Dr Marlene Wasserman aka Dr Eve was the final speaker at this excellent workshop held by Psychologies Magazine at the beautiful Groot Constantia in Cape Town. The first thing Dr Ev made us do was to get up and dance or move around a little bit to the music in the hall. She was really trying to get people to get into their bodies after two very intellectually stimulating sessions. This really is the fundamental problem I believe in sexuality i.e. that people are trapped inside their heads and living with imaginary or real fantasies about their lovers instead of getting down and dirty. She focussed her initial opening on relating from the “We” to the “I” in relationships. Most couples become stuck to the hip metaphorically speaking. They cannot express their individuality and this is almost like a death knell in a long term relationship.
Her presentation included some terrific story telling and there was a lot of giggles all around. Remember this is a seminar room filled with older women and some of them are likely unhappy in their sexual relationships for various reasons. And what Dr Eve does so well is give people permission to see themselves as sexual beings. One thing was clear is that contentment in a relationship is a place of indifference. When the people who she counsels tells her they are happy and content, she immediately become suspicious. To me it could also mean they have basically stopped growing. And sadly it seems that in many relationships as the “We” becomes merged, the “I” is lost at the alter. This is part of the reason why so Valium has been consumed by women and alcohol by men.
From the 1960s the sexual revolution started. Oral contraception emerged alongside feminism. The era of therapy and the emergence of the Me generation. Sexual and human rights form the basis of a healthy relationship and parts of this is protected by our Constitution. Love became taken seriously as a relationship value. The quality if life is very important to relationship happiness. Viagra gave permission for sexual satisfaction. Same sex relationships have become accepted and even legalised in South Africa. In South Africa there has been a lot of talk of late of prostitution or sex work being decriminalised. It has been reported 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men suffer from abuse. And it turns out that HIV/STDs is a consequence of intimate relating.
Lifestyle can increase stress which has a direct link in sexual performance. Religion, righteousness and rigidity become solutions for management of relationships. You must identify your core relationship values i.e. love, monogamy, fidelity, exclusiveness, respect, trust, honesty. There are 3 basic forms of relationships:
- Side by Side
- Joined at the Hip
- Intimate with Interdependence
What I really like about Dr Eve is how she can put people at easy when it comes to this subject matter, which is often so ridiculously complicated by society. There was so many excellent visuals in Dr Eve’s presentation, I would highly recommend anyone who has the opportunity of hearing her speak do so. You won’t regret it. Her new book, The Pillowbook, was on sale and I didn’t hesitate buying a copy and asking her to sign it for me. The message is truly encouraging for me because she thanked me in turn for my contributions with my online dating research. You can expect a review of it shortly. I must conclude with a recommendation of my two favourite books on sex and sexuality: