Choosing a non-conventional life can be very rewarding, but also very disorienting. My new Breathless column for Vogue talks about the advantages and anxieties of living a life less ordinary, and how to chart your progress when you’re someone who draws outside the lines.
Photo by Juergen Teller
Am I a “relationship person”? Ewww! I don’t want to be! You know the kind I mean–those people who are always with someone, most likely because they can’t handle being alone. I hate those people, but I recently realized that I’m pretty sure I am one of those people. So depressing.
I got my first boyfriend when I was fifteen. We dated for a year and lost our virginities together, but I dumped him because I liked someone else, who soon became my next boyfriend. The new boyfriend was two years younger than me, tall, deathly pale and as skinny as a stringbean. When my mother first met him she told me she’d “seen him around town and thought he was a special needs person.” I was so overwhelmingly attracted to him. I’m pretty sure the way he looked defined what “my type” would be for years to come. Anyway, we dated for a year and a half, at which point I moved away to attend college in London. We had talked about trying to keep things going while I was away, however during my first week at college I met Blaine, my new obsessive love, and ended things with the stringbean. Blaine and I dated for four and a half years. Holy shit, that is a long time. It’s weird to think that he was my boyfriend when I started this blog. He makes a few appearances in posts way back at the beginning, but he didn’t like being written about very much, so I tried to refrain when possible. We no longer speak, sadly. I would have liked to stay friends, but the split was not too amicable. Let’s just say it was the sort of break up where people’s clothes get thrown into rivers and psychotherapy is required afterward.
After it ended with Blaine I immediately–like within two days–started dating this music label guy who I stayed with for about three months. It was during that time that I met Bunny. Long term readers of this blog will know who Bunny is (there are about 500 posts written about him, which you can find by putting his name into the search bar), but for those of you who don’t, he is my non-sexual/sexually-ambiguous best friend, and we never dated, per se, although upon meeting we immediately became inseparable and moved into the same bedroom and shared a bed and wore the same clothes, and let’s be honest, I was basically in love with him. We weren’t “dating” but we also weren’t not dating, if that makes sense? And we weren’t really sleeping together–except for those few times, on K, during those orgies–but he wasn’t sleeping with anyone else, and I would only sleep with other people very rarely, while blacked-out, so it sort of felt like we were a real life, monogamous couple.
At the tail end of the Bunny love affair, when we had faded out of the obsessive same-bed zone and moved into the friend zone, there were a few months where I can legitimately say that I was single. Woo hoo! Party! However, that’s when I moved to New York, and after being in NYC for literally only four days I slept with Hamilton, who then became my boyfriend of two and a half years. When that ended, last winter, I had already begun sleeping with Lessa. I wasn’t cheating, though, because Hamilton had repeatedly told me that he “didn’t care if I slept with girls” because “women have no souls,” or whatever. That was part of our deal–we would have threesomes with girls together, and I could be a solo lesbian if I so desired. But the point is, when he and I split, Lessa and I were already fucking, and then we just kept fucking until somehow we were dating, and now it’s nine months later and we’re still dating, and the moral of the story is that I’ve essentially been in a relationship since I was fifteen. Minus three months. That is fucked.
What’s also sort of terrifying is how I’ve managed to sleep with so many people, given that I haven’t been single in twelve years. Whoops.
Sorry about that drawn-out relationship history rant, I didn’t expect it to be so long. But the point is, I don’t want to be a needy “relationship person.” I want to be independent, like Destiny’s Child. A couple weeks ago my friend Andrew Richardson refereed to me as “the classic, love addict type.” I found that really offensive. Afterward I argued endlessly, claiming that I’m actually really aloof and never care about anyone. No one believed me.
One of my main problems with relationships is that they just eat up so much time. If I was single I’d be way more productive, and I’d certainly be writing a lot more blog posts. Time just vanishes when you’re hanging out with the person you’re dating–you can be doing nothing, but you’re doing nothing with someone, which constitutes as something. I remember back to those three months when I was single–I suddenly had so much free time! I was amazed by how many hours there were in a day. Where did they all come from? It was almost offensive.
And the fighting. GOD, the fighting. It never ends. It’s so emotionally and physically exhausting to be arguing with someone and crying all the time. Are all relationships like this, or is it just me? Today I was upstate at my parent’s house and I was in my room, yelling and arguing on the phone with my gf (we were fighting about the fact that I had said I’d gone jogging at 9pm, but she thought I’d actually gone at 8pm and lied about the time–important), and afterward my mom was like “What are you always yelling about in your room?” and I was like, “What, today?” and she was like, “No, I mean all the time, consistently, since you were in high school.”
The problem with being single, though, is that sex isn’t just handed to you, so you end up going out and looking for it, which usually involves lots of time, energy and money. And, likely, the consumption of alcohol, which is never the best idea.
There is no right answer.
Last week I published an interview with feminist icon Marsha Rowe, where she and I talked about the history of feminism, body image and porn. However, during our original conversation, Marsha and I also talked a lot about relationships, specifically about cheating and non-monogamy. I didn’t include that bit of our convo in the original edit, just because the interview was already really long (Marsha, being very wise, just said too much good stuff to fit into one blog post!), but I thought it would be a waste not to share it with you all, so I’ve posted it below. If you’ve ever cheated or been cheated on, or if you’re considering experimenting with an open relationship, I suggest you read on!
Rowe: In a recent blog post of yours, you made a comment that it was alright for someone to cheat in a relationship as long as the person handled it properly. When I read that I thought, “Hang on, if you really cared about someone and they cheated on you, how would you feel?” Yours seemed like quite a detached, male attitude. If relationships are about vulnerability and trying to open up, then I think the idea that it’s fine to cheat is sort of glib, and I don’t like it personally.
Sciortino: I see what you mean. I think what I was trying to say was that, for example, if someone in a relationship went to another country and had sex with a random person in a one-off experience, and he/she didn’t brag about it or discuss it with friends, then that was a condonable act. I don’t know… maybe I’m just being realistic about the fact that whether or not a couple acknowledges that this type of behavior is sometimes “OK,” it generally happens anyway.
Rowe: Well that’s something you deal with if it happens, isn’t it? As far as I know, in every relationship where someone has cheated, the relationship hasn’t lasted. Although it may have been because it was never meant to last.
Sciortino: It’s hard. This is my issue: say you’ve been monogamous with one person for a long time, and after awhile you get the urge to sleep with someone else, but ultimately decide not to because you want to stay committed. In my mind, this is likely to lead to resentment within the relationship, or you becoming unhappy sexually, when maybe a better alternative is to just get the random sex out of your system and move on. But then again, I know cheating can be a slippery slope.
Rowe: I think it depends on what stage the relationship is in. I’m sure early on someone could stray without it causing too much disruption. My case would be for maintaining trust. That if you tell the partner, even beforehand, then you can modify the potential for jealousy. But if this is happening later on, maybe the person cheating is actually frightened of being too intimate or vulnerable within their relationship, and sleeping with somebody else is just a diversion from it all.
Sciortino: That’s true. And there are obviously different levels of cheating as well. Like if I found out my boyfriend had been dating someone else for a year behind your back I’d obviously be like “OK, too much!” But if I found out he’d slept with someone else once or twice, and it wasn’t someone close to us, I could probably get over it. It’s really subjective. And I’m talking as someone who is nowhere near being mentally ready to get married or have kids. I think when you enter marriage, or consider having children with someone, the rules change.
Rowe: Well, life in general is much more fluid now. Half the time people don’t marry, and relationships are a bit more vulnerable to change.
Sciortino: I know a lot of people, myself included, who are now experimenting with open relationships–the idea that you have one main partner with whom you’re emotionally monogamous, but you both have the freedom to sleep with other people occasionally, so long as it’s not gratuitous or disrespectful.
