Author: Julie Rubio

Could an Affair Save Your Marriage?

When I saw that sex columnist Dan Savage is going to be one of keynote speakers at an upcoming conference on sexual diversity, it reminded me that I have been wanting to write about Mark Oppenheimer’s summer New York Times magazine cover story in which Savage was prominently featured.  His argument?  Infidelity can save your marriage. Monogamy works for many couples, Savage acknowledges, but not for everyone. Oppenheimer writes,  “I acknowledge the advantages of monogamy,” Savage told me, “when it comes to sexual safety, infections, emotional safety, paternity assurances. But people in monogamous relationships have to be willing to meet me a quarter of the way and acknowledge the drawbacks of monogamy around boredom, despair, lack of variety, sexual death and being taken for granted.” Savage grew up Catholic and is known not only for his syndicated column, Savage Love, but for It Gets Better, an influential collection of videos featuring gay adults who offer reassuring messages to gay teens. Savage’s concern and enthusiasm for stable families is commendable, but his view that monogamy will make lifelong marriage impossible for a good many couples is troubling, to say the least.  “[L]overs,”  he says, must be “good, giving and game (put another way, skilled, generous and up for anything.  And if they cannot fulfill all of each other’s desires, then it may be advisable to decide to go outside the...

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To Choose Is to Lose

“To Choose Is To Lose,” so say the authors of a new study on decision-making that is the subject of a recent story in The New York Times Magazine. The researchers found that when people had to make a lot of choices, they experienced “decision fatigue.”  Near the end of a period of choice-making, the quality of decisions declined.  This holds true for judges, quarterbacks, and CEOs, and it affects everyone who live in a modern, consumer society. Making lots of choices erodes willpower and compromises our ability to choose well. “Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, buy junk food at the supermarket, and can’t resist the dealer’s offer to rustproof their new car. No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price.” How significant is decision fatigue?  Researchers gave several hundred people BlackBerrys and asked them to report how often they experienced a desire they had to resist.  They found that “people spend between three and four hours day resisting desire.”  All day long, we suppress urged to eat, sleep, choose leisure over work, have sex, and spend money.  It should come as no surprise that we find our willpower depleted and our ability to choose well compromised. It turns out that those who manage...

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