Tag Archives: Femme

Why We Should Be Talking About Femme Invisibility

Before delving into the specifics of this article, let me make a quick disclaimer. I do not consider myself to fall under the label of a “femme”, although I do often present myself as feminine when I am out in public (especially if under the request of my partner).

For those of us who do not fully identify with the binary definitions of lesbian presentation, the issue of invisibility is no less existent – in fact, our particular stance in between the femme and stud labels offers us exclusive insight into both sides of the coin.

When we choose to present as studs, on a particular day, it can be cast off by others as “just being a tomboy”; that is, someone who has seen us in a dress and heels may feel that this is our “true nature” and when we present ourselves in more masculine-attributed clothing, it seems like dress-up.

This sets an unfair precedence for outsiders to determine our “true” style without input from us, which will generally lead to faulty assumptions.

On the other hand, when we choose to present as more feminine on a given day, this can somehow “confirm” their assumptions about how we dress and what our intentions are.

Truly, judging anyone’s intentions based solely on what they are wearing is often wrong on many levels – but when it leads to us being ignored or marginalized, it is of greater concern to us.

For those of us who fall somewhere in between the “are you sure you’re not straight?” stereotypes and the “obviously gay” stereotypes, we want to believe that we can control someone’s opinions of us and influence our own reputations. To some degree, this is true, but there will always be assumptions made and stereotypes compared in reference to our appearance.

Why is femme invisibility a problem? Much of the concern comes from the fact that we aren’t immediately recognized as lesbians. In some scenarios (such as when you live in a region where discrimination due to orientation is a problem), this can be a good thing.

But, in other scenarios (such as when you’re trying to find like-minded individuals and they don’t see you as being in the same category they are), it can be frustrating, to say the least.

I’d like to say that we are only “invisible” when it comes to those outside of the gay community – but this is definitely not true. The fact is, even many lesbians have this subliminal message about “what a lesbian looks like”, even if they internally know that these stereotypes are not universal.

Of course I have been approached by men who refused to believe that I was a lesbian, and were convinced that I was “just trying it out” (which is certainly not true), but I have also had partners and family members question my intentions in regard to the relationship.

Let me say that questioning your partner’s intentions is a necessary step in the early stages of a relationship, but if your partner tells you that they want to be with you, you should understand that this is usually coming from sincerity and honesty. You shouldn’t question her motives just because she likes to wear dresses.

This type of thinking is archaic, and most likely had no grounds in facts even when it was a more appropriate assumption.

However, that’s not to say that some women can’t “own” their invisibility and use it to their advantage. Before becoming a writer, I worked in many situations where I felt that my job security may be threatened due to my orientation.

This is, of course, an issue all to itself that we must work together to overcome, but being able to “blend in” with the straight girls allowed me to remain “in the closet” while I was at work, and is probably a great deal of the reason I never truly transitioned into a primarily-stud-style. It’s just a theory I have.

What can we do to overcome these stereotypes? Individually, not a whole lot. As femmes or no-labels, we will undoubtedly be asked to justify our sexuality to others at multiple times in our lives.

It’s ultimately up to you whether you decide to address those people or simply leave the mystery there, until such a point that society stops assuming that “straight” is the default.

In the community, we can consciously work on ourselves to help improve the stereotypes associated with lesbians. One of the most straightforward ways to do this is to simply be “out” when we are in public – but understandably this isn’t a viable option for everyone.

A more subtle approach would entail that we stop seeking the “tell-tale signs” that someone is gay or straight – they’re mostly rubbish anyway.

Instead, it may be helpful to implement the theory that everyone is bisexual until proven differently. No, that doesn’t mean we should flirt with everyone and see where it goes – although if that’s your style, more power to you.

I am referring to removing all assumptions completely, and instead focus on getting to know a person before we apply a label to them. Labels, after all, should be personally identified, and not attached by strangers.

If the entire community can work to eliminate the application of a label to a third-party, I anticipate that in just a few short years we could do away with the invisibility and rejection that we all have the possibility of facing.