Rowe: Well in the 60s and 70s, because we were against the whole ‘nuclear family under capitalism’ thing, at times we thought it was alright to have multiple relationships or partners, so long as we were open about it. For example, I would be good friends with a woman who was with one of my partners, and vice versa. But in a way, looking back it was quite cold, you know? There wasn’t a lot of care in the matter, and even when there was a lot of love, actually, it wasn’t workable in the long run. As for the idea of sex divorced from feeling, I suppose I did have a few partners where that was the case, but it wasn’t what I wanted in the end. Ultimately I realized that if I was with someone, I didn’t want to be, well… fucking someone else, really.
Sciortino: I go through cycles. There are periods where I really crave and enjoy having detached, “meaningless” sex, and times when I don’t. I know that a lifetime of just anonymous sex would not be fulfilling for me or most people. But I think there’s a time in everyone’s life where free sexual experimentation is fun and probably a good thing, because if you don’t have it when you’re younger then maybe you’ll regret having missed the opportunity later on.
Rowe: That’s true.
Sciortino: What do you think about certain modern pop stars, like Ke$ha and Lady Gaga, who are open and unapologetic about being promiscuous?
Rowe: Well pop stars always behaved this way, except they were mostly men. They didn’t talk about it that much, but it was always assumed. But now women are doing it too and it’s like, ‘So what?!’ Does that make them a role model? Well, I don’t really know what a role model is anymore, but at least they’re being open and honest about it.
Sciortino: I think it’s potentially positive. I don’t think young women should feel like they have to sleep around to be sexually progressive or a feminist, but I think it’s good to have people in the media relaying the message that if you do decide to have multiple partners, it doesn’t mean that you’re a slut or that you’re just trying to please men. It’s never degrading to do what makes you feel good.
Rowe: Yes, yes, yes. I mean, where is the male equivalent for the word ‘slut’? There isn’t one. There is no term for putting a man down because he sleeps around. Slut-shaming is a very old and sexist form of abuse. The ideal of virginity and being chaste is what we were against in the 60s, and it’s why we claimed our sexual freedom.
I’m a 20 year old girl, I’ve been with my boyfriend for over a year, and a few months ago we moved in together. I love him, he’s a great lover, and I’ve never felt so close to a person in my life, yet I feel like something’s missing. Last weekend I visited a friend in a different city, and I met a few of her hot male friends. I was honestly considering sleeping with this one guy while my boyfriend was at home missing me. I feel so confused and desperate. I would never want to hurt him, yet I keep wondering if we are meant to be. I can’t talk to my friends about this because I feel so embarrassed about myself. Help! Kayla
Well Kayla, the technical term for what you’re experiencing is FOMO–fear of missing out syndrome. Your eggs are panicked that by only fucking your boyfriend they’re missing out on partying with better, hotter, funnier, most stylish sperm. But don’t worry, this is totally normal! The question isn’t why you feel this way, but rather how you should respond to these completely run-of-the-mill (and frankly quite boring) feelings.
It’s ridiculous to think that just because we love someone our lust for others will miraculously disappear. Lust is an inherent human reality, and it will never be fully tamed by love. Sure, sometimes during the first stages of a new relationship, we can become so infatuated with a person that for a while we’re blind to other sexual stimulus. But this phenomenon generally fades pretty past. Basically, no matter how in love we are, we’re still going to want to fuck our friend’s hot friends (and the cute American Apparel check-out guy and Michael Cera and our second cousins and anyone wearing a uniform and Stephen Colbert for some weird reason).
The issue of monogamy is stressful–I’m with you on that one! On one hand, I know it’s crazy to assume that one person can give me everything I want–can be amazing in bed, can be kind, can make me laugh, can stimulate me intellectually, can make me lentil soup when I’m depressed, etc. That’s asking a lot of one person! But on the other hand, there’s that annoying thing known as jealousy, which gets in the way of rational thought.
The romantic part of my brain believes that deciding to be faithful to one person is really beautiful, because making that sexual sacrifice can result in a stronger relationship. However, the other part of my brain (the larger, more intelligent part) thinks, “Life is short, we should all fuck whoever we want.” Overall, I think Dan Savage’s idea of “monogamish” is a pretty good relationship model. The idea is that you can be together with one other person, but loosen the reigns of your relationship just enough to give you both a little breathing room. Another term for this would be “open relationship,” although I know that scares some people off, because how open is “open”? Does open mean a no-boundaries fuck-fest where your partner is having intimate and emotional relationships with a zillion other people? Or does open mean that once in awhile, if you’re out of town, or drunk at a random party, you can fuck someone else and not have it be the end of the world? As Dan Savage put it, “Sometimes opening the door just a crack can keep the door from blowing off its hinges.” And I really think that’s true. Because we all want what we can’t have, right? So if you can’t fuck someone else, you’re obviously going to want to desperately. But if the rules aren’t so strict, you become sort of like, “Yeah, whatever… maybe later. My crotch isn’t groomed anyway.”
But in case this new relationship model doesn’t pan out, then what are your options? Well, you can dump your boyfriend, or you can cheat. Now, cheating is probably not the most admirable thing a person can do, but sometimes I think it’s OK, if done correctly. If done in secrecy and with respect to your partner (no blabbing to friends!), and if the cheating doesn’t get out of control and isn’t too close to home, it’s not so terrible. Especially if you consider that the alternative is you being unhappy and potentially starting to resent your partner, thus causing problems within your relationship. Am I a bad person? Maybe. But so are you, probs.
And lastly, I have to acknowledge that you’re only 20. I hate to break it to you, but even if you and your boyfriend are “meant to be” for now, you probably won’t be together forever. Or at least I hope you won’t. It’s good for people to experience multiple relationships in our lives, because each new person we date teaches us something new about the world, and about ourselves. Think of all the things you’ll miss out on by staying with one guy forever–you’ll never fuck a guy twice your age, you’ll never be in an orgy, you’ll never be a lesbian, or a prostitute, or a single girl going on a sex rampage across Europe. If you miss out on these things, you’ll regret it when you die. You’re welcome.
Something I didn’t realize about Paris when I temporarily relocated here three weeks ago was that it’s literally the worst place on earth. I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere more inconvenient, more miserable, and more burdened by seemingly arbitrary rules in my entire life. But it is pretty, I’ll give it that.
One of the things I find most annoying about France is that between 3pm and 7pm all the restaurants shut down so that everyone can take a nap. This doesn’t make much sense to me, because between 3pm and 7pm tends to be the time when I want to eat the most. The other time of the day I tend to want to eat–being someone who gets up quite late and doesn’t go to bed until about 4am–is around 10pm. However, all the restaurants here close at 10 so that is also impossible. So basically you get two windows during which to eat: between 12pm and 3pm, and between 7pm and 10pm. Now, coming from America–a place where we value a thing called freedom of choice–I don’t like abiding by these arbitrary, irritating rules. (Not to mention that on Sundays every single thing in Paris is closed, so it’s impossible to do literally anything at all.) And then, even when you do manage to make it to a restaurant during the five seconds a day they are open, the service is so abysmal and slow that the process of eating takes two hours. It’s like, don’t these people have lives? When I have lunch, I want to get in and get out quickly, so that I can get back to whatever pseudo-important thing I was doing beforehand. But here people prefer to just sit around and eat leisurely while drinking a bottle of wine (hence the need for a post-lunch adult naptime).
Also, I’m sorry but I can’t deal with the food here. I know French food has a great rep, but literally all they eat is bread, cheese and meat. How are they not fatter? Also, there are almost no vegetarian options anywhere, because apparently people here are just so obsessed with meat that they need to eat piles of it with every meal. Literally, even when you order a salad it comes with secret meat hidden underneath the leaves. The other day I was at a restaurant with some friends and we ordered a “mixed plate” (i.e. a plate of bread, cheese and meat, obviously), and I thought, ‘Oh that’s fine, I’ll just eat the cheese’, but then when the plate arrived it was laid out in such a way that the cheese was located underneath the meat, like literally hidden underneath a giant meat fort, causing all the cheese to be covered in the juices of animal fat, and subsequently taste sort of like meat as well.
