What Smell?

I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s been a while and it’s worth repeating. Most women have a significantly better sense of smell than most men.

What Smell?

A study done a few years ago found the apparent reason for this discrepancy. Scientists looked at the olfactory bulb, the brain area that first receives olfactory information from the nostrils. They found women had, on average, 43% more cells and 50% more neurons in their olfactory bulb than men had.

An unrelated study found that women are more aware of men’s scent than men are of a woman’s. It was also found that it’s much more difficult to cover a man’s scent for a woman than a woman’s scent for a man. 

None of this is intended to suggest it’s okay for hubby to stink or not care about “that odd smell” in the house. However, when he says he doesn’t smell anything, you’re both a victim of a gender difference.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and Lori and I are reversed on this one.

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Because It Feels Good

We know several couples currently potty-training boys. If you’ve ever done this, you know that set free from their diapers they can’t keep their hands off themselves. It seems they always have one, and often both hands, on or in their pants. The moms are frustrated, and dads smirk when mom’s not looking.

Because It Feels Good

I’ve never seen a similar display from a little girl. I’m not saying there’s no curiosity or touching, but it’s nothing like you get with boys.

If you wonder why this happens it’s very simple: IT FEELS GOOD. Any contact with the penis feels nice. It’s mildly pleasurable, and it’s comforting. Because little boys neither know about nor care about such touching being private, they just do it.

Eventually, and way too long for mom, they learn to not do it in public. But that doesn’t change the fact it feels good. This is true for 3-year-olds, 13-years-olds, and 63-year-olds. That means it’s true for your husband, even if you don’t know it. I’m not saying he’s fondling himself when you’re not looking, but his body still works the same way it always has. 

I wonder what would happen if a wife took to occasionally doing some non-sexual foundling of her husband’s penis? If he’s complaining about a lack of sex this is a bad idea. However, if he’s happy about your sex life, or if you would like more, it might be an interesting experiment. After all, it feels good.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I’m sure my mother could tell stories…

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He Needs To Help

Your husband has a need to help you. He wants to do things for you, he wants to be your hero.

He Needs To Help

However, many of us have been messed up by life and we no longer feel this as we should, or we go about it in odd/bad ways. Selfishness can also get in the way. But regardless, somewhere in that man you love is a desire to be helpful. If he offers help, accept it when you can. You can also ask for help. Something as simple as “would you open this jar for me” will make him feel good.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I realise this post and Monday’s Know When To NOT Offer Help post may seem like a double standard.

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Know When To NOT Offer Help

You have probably figured out that men don’t generally like to ask for help. For most of us, there’s some degree of pride and/or fear in that. But that’s not all there is to it.

Know When To NOT Offer Help

Men are driven to figure things out and make them work. Part of the pleasure we get from doing things comes from the sense of accomplishment, and that’s richer when we do it without any help. This is why he sometimes seems annoyed when you try to help him, offer help, or offer “helpful advice”.

If this has been an issue in your marriage, I suggest offering help by saying “I’m available if you want my help.” (Note the word “want”, as opposed to saying “need”.) This makes you available and makes it easier for him to ask for help should he want it. It doesn’t poke his pride, if that’s an issue, and it doesn’t leave him wondering if you’ll be upset if he doesn’t take your help.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and sometimes an offer of help is just annoying.

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The Paris Paradox

A comment on an old TGH post reminded me of this. It’s deeply relevant for women, so here you go…

Paris Hilton told Rolling Stone that her boyfriends tell her she is not sexual. She is “Sexy, but not sexual.”

The Paris Paradox

Sexy is something you do. It’s a performance. It can be compleat with costume, great acting, and sound effects. But like any acting performance, it may be just an act; it may not have anything to do with how you feel or who you are.

Sexual is about who you are and what you feel. Being sexual is more than going through the motions; being sexual is about wanting and enjoying sex.

Hugo Schwyzer, a gender studies author and speaker, and a former instructor of history and gender studies said that “Young women with the Paris Paradox were raised in a culture that promised sexual freedom, but what they ended up with looked a lot more like obligation than opportunity. It’s not hard to understand why the pressure to be sexy so often trumps the freedom to discover one’s authentic sexuality.”