7 Reasons To Love Femme Women

Femme women are great, aren’t they? Whether it’s a woman who dons sundresses and flats, ball gowns and heels, or – gasp – yoga pants and tank tops, they look great. But more than just appearances, femme women are incredible for so many reasons.

In a much broader sense, all of us are amazing in some way. I doubt there’s a person on earth who hasn’t exceed expectations in a certain category, even if the category itself is deemed socially unimportant.

Although there’s no way to create a list that perfectly represents every femme woman out there, we’ve tried to compile the top 7 things that are great about femme women.

Do you have something else to add? Let us know in the comments!

Femmes usually smell nice.

Okay, so it’s not only femmes – butch women can smell nice, too. But, there’s a different kind of nice smell that usually comes from super feminine women. Maybe they smell like baby powder, or roses, or some combination of fruits. Whatever it is, the smell-good products designed for feminine women are amazing.

Femmes challenge comfort zones.

Although we love everyone within the queer community (as long as they’re nice!), femme women have the ability to “not look gay”, which is pretty frustrating at times, but can also be fun when it’s intentional. A femme woman casually dropping mention of her “girlfriend” is a conversation starter – and, love it or hate it, it’s probably not going to change any time soon.

Femmes are simultaneously the most represented and the least visible.

There’s something about femme women that, while they challenge the stereotypes of homosexuality, they’re also the most widely chosen mascots when it comes to representation. Most likely, if you’ve got a favorite lesbian on television, she’s probably a femme. This complicated blend of “represented but invisible” means that they’re going to see a number of lesbians that look just like them, but they’re probably going to assume that they’re not “really” gay. It sucks.

Femmes (usually) help you look good.

Most femme women know what looks stylish, whether it’s the “fashionable” choice or not. They can see what makes you look attractive and will encourage you to do more of that. Similarly, they want to look good themselves, so they’ll ask your opinion about how they dress, too.

Femmes don’t care about your gender roles.

This might not be true for all femme women, but most of the femme lesbians I know would rather be single than typecast into a pretty little feminine box in every category. Who says a femme lady can’t buy a butch woman flowers? Who says that a femme woman can’t wear a strap every now and then? And who says that a femme woman can’t call you on your crap if you suddenly start to fall into the typical heteronormative rules that they’re subjected to from the outside world on a daily basis?

Femmes can “blend in”.

Femme women have the incredible talent to “not look gay”. Sometimes, this holds true no matter how hard she may try to look gay – whatever that means. Femme women have the option to push their identity aside and “act straight” in a way that helps them get ahead in life. (Although that’s a lot more emotionally draining than it sounds – make sure you’re not forcing your femme girlfriends and friends to act straight if they’re not actually cool with it.)

Femmes are an important part of the queer community, too.

All people who identify as queer – whether bi, gay, lesbian, trans, ace, pan, non-binary, or any other labels you can think of – are equally important, and sometimes it’s hard not to leave out the members of the queer community who don’t “look” like members of the queer community. As much as we seek acceptance from the cishetero community, we sometimes forget that the harshest scrutiny faced by some is from within the queer community.

That’s not to say that femme lesbians are immune to the pain of homophobia and discrimination, just because they’re less likely to attract unwanted attention to it. Often, these women face pressures from other lesbians that they don’t “seem” like they’re gay – just because they don’t embrace the same stereotypes that you do. The truth is, we are all beautiful, in our own way – no one should have to be forced into a box they don’t feel they belong in.

11 Orgasms A Trans Woman Can Have

So, I recently read an article on KitschMix by Barbara Ward enlightening readers to the great versatility of the female body to experience an incredible variety of orgasms.

Like any woman, I thought – Wow! Eleven?! How many of these have I experienced or can experience?

My somewhat unique position as a transgender woman opens up a raft of different yet surprisingly similar experiences, but also potential for so much more.

As a pansexual trans woman who began her transition in her late twenties I have experienced sexual pleasures from a multitude of perspectives with a multitude of different kinds of sexual partner.

I was pleased to say my list was almost complete, but also had a couple of others to add. So, if you or your partner is a trans woman in any state of transition your orgasms are just as varied and highly enjoyable.