And while I’m complaining about restaurants here, I should also mention that they are very expensive. In New York you can get a nice, healthy breakfast–eggs, sautéed kale, sweet potatoes, whole grain pita, beat juice–for like $12. Here they give you a pile of carbs and lard and it costs three times that. And in New York I can have that nice, healthy, cheap-ish breakfast any fucking time I want, and the waiter serves it to me with a smile, rather than angrily throwing the plate down in front of me in disgust, as if it was some massive inconvenience that they had to bring the food in the first place–because why on earth would someone imagine they could come to a restaurant and expect to be served food, ugh! (And if you’re wondering why I don’t avoid all this stress by cooking food at home, it’s because I just don’t like to do that, and part of the reason why I pay extortionate rent prices to live in cities is so that I’m afforded the convenience and luxury of having my food cooked for me at every meal. So there.)
Another thing that’s confusingly third-worldey about Paris is that is really hard to find the internet. I moved into a new Air BnB apartment last week, and the girl whose house it is neglected to mention that she does’t have wifi. How is that even possible? How do people live like this? When I called her about it (in a panic), she explained that she uses something called “Free Wifi,” which is the free wireless internet that exists all throughout Paris. That surprised me, because nothing in life comes for is free, right? But after many attempts over the past week to make the Free Wifi work, I’ve realized that its free-ness is rooted in the fact that it completely fails to function. In the midst of my mental breakdown I knocked on the doors of a few of my neighbors, to see if I could maybe borrow a wifi password, but they all live in third-world internetless homes as well. And practically no cafes have wifi either. The only places you can count on having the internet are McDonalds and Starbucks. Traj. As a result, over past week I’ve been forced to work from McDonalds, however the McDonalds wifi firewalls my blog (lol) so blogging has obviously been quite difficult. In order to upload things to my blog I have to crouch on the street outside of a hotel near my apartment and steal their wifi. Unglamorous. However, the absolute low of my trip thus far was yesterday, when I had to interview someone over Skype, and I had to hide in the corner of a McDonalds with my head and laptop hidden under a tent I made out of my coat, in order to block out the sound of screaming children. Kill me now. Oh, and then afterward I got an email from a stranger to my Slutever email being like, “Hey, did I just see you in a Paris McDonalds by any chance?” The shame…
Me crouching in the street, desperate for wifi Conducting a Skype interview under a coat tent at McDonalds. Traj.
Another thing that’s been adding to my recent stress is that while in Paris I’m living with my girlfriend. I obviously love being with her–why would we be dating otherwise?–but I’ve never lived with anyone I’ve dated before, and as I expected it’s quite exhausting and nightmarish. It’s just weird to be around someone so much. And it seems like after a while, no matter how much you like a person, it’s impossible not to find every single thing they do infuriating. Admittedly, my gf is someone who is generally very easy going and always in a good mood, so it’s hard to find her annoying. However, it’s gotten to the point where I’ve begun to find her easy-goingness and general positivity the most infuriating things about her. Like for example, if we go for a walk, she’ll constantly stop to stare at things–random walls, broken windows, puddles–and then just sigh contently and comment on the obscure beauty of the world around us. This obviously makes me want to smash her head in and scream about how ignorant she is for not being able to see how disgusting and annoying life is and how mutant-like most people are. However, whenever I say this sort of stuff to her, she just laughs casually and tries to Instagram me.
Another scary thing about living with the person you’re dating is that after a while you become really gross. You stop caring about looking good and saying interesting or funny things, and just regress into this repulsive, cave-person version of yourself (i.e. the person you are when you’re alone). For example, I’ve almost completely stopped showering. And I don’t even care because it’s like, “Whatever, we’re still going have sex anyway. But actually we probably won’t because I fucking hate you and think you’re the most annoying person on earth. But also please don’t leave the room because I’ll be lonely without you.” Thus is the essence of living with the person you’re dating, in a nutshell.
Sigh. It’s only when I leave New York that I realize how amazing it is to live in a 24-hour city full of friendly people, where kale is served in almost every restaurant. And I’m sorry if I sound like a whiny bitch but, ya know, life can be really hard sometimes. Also, where is Louis Garrel? Doesn’t he live in Paris? I haven’t seen him once.
Do you miss me when we’re not together?
No seriously, do you? Because I miss you all the time.
Even if it’s just for one day?
