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The Art of Loving: A Behaviorist Approach--jk




This article is written as advice for a woman; the genders could have been reversed.  The advice is significant in two ways.  First, happiness:  for no one state of affairs contributes more to happiness than romantic love; the advice is to promote its long-term contribution.   Second, this tract provides an exposure to scientific psychology.  As a skeptic, I must be critical of the unscientific psychologies.  As a utilitarian, I must seek to inform others of the potential to develop controls of behavior through scientific psychology. 



1.  The single best treatment to the wondering eye (and thus mind) is that of love making; viz., turning copulation into lovemaking.  Have him repeat words of love and respond to those words sexual.  Pair sexual reinforcement with love.  Have him demonstrate his love by how hard he gets and stays, keep asking him to show you his love by the tautness of his erection.  Delight in his enthusiasm.  Get his to meditate upon love when making love.  Have him approach you not out of horniness, but out of love.  When he gives you romantic hugs, you become aroused, when he simply grabs at you, you remain unresponsive.[i]  When he desires you, make him present himself in a romantic way; and have him remain focused upon you.  Throughout the day tease, touch, fondle, and kiss:  express love in a sexual way, blend the two.  The pleasure of sex is the strongest of all reinforcers.   Consistently associating sex and love, making love a condition for sex is the cement of pair bonding.



2.  Have discussions on having loving sex.  Lead into talking about how to make the relationship more loving and make your lives more enjoyable.  Get him to agree to do as much as you as to improving the relationship.  (Though I am writing of things you should do, of course he should be doing the male equivalent.)  As above stated, thoughts of love and words of love are to be expressed during sexual intercourse.  This meditation on love is not to end with the climax.  Make it a mantra, I love Dick; and his, I love Lucy (assuming those are your names).  Also think of ways to show love.  Show it in the little things like house cleaning, cooking, gardening and such.  Show it by helping him with work, by saving for your future, by doing things that improve the quality of both your lives.  There is a positive way to consume surplus cash and a piggish.  Make the positive choices.  Show it by being good company.  Being good company makes him want to do things with you.  And of course you must get Dick to mediate on love, talk about, whisper in each others ear the I love Dick and Lucy mantras.[ii] 


3.  Dick has a history of wondering thoughts that must be extinguished.[iii]    The pattern of lusting for women has been well established in the young man before you met him.  Dick masturbated thinking of a gaggle of women.  Daily he had flipped through a magazine’s pages while masturbating.  Now you enter the scene after this pattern has been set for a number of years.  Dick loves you, yet when making love in a longer session he has found that the thoughts of another woman are erotic.  When his rod is no longer his staff, thoughts of other women turn flesh into wood.  It is similar to when the picture spread on one lady was no longer sufficiently erotic, he would flip through the pages till he found one that aroused him.  This pattern of variety has been long established and thus will be repeated while making love with you:  he will climax imagining another woman’s breasts against him and his rod planted in her.  (What do you think is going through his mind when he seems distant while making love?)  This makes the amount of reinforcer associated with you less, and it reinforces the pattern of being with another woman. 


4.  This must stop.  Don’t make love while viewing a XXX movie.  Don’t permit him to buy girlie magazines.  Discourage his talking about past affairs.  Talk about the things you two have done.  Get him aroused about your past with him.   Wear items that turn him on.  Get him to think of you as the hot one.  And when love making build a dam so that he won’t think of other women. 


5.  Lovemaking is a team activity.  When love making. keep him centered on getting you to climax again and again.  Be vocal, say things, like, “Show Lucy what you can do.”   He ought to enjoy as your beloved your excitement, and conversely you ought to delight in his excitement.  By developing this habit you two will have longer sessions because they are more enjoyable.  Having Dick whisper in your ear terms of love makes it difficult for him to imagine intercourse with Jane.  When his excitement wanes, do things to rekindle it.  Have him concentrate on the rhythm that makes you cum.  Conversely concentrate on the rhythm that brings him to the edge. But have him be of the habit of hold back so as to make your session last longer.  A man can remain near the edge with practice for over an hour.   Breaks are another way to lengthen lovemaking.  An interruption of a phone call means that you can start over afterwards.   Maximizing pleasure is consistent with the utilitarian principle.  You should delight in each other’s pleasures, for being a team makes it delightful to give your partner pleasure.  Make it a team activity, like an instrumental duo playing some hot lick; you two feed off of each other’s enthusiasm. 