Society expects women, and even girls, to be sexy. If you want to be pretty, you must be sexy. If you want to be noticed, to get dates, and to “catch” a husband, you must be sexy. Sexy is like lingerie, you put it on for a reason, but may or may not have anything to do with what you want or how you feel.

If you grew up pressured to be sexy it no doubt causes you problems. Whether you went along with it or fought it, it causes problems. And those problems didn’t stop the day you got married. In fact, getting married opened up a whole new set of problems.

Young husbands, who tend to think with the small head, don’t usually see the difference between sexy and sexual. They see the first and assume it’s attached to the second. This can make things much worse. Eventually, either he figures out sexy ≠ sexual, or she gets tired of the charade. And then it gets really messy!

Has sexy versus sexual been a factor in your life? Have you dealt with it? Have you and your husband dealt with the marriage implications? And what about your daughter(s)? How can you help them understand this and avoid some of the dangers that come with it?

~ Paul – I’m XY, and being sexual is always sexy.

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The Sound of Silence

I’ve had a number of men tell me they wish their wife had a mute button.

I suspect that sounds horribly rude, but it’s not meant that way.

The Sound of Silence

Many men feel run over by their wife’s many words. It’s not that he doesn’t want to hear what she thinks and feels, he just can’t keep up. This is especially common when a man comes home from a long day and his wife, who’s been stuck with the kids all day, needs to talk to a real live adult.

This is a case of her needs and his needs clashing. The solution is to have a discussion about the issue. Do that when he’s not talked out or tried. Show him you understand his need for some quiet, and share your need to talk. Brainstorm ways to do both.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and around here it’s Lori who wants a mute button!

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State What You Want In The Future

Over on Quora I recently answered, “Why do people change after marriage and is it possible for them to change back to who they were before?”

State What You Want In The Future

The reality is everyone changes all the time. Change is usually gradual, and often that flies under the radar. When enough change has occurred we “suddenly” become aware of the total change. Accusations of “sudden change” in this such a situation are incorrect and not at all helpful. 

Can someone go back and be “who they were before”? Not really. We move on, and we have no desire to go back. No one wants to regress, and asking someone to regress doesn’t come across as kind or loving.

However… I suspect the real question being asked was “How do I get my guy to do something he used to do, or be a certain way he used to be?” That’s a very different thing, and I don’t think it’s unkind to ask for what we want. 

Rather than “Why don’t you ____ any more?” I’d go with “Would you be willing to ______?” In short, tell him what you want from him moving forward. Don’t jump on him for changing, just let him know what kind of changes you would like to see in the future.

Of course, this works much better if you consider what he wants when he suggests ways he’d like you to change.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I know Lori doesn’t want me to be the way I was 33 years ago!

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What If Sex Is A Love Language?

Over the years I’ve told many men, “No, sex is not your love language.”  But a couple of years ago I started to wonder if I was wrong about that.

What If Sex Is A Love Language?

Gary Chapman, the author of The Five Love Languages, includes sex as part of the touch love language. Okay, but I see problems with that. I know men and women who feel love via sex but have little interest in other forms of touch. I also know women and a few men who are all about touch who have little or no interest in sex. I hate to say Chapman is wrong, but I think he might be.

One of the things that got me thinking about this was something a wrote a couple of years ago over on The Generous Husband:

One interesting idea offered in something I read is that sex is actually more emotional for men than for women. The theory is sex is one of a men’s few ways of making emotional connection while women are able to feel emotionally connected in many more ways. This could mean some of our “I need it now feeling” is about an emptiness in our hearts rather than just a fullness in our pants.“ ~ From Maybe It’s Not Just Between Your Legs

Then Chris, AKA The Forgiven Wife, wrote A Husband’s Emotional Need, based in part on my post. Among other things, she suggested to women that “some of that drive your husband has to be sexually intimate with you is about filling his heart, not just about dealing with an erection. Emotional need, not just physiology, drives his sex drive.”

I know there have been times I wanted sex not because of a physical desire, but because of an emotional need to express and receive love. Most of the time I feel both desires to some extent. Sex is certainly not the only way I feel love, but it is one of the ways.

And yes, if this is true, it will be true for men and women. And, if it’s true, it makes sexual refusal all the more hurtful to those for whom sex is a love language.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I’ve been known to be wrong!

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