Marnia Robinson

Marnia Robinson

Cupid's Poisoned Arrow: From Habit to Harmony in Sexual Relationships

Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow: From Habit to Harmony in Sexual Relationships

Marnia Robinson delivers a wake-up shock in this discussion of Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow! Grounded in neuroscience and deep study of human nature, she reveals the jolting reality of our predicament caught between passion and genuine love. And then the good news!

Marnia Robinson Text Excerpt:

Marnia Robinson:
You can see that what we are up against, is an old biological program that runs in all mammals and it is there to move us on to novel partners and it manipulates us by goosing our neurochemistry right between our ears. So I don’t know if you ever heard how The Courage Effect got its name, but it’s kind of a cute story.
Tom Park:
Let’s hear that.
Marnia Robinson:
President Coolidge and Mrs. Coolidge were touring a farm back in the 1920’s, and while the President’s attention was elsewhere the farmer was trying to keep the First Lady entertained. And he said “you see that roaster over there? That roaster can copulate all day long, day after day.” And Mrs. Coolidge probably didn’t quite know what to say to that so she said “Oh, that’s very interesting. Suppose you tell the President that.” So just then the President rejoined them and the farmer told him about this marvelous roaster and the President got very quiet and he said “with the same hen?” and the farmer said “Oh, no sir” and the President looked at him and he said “Why I suppose you tell that to Mrs. Coolidge?”
(Laughter)
So that problem where if you take a male rat and put it in a cage with a female rat there will be this frenzy of mating enthusiasm and then after six or seven, eight copulations they aren’t interested in each other anymore. But if you pull that female out and put in a different female, that poor male rat will rise to the occasion if at all possible and get the job done. So that’s called the Coolidge effect. It’s nature’s way of making sure there is no unfertilized females left around, if Mother Nature has anything to say about it.
Tom Park:
So it is a powerful enough issue in our nature that it takes fault out of some of this obvious fault that we have associated with all this. There is a lot of fault going around about people behaving like this. Men in particular, okay?
Marnia Robinson:
But women too.
Tom Park:
Okay women too?
Marnia Robinson:
It’s becoming more and more common in women I think these days. Yes, we should not be blaming ourselves or each other. That doesn’t do any good. This is a good reason to forgive each other.
Tom Park:
Good luck with that. Good luck trying to get people to not blame over this issue. OK?
Marnia Robinson:
Well I’m actually after something else. There are ways we can change our behavior. There are ways we can talk to that old part of the brain and tell it “gee, I like this partner, I want to get closer and closer to this partner.” But it’s because humans are very special, we belong to a group of three percent of mammal species that actually pair bond.
Tom Park:
Three out of a hundred.
Marnia Robinson:
Three out of a hundred percent. Most just mate furiously during mating season and then they go off to the next partner and that neurochemistry is driving them to do that.
Tom Park:
But we have that same neurochemistry.
Marnia Robinson:
We have that program but we have another program running on top of it, which is our pair bonding program. And that is there to push us together and make us fall in love at least for long enough to fall in love with our children.
Tom Park:
Folks, are you listening folks? At least long enough to fall in love with the children. Not like really really long.
Marnia Robinson:
Right. An anthropolinguist name Helen Fisher looked at fifty-seven different cultures and checked out when the peak of divorce was and she found year four. So that just shows things start to deteriorate rather quickly even if people stay together. Even if they stay married forever, there are all these jokes about husbands and wives getting tired of each other. Even if you tough it out, there is a lot of alienation going of between male and female because this old program starts making your partner look a little bit like hamburger helper.

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