Dear Diary: That Ticking Noise

Dear Diary,

I’m sorry if I ever told you that in order to be loved you had to love yourself first. I suppose that wasn’t very good advice but at the time I thought it was right. This is the downside: if people ask you for advice, they think you’re good at giving it. Most of the time you do an alright job. But it doesn’t mean you’re perfect. Most of the time the advice you give is just the advice you wish you’d take yourself. These days, I try not to give advice when people don’t ask for it. Even though it’s not meant as a guiding principle, people tend to take you seriously.

Most of the time I love myself but I am also learning that I love myself most when others show love to me. Sometimes I don’t have enough love to give to everyone else. I am finding that I can’t be there for everyone all the time and that it’s not my job to be, either.

I am turning 30 in 131 days. I expect that I will get an incurable illness. When I walk down the street I can hear a timer, tick tick tick, waiting to be assaulted. I make it one block and four men talk to me. When I walk down the street with my headphones on and someone follows me. When a woman stands directly in my face and waves her hands with her face sunk in shallow and bandages on her arms. When a man waves at me from across the street and I can hear his yelling but it blends into the music I listen to like a melody. When the train comes it’s like the bass drops. When the doors come it’s like a fresh breath you don’t know you’ve been holding.

I wonder if everyone else walks around expecting to get hit by a car, or get trapped in a building after an earthquake. Maybe I’ve died a few times before and am saddled with this knowing inevitability.

Tick, tick, tick.

I got my car fixed. I got my bike fixed. I joined a recycling program where you put your cans in a bag and bring them to the store and they give you money. I started drink white wine instead of red wine.

I think if I told you these things about myself and you knew me very well you’d think I’d changed but if you saw me yesterday, if I’d just told you, passively. That would be different. It would have been absorbed into your idea of me.

I wonder if I saw you tomorrow I’d even recognize you. I’m not speaking of anyone in particular. Just all the someones I used to know. Sometimes I think I see someone out of the corner of my eye that I know but then I look away because it’s not quite right. Maybe that was you. With a beard. Wearing pink. Driving a mustang instead of a honda. Maybe you stand up straighter now, some habit you’ve developed over the last few years. Maybe you walk just a little differently (do I remember how you walk) maybe your voice is a little different (can’t remember) maybe you go to all the same places and (if I’d seen you, would I know?) or different places (what are you doing here? you don’t belong…) this new version of you.

I guess I’m a new version of me, too. But it’s never as hard for me to cope with as it is for you. Whoever you are.

I turn 30 is 131 days. I remember this age feeling tall, like a countertop I can’t see over. I remember this age looking wide like a landscape photo with trees and a river and a mountain or two, sprawling and endless. I remember this age like opening a book you’ve never read before, young enough you haven’t heard all the stories, young enough you don’t know how it ends yet.

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Q: Sharing A New Fetish/Kink/Fantasy With My Partner?

Question: I’ve been with my girlfriend for 7 years. Everything’s perfect except I have a fetish about her having sex with another man considerably more endowed than I. This fetish stems in to a previous relationship as well and I don’t think it’s going to go away anytime soon. I just want to know is it weird? Do others do this? Also how do I go about telling her of this fetish I want to make a reality?

Answer: This is not an unusual fantasy – you’ll find it’s actually fairly common on erotica boards and in pornography. (Not always a super accurate representation of actual behaviors, to be fair.) You may want to look up the term cuckolding.  [Cuckolding can be positive for some couples, study says – Ian Kerner for CNN].

I would encourage you to share this with your partner, being open about how the idea turns you on.

If you don’t already talk openly and honestly about fantasies (or dirty talk in general) it might be more difficult. Try to get some kind of green light prior to opening this conversation. Your partner might not be ready to hear these fantasies. While I would encourage you to share them with her, I’d also encourage you to take the temperature of the situation before blurting it out. Can I share a new fantasy with you right now? It’s kind of unusual.”  

If you and your partner do openly and honestly talk about fantasies, kinks (or dirty talk in general) it may be easier to include this into your normal conversations together. “I was thinking of one more fantasy lately I haven’t told you about. Wanna hear?” 

Your partner may be equally interested in trying this (maybe she’s been thinking about it, too!) You may be able to incorporate this into some kind of roleplay where a third party isn’t actually involved. And at the very least – you’ll know you have shared your interests, giving yourself a chance to live out an experience that excites you. Best of luck.

Have a question or need some advice? Submit now and I’ll answer on my blog!

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Question: Alluding Interest With No Follow Up?

My name is Dax and I am in a long distance relationship with my boyfriend and we don’t see one another as often as we want to. We never have phone sex/sexting, which is okay with me, but when we finally get together and the hormones kick in and we’re having sex, it doesn’t go any further than oral sex and masturbating.

