Question: Washing My Balls

I forgot I had glass Ben wa balls in and went to pee … And one plopped out into to toilet! I fished it out with a rubber glove, washed it in hand soap , and then poured rubbing alcohol over it before rinsing/drying and putting it away. Do you think that’s sufficient to sterilize it and make it safe to use again?


Yes, you should be good with the cleaning that you did. Glass balls are non-porous and are pretty easy to clean. I usually wash mine with warm water and soap. Occasionally I spritz them with an anti-bacterial toy cleaner, but that’s primarily a routine toy inspection and not something I’m doing because I necessarily feel unsafe with the soap and water regimen.

As you discovered, it’s inconvenient to have to pee when you’re using ben wa balls. If you have to pee and you realize too late, trying to get the ben wa balls out so you can safely pee can be just as treacherous. My advice would be to avoid the liquids as best you can while you’re playing with them next time, and be sure to go to the bathroom before inserting them. If you’re going to be using them for longer periods of time and want to stay hydrated (as is smart for many types of strenuous exercise) try popping them out every now and then for a little break and then putting them back in.

Cleaning toys before and after use can help prevent bacteria from getting inside you and causing infection. Storing them in dry, clean areas can be helpful as well. If you have ben wa balls are silicone, remember that silicone toys should not be stored directly against other silicone toys. This can cause a melting of the material. If possible, storing your toys in separate toy bags can help prolong their lifespan.

Related (and recommended) toys and accessories:

Luna Beads $47.00

(They’re weighted, too!)

Padded Bags $20.00-30.00

(The large one fits a hitachi!)

Pjur Clean $18.00

(For spraying down your toys!)

Have a question about sex, love, sexuality, gender, relationships? Submit at the top by hitting ask advice and I’ll answer it on my blog.

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Question: Trust and Sex

Note: This question is exceptionally long so I’ve divided it into segments and highlighted key themes I want to talk about. I think all parts of it are important so I didn’t want to leave anything out. I think the questions asked in this post are representative of most of the questions I hear when it comes to relationships and having a healthy sexual discourse within a long term relationship. Read on, and let me know if you would have anything to add. 


Trust issues: Your Partners Friends

I’m in an LTR of 3+ yrs. but I have severe trust issues. I am very sensitive about the women my boyfriend interacts with at work, school, etc. -mainly there’s this stupid thing when I meet one of them. Most of the time, they ignore me and engage only with him even when he and I had been talking or it’s clear that we are together. I can be standing there, holding his hand, smiling at directing my attention at her and the woman won’t acknowledge me. I’ve attended the birthday party of a particular female coworker and invited her out to a couple events before but she still seems to ignore me when my boyfriend is present and only greets him. I feel like this is a huge snub and like they are all, in a way, asserting dominance over me. It’s almost a constant experience when a new woman is introduced and I don’t know why this happens. Once it does, however, that’s it – I am infuriated and I don’t want him to have anything to do with them. So that’s one issue.


As a woman who often does this, here’s one possible explanation. They’re aware that you feel that distrust towards them, and it’s off-putting. When I engage with male friends of mine while their female partners are present it’s difficult to include them in the conversation. 1) Often times I just feel more comfortable talking briefly to my male friend and then moving on 2) The body language of the female S/O can at times be predatory. “Why are you talking to my boyfriend?” 3) I am socially awkward at times and introducing yourself can feel messy. One person needs to be the one who takes that move and says “Hi! I’m so and so!” If you’re bad at this like me, give it a shot, and work it in. It does get easier with time. My advice would be to put effort into getting to know your boyfriends female friends. Start your own dialogue with them and create some common ground. “Want to get a drink sometime and chat? I think we have a lot in common!” Be open to the possibility that they aren’t purposefully being rude and that they’re nice people that you too can befriend. Thinking positivity about it will go a long way. You could also encourage your partner to help introduce you when you’re with new people to help include you in the group conversation.


