News of Note: Sweetie turns sour – NYTimes.com
Using a cutesy pet name or baby talk with your partner can cause sex life to dwindle
According to self-help authors Maggie Arana and Julienne Davis, “Calling your partner honey is the first step down the slippery slope toward a bland or nonexistent sexual relationship.”
And it’s not just “honey.” Any endearing nickname — “sweetie,” “darling,” “pookie,” “pumpkin” and Jerry Seinfeld’s gag-reflexive “schmoopie” — they say, will open the “Pandora’s Box of non-sexuality,” which also contains other bad habits of over-familiarity that, over time, can turn lovers into roommates…
“Names have a very deep impact subconsciously, especially when they are repeated day after day, year after year,” Davis, a reformed user of “pookie,” says during a phone interview. Both women currently live in Los Angeles with their “non-honey” partners.
That age-old, enduring “honey,” is an androgynous word that erodes each partner’s individuality and sexuality, she says, inadvertently turning him or her into a cuddly friend. As the book says: “Honey is great at spooning under the covers, but no so great for hot, passionate sex under the covers.”
I’m not so sure that “honey” will literally ruin your sex life, but the subtle effects of pet names on relationships remain quite interesting. Do repeat users of cutesy and non-sexual names seek the familiar, the informal, and the immature?
This is a sensitive subject, one that I imagine could easily put some couples on the defensive. When you examine yourself, have pet names affected your relationship? Let us know what you think!
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