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A philosopher looks at our deepest emotions
Aaron Ben-Zeév Ph.D.
Compersion is a recently coined term that describes your happiness from your partner’s happiness with another lover. How is such an experience possible?
A sapiosexual is someone who is attracted to intelligence. What is so appealing about intelligence, and why are librarians perceived as sexy but not philosophers?
While kissing may seem like minor touching, it is crucial in romance. Hence, many people hesitate before marrying a bad kisser. Are they right to do so?
In romance sensitivity enjoys high regard, while indifference appears downright malignant. Yet, I believe that sensible indifference is essential to enduring romantic love.
When decreasing inequality enhances envy and increasing inequality stokes love.
Most men would love to hear that they are “good in bed.” But can that sentiment ever be negative?
Why are we pleased by others’ romantic misfortunes?
The goodness of profound love seems hard to argue with. Nevertheless, people do criticize lovers. Can one tell her beloved that she loves him too much?
These are flourishing times for love, even its renaissance. Love is in the air, yet the air is often too thin and polluted to permit the development of long-term, profound love.
Romantic love is often regarded as either a momentary experience (“now or never”) or a permanent one (“forever and a day”). Are those our only romantic choices?
People often settle for less than their dreamed-about romantic partner. How much “less” can their partner be and still be a sufficiently good partner?
Contrary to popular belief, older people are often happier and more romantically attached than their younger counterparts. The nature of these romantic attachments may differ.
Enduring romantic love is harder to achieve than friendship. Do we want to waste our time and energy on uncertain romantic love when we can more easily get profound friendship?
People sometimes think that by finding the perfect person, they will find their perfect partner. They are wrong. Suitability, not perfection, is the name of the romantic game.
How our romantic lives change over time.
Searching for your ex-lover is easier these days than ever before. Should this search be encouraged? The answer is different for the short and long term.
Both surrender and submission involve yielding to a superior power. However, in romantic relations, they differ in a way that makes only surrender a thriving experience.
Many people associate moaning and screaming with pain. Why, then, should people make these noises while experiencing sexual pleasure? Are we not embarrassed to do so?
Two major types of romantic rejection that end in separation are rejection because of someone else, and rejection because of no one else. Which type is more painful?
Caregivers who love their ailing spouse but cannot attend to their own romantic needs can feel captive. Should they get, as other inmates do, brief vacations due to good behavior?
Can we outsource our romantic and sexual needs? Can someone else do it better than our partner? Sometimes, the answer is “yes.”
Eye contact is vital in romantic communication. However, during sex, which is central in romance, many people close their eyes. Is the look of sex different from the look of love?
When you marry your first and only lover, do you regret not having had more lovers? Does the quality of love overcome the pain of regret?
The value of consistency in the romantic realm is murky, as emotions are highly sensitive to change. Hating the one you love is an example of seemingly inconsistent behavior.
Silence is sometimes golden in intimate relations. However, in profound love, silence is rather noisy, and its sound is rather unpleasant.
How can brief and infrequent experiences such as orgasms be crucial for flourishing romantic relations? The answer relates to the experiences associated with them.
Polyamory is criticized for spreading love too thin and thus hurting the lovers. In reply, one might argue that the heart can expand when you love more. What is the right answer?
If love is not all we need, then it is certainly reasonable for some people to leave the one they love. Sometimes, love and life clash.
Political views are vital in choosing spouses, but their role in hooking up is less clear. We may not want to live with our political enemy, but what’s wrong with sleeping with him?
There are good reasons for not rushing love and persuasive arguments for the value of quickies. Can we both not rush love and still enjoy having quickies?
Aaron Ben-Zeév, Ph.D., former President of the University of Haifa, is a professor of philosophy. His books include The Arc of Love: How Our Romantic Lives Change Over Time.