they’re all sex gods, aren’t they?

You’re hot and sweaty, assuming near pornographic poses and positions, getting touched and adjusted…the whole thing reeks of sex – or maybe it’s just the stinky yoga mats, who knows.

I’ve always told my single friends that yoga classes are a gold mine of dating potential. For the most part, yoga devotees are fit, attractive, and fairly evolved (that is, until you have to fight your way into a crowded yoga class and “evolved” goes right out the window).

This hot-for-yoga-teacher trend also makes sense to relationship experts who see a lot of traditional male/female dynamics being played out.

Alpha men hooking up with yoga teachers chimes with Eastern philosophy, offers Dr. Pat Allen, an L.A. relationship guru. “In old Chinese quantum physics, men had yang bodies: They build, they create. Women receive. Alpha men have a very tough time committing to alpha women. They’ll have an alpha mistress, but not an Alpha wife. Alpha men do better with beta women: sensitive, empathetic and kind. Who epitomizes beta better than a yoga teacher.”

That is, unless the yoga teacher is an ass-kicking, ball buster like a few I know around town. They’re hot, they’re sexy, but I’m pretty sure they’d chew you up and spit you out in the sack.

On the appeal of yoginis to Hollywood, relationship therapist Dr. Shannon Chavez notes: “In my practice, the busiest men and women are looking for deeper meaning. They’re bored in their marriages, sexually dissatisfied, seeking communication beyond the grind. People are looking for partners now that make them feel whole and less judged and insecure.”

TRANSLATION: Men want women who won’t give them shit, who won’t talk back, and who can put their legs behind their ears.

This is why I never became a yoga teacher. I can hardly touch my toes.

But according to David Bender my yoga teacher friend, dating yoga instructors isn’t the magical, transcendent experience it’s believed to be.”Yes, teachers are in touch with their spirituality, but they don’t walk on water. They’re actually more fucked-up than you think.”

Whew! Am I glad I’m a personal trainer!

Whether you’re doing yoga for the love, for the money, to answer your higher calling, or to find your next wife, you’ve got my blessings. You’re doing Buddha’s work, and for that, you deserve a great, big namaste.

 

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Graduation Day: A Celebration And Sad Reminder

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Beverly Hills High School, Graduation Day 2015

If you’re someone like me who tried to have kids and couldn’t, there are times in life that can be sad reminders. For most child-free women, it’s probably Mother’s Day: an emotionally tough day for those of us who will never have children of our own to celebrate us.

I can get through Mother’s Day because I still have my mom to celebrate. The brunches and lunches, activities and outings, keep my mind off anything remotely self-pitying. Since I’m her only child, I make sure the day is filled with love and distractions galore.

No, the day that absolutely kills me is Graduation Day. That’s the day I really feel my childlessness.

For several years, I’ve lived within walking distance to my high school, which means for several years I’ve also been within earshot of graduation rehearsal and ceremonies. Every June the entire neighborhood is treated to the sounds of a booming P.A. system, soaring music, lofty commencement speeches, and the long reading of student graduate names.

It’s lovely and joyful, and depressing as hell. So much so that I have to hide out at the local Starbucks until it’s over.

You see, every time I hear the strains of Pomp and Circumstance coming from the front lawn of my high school, my heartstrings pull, and I’m painfully reminded of the kids I forgot to have. Well, maybe not “forgot,” more like waited too long to have. Those opening notes aren’t music to my ears; they’re tones of regret and shame for not taking my biological clock more seriously.

I spoke about this several months ago in a blog post entitled “Oh My God, I Forgot To Have A Baby!” If you missed it, here’s a recap of what I went through to get pregnant:

Six IUIs with donor sperm, three rounds of IVF, two embryo transfers using donor eggs, and lots of timed intercourse with a boyfriend who tried, but couldn’t knock me up. I got started at 43, and ended my quest four years later with no money, eggs, or time left on the clock. Game over.

But once the post game pity party was over, I started healing. Onwards! I said to myself. Even though I was single, I still had other worthy pursuits to keep my life full: a busy career, an active social life, and good friends and family. Then, three years after saying goodbye to motherhood, I said hello to marriage. Getting married for the first time at 50 not only gave my life unexpected dimension and purpose, it helped me ease the pain.

I continue to work hard to make peace with my past, and bring closure to that chapter of my life. It’s not easy sometimes, but I do my best to take the long view; to gracefully accept what was, and appreciate what is now.

It’s true what they say about one door closing and another one opening: you find opportunity. It may not look like what you planned or wanted, but hey, it’s an open door, so why not walk through it?

Not long after the baby door closed, the volunteering door swung wide open. I walked through it, and guess what? I found opportunity – to give of myself and be of service to others.

Last year, I joined my husband Robby as a Special Olympics coach (he’s been coaching for 30 years); and after a several year hiatus, I rejoined the Fulfillment Fund mentoring organization to become a mentor to a 14-year-old girl named Melissa.

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Global Education Academy, Graduation Day 2015

Already, my mentee Melissa and I have established a unique relationship. We talk, we bond, we teach each other things and learn about the world together. I like to think we both have a bright future ahead of us.

You want unexpected dimension and purpose to your life? Try volunteering. It’s THE greatest thing you can do, especially if you don’t have kids of your own.

