Romance

On Being Sex-Positive

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One of the great things happening at the moment, thanks to the internet, and awesome people, is the idea of “being sex positive”. This doesn’t mean that you like sex, because come one, everyone likes to have sex. But rather, the idea that talking about sex, in an open and educational manner is something we should all be doing more of. So, I decided to put together a bunch of great people who educate, discuss, and encourage a healthier attitude towards “sex dialogue”.

Sexual education needs to understand that it isn’t enough to just educate people about STD’s but also about how to have sex, and more importantly how to have good sex. But given the vastness that is the internet, and porn being a rather lacking authority on the subject, I put together a bunch of people and sources that are doing a great job at being sex educators, while doing so in a positive and fun manner.

I know I talk a whole lot about sex ed, and I did a post ages ago about why sex-ed and learning more is so important,  but sometimes it really is hard to sift through the bad advice, and find the good stuff. So I tried to put together a list of it!

 

My first recommendation is Laci Green (her youtube channel)

You can find her more practical advice channel here

The next thing I’m going to have you check out is Sex Nerd Sandra, on the Nerdist.com



This amazing podcast is also REALLY funny and REALLY informative. It embodies pretty much every aspect of sex you can think of: technique, safe-sex, tips, fetishes, S&M, relationship advice, open communication, toys and much more. Not to mention the cast are hilarious to listen to.

She also has a youtube channel, you should definitely look into as well.

And a blog: http://sexnerdsandra.com/

This particular episode features Christopher Ryan, Author of Sex at Dawn and is really worth taking an hour to listen to.

 

Here are some great sites and blogs that are out there:

Em & Lo- They just give great advice.

NSFW Sunday- A weekly collection of random sex related information.

Jamie Waxman- Beyond The Bedroom- She is just awesome, check her out.

Jaiya

Sexis Social- Sex, sex toys and other bedroom conundrums.

Sex Rules with Maria Falzone

 

Literature:

She Comes First,  Sex at DawnMating in Captivity, Big Big Love, & Penis Power: The Ultimate Guide to Male Sexual Health.

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Getting Over A Breakup- The Rules

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via nessaLand

And this week for another fab guest post by Noorinayat (who also wrote this).

A breakup can be one of the hardest things you can go through, especially if it wasn’t on the nicest of terms or if you weren’t the one to initiate it.

It’s not just the pain, that can sometimes even manifest physically. It’s not just the emotional distress, the hurt, the sense of betrayal and abandonment. It’s not the sense of loss you feel as your strongest bond in broken, sometimes brutally, and you wade helplessly in a wide open sea of memories.

It’s that sometimes, you just don’t know what to do, how to be whole again, how to be yourself again after spending such a long time being a part of something built for two.

Navigating a break-up can be a very tricky business. Not trusting your internal compass, which has been thrown off by the turmoil you are going through, you seek outside help; luckily, there’s no dearth of advice on the internet about how to get over your breakup: Get your hair done, get a manicure, get fit, eat ice cream, get even more fit, eat even more ice cream. Some advice columns promise you that if you act a certain way, you’ll get him or her back. Others try to make you see what a jerk he or she was.

Yet others miss the mark entirely, telling you that if only you had done this or that, if only you hadn’t nagged, or shown insecurity and vulnerability, or demanded a show of commitment (God forbid), you wouldn’t have lost them.

Yeah, I’ve read all of it, and tried to follow some of the advice, and now I’d like to present you with ten tried and tested tips that’ll help you get over them (assuming that’s what you want to do). In (mostly) chronological order:

1. Cry. Don’t shut down. Cry it out if you feel like you want to, don’t be ashamed. Cry, shout, throw something at the wall if you have to (but please refrain from throwing things at the other person, seeing as that will probably end with being booked for assault charges). You need to let it out! Don’t keep it all inside you because it will weigh you down and burden you.

2. If you are to let this person go entirely, you have to mourn properly. Look through old letters and heartfelt poems, their thoughtful little gifts to you. Then throw all of that away (or keep it in the attic if you really can’t help it) and don’t look back.

3. Talk. Open up to your friends and relatives, yeah, the ones you barely spoke to while you were with your significant other. Talk, hang out, watch funny episodes of something, go to the beach, have brunch, go shopping. Make new memories with the people who were closest to you before you ever met the person you are now parted from. Reconnect with your family. If you feel like they can’t understand or that you want professional support, seek therapy.

An important addendum: surround yourself with positive, supportive people who make you happy. If someone in your life is bringing you down at this time, try to limit your contact with them until you are stronger.

