Tag Archives: sex and dating

Imagine a Man

Let’s talk about your (woman’s) side of the equation. I’m so focused on what I want, what about you? What does your ideal man look like? Please discuss.

Here my ten success factors for a relationship with a man.

  1. Mental fitness
  2. Physical fitness
  3. Spiritual fitness
  4. Emotionally available
  5. Financially stable
  6. Happiness scale
  7. Sexually attractive (chemistry)
  8. The way he walks in the world
  9. The way he approaches you/women/life
  10. Timing is everything

How does your vision for a man stack up? Could you put your list together for an ideal man? Have you done it? Have you done a vision board for the man you are dreaming of? Are you ready to meet him? If the man of your dreams shows up tomorrow are you really ready for him? What would it take to be swept off your feet? And it that really what you want? There are some dangerous aspects of getting too romantically, or too sexually, connected before the “relationship” part of the relationship has a chance to develop.

Sex is great. Chemistry is vital. But the rest of the relationship is more important. What happens if the sex is amazing on the 5th date? You still know very little about how this man lives his life. And you certainly don’t know how you would fit into his routine. Because you have not had a chance to figure out a routine together. You’ve just gotten hooked up on the love drug. And love/sex is a very powerful drug.

In the marriage to the mother of my children, I got physically connected, attracted, to her long before I was clear on what she was like. And this proved to be a problem later when I began to understand a bit more about her spiritual and mental makeup. I’m not going to say anything negative about her at this point, other than to say we had great chemistry and less relationship compatibility. How will you know about your new relationship if you don’t give the “relationship” time to develop. Once the sex-drive is connected, your ability to logically navigate the adventure of building a life together is compromised. Yes, it’s a great compromise. But it’s also a trap.

Sex too soon can lead to bad relationships based on sex and physical attraction. Make sure when you are thinking of having sex with someone (this is my relationship DNA – The 6-Step Relationship Strategy) that you are preparing the idea that you want to have a long-term relationship (LTR) with this person. If you are hooking up, you are reading the wrong blog. (grin)

Have fun out there. Get yourself a map of the man you want to find. Imagine the man, imagine a man, imagine your man, and then do the work to get yourself in the best shape (physically, emotionally, and spiritually) of your life, so that when he shows up he will notice you. That’s all it takes. If the magic is going to happen, it’s going to happen. Having sex too soon can derail the emotional and spiritual bonding that also needs to take place.

I’m not saying don’t have sex. I’m not saying wait 5 dates or 5 months before having sex with someone. I am saying, when you’re about to have sex with someone, ask the question, “Does this person have the potential to be the one?” If the answer is less than a resounding YES, you might be more interested in a hookup than a relationship. That’s okay, but notice your own feelings about the idea. And if you want to hookup, do it. But if you’re looking for a relationship to last the rest of your life, give your heart a chance to catch up with you and your man before you bring him into your bedroom.

Always Love,

John McElhenney

* If you are interested in meeting Daniel, or getting a coach in your life, please let me know.

More from The Whole Parent:

+++ imagine a man, by the who +++

Imagine a girl
You long for and have
And the body of chalky perfection and truth

Imagine a past
Where you wish you had lived
Full of heroes and villains and fools

And you will see the end
You will see the end
And you will see the end
You will see the end
Oh yeah

I Sing the Body Connected: Cultivating Sexual Energy


Within there runs blood,
The same old blood! the same red-running blood!
There swells and jets a heart, there all passions, desires, reachings, aspirations…
I Sing the Body Electric, Walt Whitman

I was walking around the lake with a male friend and we were comparing notes on sex and the energy it produces. Just the idea of sex, the opportunity of sex, is enough to quicken the heartbeat, inspire the discipline of exercise and eating right. And once the connection has been established, even with a woman who may not be a perfect match, there is an energy, a confidence, a glow that transforms every cell of our bodies.

Are women like this? I don’t know. But I can tell you, when I have been having regular sex I am a different person. I walk in the world with a different confidence, and a different smile. I have a joy that radiates from within and is infinitely more attractive, as the sexually active and attractive male, to the women around me. So sex begets more sex. Or so the idea goes.

I recall the wonderful warmth I would get in my marriage, when we made arrangements to have sex. It could be as simple as asking for a time after I delivered the kids to school, for us to “be together.” It was a magical agreement. And once in place I would energetically pack the kids, make breakfast, and get them off to school. My then-wife could lounge around in bed or take a bath, if that’s what she wanted to do… I was IN and on my way to “having sex.” Woohoo.

That thrill never ceased in my marriage. And even as my offers were turned down at an alarming rate I was still “into her.” I was still propositioning her and waiting for the moment, the chemistry, the chores and bills to be paid, whatever… I was still desirous of my wife. She, however, was heading in some other direction. I can’t illuminate the cause of the her ever-lowering libido, but I’m sure the stresses of life, mid-life, and figuring out what to do with her career were all weighing on her heavily.

