When the only thing they hear from adults about sex is that it is bad and you shouldn’t do it they know they aren’t hearing the full story. When parents fail to give the full picture of sex kids will go looking for answers somewhere else. The “somewhere else” is porn. I was recently speaking to a father who caught his twelve-year-old daughter watching porn. He remarked, “I’ve seen plenty of porn during my life, but the stuff she was watching was disturbing.” His experience is the new normal. The average age a child encounters porn for the first time is between the ages of nine and eleven, and mainstream porn continues to get more extreme, violent, and degrading.
The internet and smartphones have opened the door to an invading army of porn into the minds and hearts of our kids. The consequences are devastating. Here are 5 ways porn hurts our sons and daughters.
1. Sexualizing Our Kids
The term “teen” has been in the top three highest searched words on porn sites for the past three years. One year, 2014, it was number one. That should make us all sick. We are talking about kids. This means a majority of people looking at porn on the internet desire watching kids. When porn site visits outnumber Amazon, Netflix, and Twitter combined, think about how many people are looking to watch kids having sex. Think about how many child predators are being fueled and emboldened. What is all of this communicating to our sons and daughters?
2. Losing Innocence
The culture surrounding porn is reinforcing the idea that kids can be sex objects. [Tweet This] This was evident in 2010 when eight-year-old girls danced in a competition to the song “Single Ladies” with highly sexualized moves while wearing lingerie. The crowd on hand, which included the girls’ parents, wasn’t horrified. Instead, they hooted, hollered, and cheered. We are teaching our sons and daughters at a young age if they want to be noticed they need to be sexy. It all starts with our pornified culture. And kids have gotten the message loud and clear.
3. Feelings of Shame, Guilt, and Depression
What happens next is tweens and teens play at being sexy. They quickly believe the lie that the best place to learn how to be sexual is through internet porn, which is easily accessible and affordable in large quantities. The images of mainstream pornography they encounter within one minute of searching are violent and graphic. The images are burned into their brains forever. The pornographers are telling them that this is the sexual experience. Deep down they know they have seen something they shouldn’t have seen, but their brains can’t make sense of it. They are excited and embarrassed, but they don’t know why. They feel ashamed and guilty, but too scared to talk to anyone for fear of being in trouble.
Little do they know what their developing brains have been doing while viewing porn. It’s released large amounts of dopamine, which gives the feeling of pleasure in the rewards center of the brain. This gives them the urge to come back again and forms a connection with the image (a connection meant for a person). This causes an addiction, which is more powerfully ingrained the younger their ages when they’re introduced. Since the feeling of euphoria helps them forget about their problems momentarily, porn becomes an unhealthy coping mechanism to distract them from the feelings of shame, guilt, and stress. Unfortunately, it only leaves them feeling emptier so they watch more and the cycle continues.
5. It Fuels Disconnection and Disrespect
Ultimately, porn leads to relational disconnection and degradation. They draw expectations of what sex will be like. Rather than sex being about connecting intimately with someone in the safety of commitment, it becomes a selfish pursuit of getting off. Sex gets cheapened to a physical act and people are reduced to objects of fantasy. A good and rich life is found in relationships. Sadly, this porn culture is leading our sons and daughters far from them. The best thing you can do is educate your kids about the lies and the dangers of pornography. Start early rather than later. At some point, they are going to encounter it and will need you to help them make sense of it. Keep the line of communication open and engage them in conversation so they don’t go it alone.
What other ways do you believe porn effects our sons and daughters?
I can already hear many of your eyes rolling at the thought of wearing a printed shirt but hear me out. Let’s be honest your current fall look is boring by now. Your co-workers, friends and all the women at the bar know what you will look like every time you show up. Give your plaid shirts a rest man!
Not only will a bold print help maintain the casual feel it also will help you stand out from just about any other guy in the room. What does that mean for you? More attention from the ladies. Who doesn’t want that?
Here are three takes on pulling off the look.
The Bold Approach
When dressing up, you can’t go wrong with a classic white shirt. That said, breaking free from the norm can really pay off. Again, one of our main goals here is to get you some attention, especially for those of you who lack personality (just a joke!) Women will check you out for no other reason than the interesting style choice and if you have a half-way decent mug to go with it, you might just end up scoring one hell of a night!
That is it for us at Be a Better Man! Have a great weekend!
I thought we would take a moment to discuss dating in today’s blog. While getting a first date can at times be tricky, the real difficult part in dating women is locking in the second date. If you need help getting a first date I highly recommend you watch the movie Hitch. I know it is a romantic comedy but there are worse things you could be doing than watching a movie with my all-time celebrity crush Eva Mendes.
