Friday, July 29, 2011

Is casual sex worth it?

Is casual sex worth it?

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him at his website,GoodInBed.
To do it, or not to do it: That is the question of casual sex - at least as depicted on film.
In both "Friends With Benefits" (currently playing) and the previously released "No Strings Attached," casual sex is anything but casual. It’s carefully weighed, hotly debated, methodically scrutinized and, of course, comically miscalculated. As in most romantic comedies, the casual sex turns out to be quite committed and just a part of falling in love and living happily ever after.
In the movies, blind lust and romantic love often intersect seamlessly, but in reality, casual sex is often an emotional dead-end rather than an on-ramp to relationship bliss.
Anthropologist Helen Fisher describes love as a three-phase system:
1) Lust, in which we can attach to anyone.
2) Attraction, in which lust finds its focus and blossoms into romantic love.
3) Attachment, in which romantic love matures into a long-term relationship.
Casual sex is often an expression of Phase 1 (lust at its most unfocused), but, unfortunately, many people go into it with the false hope that it will lead to romantic love. And that’s where life does not imitate the movies.
That’s not to say that casual sex is a bad thing. It can be loads of fun, as well as a way of trying out new things and practicing your sex skills for that future special person. But casual sex isn’t always so simple.
As my colleague Emily Nagoski, author of the Good in Bed Guide to Female Orgasms, writes, “Especially when it comes to having sex with someone for the first time, the question of what it is you actually want when you want sex is very complicated indeed. Because what do you want, when you want sex? Do you want to get laid? Do you want a relationship? Do you want love? Do you want revenge? Do you want to rebel? Do you want to get pregnant? ... Then there’s the question of whether or not (and what kind of) sex will get you what you want. Sex will get you laid. Whether or not it gets you a relationship or love or revenge or rebellion or a baby is less certain, and so the decision becomes complicated.”
Casual sex has its risks and rewards, although the movies tend to focus more on the risk of falling in love than, say, the very real consequence of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.
As the authors of "Sex in America" write of their interviews with more than 3,000 people, “Although we find that large numbers of Americans have had a sexually transmitted disease at least once in their lives, there is nothing random about where the diseases strike … the people who are most likely to be infected share one key characteristic: They have many sex partners.”
As it turns out, if a man has two to four sexual partners in his lifetime, his chances of ever having contracted a sexually transmitted infection are about 3%.
As the number of partners increases, so does the risk. With more than 20 partners, his risk is about 28%, almost a 1,000% increase. The same rough pattern is true of women, with the spectrum of percentages increasing from 5% to 35%.
It should therefore come as no surprise that the more partners a person has had, the more likely it is that he or she has engaged with those partners outside of a monogamous relationship, and that his or her partner falls into a similar pattern of casual sex, thereby greatly increasing the risk of having come into contact with  a sexually transmitted infection.
Casual sex could trigger a domino effect of risky behaviors.
“The more partners an individual has,” according to "Sex in America," “the more likely he or she is to have sex with people who themselves have many partners, the more likely he or she is to have sex with virtual strangers, the more likely she or he is to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol during some sexual encounters, and while it is more likely that a condom was used, the rate of increased use of a condom does not seem great enough to offset the higher risks of infection.”
I’m not trying to scare anyone out of casual sex. As Dr. Alex Comfort had to say in his book "The Joy of Sex," “There is no occasion for panic, or for losing out on the joy of sex - simply informed caution.”
So is casual sex worth it? You tell me. Like the recent spate of movies, does it ever have a happy ending?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Would You Dump Her if She Got Fat?

