Learn What Singles in America Are Saying About Dating, Sex and Relationships From Match.com

MatchOn February 8, Match.com presented its first Singles In America panel to announce the results from its 2014 Singles in America study. The event was hosted by Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger, who was joined by celebrity blogger Perez Hilton and other sex and relationship experts. This is the fourth year Match.com has done a comprehensive study of singles in the U.S., and as always, there were some surprising findings.

Stanger opened up the discussion by asking, “Who in the audience went on a first date and knew it was the one—so much so that you planned your future?” While none of the dating and relationship bloggers in the audience admitted that they had, Stanger said she’s done it a million times. And she is not alone.

According to the Singles in America study, 51 percent surveyed in America said they imagined a future together with someone on their first date. What is perhaps even more surprising is that men do it more often than women.

Dr. Helen Fisher, biological anthropologist and chief scientific adviser to Match.com, felt the results made perfect sense. “Men are much more romantic than women are. They fall in love faster because they are so visual,” she said. “When they meet somebody that they really love, they want to bring them home to friends and family sooner. They want to move in sooner. Man have many more intimate conversations with their wives than women do with their husbands because women have intimate conversations with their girlfriends.”

Not sure who these husbands are having conversations with if their wives are chatting with their girlfriends—I think that’s more accurately called a monologue, but what do I know?

The panel was mixed as to whether the velocity of emotions that come with a man’s visual mindset gave their counterpart power.

“I do believe it’s about power, but what I’m searching for is equality.” Perez Hilton said of the very visual mindset of the gay male community.”

Leading sexpert and Bravo TV star Emily Morris said that while she loves her power, she felt that men’s visual mindset made them more fickle. A man might believe his Friday night date was the one…until he went out on his Saturday date.

Fisher disagreed. “I don’t think it’s about power—that’s a feminist thing that’s gotten into everyone’s head,” she said. “It’s about love and about trying to figure out, you know, who you’re going to spend your life, about who you’re going to spread your DNA into the next generation with.”

Another surprising study finding was that 59 percent of singles want to plan their first date together. Audience members and the panel agreed that the person who asks for the date should plan it. Stanger asked how this works.

“It’s entirely possible that they’re already beginning to negotiate who’s flexible, who’s dominating, who’s gonna play some sort of false impression of who they are,” said Fisher. “The first three minutes of meeting somebody are powerfully important for many, many reasons. The brain is constantly categorizing…”

In last year’s survey , the top two things dates were judged by were their teeth and grammar. This year, the top three were grammar, confidence and teeth. Respectively, they show youth and health, your psychological stability and your background.

Dinner reigned supreme for a first date activity. Stanger put it like this:

Drinks are an audition

Lunch is an interview

Coffee is cheap

And dinner is for romance

After a first date, 46 percent of men and 35 percent of women want there to be follow-up within 24 hours. Only 6 percent of men still abide by the 3-day rule. Fifty-one percent prefer a phone conversation, but texting is a close second.

Speaking of texting, ladies, put down your cell phones and breathe. Texting multiple times before the man replies is their biggest turn-off. And men, stop sending sexy photos—for women, that’s a big turn-off.

Statistics try to scare you into thinking that marriage-minded singles are a rare commodity these days. However, the Singles in America Study found 53 percent of singles want to get married, and a whopping 89 percent of singles believe you can still live happily ever after. And a big proportion of gay men and women also indicate they want to get married.

So where are people most likely to meet their last first date? You guessed it—online!

For more on singles, sex, dating and relationships, watch it here!

Live streaming video by Ustream**This is a sponsored post for Match.com**

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Match.com Shares What Modern Singles in America Are All About

Singles in America Match.comLast weekend, Match.com hosted a livestream event that shared plenty of surprising stats about singles across the country, covering tantalizing topics such as friends with benefits (FWB), casual sex and sexting. For instance, would you believe that almost a quarter of all singles have shared received sexts with others? And men might be surprised by how much women are willing to go to have transparency in their relationships. According to one Singles in America study statistic, twenty-two percent of single women have checked a date’s pockets, drawers or closet.

