Sex

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

800px-Tear

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 #49- Phone a Friend

via c. kennedy garrett, carelessly growing away from you

Ages ago I wrote a post  on why you shouldn’t overshare every little personal detail about your relationship with your friends. But it hadn’t occurred to me then that the reverse is also true: undersharing can be just as big a problem as oversharing.

Because there are those of us out there who are too shy/embarrassed, or for whatever other reason don’t talk about things that probably should be talked about.

In these cases, it’s usually postmortem that things start coming out.

Suddenly, after a break-up, you decide it’s alright to start talking about those problems you were incapable of voicing while you two were still and item. You start telling your friends about all the crap you went through during the relationship, and all the red flags you were too blind to see.

So, why SHOULD you talk to people about your relationship issues?

1. They are your friends, and have a vested interest in your well-being! (One would hope).

They care about what you’re going through and usually want to help. Even if they can’t offer you any productive advice, sometimes it’s great to just have someone take the time to listen.

Moreover, sometimes, just saying things out loud makes us see them differently and think about them in a new light.

2. They too have relationship experience! You don’t have to take their advice, but sometimes people can bring up points that are worth mulling over. New angles that hadn’t even occurred to us.

Maybe they went through exactly the same thing a few years ago and have some great input. Maybe they were too embarrassed to tell you about something similar that happened to them earlier because they thought YOU wouldn’t understand.

3. You know that feeling you get when you’re in love with someone, that you’re the only two people in the world?! (The bad kind, where you think no one else has ever gone though this, and no-one can possibly ever understand you?!). Well you ain’t! And it helps to know someone else has been exactly where you are, and got through it.

4. Your love-goggles might be on so firmly that you can’t  see the situation for what it is!

That’s why it’s important to introduce the person you are dating to your friends and family, they might be able to point out things you are too giddy with love (and hormones) to notice.

Sometimes, the people around us are just a little bit more objective, and can offer you an outsider’s opinion. Trust me, they aren’t trying to sabotage your relationship, they just care (unless of course they are, and then you might be better off with a therapist’s opinion).

5. If you’re scared to tell your friends about what’s going on in your relationship, you either have to find new friends that you trust not to judge you, or ask yourself why you’re afraid to tell them what’s going on.

If you’re too scared to hear the truth from someone else, then maybe you should be asking yourself if this person you are dating is good for you.

If you’ve found yourself at the point that you feel you need to hide what goes on behind closed doors from those people in your life that care about you most, maybe the relationship is what needs reconsidering. 

That said. Don’t forget that they are just that, not a part of the relationship, and you should take their advice with a pinch of good sense.

6. That said, take other people’s advice! If you’ve asked for it, and everyone has told you to dump your cabbage head girlfriend/boyfriend, they probably didn’t all have a secret meeting behind your back to gang up on you, they probably just see something that you can’t. Don’t ignore them! 

At the end of the day we all need support, and sometimes support from the person you’re dating (even if they are the most wonderful, loving and caring person in the world) isn’t always what you need. Your friends and family have been there for you consistently through every good and bad thing in life. If you shut them out of your relationship you’re basically snubbing your emotional safety-net, and come on, everybody needs to know they have an emotional safety-net, just in case things don’t work out. 

Rule #47- The “A” Word

via Ellie-Rose, Lies Thru a Lens

Birth control is probably one of the more complicated contention points in a relationship, but I’m not going to talk about the subject today. 

Today we will be discussing the fact that sex has consequences! I mean come on, we all know that in the back of our heads, but we tend to pretend that “accidents” will NEVER happen to us (classic Fraud, I know).

With that mindset, we tend to have the ten minute “what method of birth control are we using honey?” conversation, and move on with our sex lives. But we tend to skim over the “what happens when birth control fails” part.

Now, I’m sorry men, but you’re not going to like what I’m going to say next. The bottom line is, your lady has the last say in what should ideally be a joint decision (seeing as it’s her body and all).

This means you should probably have the “what if” conversation early on in the relationship. This is so you don’t end up with completely different solutions should you ever end up in a sticky predicament. This is so you don’t end up  in a position where someone else is making a life altering decision for you. 

That’s that, you still both have a right to change your mind. 

But again, at the end of the day my good fellows, you will have to come to terms with the fact that this isn’t your body, and if you aren’t happy with your girlfriend’s opinion on the matter, you might want to consider abstinence as a preventive measure (because that always works best).

Maybe consider this: different opinions on how to handle said situation might mean you shouldn’t be having sex with this person in the first place. YES! It’s that much of a big deal that maybe it should be a relationship deal-breaker. 

I mean, come one, this could mean a potential whole other person that needs taking care of. Is that something you both want? Is abortion something that you are both comfortable with? The two of you should probably work these things out beforehand. 

So, what should you do?

1. Well, for starters, use birth control (daa).

2. Talk, talk, TALK about it ahead of time! Don’t wait for something to “go wrong” to find out what your partner’s stand on abortions is.

If your having sex with someone, you have a right to know what method of birth control they are using. Does it hurt when they pee? (Just kidding, kinda). And should it come to it, how they feel about abortions/having kids. 

3. Accept that there are probably only two viable solutions and that they both cost money. Seeing as there are two of you, you should both contribute.

4. Find a close friend to confide in (possibly a subjective as possible third party).

Sometimes, it helps to have someone else to regale your happy news/tales of woe too. Especially, if you two haven’t been going out very long, and you still don’t feel confident enough to have a complete emotional breakdown in front of them.