I miss you when I’m not looking directly at you.
Come on, I’m being serious.
That’s why my eyes water in my sleep–I’m crying because I can’t see you.
I hate you, actually. I was trying to be serious, for once.
I am being serious.
Whatever, you’ve ruined the moment.
I didn’t realize this was a moment.
Well it is. All moments are potential “moments” and you’ve ruined this one.
Well, OK then.
Actually, it annoys me how much of a robot you are. You are an emotionless, condescending robot with no friends. People call you an awkward, arrogant asshole behind your back.
Well now you’re just being a bitch.
Who cares, you’re mean to me all the time.
When am I mean to you?
You were mean to me this morning, you told me that I don’t know anything about anything.
Well it’s not my fault that I can’t reference anything about the current state of the world without you having no idea what I’m talking about. It’s like you live under a rock. You didn’t know about the oil spill until two weeks after it happened. I don’t even know how that’s humanly possible.
OK, I admit not knowing about that oil spill thing was bad, but that was a weird period for me. I wasn’t leaving the house much.
Wasn’t leaving the house? It’s called the internet. It’s called being curious about the world around you and having an interest in things other than your own vagina.
God, you’re such a self righteous prick, I can’t stand to be around you. Just looking at you makes me want to die.
Well that’s unfortunate because I find you so pleasant.
I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that. What I said was horrible.
I accept your apology.
Aren’t you going to say you’re sorry too?
For being an asshole to me! For talking down to me, like you always do.
I did not talk down to you. You wish I did. You are just foaming at the mouth, waiting for me to say something mean to you so that you can be offended and become hysterical.
That’s not true. I find arguing very emotionally draining, actually.
It would seem that you thrive on it.
Well I take back my apology, I’m not sorry.
So that’s why you were apologizing? Just to get me to apologize?
No, I meant it, in that moment. But I expected you to be nice to me in return. That’s normally how arguments work: one person takes the high road and says they’re sorry, and then the other person follows suit.
Well I’m sorry if you, in being overly sensitive, were offended by what I said. But I am not sorry for what I said.
OK well I stand by everything that I said, too–I think you are a condescending robot–however I’m sorry that I said it out loud. That was rude of me.
I’m fine with that.
So you know how I give out sex advice on my blog all the time, and how I just generally discuss sex as if I know what I’m talking about? Well, (surprise!) I’m not actually qualified to be giving anyone advice about anything ever. Woops! To better equip myself to answering your (and my own) sex questions, I decided it would be a good idea to speak with the professional sexpert, June Tomaso-Wood. June is a psychotherapist who specializes in sex therapy. At the moment she is writing a book about sexual dysfunction, ways to pick up sex drive, how to maintain a meaningful relationship, and how to have the best sex of your life. So basically she has the answers to everything we’ve ever wanted to know. I hope this interview will help to clear up some of the stuff that’s constantly confusing all of us about sex/relationships/life in general.
I get a lot of girls who read my blog emailing me, complaining that they have difficulty cumming during sex. This is a giant problem for girls! How do we fix it?!
June: Let me tell you this straight up: only 30% of women have an orgasm during intercourse. That’s not a high percentage. Most of the nerve endings are on the outside of the woman’s genitle erea. There are 8000 nerve endings on the outside of the vagina, compared to 4000 nerve endings on the male penis. Men are more concentrated on the actual act of intercourse because it feels so good for them, but it’s only the first two inches of the vagina that have nerve endings. That’s why size doesn’t matter, and why foreplay is so important!
Yeah. Penetration, without any clitoral stimulation literally just feels like inserting a tampon on repeat forever.
Right. So what’s wrong with oral sex? What’s wrong with mutual masturbation and digital stimulation? What’s wrong with getting off in different ways?
I think sometimes, especially when you’re young, you assume that you’re supposed to cum from the actual sex, so you’re embarrassed to masturbate in front of a guy because in your head masurbating is what you do when you’re alone. Also guys watch porn and it (wrongly) teaches them that girls cum just from getting fucked.
