Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

IPAD userI was reading a new book on relationships by one of the leading people in the field and was stunned. In the book, he suggested that “a little” pornography could help a marriage.

Here is why he is wrong. After treating far too many people who thought a little porn would bring back passion in their relationships, they find themselves constantly needing more. And the way they look at their partner changes in a negative way. Why? Because the brain is getting rewired!

People who begin with a little porn develop a tolerance and want more. Just like a drug addiction, more is needed to achieve pleasure.  This can lead to potency problems and sexual tastes that could be unwelcomed by your partner.

An addiction is a loss of control, a compulsion to do something no matter the negative consequences. It also involves developing a tolerance and needing more to get the same level of stimulation or pleasure. Without it, withdrawal occurs. All of this is true with pornography. Moderation is impossible. Avoidance is the strategy.

But here is what you might not be thinking about. Addiction involves neuroplastic changes in the brain. The promise of healthy pleasure  is a myth. Pornography changes the brain to want more. It is exciting, not satisfying and hyperactivates the appetite system in the brain. When you view porn, new maps are created. The brain says I want to keep that map and stay activated.

Viewing porn is like getting training sessions. Brain maps are being created. Neurons that fire together, wire together. They are wiring images into the pleasure centers of the brain.

Then, even when you are not looking at porn, you have those images reinforced in the brain. When sexually aroused, dopamine fires and firms up those connections. Pleasure is felt. The brain then wants new, more exciting images to create more maps.  You aren’t satisfied with what you have. And this is where it gets problematic for couples. The porn person has trouble getting stimulated in healthy sex.

So does a little porn help a marriage? Absolutely NOT!

sittingListen up all you couch potatoes.

I’m actually standing while typing this! Here is why.

Too much sitting is linked to heart disease, diabetes, and early death from all causes. That’s right, the World Health Organization puts sitting or physical inactivity 4th on the list of risk factors for death worldwide.

And while sitting isn’t good for either gender, women fare worse when it comes to spending the day in a chair. According to a study by the American Cancer Institute, women who sat for more than six hours a day were more likely to die than women who sat for three hours or less a day.

So if you are like me and have a job that requires more than six hours sitting at a desk, here are a few ideas to help us avoid those dismal statistics.

1)   Stand whenever possible—during meetings, while on the phone, take the stairs, etc. Standing or moving triggers the body to break down fats and sugars.

2)   Put your computer on a higher desk that allows you to stand part of the day and work.

3)   If your company can get a treadmill, put one in a break room and get on it for 10 minutes at a time.

4)   Take an exercise class although exercising a few times a week doesn’t seem to undo all the sitting problems.

5)   Walk around your office space a few times a day.

6)   Have meetings while walking.

7)   Work through lunch, leave early and work out if your boss will allow it.

8)   Set a timer and make yourself get up and walk around.

9)   Buy a pediometer and track your steps

10)  Order a stand-up deak or treadmill desk station—they are pricey, but if your company will do it, it is worth it.

OK, I’m going to catch a little TV but be marching in place when I watch!

LIKE buttonYou log on to Facebook, check the status of your  500 plus “friends” and post a few comments. You notice that several of your friends are feeling down this post holiday season and are talking about feeling lonely and depressed. After reading their posts, you feel down too.

What just happened?

Can negative and positive feelings be contagious?

YES, according to University of Chicago researcher, John Cacioppo, and his colleagues. If you have a social connection with someone who is lonely, you have a 52% chance of feeling lonely too. If the connection is a little more removed, a friend of a friend, the percentage drops to 25%. And if the “friend” is a distant contact, you are only 15% at risk for loneliness.

The same is true for other emotions. Angry people (not birds) can infect you with anger! Emotions can be contagious on social media sites.

So if someone is always down and negative, you might want to defriend him or her. It may improve your mood and prevent you from getting Facebook Depression. Pick the happier people; but not the way too happy people. Because the way to happy people can make you feel lonely too because their lives appear to be better than yours. We tend to compare, come up short and feel depressed.

In terms of your children, the old adage, “Choose your friends wisely,” definitely applies here. Bad behavior from kids your’ve never met can influence your child’s emotions. So take a look at your child’s friends. Are they ramping up anger and hate or love and respect?

Bottom line, we can be highly connected and still be vulnerable to loneliness or other negative emotions. Virtual relationships are not a substitution for face-to-face relationships. You can be highly connected but still lonely–500 plus friends are not the same as 2 to 3 real life friends. So put down the technology and go meet someone face to face!

 

Pop singer Ke$ha entered eating disorder treatment at Timberline Knolls on January 3 and asked her fans to give her 30 days to rehab, but eating disorders don’t begin or end suddenly. They develop over time and take more than 30 days to overcome. Hopefully, this inpatient time is just a beginning of Ke$ha developing a new relationship with food and dealing with the psychological issues involved.

People in the entertainment business live in a fishbowl and are constantly being evaluated for their performances and appearances. This is a classic set up for insecurity and self-loathing, roots of an eating disorder.

When I read the little bit of information on Ke$ha, four things stood out in terms of eating disorders:

1) Her music producer, Dr. Luke, reportedly made nasty comments about her weight, even referred to her as a refrigerator! She was bothered by this–most people would be! But if you have other issues in your life, nasty comments about your body can send you over the edge.

2) Ke$ha says she has had a hard time loving herself. People with eating disorders suffer from a lack of self-love. They can love others and be very giving, but when it comes to their own lives, it’s hard to apply that loving, generous spirit to the self. They tend to be perfectionist, obsessive and all or nothing thinkers.

3) Ke$ha is a vegetarian which is usually code for struggling with food. Not all vegetarians are on the brink of an eating disorder, but this can be a sign that food has become an enemy. A person with an eating disorder tends to narrow the field when it comes to food choices. Food restriction is a sign of an eating disorder. Some people become vegans or vegetarian as a way to reduce food choices, limit high fat foods and restrict eating.

4) Ke$ha admits to having times when she drinks too much. Binge drinking is also a common symptom of someone with an eating disorder. Many of my clients went back and forth bingeing for awhile on food, then alcohol, then food.

Keep in mind that while food and weight are the areas of focus, much more is involved that has little to do with either. People with eating disorders have problems with mood regulation, conflict, tolerating distress and more. These are psychiatric disorders, meaning they involve the way we think, feel, behave and relate to other people.

Ke$ha took the first step in getting better–she admitted to the problem and sought treatment. Both are necessary for healing to begin.

Let’s hope she continues to stay in treatment until she is fully recovered. Because like so many problems, recovery is a long and difficult road! But change is possible!