Exploring Fantasies at Different Stages of Relationships

The most asked question on my blog is “how can I ask my wife to peg me?” Without a doubt, once every couple of months, someone asks me this question. Actually, they phrase it “how can I get my wife to peg me?” which implies “how can I convince my wife to do something without having an open conversation about my desires?” As if one day ones wife comes home with a  strap-on and says “I JUST THOUGHT YOU MIGHT LIKE THIS, BEND OVER” with zero discussion. (This is a super awkward post to be writing in public when the people next to me can definitely see my screen.) This is not the way you want to be pegged. Maybe it’s less work this way. If your wife just brings it up serendipitously. But it’s pretty unlikely. That’s why you need to advocate for yourself and your interests.

Discussing sexual preferences before you enter into a relationship is really important. You want to date someone who is interested in doing the same things you’re interested in doing. Sometimes you don’t always know what you’re interested in, so exploring on your own can be a big help. You don’t want to spill the whole bag of cats on the first date, so figure out what is important to you, and how you can clearly articulate that to someone. Are you dominant? Are you submissive? Do you like kink? Are you more vanilla – do you prefer quiet, intimate sex? Do you dislike exploring? Are you happy with the way things are? Are you super open-minded? Do you like expanding your boundaries over time? Find someone who seems somewhat aligned with you. If it’s comfortable, bring up some of your preferences more specifically at the start.

Humans are complex and they change. What you thought, felt, and experienced at the start of your relationship might change over time. After a couple of years you might want to try something new that you’d never wanted to try before. You might not be interested in the same kinks. You might shift your preferences temporarily or even permanently. Expressing a new fantasy to a partner who knows you well can feel kind of uncomfortable. Even if this is the person you tell everything to. A new fantasy, or a kinky fantasy, might feel a little bit like you’re rocking the boat. You might wonder what bringing up this fantasy will do to your relationship. If they know I want to get pegged, will they think of me the same way? What if I tell them this fantasy and they say no? Can I be happy if I don’t have this experience?

I advise that you take these conversations slowly over time. For some partners, the answer might be a resounding “yes, I’d love to try that thing!” For others, they may feel discomfort, fear, uneasiness, or confusion. Especially for something like pegging, which many women are not familiar with. Discuss your interest in whatever thing you’re interested in trying, and provide your partner with information about what it is and how to do it. Explain how much you want to try it and allow them a good amount of time to think it over and look it up on their own. If possible, find a compromise or a baby step towards that thing. Pegging, for instance, could start with small toys, instead of a full strap-on. A full on sub/dom relationship could start with spanking or handcuffs. If you’re really in a long term relationship, you can imagine there’s time to explore, if your partner is open to the process.

If it is a new relationship and your partner has zero interest in exploring and you feel that this experience is critical to your sexual satisfaction, I feel that’s really important to know early on. It may play a role in whether or not you decide to stay in that relationship. To the most recent person who asked me this question, I hope this helped. Open communication and honesty with your partner can go a long way. Be patient, and consider the details of your specific relationship as you explore this together. Good luck!

Do you have a question about sex or love? Submit at www.suggestivetongue.com/ask and I’ll answer it on my blog.

 

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Dating an Older Man: Or, The Faceless Randoms of Bygone Eras

Hi Suggestive, I think I need some reassurance in my relationship (I’m female, 23 and he’s male, 46. We’ve been together for about 5 months). This is my first relationship ever and my partner has definitely more experience than I do. The part about his past that makes me feel the most insecure is knowing/hearing/imagining all the past sexual experience he has had. He’s always told me that I’m the first one he’s been in love with and with me he has the love and the sex. It’s been hard to get that in my mind automatically because I grew up with and internalized a lot of sex negativity and thoughts related to that. I know he loves me and this relationship is far different than anything he’s had before. But my mind constantly runs with the thoughts of him and faceless randoms doing it. I wish I could rewire my mind and not feel this way but it’s so deeply ingrained in me! How do I begin to unlearn this and have it stick?