Sexual Incompatibility

Another is that I am a very private and greedy person when it comes to my boyfriend and sex. I love sex and I like a lot of it. I like being made to feel dirty and sexual and I try to make him feel that way and make him feel like I am super attracted to and aroused by him. Most of the time his response feels hum drum and awkward, and I don’t feel like he makes much effort to make me feel wanted unless it’s the day he wants to have sex that week, haha. I can wear things that make me feel sexy and go out of my way to touch him, etc. but I feel like it rarely gets noticed. To my knowledge, I’m more adventurous than him. (I’ve tried to have conversations about it but he’s never been huge on talking about things and maintains that he’s completely vanilla – which seems to be true, he never starts anything different and my mild requests to be handcuffed or held down or whatever might be granted once after I’ve asked, but in the most halfhearted and short-lived way that I can’t even enjoy those rare occasions fully.) My sex drive seems to be typically higher than his, too. I used to initiate frequently but stopped almost entirely a couple months ago at a point where sex seemed really run of the mill and like he wasn’t actually interested in it. Around the same time he admitted that he didn’t want sex as much, and I felt awkward trying to get someone who didn’t want to have sex with me to do it so, I quit. Now we have sex twice a week tops, which might sound normal for some people but isn’t enough for me, especially the sex is short and I can go weeks without having an orgasm with him (I take care of myself in private almost every day, somewhat resentfully I’ll admit). He typically cums quickly and then sex is done for him… if I hinted, he’d probably continue fooling around with me for awhile but at that point it seems halfhearted and awkward. Penetration is where it’s at for me, anyway – I can’t get off that way but I enjoy it way more. The ideal situation would involve penetration and having my clit stimulated but it’s difficult for me to get my hand down there with him on top of me (he’s overweight and his stomach is always pressed against me pretty solidly). Oh, but he doesn’t like sex toys. I talked him into trying a couple with me (we bought a vibrating cock ring and a small vibrator on different occasions) but I’ve only gotten to use them each once or twice.



I highlighted segments that I think are important here and I want to talk about them. It seems like you two are, at least at this point, sexually incompatible in some pretty big ways. You want sex a lot, he wants it a little. You like to be made dirty, he prefers it vanilla. Neither of these things are necessarily wrong, you just appear to have different preferences. Often times at the start of a relationship these differences can be hidden by the excitement of newness, where you’re still exploring one another. Then you settle into a comfortable place and you realize one partner might want a particular pace that the other partner doesn’t want. Sometimes this changes — one partner that is more vanilla begins to want to explore, or one partner that is super kinky winds down a bit and leans towards a quieter intimacy. For many people, their sexual preferences are hardwired in, and they are the way that they are. That’s just their sexual language.

On language, I pulled two interesting parts at the start:

1) I try to make him feel that way —

2) I don’t feel that he makes much effort to make me feel wanted —

Remember that what makes your partner feel loved, wanted, or sexy, might be different than what makes you feel loved, wanted, and sexy. It sounds like you might be communicating to him but he’s not hearing you, and maybe vice versa. It also sounds like communication about sex or during sex is falling flat, because your needs aren’t being met. It’s not unreasonable to want to use positions that help you get off or to have sex for a length of time to allows you to orgasm. If he can’t enjoy playing with you after he orgasms maybe he should focus on making sure you get off once before he gets himself off. Extending foreplay is a great way to help do that.

It all goes back to that first question, though. Are you sexually incompatible? Can you two bend to meet one another’s needs and find excitement in that middle ground? Are these things new in your relationship or has the sex always in some way been less than what you’d expected? There are lots of questions, and lots of potential answers.


Falling Out

So anyway to get to my statement about being greedy about him. If I am not being sexually satisfied regularly and my attempts to get his attention and attract him don’t work, what the FUCK is he doing scrolling through the FB pictures of girls he doesn’t know, doing hell knows what to them, or checking out other women in public? It seems extremely unfair that I can spend a whole evening out being attentive and affectionate to him, wearing a low-cut dress that puts like 40% of my boobs right out there, and he leaves my at my place with just a few prolonged kisses, but apparently I’m supposed to accept his checking out other women as normal and healthy and not something I should want him to stop even if I feel constantly unnoticed, unfulfilled and sexually frustrated. I am jealous and distrustful. I am completely aware that these are problems I have. I don’t know how to work through them, I just don’t even know where to begin. I know my dissatisfaction with our sex life isn’t helping.

I feel like he isn’t open with me about what he likes, or what he doesn’t like about things I’ve requested, or anything really – so I feel paranoid and weird and sad and I don’t know what to do about any of this mess. If I don’t bring anything up, it doesn’t come up, and when I’ve mentioned things in the past he just gets sad and mopey and, stuff changes for a little bit, but it just feels so damn obligatory and forced it’s miserable. Sorry for rambling, I just need to spill to someone. I don’t expect you to have all the answers but it’d be cool to hear someone else give a take on this.


You mentioned that you were starting to get yourself off – resentfully so. I think this paragraph and that statement reflects that you’re starting to realize that this has been unwell for a while and it’s time to either fix it or end it. It seems to me that you’re frustrated with him and your lack of sex or lack of intimacy and that you’re getting extra agitated by outside stuff now because you’re simply not satisfied. It’s possible he knows whats going on. It’s possible he too is equally upset about it. It’s possible he’s also working through some stuff. The one thing that’s clear is something needs to change. I would suggest having more heavy conversations about your unhappiness. It might be helpful to use a couples counselor as an in-between to help you communicate with one another. When you’re upset it’s easy to use blaming statements like “you don’t care about me, you look at other girls, we never have sex” but these statements aren’t going to be helpful in finding solutions. You won’t be able to take on everything at once. What you will need is a partner who recognizes that things aren’t where they should be, and a partner who is willing to work with you to fix one thing at a time. I think this will require patience.

And, finally

I should mention that aside from my ramblings in the previous ‘question’, by boyfriend is awesome. He’s smart and caring and outside of feeling angry about how some of his female friends seem to want to make me feel secondary, and feeling like he’s not as attracted to me or interested in exploring and growing sexually with me, we are typically happy. But sex is a big deal for me and I don’t want the highlight of my sex life to be when he wants to switch from missionary to doing it in a chair or something, haha. I just though I should add that he’s an awesome person, I’m just not sure what to do about all the awkwardness and weirdness surrounding sex and stuff. I mean, it’s been three years, after all…


This was submitted after your initial question and reminds me a lot of what couples do when they are unhappy. You can make a list of epic proportions about the things in your relationship that aren’t right and then end it with “but you know, he’s a good guy and I love him.” I don’t know why this is necessary for people to do. Of course, it’s because it’s true. I’m certain he is smart and caring and I’m certain you are too. These things don’t make a great relationship, though. Not all awesome and smart people can be sexually compatible with you. Not all awesome and smart people can make lifelong romantic partners. Sometimes relationships hit a wall where you realize they’ve lived their full life and either you or he develops needs or desires that extend past what that relationship offers. I don’t know if this is true of your relationship but it certainly seems that you are unhappy, and if I had to guess, he probably has some wants/needs of his own that he might not be sharing. Figure out if those are something you can work on together or if those are even things you want to work on together. If he’s unable or unwilling to work on those things with you, that’s a much bigger problem, and you’ll want to question where your relationship is headed.

These points are all really important and I hope others will chime in with their advice because there are lots of factors and lots of things to think about. I’m sorry you’re going through this and I hope that whatever the solution is that you are able to find some happiness. Best luck!

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Question: Ex-Sex Threesome


My ex boyfriend (lover) about a month ago call it quits. And indicated that he proffered to stay as friends. During our relationship we had talked about fmf threesome, but, nothing happened. I’m bicurious but have never been with another woman. About a week ago he text to ask me about being in a threesome with him and a female friend who is also bicurious. I told my ex that I wanted to meet her and see a picture of her. I’m still waiting… Although I am curious and a little uncertain if I should proceed. A if so, What rules would be appropriate? What could you recommend?


