It may seem perverse, but people often bond over how much they dislike something – or someone. In fact, if you play your cards well enough, hating the same things may be the best way of ending up in bed with someone you fancy.
Here are some random things I hate: peanut butter; people who dawdle on busy pavements; Johnny Depp; vodka; nuclear orange cheese; David Avocado Wolfe; and John Legend’s ‘All of Me’, a song as romantic as plastic carnations performed by a man in the throes of a wedgie.
If you agree with me, we may fall madly in love and move some place exotic — like the Maldives or Mullingar.
In the past week I have been asked twice how a single person should set about finding true love. I’ll be honest — I’m fucked if I know. Sure, you can trawl for potential mates on dating apps, at evening classes, through mutual friends, at work, in the pub and at meet-ups, but it’s a crap-shoot whether you’ll actually find anyone you fancy. But if you do, there are a couple of things that can help turn attraction into love – or at least into overnight affection.
Funnily enough, hatred is one of them.
A 2011 study, conducted by Jennifer Bosson from the University of South Florida, revealed that gossip, especially the nasty variety of thrashing someone helps people bond. “There’s something really powerful about the discovery of shared negative attitudes,” she says.
Bosson found that denigrating celebrities worked just as well as gossiping about acquaintances. Which may explain Kim Kardashian’s enduring presence in the media. Either way, mutually hating a third person, or thing, helps us form social bonds. This is because by doing so, we create an Us vs Them scenario — or as scientists would say, an “in-group” in direct contrast to a specific “out-group.”
Given this, it’s surprising it has taken so long for someone to monetise Bosson’s findings. But this research informs the thinking behind the newest dating app, Hater. Hater matches people on their dislikes instead of their likes. It launched in February – but it originally began as a joke. Its creator, Brendan Alper, left his job at Goldman Sachs to become a comedian and the idea was part of his set. But he suspected that there might be something in it, so he did some reading and realised, hey ho, he was correct.
FEELINGS OF INTIMACY
You’d think, what with Tinder, Bumble, Happn and Grindr, the dating and hook-up app market would be saturated — and it probably is. but I suspect that this idea may just be freaking genius. For one thing, dating apps generally require us to put our best face forward, both literally and figuratively. Hell, Bumble now wants its users to upload 10 second videos to give potential matches greater insight into their lives, turning online dating into a full time social media marketing job.
Hater, at very least, lets you be negative and bitchy — two things women, in particular, are cautioned to avoid, but which most of us, men and women, generally love to do.
The path to true love doesn’t necessarily have to be littered with malicious gossip, tattered reputations and hour-long bitch-fests. Hatred isn’t the only odd thing that prompts sexual attraction — fear does too. Studies have found that exciting, or scary experiences, enhance feelings of attraction. The psychologist Arthur Aron and colleagues had a female interviewer stop male passersby to ask them questions. One set of men were crossing a swinging suspension bridge and the other was on firm bridge. Afterwards, when asked for their opinion of the interviewer, the blokes on the suspension bridge rated her as far more attractive than the men with their feet on firm ground.
This seems to be because danger stimulates adrenaline, and adrenaline is closely related to dopamine — the chemical most associated with romantic love. Because of this, biological anthropologist and love expert Helen Fisher recommends rollercoaster rides and horror films as a way of sparking romantic and sexual interest. Ugh, no thanks Helen! I hate horror movies!
If you don’t fancy bitching or terrifying your date, you could always try interrogating them. Aron also came up with a series of thirty-six questions, which he claims promote feelings of intimacy and attraction.
The questions start off fairly innocuously. They include asking your date about their ideal dinner guest and to describe their perfect day. The questions then get more probing. The thinking behind this is that sustained personal self-disclosure, if reciprocal, makes us feel close to one another.
INSECURE AND SEXIST
That’s probably true, but deep personal revelations are a bit hardcore for a first date. Do you really want to discuss your relationship with your mother when trying to get laid? Nope, me neither. Hell, I’d go so far as to say that most people would hate that.
Finally, you could try being funny — but only if you are a man. Wit and the ability to make someone laugh are a sign of intelligence. In the words of psychologist David Buss, humour “requires social intelligence, and it takes social verve or confidence.”
When asked what they want in a long-term partner, both men and women cite a “good sense of humour” as important — so often that it’s been a cliché for years. But it seems that women want men who will make them laugh, while men want women who’ll laugh at their jokes.
A 1998 study found that using humour makes men more attractive to heterosexual women. However, the men rated funny women as less attractive, no matter how physically alluring they were.