The Clitoral or Penile Head Orgasm

First, we need to know a little developmental anatomy. We all start out the same with anatomy in our mother’s womb. The clitoris in the biologically female body or glans penis (penile head) in the biologically male develops from the genital tubercle. Since both derive from the same structure they are equally sensitive thus equally pleasurable to stimulate.

Every woman is different and so the best clitoral orgasms are achieved in different ways. Personally, I have always been a fan of the softly does it approach with the lightest of touches through the hood (foreskin). Other women may like a firmer approach, but do communicate. If you go too firm it can actually become quite painful, particularly if your partner is a sensitive girl!

The best way, in my opinion, to give the light but electric touch is with lips and tongue. Respond to your partner’s communication from her body, her movements and if she makes some noise what noises she makes. I like to mix things up and surprise my partner with the oral stimulation I give varying intensity and technique. You will find what works for each of you. You can also use your fingers or a vibrator together or alone.

The Vaginal or Penile Body Orgasm

In the womb the vagina and body of the penis develop from the genital fold and urogenital sinus. In biological females these stay open to form the vagina and close in biological males to form the body of the penis. A vaginal orgasm for a cisgender woman is described as deeper and full of pressure with contraction of the vaginal wall. Vaginal orgasms take longer than clitoral orgasms to achieve, often taking 20-30 minutes.

In a pre-operative transgender woman the body of the penis serves the same purpose. The orgasms are much as described for those of vaginal origin. Cisgender men often cannot tell a penile head orgasm from a penile body orgasm as both are stimulated simultaneously during penetrative sex and mingle together. However, the more experimental couple may wish to explore the separation of these orgasms. The best way to stimulate the body is with rhythmic hand motions and varying the pressure. Communicate with each other to get the best results.

A post-operative trans woman had the penile body inverted into a vagina so stimulation is very much as with a natural vagina. Rhythmic thrusting with fingers or a toy will elicit the same orgasmic reaction.

The G-Spot or Prostate Orgasm

Both biological sexes have a G-spot. In the biological female body this is a part of the erectile tissue of the clitoral body and vestigial secondary sex glands and is felt as a spongier part of the vaginal wall about 5 cm inside.

In the trans woman, this is the prostate and other secondary sex glands that produce the seminal fluid and are still active after hormone replacement therapy. In a post-operative trans woman, the G-spot can be reached through the vagina as with a cis woman and produces very deep spreading orgasms. From personal experience I find this one of the most intense experiences possible to feel!

For the pre-operative trans woman it can only be approached through the rectal wall. This need not be a squeamish activity but can be extremely intimate and bring you closer together as a couple.

For all G-spot orgasms the approach to take is with pressing and rubbing either with fingers or using a toy. You may wish to mix things up with some rhythmic thrusting in addition to the pressing to add another kind of orgasm into your lovemaking.

The Squirting Orgasm

Again, this kind of orgasm shows how similar the biological sexes are. A cisgender male will almost always ejaculate at climax, but for the trans woman this can become a little more elusive. Testosterone blockers have stopped sperm production and reduced the seminal gland activity. However, with the right stimulation, usually through G-spot fun, it is still possible to ejaculate a small amount of fluid. Like cisgender women, it is not consistent from woman to woman, but certainly fun trying out to see if you or your partner can squirt! Be comfortable with each other and don’t be embarrassed, it’s not urine and ejaculating doesn’t make a trans woman male!

The A-Spot or Seminal Vesicle Orgasm

So, I had never heard of this until reading the original eleven types of orgasm women can have article. It refers to the anterior fornix of the uterus and is located about 5 cm deeper into the vagina than the G-spot. The A-spot is often described as being responsible for having multiple orgasms and doesn’t sensitise after stimulation so can continue to build.

Now, I can say as a trans woman I have definitely experienced building multiple orgasms from deep stimulation. Anatomically there is no anterior fornix but the seminal vesicles are located in this area and can be stimulated in much the same way and are located about 5 cm deeper inside than the prostate.

For all trans women you need to approach with anal penetration as the trans vagina might not go deep enough to reach as deep as the seminal vesicles and may actually be quite uncomfortable. As always communication with your partner is important.

