Priest launches mother-in-law training to curb divorce

Meddling mother-in-laws have been the basis of jokes, pop songs, and heartbreak probably since men dragged their young brides back to the family cave.

One enterprising Italian priest, convinced that in-laws are behind the country’s increasing divorce rate, has devised a class to teach them to help rather than wreak havoc on their children’s relationships.

Called “Families in Dialogue – How to be Effective Parents to Married Children,” the course is taught by three psychologists and is open to both male and female in-laws.

Held over the course of three weekends in the northeastern city of Udine, sessions are dedicated to such hot-button topics as surviving Sunday lunch (a little over half of Italians still meet for this weekly ritual) and negotiating babysitting duties.

The idea for the anti-meddling class grew out of the problems that Don Giuseppe Faccin had while teaching pre-matrimonial classes.

“Statistics show very clearly that at least three out of 10 Italian marriages are in crisis due to the in-laws,” Faccin told local daily Il Messagero Veneto. “Sometimes the problem is both in-laws. More often than not, we have to work on the relationship between the parents.”

Strong ties in Italian families are often at the root of the problem: at age 29, 70% still of Italian men still live at home and even when they leave the nest, one in three talk to la mamma every single day.

“When children get married, parents should regain their own balance as a couple again, but often they’ve spent so much time caring for adult children that they don’t know how,” Faccin explained. “So they throw their energy into their children’s marriage, intervening in ways that aren’t helpful. Even as grandparents for lack of other projects and ways to spend free time they end up interfering more than helping.”

You have to wonder if a truly invasive in-law would sign themselves up for such a course, though.

CC-licensed photo, thanks vanz.

Italian “World’s Most Romantic Language” Survey Says


A micro-survey of 320 linguists found that l’italiano tops their list for the most romantic tongue.

In the inevitable battle with French, Latin lovers from across the Alps came out slightly ahead, with Italian winning 45% to 40%.

Spanish, surprisingly, came out as the ratty pajamas and curlers of languages with its romantic quotient stalled at just 6%, tied with English. Portuguese came in last of the top five with 3%.

Sure, a sample size of 320 people isn’t exactly representative, but the idea that these are specialists — from the 2,600 translators and interpreters at Today Translations in London — makes it more interesting.

It’s one thing to think how romantic “l’amore” sounds is in Italian without speaking it, but the respondents are folks who know at least two languages and can, presumably, imagine trysts in them as well.

The top six romantic words in any language, trite as all get out, were also dominated by Dante’s language. Hit the jump for the list. Continue reading

Italian Stallions Plagued By Size, Performance Anxiety

After receiving an avalanche of interest, Italian doctors repeated an initiative to help macho men in crisis.

Last year’s free hot line and website aimed at helping Latin lovers do their thing “without worries” received an unexpected 15,000 calls and a million web page views in a month.

Italian stallions evidently aren’t so hot to trot as tourist legend would have it.

Young Latin lovers from Southern Italy — where the climate is hot and even the food is considered “natural viagra” — are especially “worried, fragile and anxious” when it comes to sexual performance.

Well, they must have had an inkling something was amiss between the sheets: the initiative set up by the national association of andrology (SIA) was titled “amare senza pensieri” (love without worries).

Most frequent nagging questions? Duration, performance and size. Some 42.3% of the inquiries were from Southern Italy and just 11.4% from Northern Italy.

Although Giammusso said the size issue is often unjustified (one wonders if there were tape measures involved in the fretful phone calls) he does note that callers exhibited a lack of adequate sex education and the wrong role models.

Who knew that Fabios ever felt less than fabulous? By other measuring sticks, Italian men certainly sound satisfied.

If this crisis of confidence is really so widespread, it may be time to update the guidebooks.

Image used with a CC license, thanks to risager.

Italians Get Some Satisfaction

happy Italian tourists in FlorenceIf Italians are trying hard to get what they need, economy-wise, at least they’re having good sex.

Italians are among the top orgasmers worldwide, tied for first place with Spain and Mexico, enjoying the big wow 66 percent of the time they have sex, according to the Durex Sexual Wellbeing survey. The global average? A measly 48%.

It may be a question of slow sex — a little like the slow food concept — that
helps Italians do it better.