That’s what they think, but it’s not true. That’s why women need to get more acquainted with their own bodies, in order to transfer the training to their partner. Just because it feels so good for them to have intercourse doesn’t mean that women don’t need more foreplay and to have the outside more aroused for them to enjoy the intercourse. They don’t get it, you have to educate them. That’s why it’s awful that many women from religious backgrounds feel guilt about touching their own body.
So what do you tell people who have difficulty reaching orgasm during sex?
I tell people to relax, and that it takes training to really have a good orgasm with intercourse, and a lot of stimulation. This is what I suggest to start with nice long foreplay, like oral sex–hello!–and/or using vibrators on the outside, on the clit, to encourage the clitoris. This will make it so you’re stimulated on the outside, which also increases the blood volume on the inside at the g-spot. The g-spot is sitting on the paraurethral gland–it’s like a little seat that the g-spot sits in–and if you stimulate the outside as well as the inside where the g-spot is, with intercourse in the right position you might be able to have an orgasm that way. And if you have a vibrator on the outside as he’s thrusting, your chances are much better. So tell him that. And remember that the nerve endings are mostly on the outside! Men don’t get it!
For me to have an orgasm usually things have to be more slow and I need to concentrate. But then sometimes I just want to be thrown around and just be fucked really hard, and that’s not really conducive to me having an orgasm, but I still like it. So basically I can still enjoy sex even if I don’t cum, if it’s the right kind of sex.
Yeah, but a lot of men aren’t OK with the girl not cumming because they have such egos. And of course you can fake orgasms, but if you fake it, you have to keep faking it, because then their ego is fed and you have to feeding it. That’s why it’s so important to tell him what you like in bed. You can say things like, “You know honey, the other night when you did this or that, that felt really good. Can you do a little bit more of that?”
On your website you heavily promote sex toys. Why are sex toys such a big deal?
The reason I tell a lot of people to use them is because they are a buffer. So like dual stimulators for women, rings for men, vibrators, bullet, etc. They are really good for people who have anticipatory anxiety about sex. At our age this generally isn’t a problem; people are just crazy horny and all they want to do is screw. But as you get older things change and there is a lot of emotion connected to sex. Some people begin to feel shameful because they don’t know if they perform well, and a lot of men lose their erections and whatnot, so I promote the toys as a buffer, because it allows people to focus on the toy and not be so focused on themselves.
That makes sense.
For example the Bullet is great for a woman’s clitoris, but it can also be used on the underside of the penis and be really stimulating for a man as well.
What about if you’re in a relationship where you fight a lot? How do you fix it?
I meet with couples about conflict resolution a lot. What I advise is for the couple to pick one night a week where they can spend half an hour with each other sharing one gripe at a time. You should make eye contact, be respectful, and use a good tone–soft and gentle–and then tell your boyfriend something that’s been bothering you, and then you have him reflect back what you just said so you know you’re being heard. And then it’s his turn. And if you allow time for these gripe sessions once a week it means you get your frustration out in a positive way, instead of arguing all week. You learn how to discuss and problem solve and to compromise better.
What if you are both passive people, so you almost never fight, but then when you do fight it’s like a gigantic horrible explosion?
Well, having an argument or a disagreement is not always a bad thing. No relationship is copescetic all the time; it’s unrealistic to thinks it’s going to be heavenly every day. You’re different people, you’re different sexes (sometimes), so of course you’re going to have disagreements. It’s the way that you handle them that’s important.
What do think about open relationships?
I think every relationship is different and if both of you are in agreement and you feel comfortable and you set clear boundaries about what’s OK and what’s not OK, then there’s nothing wrong with it.
Sometimes I think it’s better to be lenient than to put up these crazy boundaries, because then you just want to rebel against them, ya know?
Some people can’t handle that. They’re jealous as hell. Some people simply can’t handle someone having their hands one their woman, and vice versa.
Do you think sometimes a little bit of jealousy can be good for a relationship though?
I guess it depends on what you’re looking for in the relationship, because it can also be dangerous. The thing about sleeping with people outside of your relationship is that you run the risk of becoming emotionally involved. That’s the dilemma. Sometimes you don’t expect that to happen, but damn it, it does. And then what do you do?
