What are the top 12 traits you look for in your partner?  Here's my list:

1. A sense of personal identity
I want a man who knows who he is and what he wants out of life, yet is still willing to grow and seek out more.  Someone who is dynamic and discovering parts of himself as he ages. 

2. Self-confidence
I want a man who describes himself with more positives than negatives, who carries on conversations easily with a variety of people, who is self-secure, and who can spend time alone.

3. Affectionate

I like a man who puts his arm around me at the movies or while sitting on a park bench. I want a touchy man in private yet likes to hold hands or give me a quick peck when we're in public. Can he give a sensual back or foot rub? 

4. A sense of humor

I love to laugh. A couple who laughs, lasts. I need a playful man who is willing to be spontaneous at least some of the time. If he teases me in a gentle way, then I feel comfortable. If he dishes it out, can he take it in return? It's a two-way street. I want a man who smiles easily. 

5. Successful It's not the size of his wallet that counts as much as the passion towards his purpose. I want someone who accomplishes goals he believes are worthwhile. 

6. Healthy & Energetic

Energy is a turn-on. My mate needs to have moderately good health routines that include eating, exercising, and sleeping. Being an outdoorsman is also a plus. Yes, I want a mate who is within normal weight limits for his height. A non-smoker is a must.

7. Intelligence
I need a man who is relatively smart, who can talk about a variety of subjects (not just sports) with the same level of enthusiasm. I want someone who isn't afraid to look up a word or a concept immediately when they hear something unfamiliar. Is your man a curious person? Lifelong learning is as important to me as good health.

8. Cultural Awareness
I want a man who enjoys the arts, such as live theater, musical concerts, well-made movies, museums, architecture, etc. Bonus points if he plays a musical instrument or sings.

9. Spiritual
I can't define exactly what this looks like except to say he must believe in something greater than himself (Source, God, Supreme Being). Does he have a spiritual practice or on a journey to gain more insights, knowledge, or peace of mind? 

10. Strong sexual appetite

I'd like my partner to match my level of energy in this area. I want to agree on the number of times we typically will have sex in a week. Does he have a passionate soul?

11. Sports-minded
I want my partner to play at least one sport or have a physical hobby, like swimming, ping pong, hiking, or racquetball. Does he watch sports without being obsessive? I enjoy watching a football game every now and then, but watching four days per week during the entire season is a bit much.

12. Adventurous

Traveling is important. I need to have a partner who likes to travel. Whether by plane, train, boat, or car, let's get up and go to a new destination periodically. Does he speak a foreign language or is he willing to learn a few basic phrases before traveling to a particular location?  Does he enjoy soaking up foreign food, architecture, sights, sounds, people around him? 

In short, I want a well-rounded Renaissance man who is kind-hearted, curious, and joyful whether he's in my presence or not. This is a true measure of a man. 
Yes, we all know that you must work at a relationship! Everyone deserves to feel loved, valued, and appreciated. To get those blessings, you must first give them. But how exactly?

You want your partner to have your back and vice versa, right? Well, oftentimes, partnerships are more one-sided than mutually-supportive. A lop-sided union is destined to fail.

Acknowledge five (5) reasons why many relationships don't last. Your efforts make a difference! 

Reason #1:  No clear mutual plans & goals
Let's begin at the starting place, shall we? When you go out with someone for the first time, what's your goal? To kill some time? To have sex? Companionship? To find a mate? To get out of the house? To be seen in public? To have a good time?

Decide what you really want and then communicate those ideas to the person you're dating for more than two-three weeks. At that point, it's usually an easy breakup, by explaining that you want to move forward. Say, "I think you're ________(fun & smart). I'm just looking for something different." 

Reason #2:  Insecurity & immaturity
When I read threads on Reddit, I see many many immature comments. Of course, some great advice is given. Everyone has an opinion if you post a question & frequently they aren't nice about it. Grow up first. Wait before diving into a serious relationship. If random sex is your thing, at least practice safe sex after swiping left or right on Tinder. There is a price to pay for sex addiction, however. Usually, there's a complicated underlying emotional issue that needs to be resolved professionally. 

Not surprisingly, I find that so many men & women are just insecure. You've got to get a life. Learn some competencies. Get a hobby. Try new interests. Read. Travel. Learn a language. Volunteer. Work out. Help others. Paint. Find a better job. Dance.

Reason #3:  Procrastination or unwise use of time

I know a few really smart and interesting people who never had a long-term relationship (over 1.5 years) or never got married, although they wanted to cohabitate with someone special. Now they feel very lonely and tell me, I don't know where the time went. In my 20's I thought I could just screw around. When I turned 30, my career was taking off; by the time I was in my 40's, I was very set in my ways. Now I'm almost 53 and I'm still single. Where did my life go?  Looking back, I know exactly what they mean as far as time flashes. Everyone has regrets. 