These were just some of the many fascinating findings that Match.com‘s Chief Scientific Advisor Dr. Helen Fisher presented from Singles in America, the 2012 study of more than 5000 single men and women (and approximately 1000 married individuals), aged 21-71+, to gauge their beliefs and behaviors about love, dating and marriage. This is the third year of studying singles; 2012 focused on technology and the Internet, while also including a comparison of married people to singles.

While media and pop culture would have us believing that the state of marriage is doomed, Fisher said most singles in their 20s and 30s still want to get married and believe that marriage to one person can last forever. She observed from study results that singles today are focused on looking for personal connections with their mates, as opposed to 10,000 years of history where commonality in ethnic and religious background, as well as pleasing family and community, were paramount. While I have personally endured a family’s disapproval of my ‘ethnic disharmony’ with their son, in general, I can see increasingly more of the younger generations breaking the mold, looking beyond skin color and creed when it comes to love.

The Match.com study found that more than 90 percent of singles are looking for people who respect them, whom they can trust and confide in, and who can make them laugh. And brush up on your vocabulary, ladies and gents, as well as your teeth—the study found your teeth and grammar are the top two things you are judged by when someone first meets you.

The smile and expressiveness of eyes are the what I notice when I first meet someone. As a wordsmith, I do take notice of horrific grammar right away, but if we can easily be conversational, I’m not going to end a conversation.

Fisher has noticed a new trend in dating and relationships in just the last year. “We’re seeing an emergence of a new stage in the courting process,” she said. This year, 45 percent of singles reported having a FWB relationship turn into a long-term partnership. “I’m not surprised because any kind of sexual stimulation of the genitals drives up dopamine, which can push you over the threshold into falling in love. And with orgasm, there’s a real flood of oxytocin that is linked with feelings of attachment.”

I guess I was ahead of the curve in this respect—my longest relationship began somewhat as a FWB situation. However, it wasn’t too long it turned into a loving relationship that lasted four years.

In 2011, only 20 percent of participants in Match’s Singles in America had developed something long-term from a FWB situation. Fisher theorizes that due to a long middle age and the pain of divorce, “we’re trying to know everything we possibly can about a human being before we step into that first commitment stage, and that this is a pre-commitment stage that is emerging in America.”

To hear more about these trends, online dating, texting etiquette, differences between men and women in love, dating in the golden years, and of course plenty of stats about sex, watch Dr. Helen Fisher’s presentation here.

**This is a sponsored post for Match.com**

Resolve to Overcome Sexual Shyness in 2013 With Astroglide Giveaway

Astroglide Dr. YvonneGrowing up in a Christian household, there wasn’t a lot of talk about the birds and the bees. Obviously I knew that people had sex and that it could result in pregnancies and babies, but when it came to the mechanics of the act, let alone pleasure and technique, I was pretty much clueless. To be honest, I really wouldn’t have become aware of myself as a sexual being growing up if it hadn’t been for Skinemax, AKA Cinemax After Dark and its late-at-night adult movies in late middle school.

My first serious boyfriend in my late teens was as green as I was about everything in the physical intimacy department. So we lovingly explored each other and attempted to overcome our sexual inhibitions together. Some things worked effortless, while other things took more time to get right.

It wasn’t until later, when I started having much more experienced partners that I began to experience more sexual shyness. Many years later, I feel quite comfortable with my techniques, learning what my partners like, and experimenting, whether with new positions, costumes or playing with toys. Yet there is always room for improvement.

