Research

How your monthly cycle can make you a man magnet

 

iStock-641434604 copy.jpgIn spite of the bloating, cramping, and PMS inherent with your monthly cycle, turns out there is a bonus: Men are more likely to find you attractive. According to a study in the journal “Hormones and Behavior,” men were more likely to rate women as being the most attractive when they were at the most fertile point in their menstrual cycle.

How does male behavior change during ovulation?

In one study, researchers asked 31 women to report their significant other’s behavior changes during all stages of the month. During ovulation, women reported more attentiveness and higher involvement from their partners. The behavior changes were even more evident in relationships that weren’t serious yet, demonstrating that men were extra cautious of competition during her time of peak attractiveness. The men also exhibited a higher level of protectiveness during ovulation. This phenomena, known as mate guarding, was especially prevalent among less attractive males.

So, what about ovulation makes you more attractive? According to Michael Kauth’s Handbook of the Evolution of Human Sexuality, you can expect to:

·      Smell better—In one study, men were given three sets of t-shirts: one set was worn by women during their most fertile phase, another set worn during their infertile time, and a third set of shirts that were unworn. After smelling the ovulation shirts, men exhibited higher levels of testosterone.

·      Become more creative—Researchers gave a group of women 4 tests, one for each week of the menstrual cycle. Creativity surged during ovulation, when estrogen and luteinizing hormone were highest.

·      Appear more attractive—After showing two pictures of the same woman—one while she was ovulating and one when she wasn’t—to a group of men and women, researchers learned that both the men and the women rated the pictures capturing ovulation more attractive.

·      Have a higher sex drive—After polling 115 women about their sex drive and monthly cycle, researchers noted a spike in libido and greater sexual satisfaction during ovulation.

·      Dress sexier—Because women feel sexier during ovulation, they are more likely to spend time on their appearance. As their libido surges, they tend to dress more strategically to attract a mate.

·      Have a higher pitched voice—As ovulation approaches, women will craft a more feminine, higher-pitched voice to be more attractive to men. The pitch gets higher as ovulation gets closer.

How much can ovulation up your sex appeal? Researchers at the University of New Mexico attempted to quantify it by asking strippers to report their earnings and their menstrual cycles for two months. During ovulation, the strippers made about $70 per hour, women in the luteal phase—the phase after ovulation but before the period—made about $50 per hour, and menstruating women made about $35 per hour.

The current state of the matchmaking industry from an insiders perspective

It’s 2018 and I can officially say I am obsessed with being a matchmaker. It’s incredibly hard to believe that I have been running my niche business since December 2003. I will never forget the day that I walked into my former boss’s office at Merrill Lynch and told him I was quitting to become a professional matchmaker. I think his head fell off and rolled across the floor in shock. But it was the right move. I wasn’t happy in financial services. It was neither my calling nor what I was meant to do. I knew deep down in my core that I would start my own company one day and succeed at it – I believed in myself. In the same vein, and at the beginning of another year, I encourage you to believe in yourself. To achieve your dreams, whether professional, personal (e.g. meeting an exceptional life partner), or a combination, you need to believe in your ideas and have a solid confidence.

 

I am writing this particular blog entry to address the state of the matchmaking industry, as I see it. I’d like to think I have a good sense of, and some deep insights into, this space.  My livelihood is my business – I have been at this for 14 years, it runs deep in my blood, and it has been an integral piece of my life’s journey. At the beginning of a new year, I want to share my thoughts with all of you.

 

Not to sugarcoat anything, I have been very disappointed reading the press coverage of many matchmakers over the last several years – last year’s news, in particular, struck a chord with me. Something is just plain wrong with so many of the “high-end” matchmakers and “not so high-end” matchmakers out there – the vast majority of them are volume-driven businesses who’s business ethics are very questionable.

 

As a business owner, I have learned some of my greatest lessons over the last 14 years. A big one is not to take someone on board as a client if I can’t deliver. Seems pretty basic right? Contrary to this principle, matchmakers for the masses (and those handful who claim they are “elite” but have zero filtering or curation), are extremely focused on total revenue. I get it. It’s so tempting when running a business, whether big or small.   BUT I can proudly say that I have worked extremely hard via science (my database) and art (my heart and intuition) to truly “cherry pick” the best of the best clients whom I know I can match and with whom I know I can work. Emphasis on whom I know I can match!

 

Thus, one of the most critical distinctions between Linx Dating and pretty much any of the dating services available domestically and internationally is that we actually turn away a lot of incoming demand. To reiterate, why would I turn away these prospective male and female clients who can help me increase my business revenue? For starters, Linx prides itself in representing a very select group of clientele. There are other matchmakers that make these claims, but I can assure you that the majority of these firms have a revenue model that basically requires them to take all of the business that comes through their door. It is precisely THIS model that gets these other business into serious trouble when they cannot deliver results. In addition to this, a large complaint is that when the matchmakers work with so many clients, it is extremely hard for the client to feel any connection to the team or that anyone really knows or remembers them.