Create the life you want. Don't wait too long. Keep active. Meet-up groups are a great way to meet like-minded people in your local area. Give people a chance. 

Reason #4:  Lack of understanding & listening skills
I don't know why listening skills aren't taught in elementary school. Many parents are good role-models in this area; but what about other children who aren't as lucky?  Each student should be required to role-play and/or discuss ways to improve socialization & communication skills, such as conflict resolution, eye-contact, making I-statements, listening, rephrasing, suspend judgment before disagreeing etc.

How to give and receive feedback should be mandatory. I'm afraid we've encountered a whole new generation of children who feel slighted any time a teacher or friend criticizes them. On college campuses, the students want to be coddled, which doesn't appear age-appropriate. I hear so much about "microaggressions," which, of course, are often real. Sometimes, though, it's much ado about nothing. If schools taught the same competency-based progressive communication curriculum nationwide, then students would be on the same page by the time they attend a university. Maybe more students would get clarification before jumping to conclusions. 

Reason #5:  Failure to prepare
You can't just watch sit-coms all day and expect to learn how to get along with the opposite sex (or whomever you're attracted to). Well, yes, I'm being somewhat facetious, but my point is valid. I suppose this fifth reason harkens back to #4 above.

How do you prepare for a long-term relationship? Think about it. What skills do you really need to be a loving, supportive, appreciative partner? Think how you want to be treated. Decide. Act. Make wise choices. Be the best person you can be as often as you can. Nobody's perfect. Most good things in life take practice. Practice the skills above. Go to a workshop. Learn online. Join Toastmasters. Volunteer. Ask the person you are dating if they can give you tips on how to be a better boyfriend or girlfriend. 

I recommend a simple partnering exercise. When done just twice (2x) a month for 10 minutes, it teaches you a way to stay on the same page. See my earlier blog.

What's the best way to bring up a sensitive subject to my partner? My wife? My boyfriend? 

How do I make a request for change without hurting any feelings? 

Is there a way to make my partner more receptive to my ideas?
Complete my Focused-Language Intimacy-Exercise twice a month for 10 minutes to keep the spark alive. Flip a coin to see who goes first. Ask these three questions (or make up your own):

1) On a scale from 1-100, where do you see our intimacy level?
2) Where would you like it to be? (on same scale)
3) What can I do to help move us from a ____ to a ____?

You must follow five rules in order to be kind during the process. The trick is the rules you have to follow:

Rule #1:  Questioner may not talk. (May ask, "Can you give me an example?")
Rule #2: Questioner may not argue.
Rule #3: Questioner may not criticize.
Rule #4: Questioner may not interrupt.
Rule #5: Questioner may not give excuses.

Then switch places.  Choose your words carefully. Loving couples will process the information and apply it to their daily routine. A behavioral transfer is much more likely to happen when people don't feel attacked or criticized. This single interactive partnering practice will keep your relationship on the same positive page!

Many individuals are trying to discover what they did wrong in the last relationship. They don't want to blow it with their current partner. Learn how to maintain a healthy relationship. Everyone deserves to feel loved, valued, appreciated & supported. The truth is, you have to give in order to receive. Hold up a mirror. Be the compassionate, fun-loving light you were meant to be and your partnership will flourish.

Is your love life getting stale? Take a look inward. You're responsible for livening up your own partnership. Let's talk about four categories to add fireworks to your sex life:

1. Think outside the bedroom.              http://bit.ly/40WaysPart1 
2. Create erotic partnering exercises.     http://bit.ly/40WaysPart2
3. Build atmospheric mood-boosters.     http://bit.ly/40WaysPart3
4. Discover 50 shades of arousal.          http://bit.ly/40WaysPart4

Let's talk frankly.  This is part 2 out of a 4-part series to show you how to get your love life on track again. The second solution is to engage in erotic partnering exercises. Each couple creates their own interactive partnering practice. In my book, Sextastic!, I call this an Erotic Discovery Exercise. For info on my book, visit: http://bettersexloveromance.com 

Start with 8-10 household objects. Go with the basics: a feather, a piece of fur, a wet washcloth, coffee beans in a sock, baby powder, rose petals, a therapeutic massager, hot baby oil, cold flavored ice cubes, a toothpick, etc. 

One partner closes his eyes. The other picks an object and administers it first on the inner wrist or lower forearm, asking what object was used. You think this is easy? Many people guess “fur” when it's actually “baby powder.” With eyes open, try each object on different places on the other's body. Then switch so the other partner experiments. If you like particular objects, put them in a “special drawer” next to your bed. Try new objects every month and add to your repertoire. Most everyone loves surprises: “Hi, honey. You'll never guess what I brought home today.” 