In the movie there are a lot of pointers for not only scoring a first date but getting to the second date. If you fast forward to the 2:35 mark in the clip below you will find the key to getting a second date.
“It’s your job not to mess it up.”
We often can spend too much time on the first date doing many of the following: wondering if she likes you, is she having a good time, starting at her boobs/butt, not engaging in conversation or being too worried about what to say. Like Will Smith says, “She is already out with you. That means she said yes, when she could have said no. That means she made a plan, when she could have just blown you off. It means it is no longer your job to make her like you.”
And by not messing it up, we mean putting in the work to ensure you get a second date. As many of you know I am a happily married man which means I obviously had no problem getting a second date with Sharlay. However, I know many of you are still going to be skeptical wondering if I really have enough experience to be believed. First, all these come from my very own arsenal of romance and charm. Second, I dated A LOT of women in New York City. Before I met Sharlay I would have to say I dated at least 20 different women during the 5 years I was there before her and I met. That may seem high to some and low to others but I can tell you it was the most women I have ever dated in my previous 31 years combined. I managed to get second and third dates with most of them so I am pretty confident I know what I am talking about. I mean have you seen my wife? No way should I have gotten a woman that beautiful!
Follow these steps and I promise you are well on your way.
Make a Plan Dummy
She wants to see you put in some effort to the date. Prior to the date did she ever mention wanting to try a particular restaurant? Or perhaps she said she had been dying to check out a new bar. You can plan on meeting for drinks at said bar and if the night goes well head to that same restaurant for dinner. Maybe she said she loves mini-golf (not likely I know) or perhaps bowling. Have a back up option to do something like that after dinner. If you are able to pull off something that shows you have been listening to her and paying attention she will be impressed I promise.
When Sharlay and I went on our first date I made plans with her to grab dinner. I made no mention of doing anything afterwards. However, I had also made reservations for a karaoke place that was within walking distance from the restaurant. The karaoke place was within walking distance to Grand Central Terminal which is where she would be headed after the date to go home. I was charming enough (according to Sharlay) that I didn’t need the karaoke to seal the second date as she was already on our third date halfway through dinner. I told you I was good. It’s not false bravado.
You execute a good plan on a first date and I promise you she is going to say yes to a second date just to see what you can pull off. I cannot overstate how important this step is.
If you go into a date with reasonable expectations, I personally believe it will make it easier for you to be yourself on the date. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look forward to the date, make a good plan for the date or hold back on the charm. If you have too high of expectations for a date you can often put too much pressure on yourself. You want to be loose and carefree on the date. As Hitch says, “She may not want the whole truth but she does want the real you” so don’t set yourself up for failure.
This can be more challenging when you luck out and manage to score a date with a major hottie but the same rule applies. I dated some truly beautiful women when I was in New York and I am not even sure how it happened most of the time. However, everyone of them turned out to be weird in one way or another. One of them was super cold and not affectionate at all. Another one hated going on dates in public and only want to come over to my place or me to hers (which wasn’t terrible if you know what I mean.) One woman one was super possessive after only two dates and yet another one was such a terrible, awful kisser I just couldn’t take it any more. The point is they all had their faults and I learned that just because a woman was hot didn’t mean she was going to have what it took for me to stay interested.
I met Sharlay on Match.com so I knew from her photos she was beyond gorgeous but for the most part I didn’t care. Heading into the date I fully anticipated it would be just another evening with another beautiful woman who had nothing more to offer other than her looks. Obviously I was wrong, but had I let her looks intimidate on the first date things might not have worked out so well. As a matter of fact I was so uninterested in how she looked it really opened her eyes to the fact I was a different kind of man than she was used to dating. It really impressed her that I didn’t fawn over her looks and didn’t get caught staring at her chest.
Curiosity May Have Killed the Cat But It Will Help You Get…
You are meeting a person for the first time ever and while it probably isn’t the first time you have spoken to her, there should be enough mystery about her, you should have no shortage of questions to ask. However, this isn’t an interview so don’t grill her to death.
As you guys talk you may find out she loves the same television show or movie as you. You could ask her who her top three favorite or least favorite characters are in the show. This is likely to either start a hot debate about the merits of the charters or an instant bonding moment whereby you agree that Janice from the Soprano’s might be the most annoying character of any television show ever created. Boom. Now you have something in common.