In the year 2013, I’d like to see myself feel even freer to express to my lover exactly what I want in the bedroom. I’d also like to play with a few more of my fantasies, such as going to a strip club with my partner. Additionally, while I feel sexier and more proud of my body with my boyfriend than ever before, I’d still like to learn to really love my perky, little breasts even more—I’ll never be a Victoria Secret model, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Astroglide’s Sexual Wellness Ambassador and sex expert Dr. Yvonne Fulbright offers some tips for how you and I can overcome any sexual shyness we may harbor in this New Year and have better sex in 2013 (and make sure you read to the end for a special deal from Astroglide):

Tip 1: Get a firm grasp on what’s holding your back in the bedroom. Is it an inability to express what you are looking for your partner to do? Are you uncomfortable in your own skin and worry that your partner doesn’t find you attractive? Do you lack confidence in your ability to please your lover? Get specific about the barriers you need to overcome in claiming your hot-to-trot sexual self and an amazing sex life.

Tip 2: Get to know yourself.  If you don’t know what pleases you—what you like and don’t like sexually—how can you expect your lover to know? Great lovemaking requires communication, taking the time to find out what arouses them, whether they are visual or tactile, and how and where they like to be touched. So first, take the time to get in touch with yourself. Fantasize—read erotica for inspiration. Play with toys. Experiment with your touch to discover whether you like things softer or harder, slower or faster, circular or up and down, or a variation of these. Role-playing with seduction and the process of foreplay will give you greater confidence to give instruction to a lover, even if it’s non-verbal.

Tip 3: Boost your body image. For many of us, the biggest challenge to getting into a sexy state of mind is our relationship with our own bodies. Many people will tell you the sexiest people are the most confident, and confidence comes with self -love. Do things that make you feel good about the skin you’re in, like getting regular exercise, eating healthy meals, avoiding toxins and shutting down negative self-talk. I would also add staying away from the majority of women’s magazines as well if you find yourself constantly comparing others’ bodies to yours. Become more intimate and connected to your body through movement and touch, with yoga, getting a massage, or wearing clothes that feel like they were made for you. For me, acknowledging that my breasts are the perfect size for my body type becomes more self-evident when I wear clothes that show off my petite, slender and athletic build. Every day, look in the mirror and find at least one thing about yourself—whether it’s your lips, eyes, shoulders or butt—that you love and acknowledge it out loud.

Tip 4: Study the masters. Knowledge is power when it comes to the art of sex. Many are insecure about their sexual expression because of lack of knowledge—about their own bodies, about what makes their partner stimulated and about how to successfully pull off different sexual moves. Read quality sex manuals. Educate yourself on erogenous zones, different sexual positions and techniques for oral sex and manual stimulation, and learn creative methods of seduction. The more you learn, the more you will boost your confidence as a lover, as well as expand your sexual repertoire.

Tip 5: Determine if your issues require extra assistance. Many women who have struggled with their sexuality as adults have encountered sexual abuse in the past, carrying guilt and sometimes fear or pain as they try to move forward into healthy sex lives. Adults who also have religious backgrounds that associate sex with guilt and shame may find it difficult to express sexuality in health ways. In cases such as these, working with a certified sex therapist or counselor can be extremely helpful for working through the past so that you can enjoy the future. You can find one in your area at www.aasect.org

A SPECIAL OFFER FOR MY READERS

Astroglide is also offering readers of my blog free samples to help you slide into a sexy new year. Look for how you can get your hands on them here. You are also invited to submit any questions about sex you may have to sexpert Dr Yvonne.

**This is a sponsored post for Astroglide**

Be a Safe and Savvy Dater This Season With a Secure, Second Mobile Number

The world of modern dating is an exciting one. You can literally meet people from all walks of life and, if you’re especially adventurous, from across the country—even from over the world. In days of yore, your main options for connecting with romantic interests were meeting them at school, work, church or community organizations. Otherwise, your friends or family might set up with someone they knew.

While the pool of suitors is more limited in traditional dating, in most cases, you had a better idea of what you were getting into. Today, with online dating sites and meeting friends of friends of friends from Facebook or other social media sites, you are often meeting virtual strangers and putting trust that they mean you no harm or ill-will. Unfortunately, quite a few of us have our fair share of stories about dating strangers, from creepers to genuine stalkers.