Italians who declare themselves fully satisfied with the intensity of their orgasms spend nearly twice as much (an average of seven minutes) on foreplay compared to under 4 minutes, globally.

Some 44% of Italians who reach orgasm regularly said they’d like to spend more quality time with partners, as opposed to a 38% global average.

The condom company’s yearly poll, which asks 26,000 people in 26 countries about life between the sheets, also found, however that Italy’s Casanovas are still not quite satisfied, with only 64% stating they’re fulfilled by their sex lives.

The survey also confirmed that home-bound Italian mamma’s boys and girls still favor Fiat sex (not surprising if you have followed the “Love Park” saga), 82% have had sex in the car.

Basta Valentine’s Day: Italians Celebrate ‘Single Saint’

Single Saint San FaustinoItalian singles, tired of being in the shadows for St. Valentine’s day celebrations, have proclaimed their own saint and feast day.

After all the hearts-and-flowers nonsense is over, the unattached fete themselves on February 15, the feast day of San Faustino.

The idea launched in 2002 by three single friends who formed a “Single Pride Association,” in which cross-dressing mascot Platinette crowned a “Single of the Year.” It stood for day of awareness of the ’status single’ with a special focus on the problems and discrimination faced by people who are not married.

Since then, the association and its portal are no longer — leaving San Faustino in the hands of club owners and lonely hearts agencies who organize speed dating nights from Sicily to Milan.

Still, singles couldn’t hope for a better protector.

Continue reading

Outdoor Amore? Italians Say “Si”

Luna ParkingDespite protests, Italy’s first paid parking lot of love is open for business.

Luna Parking, in Bagnolo Cremasco about 25 miles southeast of Milan, lies on a state road known for a florid prostitution business and vicinity to night clubs.

It’s the latest in a series of al fresco havens for Italian lovers, many of whom stay at home well into their 30s. The first one opened back in 2003 in Leonardo’s birthplace, Vinci, as a free, well-lit place for nookie set up by the local government.The market is hot and heavy — outdoor passion in Italy can be risky business in more ways than one — but the idea has never caught on because Catholic officials protest vociferously every time someone tries to open one.

An entrepreneur was set to launch a lover’s lane complete with privacy stalls Valentine’s day 2007, but authorities shut him down over nebulous “building code issues” before anyone could even neck in a Lancia there.

This latest effort is by far is the most expensive and elaborate variation on the theme. It costs €10 (about $14.50) for 90 minutes in a private covered box — enough time to perfect maneuvers around the gear shift for most — plus there are bathrooms and even snack machines.

A group of locals, who were unable to prevent the contested grand opening, spent the last night of 2007 in a prayer vigil “to redress the damages of the sex trade.”

Anxious? Italian Doc “Prescribes” Sex

A young woman in the throes of anxiety was prescribed sex to calm down, Italian media reported.

The unusual cure was handed out at Genoa hospital Villa Scassi by a male doctor, according to daily Corriere della Sera, after giving the nail-biting patient a full check-up.

“Have sex twice a week, but not more than that,” he reportedly wrote from his prescription pad, noting that she was in an “evident state of anxiety.”

No word on whether what was causing her perturbation wasn’t frequent enough sex — most Italians seem to be having quite a lot — but decent sex.

Italy’s Love Park Closed

There were no good vibes at Italy’s latest parking lot of love on Valentine’s day. Police shut the park down before the Fiats could pull into the 73 spots available.

Called the “Lovely Park” in grammatically-challenged English, the structure in southern city of Bari would have been open for action 24 hours a day, charging the amorous €3 ($3.80 circa) an hour for privacy and safety. Continue reading

Hands off my man: the defense jacket

Next time someone tries to steal your man, pull a cord inside his jacket and send the interloper packing. Designed for increasingly paranoid city dwellers, it’s easy to imagine other uses for a stylish “Defence Jacket” presented at Italian fashion fair Pitti Immagine this week.

This metrosexual-worthy waterproof silver number with a fur collar by Ivy Oxford features a “parachute cord” to pull in case of emergency.

It sets off 130-decibel alarm, one notch above the world’s loudest screamer and the threshold for pain. If that’s not enough to get rid of any annoyance that comes your way, the jacket also comes equipped with pepper spray in a hidden pocket. Consider yourself warned.