Half Of Men Say They Would Leave A Partner Who Gained Weight: Survey

It's been a rough year for women struggling with their weight.
Almost 50 percent of men surveyed in a new poll of 70,000 people said they would leave a partner who gained weight, reports MSNBC. In contrast, only 20 percent of women said they would ditch a significant other for putting on extra pounds.
James Bassil, editor-in-chief of AskMen, which cosponsored the poll with, said the study showed that "some romantic behaviors have proven to be timeless ones" including the notion that "size matters."
The survey results aren't the only recent data to indicate that men consider a woman's weight when evaluating a relationship. Last month, a study claimed that both husbands and wives were more satisfied with their marriages when the wife had a lower body mass index than the husband.
Defending her findings, Andrea Meltzer, lead author of the study, told ABC News, "It's relative weight that matters, not absolute weight. It's not that [women] have to be small."
The study didn't explore exactly how relative weight influences marital happiness.
Earlier this year, research suggested that a woman's weight may effect more than her relationships. A University of Michigan study found that in Iceland, the higher a woman's weight, the less likely she was to be employed. For men, higher weight was correlated with an increase in employment rates.
MSNBC, which covered the study under the headline, "Those extra pounds can hurt you at work, ladies," reported that another recent study, this one out of the University of Florida, found that women 25 pounds over the average weight earn $13,847 less per year than average-weight women.
But worrying too much about weight can also hurt a woman's career, according to a survey conducted by Dove in May. Fifteen percent of the 445 women who participated said worry about theirappearance had gotten in the way of their career advancement, and 20 percent said body concerns affected their day-to-day lives. And yet another study claimed that better body image helps women lose weight.
In other words, data tells women who are overweight, or think they are, that their body size can be problematic for their relationships and their careers. Yet worrying or feeling bad about it may hurt them at work and their chances of losing weight.
Men aren't without their own body anxiety, of course. The AskMen/ survey found that 51 percent of men wished they had a larger penis. However, unlike men, whose responses might reinforce women's insecurities about their bodies, only 18 percent of women said they wished their partner were better endowed.
Here are a few other findings from the survey, according to Reuters:
  • Male birth control: Both men and women liked the idea of a male birth control pill, in contrast to a recent New York Times article on male contraceptives stating that it's unclear whether men would use the pill.
  • Digital infidelity: 75 percent of men surveyed equated sexting with cheating. Two thirds of men had no problem with a partner friending an old flame on Facebook, but only 38 percent of women were okay with it.
  • Ultimate status symbol: 39 percent of men said family. 43 percent of women said a beautiful home, and 25 percent of women said a successful partner.
  • Kiss and tell: 50 percent of men said they had lied about their number of past sex partners, whereas only 35 percent of women had.
  • Who pays the bill: 38 percent of women said they should pay for themselves, while percent said men should. 59 percent of men said they should treat, at least at the beginning of a relationship.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dating: By far, it’s the summer’s hottest sport

Dating: By far, it’s the summer’s hottest sport
By Dina Z. Colada

This issue of Graffiti is supposed to be about football, among other things. Hmm, I really don’t know much about sports, at all. Seriously, I know of them, but I’ve never really been into them. My friend Ed said “I knew there was something wrong with you.” He nailed it.

I did go to my friends’ daughter’s lacrosse game last year, but not just to watch the match. I thought it would be a great place to watch for men. I did spy a few there, but the stands weren’t overflowing with them. Maybe I’ll reconsider this sports thing, but I’ll try out some different venues.

It seems like most guys are into sports. Maybe high school girls lacrosse doesn’t have top priority in the sports-minded men. Maybe I should dig a little deeper and attend some other sporting events. How about Pee Wee Football? Or a Little League game. I’m sure those stands have some cute single dads. Or what about college basketball, football or soccer? I’m getting warmer, and I don’t think girls softball games will be top priority on my list.

Well, dating is a sport. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s a contact sport, and a good one at that. So, I guess I am into sports. And I have found my favorite: dating. Dating can be as competitive as baseball, and when you don’t know the other team’s moves, it makes it that much more exciting. When you’re playing the dating game, things can be fun, get messy, physical, maybe even sweaty. There is also a possibility that you might get hurt.

But the desire to play with the opposite sex is stronger than getting tickets to a Pirates game, at least for me. Most women I know aren’t that into sports. So what is it about guys and sports? Maybe the catch phrase “He dribbles! He shoots! He scores!” has something to do with it.

Certainly, guys appreciate some competition, but not with the girl. When the girl is competitive, the guy thinks you are not on his team, and he’ll start to play against you. But if he’s playing against outside opponents, he’ll put on his best game face, fight off other players, and if he wins the girl, he gets loads of points.