We have had a few bad encounters during sex (ie: he couldn’t get hard. Rare but it’s happened before) but the problem is I feel like I’m disconnected because this has been all we’ve ever done. I’d never cheat on him and sleep with someone else but I’m sexually frustrated and we’ve talked about this many times but it seems we always end up in the same place.

He always alludes to the idea of doing more in sex but it’s never definite phrasing (“when you fuck my ass, it’s gonna feel so good”) I don’t want to pressure him into anal sex (I’m vers) and as far as sex goes he’s getting enjoyment from just jerking off but I’m bored of it! I usually masturbate when I’m alone but I don’t wish for it to ALWAYS be a part of my sexual encounters with him. What way can we approach this, as we are adults without it overstepping boundaries and making him feel uncomfortable? Also, he has anxiety and depression, as I nearly forgot to mention.


It sounds like you’ve brought it up in conversation several times, and while you didn’t explicitly say so, I’m guessing that the conversation mostly gets shoved under the rug. It sounds like he’s either totally comfortable with just oral sex and masturbating, or he’s specifically not interested in having penetrative sex for some reason.

I would ask him directly – we’ve talked about it a lot, but we seem to never do it, is there something you’re waiting for or uncomfortable with? It’s something I really want to do but only if you’re equally interested in doing. What do you think? 

Once you get an affirmative “yes it’s more than a fantasy, it’s definitely something I’m interested in actually doing” you could try incorporating it into it the next time you have sex. Instead of letting the oral sex and masturbating go on until you’re both finished, shift naturally into penetrative sex by asking: “Do you want to?” Confirming consent can and should be sexy in the moment, and if it’s a very clear yes, onwards! If it’s a no, try to get confirmation of the no from him the next time you’re just talking about it. That way you won’t be wondering “is it a yes or a no? should I keep asking or shouldn’t I?”

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When You Stop Playing With Toys

I’ve already forgotten the first time I went into an adult store, but I think I can fill these memories with suitable lies. I must have been eighteen, probably on my eighteenth birthday, whichever long-term relationship I was in at the time. We went at lunch, we drove in his car. It was always his car, always him driving.

The men I dated prided themselves in having terrible cars – fast cars, unsafe cars, cars built like Frankenstein’s Monster with pieces pulled from junk yards and bolted together in dark open spaces after midnight.

If I think of sixteen or eighteen or twenty I think of the way the oil sank into the dry skin of their fingertips and created labyrinths of dirt and grime.

He must have been wearing Carhartt’s – we looked at dildos.

If this was over ten years ago then my fake memories must serve me correctly in thinking that they were mostly hard plastic or jelly, soft and filled with glitter, rabbits with Sex and the City characters smiling on the hard pressed plastic wrappings. I walk through and flick them one by one with my fingers making the dildos rock in their casings.

I bought one, purple, hard, six inches, ribbed with small awkward bumps and a microscopic glans. Had it had a reservoir for ink it could have easily substituted for a child’s vibrating pen.

The years that followed were a landslide of dildos, vibrators, butt plugs, bullets and underwear so uncomfortable that I can’t believe it took me over ten years to throw them away.

Now I have only one toy that I ever touch – the hitachi, mostly to reduce headaches and ease with back tension. I guess you could say I’m retired. Nothing under my bed excites me anymore. I never think “what should I add to this experience?” I feel no lack. I know that’s not the point. I ponder what could be added or baked in.

When I open toy review blogs I feel that I can count my age in trends I’ve missed.

It’s amazing to see things like more responsible advertising, more responsible marketing in general, better more inclusive practices for building toys, safer materials. Is it time to go back? Is it worth the investment? Can I separate the negative experiences I’ve had with toys in past relationships with the positive experiences with new, modern, intentionally purposed high-quality toys?

Will it feel like the first time all over again? Me, the fiancé, a much more beautiful store?



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Dear Diary, So This is Growing Up

Dear Diary,

Today our first imperfect produce box arrived. This weekend we looked at houses. Last week we decided on our wedding venue. I bought some peonies. I have allergies and my eyes are watering and my throat feels like it’s been scrubbed roughly with a bristle pad. I tried a berry bagel for the first time and I liked it. Sometimes our cat is so peaceful and so loving that I’m worried something is wrong with her. Then she tries to climb the blinds or paces the hallway up and down and up and down. It’s strange how something going wrong can make you feel right all over again.

I find myself opening my journal all the time these days; once or twice a week, but it’s enough. If you write regularly you can see the stability of change. My feelings last year versus my feelings this year. How far you can come in a few months. Lessons for preventing past mistakes.

I want to draw a line, up, up, up, a graph of our trajectory, and I want it to run off the page and down the table and up the wall and through the kitchen and over our bodies, black lines, smeared pen ink.