 

The news that I have been reading, and the stories that I keep hearing, involve nasty lawsuits where disgruntled high profile clients file claims against matchmakers time and time again. What are the root causes of most of these cases?

 

  • Matchmakers taking on clients that they probably should not have.

For example, some clients will never be satisfied under any circumstances. Maybe they have unrealistic goals, or haven’t really thought about the most important qualities they want in a match, and this makes it impossible for the matchmaker to ever deliver, as they in search of glorified unicorns that do not exist.

 

  • Due to (1), Matchmakers are under pressure to make introductions that are often so patently “bad” that the client freaks out at the quality of match.

 

“Bad” could be a long list of reasons, with characteristics ranging from undesirable to unacceptable: e.g. the introduction is unemployed, a drug user, a sex offender, convicted criminals….the list goes on and on. Firms do these set-ups like this with random people to meet the quota of introductions for the client. It is a very bad, often times unethical, business that makes this industry at large look bad!

 

I have never been consumed by trying to grow my business to some massively large scale operation and becoming a victim of image, keeping up with the Joneses, or trying to be something I am not.  There’s plenty of matchmakers doing PR campaigns posing in front of fancy cars, private planes, using waifish models to bait men, and bragging about the last names of some of their clientele to the media (which is also a breach in confidentiality mind you.) Instead of resorting to these tactics, I have worked very hard to maintain my core values and business standards throughout the years. While no one is perfect and, sure, I have made my fair number of mistakes along this journey, I know I have done and continue to do a superb job of try to make my corner of this industry shine with integrity while staying true to who I am.

 

If it wasn’t already looking so grim, other matchmakers I’ve read about have chosen to launder money when it was meant for donations to charity, or taken all the membership money, and essentially disappear on some island, all while not returning worried clients’ phone calls, and often literally not even delivering on promised introductions.

 

And then there are other matchmakers who loathe the success and positive media attention of their competitors so much that they resort to guerilla tactics that I have had to deal with over and over again in my business – e.g. false reviews posted on Yelp from “people” who were never even clients. “Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity.” -Colin Powell

 

To thrive in business and life, one must be prepared for critics and for those who wish to see you fail. While it can feel very out-of-control in the moment when it is happening, the silver living becomes your greatest blessing. The silver lining is the motive of the competitor. Envy. They recognize something great, likely question “how” such a small, niche business has managed to get to where it’s at, and want to copy its success. There really is no greater compliment than a person wanting to model your success.

 

As you are possibly researching matchmakers to hire, I encourage you to meet with many and do your due diligence. Do meet and greets, ask them questions, see which ones feel right, ask if they offer references (often we cannot, due to the strict privacy policy, but sometimes a client is willing to speak), and most importantly follow your gut. Just like I tell my clients when they are on dates, study your date’s body language, look into their eyes. What feeling are you getting? Is it a good one where your intuition is telling you to keep exploring the chemistry over the course of future dates or does something feel off?

 

The greatest lesson I have learned is never to ignore your intuition. There is a reason we human beings have it. My biggest regrets, and luckily they are few and far between, have been going against my intuition in business hires or in admitting a client or two whom I definitely should not have. So I encourage you to do the same, listen to what your heart and mind tell you.

 

While I continue to try to make a positive impact on the matchmaking industry, I wish you a strong start to your New Year filled with health, peace, prosperity, and clarity into your love lives in 2018!

Is your relationship cheat-proof? Research reveals the most common reasons partners stray

 

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After polling over 100,000 people, Chrisanna Northrup published extensive research on infidelity in her book The Normal Bar. Her findings explored not only the prevalence of cheating, but also perhaps more interestingly, she learned the situations that were most likely to encourage committed partners to stray.

 

  1. The Business Trip

For frequent travelers, life on the road comes with loneliness and stress—two circumstances that make meeting a beautiful stranger a welcome distraction.

36% of men and 13% of women admitted to cheating on a business trip. Respondents claimed that the sexual liaison was just too enticing to pass up, even if they had a robust sex life at home. Researchers concluded that the infidelity was related to sex, but also with the thrill of being wanted sexually and being able to engage and get away with it.

How long into a relationship is the business affair most likely to happen? 6-9 years.

 

  1. An ex

Even though the relationship maybe over, the feelings can still exist—especially for women. 32% of women admitted to having a fling with an ex or old interest, compared to 21% of men. Those who cheated with an ex reported a satisfying sex life at home; however, the forbidden nature of sleeping with someone who still holds emotional connectivity proved tempting.