This has potential for being awesome or awful. But then again, that summarizes most threesomes. Sometimes the chemistry works and sometimes the scenario is just right and sometimes, well, things go wrong. My initial hesitation is that you may still have romantic feelings towards your ex-boyfriend, since he’s the one who called it quitsies, and it’s only been a month. How are the emotions there? Was it amicable? Mutual? Has your friendship remained intact? If you feel that the emotional experience would be too raw (seeing him again, having sex with him again, seeing him have sex with someone else) or if you feel that it might be a possible door to get back together (maybe we can keep doing this, maybe we’ll date again, etc) I wouldn’t do it. 

If you two have remained close friends, and your relationship has always been pretty fluid, open, understanding, and you feel 100% comfortable with the idea of a threesome, it might be a fun experience for you. Having a threesome with someone you are compatible with and comfortable with can be a good experience. I think it’s great to have people you can “play with” off and on that allow fun that is more uncomplicated than complicated.

In general, I would advise against ex-sex, but blanket statements aren’t warm and cozy, and it’s up to you to decide whether or not that’s something that might work. I’ve met some people who would absolutely explode if they were placed in this scenario, as inciting as it might sound. Others have unique relationships that allow them this kind of post-dating flexibility with little issue. I’ve seen it work but it’s not for everyone.

What rules would be appropriate?

That is strictly a decision that the three of you would need to make together. It’s a question everyone who attempts to plan a threesome should think about. If the three of you decide this is something that you’re excited about and want to do together I’d recommend meeting on a non-sexy date once to see how the chemistry is between the three of you. Sexual experiences, I feel, are better off if you actually like the people that you’re with. Intellectual/emotional chemistry can really boost sexual chemistry. Knowing that you feel comfortable with someone makes a big difference, too. This could also be a time to talk about boundaries, concerns, and safety.

I’ve gone back and forth on the overthinking it part of threesomes. I think it’s good to consider comfort and goals, boundaries and safety, but I also think its important to sort of let go and just go into the experience with an open mind looking to have some fun.

Best of luck whichever way you go, and I hope it’s an experience you get to have sometime, even if this isn’t “the” time.

Have a question about sex or love? Need some third-party-advice on something going on in your life? Submit to the top by hitting ask advice and I’ll answer it on my blog. Like my blog? Like my response? Find ways to support the blog and the author by hitting support at the top of the page. Thanks for reading!

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Question: Bringing Up Escorting

A reader recently wrote in about a girl they are dating who they found was a sex worker at a previous point in her life. The question was: is it suitable to bring this up with her? I reached out to another blogger friend of mine who has more experience with sex worker activism as I felt she could shed more light on this difficult subject. You can visit her blog and seek out further advice directly from her on her page sexualityreclaimed. I agree with her advice and would really emphasize comfort when and if you decide to bring this up with her. It is difficult to say what her current involvement might be, how she feels/felt about it, and whether or not she was going to talk to you about this on her own time. 


I recently found out that a girl that I’ve been dating for the past year was an escort at a prior time in her life. This wasn’t something that she revealed to me personally, but rather a fact that I was able to piece together based on gaps in her history and testimonies from mutual friends of ours. The final clincher was a strange email exchange that she had left open on my browser after using my laptop. Against my better judgment, I skimmed the thread and found what seemed to be an exchange between her and a sugar daddy penpal of sorts—with the content containing regular exchanges about updates in their lives, financial discussions, and his reference to her as “honey” (or other terms of endearment). She had always been pretty secretive about her recent past and sources of income, but has otherwise had me be privy to sensitive parts of her history—moreso than any of her other friends that she hangs out with. There’s this strange dichotomy between the level of trust between us concerning certain issues, for instance—we spent several months getting to know each other on a personal level before becoming intimate and she’s not the kind of gal who takes home guys for a one night stand. While I’ve read about sites like Seeking Arrangement, the whole situation is just really bizarre to be honest and I’m not quite sure what to think at the moment. She has otherwise been pretty good to me and despite our differences; she has shown a commitment to improving other aspects of her life that I’ve been receptive toward helping her with as she meets these goals. While I have some reservations about the whole ordeal, I’m open to hearing her take on it and am wondering whether it would be suitable to bring it up the next time I see her?