I want a straight line to become curved, go backwards and forwards, loop in circles, and remind us that there’s no such thing as an easy way. You just take whatever circumstances you’re given and you make some kind of art out of your life.

I planted cat grass and it grew five inches in less than a week. The cat ate it down so I planted more. Jason is finishing the first year of his masters program and still somehow manages to do all of the other things in life that are often forgotten. I think perhaps he is a time traveler and has found a way to bend time. We are tired at the end of the night. We watch Superstore from front to back and then we let the last episode roll back into Season 1 and begin again.

I’m learning how to say ‘no’ to situations that make me uncomfortable. I’m also learning how to apologize. Sometimes I apologize for saying no to situations that make me uncomfortable. I think I’ve still got a ways to go.




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Q: Partner Has Low Sex Drive But Masturbates A Lot

Hello, I need some relationship/sex advice. My Fiancé is about 6 years older than me. We are currently trying for a baby but his sex Drive is horrible. He thinks he has a hormone issue that’s causing it, so he really is only in the mood about once a month only if I initiate it. But recently I have found out that whenever I am not home he masterbates a lot, which I don’t mind. It’s just that I feel like our sex is very bland and I don’t feel comfortable talking to him openly about it because I feel like he views it as immature on my part. Also I have seen where he took pictures of his penis at his work in the bathroom, and they did not get sent to me. He claims he just likes taking them but it doesn’t seem like the truth to me because he doesn’t do it often nor does he ever send anything to me. Also I was open to trying new things with him during sex but for one I am kind of shy when it comes to him i don’t know why, and two I am very comfortable with my sexuality and there isn’t many things I wouldn’t do but he doesn’t seem to be interested in being adventurous. Any advice is welcome. Please help!

Is it cold in here or is it just a little shady?

Your fiancés sex drive being low + him masturbating frequently + him taking dick pics doesn’t add up. My gut tells me that he’s not being honest about something. Is this a new change or has he been like this for the duration of your relationship? Sex doesn’t need to be a highlight of your relationship, but it’s a key point of contention in long term relationships if things don’t add up, or if you guys can’t find a compromise.

It sounds to me like you’re wanting to be a little more adventurous – or at the bare minimum, you wan’t to connect with your partner openly when it comes to sex. For whatever reason (innocent or otherwise, without trying to make assumptions) it sounds like he’s unable or unwilling to do the same. So time for a truth talk. If you’re going to try to have a kid together you need to feel that you can trust him and you need to feel that you’re able to connect. Those two things apply to your marriage, too.

Tell him how you feel about what you told me above. The photos that never come to you, the inability to find intimate times together when he’s clearly able to find time for himselfand your desire to have a relationship that is at the very least sexually open, if not adventurous. Is he not on board for this? If he is, his actions aren’t communicating that very clearly. If he’s not, best you know now.

If you can’t find a comfortable, happy, and satisfying mid-ground together where you’re both able to communicate and get your needs met, I’d be concerned that it may be an ongoing issue as your relationship progresses. Tackle it now, together. Don’t settle for less than you deserve.

Have a question about sex or love? Submit now and I’ll answer on my blog.

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Ask Suggestive: Husband Can’t Finish Without Porn

Lately my husband cant cum when we have sex unless he masturbates to porn. When I ask him what I’m doing wrong he gives me the excuse that’s it’s hot in the room or he’s tired or stressed. Recently we had a threesome with my best friend and he came while having sex with her almost instantly and while he was having sex with her he had an expression of pure bliss that I’ve never seen before. Now I feel like its obviously something about me that causes him to not cum during sex with me. I’m contemplating telling him that I no longer want us to have an intimate relationship anymore because the mental and emotional toll of all this is hurting me so bad that I don’t think I can shake back from it. It kills me deeply that I havent been able to get the response or the climax during sex with my husband that my friend got almost instantly. Please help.

It sounds to me like his experience with the threesome and the experience with the pornography is less about your friend and less about you than it is about his need to have lots of good mental stimuli. In other words, he needs to be really mentally “in the zone” in order to let go of the stress of his life in order to have a good time. With both porn and a threesome, he’s probably in a state of especially high arousal, allowing him to really sink into the moment, making it easier to orgasm.

What he needs to do (and what you can assist with) is replicate that low-stress / high-arousal experience together.

But first, I think you should have a conversation with him about how those experiences have made you feel. Focus on “I Statements” and share with him your concerns from a place of wanting to connect. “I feel that we haven’t been able to have a lot of intimate time together lately. I’d really love to just be with you, without the porn, without anything else, and find that connection again. I feel like your focus on masturbation and our experiences with threesomes haven’t really given us time to make those connections and I feel that I’m not being put first anymore.”