For a couples guidebook to rekindle, refresh, and reboot your partnership, visit http://bit.ly/SevenWeekChallenge.
 Doing these partnering exercises 10-20 minutes twice a month will keep your sex life from ever being boring. Create your own erotic discovery partnering practice today!  
If you are asking whether or not your love life has gotten boring, it probably has. For the solution, look in a mirror. Each partner is responsible for breathing life and vigor into their partnership. Let's talk about the first of four categories to liven up any couple's sexual and romantic practices:

1. Think outside the bedroom 
2. Create erotic partnering exercises
3. Build atmospheric mood-boosters     
4. Discover 50 shades of arousal          
1) The first solution begins outside the bedroom. The human brain is wired for variety. What have you done as a couple to expand your horizons? Here's a few ideas to keep the spark alive.
    • My personal favorite is to go to the zoo. Animals exhibit primitive instincts. Humans are animals. Visit at least four enclosures and then go directly to the gorilla and monkey exhibits. Watch their expressive gestures and natural postures. Once your creative juices are stirred, head home and watch the sparks fly. 
    • Sign up for a salsa or West coast swing class. I know several places around town where a beginner gets a 30 minutes lesson for $10.00 and then practices it with a variety of partners at different levels for another half hour. Finally, there is open dance floor that lasts for about an hour or so. 
    • Learn a new language. Pretend to be a French couple for the night. 
    • Go to a museum. The sights, sounds, smells just be just what a Dr ordered. 
    • Rekindle the flame by revisiting the place where you met or your first date. (Or somewhere that resembles it.) 
    • Find a live band you normally wouldn't listen to. Appreciate it in a new context. If you don't like it after half an hour, get up and go elsewhere.
    • Go to a farmers market. The food smells and tastes add to the experience. Plus colorful people share info on various topics e.g. glass blowing.
    • Take a day trip to nearby town or tourist site you've never been to. 
    • Learn how to paint while you drink wine. Google places nearby.
The list is endless. Explore. Be creative. Get outside your comfort zone. 

On the flip side, keep your identity in tact. Keep your own hobbies/activities separate, without insisting the other participate. Smothering behavior is not attractive. If you love live theater and your partner hates it, go with a mutual friend who enjoys it as much as you do. Why waste one minute worrying if your partner is enjoying an event you've “forced” him or her to go to? Why torture the person you love? 
Your partner may indulge you once or twice a year, without complaining, because you're not forcing the issue anymore. Weird how that happens...

Two independent personalities blend more happily when boundaries are respected. After all, that's why you fell in love with in the first place! 

For a couples 7-week guidebook to rekindle, refresh, and reboot your partnership, please visit:   http://bit.ly/SevenWeekChallenge.
R is for Respect: If there isn't mutual respect, you can kiss your personal connection goodbye. When that goes, so goes the love. Piece by piece, the passion is chipped away. A sculptor creates something out of nothing. While we all lose our cool sometime, you don't deserve to live with criticism, verbal abuse or negativity as a steady diet.
An abuser, whether verbal or otherwise, is someone who has low self-esteem or some other psychological issues going on, like an Adult Child of an Alcoholic (ACA), for example. He or she will do the opposite of an artist. We can't know someone's motivation or intention, but we can feel negative consequences.

 A disrespectful person chooses to attempt to make nothing out of something, namely you. Don't buy into his/her poppycock. Like sculptured flakes that fall to the floor, many relationships become shredded, after months or even years of disrespect, leaving battered egos and shattered dreams in its wake.

To gain self-esteem, you must first respect yourself. Like Eleanor Roosevelt once said, and I'm paraphrasing here,
Someone can't insult you unless you give them permission. 

Practice being respectful of other people every day, all day long. If you disagree, politely explain why you think the way you do. Tell a story that reflects your views without name-calling. In a nutshell, to be respectful, follow (4) four guidelines:
  1. Ask questions about your companion's day. Discover his/her thoughts, beliefs, feelings and impressions of life in general or about a specific topic.
  2. Listen to your partner. You don't have to agree with him/her, just understand what the other is saying and accept their point of view. What makes your partner tick? What events in your partner's past make him/her think and act in a certain negative way? 
  3. Express your own needs and desires. Use simple phrases. Be firm without sounding demanding. Be in tune with what makes you tick.
  4. Be emotionally honest. Be done with the mind-games you played in high school. You're grown up now. Yes, there is usually an alpha-dog like half of a partnership. If you become too passive, your partner may step all over you (figuratively speaking). On the other hand, if you're too aggressive, you become an oppressive presence or worse. Neither makes for long-term bonding. Above anything, sustained mutual respect is essential in a healthy relationship.