I might suggest that the frustration is not necessarily about the people he’s had sex with, but the fact that he simply has more experience than you do. That may be a problem that continues to regenerate over and over again within your relationship. Has he felt this before? Has he done this before?

 When dating with a large age discrepancy it can be a real downer if everything new and exciting is something your partner has already been there, done that. Of course, this depends entirely on your partners attitude about the situation. Some people have a joie de vivre that makes every situation feel thrilling and new. They are able to experience high levels of joy over and over again. Others wallow in a sense of I’ve already done this and waft disinterest to their parters. These are horrible people and you should avoid them at all costs. Just kidding. Mostly. Not really.

If we’re talking about sex, I wonder what his attitude towards your sexual relationship is. He assures you that he has the love and the sex, but do you feel that from him, too? (

I feel as though your brain is giving you a warning. If you are uncomfortable with something, listen to that discomfort. Do not try to rewire your brain. Why do you feel uncomfortable? What is your discomfort telling you to do? If it’s saying “I cannot completely be okay with this, even though I do not know why” that is a perfectly okay thing to feel. Sex positivity does not mean, and will never mean that you have to be okay with everything related to sexuality. It certainly does not mean you have to listen to your current significant other talk about previous relationships, what they did, who they were, etc.

There are some exciting things about dating an older man. He has some experience with what he likes and what he doesn’t like. But every person is different. He’ll be able to show you some things, but you’ll be able to show him some things too. Even if this is your first relationship – which – I think – we should take a second to talk about. This is your first relationship. I’m assuming you mean your first sexual relationship, but it could be your first romantic relationship as well. That’s a huge big fucking deal and frankly I’m not entirely sure that dating someone so far ahead of you in terms of experience is the best idea. I’m not saying it’s a bad idea or that it’s an impossible idea, but I think it presents several unique problems of its own.

Everyone enters into relationships in different places with different experience. This is how it’s always going to be in any relationship you’re in. But the first relationship you’re in helps you set the stage for the next relationship you’re in, and the second relationship you’re in helps set the stage for the one after that. Each relationship teaches you something new about what you want and what you don’t want. I worry that dating someone with so much experience may sway this process into his favor.

Remember that a relationship can and should be what makes you happy, what feels comfortable, what you want it to be. Someone who has been around the block a few times doesn’t get to choose what it looks and sounds like. Is this partner someone who you can explore different aspects of sex and love with openly and honestly? If so, revert back to question one : what does your discomfort tell you? If not, don’t look for any more reasons to stay with him.

Your question included not one line about what you want in your relationship together. Take a step back and think about that openly and honestly and alone and see where it takes you.

Best of luck!

Do you have a question about sex or love? Submit at www.suggestivetongue.com/ask and I’ll answer it on my blog!

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Q: Married and Unfaithful, now what?

Im married and have been having an online relationship with another woman. The other woman has found out and is now threatening to tell my wife. I know i must take responsibility for my actions, but aside from the obvious fallout for me, i simply didnt take my partner into mind and right now more than anything do not want to hurt her. I know i should have thought of that before, but i got caught up in affection and attention i found. My relationship with the person online was purely physical but it seems that she has developed feelings for me and now feels that i lead her to believe something more while i was married. Im not looking for you to approve of my mistake, i just want to protect my wife from my mistake because she does not deserve to be hurt due to my selfishness. but im not sure this can end well. Please help.

Thank you so much for reaching out. I think your experience is very common. We experience unhappiness and before we know what has truly happened to us, things unravel and are no longer under our control. No one would approve of this mistake.  I can feel your pain and the pain of the two women involved.

No one wins.

I think that it is very critical that you sit down with your wife and explain what has happened. She needs to hear it from you and she needs to hear it honestly. This is going to be the hard part. It’s kinda like stabbing yourself in the heart over and over again but somehow finding the strength to continue talking at the same time. Express the unhappiness you’ve been feeling and explain how you reacted to that unhappiness. Explain how you understand how you should have dealt with that unhappiness. Allow her to ask questions. Understand that you may not see her or talk to her for a while as she processes this information.There’s no way to know how it will go. Don’t react to her. Think and respond to each thing she says cautiously and honestly. Be sure to apologize.