6.  Why should such thoughts of Jane arouse him?  One is the above reason:  the pattern of behavior before he met you.  But there is more.  Pleasures and pains in scientific psychology are called positive and negative reinforcers, and they are the key to understanding the process.  There are the strong positive reinforcers of sex, and the weaker ones of food, drink, good conversation, companionship, and like.  And there are the strong negative reinforcers from physical pain, and the weaker ones such as boredom, satiation, noisy environment, and verbal abuse.   The history of positive and negative reinforcements, in very complex ways, causes people to do what they do.  In complex ways they result in people doing what they know they shouldn’t, such as being obese, gambling their savings way, going on shopping sprees, being unfaithful, etc.    The building up of (and the tearing down of) being a loving couple involves the daily pleasures and annoyances.  


7.  One glimpse at this process was provided by B. F. Skinner (the greatest psychologist of all times).  He wrote, “Original sin is the difference between your pleasure and mine.”  The compromises and the manipulations for your pleasures--and he for his pleasures--slowly erodes the excitement of being a couple.  These compromises entail him doing things that are less reinforcing (pleasing):  doing things that are low on his hierarchy of reinforcers.  Seeing a movie that you like but he doesn’t, dining out when he rather stay home and eat while watching sports, visiting your relatives are three such examples.  The adversive stimuli and denial of reinforcers[iv] associated with these activities, they subconsciously affect his feelings towards you.[v]  The most common type of adversive stimuli is boredom, such as boring conversations, boring chores, etc.  You enjoy talking about work, but he is bored hear about it every day.  Adversive stimuli and doing lower pleasures (denial of higher reinforcers) take their toll.  The common simian response is getting even.  Getting even consists of him having you do things with him that are less pleasing, putting up with his boring conversation, smelling his tobacco smoke, listening to his crude comments, and many other needling things such as his slovenly appearance and the weight he has gained.  Another way to get even is for Dick to violate your trust.  The subconscious response to the adversive stimuli when he went to your parents and when he was bored with your conversation is to do things against you.  The subconscious response makes doing things that you don’t like, more reinforcing to him.  (Notice the difference in how you behave with a person you just met; there is no negative subconscious response.)  If he is too honorable to have an affair, he will have an imaginary one.  He will be much more tempted by other women then he was in his first year when he was with you.  The subconscious getting-even vector to his behavior increases the reinforcement when he has those unfaithful thoughts.  Things go on in the subconscious which he can’t control.  One type is paybacks generated subconsciously.  Adversive stimuli, the disease that makes the relationship ill; squabbles, anger, negative thoughts, and doing (including saying) annoying things are the symptom.  There are relationships where the symptoms are infrequent.  Those relationships have minimized the adversive stimuli.


8.  Imagine that each of you has a refrigerator.  Into that refrigerator you want to put the most pleasing foods and you want him to also put pleasing foods into it.  Now suppose a pleasant conversation, romantic hugs, a good time at the beach, satisfying sex are good foods; and boring conversations, hit-and-run sex, quarrels, and the many activities that keep you from doing more pleasant things, such as going to his parents when you could be at the beach, these are all rotten foods.  If Dick is stacking your refrigerator with more rotten than pleasant foods, you will have subconscious reactions to Dick that include talking too long about things that bore him, going oh shopping spree, going to your parents, etc.  The couples that remain loving over the years are the one who put in much more pleasing foods than rotten foods. 


9.  The psychology of the process:  recall the definition of positive reinforcers; they increase the frequency of the prior behavior.[vi]  The cardiovascular and mental stimulation of anger increases the frequency of the behavior that causes the anger, the prior event.  The positive reinforcer (pleasing stimuli) of a heartfelt kiss from Dick increases the frequency of your behavior prior to the kiss.  Building a loving relationship entails increasing the ratio of the romantic kiss to the behavior that produced the anger response; viz., to increase the ratio of desirable reinforcers to the less desirable ones.[vii] 