Another popular version of  all this is:  
Be truthful. Be kind. 

Whether you've been together for years or only been dating for a month and getting along well, be up front and honest about what you desire out of a partnership. 

No more game-playing, please!
 Late one night over a dinner, your boyfriend tilts his head and leans forward: So, what exactly are you looking for in our relationship? You don't want to scare him off this early, so you respond:  My career takes so much time right now. I'm not interested in a serious one. I just wanna have fun. 
     Yeah, me too, he replies.

     A week goes by and you wonder why he hasn't texted much or even called. Among your female friends, you talk freely about the qualities you're looking for in a man, such as a sense of humor, intelligence, kindness, financial stability and more. Finally, you call him and discover he wants to move on. He says that it's just not a good fit. Did you just blow off a potential soulmate? Who knows? 
     Be truthful. What's the big deal about an authentic response? Instead of being coy, tell your date that you're looking for a healthy, R-I-P-E relationship:
                                               R   =   Respectful
                                               I   =    Intimate
                                               P  =    Passionate
                                               E   =   Emotionally Supportive
     Like a fine wine, a healthy relationship can be cultivated. A Cabernet, for instance, takes its sweet time to be ready for consumption. Likewise, true companionship matures over a period of time. Yes, love at first sight may happen occasionally; but a deep love connection doesn't usually happy overnight. More and more, people are trying to discover what they did wrong in their last relationship. They don't want to blow it with their current mate. Get a grip. Be authentic. Be the grown-up. If your date doesn't like what you have to say, move on to someone else who will. Don't waste your precious time chasing a pipe dream (the wrong partner)! 
Sex is like food. Sometimes you want a seven-course meal; sometimes you just crave a hot dog! You're much more likely to get what you want once you learn to express your needs and desires in a constructive way. Learn to be seductive.

Create a romantic setting for heightened pleasure and have some fun to boot! Initiate a scavenger hunt. Start with a simple handwritten note that you strategically place somewhere you know your partner will see it easily. The note might read:  Hi, you handsome hulk. Just want to show you how much I love you. Go to Asparagus Fern for your next message.

Another message is tucked away inside the fern. Write something like, “You make me so happy.” Next, you send him to the refrigerator or anywhere in the house, invariably ending up in the bedroom. Each note expresses your affection. Humans never tire of flattery. The last note says, “Look under your pillow.” Place a small token of your affection or something provocative – like edible underwear or a Hallmark card – before the games begin.

Once in the bedroom, playfully push him onto the bed. Offer a glass of wine that is chilled on the night stand. Start with a kiss. Unbutton his shirt, slowly, and continue with each piece of clothing on yourself as well until you're both naked. Ask him to turn face down. Let some wine spill forth while you kiss his entire back. Kiss behind his knee caps. It's a pleasure point. Turn him face up, kiss his chest slowly and prolong the sexual tension until he can't take it a moment longer.

Seduction is a wonderful gift!

Every partnership involves a series of trade-offs! The question is, what degree of compromise can you live with and still be happy?

For instance, do you want kids and he doesn't? Does one partner have to live in the countryside while the other needs city life?

A friend of mine, Dee, was in bed with her last boyfriend, and she asked, "Can we try something different tonight?" He said, "I've been doing this a long time. I know what I'm doing." How self-absorbed can a man get? She was stunned, and responded only in her head: "Well, you don't know my body yet and I'm telling you that I need more variety!" Subsequently, Dee gave him packing orders. She could NOT compromise to that degree and maintain her sanity at the same time. 

From TV's The Bachelor in the fantasy suite, here's Nick & Raven!
In front of 9.5 million viewers, Raven just told Nick that she'd only been intimate with one person from her small town. She's never said, "I love you" and her ex-boyfriend never made her orgasm. A stunned Nick says, "I wasn't expecting that." 

Which is worse? Raven oversharing on national television or how humiliated her ex-boyfriend must feel?

The biggest challenge I hear from women is that they don't have many penetration orgasms, if ever, with their boyfriend or husbands they say they've been happily married to for six years or more. 

My friend, Loriann, 27, had a new partner and she was falling hard for him. Naturally, she was petrified to tell him the same thing Raven told Nick. "Do I tell him I've never had an orgasm through intercourse? Do you think I should be honest? I'm so scared. I don't want to lose him."

I said, "Well, let's see...you can either fake it forever with him or figure out the right combo through experimental sex." We talked for two hours and I shared my secrets. Subsequently, Loriann gave me a bottle of champagne! "Oh, yes, oh yes, oh my god, yes! I'm so happy we talked!" She and her lover had indeed unlocked the combination to her private laboratory. 

If you know a woman like this, let's talk.