You should also take the time to apologize to the other woman. You’ve crushed her heart and betrayed her trust as well and she deserves respect. Obviously I would resist having any other communication with her until you figure out what is happening with your marriage.

If you’re staying with your wife, it would be unwise to continue speaking to the other women. It will prevent you from growing forward with your wife and it will continue to harm the other woman. Express this to both of them. They’ll understand, even if it sucks. If you are not staying with your wife, you should give everyone some time to adjust to what has come to light and the changes that are going to occur.

Deciding to stay with your wife does not mean that your marriage is going to continue.

You’ve damaged it beyond whatever damage was already there. Do you want to continue to be married? If so, you’ll need to think long and hard about what it was that pushed you to be unfaithful in the first place. A lack of affection and attention are common reasons for someone to be unfaithful. It’s possible that you were together for 5-10 years or more and the attention and affection you had earlier in your relationship as no longer there. You sought it out where it was found most easily. Relationships shift. Your marriage can shift again, and in a positive way. I would highly suggest marital counseling so you can have someone help you have these discussions. It may be too difficult to go at alone.

Remember that the entire time you were cheating on your wife, you were actively hurting her, even if she didn’t know it. She doesn’t need to know for it to hurt her. You can protect her by being honest and never doing anything like this ever again.

I believe this is the right thing to do.

This trauma may also make you realize that you do not want to stay with your wife. In that case, there are many paths your life might take next. Don’t rush the process. If you don’t want to stay together, or if your wife leaves, I would recommend individual counseling. You can determine what it was that prevented you from working this out with your wife prior to being unfaithful and you can make sure that it never happens again. No relationship that is meant to last forever ends. Everything ends until something doesn’t.

Find some kind of peace in the process.

And, I cannot stress this enough: be honest. As honest as you can possibly be. Be kind to yourself and others. If there is anything else that arises feel free to submit again as many times as necessary. Sending good thoughts to all three of you. I hope that you’re able to find some answers.

Do you have a question about sex or love? Submit to www.suggestivetongue.com/ask and I’ll answer it on my blog.

 

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I Don’t Like Sex Anymore / Abuse and Aversion

Dear Lorelei, Three years ago, I started taking birth control. Suddenly my sex drive dropped, but my ex boyfriend couldn’t handle that. He became abusive, pressuring me for sex, and I ended up hating sex because I had it when I didn’t want to all of the time. Now, I’m with a new partner who respects me and would never push the matter. However, I still feel an aversion to sex and wish I didn’t have to have it ever. I don’t like it when people go down on me, I don’t like sex itself, and anything that should cause me pleasure just causes me to withdraw and detach from the experience. I sometimes will use a strap on, but other than that, I dislike sexual acts. I want to like sex again, and I want to make myself and my partner happy and fulfilled. How might I go about this?

I’m so sorry to hear that you went through this. On a much smaller scale, any kind of pressure to have sex can really prevent arousal from happening. Over time, or with added emotional or physical abuse, it’s completely understandable that you would develop this aversion to sex. I would strongly recommend that you seek out some kind of counseling to discuss the abuse you experienced. Your partner made you do things that you, your body, and your heart weren’t into. That can cause profound change in a person, as well as how they think and feel about themselves and the world. Given what you said about withdrawing from pleasure and detachment, I think counseling could really help you.

In addition, think about what owning your sexuality means to you. What would you like it to look like if your sex life was exactly the way you wanted it to look? Find small ways to express your sexuality by yourself, with your partner, or both. Keeping a journal about these thoughts could help. The goal is for you to mean every single yes that you give. To know, without a doubt, that the yes is yours. Having a partner that respects your boundaries will be a great help. Respecting yourself and the pace you need to take will also be a great help.

