Busted Halo
Features : Sex & Relationships
 
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February 12th, 2008
Security concerns for Barack Obama are evidence that race is still very much an issue for some Americans

Recently, several media outlets, including the New York Times, have printed stories on the increased security surrounding the Senator and his family. “Obama must be wary of the assassin’s gun” was a headline in The Australian…, a major newspaper in the land down under. Members of white hate groups increase their rabid, racist rhetoric on the internet, cowardly hiding their identities behind anonymous website login names, just as they used to hide under white hoods.
Whites should be infuriated and ashamed when we learn that a Google search “assassinate Obama” gets almost 200,000 hits. I am disgusted when I realize the admirable and brave Michelle Obama and her beautiful little

February 4th, 2008
Men, women and sports

My husband isn’t speaking to me. He isn’t speaking to anyone, really. He’s crushed by the Patriots defeat in last night’s SuperBowl.

I’m not that chatty either, but not because I care one way or another about the Giants’ upset last night. I’m just exhausted from hosting a big SuperBowl party, after a weekend of traveling.
I got up at 4 a.m. to fly from New York City (where LaGuardia was all decked out in Giants banners) to Iowa City. A snowstorm was headed for us, but I couldn’t be delayed: We were hosting 25 people for a SuperBowl party.
Super Snow Storm
Crazy? Yes. I don’t recommend hosting a party on a day which you begin 1000 miles away. But as the saying goes,…

January 22nd, 2008
Third Wheel: Is the married vs. single dynamic causing a strain in your friendships?

Anita, 26, had two close friends in college. These were the girls she could always call for a chat, who would be interested in planning a fun trip, going shopping, or confiding secrets. But a few years after college, both women got married—and Anita felt left out in the cold.
“They’re really not my best friends anymore” she told me. “Their husbands have become their best friend and it has put distance between us.”
Anita said she feels pressure to find a guy and settle down so she can reestablish her friendship with these women, as part of a couple. “It’s like they’re part of this married club that they’re waiting for me to join in. But I’m not planning…

January 17th, 2008
Giving young adults what they truly want

“Fr. Malloy, are you a virgin?” So inquired an undergrad in my intro to sociology class. Every semester, usually just before Fall or Spring break, I hand out index cards and tell the students “we’ve been studying religion as an institution in society. Here’s your chance to ask a priest anything you ever wanted to ask. Go ahead. Write down your question. Don’t sign your name. No topic is off limits.”
The questions run the gamut from “Do you really believe God exists?” and “Why is there so much suffering in the world?” to “We know you’re really the exorcist for the diocese. C’mon, why can’t you just tell us?”…

December 10th, 2007
Fattily Ever After

Call it the “honeymoon handles” or “love blubber”: New studies find that newlyweds are more likely to report weight-gain than those who stay single.
Professors at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill examined longitudinal data from nearly 8,000 men and women-following these men and women from teenagers through their young-adult years. Prof. Natalie The and Prof. Penny Gordon-Larsen wrote, “The results suggest that sharing a household environment with a romantic partner may predispose individuals to become at risk for obesity and obesity-promoting behaviors.” This follows a study from a few years ago that showed that both men and women report average…

December 7th, 2007
Juno has wit, heart and edge

Is there anything funny about a sixteen year old girl getting pregnant? Actually, there’s quite a bit in the new film Juno….
A smart and smart-mouthed Minnesota teen named Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) finds herself pregnant after her first sexual experience with a shy, nerdy classmate (Michael Cera). Her first inclination is to abort the child and she even goes to a clinic for the procedure. But an encounter with a friend from school—along with the comically bizarre abortion clinic—results in Juno rushing out and soon after deciding to give her baby up for adoption. After searching for prospective parents in the local Penny Saver, she decides on Vanessa and Mark Loring (Jennifer Garner and Jason

November 26th, 2007
The Marriage Myth: Scaring women about their marriage prospects distracts us from truly urgent issues

Major news outlets are once again scaring smart, accomplished women into believing that they’re doomed to be old maids because they intimidate men. This old saw makes great headlines—but it’s dead wrong. It also distracts from the real problems facing the American family: Male or female, those with good educations and big paychecks do well in the marriage market—while those without degrees or career success are increasingly unlucky in love.

