Older Sperm = Risky Reproduction

So you are madly in love with your Silver Fox? You can see a nice lifestyle ahead with a man who knows who he is and has the confidence and life experience to make things happen. He’s spent years building his career and now has the time to dedicate to your relationship. He’s even open to starting a family with you and talks about being a devoted father.

Man Holding Baby Shoe

All this sounds great. Older men often make excellent husbands and fathers. Partly this is due to a decrease in the career-orientation of many men as they enter their 40s. With less emphasis on work, older men turn their attention to their partner and kids.

This pattern fits perfectly with younger women who wish to have children in their 20s. They can focus on mothering without worrying about their career needs, then head back to school or out to the workforce in their late 30s once their kids are teenagers. Younger mothers can benefit from the social advantages of being with an older man.

While this sounds ideal, younger women may want to reconsider. Research shows that older men are at a biological disadvantage when it comes to fatherhood. Older sperm contains more genetic mutations than younger sperm, and may contribute to greater health issues in offspring, such as autism and mental disorders.

ZAP baby Shoe

This should be no surprise as the same tendency has been noted in older women who delay motherhood and then must rely on the fertilization of older eggs when having children. And of course, the rise in potential health issues of offspring is well known when both parents are more mature.

While the statistical significance of older sperm in producing offspring with health issues is not yet known, it is important to recognize the potential danger of having children with a Silver Fox. If your man is 45 or older, you may wish to reconsider his baby-daddy status. If your man is in his 50s or beyond you might consider having children with the help of a sperm donor. Older men often are wise enough to know that biological fatherhood is so much less important than social fatherhood, and that raising children well is not related to genetic connection.

Romantics will argue that the most important thing about having children is the love that is felt between the parents. Yes of course, this is important. Love that grows out of commitment, passion and intimacy is a solid resource for a child-raising together – even when that child may have challenging health issues. Acknowledging the role of aging sperm in baby-making does not mean that this should be avoided at all costs. Rather, its just one of many factors to consider when choosing when and with whom to have a family.


Beautiful Toddler




Link: http://www.9news.com/story/life/moms/2015/07/14/men-sperm-health/30135801/

On Mating in Captivity – Help for those in a sexless relationship

It can happen to any of us – and perhaps it will happen to all of us. You love your partner. And you know they love you. You created a good life together.  They make you laugh. They get you thinking about things differently. They keep you on track.

So why did your sex life disappear? Esther Perel, a family and couple’s therapist in New York city knows why. In her book, Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic + the Domestic Perel explains how familiarity breeds a lack of desire in relationships that were once filled with passion.  The unfortunate truth is that this is almost inevitable, as the heckic-ness of daily life keeps us so busy and disconnected from our partners, that familiarity soon grows into disengagement. And once disengaged from our partners, the journey back to connection can feel daunting.

The good news is that conscious awareness of the challenges of maintaining passion in long term relationships is an important first step in keeping passion alive, or restoring passion to your existing relationship. Perel suggests a wide variety of ‘usual’ activities, like masturbation and role play, to re-awaken passion. These techniques create a lack of predictability during sex that counteracts the disinterest brought about by familiarity.

Perel is unique in her potentially troubling claim that good sex is about the interplay of power between partners, and that erotic vitality requires us to move beyond our notions of what is fair and equal in a relationship to embrace our most erotic imaginings.  For many feminists, using  power relations to excite sexuality  is problematic, and potentially misogynistic. However, this misses the insights in Perel’s work that recognize that relationships always are shaped by power dynamics. Power is enacted through the body as part of the social process – and there is no escaping this.  Consciously utilizing the subtle and not so subtle effects of power in our sexual relationships works to keep passion alive, in the bedroom and beyond.  Power, when used with loving awareness is the foundation for playful sexuality.

So, if you are looking to put passion and play back into the bedroom and beyond, give this a read.

On Being Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less From Each Other (2011)

It’s Friday evening. You had a hectic week. The kids are out, and your partner just poured you a big glass of red wine. Ah, its time to relax and forget about your annoying boss and the year-end budget. You collapse on the couch, kick off your shoes, close your eyes and . . . are jolted alert by the beeping of your cell phone.

Sound familiar?