At the start you may just talk to a counselor, or write in a journal. You might not feel you’re practicing a sexuality of any kind. However: the absence of what we consider sexuality is often times a certain kind of sexuality in itself. Create that foundation for you to continue building back towards whatever you want your sexuality to be. It may not be exactly what your new partners sexuality is, and that’s okay, too. Often times when we’re with a partner we share some interests and don’t share others. When you get to the point where you want to begin working together, find a place where you have common ground. Explore areas that feel safe, comfortable, and fun. 

I’m glad you are in a better situation now, best of luck moving forward.

Have a question about sex or love? Don’t not know. No question too simple or complex. Submit at www.suggestivetongue.com/ask and I’ll answer it on my blog.

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Bathrooms and Attitudes about Transgender Rights

Hey Suggestive, Would love to get your perspective on this. I’ve been working on orienting my thoughts around transgenderism and what it means to be transgender, particularly because I do not currently have a friend or even acquaintance group that contains a trans person, at least that I know of. Obviously it is quite a hot button issue with the North Carolina and Mississippi laws, and I’d like to be able to discuss it on a level greater than just attitudes. The chief arguments I see in the anti-trans-accommodation/Matt Walsh camp center around the idea that straight but ill-intentioned men would take advantage of accommodation rules to harass women and children, which further distills to the argument that transgenderism is a mental illness, not an valid identification, and society accommodating this mental illness opens the floodgates While I feel intuitively that that argument is incorrect, I was attempting to leave a facebook comment and realized that I was unable to articulate a convincing reason to believe the opposite. I suppose chiefly I am wondering about the justification for the argument that differentiates transgenderism from other psychological issues, like hoarding for instance. Appreciate any and all thoughts! Thanks, John

Thanks for the submission John! Given that I am not trans* and have only had minimal coursework and trainings on transgender issues, I thought it best to reach out to one of my trans* friends to answer your question. I hope that it provides some valuable points to continue pondering over. 

Thank you, Khai, for sharing your story.

We’ve all heard that being trans is a mental illness, akin to schizophrenia, depression, narcissistic personality disorder, or whatever the diagnosis du jour is. And while many of us know instinctively that trans people are no more mentally ill for being trans than cis (non-trans) people are for being cis, we often aren’t sure exactly how to articulate why we know that.

As a trans man, I spend a lot, and I do mean a lot, of time educating people about what it is to be transgender. As a trans man who also has been diagnosed with major depression, generalized anxiety, and an autism spectrum disorder, I feel uniquely qualified to tell you the difference between my experience of being trans and my experience of living with a neurodivergent brain. It basically comes down to which treatment leads to the best quality of life.

What that means is, as a trans man, if my identity is respected and I am interacted with as the man I am, then I am a happier, healthier, more productive member of society, less likely to harm myself or suffer severe mental dysfunction. This has been proven not only through my own personal experience, but also through about a hundred and fifty years of psychological, sociological, anthropological, and biological research. Trans people are healthiest and have the best quality of life when we transition or present as and are interacted with as the gender we are, rather than being forced to try to be the gender we were assigned at birth.

Conversely, we know through empirically sound science in all those fields mentioned above that treating the root causes and behaviors associated with true mental illnesses leads to a better quality of life for that individual. No one gets healthier because they are supported in their hoarding habit. No one can face tomorrow because their family acknowledges and encourages their delusions. No one is more equipped for making sound choices because their distorted and intrusive thoughts of suicide are encouraged. These are not realities.

What is pragmatic reality, though, is that trans people and the people around them are happier, healthier, more creative, more engaged, and better equipped to handle their lives when they are accepted as their true gender. It is also pragmatic reality that people are born intersexed (defined here as having characteristics of both male and female or neither male or female chromosomal make up) about 1 in every 100 live births. In other words, intersexuality is about as common as redheadedness, genetically. Now I am not arguing that every trans person is intersexed; I’m merely pointing out the idea that “two and only two separate and distinct and opposite sexes which align with predictable gender roles and presentations” falls apart at the merest inspection, let alone scrutiny.

