In this week’s Future Tense interview we spoke to Dr. Pamela Rutledge, a professor of Public Health, School of Medicine and director of the School of Public Health at Georgia State University, about dating and health. Rutledge has written a book called Love, Sex, and the Brain that explains why, even if you like the person you’re dating, not all of your desired changes will happen automatically.
Love, Sex, and the Brain: What the New Science Tells Us about Love, Desire, and Sexuality is a practical book that explains how the brain and hormones interact with your changing moods and motivations to create the emotions you feel, and how to change those moods. What’s really fascinating to me about this book is that it’s not a book about sex—it’s a book about how you can use sex to improve your emotional life, which could turn into some incredibly intimate and romantic stuff. Rutledge talks to me about why dating is a good time to start learning about your body and making changes to improve your mood.
Check out the video below, and stay tuned for my interview with Victoria Shek on the future of dating.
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Love, Sex, and the Brain: What the New Science Tells Us About Love, Desire, and Sexuality by Pamela Rutledge (W. W. Norton, 2011)
Looking for love: How social networks are changing romance, marriage, and relationships. This article explains how social networks are becoming important in our relationships.
Watchmen on the Wall: Science & Sexuality in China and the West by Harriet I. Braun (University of California Press, 2007).
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* “Go for the win”
Lots of people think that the first time you meet someone, you should both have a drink and get your feelings out on the table in order to see if there’s anything there. But if you do that, you’ll be drunk before you know it and probably sick the next day. So you’re better off doing the healthier option: Have a conversation to get to know the person, and see how it goes.
“Dating is a really fun activity. You’re out to get something from someone, you’re buying a round of drinks for yourself, and you’re going to give it your best shot. You might like him or you might not, but by the end of the night you’re having a nice conversation with someone you’re interested in. If you’re interested in him, you’re interested in him.”—Laine Karim-Cooper
* Nice to meet you
There’s nothing worse than being introduced to someone and immediately feeling as if you’re being sized up, with that inevitable eye roll of the “he’s so so lame” facial expression. It’s important to have confidence in yourself—but it’s equally important to have an air of respectability and charm about you so you don’t make anyone feel awkward. A respectful, confident smile goes a long way.
* One on one
If you’re a big “small talker,” it can be tough to just talk to someone without being interrupted by a friend, coworker, spouse, or child. The best conversation starters are your past and present. Ask about her family and friends. Find out what she does for fun. You can get a bit more personal with celebrities, too. Tell her what you and her favorite star have in common. In the end, no one is going to be thrilled if you’re constantly interrupted by your little sister. You’ll have to make the call on whether you’re ready to take someone out as a whole new person.
* Or not
If you meet someone and get the feeling that he’s looking at you as if you’re his dog on a leash, move on. For starters, dogs usually don’t get that attractive a woman exists.
* The smell test
If you’re hitting the sweet spots when it comes to a potential partner, he should have a nice smell. If he stinks, your date is getting too old for you. But if he has a mean smell, maybe he isn’t