But, if a girl plays games or uses strategies, the umpire in the guys head will scream “Steeeerike one!” If she complains or makes him wrong, the ump screams “Streeeeeike two!” If she doesn’t appreciate him, he screams even louder “Streeeeeerike 3 — she’s outta here!” Game over. There will be no overtime and certainly no playoffs. You won’t even get to wear your new uniform with tall stripey baseball socks. And the only replay you’re gonna get, will be the one in your head saying what did I do wrong?

So when that game is over, it’s time to look for a new team to play with, and there are plenty of other players. But don’t let the new team see all of your best moves in the first game. You’ve gotta leave the team hungry for the next game. Let him wonder what it’s like to hit a home run after he reaches first base.

In the dating game, you might get some bumps and bruises, but please don’t tackle anyone or get too defensive. Be brave, and learn to laugh when you fumble or completely miss the basket. When you think you don’t have a chance of winning, get out there anyway, and learn to play ball. And if the ball is in your court, learn how to throw it back. If you think your team doesn’t have the skills, or isn’t good enough to get at least a few points, you’ve gotta practice even more. And if you really need help you can hire an experienced coach.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Personality Characteristics of an Unfaithful Partner

Personality Characteristics of an Unfaithful Partner
By RICK NAUERT PHD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on July 26, 2011

What makes a partner stray? Sexual performance anxiety, for one; risk-taking tendencies in men, relationship issues for women.

These findings are part of a new study that is the first to look at how demographics, interpersonal factors and sexual personality affect infidelity.

For both men and women, personality characteristics and interpersonal factors are more relevant predictors than are religion, marital status, education or gender.

“Few studies on infidelity have gone beyond exploring demographics,” said Robin Milhausen, Ph.D., who conducted the study with doctoral student Kristen Mark and Erick Janssen, Ph.D., of Indiana University.

“This research shows that demographic variables may not influence decision-making as much as previously thought — that personality matters more, especially for men.”

The study was published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

The study involved 506 men and 412 women who reported being in monogamous sexual relationships lasting from three months to 43 years. Participants were asked to report on demographic variables such as religion, education and income. They also completed scales that measured sexual personality variables and answered questions about their relationships.

Remarkably, men and women reported similar rates of infidelity (23 and 19 percent, respectively). However, the factors associated with predicting unfaithfulness varied greatly by gender.

For men, significant predictors of infidelity are personality variables, including propensity for sexual excitation (becoming easily aroused by many triggers and situations) and concern about sexual performance failure.

While the fear of sexual performance failure would seem to be an odd reason to be unfaithful, researchers say this finding has been discovered in other studies.

One reason for this association may be that “People might seek out high-risk situations to help them become aroused, or they might choose to have sex with a partner outside of their regular relationship because they feel they have an ‘out’ if the encounter doesn’t go well – they don’t have to see them again, ” said Milhausen.

For women, relationship happiness is the key. Women who are dissatisfied with their relationship are more than twice as likely to cheat; those who feel they are sexually incompatible with their partners are nearly three times as likely.

“All kinds of things predict infidelity,” Milhausen said. “What this study says is that when you put all of those things together, for men, personality characteristics are so strong they bounce everything else out of the model. For women, in the face of all other variables, it’s still the relationship that is the most important predictor.”

Milhausen cautions against misinterpreting or overemphasizing the study’s findings.

“Taken at face value, this research might seem to just support sexual stereotypes: Women are just concerned about the relationship, and, for men, once a cheater, always a cheater, regardless of their relationship. But the caveat is that there are a lot of variants and factors that are not explained here that might impact whether someone cheats.”

Still, knowing that sexual personality characteristics — and, for women, relationship factors — are strong predictors suggests directions for therapeutic interventions, she said.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Post-Divorce Dating Club™ Launches Nationally

Post-Divorce Dating Club™ Launches Nationally
A new community dedicated to helping re-singles mix, mingle, & maybe meet, launches nationally

The Post-Divorce Dating Club™ (PDDC), a division of the Post-Divorce Group LLC, launched its website today for divorced, separated or people who have been in a long term committed relationship. PDDC combines both online dating with offline Miixzee's™, seminars, coaching, matchmaking, and post-divorce resources and services to help build a comprehensive support network around individuals looking to move past their divorce.