That’s where MyAKA comes in. It provides savvy singles with a free secure, second mobile number for your privacy and safety. The assigned virtual phone number, with your own area code, is not linked to your personal information in any way. While calls go to your own cell, your real number is protected on both incoming and outgoing calls, ensuring cellphone privacy. MyAKA also makes it easy to block callers who cross the line or who don’t get the hint that you are not interested. And if you want a break from those who have your MyAKA number, it’s easy to set up the Do Not Disturb feature, which relays your calls to voicemail and stores your text messages for later retrieval.

MyAKA is offering my readers a 7-Day Free Trial. Truly free—what’s that catch? There’s no catch. With this special offer, you can enjoy a worry-free week of flirting through MyAKA, without even entering your credit card information! How sweet is that? And if you decide to keep the service, which is a smart move for any active, dating single, it takes two easy steps to upgrade your number on the MyAKA site. It’s as easy as AKA to date safely this season. Sign up today for a fun and safe way to communicate with your dates using a no-strings-attached second cellphone number!
*This is a sponsored post for MyAKA

Stay Fit and Frisky Through the Fall with Yoga Videos From Gaiam TV

As we slip into the crisp air of autumn, ‘tis the season for changing leaves, apple cider and cozy flannel blankets and cotton sweatshirts. Sure, it’s tempting to hide ourselves under layers of clothing—no one’s going to see much of us if we’re covered with hoodies, jeans and boots. With the cooler weather and clothing that covers up our problem areas, it can be tempting to ditch some of our fitness self-care and begin a slow descent into hibernation. Yet it isn’t exactly an ideal path if you’re also single and dating. So what if you had the opportunity to choose from a variety of exercise classes to stay fit from the comfort of your own home?

Gaiam TV offers unlimited access to health and wellness, personal growth and inspiration videos online. Without having to leave the house, you have instant access to hundreds of hours of online exercise routines, including yoga, Pilates and cardio workouts. With a simple, user-friendly interface, it’s not hard to find something that will pique both your interest and exercise objectives.

For those looking to their fall into fitness, you can customize workouts by level, style and time length. Yoga videos are also sorted by weight loss, strength and conditioning, flex and stretch and core. You can choose which teachers you want to learn from, including Rodney Yee, Mariel Hemingway and Trudie Styler, wife of the musician Sting. (Jillian Michaels also lends her knowledge and guidance in the Fitness Studio.) You can also create playlists of your favorite workouts.

If you’re stressed and strapped for time, instructor Merrilee Robin Milmoe offers a 15-minute yoga class for beginners on yoga conditioning for weight loss called Balance and Relaxation. These poses work on your controlled breathing, flexibility, toning your arms and thighs, as well as strengthening your abs. This routine is an excellent starting point for anyone who has never done yoga before.

In Trudie Styler’s Conditioning for Weight Loss, you are taken through an 18-minute cardio workout that constantly flows through traditional standing yoga postures. Through the intermediate routine, you stretch and lengthen the muscles while increasing flexibility and range of motion. Building strength and endurance, the flowing sequence of postures is intended “to build heat for weight loss.”

If you’re looking to tone your abs, you might want to hop onto the Yoga Now Abs Express Routine with Rodney Yee and Mariel Hemingway. Participants are led through a 15-minute routine to elongate and contract the abs, tightening them and building strength. I also found this routine great for stretching my hamstrings and glutes (AKA the butt). You have to love anything that works on toning and firming some of your greatest physical assets.

For $9.95 per month, you have instant access to more than 2000 titles in Gaiam’s library of award-winning videos. With the wide variety of workouts from some of the biggest names in fitness, what a bargain this is compared to the gym. Plus, you get to workout in your own home at your own pace, whenever is convenient for you.

As a subscriber, you have streaming capability from your computer, smartphone or iPad. You can create playlists, as well as rate and review your favorite workouts. You can also preview videos before committing to a workout. There is no commitment as a subscriber—you can cancel at any time.

Gaiam TV has been incredibly generous by offering a free 10-day trial subscription to my readers! The first 25 people that sign up for Gaiam TV will also get a free yoga mat with their subscription! Visit Gaiam TV to get your free trail subscription today!

