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Marriage: Myths, Dimensions, Variables, Intimacy, Sexuality Marital Myths ­ 3 sources Myths about marriage from Lederer & Jackson (1968) 1. "People marry because they love each other." a. Harry Stack Sullivan's definition of love: "When the satisfaction or security of another person becomes as significant to one as is one's own satisfaction or security, then the state of love exists." b. Other reasons why people marry 2. "Most married people love each other." The unilateral decision to be "loving" 3. "Romantic love is necessary for a satisfactory marriage." Five major elements of mature love a. Tolerance b. Respect c. Honesty d. Stay together for mutual advantage e. Companionability 4. "There are inherent behavioral and attitudinal differences between females and males, and these differences cause most marital troubles." a. Examples of false sex-linked stereotypes b. Why false sex-linked stereotypes exist 1) Different social roles 2) Scientific biases 3) Exaggeration of physical differences 4) Parental training 5. "The advent of children automatically improves a potentially difficult or unfulfilled marriage." Whether children improve a marriage relationship or not depends on a variety of factors including: a. The attitudes and expectations of both spouses b. Professional aims and timing c. Age at the time of marriage d. Financial resources e. Characteristics of the child 6. "Loneliness will be cured by marriage." There are several types of loneliness. a. Limited behavioral repertoire b. Early maternal loss c. A dominant mother and passive father d. Existential loneliness 7. "If you tell your spouse off, you have a bad marriage." Five myths of the post-marriage culture - Waite and Gallagher (2000) 1. Divorce is usually the best answer for kids when a marriage becomes unhappy. 2. Marriage is mostly about children; if you don't have kids, it doesn't matter whether you cohabit or marry or stay single. 3. Marriage may be good for men, but is bad for women, damaging their health and selfesteem and limiting their opportunities. 4. Promoting marriage and marital obligation put women at risk for violence.

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5. Marriage is essentially a private matter, an affair of the heart between two adults, in which no outsider, not even the children of the marriage, should be allowed to interfere. Myths about marriage (Gottman and Silver, 1999) 1. Good communication and successful conflict resolution will save the marriage. 2. Neuroses and personality problems ruin marriages 3. Common interests will keep marriages together Men and women are from different planets. Men are not built for marriage. 70% of men and 70% of women say the quality of friendship is a determining factor. Types: The marital spectrum Process and relationship variables in marriage (Lederer and Jackson) a. Functionality b. Temporal compatibility c. Vector relations Marriage types Stable-satisfactory marriage 1) The heavenly twins 2) The collaborative geniuses Unstable-satisfactory marriage 1) The spare-time battlers 2) The pawnbrokers Unstable-unsatisfactory marriage 1) The weary wranglers 2) The psychosomatic avoiders Stable-unsatisfactory marriage 1) The gruesome twosome 2) The paranoid predators Patterns of Marital Relationships (DeGenova and Rice) Devitalized, vitalized Conflicted Intrinsic (communication, conflict resolution, sexual satisfaction, spiritual life, and extended family) Utilitarian, financially focused Balanced, harmonious Marriage Variables (from DeGenova and Rice) 1. Criteria for evaluating marital success Durability Approximation of ideals Fulfillment of needs: Psychological, Social, Sexual, Material, Spiritual Satisfaction - Reciprocity 2. Twelve characteristics of marital success found important in the empirical literature Commitment (to self, to each other, to the relationship) Honesty, trust, fidelity Responsibility

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Adaptability, flexibility, tolerance Unselfishness Communication Empathy, sensitivity Admiration, respect, egalitarianism Affection Companionship Ability to deal with stress and crises Spirituality, values Lauer and Lauer Study - Marriages Made To Last In a study of 351 long-term marriages, happily married couples rank ordered 39 factors thought to be important in successful marriages. Below is a summary of their responses. Note the similarities across gender. F Reasons M 1 1 My spouse is my best friend. 2 2 I like my spouse as a person.. 3 3 Marriage is a long-term commitment. 4 4 Marriage is sacred. 5 5 We agree on aims and goals. 6 6 My spouse has grown more interesting. 7 7 I want the relationship to succeed. 8 11 An enduring marriage is important to social stability. 9 8 We laugh together. 10 15 I am proud of my spouse's achievements. 11 9 We agree on a philosophy of life. 12 14 We agree about our sex life. 13 10 We agree on how and how often to show affection. 14 I confide in my spouse. 15 We share outside hobbies and interests. 12 We have a stimulating exchange of ideas. 13 We discuss things calmly. Five love languages (Chapman, 1992) 1. Words of affirmation 2. Receiving gifts 3. Acts of service 4. Quality time 5. Physical touch Two models of emotional intimacy: 1. Ecological intimacy: Forged over time a. Time frame 1) Continuous 2) Future-Oriented 3) Presumption of ever increasing intimacy b. Conflict/Change 1) Conflict signals need for negotiation to consensus 2) Willingness to change is a measure of your love

