Bedwork 5: Side-by-Side Communication

Here is my radio interview with Susan Knight of Calgary’s up!97.7 FM this week:

One of my favourite researchers is Dr. Helen Fisher, a renowned anthropologist with Rutgers University who specializes in romantic love. (She gets to stick people in fMRI machines and see what happens to their brains when they see pictures of their loved ones. How cool is that?!)  Back in 2008, she did a TED Talk on the different ways men and women communicate and bond. During this presentation, she said something profound that we all need to understand in our relationships:

Women tend to get intimacy differently than men do. Women get intimacy from face-to-face talking. We swivel towards each other; we do what we call the anchoring gaze, and we talk. This is intimacy to women. I think it comes from millions of years of holding that baby in front of your face and cajoling it, reprimanding it, educating it with words.

Men tend to get intimacy from side-by-side doing. As soon as one guy looks up, the other guy will look away. I think it comes from millions of years of standing behind that bush, sitting behind that bush, looking straight ahead trying to hit that buffalo in the head with a rock. I think for millions of years, men faced their enemies as they sat side by side with friends.

Many of the women I meet are desperate for, in fact sometimes they outright demand that their husbands look them in the eye when they are having a conversation. What they do not understand is that eye-to-eye contact is intuitively very aggressive for a guy. That is not where he functions best. He genuinely wants to have intimacy with his wife, but if eye-to-eye contact is the only acceptable path in her mind, she is setting him up to fail.

As your Bedwork this week, I want you to leverage this information and use it to build greater intimacy in your relationship. Have a conversation while you are side by side. You might want to go for a walk, a drive or even get on the phone together. Regardless of what you choose, limit your eye contact. Now here is your topic of conversation: Top Five Intimate Moments. Take a walk down memory lane and share – in as much detail as possible – your favourite times together.

Want more Bedwork? Check out my book The Essential Elements of Sex: 9 Secrets to a Lifetime of Intimacy.