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By Sam Zanahar (2010)
In the perspective of materialistic psychology, love is just an emotional attachment process. This sounds so plain, but nevertheless is the basis on which some interesting phenomena can be explained.
In a large part of Asia marriages are still arranged by parents and families. Arrangements are often made on purely rational grounds. In countries as different as Jordan and Cambodia, daughters are usually married to distant relatives. Everybody knows about arranged marriages in India or Saudi Arabia where fathers decide who gets their daughters. In rural Thailand and in Cambodia, it's the mother, not the daughter, who has to be asked.
The amazing thing is that statistics prove that arranged marriages are no less happy, and even more stable, than so-called love marriages as they are entered into by young couples in the West.
Through the ages, mothers have comforted their young daughters by the time they where married off that they don't have to worry; love will come by itself. And so it does.
To a certain extent, love is just the psychological result of extreme closeness. As long as the two primary parties involved in an arranged marriage treat each other decently (which means, in accordance to the customs of a place), and as long as the social foundation is sound and the union blessed by the two families involved, love indeed will usually evolve. Sexual intercourse is the extreme closeness out of which it results.
As long as Western ideas of a sexually fulfilled live for the female part don't disturb such unions, they are amazingly harmonious though often a bit dull. This is because in a large number of primarily Asian countries from the Arab peninsula to Korea, women traditionally are in the belief that sexual satisfaction is something largely for men.
However, in some of these countries, Western influence has provoked a sexual revolution of sorts. And like in the West in the sixties and seventies of the past century, the sexual revolution is first of all a media event. Women's magazines, for example, publish articles about the sexual satisfaction of women, thereby raising expectations. Young wives who previously thought that nothing was wrong with them, would now wonder why they don't experience those contractions called orgasm when they are copulated with by their husbands. And unmarried women become curious and willing to try intercourse.
Western experience teaches that sex is best during, not after sexual revolutions. There is a specific sexual attractiveness to the breaking of taboos. But this attractiveness can only be felt when on the one hand, traditions are still strong enough to make for an unclear conscience, and on the other hand, an atmosphere of sexual revolution raises reward expectations from the breaking of these taboos.
Whether better sex makes for better love, is still an open question. Sexual revolutions with a component of recognizing women's sexual expectations have the common characteristic of making a large number of men feel like losers. This results from the fact that traditional sexual techniques are usually inadequate to fulfill the expectations of women who assert their right to be satisfied. And men in such transitional societies usually also lack the psychological techniques to provoke love in the competition-driven sexual market place we are used to in the West.
Here and there, now and then, love manifests itself in the exclusivity by which a human female wants to accept only a specific human male as sexual partner, and actually only imagines that specific male in this role. In traditional, pre-sexual revolution Asian societies, women who are strongly bound into specific roles by customs and traditions, and who have very low sexual expectations, would easily comply with this definition of love. Traditionally, they are not only faithful in deed but in thought as well. They often enough wouldn't even dream of another male, regardless of whether they experience sexual satisfaction with the one they are with, or not. To achieve this dedication on the part of a woman in a market economy of sex and love, is, of course, much more challenging. (cha)
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Copyright Sam Zanahar