An even more important addendum: your ex, by virtue of being an ex, is no longer part of your support system and you shouldn’t turn to them for comfort at this time. Sure, you might want closure, but in the case of a bad breakup it’s better to cut or at least minimize contact than to try to get answers from someone who wants to hurt you. But even if things were mutual, you have to start adjusting yourself to the fact that they are no longer part of your life and support system.

4. Do what you need to rebuild your sense of self-worth and regain your self-esteem, whatever that may be. A new haircut, nail polish, wearing sexy dresses for a week, flirting, dating (hopefully while steering clear of awkward rebound situations or of hurting someone who gets hooked on your when you’re emotionally unavailable) — do what it takes for you to emerge a stronger, more confident person.

5. Do what you need to reconnect with yourself. What keeps you occupied most of the time? What makes YOU happy? Throw yourself (for a while, don’t overdo it!) into your job, studies and hobbies and channel your hurt and anger into hard work. Not only will you feel more fulfilled and accomplished, you also might have a thing or two to add to your resume.

6. Express yourself. Fond of writing? Write down all the conflicting emotions you have been bombarded with since the breakup, the dreams, the memories, everything. Everything is ok: don’t judge yourself for the myriad thoughts you are thinking or for being confused. Just let it out. Are you more of a musician? Express yourself that way. You might just write a masterpiece!

7. Analyze. Instead of beating yourself up over what you could’ve/should’ve done to prevent the breakup, take a cold, hard look at the relationship itself. Was it what you thought it was? Was it healthy? Were you truly happy? Were your emotional and other needs being met? Was your partner supportive and respectful? Were they really right for you? Be as objective and honest as you can (friends/family/a therapist can help).

That said, it’s important not to get stuck for too long in the wallowing part. It’s hard to move on, but you need to find a way to start!

Once you can see your relationship in a more objective light, you might find that it wasn’t really the best thing for you (this might take a few months/years, but it is important to learn from the experience as well as move past it).

This rings true especially if the breakup was one-sided or nasty: someone who respects, loves and truly cares about you will not suddenly walk out on you one fine day. There’s no need to rationalize cruel, demeaning and disrespectful behavior by convincing yourself that “nobody said it would be easy, anything is worth going through for love” or “they were perfectly supportive and loving except for those few times.”

8. Learn. Learn what you need and want from a partner and relationship, learn to realize what you deserve, learn which behaviors you will never again agree to put up with. Once you are rid (as much as possible) of any feelings of guilt over the end of the relationship (“it was all my fault that they left”), learn what you yourself could have done differently to prevent things from reaching the boiling point (should you have ended the relationship months ago instead of dragging it on for so long?), and what you can do better next time. Try not to beat yourself up or judge yourself… just recognize that you can grow from this, and learn.

9. Forgive. Not just them, but yourself especially. You have to help yourself heal by being soft, not hard on yourself. Remember that everyone makes mistakes. Also, don’t have unrealistic or harsh expectations of yourself (“Why am I not over it by now? Why can’t I be stronger?” Remember that you are strong for struggling with this) — time does heal all, but you can help it along!

10. Regain your faith in and positive view of relationships and love, as well as your trust in people. This is extremely important: your attitude to life and love, the optimism and hope you once had when it came to starting new relationships, was probably significantly compromised by your breakup.

But you have to make sure that’s temporary: you can and will love again, it will be just as strong/good/right and probably even better (as you are now wiser and more experienced), you just have to be open to something new and wonderful coming your way instead of wallowing in pessimism or dwelling on the past.

Best of luck, and do comment if you need more advice! 

Rule #52- Getting Off The Sidelines (and Going on a Date)

Via National Maritime Museum, Magnus Manske

Just like when knowing someone is worthwhile and a good match for you, and you can just feel that tingly feeling in your bloodstream when they walk into the room, it’s also important to make the distinction who NOT to date. Or more importantly WHEN not to date.

On the one hand, there is a lot of pressure if you are single to date. Because maybe, just maybe, the next blind date you go on will turn out to be the one. Now, I’m not saying that they won’t; just that sometimes you might feel pressured into going out on dates you don’t really want to be on, with people you don’t really want to be with. Worse yet, you might convince yourself, for any number of reasons, to give people a chance – just one more date, and one more – when they aren’t really right for you.

The problem is finding a balance between not dating at all, and not getting “out of shape”.