(Guest Response by sexualityreclaimed)

It sounds like you are a sensitive and caring partner and as a worker myself, I appreciated reading your thoughtful question. It sounds like your question and concerns are not so much around the sex work itself, but around the level of intimacy you share with and knowledge you have of this person you have been seeing.

I think discerning for yourself why exactly you want to know about this girl’s past work experience is really important because it will help frame up your conversation if you do decide to bring it up explicitly with her. I am assuming that the situation feels bizarre because while you have developed some trust and intimacy with her around certain things, she has closed off other parts of herself to you. That makes a lot of sense to me. And it makes a lot of sense that you are curious and interested to know about her past as a way to further the relationship you have been building.

That being said, it also sounds like she has been, for the most part, pretty intentional about not sharing her past with you, for whatever reason. It could be that it just takes her a while to develop the trust she needs in order to disclose those experiences. Remember that sex work is a pretty stigmatized experience, and she may have had traumatizing experiences in the past with other partners or friends who belittled, judged, or looked down on her once they found out about her sex work experiences.

Perhaps a good way to approach the topic is to bring up something in the media about sex work (the Belle Knox pieces come to my mind right now) Offer your supportive perspective on the issue to show your interest. This may help to demonstrate to her that you are a safe person with whom she could share her experiences. Remember that different workers have different experiences in the sex industry; it’s definitely not a cookie-cutter experience. She may have had a wonderful time as an escort, or a horrible time. The important thing is to demonstrate that you don’t think of sex work as an immoral or wrong choice and that you don’t think of workers as victims or devils.

If you decide to let her know that you read through the email conversation, I would start off with the framing piece that I offered above. Let her know that you care about her and reaffirm why and how you enjoy being in relationship with her. Explain that you are asking her about her past explicitly because you want to know her even better and deepen the intimacy you already share. Also offer that you understand if she is angry or upset that you read through the email exchange, and that you understand if she needs time to process the fact that she didn’t intentionally disclose her experiences to you first.

If the situation feels bizarre because you are unsure of what kinds of relationships she is maintaining with past customers, I think it makes sense to bring up sooner rather than later. I am a proponent of having clear agreements in relationships about boundaries so that all parties involved can give an informed “yes” to the relationship. If she wants to have pen-pal relationships with past customers, and you are not comfortable with that, I think you both deserve to have an explicit conversation so you can both go on to have the relationships that will make you happiest (whether that is with one another or with other people). It will give you both a chance to actually negotiate the boundaries of your relationship, and that seems pretty important. I can offer from my experience as a worker (albeit as a stripper and not an escort), that the worker-customer relationship can be fairly complex. Relationships with “regulars” often evolve into caring friendships, although they are rarely wholly romantic. With past regular customers, the relationship can often parallel caring relationships with ex-partners- a close friendship with someone you used to share sexual and erotic energy. If you can be comfortable with something like that in her life, it would be worth offering that kind of understanding. That relationship may offer quite a lot of support to her, and it would suck for her to have to choose between her current romantic partnership and a friendship. Again, though, that is a boundary that is up to you two to negotiate and discuss.

It seems to me that the worst that can happen is she will be so upset that you read through the conversation and asked her about it that she will never want to talk to you again (and is that really likely?). It seems that a far likelier option will be that she is uncomfortable or deflects the conversation, and the best outcome is that you two are able to have some honest conversations leading to a more robust relationship between the two of you however that manifests.
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Question: “Is this normal?”