Last week, I attended Melissa’s eighth grade graduation from Global Education Academy, a bilingual school located in South Central Los Angeles. It had everything you’d expect in a graduation: a booming P.A. system, soaring music, lofty commencement speeches, and a long reading of student graduates.

Come to think of it, it was just like a Beverly High graduation, but much better.

Because when I heard the strains of Pomp and Circumstance, and saw the processional of young students in their cap and gowns, it pulled at my heartstrings in a lovely and joyful way that didn’t have me running to the nearest Starbucks.

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Melissa the graduate with her proud mentor.

Graduation Day is no longer a sad reminder of my past, but a celebration of everything yet to come.

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Late Bloomers: Marching To The Beat Of Our Own Drummers

Are you in your 40s and just now hitting your stride? Are you in your 50s and just finding your groove? Are you in your 60s or beyond and finally getting your shit together?

UnknownIf so, then you just might be a late bloomer. Congratulations!

You are in good company. Other late bloomers include artist Paul Cezanne, poet Robert Frost, scientist Charles Darwin, as well as tons of other great literary, scientific, and artistic masters, whose finest works came later in life.

We late bloomers like to march to the beat of our own drummer. We follow our own cadence and create our own tempo, regardless of the rhythm around us.

David Galenson, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, has written about late bloomers and has this to say: “Late bloomers muddle ahead, experimenting and failing and trudging forward for decades before they’re a success, or even noticed at all.”

Social commentator Malcom Gladwell wrote about the old masters vs. young prodigies debate in his October 20, 2008 New Yorker essay “Late Bloomers.” He notes that “Doing something truly creative, we’re inclined to think, requires the freshness and exuberance and energy of youth.”

But the truth is that a person’s talent, gifts, or just simple self-awareness can bloom late. It did for me.

So if you’re not where you think you should be in life, if you haven’t accomplished all that you set out to, or if you think you haven’t realized your potential yet, take heart. There’s still time to be who you really are.

Unknown-1Success happens at all stages of life, and sometimes having to wait, or do the necessary work for it, makes the success that much sweeter. Whether it’s learning to cook at age 49 like Julia Child, or getting your first novel published at 59 like Pulitzer Prize winning writer Frank McCourt, or getting discovered at age 48, like singing sensation Susan Boyle.

Or getting married for the first time at 56 and 50, like Robby and me.

One of my favorite late blooming stories is Marc Maron, a stand-up comedian who struggled for years with drugs and alcohol, while struggling to get traction in the comedy world. Finally, at 50-years-old, he found his footing (and eventual success) with the creation of “WTF,” his original podcast.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He_4Bs2vCwQ&w=560&h=315]

“You know, when I look back on all the things I did. I don’t have any regrets. But I also know that maybe I wasn’t ready for whatever was going on. There was some stroke of cosmic timing in that — out of desperation, I turned to podcasting. Things aligned, so now I can be the comic I want to be and sell some tickets in some markets, and now I got a TV show on the air. And the one thing I can say, whether I changed myself or whether it was a series of events, is that, because I was humbled, and because I let go of a lot of expectation, I was truly ready to show up for everything that’s happened.”

Whether it’s cosmic timing, the planets aligning, or just having patience and perseverance, it’s never too late to bloom.

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Same Footsteps, Different Paths

IMG_0003She was in her early 20s, just off the boat from Scotland; he was in his early 30s, newly transplanted from Brooklyn when they met and married in the 50’s.

Robby and I will be well into our 50s when we walk down the aisle for the first time.

They had a half a handful of relationships before tying the knot; Robby and I will have dated half the world before getting hitched.

They were young and inexperienced: she was an entry-level secretary at CBS; he was right out of the mailroom at William Morris; Robby and I are old pros with years of life experience under our belt.

They were just starting out, finding their way, not fully knowing themselves, or the ways of the world; Robby and I have been around the block, graduated from the school of hard knocks, and have the battle scars to show for it.

When they got married, they were building a life, planning for a family, and preparing for the future; Robby and I are already established and are looking forward to building on what we already have.

When my parents had sex, they made a baby; in about five minutes Robby and I will be sexy senior citizens.

When they moved in together, they had nothing, not even a pot to piss in; Robby and I already have our own sets of dishes, a blender, a hand mixer, a vacuum, AND a pot to piss in. We don’t really need anything, but we registered anyway because who couldn’t use a new pot?

They had goals and hopes and dreams for the future; so do we, but we’re also happy to be in the present.

They were early adopters; we’re late bloomers.

The comparisons and differences are many, but there’s one thing we all proudly did together:

WE MARRIED FOR LOVE.

Not for money, not for power, not for status, not for a green card, or because of obligation or pressure. Not for any other reason, just love.

IMG_0002Like Frank Sinatra, we did it our way – on our terms, at our own pace, in our own time. And like Paul and Sonjia Brandon, we’re doing it with integrity.

Here’s how my mother describes starting out with my father:

SONJIA:

“He was handsome, he was nice, he was a good person, and he appreciated my humor. We didn’t have much money, but we had love, and we got by. We had a small wedding at a little shul on Beverly Blvd., and had to borrow a car to go on our honeymoon since his car was in the shop. In those days, you didn’t wait to get married. It was the thing to do, and I’m glad we did because, well, we had you.”

Unfortunately, their marriage didn’t last, but knowing their story and hearing how they met has always been a source of inspiration for me. Robby’s and my path to the altar may look very different from my parents’ path, but in many ways, we’re following exactly in their footsteps.

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