Well, dating isn’t exactly a muscle, but it does  require exercise and growth. If you never go out on dates, or form relationships while waiting around for Mr. or Miss Right (that person who will be the right fit for YOU), how will you know what to do – hell, or what to look for when they come along? The fairy tales that nourished our mind’s as children perpetuated this myth that when the right person magically appears, everything will just fall into place. But what we tend to ignore is that fighting the dragon was a hell of a hard job.

The only way to build a relationship is with a lot of hard work. The only way to know if the relationship isn’t working for you,  or if this person isn’t working for you, or if the dynamic  between the two of you is just not right, is experience! And unfortunately for us, experience demands quite a bit of sweat, tears and heartache!

While some lessons are best learned the hard way (you hopefully won’t repeat mistakes that burned you the first time around after you refused to heed the sage advice of others), This may be of help:

1. Don’t date unless you feel like putting the effort into this person. Because if you don’t feel like investing your time in them to “see where it can go”, there really isn’t any point in starting something up. Mostly because this isn’t fair to them. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give people a chance, but if you do decide to give things a go, then do it properly.

Sometimes. it’s also important to recognize potential. If you meet someone special, or have a click with someone new, give it a chance and see where it goes. It might not work out, but you will have learned something new. Every interaction, be it good or bad, teaches us something, provided we are able to look deeply into ourselves and the relationship and reflect on it. And I promise you this (cliche warning) – when that someone does come along, you will be glad that you learned all those lessons beforehand.

2. Don’t go on a date with someone you intend to dump at the end of the evening!  Whatever your motive is, pity, pressure from your mum or even the prospect of a free dinner, just don’t.

3. Go on dates with people you feel you already have things to talk about, or in common. If you already have a good starting point, be it attraction or things in common, there is probably a greater chance it isn’t going to be a complete waste of an evening.

4. The less you get out, the more you are not going to want to go out. Because let’s face it, the thought of staying in your warm bed with a hot water bottle, and all the episodes of the shows you haven’t  caught up on, is way  more tempting than having to make small talk with a stranger. But you have to break this cycle! It’s time to stop dating your laptop (even though it may very well be better company than your prospective date) and go out!

5. Maybe it’s time to un-friend zone that really cute guy/girl that you have been constantly flirting with for months (or just admit they were never really in the friend zone to begin with)! You already know you have tons to talk about and that you will both have a good time. You probably shouldn’t come to this decision lightly (not to mention out of desperation), but it’s probably worth considering.

6. Learn to open up more to people. Not dating for ages will probably make you suspicious of new people, and make it harder to open up to them, connect on a deeper level and form a relationship. My advice is to make some new friends as an exercise, or open up more to your old ones; it’s important you learn how to trust again, even if you were hurt in the past. You need to learn to be vulnerable with people, because let’s be honest, it’s vulnerability that is the basis of a good relationship.

7. Go out with friends more! No I don’t mean necessarily to pubs and dancing, but rather to social events. House parties, concerts, singles mixers in the religious denomination of your choice. There is a much higher chance that you will run into new people with whom you have more in common if you already share a social circle, community or some interests, like God or your favorite band.

8. Reclaim your mojo!  Chances are that if you haven’t been on a date in a while you probably don’t feel all that secure about the whole thing, so do something to reconnect with yourself. Try salsa dancing or yoga or buy that new dress or those new shoes you’ve been salivating over, imagining how jaw-droppingly good you would look in them. Getting in touch with your body, or just plain pampering yourself, will make you feel much more confident in you – and by extension, with that special someone.

9. Sometimes it really isn’t a good time to start a new relationship (stress from work/family issue and so forth). It’s perfectly fin to put your foot down and tell your pestering  aunts (yes, even the ones that only exist in your head), that now is not the time to start something new, because you just don’t have the emotional and mental capacity for it. That said, “I’m focusing on myself/my career at the moment” is sometimes not just an excuse we give to someone we’re trying to blow off, but a line we may be constantly repeating to ourselves in order to avoid putting ourselves out there.

You just have to accept that part of dating is risking getting hurt, but that isn’t an excuse not to try! 

10 Things You Must Do On First Dates

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

Make Sure It Is In Fact A Date

These days it has become confusingly common practice to just “hang out” with someone. This ambiguous and muddling invite will probably cause you to get all dressed up, go out with someone, and spend the whole evening with the added anxiety of not being sure if this date is really a date. Ambiguity sucks, so if you’re the one doing the asking just make it clear that it’s a date. If you’re on the asked side of the equation, trust me, the ten seconds of embarrassment for the misunderstanding are so much better than an entire night’s worth of confusion. Not to mention if you hug warmly at the end, that will earn you another week of frustration.