So we moved on and after some varying efforts, divorced. And the world of sex opened up again like some fantasy. Unfortunately, the reality of dating after divorce was more fantasy than reality, but the prospects of new sex, new women, new opportunities was enough to keep my optimism high even while my success rate was low. And I was really the main problem. I wasn’t really ready for a relationship or sex. I had no idea of what casual set meant, and I was wounded deeply by the crash landing of the divorce.

It took a long time and a lot of effort to get myself back into fighting shape, or courting shape, as it might be. And only recently have I unlocked any of the previous rules that might inhibit me from going for a tryst with a woman who I didn’t find 100% alluring. I am still most interested in a primary relationship that becomes exclusive the minute the bedroom is brought into the equation. But I am also interested in understanding what my drive towards permanent relationships is, when both of mine have ended in failure. Am I willing to suspend monogamy for something else?

There is something about the sex, and the sex between two consenting adults that has a powerful effect on me.

Clearly I am still figuring it out. Life and dating post-divorce is an amazing process. And in several of the features of this life progression I am less than 100% successful at. But, my hopefulness keeps popping me back up to the surface, even after disasters and divorce terrors have pulled me or my financial life underwater. I keep surfacing. I keep heading back to shore and getting prepared to start again.

At what?

That’s the real question. I know the power of sex and relationships on me and my self-esteem. And I know that the collapse of this marriage was one of the most trying moments of my life. And those trying moments keep rearring their heads over and over at the most inopportune time. It’s hard.

But what is my hurry? Am I really looking for Ms. Lovejoy? Am I more interested in playing the field than I might have been in my 20’s or 30’s?

I am certainly more interested in understanding the attraction I have to women of all shapes and forms. It’s more the joy I’m after, when trying to find a fit with a woman. I have found several near misses, but the fit was off. It’s the happiness that comes from them that attracts me back towards them.

In my life I have learned to deal with significant disappointments and still open up the next day with a “let’s go” attitude. My joy is not connected directly to the everyday ups and downs of life, work, love, divorce, parenting, health, and … relationships. I’d rather be alone than in a relationship with a destructive woman. I’d rather masturbate than wind up with someone who throws passive aggressive barbs with every other text. And of course, it’s not just about the sex.

So I’m looking for joy. I’m asking for a happy response from the women I see. I’m listening when they talk about their lives and their ex’s and their kids, chores, work, love, and ambitions.

But there is something about the sex, and the sex between two consenting adults that has a powerful effect on me. And while I am not dependent on that energy, it does provide some amazing opportunities for creative expression and growth.

There’s a downside to the sexual playground as well. There are people who are not ready to have any kind of romantic relationship. A lot of people actually. You can hear it when they talk about their ex, or their struggles with parenting. You can tell it in the way they don’t touch back, or they don’t express spontaneous affection. Stress is an powerful turnoff.  Why would anyone willingly get into a relationship with a stressed out partner? No matter how amazing they are physically, if their mental state is depressed or fragile, it’s going to be a no-win relationship in my experience.

So I’m looking for joy. I’m asking for a happy response from the women I see. I’m listening when they talk about their lives and their ex’s and their kids, chores, work, love, and ambitions. And if they don’t have ambitions, if they can’t tell me what they are passionate about, well, that’s an issue for me.

I want you to be happy. I want to feel the electrical current connect between us when we are together. I’d love to feel the flush of desire when we make arrangements to take off our clothes together.

But as the current is interrupted, I can walk away from bad connections. A connection might be more like a hookup, but that’s not what I’m looking for. That’s why the new dating apps, Tinder and others, are not very interesting to me. They might offer a lot of potential electrical hookups, they are not sustainable. Someone looking for that kind of relationship is going to stay in that kind of relationship in the long run.

In the long-run I hope to find another woman who turns me on the in same way my wife did, even after 11 years of marriage. I’m not asking for her again, but someone who I can pour my current into. And this time, someone who can continue to feed some of the energy, enthusiasm, and joy back to me for recycling.

I sing the body connected, with the same red blood that awakes in the morning with a start, with the same red blood that cuddles and curls at night and still longs for you…
— John McElhenney (read the full poem here: i sing the body connected)

Always Love,

John McElhenney

back to Dating After Divorce

related posts:

image: i sing the body electric, martin pulaski, creative commons usage

Happiness Dating and Joyful Coupling Post-Split


It’s not all about sex. But a lot of it is about sex.

I was chatting with a new date on the tennis court the other morning. We were hitting and catching up on our own ideas about life, dating, and sex. She was telling me about a girl’s weekend she’d just been on. “All the married women were complaining. And all my divorced friends who were with someone were talking about the great sex. And the married women wanted to hear about that.”