And as far as bathroom bills go, they’re a violation of the 4th, 14th, and 1st amendments, and they’re about cis people’s discomfort with the idea that trans people might not always “look” trans (whatever that means). No one arguing for bathroom bills like HB2 really cares about the mental or physical health of trans individuals. Any fears other than the one I just outlined have already been addressed in laws that don’t target trans people. These “bathroom” laws exist solely as a political ploy to demonize trans people who are just trying to live authentically… and have nothing to do with anyone’s safety. Anyone who claims differently might just be a pathological liar, and they should really get some help for that–for their own good, of course.

 

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Required: Mutual Emotional Connection?

Hi, Your openness is deeply appreciated. So, I do not orgasm with my partner, ever. However I am very aroused, wet and it feels amazing. When I masturbate, orgasm is easy, and my mental pictures involve my partner. Even when he is not around I become highly aroused just thinking of him, or a wave of pleasure just happens and I taste or see him in my mind. So why don’t I ever orgasm with him? he is very, very good and is eager to please both of us, nothing is off limits if I agree. I have a long history of making sure the men I am with are well taken care of and I know that is where most of my focus is, and seeing,touching his body causes something similar to a small orgasm…so why never the full orgasm? I am more aroused by him than I have ever been. I crave the sex. I know he cares about me, not love, nor will there ever be anything but occasional sex, and good friendship. Sometimes when he leaves I feel empty, sad. Not always, and we talk or see each other most days. After he leaves, I very quickly have an explosive orgasm by mastubating. I suspect the issue is my thoughts and feelings, relationship desires, and I don’t know what to do to. Please, can you help me sort this out?

When you’re having partnered sex, your attention is often divided. You’re focusing on yourself, you’re focusing on your partner, and you’re focusing on the two of you together. Whether or not this focus is intentional, there’s often more stimuli than being alone, by yourself, with your attention focused on yourself.

For many people it’s this division of their attention that creates the problem. When you’re alone, without a partner, you are able to almost instinctively increase speed, pressure, or angle to get the desired effect. With a partner, this might be more difficult. You may not be able to get the angle quite perfect. If you do get the angle perfect, one or both of you may not have the stamina to continue that position long enough to hit the peak. Many women are hesitant in taking control and using toys or their hands to add stimulation which also creates a huge barrier. Most women require some kind of clitoral stimulation to reach an orgasm and that’s something that often receives a lot of focus in masturbation, hence higher success rates to reaching an orgasm in masturbation than in partnered sex.

Despite this, I think your struggle is a little more, uh, emotional. I find that people often ask for advice when they already know the answer. You end your question with what I think is the answer. You have a good time with him, but the emotional cords are frayed and you can’t fully complete the connection. For some people, this is not optional for having a fulfilling sexual experience. Loving your partner and fully feeling loved back is what allows some to let go and find that sense of release. I sense you are trying to find that connection with your partner through sex but it is not being reciprocated. So, as you near your orgasm, at a moment that you may want to be sexually and emotionally fulfilling, you’re only getting 50% of the deal.

I think it’s important that you question what potential harm you might be causing yourself by continuing a sexual relationship with someone who does not feel quite the same way about you as you do about him. Will this unrequited love hold you back from seeking out a relationship with someone who wants you just as much? Can you accept that this sexual relationship is just a good time between friends, nothing more? If you can’t deal with it, consider breaking ties, and keep looking for that person who really does it for you. If you can deal with it, and think that the culprit of your so-so orgasms might not be emotional, start to be more demanding in the bedroom. If your partner looks like he’s going to orgasm but you feel like your orgasm is only 20% of the way there, hold back a bit, and ask for what you want or need to get the rest of the way there. Try to let your long-standing habit of pleaser gently become the pleased.

Have a question about sex, love, gender, life? Submit at www.suggestivetongue.com/ask and I’ll answer it on my blog. 

