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Saturday, February 7, 2015


                                       What do you associate with romantic love?





It's February and Valentines day is coming upon us. I thought it appropriate for this month to discuss love, sex, intimacy and familial relations in relation to culture.

Since the beginning of time, men and women have sought ways to understand and interpret a vague, yet central theme that colors the quality of human life: Love.  According to the Wikipedia Encyclopedia, "there are as many forms of love as there are lovers." Love can mean an intense feeling of affection, an emotion or simply an emotional state.  Each language, developing alongside a corresponding culture, has a different set of words to describe love.  Here are a few examples:

Forelsket: (Norwegian):  The euphoria you experience when you’re first falling in love.
This is a wonderful term for that blissful state, when all your senses are acute for the beloved, the pins and needles thrill of the novelty. 

Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan, an indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego): The wordless yet meaningful look shared by two people who desire to initiate something, but are both reluctant to start. 
Oh yes, this is an exquisite word, compressing a thrilling and scary relationship moment where neither party has mustered the courage to make a move. 

Cafuné (Brazilian Portuguese): The act of tenderly running your fingers through someone's hair.  I love this!
Retrouvailles (French):  The happiness of meeting again after a long time. 
This is such a basic concept, and so familiar to the growing ranks of commuter and long distance relationships, lovers, who see each other only periodically for intense bursts of pleasure. I’m surprised we don’t have any equivalent word for this subset of relationship bliss. It’s a handy one for modern life.



If you had to describe romantic love in ten words, what words whould you use?  Scientists and researchers at New York Sate University at New Paltz and Russia's Moscow State University carried out a study to see how different cultures view and practice romantic love, the researchers surveyed 1,157 adults from the United States, Russia and Lithuania. Participants were given a 14-item questionnaire meant to gauge how they perceived romantic love, and also asked to write a freelist answering the question, "What do you associate with romantic love?"
According to LiveScience: " Americans take longer to fall in love than their Eastern European counterparts, according to a new study. The findings also showed that Americans frequently cited friendship as a key part of romantic love, while Russians and Lithuanians rarely mentioned it."
"The study found that about 90 percent of Lithuanians reported falling in love within a month of meeting one another, with 39 percent falling in love with in a matter of days.  By comparison, 58 percent of American participants indicated they fell in love with in two months to a year".

The study performed displays the results in the following:

The top 10 listed by Lithuanians:
 
1. Being together: 50 percent
2. Joy: 20 percent
3. Walk: 17.5 percent
4. Emotional upsurge: 17.5 percent                                    
5. Happy: 16.25 percent
6. Kiss: 15 percent
7. Do things together: 11.25 percent
8. Temporary: 11.25 percent
9. Sex: 11.25 percent
10.          Attention: 10 percent

Top 10 listed by Russians:

1. Being together: 45 percent
2. Sex: 25 percent
3. Walking: 24 percent
4. Unreal: 20 percent
5. Beach/sea: 19 percent
6. Joyful: 16 percent
7. Travel: 15 percent
8. Moon stars: 15 percent
9. Candlelight dinner: 10 percent
10.          Night: 9 percent

Top 10 listed by U.S. participants:                               


1. Being together: 38 percent
2. Happy: 35 percent
3. Friendship: 27 percent
4. Mutual: 20 percent
5. Care: 13 percent
6. Love: 13 percent
7. Sex: 13 percent
8. Comfortable: 11 percent
9. Connection: 10 percent
10.          Secure: 10 percent

I think it is very interesting that of all three countries "being together" is ranked as number 1.  Sex is a very different story; it jumps all over the place.  Lithuanina ranks sex at 9, while Russians rank sex at second and the U.S. follows at 7th place.  Apprently Russians associate sex with love at a very high level.  I wonder why that is?  Joy being associate with romantic love ranks very highly with Lithuaninans at second and 6th with Russians.  Americans according to this study don't associate "joy" at all on the top ten. Hmmm.


6 comments:

  1. Kind, Gentle, Thoughtful, Attentive, Exciting, Butterflies, Together, Giddy, Laughter, Kisses.

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  2. It would appear that Americans need there emotional needs met when engaged in a serious relationship.

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    Replies
    1. I do think that is healthy, beauty fades naturally with time. Physical ability diminishes also, but a real emotional connection will never fade.

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    2. But why would Eastern Europeans not need/want/ value that?

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  3. Maybe the adversity that has challenged those countries thru their history has changed their willingness to connect emotionally due to the potential loss.

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