How long into a relationship is an ex most likely to tempt? 2-5 years.

 

  1. Boredom in the bedroom

A mundane sex life is a big reason men and women entertain the idea of getting their needs meet elsewhere. 71% of men and 49% of women cheated after claiming boredom in the bedroom. Often times, people cheat because they are ashamed of their bedroom preferences. In an effort to avoid the conversation, people will suppress their desire and ultimately engage in an affair later to indulge it or, unfairly, project the shame onto their partner.

 

  1. Revenge infidelity

After a partner cheated, 9% of men and 14% of women admitted to cheating for revenge.

 

  1. An inability to be monogamous

Despite entering a committed relationship, many people just can’t dismiss the urge to cheat. 46% of men and 19% of women who strayed and were asked why said, “I just can’t help myself.”

 

But are there reasons people cheat that are beyond their control?

 

We are ultimately responsible for our decisions, but some factors can certainly cloud our better judgment. After meeting someone interesting and attractive, the brain produces a surge of dopamine. The dopamine rush triggers an intense, addictive euphoria—a euphoria that leaves us begging for more, even if it’s outside of the confines of our relationship.

 

There could also be a genetic propensity for cheating. In one study,  researchers surveyed 294 participants and discovered that those who had at least one parent cheat were twice as likely to cheat as the participants who had parents who maintained committed relationships.

 

Is there hope after infidelity?

 

Ironically, affairs don’t necessarily indicate a broken marriage. Although difficult, one of the biggest hurdles to getting the relationship back on track is working through the “victim/perpetrator” mentality. According to Dr. Joe Kurt, Ph.D., LMSW, the betrayed partner can start thinking that because he or she was cheated on, it’s up to the cheater to make everything right again. This blame-focused approach will ultimately sabotage any chance at reconciliation.

 

The best hope for a couple is to talk through the cheating—both the cheater’s experience and the injured partner’s response—in the presence of a counselor or therapist. Together, they can figure out the best ways to rebuild trust and demonstrate transparency.

Are we too old for games? Research sheds some light on playing hard to get

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No one likes to admit that he or she plays games; why would anyone cop to something so juvenile or immature? But, what if there were some real data that supported game play? One of the most frequently played games—playing hard to get—describes the act of feigning disinterest in a potential mate to increase the mate’s interest. Honing this type of game was the basis of New York Times’ controversial bestseller for women, The Rules. It’s also described in The Game, a how-to guide for any budding pick up artist. Despite the manipulative undertone, could these old school tactics and strategies help us find love? Researchers Peter Jonason and Norman Li spearheaded the study on college campuses to find the answer.

 

To determine effects of availability on desire, 270 heterosexual students were shown three dating profiles all similar save for the profiled person’s availability. When asked which profile would be the best choice for casual sex, both women and men preferred a partner with high availability. Without having to determine emotional or mental compatibility, singles need only to notice physical attraction—a determination that can be made without more than a glance. Without having to account for a future, singles can skip the process of determining sustainability.

 

On the other hand, singles seeking dating or a serious relationship, preferred moderate to scarce availability. Those with minimal availability are displaying greater independence and are less inclined to commit to a single partner without due diligence—all positive attributes of a future partner.

 

Availability didn’t just affect the type of relationship, it also influenced how likely the students were to invest actual resources in the profile. When participants were asked which restaurant they would take the low, medium, and highly available profiles to—fast food, casual, or luxe—the low availability candidates were most likely to get the luxe meal.

 

Those who play hard to get have two motives: firstly, to drive desirability of their potential mate but also to test just how committed the potential mate is to a longer term relationship. For anyone seeking a relationship, this sounds like the perfect recipe. But, is it?

 

In another study by Jayson Jia, Xianchi Dai, and Ping Dong, results revealed that playing hard to get only works if there is already some semblance of romantic interest. If someone is not interested in you to begin with, it is highly unlikely that they invest more effort in “acquiring” the person. If, however, someone shows interest in something more than a fling, playing hard to get is a way to demonstrate that you have other options, a characteristic of singles in high demand. If you start playing hard to get right off the bat, your plans to drive interest could backfire. Instead, approach potential mates with a friendly, social demeanor. As these researchers concluded, “Playing easy to get always yields more positive affective evaluations of liking, regardless of the degree of prior psychological commitment.”

 

So, how can you play hard to get in a way that isn’t manipulative? Here’s the answer: You don’t need to. If you cultivate a life with people you enjoy and activities that hold your interest, you will need to schedule time for a date instead of being available at a moment’s notice. If you find yourself coming on too strong, switch the mentality. Instead of playing hard to get, be more discerning. Give your potential partner a chance to show you who he or she is before revealing your interest.