Another easy conversation starter is to ask what was her favorite vacation destination. Let her talk about it and then ask her “If I were to take a trip to [insert her answer here] what would be the top 3 things I needed to do or see?” It will show that you already value her opinion and respect her which is never a bad thing.
If she is at all normal these kinds of curious questions will be asked of you in return and before you know it you have been talking non-stop with her throughout the date. Being able to converse with her is going to win you a lot of brownie points and getting a second date isn’t the only thing you will be getting.
First dates aren’t the time to be asking about her views on gun control, abortion, Donald Trump, same sex marriage, having kids or the crisis in the Middle East. Those items (and plenty of others) are sure to derail any chance you have at a second date.
You may get lucky and find out you agree on all of those issues but chances are you won’t and it likely will end up in a debate or argument that is just not conducive to a romantic evening. No one wants to hear how smart you think you are. Leave it at home.
Be a Man
There are a lot of men who are intimidated by being out with a beautiful woman. Don’t let the fact she is beautiful change the man you are or your expectations of her on a date. For instance, if you are out on your date and she keeps checking her phone you should call her out on it. You need to do so in a a self assured way which includes remaining calm and being patient but you should definitely do it.
Before Sharlay and I even went on a date I had to do something similar. She gave me her number almost right away (I didn’t even need to ask for it) so of course I called her a few days after I received it. Long story short, she wasn’t so great about returning calls or texts. Finally, I called one last time and got her voicemail. I left a message simply saying that if she was no longer interested in going on a date that was fine just let me know so I can stop wasting my time. It may not have been that rude but that was the basic message. Guess what? She called me back!
She would later tell me that most guys would hang around forever and try to get her to call them or text them simply because they were so enamored with her beauty (i.e. they really wanted to hook up with her.) So when I was rather quick to draw the line and call it quits she was surprised and also attracted to me simply because I was standing up for myself.
Throw Out “The Rules”
I hate all the so-called “rules” about when you should call a woman back after the first date. Don’t listen to those boneheads who suggest you wait 3 days to call her. Chances are she is a hot commodity (pun intended) so if you wait too long some other dude is going to swoop in and steal her from you.
Whenever you drop her off or part ways make sure you tell her you had a nice time, that she was a lot of fun and that you would like to take her out again. If you get the appropriate response, ask her what day will work best for her and tell her you will call her in a day or two to finalize plans (and be sure you actually do.)
Now you just have to repeat these steps for date number three.
Happy Monday Gentlemen! Hope you had a great weekend!
Time to tackle a difficult topic.
I hope you have never had to worry or experience having your girlfriend/wife cheat on you. Sadly, I cannot say the same thing (probably a good time to mention this has nothing to do with my wife.) I have been in more than one relationship were this happened and despite it happening multiple times, it doesn’t ever get easier to deal with.
With the prevalent place that social media has taken in our lives it has become easier for both men and women to cheat. Heck, at least one website out there is designed specifically for affairs (I am looking at you Ashley Madison.) A recent study found that 19% of women admitted to cheating on their boyfriend or husband which is up almost 10% from a similar poll conducted in the 90’s. Most of the time women cheat on their men because they feel under appreciated, taken for granted or sometimes as a way to get back against their cheating spouse or boyfriend.
Before we get into the meat of this blog I want to issue a warning. Some of you guys are psychotic and always think your wife or girlfriend is cheating on you, thinking about cheating on you or trying to cheat on you. Give it a rest dude. When I hear some of the insane things you accuse your girl of it makes me want to beat your ass. This is about paying attention to REAL keys that may be an indication she is cheating on you. The fact she didn’t call you the very moment she a) left work; b) arrived to work; c) got home; d) hit the gym; e) left the gym; f) stopped for gas/groceries/chocolate (you get the idea) doesn’t qualify as a valid reason to go off and accuse her of cheating on you. Take a breath and calm down you maniac.
Here are some real things to pay attention to (again this doesn’t mean she IS FOR SURE cheating on you, just something to be aware of.)
1. Details Are Lacking
Generally speaking, women are all about the details. That is one of the reasons it drives her crazy when she asks how your day is and you say, “Good” without further explanation. When exciting things are happening in her life, she is going to spill the beans in great detail. If she takes a “work trip” but then doesn’t have much to say about how the trip went it likely didn’t involve much work.
If she says she is going out with her girlfriends but when she comes home doesn’t dish on all the gossip she heard about from her friends, then she is probably dishing out something else between the sheets.