  10.  We’ve inherited the pattern whereby the use of adversive stimuli is reinforcing when done to a source of adversive stimuli.  As a child it was to do something back to your brother when he was picking on you.  Sometimes you just thought of doing something unpleasant to your brother.  This pattern continues as an adult.  The paybacks have become subtler as you grow older.  Thus it is important to develop a relationship where the subconscious drive to pay back is weak.  There are two things that can be done to reduce this divisive subconscious dynamics caused by adversive stimuli.  One is to avoid squabbling.[viii]  Discuss the issues; discuss the very behavior of squabbling.  Consider it low-class, something white trash do.  Couples of better up bringing and of good education, most of them control their behavior so as not to act like a couple of baboons.  Like theft and lying, it should be below you and him, a thing abhorred.  Squabbles, feuds, issues, and arguments are common because of their positive reinforcements.  They produce stimulation and thus are an avoidance behavior for boredom.  Practice other ways of avoiding boredom.  Stop reading the newspaper before you are bored, go for a walk when you been in the house too long.  By doing these things, you are less likely to start a squabble.  When together, avoid boring conversations, boring movies, and so on.  Don’t permit the squabble to break up the monotony.  You two must build a dam to the squabbles, anger, etc.  Avoid the boring and unpleasant things.  Silence is better than drivel.  If loud television annoys Dick when he reads, watch it in a different room.  The negative reinforcers change behavior, but with a high price tag.  The negative   reinforcers not only suppress the behavior, but they are associated with both the source and the location (such as you and home).  Develop positive, purer patterns of behavior to replace the native ones. 


11.  This doesn’t mean that he is not to go with you to your mother’s, to mow the lawn, or to go shopping, or see A Love Story.  Make the trip to your mother’s pleasant, stop some where on the way at a place he likes, be romantic while in the car, agree to do something that he likes in exchange, and him tell you won’t be staying at your mothers very long.  When he is mowing the lawn, make him a favorite lunch.  Give him a hug and say something appreciative about the yard.  Help out by weeding.  If the movie would really bores him, then go with someone else.  Let him see the body-count flick with his friends.  Just go to the films together that you both enjoy.  Develop common activities that you both enjoy.  Go to the gym together; learn to play tennis.  Know the limits; do the special things together.   In a poor relationship, the Lucy does not try to please her Dick when they go to her mother.  In a loving relationship, there are many things that Lucy will do to increase Dick’s enjoyment.  Increasing the enjoyment of an activity entails that Dick’s reluctance over time will melt.  Think of the refrigerator and what goes into it determines what comes out.   


12.  Develop pleasures in common.  Get him to go to the gym with you, and you can develop an interest in watching professional football.  Sharing an interest in his principle pleasures entails through the principle of stimulus generalization that he will develop a tighter bond with you.  Remember the strongest reinforcer is sex; center all its power, its effect upon behavior upon you.[ix] 


13.  It is essential that his sexual drive be satisfied.  Of all areas to avoid squabbling, lovemaking comes first.  Even on the issue of purity of thoughts, approach it bit by bit.  Don’t expect a 180 reversal in one day.  Work on things together in a calm and positive way.  Being understanding is the first step in solving a problem; being demanding results in avoidance behavior and squabbles.  There should be no squabbles over the frequency and duration of sex.  If his drive is stronger than yours, so what?  Enjoy his intensity.  If he finishes too soon, work on delaying his climax.  When he makes love to you full of loving thoughts he won’t climax early, for he will want to maximize your pleasure.  It is the subconscious--the getting even--that makes him a poor lover.  As the refrigerator gets filled with good food the behavior will gradually improve.   There can be too much blather, but not too much hugs.  Let your mind fill with loving emotions, and since you are reinforcing loving behavior, his mind too will merge sex with love.  By practicing the mantra of love, both of you will be inclined to frequent romantic hugs and petting.  The loving potential is great; maximize it.    


14.  The second way to change the dynamics of what is going on in the subconscious is to have a cooperative relationship.  About one mother in ten has mastered this technique.  The mother has become part of a team with her children and is both doing things for them and shaping their behavior so they have become a cooperative unit.  The kids are good because they like their mother (and they like their father).  The family pulls together as a team.  The same technique must be used to make you and him a team.  This requires reasonable behavior on both your parts.  Control your shopping behavior and delight in saving money.  Plan as a team what is reasonable, and do it.  Developing team behavior solidifies the marriage.  With the mantra of love and the avoidance of adversive stimuli to make you can have a life-long loving relationship. 


15. About 1 in 30 couples have a long-term loving relationship.  Make it your goal to be one of those rare couples.    I have both laid the psychological concept for developing the correct behavior and the key pleasant activities (thoughts and words of love plus romantic intercourse).  I have given advice on what not to do (squabble, bore, annoy, argue, feud, and like).  You will be amazed at how great an effect the mantra of love will have.  Get the most out of your natural sexuality and your natural drive to be in love.  Be one of those rare loving couples.