Ugh, insecure and sexist men! That’s another thing I hate. In fact I could rant for hours about that! Not to mention Donald Trump, Milo Yiannopoulos, Theresa May, the awfulness of films from the DC Extended Universe, the inexplicable popularity of Justin Bieber, and the fact that Avril Lavigne is threatening to release a new album this year.
If that sounds like your idea of fun, come on over. I’ll get the wine and biscuits…
She is a US citizen. But, if Donald Trump has his way, her name will go into a new kind of black book: the so-called Muslim Register. Hend Amry has been commenting on the shift to right-wing populism in the US and elsewhere via Twitter, under the @libyaliberty handle, earning an impressively large following in the process…Read More
A musician by trade, Quentin Sheridan was homeless – and so he put out a call on Facebook. The occupation of Apollo House by Home Sweet Home is the result. But it is only the start of a battle, in which Ireland can provide the leadRead More
The singer has issued an invitation to the Minister for Housing to visit Apollo House, in Dublin, which has been occupied by campaigners who aim to bring an end to homelessness.Read More
With the exception of condoms, the responsibility for avoiding pregnancy has generally fallen on women. But men are entitled to control their own fertility too. The question is: how?Read More
Helena Mulkerns’ new short story collection draws on her extraordinary experiences as an aid worker, which brought her to the heart of conflict zones in Eritrea and Afghanistan.Read More
It might sound complicated – but I was very impressed indeed with Laura when she gave such a wonderfully precise definition of her sexual identity. Which got me thinking: what about all of those other interesting shades of sexual orientation? Well, it turns out that there is a word for most all of them!Read More
Cannabis lube, that is. And, based on our sex columnist's personal experiments, it heightens sexual pleasure only for women. Sadly, you won’t get it over the counter in Ireland – though that might change in the future. We hope…Read More
In terms of our understanding of the human mind, it is important to remember that we are only ever getting there. Not so long ago, after all, a woman who enjoyed sex was likely to be branded as a nymphomaniac.Read More
Irish author Conor O’Callaghan’s debut novel, the gothic mystery story Nothing On Earth, is one of the most gripping books of the year.Read More
Since the introduction of the 8th Amendment to the Constitution in 1983, women in Ireland have had to live with a shockingly restrictive regime on abortion, which has resulted in numerous deaths and untold trauma. Now, the Irish public is saying: no more…Read More
The myth that only men treat the opposite sex as objects, is just that - a myth. The sooner women are more honest about their lustful feelings, and the sooner society stops treating sexually open women as sluts the better it will be for all of us.Read More
Laura Kasischke, the critically acclaimed and nationally bestselling poet and author returns with a tense psychological thrillerRead More
Journalist Miranda Sawyer’s compelling and humorous new book, Out Of Time, explores the challenges of turning forty and maintaining a rock and roll edge.Read More
Liz Nugent’s Lying in Wait comes with praise from Sebastian Barry and Marian Keyes, among others.Read More
UnderCurrent are a group unlike any other in Ireland. A mix of cabaret, musical theatre, burlesque, physical comedy, banter and dance, they are also the only performance troupe in the country composed entirely of LGBTQ members.Read More
The progenitors of Britpop came to Marlay Park in Dublin yesterday – and the crowd lapped it up. Report: Anne SextonRead More
Anne Sexton gives her take on Conor O'Callaghan's debut novel.Read More
This four-piece cut their teeth busking in Temple Bar, but their journey is just beginning.Read More
With women being given jail sentences for using the abortion pill in Northern Ireland, three activists decided that it was time to act – and made a startling confession to the PSNI.Read More
First Dates offered a glimpse into the way people behave when they are looking for a romantic liaison - and maybe some sex into the bargain. But how different was the TV version from people's pursuit of a good time - and what does the history of dating tell us about how we view this ritual?Read More
Teenager David Beattie has written a powerful and insightful account of growing up trans in Ireland.Read More
The ‘dating’ app makes great claims in relation to the numbers using it. But are people hooking up and having sex successfully through it? Now, that is a very good question…Read More
Make no mistake, casual sex can be brilliant, wonderful, even life-affirming. But in the fuckzone, things are different. Because this is where a woman is just a piece of pussy or a man is no better than a dick or an asshole on legs...Read More
Since the release of his acclaimed first novel, The Spinning Heart, Ryan has established himself as one of Ireland’s most talented writers.Read More
Eighties Ireland: in a country where divorce was impossible, unmarried mothers were treated like pariahs, gay sex was illegal and condoms could only be bought on prescription, finding the joy in sex was not easy. But the excitement of it was no less real.Read More
Glenn Patterson’s latest novel tells the extraordinary story of John DeLorean’s time in Belfast – a saga of federal agents, undercover sting operations and alleged cocaine trafficking.Read More
