Hugh Hefner and Crystal HarrisAP
Anna PotterGood in Bed
Jan. 21, 2009: Rex Ryan poses with his wife, Michelle, during a news conference to introduce Ryan as the Jets' new head coach.AP
Up this week: Sex with a very old man and the fumblings of a foot fetishist. What can we learn from the tabloids?
Boy, there’s a lot of buzz right now about Hugh Hefner and his 24-year-old bride-to-be. The 84-year-old’s proposal on Christmas Eve to Crystal Harris had us all (particularly, his ex, Holly Madison) thinking, “Say what?” Former relationship drama aside, what in the world is going on in this “He could be your father!” relationship?” – er, make that grandfather!
The couple offered up the understatement of the year in a recent interview with People, saying that they’re “not traditional.” Now, the 60-year age gap has definitely got me tilting my head, but I’m also thinking: What’s the big deal?
They claim to be madly in love and have a lot in common – they had the same major in school, they both share a love of travel and staying in, their friends get along, and they even share views on children (they don’t want any).
A good, solid foundation of love is a great thing to have, but what about the things that make a life together work?
Maybe we can take a page from this non-traditional relationship and apply it to our own lives.
If you’re thinking about committing to your partner, here are some important questions to ask and things to consider:
Do we want to have children? If so, do we want to have biological children or adopt? What is our birth control plan? How many children do we want? How will we divide child care, both in terms of one partner working more or less, and in terms of financial expenditure?
How is your credit? What are your career goals? Do you have any debt?
How will we divide up the household responsibilities? How often should we clean, and who should do the cleaning? What about cooking? Who will be in charge of replenishing household supplies, like toilet paper?
Says Ian Kerner, co-author of 52 Weeks of Amazing Sex: “Ideally, how often would you like to have sex? How open are you to giving and receiving in bed? What are some of your fantasies? Do you feel that it is important to be monogamous? What would you do if you found out I were having an affair? How open are you to exploring our fantasies?”
Now, we know that Hef and his fiancée have talked about having children, and we also know that they don’t have to worry about money. Presumably, their household chores are taken care of, and as for sex? She’s said a number of times that she has to keep up with him -- that “he’s the one with all the energy!”
Shifting gears, another presumably non-traditional celebrity relationship making headlines right now -- New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan and his wife Michelle. Everyone’s up in arms about his supposed foot fetish -- a number of videos have cropped up of a woman who at least bears a very striking resemblance to Michelle Ryan, displaying, touching and talking about her feet. The man behind the camera (presumably Rex Ryan) occasionally cuts in, asking if he can touch her feet, and she obliges. And everyone on the Internet is freaking out about it.
Rex Ryan has repeatedly refused to answer questions about the videos, claiming that it is a personal matter. I say: Cheers to the Ryans! Shoot, the whole thing is almost cute: She’s relaxed, soft-spoken and graceful as she talks to the camera, and the videos would get a rating of PG-13 at the most. Both partners are obviously on board with the videos and their content. We all have our thing, and if my boyfriend had a huge desire to give me a foot rub every day, I can’t say I’d be totally opposed to it … would you?
Columnist Dan Savage suggests that the best lovers are GGG: good in bed, giving to their partner(s) and game for anything (within reason). It’s clear that the couple has had a number of healthy, open conversations about what they want from their sex lives with one another, and if the foot thing was a one-sided desire, it’s obvious that the other partner took one for the team: the very definition of a good, giving and game lover.
Are you GGG? When was the last time you had a frank discussion with your partner about your desires? Open and clear communication can never be oversold in a relationship, and it looks like the Ryans and the soon-to-be Hefners are doing it right.
Anna is completing her Master's of Public Health with a focus on sexuality and health at Columbia University. She has worked with youth and women of all ages, with a focus on empowering others to take responsibility for and control of their emotional and sexual health. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she created and implemented the now-annual Orgasm Awareness Day. She can be contacted at GoodinBed.com.