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Synchrony: The Good Match
"What I can't stand," Ellen said, "is a man with a line. That character over there just finished telling me what beautiful bones I had in my face and did I ever thing of being a model. Now I ask you!"
Joan looked at her critically. 'Well, you have good bones, and you might make a model at that-if you dropped twenty pounds. But honesty, Ellen, you're too hard on guys. What's wrong with a line?
"What's wrong?" Ellen stared at her. "Why, it's dishonest and phony, and anyway, it's just a way of breaking the ice.
"Exactly," Joan said triumphantly. "Breaking the ice. That's all it is. I know that most of the guys are just as shy as we are, just as worried about what we'll say to them, and they all think a line will help-and it does. I can't begin to know a guy, let alone like him, until he makes some effort to communicate. That's what a line is, an effort to communicate. That's what a lien is, an effort to Meta communication "
Joan was right. The "line" so many women abhor is the first step in a process that can eventually lead to Sexual chemistry The second step is the searching that goes on after the line breaks the ice. The searching is an attempt to reach a common ground, to discover similar likes and to reach a common ground, to discover similar likes and dislikes. It begins an interpersonal relationship that eventually can lead to synchrony.
There can hardly be any sexual chemistry without some synchrony between the two partners. The synchrony can start at the first meeting, the bar where Ellen finally gave in and talked to the good-looking guy with the line. Later it became "their" bar, and the teasing about her being model material was taken up again and became "their" joke. The jukebox song that they played five times that night became "their" song. A synchrony was established as the sexual chemistry grew.
In later meetings, there was an exclusivity. They became an item among their friends. They moved in together and talked marriage. It was a time to closeness, when the sexual chemistry between them was at its peak. They became exclusive to each other, went everywhere as a couple, and began to structure their lives in terns of each other.
Unfortunately, there are times when this closeness can be destructive. Each one of the couple begins to lose a sense of identity as they are swallowed up in the relationship. The boundaries to their egos fade away, and each takes on the opinions of other. Usually the weaker of the two -in our culture that's often the woman -takes on the likes and dislikes of the stronger. She gives in to her lover and submerges her opinions in his.
Keeping Sexual Chemistry Alive, once a bond, now becomes a handicap. "I need more space" is the common compliant, and then there is an effort to establish each one's uniqueness. Occasionally it can be done within the framework of the relationship, but all too often it means breaking up the union to give each a chance to "be himself. '
If this distancing and rediscovery of the self can be done in the framework of a marriage or a committed relationship, it will deepen and strengthen it. sexual chemistry will not only endure, it will become stronger and subtler, developing nuances that hardly existed before.
But if the distancing cannot be done within the structure of the relationship, then splitting up or divorce maybe the only answer. This can be done very consciously. Ellen calls her friend and says, "Look, we have to stop seeing each other for a while. I've got to find myself, discover where I'm at. I still love you, but."
Or it can be done unconsciously, by picking fights and arguments to erode the fabric of the intimacy, or by entering into an affair with someone else and letting your partner find out about it. Which is the more effective depends on the personalities of the people involved and also an whether you wish to renew the affair at some later date.
The Eager And Reluctant Lovers
There are times when the "need for space" doesn't arise and when the initial sexual chemistry can be made to last, if not for a lifetime, then for much longer than usual. One Mirroring and Mentors is the "eager lover" or "Romeo and Juliet effect. " The two of us against the world! If parental opposition to the affair is strong, or if social pressure is heavy, the couple may decide to give each other up, but more often this kind of pressure from society, from their parents or peers, simply strengthens the bonds created by sexual chemistry and, by isolating the lovers from the world, drives them closer together. The little things that might have broken up the affair early on, that might have sent them looking for a chance to be themselves, are seen as much less important than the attempts of the outside world to destroy their love, and so these things are over-looked. What could have ended an affair if everyone left them alone jut brings them closer together as everyone tries to separate them.
Another thing that can sometimes strengthen or even ignite sexual chemistry is the "reluctant lover effect. " Is reluctant lover more desirable than an eager one? Will sexual chemistry, if it occurs with a reluctant lover, be stronger and more intense than if it occurs with someone who is an easy conquest? According to Cathy, it will.
Cathy, in her early twenties, is a very beautiful woman. "I've never had any trouble getting acquainted with a man," she told us. "I'd make eye contact and smile, and the rest came naturally. I know it's the way I look. It sort of bowls men over, but I don't take any credit for that. My looks are no part of my looks, and they pay off.
"The thing is, I never worry about Sexual chemistry It happens often enough, and when it's over, it's over. Easy come, easy go. And then I met Adam. I want to tell you, he was something else, bright and talented. He's a nature photographer, and a good one. He sells to all the magazines . " She hesitated, then smiled ruefully. "To tell you the truth, the thing about him that attracted me is that he seemed so totally unimpressed with my looks. He's just about the first man I met who didn't seem to give a damn what I looked like. I couldn't get over it. I just didn't turn him on! There was no sexual chemistry.
"That got to me, and I realized I was taking all me for granted. I set out very deliberately to turn Adam on. I was charming and sexy because of sex therapy and I used every trick I knew, and eventually it worked, but I really had to put myself out, and you know, now Adam means more to me than any man I've gone with. I'm very serious about him, very. "
What Cathy found out in her efforts to attract Adam is a fact that's been known to researchers in psychology for a long time: the reluctant lover is the most desirable. The reasoning goes, if I must put myself out to get him, he must really be worth something.
It's a bit like the song fro Patience about the magnet who hung in hardware shop. Scissors and needles and knives were all attracted to him, but he set his heart on a silver churn because she would have none of him. The magnet reasoned, "If I can wheedle a knife or needle, then why not a silver churn?" The reluctant lover was the most desirable.
Then should you play hard to get if you want to hear up your quotient of sexual chemistry? In a sense, yes-but with many qualifications. Just how hard to get you should play is one qualification. The very phrase hard to get is another. selective is a much better concept. The person who is selective is a much better concept. The person who is selective is usually more desirable. Someone who gives in at once is usually too easy a victory.
Dr. Elaine Walter and her associates reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychiatry the results of a study in which they attempted to sort out the pros and cons of playing hard to get. They described an experiment in which men telephoned three women with whom they were supposedly computer-matched. One woman appeared eager to date anyone; another was just the opposite, not eager to date any of the men. The third was eager to date one man, but not the rest. The selective woman, the one eager to date only one specific man, was the most popular of the group.
The researchers concluded that a woman or man who is "selectively reticent" when first approached is most attractive. The moral: sexual chemistry works best when you appear reluctant with everyone but the man or woman of your choice.