The introduction of the 8th Amendment to the Constitution in 1983 was one of the most regressive pieces of manipulative political chicanery in the history of the Irish state. Repealing it is essential to establishing a regime in Ireland, which respects the reproductive rights of women. Let’s end the evasiveness by making it an election issue…Read More
It may be highly illegal, but Irish women - including TD Ruth Coppinger - are willing to risk jail by taking the abortion pill all over Ireland. Anne Sexton and Julia Schimkus travelled to Galway with the pro-choice activists...Read More
Life is a drag for Miss Panti - but wonderfully so!Read More
Anne Sexton chats to Hanya Yanagihara, whose second￼ novel A Little Life has been the subject of truly rapturous reviews...Read More
Men have been lectured for a long time about how ladies need a bit of foreplay before getting it on. But that is an axiom that rubs both ways – because men tend to like a long, slow build-up too...Read More
Men have been lectured for a long time about how ladies need a bit of foreplay before getting it on. But that is an axiom that rubs both ways – because men tend to like a long, slow build-up too...Read More
...Or, in a different situation, you might ask, why didn’t he leave her? Abusive relationships are unfortunately common – and both sexes are victims. But perhaps you have to have lived through one to really understand the cruel dynamics at work...Read More
Acclaimed author Glenn Patterson continues his exploration of the Northern Irish psyche in his latest book, which cherry-picks his finest non-fiction pieces from the last decade.Read More
The crass outlook of pick-up artists is insulting and fails to recognise each individual's unique attractivenessRead More
There are no rules as to how much you reveal to prospective sexual partners. But it is probably true that – most of the time anyway – honesty is the best policy...Read More
Before the gay marriage ‘Yes’ vote had people dancing in the streets, before civil partnerships, before gay people could publicly identify as such, Senator David Norris was waging a brave and often thankless fight on behalf of minorities in Ireland. In his first major interview since the referendum he recounts his long struggle with prejudice in Ireland...Read More
With her second novel Tender dealing with homosexuality, emotional abuse and mental illness, Belinda McKeon reflects on the repressive, oppressive culture of mid '90s Ireland and the perverse pleasure she takes in pushing readers' buttons.Read More
It may be the name of a cocktail, but it is also a reasonably popular pastime. So is public sex a good idea? And how are you best to go about it?Read More
Every now and then, they come out of the woodwork: people who believe that thinking, talking and writing about sex in a positive way is a sin and should be punished. It is a bit scary when someone like this tracks down your email address just to tell you...Read More
As the results came in, crowds gathered in Dublin Castle to hear them. It became on of he biggest and best parties Ireland has ever seen...Read More
The novel is about an Irish family and all their problems in life from 1980 on and written in episodic style.Read More
It is vital to gay couples that the upcoming referendum on same sex marriage should be passed. But an even bigger prize is the feeling that we are living in an open, inclusive society that a resounding victory would inspire. So, make sure to get out and vote ‘Yes’...Read More
When it comes to sex, men have it far easier and far better than women. In fact, there are ten good reasons why a sex change might just be the best option...Read More
A lot of concern has been expressed in conventional media about ‘hook-up’ culture. Curiously, however, the impact of social media and online mate-seeking sites seems to be that people are having less sex rather than more. Something will have to be done about it, is all we can say...Read More
It is an invitation that most people would find extremely difficult to turn down. But there are those who prefer giving head one at a time to the classic 69. Which side of the great oral sex debate are you on?Read More
When Hot Press ran a competition for a columnist to write about sex, the competition was pretty hot. In the end, we chose a certain feisty, red-headed female, who wrote with wit, verve and style – and whose name just happened to have the word ‘sex’ in it. Clearly it was a role that she had been destined to, um, perform...Read More
And there’s nothing wrong with that! Indeed, while sexual conservatives try to claim otherwise, the reality is that men and women are really very similar in their appetites for sex, porn and all the rest...Read More
That was the implied message in Teleflora’s 2012 Valentine’s Day ad, which featured the model Adriana Lima. Is that really what romance is all about?Read More
That’s bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism to you and me. Oh, and there will also be copious face- sitting; lots of gay sex – some of it within marriage hopefully; and vibrators that know what you like. Bring it on!Read More
During the Graham Dwyer murder trial, members of the Irish BDSM scene were sometimes depicted in unflattering terms. So what is BDSM all about?Read More
Cowboy landlords, substandard living conditions and ever increasing costs are just some of the problems facing people in rented accommodation, and many of those in difficulty are afraid to speak up.Read More
But not always in a good way! Because someone out there apparently thinks that sex toys specially designed and packaged for Christmas are, like, a good idea! Starting with the Barack Obama dildo…Read More