Some cisgender women don’t enjoy A-spot stimulation and the same is true for transgender women. An A-spot orgasm can be quite juddering and may even be painful for some women. Others describe the feeling as electric and much stronger than some of the other orgasms, I am very much in that camp and absolutely adore the A-spot having experienced it before knowing its name!

The Deep Spot Orgasm

This is another relatively unheard of place for orgasm. It refers to the posterior fornix and lies right at the cervix in the biological female. It causes very deep and intense orgasms much like the A-spot. Sadly there is no homologue for the posterior fornix in a trans woman so the A-spot and Deep spot are essentially the same orgasm.

The U-Spot or Coronal Orgasm

Back to similar anatomy developmentally, so both cis and trans woman can enjoy this. In the cisgender woman the U-spot is a small bit of erectile tissue between the urethral opening and the vagina and is highly sensitive needing the softest of touches.

In a trans woman this will be the corona of the penile head, a very sensitive erectile tissue at the junction of the foreskin with the body of the penis. As with the U-spot, a gentle touch only best with a tongue with a carefully rolled back foreskin. If this is painful, as it sometimes can be, use some lubrication.

This orgasm is very similar to the clitoral orgasm and may sometimes merge into each other.

The Nipple/Breast Orgasm

This is my personal favourite! Our bodies are all linked up inside, as many other cultures have described, for example acupuncture points in Chinese medicine. The nipples, areolae and clitoris are all linked together with nerves. Not all cis women will have breasts sensitive enough to experience full orgasm this way.

As a trans woman, particularly in the earlier stages of HRT the breasts and nipples are some of the most sensitive places you will ever have at this time. Use it to your advantage! When a partner has gently nibbled, licked and bitten (softly) at my nipples I have literally been writhing in ecstasy until full climax, and so have many other trans women. Sadly this sensitivity may only be short-lived as the breasts are developing and may become less sensitive in later transition of after transition, but can still be a great source of enjoyment for both.

The Mouth Orgasm

The mouth is obviously identical in all genders and so the sensations are not specific to one gender or another, but more specific to the individual. The women who experience this say it starts at the lips and can then spread to the rest of the body. I have never experience an orgasm from the mouth, but with the right kiss and maybe.

The Skin Orgasm

The skin is grossly underrated as a sexual organ. All our contact with one another is through skin to skin contact and greatly enhances arousal before more intimate activity. Oestrogen has the result of softening and thinning the skin compared to the cisgender male. As a result sensations are more pronounced and arousing. The lightest touch is often more electric than a firmer one and can result in an all over orgasmic experience. Having an emotional attachment and a sensual massage can bring a woman to climax, both cis and trans.

The Mental Orgasm

The brain is very much a sexual organ. Without mental arousal the body has little it can really do! With the right imagination and appropriate cues you can reach orgasm without physical contact. This is why some women can get sexual gratification from watching or listening to others having sex.

For both cis and trans women a vivid imagination can take you on a wild sexual adventure without touching.

Being transgender is an amazing and fascinating experience. We face difficulties and hardships in our everyday lives so having a loving partner to help us explore our changing bodies is very welcome. The human body is a very sensitive and sensual vehicle for an emotional and loving consciousness. Male, female, cis, trans, we’re all a lot more similar than you may have realised.

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The Recipe For A Perfect Relationship (Or, As Close As You Can Get)

Having a successful relationship relies on a bunch of things all working together in harmony. You’ve got to have trust, respect, love, chemistry… There’s just no way around it. Good thing I’ve always been good at math, otherwise the complexity would be too much to handle.

It’s almost scientific, really. And I’ve never been too great at science.

Thankfully, knowing what these things are doesn’t take too much effort, and they’re pretty much the same for any relationship you’re ever in. Sure, maybe the measurements will be a little different each time, but the basic formula is the same, and there’s usually no problem adjusting the recipe as necessary.

But have you ever wondered why the important parts are so important?

The pan: Yourself.