Question: Follow up to MESSES OF SEXES. Thanks for clearing that up for me. Your assumption was right, however, we do use condoms sometimes and for lubrication- saliva and the same thing happens. Could it be anal squirting?

Answer: The anus doesn’t produce the same fluids as the vaginal canal does. If you’re using condoms and semen isn’t a factor, I’d say it’s likely just a combination of mucus and whatever you used for lubrication. I wouldn’t be concerned unless you are noticing other symptoms like bleeding, pain, soreness, or anything else that feels out of the ordinary. Hopefully you wouldn’t continue anal sex if you experienced these things – and if they continued – I would advise a checkup for things like hemorrhoids.

Question: I got my period a couple days late and when it came it didn’t last as long as it usually does. Is this a sign of something? Should I take a pregnancy test?

Answer: It’s unlikely that anything is wrong. Sometimes things like diet, exercise, or stress can alter your cycle. Sometimes you may just have a heavier or lighter flow. There are lots of scary articles on the internet about spotting, heavy periods, light periods, and what it all means. Unless you are particularly alarmed by something you see your body doing, I wouldn’t be too concerned. (It might just throw your cycle off even more!)

Keep track of your cycle so you can spot these abnormalities. How long is your cycle? What day did your period come on? Did you just start taking birth control? What kind of birth control are you on? Those kinds of things are useful to know. It might be important to note if your period continues to be super light or if you notice any other symptoms that are new/different/uncomfortable.

As usual, you know your body best. If you’re worried, make a list of questions to ask your doctor the next time you see them. You can also keep note of where inexpensive pregnancy tests are located near you and where you can access plan b if the situation arises where you need it.


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Q/A: Messes of Sexes


Four hours after having anal sex with my boyfriend and properly cleaning myself, I got the urge to use the toilet. instead of feces, a clear liquid comes out. This happens every time I have anal sex. Is this normal?



If anyone ever said sex was clean and pristine, they were lying to you. The same goes for anal sex. I’m making the assumption that you and your partner were not using condoms. If that’s the case, the liquid you’re seeing is probably the flowback. The semen coming back out, with the force and position of you sitting on the toilet. That might be combined with any other mucus or lubricants that collected during your sexual romp. There’s quite a bit more room for those fluids up there, and it’s a bit more closed off than the vaginal canal. They’re going to leak out more slowly – which is probably why you see this happening when you see it happening.

The best fix would be to have your partner use a condom (which is a great idea for anal play regardless) or to have your partner pull out prior to ejaculating. You sound perfectly normal. Pick up some wipes to keep by the bed or in the bathroom and have fun.

Do you have a question about sex or sexuality? Do you need relationship advice? Submit your question to ask advice at the top of the page and I’ll answer it on my blog. 

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Finding Intimate Sex

How can I get gentle intimate sex out of a boyfriend who can’t slow down? Me and my boyfriend have been having sex for about 5 months now and he’s fast and hard, it feels great and I love it, don’t get me wrong.. But I just want slow gentle and intimate love making. I talked to him and he said he can’t go slower if he’s on top but I can be on top and go slow and be intimate. The thing is, I don’t do well on top because I’m a bit of an ametur and he has experience. I don’t know what to do about this. Advice will be very appreciated!

This is a fantastic question, thank you!

One thing that gets really hardwired into men is performance. Sometimes this means that sex is rough, fast, hard, and powerful. This could be combined with the fact that they are horny, want to get off, and think you’re banging. What is important to remember is that all kinds of people like all different kinds of sex. Sometimes that preference changes every time they have sex, depending on their mood! It’s also good to remember that sex can be a whole body experience. Something that takes both body and mind, a connection forming between people. You can achieve this connection through that rough type of sex, but it can be a different and sometimes more gratifying experience to slow down.

It can take serious effort to change behaviors that are hardwired into us like that. Especially if, well, we like what we’re doing! But just because he might really like that rough sex, doesn’t mean he can’t change, and doesn’t mean he won’t enjoy the slower type of intimate sex that you are looking for.

