Entries by Carl Frankel

The Play’s the Thing

Why do we choose to be in a relationship? There are lots of answers this question, of course. Like passion, affection, the desire to be a parent and, yes, insecurity. But there’s something else that I want to focus on in this post. Play. Let’s get really simple here. As we go through life, we […]

What Makes Sexy?

Gal walks into a cafe. She’s wearing a retro outfit with a stylish 40’s-era hat that bathes her face in shadow. She’s got great lines. She’s noir, pure film noir. I’m deep in thought and barely notice her. She acknowledges me, unsmiling, and passes by. Only then do I realize: I know this person and hadn’t recognized her because she […]

Thoughts on the Life Ecstatic

Would you like to lead an ecstatic life? This is a real question, not a rhetorical one. On its face, it looks like a ‘duh’ question. “Of course I would!” Right? Dig deeper, though, and the answer’s less clear. Isn’t there great delight to be had in the routine, the predictable, the humdrum? In its sweet […]

Relationship as Improv: The Beach Ball Game

Anyone’s who’s been in a relationship knows they’re complicated and often challenging. They produce passion—not always of the good sort—and frustration. They shine a spotlight on our shortcomings. They trigger childhood wounds. Couples therapists often try to heal relationships by getting their clients to probe their depths. This can be useful, and it can also […]

A Radical Take on Rekindling the Spark

The Dead Bedroom Syndrome—couples in a relationship without passion or desire—is a painfully familiar ailment. Reddit has 20,000 members in its Dead Bedroom subreddit. Ask someone who’s been in a committed relationship for an extended period of time, five or ten years or more, and they’re likelier than not to shrug wistfully and say: “You adjust.” […]

The Sex-Positive Movement and the Pursuit of Happiness

It’s a complicated world out there. There are so many currents and cross-currents out there (political, ideological, emotional) that it’s humanly impossible to sort them all out. Still, when I make a special effort to fly high above the noise, a single ineluctable fact emerges. We are in the midst of a massive and growing movement to […]

The Animal Control Theory of Relationship

I know—sounds kinky, right? “Down, boy!” “Kitten want a treat?” But it’s not what I have in mind. So let’s start again. Q: What do successful relationships have to do with animal control? A: Five letters. A-S-P-C-A. In the world of cats and dogs, that stands for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty […]

Bringing Life to a Dead Bedroom (Part One)

So you and your partner are having challenges in bed. Maybe you’re not even making it into the bedroom. What’s a couple to do? Obviously, the exact answer to this question depends on the particular situation and personalities. But there are general responses, too. The first thing to do is recognize that this is a […]