So maybe it’s better to deny yourself of something that you want, because in the end it will make your relationship stronger for having made those sacrifices?
It definitely can, yes. But I also think that you’re very young, and that there’s nothing wrong with exploring your sexuality at your age. And even if you decide to make a commitment to someone and have children, you’re married for a long time! So have fun while you can! As long as you’re safe, of course.
Do you think it’s a good or a bad idea to sleep with someone on the first date?
What I say to a lot of the women who I work with is, “What’s wrong with building a relationship and building emotional intimacy by staying away from sex for the first three months?” Now at your age three months is forever, but for women in their 30s and 40s, spending three months in a casual relationship, going out to dinner, seeing a movie, dancing, etc, allows you to build emotional intimacy, and then when you do have sex it will be amazing and passionate. I’m not talking about one night stands or physiological release, I’m talking about women who are serious about getting involved in a relationship that they want to maintain. Then I would say give it a month or two–you don’t have to jump in the sack right away. Get to know them, see if there’s chemistry. It’s not all about the physical. The emotional is important too.
But what about people who are, like, twenty-two?
Well twenty-two is hot! If you’re twenty-two and you are exploring your seuxality, then I wouldn’t advise you to wait that long, of course not. I would say explore and have casual sex, but be selective and be careful, and wear condoms so you don’t get HIV!
One common question I get for my Ask Slutever column is from people who are around twenty, who are still virgins, who want to know if they should sleep with a random and get the first time over with, or if they should wait to have sex with someone they love. What do you think?
Very good question. I’ll tell you a story, the first guy I ever had sex with was a urologist. You know why? Because I really just wanted to get rid of that hymen and I thought, “who better than him to do it?” He was twenty-seven and I was eighteen, so it was kind of nice. It was more about getting rid of it. You don’t always have to be in love to have sex.
I think some people overthink the first time.
Yeah, some people analyze it too much. The most important thing is, if you’re going to have sex, you have to be sexually awakened. You can’t be coerced into it. Your body really has to want to have it. And if you want it, then I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having sex with someone you’re not in love with.
When I was young my mom told me not to have sex before marriage.
Oh god, why would you buy a pair of shoes without trying them on?! I know a case in point where a woman’s husband died and she remarried–the new guy was in his 50s and a multimillionaire–and after the wedding she found out he was impotent. She was furious!
That happened to Charlotte on Sex and the City.
I think that’s pretty damn stupid. I mean, come on!
If you’re in a relationship, how important is it to talk about sex with your partner?
Emotional intimacy is extremely important, and keeping a positive dialogue is extremely important in a relationship, and will bring you a lot closer. It’s definitely important to sit down and talk about sex, and what you like and what you don’t like, and what you prefer. And if your boyfriend cares about you deeply then he will want to please you, and visa versa. That’s where the emotional intimacy comes in.
I think sometimes people find it embarrassing to talk about sex really seriously.
Even in your generation?
Yeah. Like I think I almost find it easier to be really grotesquely blunt, and to say things like “I want you to bend me over that table and fuck me,” than to sit down with my boyfriend and seriously say, “This is what makes me feel good and this is what I think you should do for me.” It’s almost “too real”, ya know?
Well, guess what honey, it is real. But that’s what you need to do. And if you learn how to do it now you will have a more meaningful relationship later. You need to be real with each other. And if you can talk about sexuality, which is so intimate, then you can talk about anything.
Do women ever come to see you who feel guilty about violent fantasies they have, like rape fantasies?
No, it’s mainly men who come in with those issues, not women.
How do you make your sex drive higher?
Diet is very important. Dark chocolate: eat it, an ounce and a half a day, the darker the better. The orgasms are amazing. Visual stimulation helps to pick up drive too, or using a kegel exerciser to bring blood flow to the area. If you use that for twenty minutes a day that certainly will pick up drive and make your orgasms better. And exercise improves performance and makes orgasms better.
How many times a week should a couple have sex?
It depends on the couple and the drive of each person. Remember this: the person who has the lower drive controls the sex.
Don’t I know it!