 

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Why Women Struggle With Orgasms

Women are at a disadvantage for having pleasurable sexual experiences. On a large scale, women’s sexuality is not prioritized or communicated in our culture. I was listening to a great podcast on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday called “Girls & Sex” where they interviewed author Peggy Ornstein. She is the author of an older, awesome book on gender roles called Cinderella Ate My Daughter.

In this interview she discussed how mysterious the female anatomy is, and how the problems in youth:

  1. When young girls are taught about their anatomy from a young age they are often not given a name for their vagina/vulva like boys are for their penises. This makes it difficult for girls to talk about their nameless parts. If they are given a name, it’s often “private parts” or “personal parts” which isn’t exactly confidence-boosting for having an open conversation.
  2. When describing the female genitalia in health class, it’s often the internal structures (the parts that function to make babies) that are discussed in some depth, leaving the exterior parts in the dark. With the clitoris mostly acting as a way women receive pleasure during sex, it’s no surprise that mislead educators don’t want to share this information.
  3. When one enters High School and expects more adult information about sexuality, conversations focus around heterosexual male pleasure. How to use condoms, how ejaculation for men works, how not to get pregnant. Discussion of pleasure or how that exterior genitalia might function in order to help a woman achieve pleasure goes mostly, if not completely undiscussed.

Women also begin to masturbate much later in life than men do. Women are shamed about their bodies and this often prevents them from exploring. Cultural images of the male masturbation is everywhere. Everyone knows what a jerk-off motion is. With the male genitalia outward and visible, with arousal making the genitalia even more obvious, men gravitate towards self pleasure very easily. With no visual cues for what female masturbation looks like, or where in the mysterious external/internal genitalia to stimulate, women are left bumbling around or looking to pornography for examples.

If you’re a woman who suffers from the inability to orgasm – or feel you have a hard time orgasming, read the following example. Partners of such women will benefit as well.

A woman is in an adult heterosexual relationship. She has been told her whole life that enjoying sex makes her a slut but not enjoying sex makes her a prude. She has spent a lot of time tiptoeing that line of what is or isn’t okay for her to do. She may have started masturbating late in life or she may not masturbate regularly at all. She may have never seen her genitalia with a mirror and she may have never touched herself with any real intention. She hasn’t had an orgasm because her last few adult relationships have been focused on making her male partner satisfied. If her male partner is satisfied she feels like the sex must have been good. The only difference is that this new adult relationship includes a male partner who is interested in making sure that she is having a good time.

She asserts herself: I am having a good time!

He says: But you haven’t orgasmed, have you?

She says: That’s okay! It’s too difficult/time-consuming/stressful for me to orgasm! I’m having a good time without it!

But, they try, anyways. He really wants to make her orgasm. In fact, he judges how good the sex is by how good she feels. But he’s concerned. She’s not very wet, she doesn’t know how to warm herself up, she doesn’t know what warming up looks like, she is self-conscious of her body because she’s never touched it or seen it herself, so when he starts to give her attention, she starts to overthink the stimulation. “I’m just going to relax now and it will feel good. I think this feels good. It’s supposed to so maybe I’m just broken.” He then becomes concerned that he’s not doing his part.

If she does get to the point where an orgasm begins to build, she may not know what those sensations mean. She may say she “feels too sensitive” and ask to stop. This could be because she’s building up an orgasm, it could be because her partner is stimulating her too closely to a spot that has become too sensitive, it could be that she is receiving g-spot stimulation and is unaccustomed to the deeper pressure, it could be that she is going to squirt. No matter the reason, she lets the orgasm die because she is unfamiliar with these feelings. She leaves feeling frustrated for not having proved herself again. Her partner leaves frustrated for not having “made her orgasm.”

I have heard this exact scenario over and over again in my time giving advice. What’s most alarming about this is that it takes maybe 20-30 years of life before her male partner gives her permission to feel good. Without her partner stepping in and saying “you haven’t had an orgasm? lets give it a shot!” what would it have taken for her to own her own sexuality?