The PDDC was founded by Lee Block, a divorced mom of two, after she discovered the difficulty divorcees encountered when seeking out quality dating partners. Block is the author of The Post-Divorce Chronicles, a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, and a post-divorce coach as well. According to Block, CEO of the Post-Divorce Group LLC, “I noticed a common recurring theme that ran through my sessions. Dating. I then started to think about online dating, and how when you date online, what do you get? You get men and women that come from a different place than you and don't understand the place that you are at! How do you weed through all those people to find the like minded people you want to date? You can't just throw a man or woman who was married for 15 years out to the wolves on online dating and expect them to come back without a couple of limbs missing! So, Post-Divorce Dating Club was born.”

This site offers an all encompassing community. Everyone on PDDC is divorced, in the process of divorce or has been in a long term committed relationship. Some of the services that they offer are background checks and a professional profile writing service. It only takes 5 minutes to fill out your profile on this site. PDDC also offers an offline matchmaking service that is personalized and one on one.

The services and resources directory is searchable by city and state and there are several ways to learn online through teleseminars and webinars, as well as expert bloggers that cover topics ranging from relationships to finance. The offline Miixzee's™, where you can learn and mingle in a relaxed atmosphere, will be slowly starting up in major cities across the United States as the site grows and there is also a forum where you can chat and give suggestions for the site.

According to Block, “This community is growing quickly and the feedback has been excellent. We pride ourselves on our customer service and providing a safe place for re-singles to date and get to know each other. We are a positive upbeat unbeatable and downright unbelievable community for re-singles who want to mingle!”

PDDC is offering the first 500 people who join a free 6 month membership through August 15, 2011. For more information about the PDDC, please email lee(at)postdivorcedatingclub(dot)com or visit the website at

Friday, July 22, 2011

9 Secrets Men Keep From Women

Relationship Confidential: A Woman's Guide to Evasive Guys

9 Secrets Men Keep From Women

You may have married Honest Abe, but many men still keep some of their emotions top secret. A relationship expert explains why they stay so hush-hush.
Medically reviewed by Niya Jones MD, MPH

Ever wish you could delve into the male mind to figure out what he’s reallythinking? For ages, women have tried to interpret “guy-psyche” — why he didn’t he call; why he did call you by his ex’s name. But every man is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all explanation for guys’ cryptic tendencies. However, research has found a number of surprising parallels. From his fears of commitment to his fondness for cuddling, certain emotions cause many men to freeze up rather than open up. Here are the top secrets guys keep (and why).

He Loves You, He Loves You Not

Those “three little words” could be the most complex in the English language. While some men prematurely pull the trigger on the "L word" (a recent study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that guys tend to say “I love you” first, often driven by the idea that their partner will be more likely to have sex with them) — other guys just aren’t that good at getting the words out. Instead, they show their love through their actions. How can you know for sure? Those actions may be a truer indicator of his feelings than any passion-fueled colloquy, says Irina Firstein, LCSW, a relationship counselor who has advised couples in New York City for more than 20 years.
He Loves You, He Loves You Not

He Has Cold Feet

Men often have a harder time picking up on subtle relationship cues — and because of this, your man may not be aware of the point in which your bond has moved to a higher expectation of commitment. In fact, some guys get anxious about becoming attached, even if they seem to enjoy the relationship. "Men often 'rubber band,' withdraw, or pull back if they feel like the relationship has moved beyond their comfort zone," Firstein notes. This new territory can take a man by surprise — even if you felt like he was forging ahead at the same pace you were.
He Has Cold Feet

He Gets Performance Jitters

Do men think about sex a lot? Sure they do, but their fears of sexual inadequacy may be just as frequent. If a man has ever had an unsuccessful go at sex (and most of them have! — flopped romps can be triggered by common missteps such as drinking too much), his stress in the bedroom can stockpile — which can eventually lead to sexual dysfunction. Many men will even avoid sex rather than talk honestly about their fears with their partner, and this can harm both the sexual health and the emotional health of a relationship.
He Gets Performance Jitters

He's Not Crazy About Monogamy

Some men stay mum about the extent of their sexual desires. "Freedom, and particularly sexual freedom, and variety are typically more important to men than to women,” says Firstein. “Many married men feel that they love their wives and, at the same time, have no problemscheating." This difference between men and women can be one of the most damaging to a couple because of the sense of betrayal it can create (even if he never actually strays).
He's Not Crazy About Monogamy