16.  There are no easy solutions, for you are no longer Lucy, but Nag—these are the type of thoughts you have of each other.[x]  You can no more turn in your mind Mr. Jerk into your once beloved Mr. Dick, than you could turn a jalopy into a new car.  Still things can improve bit by bit.  First I would start with counseling.  (Find a behaviorist).[xi]   By putting your money into your relationship, you have made an agreement to make it better.  Second, you will be reporting to your counselor about progress.  Third you two will now be thinking about and discussing what can be done, and this will lead to doing things differently.  You need to develop the habit of cooperation.   


17.          Changes in environment make a big difference.  For example live with someone else; their presence will cause you to treat each other better.  Travel and moving to a new area all will help you break the pattern.   Breaking the drug habit, especially those that cloud the mind are important.  Mastering real psychology, behaviorism, will help you plot a course of behavior modification.  And strenuous physical exercise will help—the best are sweat-soaked sheet sex and running.  Each activity helps. 



Diet, Techniques and Psychology another behaviorist analysis.

The Love of All Things:  The moral foundation for being a cooperative couple.

The Decalogue:  Greek Moral Philosophy Modernized:  A more philosophical approach to the topic of ethics.   

The Analysis of Human Operant Behavior, Ellen P. Reese is by far the best introductory work on scientific psychology (behaviorism).  Unfortunately it is out of print. 



1).  Introduction

2).  Meditation on love

3).  Wondering thoughts

4).  Stopping wondering thoughts

5).  Lovemaking as a team

6).  Reinforcers, the key to love and hate

7).  B.F. Skinner on the causes of conflict

8). Example of putting pleasing foods and rotten foods into a refrigerator

9).  Avoidance of the positive reinforcers of squabbling, anger and like

10).  Reinforcers and adversive stimuli

11). Making being together more fun

12). Share in his higher pleasures

13). Always be receptive to lovemaking

14). Cooperative relationship

15). Closing pitch

16 & 17). After word:  What to do about a very dysfunctional relationship 


Suggested readings



[i]   Consistency as to what you reinforce is very, very important, because you are trying to extinguish the old pattern of behavior.  A variable schedule of reinforcement is quite resistant to being extinguished. 

[ii]   From personal experience, I have noticed that sexual intercourse remains consistently exciting in a loving relationship where every time I make love it is an expression of my love, and I delight in the pleasure my beloved gets.   

[iii]   In psychology, extinguishing a behavior occurs when the associated positive reinforcers have been removed.  A positive reinforcer is an event following an act which makes the event more likely to reoccur; and a negative reinforcer makes it less like to reoccur.

[iv]  Punishment often consists not of causing pain but simply denying reinforcers.  The child is not allowed to have desert or watch television because she was bad.  Dick is denied in the example watching football, a bloody movie, etc. 

[v]  Adversive stimuli can be as ubiquitous as a boring conversation or movie.  

[vi]  A positive reinforcer increases the frequency of the prior behavior; and conversely for a negative reinforcer.  They are operationally defined; based upon observable consequences.  Most examples are complex and contain elements of both positive and negative reinforcers and occur in an on going continuous process.  Skinner’s genus was in finding simple behaviors and subjecting them to a single type of reinforcer (such as food or electric shock) on various schedules.  He isolated the basic units of behavior and examined experimentally, and from this developed a scientific psychology of behavior.  

[vii]  Epicurus, the most modern of the Greek philosophers advises us to seek the pure pleasures; i.e., the ones with minimal negative consequences.  That is what I am here proposing.

[viii]  Here I am naming one but referring to the entire family:  referring to not just squabbling, but also anger, negative, thoughts, annoying words, and like.

[ix]   If you are not up to making love, because suppose you are sick, don’t turn him away, don’t have him go in the bathroom angry and masturbate, but rather do something to relieve his sexual tension.  . 

[x]   If you believe it is hopeless, then it is; separate.  There are limits to change, and without major, major changes in your living circumstances, the changes are quite limited.  You at best will get him to treat you somewhat better.  If you can’t love him because he is a gross hog, a fat cigarette smoker, a crude oaf, and you can’t love such a person, then you never will love him again.  You can at best live together like friends; at worse the relationship will be a battleground. 

[xi]  The more off the therapist is in his understanding of behavior, the less effective he will be.  Freudians and other psychoanalysts are in left field.  Get one who concentrates on getting you two to behave differently. 

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