By talking about the details it makes it more likely she will screw up and get caught in a lie or an inconsistency. The more stuff she has to make up to cover her tracks the more likely she will make a mistake. Thus, the details of any trip, conference or girls night out that doesn’t come with a lot of stories etc should be warning sign.
When my wife comes home from a night of hanging out with the girls or seeing a friend for a few hours, I already know when she gets home I need to set aside at least an hour for the recap. The minute she ever stops doing that will be a clear sign something bad is going on.
2. You Are No Longer Her Wing Man
If she is no longer coming to you first to discuss how Janice in accounting just DGAF or that she doesn’t understand how Billy can keep getting promoted when he doesn’t work a fraction as hard as she does, there may be a problem.
She wants to have you in her corner to encourage her, listen to her and to share the intimate details of her life with. When she stops doing that, it is a bad sign. She is likely sharing that information with someone else and there is a good chance that person has a penis.
So many times affairs for women start because they find a guy who will take the time to listen to them, talk with them and provide insight into the things she is dealing with. You may be thankful that she finally stopped talking so much but that is not a good thing bro. There is something much deeper at work and you better get your act together.
3. What Is Different About You?
When both men and women cheat, one thing that often changes is their appearance. [Editor’s Note: I have to be honest, this one is a bit vague and therefore shouldn’t be taken as an indication she is cheating if none of the other signs are there.]
However, if you have noticed that she has lost some weight, has stopped wearing sweatpants to run errands and now never leaves the house without putting on her entire face (i.e. makeup) there could be trouble. It is especially important to notice if these changes are sudden and drastic.
4. Mind Blowing Sex
People assume that having an affair would mean less sex in the bedroom but that isn’t normally the case. Because of this assumption the cheating spouse often will make a conscious effort to continue to have sex to cover up their indiscretions.
Instead, what you should be paying attention to is if she has started to experiment more in the bedroom. Perhaps she is willing to try new positions she hasn’t been open to in the past or wants to role play when that has never really been her thing. It is possible she is picking up those behaviors outside your bedroom and bringing them home with her.
5. Defensive Much?
A long time ago I was in a long distance relationship (not recommended) and I remember showing up at her apartment in Virginia and the minute I set foot in her apartment, I knew something was off. There wasn’t any sign hanging up that she was cheating on me or anything but there was just something different and she also wasn’t behaving the way she usually would when seeing me after several weeks of not being together. Now granted there had been signs leading up to this moment that she was cheating on me but now the air hung heavy with it.
I tried to put it out of my mind and to enjoy the fact we were together again but I couldn’t shake it. Eventually, I had to ask her if things were okay between us and if she was okay. The firs time I asked she just waived me off like I was crazy. However, when I asked again later that night when things still seemed off, she became super defensive and yelled at me. It was very much out of character for her and I just knew something wasn’t right. I obviously don’t have to tell you how that ended.
A quick word of warning. If you ask her 18 times in one day if things are okay between the two of you, she may just lose her mind and punch you in the testicles. Don’t worry bro, she isn’t cheating on you, you are just annoying and deserved a shot to the nuts. Once you hit the third time of asking you probably need to leave it alone for a bit. Clearly you aren’t getting anywhere so there is no point in being obnoxious about it.
The best way to avoid having her cheat on you is to be sure you are putting in the effort all the time, not just when you are first dating. I can say that on one occasion my girlfriend cheated on me at least in part because I had gotten lazy with going on dates and being romantic. Don’t let familiarity breed contempt. Make sure you are always doing romantic things for her and making an effort to make her feel special.
I hope none of you have to deal with this but if so please know you aren’t alone and you will get through it.
I was reading the most recent GQ magazine over the weekend and located on page 26 was an article entitled “How to Buy Flowers Like a Man.” No doubt this appeared, at least in part, because Valentine’s Day is coming up. Yes, that horrible day when men scramble in a mad panic to do something romantic for their wives, girlfriends or significant others one time a year, is almost upon us! Here is a hint: if you are romantic year round than V-day isn’t a) a very big deal b) a lot less pressure.
Here is the problem with the GQ article: it’s stupid and terrible advice. I am not a florist. However, I do have plenty of years experience in picking, purchasing and providing flowers to the ladies (mostly with high degrees of success.) In addition, my cousin runs a florist shop in Minnesota and I like to think I picked up on a number of helpful hints and tips along the way. Sometimes GQ does a good job with stuff like this, but this time they really failed terribly. As Shaq says it was “horr-awful” (See #8)
First, the advice is insipid and in several cases self serving. For instance, one of the “advice givers” is the owner of Stems in Brooklyn. Is it any surprise that her advice is to spend no less than $50 on flowers? Don’t do that.