It’s a tough one. The man you want just happens to be hooked up — with your best friend. If you really want him, there’s only one way to go about it. But should you dare?...Read More
As Ireland emerges from a period of economic turbulence, there are now a myriad of ways to get a foothold in the jobs market.Read More
That’s a question that more or less everyone has had to ask themselves at some time in their lives. Because, modern mating methods notwithstanding, getting regular sex is still a minefield for a lot of people to negotiate…Read More
It doesn’t make sense to start blaming social media for what is a horrible crime. Because the truth is that women are entitled to go about their lives free of the fear of rape…Read More
It may be a cliché but there is a lot of truth to the notion of “a healthy body, healthy mind.” As Bressie notes in his emotional fitness tips, the food you eat affects your mood, and physical activity promotes the creation of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good.Read More
Time spent overseas volunteering shouldn’t be treated as a holiday and is only worthwhile if you are prepared to put in some hard graft...Read More
That, as they say, is a bold statement. But new research has indicated that the association that has often been made between casual sex and lower self-esteem is really a product of prevailing religious-based orthodoxies. Having sex will not cure depression. But as an aspect of a holistic approach to our well-being, it can play a vital role…Read More
She has chronicled the seamy side of Dublin in her novels. Now crime writer Tana French turns her attention to the privileged elite of south DublinRead More
Everyone else seems to be! However, the recent celebrity Hackergate scandal throws up a multitude of intriguing questions about the wisdom of recording DIY porn...Read More
We all know how enjoyable a bit of role-playing is – especially when it comes to sexual matters. So get down on your knees: our resident sexpert Anne Sexton is about to give you a lecture…Read More
Is it the Yanks with their enthusiasm; the Aussies with their frankness; or the Germans with their, umm, precision? And how do Irish men compare with their international peers? Anne Sexton road-tested males of eight different nationalities (not in the last fortnight, you understand) and is delighted to offer her educated view on the subject...Read More
It makes a huge difference to your sexual development – and ultimately to your sexual happiness – if you can talk about things openly with your mother...Read More
They have a long and distinguished history, and nowadays come in all shapes, sizes and colours – but the basic latex cock ring beats the rest hands down, where making sex better for women and men alike is concerned.Read More
A debate is currently raging about the idea of ‘Enthusiastic Consent’. That’s when you say ‘yes, please’ to having sex with someone else. But should that be required under the law? It is, as they say, an interesting one...Read More
The beloved drag queen deals with the serious business of "Panti-gate" and more in hilarious fashion in new show High Heels in Low PlacesRead More
Whoever you had sex with, and whatever he or she looked like, there is someone out there in academia who wants to try and explain it. But the fact is that sex is – thankfully! – far more complicated than your average bit of social research allows. The question that really matters is: how can we all have better sex?Read More
There are those who might say that it is an unholy combination. But from the pill through LSD to Viagra, chemical agents have made a huge difference to our ability to enjoy ourselves sexually...Read More
And you know it. So should you tell the wife or girlfriend who is being cheated on? Or would you let a bloke know if his wife was having it off with someone else? It's an interesting conundrum indeed...Read More
Social awkwardness can be endearing in moderate quantities but, come on guys, let's not overbake the pudding here...Read More
If so, then read on. For what follows is a primer in how to escape the clutches of the very scary and decidedly horrible breed known as MRA pick-up artistsRead More
It's only February - and already a series of controversies on sex and sexuality have erupted. It is you might say, a sign of the times...Read More
Is giving a gift on Valentine’s Day the ultimate expression of love or just a way of getting into someone else's underwear? A good question: now read on, for a happy ending...Read More
While the basics remain constant, the sexual climate is likely to get even better over the coming 12 months. But with apps emerging to measure every aspect of performance, there may be a few downsides too...Read More
A winner of the Booker Prize for 2007’s The Gathering, Anne Enright is one of the most acclaimed contemporary Irish authors. During a recent Q&A at the Write Touch competition, run by HOT PRESS in association with ALCATEL ONETOUCH she discussed the creative process, the pressures faced by female writers – and the subject matter of her next novel.Read More
There are some things which even a well-known sex columnist won’t do (perhaps Paris Hilton shouldn’t have either). One of the most important sex lessons we all have to learn is to respect other people’s limits…Read More
Though his debut novel suffered multiple rejections, Donal Ryan has nonetheless received widespread critical praise – not to mention several awards – for his books The Spinning Heart and The Thing About DecemberRead More