You married the guy – I’m guessing (hoping!) that you’ve had really great one-on-one experiences in the past. You’re comfortable with each other. Maybe he’s so comfortable that he doesn’t quite realize how long this has been going on or how it’s been affecting you. Maybe he feels it too but hasn’t quite put it into words for himself yet. I like to start by expecting the best. Open up that dialogue.

Then think about some things you can do together to bring that fire. If it’s too hot, buy an air conditioner. Turn on a fan. Go into the shower. If he needs a boost of arousal, watch porn together and have him show you how to masturbate for him. Extend foreplay by 2x or 3x the average length to give him more time to decompress and flip off his stress-brain. Talk about new things you haven’t tried in bed and try it together. Go to an adult store, pick up some toys, buy a new lube.

If he does not respond well to opening the dialogue, and if he does not seem receptive to finding ways to be creative together…. that’s another issue, and one you’ll need to tackle when you get there. Best case scenario is that he too is looking for ways to reconnect and boost that intimacy/arousal and you can find ways to do it together as a team.

Need advice about sex or love? Let’s chat. Submit anonymously now! And I’ll answer on my site(!)

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What Are We Going Through?

My website has always grown with me. I’ve always written about things that I’m experiencing. So, what now? Do I write about engagement? Weddings? Monogamy?

I want something new and something fresh and something real like “life sucks sometimes” but I also don’t want that new faux reality like instagramming your pimples to show how chill you are. Pimples are in vogue right now, people. And sometimes life just feels like a yo-yo. You can draw the camera way out and it makes sense why people are trying to be “overtly real” after being “curated” so much for so long.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do. With your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver was one of the first poets I ever read. I have no structured memory of reading it, or enjoying it, or feeling particularly changed by it. Not everything is an epiphany. But now when I read some of the things she says, or flip through a book of hers, it’s like a small flash of light on a dark part of my brain. Do you ever remember, just for a moment, that the inside of your body is black? In your stomach and in your brain, down your legs and arms, total darkness.

I guess what I want to do is write, a lot, all the time. And when I started writing I wanted to write basic informational stuff like this is the information they didn’t give you. But when I started writing over ten years ago, people weren’t talking about sex as much as they are now. There weren’t a ton of mainstream books about sexuality. It wasn’t as obvious to just, y’know, look it up. And so letting go of those roots that built this site has to happen. Because there’s something more important for me to say. The things that only I can say – that you can’t get somewhere else.

Yeah, the advice component is still a part of that (because talking to someone who doesn’t know you about what’s going on in your life is super helpful, and having access to resources is still critical). But those basic posts about information isn’t the foundation of my site anymore. I don’t think I have a foundation. I think I should stop looking for one.


Sometimes it’s enough to just sit down and write. Every day, a little bit. Without a schedule or a plan, a list of bullet points.

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We’re Engaged!

Salishan Resort & Spa – A view from the hot tub
Ring by Cathy Waterman
It’s been a big year over this way.
Hey love, we’re getting hitched! 
“Woohoo, we’re doing it!” – J
Well, anyways, here’s what happened. For the last two years we’ve had an ongoing conversation about marriage. What do we want? We went through a 1001 things to talk about before marriage book twice. Ok, we skipped the parts about marrying a criminal or a celebrity, but otherwise it was pretty thorough.
For a while it was a little scary. Can we do this? Can we make it work? We know it’s 50/50. But if there’s anyone I’d want to run those odds with, it’s him.
We don’t know exactly when we’re going to get married or what our colors are or how big its going to big or what kind of cake we’re going to have or if we’re even going to have cake. But, we’re both project managers in our day jobs. So ya know there’s already a spreadsheet or two in action. Or three, or four, or five. If I’m being honest there are definitely multiple tabs.
Anyways, it was our 5 year anniversary! The start of our sixth year, as I like to say. Hey year six, day two! I like celebrating things. If there was a balloon for tax day I’d tie it around my wrist.
We booked a big, relaxing vacation at the coast. My bones are jello, melting, melted. I am so relaxed. Do you ever start planning another vacation when you’re still at your first one? That’s how it was. This place we went, big beautiful wood doors, cedar smell, fireplaces, little cookies put out fresh, and the spa. A beautiful outdoor hot tub, a view of the water. It’s the only time in the last few years I can remember my brain actually being empty. Not thinking about anything happy or sad or neutral. Robbed of all thought. I’m still a little dizzy just thinking about it.
He proposed on the beach, a stormy grey day. My favorite. Afterwards we rented Annihilation and ate popcorn in bed. It was the best day ever (which I proclaimed enthusiastically hours before he even proposed.)
You’re catching me fresh here, tip of the iceberg. What’s next? Where do we start? What’s our foolproof make-it-last campaign? Your standard list: dance in the kitchen, be real goofy, keep dating each other, never let go, never give in, be open to change, grow together not apart, always get better together. 
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