Okay, maybe I’m stretching this metaphor a little thin here, but bear with me. You can’t have a cake if you don’t have the right pan – and you can’t expect to have a good relationship if you’re not a good person. The best partners are the ones we can see ourselves in, to some degree.

While the idea that anyone could be “out of anyone else’s league” is pretty arrogant, the truth is that you attract the type of partner you deserve, to a certain point. While no one ever deserves to be treated unfairly, you attract that sort of partner by devaluing yourself. Keep your own worth in mind and don’t settle for less – but make sure you’re being the type of person you’d want to be with.

The flour: Common interests.

This one has quite a bit of wiggle room to it, depending on your personal preferences. You don’t want everything to be the same, because you won’t have anything interesting to tell each other. But you should have enough in common that you can spend time together without either of you being bored out of your mind.

What happens if you’ve got too much flour in your cake, though? You get a doughy mess. If you’ve got too much in common, you guys are going to be boring to each other. There’s nothing exciting about dating someone who’s exactly like you, after all, so make sure you’re not afraid to do your own thing, too.

The eggs: Mutual respect.

Mutual respect is what holds your relationship together. I’m going to go ahead and consider trust as a part of respect here – one implies the other. If you can’t treat your partner like an equal, and like she deserves the benefit of the doubt sometimes, you should probably walk away.

You should notice that I said mutual respect, though. If your partner does things that aren’t worthy of your trust – such as being unfaithful or dishonest – you’re not doing anything positive by sticking to her side. No relationship can be kept afloat by one person alone. It needs to be a mutual effort.

The sugar: Sexual compatibility.

Please note that I didn’t say sex itself, but rather sexual compatibility. This is one of those things that has a pretty broad definition. Some people are more willing to compromise than others, and some people really don’t want to compromise at all. No matter what you might have thought, you can’t force someone to compromise – it sort of undermines the whole idea if you do.

In a perfect relationship, both partners will want exactly the same type of sex, at exactly the same time, on exactly the same schedule. But we live in the real world, and that’s probably not going to happen. Instead, you should focus on

The salt: Forgiveness.

Not everything is meant to be perfect, and your relationship probably won’t, either. (If it is perfect, it’s usually because someone’s hiding something – which, of course, is imperfect, too.) The important thing about a healthy relationship is that you learn to forgive the mistakes that are worth forgiving.

Too much salt (or forgiveness) can spoil it, though. If you find that you’re always forgiving your partner for something that hurts, or you’re using some cheap forgiveness-substitute like pretending it never happened while bottling up your emotions, your relationship cake is going to suck.

The oven: Intimacy.

Your own preferences as far as intimacy goes are bound to vary. They might even be different with different relationships. Whether you’re a talker, a cuddler, or a kisser (or – preferably – all three), your relationship will need to be nurtured and warmed by a fair helping of love.

Please note that not everyone shows their intimacy the same way, and just because your partner doesn’t show it the way you want her to doesn’t automatically mean she doesn’t care. Some people are an industrial stove, while others are a gas station microwave – be patient with her if she’s not so touchy-feely.

Then bake to the perfect temperature.

Relationships take time and communication, and some people don’t really have the patience it takes. (Hint: A good relationship will take a lot of patience.) Particularly if you’re more of the microwave-type, as talked about in the section above, it might take a little longer to build up. Give it the time it needs – nothing worth having comes instantly.

The good news is that intimacy can actually help speed things along. When we cuddle, have emotional talks, kiss, and even orgasm with our partners, we stimulate the brain to release a bonding chemical. With enough of this chemical, we can actually fall in love with a person on the cellular level. Be careful, though – this can be a bad thing if it’s the wrong person!

Make sure that you’re trying to build a relationship because the person is right, and not just because you think it’s time. There is no such thing as “the right time” to enter a relationship – it’s just two (or sometimes more) people working together to make it the right time. But you’ve got to have your ingredients in order first.

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10 Ways Old Souls Love Differently

For a long time, I’ve considered myself an old soul. Well… I believe in reincarnation, so I guess I would say I’m a recycled soul. No matter how you choose to word it, the basic idea is the same: I don’t get people my own age.