He Wants You to Initiate Sex (and Cuddling)

You may think sexual desire is hard-wired in men, but with every attempt at turning you on comes a threat of rejection — even in the most established relationships. That’s why it’s such a turn-on when a woman makes the moves, allowing him to skip the risk altogether. And it’s not just sex he wants: One recent study from the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University actually found that cuddling and caressing in a relationship are more important to men than women. Next time, be the sexual pioneer — it could strengthen the health of your relationship more than you realize.
He Wants You to Initiate Sex

He's Depressed

Depression has no gender bias: It can strike anyone, including the most macho of men. However, studies show that men who are depressed are less likely to open up about their sadness or lack of energy than women. Instead, they are more likely to avoid sex, say they’re overtired, or drink more. "Some men are uncomfortable about feeling sad, and their sadness or depression may come out as anger," warns Firstein. Depression is one of the most dangerous secrets a man can keep, so if you think a male in your life could be depressed, it’s important to let him know that you’re concerned.
He's Depressed

He Suppresses (Instead of Addresses) Doubt

Some men are instilled with the notion that they shouldn’t show signs of fear or doubt; eventually, those doubts and fears can snowball into big secrets, ones they may keep even from themselves. But when his undisclosed apprehensions involve his relationship — whether it’s about getting married or bringing you along to “guys’ night” — both partners’emotional health is at risk. "Men may postpone a marriage engagement as long as possible and then propose because they think it is the right thing to do,” Firstein says. “They frequently get anxious or distant right before a wedding because they have not fully dealt with their doubts or fears."
He Suppresses (Instead of Addresses) Doubt

He Feels Afraid of His Own Feelings

Doubt isn’t the only emotion men stay hush-hush about — in fact, some guys have a hard time opening up about a range of feelings. "Because many men are problem solvers and are uncomfortable talking about feelings, there are a number of intense feelings that don't get expressed with words, but rather acted out," notes Firstein. The good news? Men aren’t Neanderthals. The emotions are there; they just need to be uncovered. And if ‘fessing up about his feelings remains a stumbling block, he may need to seek relationship advicefrom a professional.
He Feels Afraid of His Own Feelings

And the Biggest Secret Men Keep…

Here’s a fact: Men need (and want) intimacy just as much as women do. Mutual respect, trust, support, and communication — these relationship musts are just as important for a man's emotional and sexual health as they are for a woman's. When both partners are able to open up and let their relationship develop at its own pace, that love will be nurtured by positivity — rather than stunted by secrets.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mila Kunis Thinks 'Friends With Benefits' Relationships Can Work

Mila Kunis Thinks 'Friends With Benefits' Relationships Can Work

Co-stars Bryan Greenberg, Patricia Clarkson aren't so sure.

In spite of the rather raunchy, nearly naked ad campaign for "Friends With Benefits," the movie's all-star cast, including Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, turned up fully clothed at the romantic comedy's world premiere Monday night at New York City's Ziegfeld Theatre.

But on a hot, sweltering night devoted to celebrating no-strings-attached relationships, the topic of sex came up early and often. So, of course, we had to ask the film's stars if they thought a friends-with-benefits relationship like the one depicted in writer/director Will Gluck's July 22 release could really work long-term.
"Not in my life because I've tried it and failed miserably," laughed Bryan Greenberg, who plays one of Kunis' suitors.
For the most part, Greenberg's co-stars were of the same opinion.
Jenna Elfman, who plays Timberlake's sister, said, "I've been with my husband for 20 years, so I haven't first-hand attempted a friends-with-benefits lifestyle." But she still had her reservations: "I really, frankly, don't think it's workable."

"For some people, yes; for me, not so much," Patricia Clarkson agreed.

Even Gluck, the film's writer/director, admitted he thinks it's an impossible undertaking. "I think the scenario works very briefly and in college — everyone else is kidding themselves."

The sole dissenter was Kunis, who said it all depends on your definition of "works." "Sure! I mean, you get upgraded or downgraded; it switches and takes different positions. You get promoted, or you get fired."