In 1970, women married around age 21; 68 women enrolled in college per 100 men—and the more education a woman had, the less likely she was to get married. Academic articles of the time routinely reported that women were more attracted to…

November 12th, 2007
The Florists Daughter beautifully captures a "relentlessly modest" life

As young-adults, we’re often used to reading books about ourselves and our own experiences. We’re interested in entertainment, a good story, or some advice about how to live our lives right now. Sometimes, though, it’s useful to read a book about what our future might be like—what issues may lie ahead for us, and how others have coped with the “big questions” of life.
Patricia Hampl’s new memoir, The Florist’s Daughter…, explores life in the middle—a lower-middle class family in the Midwest—and speaks to a generation of American women who struggle with responsibility and regrets as they assume the role as caretakers to their aging parents.

October 25th, 2007
Earnest but off-key, Bella preaches to the choir

Metanoia films’ mission statement “to make films that matter and have the potential of making a meaningful difference in people’s lives” is both lofty and laudable. To the young company’s credit their first film, Bella has received some attention on the festival circuit—most notably the People’s Choice award at the Toronto film fest—and is about to be released in selected cities over the next few weeks. While Bella… will most likely matter and make a difference to some audiences, its earnest attempts to straddle different worlds has decidedly mixed results.
Much of the story follows the main characters, Nina (Tammy Blanchard, above left) and José

October 24th, 2007
A Pure Sex, Pure Love Special Edition

Ladies, it’s that time of year to let out your inner vixen and to live out your fantasies of being a naughty nun. Guys, it’s your time to sit back and gawk.
It’s Slutoween.
Go to any Halloween store and you’ll see that scary has been replaced by sexy: Women (and girls) will be dressing up as sexy kittens, sexy stewardesses, geishas, naughty rag dolls and the like. For the men, however, there are no parallel pool boy costumes or naughty fireman uniforms. (A new industry someone might want to start? But I digress.)
The articles about the slutification of Halloween are in full force again this year. Most people are upset about it — feminists decry that women are allowing themselves to be…

October 15th, 2007
The Challenges of Long-Distance Relationships

A few months ago I received a letter from Jeff Klein, a 32-year-old BustedHalo reader. He’d recently begun dating someone who lived seven hours away. Was it feasible to have a relationship? They both led busy, professional lives and had active social lives in their respective cities. What was my advice, Jeff asked. Was a long-distance relationship a good idea?
A long-distance relationship (LDR) is one in which partners reside in separate geographic locations for some reason (work, school, etc.) and reunite (each weekend, each month, a few times a year) for time together. According to academic research on LDRs—yes, academics study long-distance relationships!—voluntary LDRs are on…

October 1st, 2007
A Moral Theologian Answers Questions on Sin, Sex and the Sacraments

In the last column, I shared a letter I’d received from Laura, a 20-year-old reader struggling with her decision to have sex before marriage. She raised all sorts of good questions—including: Are all sins created equal? Is sex before marriage as bad as murder? Along with the help of moral theologian Fr. Dick Sparks, I answered her questions.
But as with any good question, there’s never a simple answer, and more questions always follow. Readers wrote in with their questions on sin, sex and the sacraments and Rev. Sparks—a Paulist priest and widely published author who holds a Ph.D. in ethics from Catholic University of America-stepped up to the plate again.
Take the Survey!

Long Distance…

September 17th, 2007
Sin, Sex and Sacrament: A candid discussion

When Laura was 13 she took a vow to remain chaste until marriage. She’s a pretty good Catholic: She attends Mass regularly and is thoughtful about acting in accordance with the Church’s teachings. For years, she kept her vow not to have sex before marriage—even when men tried to convince her otherwise: A few years ago a boyfriend left her because she refused to have sex with him. Looking back, she doesn’t regret that decision—she was too young, and he wasn’t right for her.
But now Laura is 20—and is seriously dating a man whom she loves. A few days ago, they had sex. She is conscious of the vow of chastity she took as a young teenager, and she’s wrestling with her decision…

September 11th, 2007
See, I am making all things new

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”
And the one who was seated on the throne said,
“See, I am making all things new.”
Revelation 21: 3-5a…

I met Sandy in November of 2001. She came to a memorial service that my then church, All Saints in Hoboken, NJ was holding for the families of the fifty-two Hoboken residents who never came home from work on September 11th. Sandy had a two-year-old daughter, Rhiannon, and was widowed

September 4th, 2007
X-Games II: Should you invite your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend to your wedding?