According to Sherry Turkle, MIT technology and society specialist, the miracle of 21st century technology has created a deeply disruptive paradox in daily life. While our connection to others is unrelenting, we feel more isolated and alone than ever before. Our authentic self – the self that longs to share innermost feelings deeply with others – is buried under a vast network of interconnected personas. The superficiality of these connections distracts us from nurturing ‘real’ intimacy with partners, friends and family. The various ways technology shapes human connection is explored in Turkle’s book Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other.

While appreciating how technology has brought amazing benefits to Western society as a whole, Turkle’s 15 year’s of research finds that heightened connectivity often brings enhanced feelings of disconnect. Turkle shares the story of a young woman who spoke with her Grandmother by phone on the other side of the world each week. Conversations were short but treasured. When they switched to skype, they spoke twice a week for longer periods of time. The young woman recounts how this change in communication altered her relationship with her Grandmother, when she found herself multi-tasking on the computer rather than being with her Grandmother in that moment. Skype allowed her to maintain the illusion of connection without the reality of intimacy.

And this illusion is reflected in many aspects of our daily life – the texting while at a family dinner scenario, the amazing life that is captured in moment-by-moment selfies, the facebook creeper who shows up at our birthday party uninvited. Each of these situations suggests a misalignment between the depth of our connection to others, and the level of intimacy we actually share with them.

Turkle as a trained psychoanalyst sees a strong connection between this misalignment and personal feelings of anxiety. As expectations to connect and share private moments has increased with the ubiquity of texting for example, individuals experience a greater sense of vulnerability, and fear potential internet shaming by others who have no real awareness of the context of their judgments.

So, as we check our texts while driving or in mid-conversation, flip between several tv shows that we watch simultaneously, look for gently used patio furniture on kijiji that we don’t actually need, and browse through our ical, wondering where we can fit another yoga class in, we realize that all this busy-ness, all this information, shapes the quality of intimacy we share with others. Turkle’s book is a well-researched, good reminder to be mindful of how connectivity may disguise itself as intimacy, and to make room in daily life to value and nurture intimacy.

Sherry Turkle
On Being Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less From Each Other (2011)
Available from Amazon

Ask Jan – Coaching Tips for Easy Solutions

Q: I spend most holidays on my own. Don’t mean to sound like a loser but my family is spread out across the country. I don’t have kids, and I am not currently dating anyone.This is usually a recipe for loneliness. Honestly, I can get really bitter and resentful of all those happy holiday types. I am so tired of hearing about how to survive the ‘over-stimulation’ of holiday time. What about those of us who feel forgotten and irrelevant because family time is just not possible?
– Scroogy with a Good Reason

A: You make an excellent point. Many families are far from each other. Financial resources don’t make travel possible. Split families means that many of us do not spend holiday time surrounded in familial confusion. It can be a real challenge to enjoy the ‘family-oriented’ aspect of the holidays when you don’t have a ready-made and available family. But there is good news. Positive

Psychology research indicates that we can generate positive feelings about things quite readily – when we make the effort. Here are a few tricks.

  • Change your standards, and you will change the way you feel. Instead of comparing yourself to the perfect family, compare yourself to the most problematic family you can imagine.   Spending time on your own is preferable to entrapment with a psycho family. Can’t imagine a scenario worse than your own? Try working in the food bank. That’s always a good reality check.
  • Start now to plan your holiday adventures. Even people with many family obligations spend time with their friends. Book now so that your social calendar is full throughout the holiday season.

Six Tips for Creating Holiday Cheer

Holidays mean different things to each of us. And for some of us, holidays can be both enjoyably life affirming, and stressful challenges. Obligatory office parties, gatherings with family members who appear to believe you are still 12 years old, and the chaos of meeting holiday-related organizing deadlines can put us in survival mode. Perfectionists and those who worry about the judgment of others have it especially tough.

Here are a few suggestions for thriving during the holiday season.

1. Pretend you are 6 years old and focus on what is important to a child. Kids don’t care if everything is perfect. They really just want to spend time with you and know they are loved. Research indicates that even the most materialistic of kids would trade receiving their most coveted toy for more interactive time with the adults around them. Isn’t this what holiday time is supposed to be about? Hanging out with others we want to see more of?

2. Put a budget limit on your expenses – and stick with it. Finances create considerable stress during holiday season. Get a handle on this, feel in control, and devise a plan for making it through the holidays without having to mortgage your house in January. This is particularly challenging for generous folks. The key here is to select a gift that is consistent with your budget, wrap it beautifully, and add to it with small, very inexpensive things like treats you have baked yourself. Don’t bake? Go to Costco.

