How to Be a Better Lover

This made me laugh out loud when I searched Google for “be a better lover” images.

Today is Valentine’s Day, and I’m here to teach you how to be a better lover. But probably not in the way that you’re thinking.

I read a fascinating article in the NY Times the other day about love. The article covers a lot of different topics, and I’d highly recommend it. But one point jumped out at me as particularly interesting. I’m skipping over some of the fine points to get to the key takeaway for you.

A research study was conducted to gauge a person’s ability to love. The group of people in the study were asked to meditate for one hour a week, with the focus of their meditation to “cultivate feelings of tenderness, warmth, and compassion for another person.” It was a selfless meditation, opposed to meditation or prayer where the focus is on what you want.

The participants’ ability to love (I won’t go into the details on how they measured this, but it’s scientifically grounded) significantly increased after practicing this type of meditation for a few months.

Now, meditation may or may not be for you. But the point is that you can be a better lover by focusing more on other people than yourself. And not just a better lover, but a better friend, leader, teacher, business person, etc. I’ve written about this concept in a leadership post called Make It About Them. You will be more successful at everything–with love at the top of that list–if you are selfless instead of selfish.

Consider this theory as you go about your Valentine’s Day. If you’re married or dating someone, how can you make the day about your partner  instead of you? If you’re single (especially if you don’t want to be single), how can stop thinking about your singledom and focus on other people–perhaps the other single people who are struggling with the same thing?

Simply by shifting your mindset away from yourself, you will expand your capacity to love and feel more fulfilled by doing so. At least, that’s what the NY Times says.

If you do have a Valentine’s Day date, here’s an entry I wrote a few years ago about gauging seduction intent, and here’s another one about how to have a great date.

2 thoughts on “How to Be a Better Lover”

  1. I actually think this may be my favorite post you’ve written because it is so easily and obviously true.

    First, it’s biblical….some people might not care about that, but hey, it is.

    Secondly, I’m surprised they even need a scientific study to “prove” this. The happiest relationships/marriages I’ve ever seen are those where each of the people involved are focused on selflessly serving and loving the other.

    To take it completely out of a lover type context, let me give you the example of M. He was my boss for a summer in Panama City Beach, FL. He owned a Subway and an adjoining ice cream shop and I was a sandwich artist (and yes, I gave nice people extra stuff on their sandwiches and didn’t charge them!). He was the best boss ever….he went out of his way to welcome me to PCB for the summer, asking me and co-workers over to have dinner with him and his wife, giving us free meals for each shift, sneaking extra tips in the tip jar, making my favorite ice cream just for me (homemade peach with chocolate chips…delish!). Basically, he made me want to work harder and be better for him. M also had a heart problem and wasn’t supposed to do anything strenuous (he was elderly) and so I started coming in early to mop the ice cream shop and get it ready for the day. He found me one morning and tried to pay me, but I insisted that I wanted to do it for him. He inspired such love and devotion that I sought out ways to serve him.

    THIS is love, and not the kind that’s shaped like a heart and is filled with chocolate. It’s the kind where you want to serve them, not because you’ll get anything back but because it just a mutual respect and love.

    People talk about it every once in awhile, but in my home, church and heart, it’s an every day thing 🙂 For those I truly love, you’ve got it all, all the time. And THAT’S a God thing, because I’m pretty selfish.

    • Ansley–Thanks for your lovely reply. To your second point, I think the science was interesting to me because it went beyond loving people who you already love. When people meditated, they thought about all sorts of people–even strangers who they passed in the street. I thought that was interesting.

      I love the story about your boss, and it warms my heart that you went out of your way to do something for your boss that didn’t benefit you at all (except to expand your capacity for event greater love). That’s awesome. That’s an awesome kind of love.


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