All that couple-y, romantic stuff left this writer cold. But then one Valentine's Day. something shifted. Audrey Ference explains how she went from skeptic to romantic without losing her street cred.
It’s the thought that counts, right? But what were you thinking when you gave that gift—and what does it say about the bigger picture of your relationship? Whether getting a gift for a guy or purchasing a present for girl, a gift can symbolize a feeling or express a value, but they carry a lot of weight, financially and emotionally. Martha Baer cites some examples in this essay about the connotations of giving gifts. She writes, "in one study of more than 100 gift recipients, only 42 percent reported 'positive emotional experiences,' while 58 percent reported the opposite. Plenty of gifts simply confirm an already detectable distance. Givers reveal their ignorance and thoughtlessness all the time; every item of clothing you never even hung up is proof of that. And how many times has a present you didn’t anticipate left you feeling burdened?"
Some couples play dress-up even when it’s not Halloween; imagining different people and scenarios while making love can invigorate your sex life—or it can make you feel a little creepy. How do you get the best from your fantasies? Here’s a guide to navigating your sexual imaginations. "From picturing the hottie in Accounts Payable naked, to role-playing, to thinking about other people or circumstances while masturbating or having sex, people often use fantasies to augment their lovemaking. In fact, there are women who can achieve orgasm merely by conjuring that philanthropist/mailman/pool boy/plumber in their heads. (Seriously. And they're being studied.) Even if you're not blessed with that ability, research has shown that women's orgasms are in some ways more tied to mental gymnastics than to anything that's happening in the physical world. 'In women, the vast majority of sex is going on in their minds,' explains Dr. Anita H. Clayton, a professor in the Department of Psychiatric Medicine at the University of Virginia and author of an upcoming book about the relationship between sex and the psyche. 'So we can be easily distracted or shift into another set of feelings very quickly.'"
When Laura Chavez Silverman's father died, her life fell apart. But then her wonderful, supportive boyfriend proposed marriage. Here, she recalls the battle between love and grief, and learning the meaning of "it's not you, it's me."
Susan Piver presents "The Hard Questions" for the post-honeymoon stage. Knowing what to ask each other (and yourselves) can help move your relationship to the next level. The author of the New York Times bestseller The Hard Questions: 100 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Say "I Do" offers up an exercise. "Romance can never last, but intimacy can never end," explains Piver, who created these 20 new "phase two" questions exclusively for Tango. She talks with us about her eye-opening exercise for anyone who has made a commitment—and is committed to making it last.
Ever wish you could ditch your monthly cycle? Experts say that taking two packs of the pill back to back—which will result in a skipped period—is quite safe. Expert Dr. Leslie Miller talks about menstrual suppression with birth control pills such as Seasonale, Alesse and it's generic counterpart, Aviane. It might take you several tries to find the right pill to stop your bleeding, but here's a good place to start. According to Dr. Miller, "A woman should be able to ask, 'How much progestin and estrogen do I need to turn off ovulation until I want to have a baby?' or say: 'I want to have a period every three months, or maybe I don't want any at all.' That's my vision. We need to learn how to dose the pill to get that effect."
Timing isn’t everything, but when a couple’s circadian rhythms are out of sync, what can they do to get it together? Julie Piotrowski dishes on the role of chrono-biology and how couples with different body clocks can synchronize them for smoother sailing.
Hair care may not be at the top of your guy's style agenda, but with a little help he can have GQ-worthy locks—and learn to love them. "Poor guys. Growing up, they never spent entire evenings in hot rollers, never savored the sizzle of the straightening iron, never left a slumber party with a head covered in braids. It was unacceptable for a dude to keep eight shampoos on the edge of the tub. With celebrity role models running from Whitesnake to Billy Idol, where were they supposed to get the good-hair gospel? Bless them and their multitude of hair sins—they just want to look good, and we want to help. Here, New York's top experts offer some tactical advice."
The author's generation fought to have careers as well as families. Now, more and more young mothers are opting to raise their kids full time. But what happens when a husband leaves, gets laid off, or dies? Leslie Bennetts makes the case for keeping the day job. "I spent many years establishing a rewarding professional life before having two children — just as my biological clock was winding down—and ever since then I've felt as though I won the lottery. A great career! A wonderful husband! Two beautiful, healthy children! Lucky me! Imagine my surprise, then, to learn that Having It All—the quintessential goal of recent generations of women—has gone out of fashion. Who knew?"
Rate your infidelity IQ with Dr. Pat Love’s 20-question quiz. Find out the guidelines of marital etiquette and learn to stay out of the infidelity danger zone.
What terms should a new couple use to refer to each other? Are they "boyfriend-and-girlfriend"? "Partners"? "Significant others"? Some think of their relationship as so exceptional that it demands an exceptional word. Barbara Wallraff explores what's in a name or a nickname or a pet name and what they say about the couples who throw them around.
Fast doesn't always mean bad; counsels expert Dr. Pepper Schwartz. While wonderful; sometimes tender lovemaking can be touched with a little ennui. Quickies can be the perfect(ly intimate) solution to showing just how desirable your partner is to you.
She moved in, now what? Dean Chandler shares his view on the trials and tribulations of moving in with a partner. Moving in together means different things for men and women, but it undeniably brings the relationship to a new level. From the idea of cohabitation (living in sin, to some) to figuring out whose stuff to keep, it's high on stress. Here, the author describes how essential compromise is and talks about recognizing a new and developing intimacy.
They love each other. They trust each other. Why is their money in 3 or 4 (or 7!) different bank accounts? The question isn't joint or separate accounts; writes Martha Baer; but how many a couple needs. Keeping separate bank accounts can save the trouble of discussing how money should be distributed.
Shoot-‘em-ups vs. cooking shows: we all know the old stereotypes about male and female television tendencies. But in front of the TV is where men and women gather, fight, and sometimes, bond. So are men really heartless channel-flippers and are women really emotionally engaged in the commercials? Does TiVo help ease the remote tug-of-war? Leslie Bennetts explores TV’s role as a bridge and barrier to intimacy and learns never to ask what happened in last night's episode of Nip/Tuck because she really doesn't want to know.