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3) If relationship ends, it should not have begun c. Integration/Organization 1) Emotional intimacy integrated with other bonds 2) Stress on interdependence 3) Male and female seen as complementary d. Themes 1) Expectations, contracts and their fulfillment 2) Rationality, equity, fairness 3) Growing together 4) Commitment 2. Hedonistic intimacy: discovered and explored a. Time frame 1) discreet events 2) Present orientation 3) Allowance for increase or decrease in intimacy b. Conflict/Change 1) Conflict is only another kind of intimacy, nothing need be done 2) Willingness to change is a measure of insecurity 3) End of a relationship does not invalidate the intimacy experienced c. Integration/Organization 1) Emotional intimacy is kept distinct 2) Stress on independence 3) Male and female seen as equal d. Themes 1) Honesty 2) Courage of expression 3) Spontaneity 4) Emotionality 5) Personal growth 6) Openness: retention of options 7) Commitment to oneself 3. Questions about the two models of intimacy a. Are the two models mutually exclusive? b. How would a disagreement be handled by each model? c. Does a willingness to change suggest self-security or self-insecurity? d. Is complementary equal? e. Does equal mean "the same?" f. Does the presence of a theme in one model exclude it from the other model? g. Are there shared elements of the two models? Sexual intimacy 1. Recent History: sexual attitudes and behaviors became more liberal from 1960 to 1985. Attitude change came first, followed by behavioral change. The proliferation of sexually transmitted diseases and the negative consequences of indiscriminate sexual activity encouraged a slight trend to more conservative sexual expression in the 1990s and early 21st century. Liberal sexual attitudes and behaviors are correlated (+ or -) with political views, religiosity, drug use and life style.

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2. Study of human sexuality more tolerated today. John B. Watson, Alferd Kinsey, William Masters, Virginia Johnson, Shari Hite, and Helen Kaplan. Data much more available but representativeness still in question. Kinsey ­ Surveys and interviews Masters and Johnson ­ Prostitutes and volunteers ­ Not replicated Christopherson ­ Midwest data dropped, too few responses Hite ­ Playboy and Mademoiselle MSNBC and Zogby International ­ 56,000 internet users 3. Still many myths abound and are kept alive in pornographic literature and ultraconservative literature. Examples: a. Penis size is very important to female orgasmic pleasure. b. Multiple orgasms are common and essential to good sexual relations. c. Masturbation brings weakness and early senility. d. "Withdrawal" is an effective contraceptive method. e. Frequency and pleasure are highly correlated. f. Women are not as sexual as men. g. Alcohol enhances sexual behavior. h. Sex is really evil and so I have to be bad in order to participate. i. If he/she loves me, he/she will know what I want. 4. Guidelines for improving sexual relations: a. Act according to your values: if, when, what behaviors, why? What is the role of alcohol and drugs in the decision making process? b. Create a positive and intimate atmosphere (Is there time? Where are the kids?) c. Agree upon and practice appropriate birth control or not. d. Talk to your partner before and during physical intimacy. Be specific. e. Don't worry about normative frequencies or behaviors. f. Engage in behaviors both individuals feel comfortable with. g. Reduce performance anxiety: control thought patterns. h. Recognize individual differences and the uniqueness of each experience with the same partner. Contraception and Sexually Transmitted diseases 1. Sexually transmitted diseases: HIV/AIDS ­ Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Acquired through blood transmission, intercourse, oral or anal sex. Through December 2001: 816,149 cases had been reported in the US (0.0272%, 272/10,000), no cure, treatment to slow process from HIV+ to AIDS. Gonorrhea (bacteria) Acquired through any kind of sexual contact including kissing. 1.5/100,000 each year, treated with penicillin Syphilis (spirochete) Transmitted by sexual contact and blood transfusions. 2.5/100,000 each year, treated with penicillin.

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Genital herpes (herpes simplex) A virus transmitted by direct skin contact in an environment that contains heat and moisture is necessary for transmission. Genital herpes can be spread in a variety of ways, including vaginal, oral, and anal sex. But the genital herpes virus can also be present on the skin surrounding the genital area, and skin-to-skin contact in this area can also spread the virus. Contrary to what you may have heard or what you may believe, it is not spread from toilet seats or trying on bathing suits. 200/1000 in the United States, no cure, but treatment of symptoms Chlamydia Very common (9-25%) bacterial infection, treated with medication. Hepatitis B 200, 000 new cases and 417,000 chronic cases in 2002 Transmitted through all kinds of sexual activity Prevention (vaccine), treatment but no cure HPV/Genital Warts (human papillomavirus, 70+ types/30 transmitted sexually) 20 million per year have active cases that can transmit HPV. 5.5 million acquire HPV every year, 14% of coeds acquire HPV each year Transmitted by skin to skin contact Some HPV may lead to cancer Parasitic Infections (for example scabies and public lice) Result of lack of cleanliness 2. Prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Abstinence - most effective, but requires delay of sexual gratification. Birth control pills - prevents pregnancy but not STDs - increases cancer risk esp. >30. Condoms - prevents pregnancy, reduces risk of STDs ­ reduces stimulation. Spermicidal foam - reduces risk of pregnancy and STDs - should be used with condoms ­ may produce brief itching or light burning. IUD, diaphragm and jelly, sponge - prevents pregnancy, does not lower risk of STDs. 3. Unwanted but consensual sex ­ does it exist? 4. Role of alcohol in unwanted sexuality, pregnancy and STDs. 14% overall, higher among college students Some individuals drink to lower inhibitions and increase the opportunity for sex. Drinking affects the individual's judgment.

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