Do you think a friends-with-benefits relationship can work? Will you see the flick? Tell us in the comments!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Women who are looking for perfect-10 men are judging us based on the 6 Sixes

Women who are looking for perfect-10 men are judging us based on the 6 Sixes

  • What You Need To Know
  • Women who are looking for perfect-10 men are judging us based on the Six Sixes.
  • Not every guy's car has to have 600 horsepower, but econo-boxes won't do.
  • The most important criterion is the one you fear the most.
"Women have come up with a system of their own to weed out the average Joes from the Brad Pitts."
You know how men use a scale from 1-10 to determine a woman’s attractiveness? A 10 is a smoking-hot babe a la Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and a 1 is something that crawled out of a murky Louisiana swamp. Well, women have their scale too, and it’s called the Six Sixes. But unlike men's method, which judges women based solely on their appearance, the Six Sixes evaluates men on their bodies, their income and their ability to…perform
In other words, women have come up with a system of our own, created to weed out the average Joes from the Brad Pitts. Shallow? Perhaps, but don’t think she’s not judging you. Unless she’s a gold digger and solely out for the cash, most gorgeous, independent women are going for the gold: the crème de la crème of men. Put plainly, we're looking to score as many sixes as we can. The more sixes a girl can score, the better. A ten-incher or a seven-figure salary can make up for a lack in the other departments, but if you’re majorly missing one of the below, you might want to start working on filling in the gaps. Read on for a breakdown of the Six Sixes.

A Six-Figure Salary

These days a six-figure salary isn’t much, but it’s sure as hell better than a five-figure salary. Five figures is fine for your average Joe, but to many ambitious women, five figures screams middle class. A successful woman is searching for someone who can treat her to the finer things in life: last-minute weekends in Paris, vacations in Bali and expensive dinners. But it’s not just about the material things. No matter how equal women become to men, when it’s all said and done, money equals power and masculinity. A man who earns a lot of money can more easily take care of his family. And to a lot of us, that is way sexy.

At Least Six Feet Tall

It almost goes without saying that taller men are more attractive to women. Six feet is a good starting point; it’s sort of like how guys think of a 36C cup size. Height suggests safety and security
. We like to feel small and protected in the arms of our guy. A man who’s two inches taller than us is not likely to make us feel sexy or taken care of. More likely we'll feel like we're hanging out with a friend -- and that is not going to get us hot and bothered.

A guy who's flabby? Not so much."

At Least 600 Horsepower In His Car

All right, a guy doesn’t absolutely need a 600-horsepower car. But he does have to drive a car that’s powerful. A Chevy Aveo isn’t going to cut it. A Mercedes, BMW, Lexus or Bentley is a good pick for the fancier girl. For a more laid-back type, an SUV or Audi would be a good choice. But no matter what, station wagons, hatchbacks, minivans, or small budget cars are out if you want to impress Dream Girl.

A Six-Pack Abdomen

six-pack is just an added bonus, but it’s a big one. Sure, a guy without one can be attractive, but there’s nothing more pleasurable than touching a guy who’s hard as a rock. It makes sex that much more fun. Plus, a guy in shape is more likely to go all night. A guy who’s flabby? Not so much.

At Least Six Months Since Last Relationship

This is an important one for anyone, male or female. If a woman is looking for a keeper, she’s looking for someone emotionally available, and that means someone who is well over his last relationship and not looking for a quick fix for his broken heart. There’s nothing worse than knowing you are the rebound girl.

At Least Six Inches Below The Belt

This sixth point of the Six Sixes is likely to be the one that makes guys the most nervous -- or the most confident, depending on where they stand. To be fair, not all women need a guy who’s at least six inches. But those women are generally not highly sexual. For the rest of us, a minimum of six inches is essential if we want to get off. Lest you think this is superficial, think again. It’s a matter of basic physics: A larger penis makes it easier to hit the g-spot, therefore making it easier to orgasm. A wider penis causes more friction, which enhances pleasure. So if you’re not packing down below, make sure you’ve got those oral and fingering skills down pat.

The bottom line? The Six Sixes are a way for women to measure her man’s virility. If you’re lacking in one of the above, start making some changes -- or settle for being just average.