This is especially important for women who might take longer to warm up. Kissing, touching, licking, biting, caressing, dirty-talking, lighting the room with dim light or candles, making the bed, putting on lingerie, and making sex an experience that stimulates all the senses can help. 

When he says he can’t slow down, he’s full of it. Either he doesn’t want to slow down, or he doesn’t know how to. He might have experience, but guess what? He’s not able to give you what you’re looking for, so what good is his experience there? You’re going to need to learn to work together so you can both have the experience you want in bed. That might mean for you that you ask him what types of things he likes that you can incorporate into slower and more intimate sex. For him, it might mean calming down a little bit and learning to listen to your body. Seriously, very important.

Being on top is a great suggestion because it will allow you to pace the sex to your liking. It’s okay to feel a little weird at first. Giving it a shot and practicing is what will make you feel more secure being on top. Try it in a variety of different positions. Sitting up on him, laying down flat, or even sitting up in a chair or on a couch. Sitting up can be great because you can grab onto the back of a couch or chair to help pull yourself up and down. Make a game out of it, maybe. Get on top and and get your man. It sounds like he has consented to giving it to you.

If he really doesn’t know how to go slow and be on top, tell him. And help teach him. There’s always room to learn, no matter how experienced you are. Maybe play a game where you see how slow you can go or how long you can go without orgasming. Maybe get into bed with the intention of not having penetrative sex. At all. The whole night. Try different types of sex like grinding against one another, oral sex, and more of that touching and kissing I mentioned earlier.

Here’s the tricky part: If he doesn’t start working with you, and you two don’t start working together, it’s not going to change. You want to do this as a team. So get working together. If he’s not willing to change, are you willing to give up the kind of sex that you want? (The answer is hopefully no.) Not all people are sexually compatible. Some people really like X type of sex and some people really like Y type of sex. If you can’t give up what you want, and if you’re not willing to change, that can be a big problem for your sexual compatibility.

Sit down and talk to him about it (when you’re not naked and in bed) and see if you can get excited about trying these new things together. Be willing to try on top – but also make sure that he puts in his fair share of the effort too. Good luck.

Have a question about sex or love? Submit to the top by clicking ask advice and ill answer it on my blog.

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Compersion: The Opposite of Jealousy?

Can you recommend some resources for developing compersion?

Compersion is sometimes called the opposite of jealousy. It is when someone experiences joy and happiness from someone else’s joy and happiness, something that many people in open or poly relationships strive to feel in hopes of having a more fulfulling and enjoyable relationship. Some argue that we must feel compersion for and with our partners to have these kinds of relationships. I would argue that compersion is equally important in monogamous and non-monogamous relationships. Others recognize that compersion is “nice” but not always realistic for some couples who are simply working through difficult transitions in their relationships. Sometimes it’s okay to feel what you feel – and sometimes that feeling is jealousy.

I believe that you can practice feeling compersion with your partner, but that it does take a fair amount of work if it’s not something that comes to you immediately. I don’t believe that once you have found that place of feeling joy for your partner that it’s something that stays indefinitely. New and different situations may create that jealousy feeling again, provoking those old not so great jealous feelings. I believe that compersion is something that one might continue to strive for and may feel easily at times and more roughly at others, and sometimes not at all.

Certain exercises might become especially useful, for example:

– Reminding oneself that they are irreplaceable and unique within the relationship

– Reminding oneself that you cannot meet every single one of your partners needs and that’s okay

– Strengthening ones identity and feelings of self-worth

– Letting the feelings of jealousy sweep over oneself and exit the body, recognizing that when we feel that dooming feeling (of jealousy) it doesn’t necessarily mean something bad is happening

I would recommend reading the book “Love in Abundance” by Kathy Labriola. It’s an excellent set of advice for questions like this. Whether or not you’re interested in open relationships or polyamory, strengthening our compassion for our partner is useful, as is learning what jealousy is and how to handle it.