Summer Lovin’s a Breeze with the Counsel of Coach Rori

Last Wednesday in an Ustream broadcast, relationship coach Rori Raye shared some refreshing tips and advice for how you can stand out for right guy among a crowd of women. From offering up the best places to meet men to guiding you away from the wrong ways to attempt a love connection, Raye offered great tips for putting yourself out there this summer to snag the right kind of man and relationship.

Raye first stressed learning how to love yourself and to convey that confidence to others. When we lack a strong sense of self, we have a tendency to listen to the voices that tell us we aren’t pretty enough, smart enough or that we’re doing things all wrong. This, in turn, leads us to protect ourselves out of fear by putting up barriers with men. Raye says that when we allow fear to take control, we shut down our hearts, which cuts us off from the possibility of connection.

Practicing what Raye calls the “strong surrender,” women must be willing to be vulnerable to allow for genuine romantic connection, “no matter how scared we are.” According to Raye, it is up to a woman to open up in order for a man to trust that it is safe for him to open up as well.

To move into a truly loving partnership, Raye cautioned against taking three main routes. She said putting all your faith in pursuing the path of physical connection often leads to what may feel like a relationship to a woman but what really is just a long-term sex buddy. Women have been upping the ante to be more provocative and over-the-top to attract a man, which Raye said has allowed men to take on the role of player.

Raye said that following the mental route to a romantic connection is also the wrong way to tread. “If you try to get to a man through his head, you’ll never get to his heart ever,” she said.

Raye commented on how many people expend so much energy trying to figure out what they have in common with a prospective partner. She feels what is truly relevant is that you share core values with your partner. Focusing too much on building common ground puts you solidly in the friends’ zone.

Raye also advised against searching solely for a spiritual connection. “Trying to connect on a spiritual or religious basis gives us another friend; it doesn’t trigger his romantic interest,” she said.

What then is the best way to connect with a man? Contrary to popular belief, Raye said, the emotional road is the best route to romantic success. “Be in touch with yourself emotionally,” she advised. “When he feels you being open and can trust you, that’s the road into his heart.”

Raye also offered specific advice for women dating in the modern world. She recommends circular dating, where you date several guys at once and see what happens. A refreshing alternative for those who frequently jump into new relationships too quickly, circular dating allows you not to get hung up on any one guy right away. You can take the time to sit back and evaluate each guy to see whether you’re on the same page or not. Ask yourself: “Does his presence feel good? Am I able to love myself totally in his presence? Do we share core values?”

Raye wrapped up the chat with perhaps her wisest nugget of advice: “Don’t try and make things happen—just get out there and live your life so your guy can find you.” Whether it’s through online dating or Meetup, in a grocery store or church, when you are comfortably living your life, expressing yourself and confidently relating to the people you meet, summer lovin’ is sure to find you.

There are specific, effective ways to communicate to a man your interest without chasing him.  To learn how to do this so that a man will feel inspired to pursue you, subscribe to Rori’s free e-newsletter.  You’ll discover a completely different way of expressing yourself that will get you a man’s full attention and interest.

Be Still My Heart: Is Ashton Kutcher Looking For Love Online?

Is that really Ashton looking for love online?

The next time your friends rag on you for using the web to find a potential mate, you can tell them that even the rich and famous are throwing their hats in the online dating ring. The newest sizzling single in the online dating market? None other than Two and Half Men star Ashton Kutcher.

The latest celebrity gossip columnists have been hinting that Ashton has been heating things up with Mila Kunis, his former costar on The 70s Show, but The Hollywood hottie may in fact be looking for a girl-next-door this time on WorldWideLovers.com. Not too surprising coming from the funny man who has embraced sharing ALL aspects of his life online.

WorldWideLovers.com brings potential suitors to life through video, rather than relying simply on words and a few of your best (or not) snapshots. Think you’ve seen all there is to see of Ashton Kutcher? He shares surprising sides of his personality you’ve never seen before in this hilarious video sequence:

• The Bollywood producer Raj, channeling The Love Guru.