From the end of this story, the male partner frequently wonders what he can do to give his female partner an orgasm. This is the wrong solution. No one ever gives someone else an orgasm. In partnered sex, an orgasm is always the effort of two people. That means both partners need to be able to do their share to make it a good time.

The woman will need to step backwards and start from the beginning. The woman should learn about her anatomy, she should sit and masturbate, look at porn, fantasize, use toys. She should orgasm by herself first and become acquainted with her own body and how certain things feel. It’s only after she knows her own body that she can better articulate to her partner what does or doesn’t work for her.

After she gains a basic understanding of her own body she can begin again with partnered sex. From here, the most complicated habit to break will be the one that plagues a good number of women. It’s okay to ask for what you want and it’s okay to be a little selfish. If your partner isn’t open to helping you with this, or being patient with you, they aren’t the right partner.

Do you need advice about sex or love? Do you have a question that’s puzzling you? Is there a subject you’d like to see me write more about? Submit at www.suggestivetongue.com/ask and I’ll answer it on my blog. 

 

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Erotic Friendships

No red flags so far BUT she’s 26 and I’m 49. We’re both queer, communicative and seen as emotionally intelligent by one another. See any issues with a mutually-beneficial erotic friendship?

No issues pop out at me, aside from the fact that you’re asking! It might be that you’ve internalized some issues that might later open up as wounds. I would ask yourself if you hold any preconceived notions about your own relationship. Maybe these are things you’ve been concerned about in the past or maybe these are things that other people have, frustratingly, shoved into your conscious. If you find any such notions, ask yourself if you’ll be able to let them go. If you can’t let them go – you might not be able to fully enjoy the experiences you’re going to have together.

Aside from this I would focus on strengthening those communicative bones to create the foundation of your erotic friendship. You’ll form the basics, if you haven’t already. Whether or not you’re monogamously seeing one another (even as friends)! – how you’ll handle safety – and other potential boundaries. Everyone does it differently so as long as you’re on the same page and continue to evaluate that, you’re right as rain!

Have a question about sex, love, life? Submit at www.suggestivetongue.com/ask and I’ll answer it on my blog. 

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Tips for Working on Vacation

It seems like it was just yesteryear I’d roll my eyes casually at the work-obsessed, thinking can’t you just, you know, work when you get home? Now I find myself slowly slipping into a sense of understanding. It’s hard. Especially if you work at a job that you really care for, or have invested a lot of interest in. Checking in with work can actually help you feel sane. It’s like making sure your cat was fed. You know someone else is feeding the cat but if you just check you’ll feel better.

I’ve seen too many people fall down the slippery slope of work email on vacation. I knew before I graduated college that I didn’t want to be one of those people who couldn’t relax or go off-routine. Here are some of my tips and tricks for doing vacation right.

Work extra hard before you leave

Working extra hard before you leave does two things. It makes you feel like you’ve set your job up for the time you’ll be gone, and it gets you really zonked, perfectly prepped for a vacation! Don’t let the vacation lull you in a week early. Use that pre-vacation week to really push through and tie up any loose ends so you don’t have to be thinking about them later. Bonus: Leave yourself a memo on your desk of what you accomplished right before you left and what you should pick up with when you get back. It will give you a starting place so you don’t feel like you’re totally blind.

Utilize 3D Touch

When I was in Canada recently, my boss sent me an email to not check my email. Ignoring the fact that I totally read that one email, I took up her on the advice, and switched my email inbox to my VIP tab. Every time I clicked into my email app, I could only see emails from people I’d set as VIP. Family, close friends, emergency contacts. Even better, I could use 3D touch to tap on the mail app and see if I’d gotten any email from my VIP without even entering into the app. Managing your email this way prevents you from having to scan past potentially stressful work mail.

Delete the apps that stress you out

If you can’t delete the apps that stress you out, try restricting access to them. You can go into your data preferences and say that those apps can only be accessed when you’re connected to wi-fi. If you’re traveling within the country, you’ll always have data. But if you’re outside of the country, access to wi-fi might be less reliable. You’ll be forced to cut ties with some of those addictions temporarily, and you’ll get the shame of seeing how often you check them. “Error!”