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How To Negotiate Boundaries

I haven’t dated much and I am in a relationship with someone who has more experience than I do. Are there certain things that he is going to expect that I like to do or know how to do? What if I don’t? Do boundaries exclude these basic things? Help!

This is a great question! Boundaries are lines that you draw – like limits – in the bedroom. You always need to talk about your boundaries with new partners because it is unlikely that any two people have exactly the same boundaries. Boundaries can include both things we are uncomfortable doing, things we have tried and don’t like doing, things we absolutely hate, or even things we just don’t feel like doing that day. Boundaries can change over time – they can change immediately. Keeping a clear picture of what your partners boundaries are is very important.

How well do you know your partners boundaries?

Does your partner like to be called names? Are there certain names that are triggering for them to hear?

Does your partner like rough sex? How rough is “rough” – don’t talk on a scale of 1-10, discuss specific acts that you are interested in doing, and develop a safe word. (A safe word is something you can say to stop whatever it is you are doing immediately. Safe words are necessary within rougher play.)

Are there any sexual acts that your partner absolutely does not like to do? Are there any sexual acts that they have had a bad experience with in the past? Are there some things that your partner does not feel very confident with?

Does your partner use protection? What kind of protection does your partner want to use? Condoms are not always an assumed boundary – though they should be, particularly with new sexual partners. Talk about safety and sexual health when you discuss boundaries.

There are not certain things that your partner should “expect” you to do, but of course some people do develop a set of things they consider “normal” and they may not think about it. For many people, oral sex is a great example. Some people consider oral sex a regular part of their sexual routine. Others consider oral sex to be more intimate, or even something that they don’t like, or aren’t comfortable with. There is no right or wrong way to enjoy your sexuality.

Boundaries do not exclude basic things. We always need to seek consent with our partners. It is especially important to pick up on small and subtle cues with new partners who we may not know as well yet. It is also not expected that you know everything. Communicating what you like, what you know you don’t like, and everything in between, is very helpful in making sure that you have an open and healthy dialogue about your sexuality. Don’t be afraid of expressing how you feel. If your partner isn’t open to hearing it or pressures you in any way to do things that you are not comfortable with, that is not the right relationship for you to be in.

The important thing to remember is that every relationship starts fresh. Just because your partner might have more experience than you do, doesn’t mean he knows anything about your body. He’s going to have to learn, too, and you’re going to learn together.

Good luck!

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Role Models for Open Relationships

How do you picture your primary relationship and your other relationships to evolve over time as you get older? What when you’re say 40, or 50? We have few role models for open relationships at 50, maybe because it’s a relatively recent concept in the mainstream.

The concept of role models is a very interesting one and I think it’s incredibly important. If you don’t see others that are like you, doing what you want to do, there’s no one to look up to. There’s no “well this is how they did it, so I can get pointers from them” model. The more people you know the more of a community you can form and the more support you can get from those who make the same lifestyle choices you do. Without those people, I think, it’s a lot more difficult to push forward.

I think that like any other relationship, open relationships are ever-evolving and must be able to flex with whatever demands and struggles there are. Certainly what I face now is different than what I will face in my 30s, and my 40s, each new year bringing about new challenges and new rewards. I would suspect that my relationship will evolve based on my and my partners needs, and that other relationships will do the same.

As we figure out how to include others in our relationship and how to form other relationships we become more knowledgable about the balance between self and relationships. I’m certain that many relationships I have now, I won’t have when I am 40 or 50. I will have new relationships that I am sure will be satisfying in the same, or greater ways.

I think it’s important to help build that community and to help seek out mentors and role models by being open and honest about who you are and what you’re interested in doing. When you do that, you allow others to be open and honest with you as well. You never know what the people around you are thinking until you start to have that dialogue. And if you can’t find any particular role model that is doing what you’re doing, strive to become that person yourself, for someone else.

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