So, now that you are both sure you are actually on a date:

Pick Somewhere Nonthreatening &…

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Rule #50- People Don’t Change

via christopher, russavia, wiki commons

Change is a tough issue to tackle when it comes to relationships. I think we, as humans, need to believe that people have the capacity to change, to better themselves, but when it comes to the way we see partners or potential partners, the belief that change is possible usually comes with a few caveats, namely — if you kick off a relationship by betting on the possibility that your partner will change in some way, you may be getting yourself into a sticky situation.

I’m not saying people can’t change, I’m just saying that they probably won’t. Are you dating someone new? Are you considering reconnecting with that one particular ex that you just can’t shake the feeling was “the one that got a way,” a missed opportunity?

It’s probably best to start off by asking yourself: What’s changed? Why is this time any different, why are you any different? If you couldn’t make it work the first time around, why will it work now? Is your new boyfriend a serial monogamist who switches girlfriends every six months and it’s never his fault? Is he incapable of holding down a job, or deciding on a career? Can he not stick with any one city, or degree program, or plan for more than a couple of years? These things are too important to be overlooked, as they could very well point to an inability to stick with a relationship.

Why are you any different?

1. First of all you need to ask yourself why you are any different, or more specifically why the relationship is any different from any other aspect of your partner’s life. If he/she can’t hold down a steady job, or they move around every couple of years, what’s to say they aren’t going to get up and leave you too?

It’s important to ask yourself why this relationship is any different from anything else your partner is incapable of following through with…  It’s vital to notice not only how the person you are dating interacts with you, but how they treat all of their commitments: they may be the most wonderful, sweet, and giving person, but if he or she can’t live up to the other obligations they have going on, it’s very likely that at some point in the future, their commitment to you will also prove to be too much for them. So make sure you don’t end up missing important warning signs.

2. Rule #2 goes out to all those people who think they can change the person they are dating! You can’t! That just doesn’t happen outside the realm of chick flicks.

Start seeing your relationship for what it is now, and not what it has the potential to become if only he gets a steady job, or ends his porn addiction, or stops lazing around, or stops being selfish or uncommunicative, or stops blaming others for his shortcomings. Because if you don’t, well, you might be in for a rude awakening six months, or ten years down the line. But more importantly than that, you should like, respect and admire the person you are with for who they are, and not for who they will become if only they start or stop doing something.

If you need a project, take up knitting, not relationships, because at least knitting doesn’t have the built-in  danger of blowing up in your face.

3. If the person you are dating has a bunch of dirty habits that you can’t stand (or even just one) they are most  likely going to keep at it (yes, I’m talking about anything from smoking too much pot, to being a selfish jerk, to cheating on you). Either dump them or learn to live with it.

No, I’m not completely cynical, and I do believe there is the possibility that they will try and work on it for you. But that means that for starters you can’t fall into the beginning-of-relationship-trap of pretending that it doesn’t bother you. Moreover, you have also got to accept that he may just might continue forever to bite his toenails in bed, and that’s that (or do that other thing that drives you completely insane).

4. Thinking of reconciling with an old flame? First ask yourself this, where are you at? Are you still the same person you were when you two first dated? Because if the answer is yes, and the break-up was also your fault (as you know, it takes two to tango), you may be unhappy to discover that history has the nasty habit of repeating itself. Also, maybe they haven’t changed, but you have — maybe that starry-eyed person you used to be doesn’t exist anymore.

Ok, so maybe you are still the same person, just a little bit older and wiser, and just maybe this relationship isn’t the right fit for you anymore. But I will say this, just keep humming this as your new mantra because it will save you a lot of time, tears and anger: “people don’t change.” I do realize that this is probably the hardest truth about humanity for people to accept because it appears to negate lofty ideas about change and redemption.

Be it a part of their personality, a worldview, or behavioral pattern, people tend to treat all aspects of their lives in the same manner. So stop looking at your relationship as separate from all other things in your someone’s life, because it aint! It’s just another part of who they are.

The truth is, you will be much better off if you learn to accept your partner for who they are and not for what you wish that one day they will be. Because entering a relationship with a person as they are, and not as they might, should or will be, is always the safer bet.

Rule #48- Milestones

Stones

Every relationship is composed of hundreds of different little milestones.

The first time you kiss, your first fight, the first time you realize that you’re in love with this whole other person.

The first time they discoverer you spend most of your free time writing a dating blog. You know, those run-of-the-mill milestones that mark every relationship.

