What not to do

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.

(more…)

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 #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 #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 #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 #46- Keeping the Faith

Praying_couple_@_Shwedagon_(4361022275)

via Roger Price, Fæ

I think these days researchers categorize religious disagreements as “unresolvable conflicts.”  I’m not sure to what extent I agree with this statement. But there is definitely something to be discussed as far as relationships go.

Can we date someone seriously who has religious beliefs different from our own? Or is it a non-issue and I’m just old fashioned?

I most certainly can’t call myself religious  I’m probably traditional at best, but I honestly can’t see myself dating someone of a different religion. Not because I believe god will revoke my pass into heaven, but rather because tradition and faith are so fundamentally part of my personality that I have trouble imagining myself living with someone who has a whole different set of them.

I sometimes wonder if maybe I’ve got it all backwards.  Maybe it’s enough that he believes in democracy, and he respects my place as a modern working woman. Maybe all those strange traditions that my ancestors  passed down to me are only secondary to my liberal modern upbringing.

Or are they?

I mean, at the end of the day I love celebrating the holidays. I want to keep those old traditions alive even when I have saved up enough to finally own my own house (fingers crossed that too will happen someday. That is, when I give up teaching, and get a job that actually pays).

So can it work?

I’ve decide to bring in back-up. 

This section was written by a friend of the blogger’s, who is from a secular-but-traditional family and in a happy relationship with a person whose beliefs and religious affiliation differ from hers, and thinks she knows a thing or two about dealing with the “religion issue” — that sometimes painful wedge that exists between the two of you when it comes to matters of faith, culture and tradition.

Back to “Can it work?”: that’s a trick question. When you’re just dating a person, religion isn’t as likely to come up and be a real problem. But when you get more serious about someone and bring them home to meet your parents (and grandparents), you’re bound to start asking yourself the “religion question”, and your significant other might be too.

But this question can have many different answers. If your family’s so traditional and if you belong to such a tight-knit community that you know the two of you won’t be able to be together unless you elope or even cut ties with your loved ones, you might want to come to terms with the fact that your relationship has an expiration date (or, well, just elope).

Bear in mind that being in a relationship your parents are adamant about not accepting will put a heavy strain on you, on your relationship and on your partner, who will want to share your pain. It might prove very difficult to cope without your parents’ moral and financial support, your mother’s hugs and your father’s advice (and occasional proud gaze). Worst of all, should your partner decide not to stick around, you’ll be left all alone to nurse your heartbreak with a healthy dose of “I told you so’s.”

This also depends on your partner’s religious orientation: if he’s technically of your religion but an atheist or of another caste, your parents might eventually come ‘round. If one of his parents is of your religion, your parents might eventually warm to him. If he’s of a different religion but you both share the same values, outlook or philosophy of life, you may have a chance. If he’s of a different religion but of the same culture, or moved to your country at a young age, it may well work, even if he’s of a different religion (my boyfriend and I are an example of this). But if he’s a devout Catholic from Poland and you’ve been raised as a devout Sikh from the Punjab, it might not work out so well for the two of you – because of cultural and religious differences alike. (Remember how in My Big Fat Greek Weddingthe protagonists were both Christians, but one was Greek Orthodox while the other wasn’t? And even after the groom agreed to become Greek Orthodox, the bride’s father still felt betrayed, because the groom wasn’t culturally/ethnically Greek?)

If, on the other hand, your parents are less religious, or more open, there’s a chance that they’ll accept your partner with open arms, even if you have to deal with a rocky start in the first few weeks. If your parents raised you in a secular and liberal home and they still don’t accept your boyfriend, you should ask yourself if maybe the religious issue is not at the heart of their rejection. For example, they may be wary of accepting him because they believe the religious differences preclude the possibility of your building a happy and harmonious home together, and if you convince them that you share the same values, they’ll accept your partner. (Of course, it’s possible that they just think he’s a jerk.)

Or perhaps they think the religious differences belie even bigger cultural differences, in which case you have to ask yourself if these differences are surmountable. Or perhaps they worry about your legal status: will you be able to marry this man legally in your country, and will you be entitled to full rights as a married couple? Does your country have civil marriage? Does your religious denomination recognize mixed marriages? What will the status of your children be?

If you haven’t asked yourself these questions yet, you may find that they are crucial to figuring out if there’s a chance for the two of you – and they’re probably the questions running through your parents’ head, and the reason for their objection to your union.

Under what conditions can it work?

First of all, religion can be many things. It can be  a set of childhood memories of holidays or the name you were given by your parents, but not necessarily something that has had a real impact on you growing up.