Why is it that sex is often what dies in a marriage and then becomes part of what justifies a separation and then divorce? What’s so mysterious about sex that we all crave it but we’re so inept at keeping it interesting? How does a man with an amazingly receptive and beautiful wife become more interested in porn, or sports, or drinking with the buddies?

What’s so mysterious about sex that we all crave it but we’re so inept at keeping it interesting?

In my marriage we went through significant ups and downs in our sex life. And that part’s normal. Extended and heightened sexual appetite year-after-year is a myth, or something that Sting might claim, but most of us mere mortals and non-rockstars have to work at. And sure, there are plenty of reasons that sex becomes harder and harder to be joyful about, as the “relationship” matures. But most of those disconnects have to do with expectations and unmet needs, needs, that most often, have nothing to do with sex.

We grow together as a couple. We either have kids or we don’t. And as things mature in our relationship there are certain non-sexual expectations that begin to factor into our desire and sexual lustiness. Here are a few that we all know about.

Tired – when you’re too tired for sex (TTFS) it’s not a sexual problem it’s an energetic problem. Solve for tired and you pick up a lot of potential sexual drive.

Angry – yes, sex is used by both sexes as reward and punishment. Either you are kicking ass as meeting both spoken and unspoken expectations or you are not. If you’re winning the sexual desire may remain high between you and your mate. But when things go off track a little, and stress of many colors enters into the equation, the sexual drive is often the first part of the relationship that begins to show the stress.

Busy – we’re all busy. Most of us are over-busy. And for most of us, busy is an excuse. Sure the clothes in the dryer need to be folded before they wrinkle. Yes, the dishes do need to be loaded into the dishwasher. BUT… that’s no excuse for not jumping at a kids-out-moment and taking a roll in the sack. It’s often the first thing a man thinks of and the last thing a woman thinks of. The woman wants the damn chores done first. The man wants his nookie. We’re at odds often about these “chores” but if you talk, and the desire is still there on both sides, then a compromise and solution is a mater of negotiating. If the desire is not there, the negotiation is often very short. The woman says, “Not now,” to the random wandering husband hand while standing in the kitchen appraising the post-dinner activities.

Okay, so those are the things that turned our marriages into sad, sexless shells of our former glowing and sexually fulfilled lives. Does it have to go that way? When dating you are probably not going to be attracted to a complainer. When the chores and “other responsibilities” come into play too often, and prevent you from even being able to arrange a next date, well, you get the picture of how future negotiations are going to go.

Look for happiness. Find the balance between beautiful and happy, because beautiful and mad is simply not a workable situation. Relationships with complaining or angry people are not fruitful, they are tedious and full of compromise and apologies. We learned how to do angry. We want to learn how to do happy again.

Joy has got to be the biggest turn on there is. You can feel it when someone enters a room and they are glowing with their own inner happiness.

Sex is the same way. If the act of love-making, even in the first few couplings, is strained and controlled, you might question what’s actually going on. If you can talk about it with one another great, but that’s rare. What you’re looking for, even in early sex, is playfulness and a somewhat whimsical approach. If orgasm is the focus, your’s or their’s, you might be entering into something that is more about fulfilling unmet needs, or old resentments, rather than healthy sex.

What is healthy sex? How would I know? But you can tell happy sex from strained sex right away. It’s not a stretch to expect playful and enjoyable sex. In fact, as a starting point for determining long-term compatibility I can’t think of a better indicator of inner confidence and happiness than someone’s approach and enjoyment of sex.

Right, it’s not all about sex. But sex has a lot to do with it. And those women in my friend’s group, longing to hear about the passionate sex of their friends, are a sad lot. They are compromising, or shutdown, in order to remain in their marriages, often for the benefit of their kids. And this is okay, and noble. But it’s not where we “divorced and single” folks are. We ARE looking for greener pastures. And the burden is on us to seek happiness with every fiber of our bodies.

Joy has got to be the biggest turn on there is. You can feel it when someone enters a room and they are glowing with their own inner happiness. If you’ve got the joy to reflect it back to them, then perhaps you are both on your way to joy in life and joy in the bedroom. Now, the keys to keeping this joy on into marriage again, or on beyond the first few years, is still a mystery I am trying to solve for. I got there on my side, but had a partner who exited the joyful bedroom and never returned.

Let’s not do that mistake again. Maybe it’s just a matter of time. Putting in the time with someone. Learning about their rhythms. Riding out the ups and downs and looking for the hopefulness that still radiates even in tough and stressful times. If you find the happy person. And they light up your happy person. Do that. And cultivate that. Then if sex is also a happy and playful act, you might be at the start of something durable and fun. Good luck. Let’s do happy first, relationship second.


John McElhenney

related posts:

image: joy, marina del castell, creative commons usage