Another person giving advice is a porn star who also has writes a relationship advice column (ummmm?) Although to be fair her advice was decent: not every woman likes flowers (tip of the cap to Rebecca and Olivia, two women who don’t appreciate flowers as much as they should, which I learned the hard way.)
The other advice: buy flowers no matter what (which was inconsistent with other advice); don’t buy bodega flowers; invest in the new wave of flower start-ups (huh?); and don’t forget about nature’s sample sale. The last bit of advice actually encourages men to wander around their neighborhoods stealing flowers from people who are growing them in their yards (what?!) Finally, as if the above wasn’t already enough, the article (written by a woman) claims that shopping for flowers is almost as intimidating for men as visiting the proctologist.
If you are intimidated by walking into a flower shop please email us (BetterMenNow@gmail.com) so we can tell you where to mail your man card to. It’s just flowers, relax.
So here are my tips on properly purchasing flowers for that lady in your life.
1. Don’t Bet on Roses
Purchasing roses is a problem for several reasons. First, it is a bit of a cliche and many women find roses to be over done. Second, buying a dozen roses tends to send a pretty strong message about how you feel about this particular woman. If she isn’t feeling the same you can end up causing a premature end to said relationship. Third, if you buy the single rose thinking it makes you look spontaneous you are wrong; it makes you look cheap. Finally, while it is hard to believe, a lot of women don’t like roses, my wife included.
Therefore, you should stay away from roses unless you know 100% it is a lady killer.
Don’t be stupid: ask her what her favorite kind of flower is. This will also help in case she has an allergy to a particular kind of flower. Trust me, you want this kind of information.
2. $50 is Probably Too Much
Again this will depend on your relationship and of course the event you are planning (i.e. proposal, anniversary etc.) but you don’t need to spend $50 on flowers to impress a woman.
If you know what kind of flowers she likes you are more than half-way there. If, however you don’t know or the place you are looking happens to be out of that kind of flower, don’t panic. If you purchase her a nice colorful bouquet of fragrant (read: smells good) she is going to love it.
Does she have a favorite color? Get her some flowers that match said color.
Some women just want a man who will try something different when it comes to flowers. For instance, when Sharlay and I were dating she always complained about how dark my apartment was (which it was, no sunlight and dark curtains etc.) So one day when she stopped by for dinner I purchased her two bunches of sunflowers. They were awesome! Bright yellow, big dials on the sunflowers, cost only $20 total (from the bodega by the way) and they lasted FOREVER!
Don’t be stupid: you can buy $30 in flowers that look like $50. If she cares that much about the cost you should probably send her packing anyway.
One quick note on florists. I do recommend you use a florist when possible, bodega’s are convenient, cheaper and usually have a good stock of flowers, but having a good florist can add a personal touch that a bodega lacks. Find a good one, give them a shot at a bouquet for your woman and if she loves it you should just keep going back every time. That being said…
3. No Reason to Hate on Bodegas
If you don’t live in New York City (or in another large city) you might not be familiar with bodegas. They are basically small grocery stores located on just about every block. If there is one thing I miss about living in New York (although there are more like 200) is a good bodega. I would say while living there I purchased 85% of my flowers from a bodega. They often lasted longer, were more colorful and of course were much cheaper than buying flowers from a florist. Most bodegas will wrap the flowers in white or brown paper if you are grabbing them before meeting your woman somewhere.
If you are going to surprise her with the flowers at home be sure to put them in a nice vase (buy one if you need to) and present them prominently in your house so she will notice them. Adding a nice romantic card to go with those flowers is a classy and romantic gesture not to be overrated.
Don’t be stupid: don’t buy the single rose from the gas station, especially if it comes in a glass container (which is most often used for smoking crack by the way), you are going to lose brownie points for that move. As a matter of fact don’t ever buy anything from a gas station that you plan on giving as a gift to your girl. C’mon man!
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Failure to ask questions is a plague that has afflicted men since the beginning of time but that doesn’t mean you can’t break the cycle! If you truly are unsure about which kind of flowers to buy, ask someone working at the shop what they recommend. Just be careful if they keep pointing you towards the most expensive options. Please remember, when in doubt, keep it simple and understated. I promise you she will love the effort and the flowers.
Don’t be stupid: as G.I. Joe says “knowing is half the battle.” Be informed, ask questions and do research if you need to but don’t ever, ever be intimidated by a florist or flowers.
What do you think? Tells us in the comment or tweet us @BetterMenNow