3. Budget into your expense limit a bit of money for yourself. This way you won’t feel guilty when you buy that great new iPod for yourself (it was on sale) that you really intended to buy for your sister.

4. Ask gift-givers to purchase gift certificates for self-care for you. Then have your massage in January, your pedicure in February, and your facial in March. This stretches out your holiday warmth and helps you recovery from added holiday stresses.

5. Let go of expectations. The only perfect family holiday I have ever observed was in 1910 at the Walton’s homestead. (Don’t remember the show? Watch for the Christmas special.) Your family dynamics don’t make you miserable – you make yourself miserable by hanging onto what you want your family to be like. Not getting on with your brother? Pretend he is someone else’s brother and watch how quickly your frustration dissipates.

6. Delegate the tasks, and then DON’T do other people’s tasks. Again, this is tricky for those of us who are perfectionists, or just highly competent people. If everything is always being dropped in your lap, ask yourself, “How do I behave in ways which suggest to others that dumping things on me is ok?” Chances are, and here’s the bad news, you are giving people the impression that doing everything is ok. If you are competent in everything, how will the space be created for others to know that you need them? Fulfilling relationships requires giving and receiving.

How to learn to let go

Last night I stayed up late to watch one of my favourite all time movies. Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands still makes me cry. I wondered why this story is so powerful for me. And then I realized: it is a classic Western love story where pure, good, selfless love is squashed by social ignorance, where the truth of heart and feeling is overruled by the fear of the collective mind. And the really beautiful thing about this whole mess is: Although Edward Scissorhands and his true love Kim must release each other to their separate destiny, their gift of love is never lost or forgotten.

Sure, it’s just a movie, but it made me stop and consider the issue of letting go, especially letting go of those things that truly speak to our soul. How do we know when to let go? And how do we do it?

In recent years, many psychologists, philosophers and New Age spiritualists have turned their attention to the ‘living in the now’. Their call to be in the moment is supported by reams of research that demonstrate how holding on to attachments, feelings, memories, and desires increases anxiety, discontentment, and frustration. Ouch. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure this out. Staying angry or disappointed, or continuing to try to figure out what went wrong contaminates our present possibilities for growth and happiness with negative feelings or useless ruminations.

Letting go of the need to hold on to your past is the secret to living in the now. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? So how come letting go is such a challenge? Approximately 80% of our daily life is concerned with either thoughts of our past or our future. Perhaps we can blame the linear thinking processes emphasized in Western culture for this – we are trained to think in terms of cause and effect, and are asked to continually re-evaluate the role of particular causes so that we can maximize certain effects later.

To overcome this cultural focus, we must practice letting go of past and future-oriented thinking. Here are 5 tips to help you do that:

  1. Angry or hurt by someone? Can’t stop thinking about how they have done you wrong. Try this. List their inappropriate behaviours. For example, they acted selfishly. Then remember a time when you behaved selfishly towards someone else. Oops – Recognizing the laws of karmic return sometimes make is easier to forgive and move on.
  2. Does the past situation feel overpowering to you? It will lose its impact when you play the ‘what if’ game. Follow the situation to its most extreme conclusion. For example, “What if your child broke the TV?” A logical response might be that you would not be able to watch the news, and this makes you feel angry. Ask yourself: “What if you could not watch the news?” An extreme response might be: The apocalypse could occur and you would be the last to know – sounds ridiculous right? Kind of puts a broken TV in a bigger picture context where we can see that the broken TV issue is probably not the end of the world. Literally.
  3. Ask yourself: who has control over how I interpret this situation? Guess what? You do. Recognizing your own power to let the energies of others affect you will automatically diminish the impact of their energies on you.
  4. Trust your intuition. It is the voice of your spirit. Sometimes situations and feelings escalate because we have not honoured our intuition. We stayed too long, or did too much, or ignored our creep alert. Sometimes the person we are really annoyed with is ourselves. Honouring our intuitions will help us love ourselves more.
  5. Watch how what you focus on in your life gets bigger. Feeling badly? Focus on that and watch how the bad feelings contaminate everything and everyone around you. Understand that whatever you focus on gets bigger. Focus on gratitude and watch how good feelings flood your world. Like attracts like.

Bring these tips to action by finding a quiet place to sit with yourself and your feelings. Even a few moments of reflection can help move you towards letting go and living in the moment.