New Year’s resolutions are usually mechanical, empty promises we feel forced to make to ourselves and our friends during our requisite hungover brunch on January 1st. Somewhere between Eggs Benedict and home fries, we determine that our life will be revolutionized by a single flick of a word-of-the-day calendar. But some of these resolutions are specifically lame and tired: “I will lose 15 pounds and stop eating so many carbs,” you assure yourself over buttermilk waffles. Then you make the trite “I will save money” pledge right after you order your second round of $13 mimosas.
But what if we actually held onto our resolve past January 12th and made a concerted effort to change things about ourselves that we actually can change, and that, frankly, really do matter? Yes, I’m talking about your love and sex life, that cowering, gigantic elephant in the room. Use the wisdom 2013 threw onto our laps. Here are four New Year’s resolutions you really ought to keep.
1. Quit Smoking (For Your Sex Life)
I’m not here to preach down the mountain about whether or not you should waste money on cancer sticks that will most likely end your life quite painfully. That’s totally your business, and do whatever you want on your own time. I am here to say: Remember your boners.
Smoking has been proven to increase men’s trouble getting and keep an erection. That’s because your lovely neighborhood erectile dysfunction is caused by insufficient blood flow to the penis. Marlboros and their ilk prevent blood from getting into the penis for those super fun and consistent sexy times. Don’t worry, ladies: Smoking will wreak havoc on your innards, too. The toxins absorbed while smoking speed up the loss of a woman’s eggs, messing up the whole baby-making factory. A little bit of tobacco and nicotine = a lot of noodley penis and barren wombs.
Bonus reason to just stop: Smoking makes you age quicker. And bad breath. Oh, the bad breath.
2. Clean Your Sheets
Nothing says, “Oh, baby I am so turned on” quite like being thrust upon a sediment-filled, dog hair-covered mattress on which you can identify the remnants of about three different take-out meals. Please, wash your sheets with frequency and always between sex partners. This year a British study found that clean sheets are one of the biggest turn-ons for women and men. (So how come men only statistically change their sheets four times a year!?). Round up the quarters. Throw the sheets in with your underwear. It’s not hard, and everyone benefits.
3. It’s Okay to Like Your Phone, But Put It Away on Dates
If you listen to surveys, you realize we choose practically everything over sex: chocolate, sleep, reruns of Sherlock. A survey from Telenav found that one-third of Americans would rather do without sex than without their cell phones. Even worse, 28 percent of iPhone users and 23 percent of Android users would rather go a week without seeing their loved one than give up their phone. Which makes sense if you are Joaquin Phoenix play-acting a relationship with an operating system, but not so much if you’re a real, live human being who wants to engage in successful romantic relationships with humans.
It might be hard, but don’t ignore your dates by checking Facebook, texts, and Twitter while you’re out with them. Those things don’t matter at the moment. Look up from your lap: There’s a breathing human that showered their body for you. Converse with this human. They are your real chance of getting laid on this blessed occasion. Anyway, people who check their phones all the time are proven to be more likely to be anxious and unhappy. It’s not that ridic to stay disconnected for two hours in order to make an actual connection. Instagram will be there for your walk of shame (or pride).
4. Start Paying For Your Dates, Ladies and Gentlemen
In a study released this year, 84 percent of men said they paid for most expenses in a relationship. Although 57 percent of women said they offer to help pay, 39 percent of them are really hoping the guy declines the offer. And though a large majority of men feel guilty about accepting women’s money for dates, 44 percent would actually break up with a girl if she never offered to pay for herself. What’s even more wild is about one in five men ages 18-25 thinks a woman should have sex with them in return for their paying for a date. Which may seem bonkers, backwards, and terrible — but so is expecting a man to always shell out for a night on the town. This is a torrid cycle of economic-sexual guilt and resentment. Let’s end it all in 2014 and just go Dutch. Or Venezuelan. Or Floridian. Or whatever you want. But men and women should get over this regressive gender role and see each other’s wallets as equals. Relationships aren’t a transaction; they’re a fun give-and-take.
Image via Veer.