Turn off wi-fi, put your phone away

Put your phone away, grab a DSLR or a disposable camera, and go without your phone. Vacation is the time to disconnect. One of my favorite things about my road trip last summer was realizing how little I actually need the internet. We navigated Eastern Oregon with a real paper map and I used a combination of my DSLR and my cell phone (airplane mode) to snap photos. When you don’t give yourself the option to use your phone, you become less tempted to check in and see whats going on. The addiction is real, so push yourself to deal with the stress sweats. They’ll go away quick.

Imagine your ideal vacation

I’m going to go Marie Kondo on your ass for a second, but just envision this ideal vacation. For me the idea vacation is usually waking up and using a super awesome hotel shower, grabbing a cup of coffee, strolling on the beach, laying in the sand with a cocktail, reading a book, going on adventures. In not one mental picture does my vacation involve me holding, looking at, or operating my cell phone. Not. A. Single. One. I’m swimming in the ocean! I’m hiking up a mountain! I’m in a famous museum! Phones not on. Not thinking about work.

So take that ideal vacation and make it happen with action. Put your phone away, and live it.

Schedule Check-Ins

We are just four months away from our European adventure, and we’ll be gone for the better part of a month. That means I’m going to have to check in, at least sometimes. Schedule your check-ins so there is a predictable time daily, or weekly, that you’re immersed in your work. Get exactly what you need to get done, and then shut everything off again. Work on acknowledging the reality that the world does indeed revolve if you aren’t holding it up. Sorry.

Tips for getting started:

Going cold turkey can be near impossible, and just as enjoyable as actual cold turkey. Try doing some of these things in the month before you leave.

  1. Don’t sleep with your phone in your room.
  2. When you wake up, don’t look at your phone first thing.
  3. Dedicate some time each morning before work to do something for yourself.
  4. Treat one day per week (likely your weekend) as a vacation day. Distance yourself from your work, minimize use of your phone, spend time doing things just for yourself. (Also called: self care day)
  5. Keep a journal of the things that stress you out about your job. Think of small ways in which you can remove some of that stress. (Example: You check your work before bed every night and then realize you have trouble sleeping. Step one – don’t sleep with your phone in your room – could act as a solution to this problem.

Have a question about love, life, sex, gender? Need some advice? Submit to www.suggestivetongue.com/ask and I’ll answer it on my blog.

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Q: Is my hookup lying to me?

Q: I went on a date with a girl and later that night I texted her to tell her I had a lot of fun. She texted me back and said that the sex was great, but she’s not interested in seeing me again. Is she lying about the sex? 

It’s difficult to know whether or not she was telling the truth. What’s important to understand is that it doesn’t matter. Whether she’s telling the truth or not, you’ll never know.  In casual sex, your partner may be more willing to fudge the truth because they know they’ll never see you again. That could be the situation with this girl. She had a so-so time but she’d rather say it was a-okay and cut contact after that first experience. Maybe your techniques weren’t her favorite, maybe your chemistry wasn’t super great. She’s throwing you a solid by not crushing your self-esteem. Because you know what? Even if the sex totally sucked for her, it might not be your fault. Why bum you out for nothing?

In committed relationships or sexual relationships where both partners are interested in seeing each other over time, communication is extra important. You need to tell the truth because that sets the stage for how well you’ll grow together over time. The more you tell your partner, the better he gets at knowing what you like, and vice versa.

In this situation, it’s a low risk lie. She won’t see you again so it doesn’t matter.

Of course, it is better to just be open and honest IN THE MOMENT because if you’re going into casual sex to have fun, why put up with a half-assed partner?

So reader, calm your nerves, let it go, and look forward to whatever comes next.

Have a question about sex or love? Submit at www.suggestivetongue.com/ask and I’ll answer it on my blog.

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