Or it can be an integral part of your identity, be it because you want to keep your family’s traditions or because you yourself have a close connection to God. If you are a spiritual person and feel that you share a spiritual affinity with your significant other despite the religious differences, you’ll probably be fine. If religion means little to the both of you but you share the same world-view, you’ll be ok also. And if religion to you is an amalgam of traditions and rituals you want your children (and spouse) to be part of, you have to make sure your significant other is willing to respect that (bear in mind that you will probably have to respect and even keep his own traditions in return – are you willing to change your lifestyle and do that?).

If the question of conversion arises and it becomes clear that the relationship cannot proceed without it, ask yourselves which one of you should convert and why, and what it will require of you as individuals and a couple. If you ask him to convert, will your partner feel like you can’t accept him as he is, that you need him to change too much? Will it alienate and hurt him and tear the two of you apart? Will it turn you into Marta and him into the Baron Münchhausen (an analogy my boyfriend and I often use when discussing this hot topic)? If so, just let it go.

Sometimes the “religion issue” can interfere in the bedroom as well — sometimes being brought up in a particular faith will shape the way we think about sex. For example, you may be all for abstinence, while he might expect sex way before the wedding night. He may have had a wild past, while you may have been “saving yourself”. You may have been brought up in a strict community that segregates men and women, while he may have lost his virginity at 13. You may have been brought up to get married early, while he may be planning to keep his bachelor pad at least until his 35th birthday. You may be pro-choice while he may be pro-life. These are extreme examples, but many interfaith couples are bound to encounter the “grey areas” of having differing (sometimes conflicting) opinions about sex. This is best solved by talking about it. If you’re disappointed that he’s not on the same page as you are where sex is concerned, don’t hide it from him — he might not even have realized.

Basically, it will only work if the two of you learn to accept each other’s religious traditions AND world-view. You should be accepting, mature and strong enough, and have enough resolve, to stay together even if one or both of you become a bit more religious, or show more signs of wanting to keep religious traditions.

What can you do to make it work?

1. Read and learn about your partner’s religion (and culture!) and have him read about yours – not on Wikipedia. Real books and stuff. Even THE books (the Bible, Qur’an…). Ask your partner questions about his religion, surprise him with facts you read that he might not know, try to figure out how he sees his religion and try to see it through his eyes. Ignorance isn’t sexy, and won’t endear you to his family or community either.

2. Try to find the points your religions have in common, in spirit if not in practice.

3. Try to see his religion in a positive light — you might find that some traditions seem beautiful to you, and you might want to experience them yourself with his family (and someday, with yours).

4. Be frank with each other and tell each other what you will and won’t give up, and which traditions you insist on keeping. In other words: set limits, and respect each other’s limits.

5. Don’t ask each other to make major changes as an ultimatum for staying together.

6. Don’t badmouth each other’s religion, culture, parents and upbringing as a way of trying to deal with the differences between you. Don’t keep your significant other from keeping his/her traditions, don’t put obstacles in the way of their faith.

7. Don’t turn your discussions into a contest of which religion is better. If you can’t accept that the person closest to you doesn’t believe what you believe, you’re better off apart. (Especially when there are kids in the picture — don’t entice them to choose your religion over your spouse’s, and don’t make them choose one religion just to prove a point.)

8. Try not to antagonize your parents to the point of breaking contact, and definitely don’t put on dramatic and rebellious airs of the type you were notorious for when you were sixteen. Try to understand their point of view. You’re not Romeo and Juliet, and your parents are not evil. HOWEVER, don’t let them insult your partner or his religion, don’t let them stereotypify him. Stand up to them. Have them get to know your partner, and if that doesn’t help matters, just keep on standing up to them.

Be prepared for the possibility that like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, your parents will conclude that that “on the other hand, there is no other hand” and never speak to you again. This is probably a very rare occurrence in real life (even in the most closed religious communities many parents sneak out to meet with their excommunicated children), unless you’re a pogrom-stricken Jew and decide to shack up with a village Cossack. Anyway, keep this in mind — any other reaction on your parents’ part will seem like a blessing in comparison…

9. Try to be understanding of your partner if they find the religious issue difficult to handle or fail to realize how significant religion is (or isn’t) to you. Try to explain things in a calm and composed manner.

10. Don’t turn religion into a weapon you can use against your partner, or a place to retreat to when you want to hide from them. Don’t hurt them deliberately by pushing them away.

11. Try to find out what your religion says about mixed marriages. Maybe talk to a clergyman or layperson your trust. Perhaps your religion allows intermarriage without conversion? There are several religions that do.

12. Never say never. Don’t assume tradition will never matter to you, and don’t tell your significant other as much (“I swear, I’ll never care about religion, it will never come between us!”). Sometimes when people start a family they want to pass certain traditions on to their children, so don’t deny that this is a possibility. Discuss it honestly, preferably before the time comes to pass traditions on.

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.