Many of you have heard of the popular guide to understanding the opposite sex, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, written by John Gray nearly 15 years ago.  I remember initially thinking, "Oh, come on, isn't this a bit simplistic and gender biased?"  Now we have neuroscience to confirm much of what John Gray has written.  Our hormones play a HUGE role in affecting how our brains work and what each gender needs to create intimacy in the relationship.  Following are some research findings and Gray"s suggestions to enhance your dance of intimacy.  Experiment and see what makes each of you feel good.

So probably no big surprise,Gray says women need to be seen through communication!  Women often feel overwhelmed taking care of everyone and she needs conversation to relax and she builds oxytocin through sharing, before having "me" time.  Oxytocin is the security, comfort and bonding hormone.  It also lowers her stress.  Gray says men like to be seen for what they do!  When men feel successful doing something, they have a surge of testosterone.  Men like to hear "good idea" or "that makes sense."  Men need "cave" time to decompress; "me" time first to build his testosterone after a tiring day.  So when a modern couple comes home at the end of the day, their needs to build their oxytocin and testosterone can feel at odds.  Men want to retreat to their "cave" for awhile, and women who don't have an "off "switch in their brain, want to talk and begin necessary home activities.  She can easily feel resentful if not being helped, he can feel grumpy and unmotivated without a time out and also unsuccessful because he wants to know she is happy.

A few simple suggestions to test.  They can agree he takes a "cave" break and she tells him "when you are ready, here is the list of what I need."  (don't assume, "if he loved me, he would know")  When he comes out of his "cave" with renewed testosterone, he needs to be willing to listen to the woman share her feelings from the day.  (without having to "fix" of do anything)  This will give her a huge oxytocin surge.  If the man is listening and starts to feel criticized, he can ask her to "pause" and say some good things about him.  For women, bragging about an activity or event your partner did well will make him feel successful.  For men, when you are listening, making eye contact, asking questions, or asking her what she would like to talk about will create even more closeness.

Remember, little things make a BIG difference to each gender and you are bringing your differences together in ways that support each other getting what you need.  Together may you grow to appreciate the greater harmony and intimacy you can co-create.