But what WE perceive as important events, might be slightly different to what the person we are dating sees as important. After all, you both come with a lot of relationship baggage, and one can’t assume all expectations align off the bat. 

So, in order to avoid monumental misunderstandings try: 

1. Not everybody has the same idea of what constitutes a milestone.

Some people like to celebrate every little thing, and others are less sentimental. If your girlfriend wants to have a romantic dinner to celebrate every month you two have been together (you started dating four years ago) LET HER. What’s the harm?

If you think it’s too much, talk about it and find a compromise that suits you both. Maybe suggest an evening at home with a bottle of wine. Usually the gesture is what counts.

2. Accept that the person you are dating might see certain things as a bigger deal than you. Meaning, that just because you don’t think the anniversary of the first time you kissed is important, but they do, humor them! That’s what relationships are all about, accepting someone else’s little quirks.

Moreover, they want to mark these things because the relationship is important to them! Not because they want to bankrupt you.

YOU are important to them! That’s just how some people like to show it.

Making fun of someone just because they wanted to do something nice to mark the anniversary of the first time they sent you a message on FaceBook is highly counter-productive to the relationship, they will just resent you for it. They only bought you the flowers because FOR THEM it was something worth remembering, and as their partner you should get on-bored.

Yes, no matter how silly it seems to you. Sometimes you’ve just got to bite the bullet because it’s important to someone who is important to you.

3. Talk about things ahead of time in order to avoid situations in which you were expected to have planed something and forgot/ didn’t know you were supposed to.

Didn’t think he was going to be devastated you didn’t book a spa day for your six month anniversary?! You should have talked about whether or not you were planning to celebrate it and how.

In no way is it an awkward conversation, it doesn’t take more than a few minutes, Just talk discuss it.

That said, that doesn’t mean you can’t surprise them with something nice. Just because they said they didn’t want to do anything doesn’t mean you can’t do something for them. Just don’t go OVER THE TOP. 

4. If a certain date/life event/anniversary of something is coming up, don’t just drop passive-aggressive hints! 

Be upfront and clear that you would like to do something special to mark it.

On the downside you might not be surprised by the giant muffin basket and card on your front doorstep. But on the upside, you won’t get disappointed either (and end up fighting).

5. Celebrating things is fun! If anniversaries are too mainstream for you, find some other important occasion in your joint life that is worth commemorating.

It’s basically just an excuse to take a couple of hours out of your day-to-day routine to remember why you kinda of like each other in the first place.

Rule #45- Meeting The Apartment

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There comes a time in every relationship when you meet your significant other’s significant other- their flat.

Now don’t get me wrong, this requires very little to no effort on your part (well, maybe stash a toothbrush in your purse/coat pocket just to be on the safe side).

For such occasions I have a little prayer. I prey that his apartment doesn’t look like a crack den, that my date had the common decency to tidy up the place, and hide his porn. That there is a role of toilet paper in the bathroom (you know what some men are like when they’ve been living alone for too long). I hope that there are clean sheets on the bed (and for that matter, that he has a bed, and not some mattress on the floor).

Honestly, the list goes on, but the bottom line is this. I judge. We all judge, and it is really hard to get a second chance at a first impression.

Just like we expect one another to make a little effort to clean up for a first date, we expect the person we are seeing to make their flat presentable when we see it for the first time.

But it goes both ways.

Don’t be THE PERSON who’s place looks like it’s come alive out of an episode of hoarders.

Rules for Apartment-Scaping:

1. First of all, read this brilliant blog-post, it will teach you how to make your home date-friendly within ten minutes.

2. Follow rule #1 and clean up! You don’t have to light scented candles and strategically place quantum mechanics & philosophy books to impress your date.

But you SHOULD make sure the place is clean and tidy.

This will make a good first impression.

3. We all have jobs/studies/time consuming hobbies/friends/pets, and other responsibilities.

No one expects you to keep your place spotless and immaculate at all times, you don’t live in an Ikea catalog! But basic hygiene isn’t too much to ask for (lets face it, no one is going to want to have sex with you for the first time if your bed-sheets are covered in suspicious stains…)

You know, deal with the mold in the shower, change the sheets, wash your towels, & for heavens sake, clean the toilet and kitchen!

4. The real problem with having too much stuff, and having it all over the place, is that it makes someone new feel like there is no room for them.

Remember all those photos with your ex in Bali? The ones you’ve been meaning to take down for months? Maybe this is a great opportunity to do it.

Just like we try and unclutter ourselves emotionally before a new relationship, uncluttering our house is equally as important!

Make room for your someone new.