In my last column, I asked the question: Can you be friends with your ex? Dozens of you shared your personal experiences and took our BustedHalo survey.
Among BustedHalo… respondents, 67% said after breaking up with someone whom you cared about deeply, it was best to take a break for six months and give yourself some time to heal; then, you can get back in touch if you can.
But what happens down the line? If you’re dating or married to someone else, can you still get together for coffee with your ex? Should your exes be invited to your wedding?
“Just Coffee?”
You’ve been seriously dating someone for a year. Your girl/boyfriend tells you that they have begun talking to their ex again and have plans

August 20th, 2007
X-Games: Can you be friends with your ex boyfriend/girlfriend?

Alysa and her boyfriend had been dating for nearly two years, and then broke up. The breakup was amicable, but painful for Alysa, who still loved her ex boyfriend very much. “There have been some REALLY difficult moments for me and am sometimes a little hurt to see that he has been able to deal with it so well,” she said.
During the relationship, the two were best friends. “He was the person I shared with the most about life and faith,” she said. Even after ending their romantic relationship, the two still shared a lot: They attend the same prayer group, they often spoke on the phone and kept in touch via email.
But it became awkward to negotiate the difference between “more than friends”…

August 7th, 2007
A man from a fundamentalist family, a freethinking woman— what does the future hold?

Their son was dating a heathen. That’s what it was, in the end: a woman set to go to Hell and take their son with her by doing nothing to encourage him to come back to the fold. Worse: encouraging him in the opposite direction.
That’s what I was thinking, anyway. I thought it as the four of us greeted one another with cursory hugs in the dark of the Clemson, South Carolina Applebee’s parking lot. Thought it as his parents smiled at me and asked how work was going. Thought it as I said, “Great!”
We’d talked it over before, David and me, and would again, and it always came down to one sentence from him, complete with one unconvincing pat on the back.
“My parents like… you.” That’s

August 6th, 2007
The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde: Our readers respond to Dr. Whelan's latest Pure Sex column on the challenges of cohabitation

In my last column, I wrote about Bonnie and Clyde, a couple who have been dating for three years and living together for the past year, with no plans for marriage. Bonnie was getting concerned that Clyde wasn’t ever going to propose and she wondered how she should proceed. Did he love her? Was this a longterm relationship? Click here to read the column.
Dozens of you shared your advice for Bonnie and Clyde—Here’s what the BustedHalo community has to say. Do you have any more advice? Write to me a puresex@bustedhalo.com and we’ll continue to add to this list.
Can You Be Friends With Your Ex? Take Our Survey
My next column is about friendships with exboyfriends and exgirlfriends. How close can…

August 2nd, 2007
Our search for order in the darkness

A friend of mine just left her husband. She told me that she had been unhappy in the marriage for a long time but couldn’t find a way out. “I had seen a psychologist and a lawyer,” she said. “But I couldn’t act—it was too confusing, too painful. I felt overwhelmed. Then one day last week I was driving down the street and I said, ‘God, please give me a sign. Give me some sort of sign and I’ll leave.’ It was a street where I’d always wanted to live. I was driving and praying, and I looked up and saw the poster that said For Rent…. I knew what to do.”
Though I wanted to be a good, supportive friend, I have to admit that a part of me secretly recoiled at these words.

July 31st, 2007
Does Springfield Get Religion?

In a recent print “interview” with USA Today, Homer Simpson explains his theology this way: “Every time I see my sweet girl Lisa, I believe in God. Every time I see Bart, I believe in the devil.”
Now, those of us who have seen the movie – contributing to a worldwide opening weekend box office of $168 million – know what he meant.
Well, sort of… The Simpsons Movie is not about …religion. Like the TV show, it is about a family and a community in which religion plays a part. But many of the spiritual elements present in the show’s past eighteen seasons are present in the movie, driving the plot and complicating the lives of the Simpsons family and the residents of Springfield.

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