That is not to say I don’t think you should talk to them about it.  They have a right to know! Even if at the end of the day you decide to overrule their opinion. After all, fifty percent of the DNA used to cause “the situation” is theirs.

5. Don’t do anything stupid! Go see your Gyno and talk to her/him about all the options.

6. Obviously, this kind of problem (if it is a problem) is time sensitive! So snap out of the denial mode and talk to your Dr. and partner about all the options.

7. Be supportive of each other!

You’re both probably freaking out, and turning on one another really isn’t going to solve anything. It will  just destroy your relationship! Only proper emotional support will help you get through this as a couple. 

This isn’t either of your fault! (one hopes at any rate), These things just happen. Accept that you need to make a responsible decision, and make wiser birth-control choices in the future.

Abortions are such a complicated subject, and I wouldn’t dream of telling anyone how to deal with the issue beyond being honest, supportive of each other, and most importantly, responsible. At the end of the day, this isn’t the end of the world! If you deal with the situation together, and are there for each other, you will be able to get through it with your partnership intact.

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.

Rule #42- The Complexity of a Definition

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Relationships used to be really easy to define (like two hundred years ago), you were either married or having sex out of wedlock. The number of relationship grey areas were rather minimal.

Today, we are spoiled for choice about pretty much everything. It’s the age of possibility, and with that we have many more decisions to make. The flip-side of this, being that we have more freedom to make the wrong choices as well. So to counter the possibility of god forbid making a mistake, we like to ‘keep our options open.’

This leads to even more hours, month, and even years of deliberations, mulling things over, being confused, deciding, then changing our minds, and still not being sure that we found the right person to spend the rest of our lives with.

Relationships just aren’t black and white anymore, they can be monogamous  polygamous, open, or closed. We have fun buddies, snuggle buddies, and every once in a while when we’ve had too many drinks buddies. Not to mention those friends we call just for sex, or the ones we call but don’t want to have sex with.

The possibilities are endless!

Which in some ways is wonderful, but sometimes it can be rather exhausting,  and we can never quite be certain when we should push for “defining the relationship!?”

1. For starters, never be too pushy! You might feel that you can marry this person, but that doesn’t mean they feel the same way (they may not be ‘there’ yet). Give them the space and time to catch up. Just because it takes them a little longer to feel the way you do, doesn’t make their investment in the relationship any less valid. 

If you get all passive aggressive about it, and keep bringing it up at every opportunity (thus freaking them out), you are more likely to get a ‘I’m not ready for this kind of commitment’ talk, rather than the assurance you really needed.

I once dated someone who kept calling me his girlfriend after we had been going out for like a week. Needless to say we didn’t make it past the second.

That said, if you’ve been dating for months, and you don’t feel you’re on the same page, it might be time to talk about whether or not you both want the same things.

2. I’m just gonna go ahead and say this (if you have been following my blog for long enough, this is probably going to make your eyes bleed from the repetition). Just talk about it! It doesn’t have to be a big deal, you don’t have to make a whole thing of it. Just casually bring it up, slip it into the conversation; tell him/her about ‘your mutual friend Clara from work’ who keeps asking if you two are dating, and you’re now sure how to answer.

Anyway you choose to go about it, just ask! An uncomfortable conversation is way better than hours/days of obsessing about it in your head.

But, do yourself a huge favor, have this conversation with a pinch of common sense (okey, maybe more like a handful of it). If you’ve gone on two dates you’re probably not a couple quite yet. Don’t push him/her into a corner and stress them out about defining things too quickly, because you may just end up loosing them altogether. 

Rule #40- The Sleep Barometer

via c. kennedy garrett

I’ve been developing this working theory for the last few years that a good night’s sleep is a great indicator of whether or not you’re happy in your relationship.

The way I see it, sleep is the ultimate form of vulnerability (I mean come on, you’re practically unconscious). It’s much easier for me to jump into bed with someone new, than fall asleep with them in it.

It takes me ages of knowing someone to feel comfortable enough to drift off into sweet slumber next to them. Otherwise I just find myself lying there, staring at the ceiling and counting the minutes till dawn.

So I sat down and tried to find some creative solutions to help myself get some shut-eye:

1. First of all, just because you had sex doesn’t mean you have to sleep over/have them sleep over. 

It’s all right to go home after.

But if you do leave, bear in mind that you need to do it elegantly. No lame excuses, people! Just be honest, “I have work in the morning, and it’s hard for me to fall asleep.”

2. If you do want to spend the night, try to make yourself feel comfortable. Sleep in your cozy pajamas, and not in that satin négligée you bought (because it may look sexy as hell, but it makes you sweat like you’re on fire).

Because I read before bed (at home, at least), my new trick is to wind down with an audio book. Basically, do whatever works for you to find your zen, and relax.

3. You DON’T HAVE to sleep on top of each other!

(I’m a big fan of snuggling, but not all the time).

4. After dating someone for a while, if I still spend the whole night tossing and turning, it usually means that there is something wrong. Not feeling safe and comfortable enough to relax properlyusually indicates to me a lot more than merely I’m going to have trouble concentrating at work in the morning.

This generally means that it might be about time to have one of those awkward conversations…

On the other hand, when you do you fall asleep in seconds with a grin on your face, and only wake up to playfully nudge your snoring boyfriend (and maybe snog him a little), you know things are going well.