• The “Enlightened” Hippie Nigel

• The flamboyant fashion designer Darl, with his beloved Chihuaha

• And the bearded biker Swordfish (no really, that’s his name)

A man who can make me laugh is halfway to winning my heart. But if Ashton’s boyish charms and antics aren’t your style, check out http://www.worldwidelovers.com for more!

[This Post is Sponsored by PopChips]

When it Comes to the Quest for Love, Be Your Own “The One”

src: blog.buckheadchurch.org/

If you were to look to at my love life as following a trajectory, forming one neat and perfect line (ha), it would appear as if, since the tender age of 17, I were perpetually engaged in an active search for The One. With the exception of what amounts to a total of about a year and a half lost to housebound illness and heartbroken depression, adding in some month or two breaks here and there in between active dating, I have spent nearly 16 years of my life in serial monogamy, AKA some form of a relationship.

These relationships have ranged from the short-lived, failed attempts of one to three months to serious, deeply committed, live-in relationships lasting three to four years. In perhaps too many, I have turned out to be the heartbreaker, but I have also had my share of experiences where my heart had been utterly destroyed as well. Yet each time, I eventually dust myself back off, heading back into the adventures of love, though perhaps with my heart more carefully protected the next time.

My married childhood friends who thought I’d be the first of us down the aisle—as did I—observe my endless adventures with men with amusement and/or not-well-disguised pity. They wonder if I’m too picky, too flighty or, if they’re feeling generous, wonder when a truly great guy will realize just how amazing I really am.

“He’s out there,” they say, not really meaning to come across as condescending, I’m sure. “Be patient.”

Some of my perpetually single friends have expressed concerns that I at times might be too eager to be paired up with a mate, but I contend that desperation has been not my driving urge. On the contrary, I love to give and receive the sincerest form of love. I have been driven by the mission to find and keep that love—I know that is possible, at the right time, with the right person. I have seen in it very close to home, as my parents’ own love affair only grows deeper and more beautiful with each passing year. I know I want that too some day.

In my periods of self-reflection—which by the way can still occur in the midst of a struggling relationship, which as those of you who have lived there know can be even lonelier than being single—I have also come to a realization about love that relationship experts repeat over and over because it’s true. You cannot truly expect to really find and keep the genuine, enduring love from another person until you can learn to find and accept that same love from yourself.

Don’t roll your eyes at me. Think about it. If you can’t appreciate your own inner beauty, your gifts, talents, strengths and what you can bring to the table, not just in romantic relationships but to the world in general, how can you expect someone who may be starting off as a perfect stranger to you to learn to either?

Of course, a great partner can see beyond the b.s. you sometimes hold up as a mask to protect yourself from hurt. A great partner can be your biggest cheerleader and in the most loving and respectful ways encourage you to be your best self that is most genuine to the real you. A great partner can help you to open your eyes to that beautiful person you truly are inside and out.

But you can’t depend on a partner to do all that hard work for you. At some point you’re going to have to take a look in front of the metaphorical and literal mirror by yourself and say, “Damn it, I am an amazing person, worthy of love. I deserve happiness, wonderful friendships, a career I love, success and all the great rewards of life. Regardless of whether I ever find The One or not.”

Your quest for love should be directed inward first and foremost. Because really—you are your One. Anyone else is just bonus.

The Ah Ring

And what better way to show that commitment to discovering, loving and celebrating yourself than with The Ah Ring—the first and only diamond ring designed especially for single women. Worn on the pinkie ring, the 14-karat, white gold ring with 11 round full cut diamonds is a gorgeous symbol of self-love.

Oprah, Anne Hathaway, Kirsten Dunst and Serena Wiliam are just a few of the powerful single women who have embraced this “symbol of single’s pride.” Yet priced at $350, treating yourself to the Ah Ring is an affordable way to celebrate being joyfully single and your own true love. Look for it at Divine Diamonds, www.divinediamonds.com.