My girlfriend likes to say I’m a little old lady in a younger body (although most days I don’t feel like my body is very young, either). I’ve had friends who affectionately told me that I instantly developed a “mom purse” as soon as I started carrying one – chapstick, tweezers, anything you could possibly need, and I’m prepared. (I even keep a spare copy of my girlfriend’s ID in my purse, but that’s another story entirely.)

I don’t understand hookup culture. I block strangers who call me babe, hun, or any other random pet names. I think the idea of the side chick is deplorable. I don’t get “twerking” and I have no intention of figuring it out. And I really don’t understand anyone who says they met the “love of their lives” more than once a year.

(I know, you can love many people in your life – but it takes longer than a month or two to actually “love” someone. And if the two of you give it up within a month or two, is it really love anyway? I don’t think so.)

Maybe I’m just too cynical, and I’m okay with that. I know I’m not alone – and I don’t even mind if I’m in the minority. After all, why should I care about what’s “normal” when I can just be wonderful me?

But as an old soul, there are certain things that I do differently than most people. If you find yourself agreeing to most of these things, maybe you’re an old soul, too.

1. I don’t care about your drama.

I don’t keep up on the tabloids, or the social gossip. I hear it in passing, more often than I’d like, but I don’t care to perpetuate it. Your sister got arrested and your brother can’t stay off the drugs? I’m sorry – but I don’t want to hear it.

But it’s not actually that I don’t care. I feel things too deeply sometimes, and I’d rather distance myself from these things. If I hear about the problems going on, I’m going to want to step in and save the day – and that’s not a good position for me to be in, when I can hardly save myself.

(Oh, and don’t tell me a problem unless you’re expecting me to try and find a solution – I don’t do negative chit-chat. That’s not small talk, it’s emotional entrapment.)

2. I need romance in my life.

I need someone who’s going to sweep me off my feet, because when I enter a relationship, I’m expecting great things. My expectations aren’t unreasonable – I just need to know you care, more than just you telling me that you do. Show me! Be my hero every now and then!

But my generation is pretty dumb when it comes to romance. Not all of it, of course, but far too much of it. This means I’m often underwhelmed in my relationships. As lame as it sounds, I’d really rather you make me a nice dinner than parade me in front of your friends.

(But that’s not to say you can’t put me on display – as long as you’re consistently proud of me when it’s just the two of us.)

3. I’m a walking conundrum.

I need structure, but I crave freedom. I need to feel safe without feeling patronized. I need to feel like you’re there to protect me, without feeling like you think I’m helpless. It’s a thin line I’ll have you walking on, but I promise it’s worth it.

I don’t even understand myself sometimes – I plan everything out, but I want to be surprised. Yet, when I am surprised, I often get irritated that my plans were broken. It doesn’t make any sense, and yet here we are.

(I don’t expect you to understand – I just expect you to let me be a mystery.)

4. I can’t do the hookup thing.

I tried for a while, after high school, and it just wasn’t me. No matter how much I tell myself that I’m not going to fall for someone I hook up with or hang out with casually, it ends up happening, at least to some extent. If we sleep together, I’ve probably already got feelings, whether I admit them or not.

Back when I was trying to be that person, it really irritated me, and I’d respond by running away. I fell for some of the worst possible people – the ones who just wanted sex. If I couldn’t imagine a future with them, I wouldn’t give in – and sometimes this resulted in some really mean comments.

(To the women who shot me down, I thank you – knowing what I know about myself, I would have eventually given in, and it would have destroyed me.)

5. I question everything.

I’m a horrible over-thinker. I can put together something you’ve said today with another thing you said six months ago and if the comparison doesn’t really make sense, I will bring it to your attention. If you’re inconsistent, I will notice, and it will prompt me to check for other inconsistencies.

It’s really not that I don’t trust you – but I don’t trust myself to not empathize with the ones who hurt me in the past. I’ve been let down so many times that it wouldn’t make sense for me to take things at face value.

(But if you don’t give me anything to question, I’ll appreciate it forever.)

6. I can’t help but focus on the big picture.

I’m highly philosophical, and that can occasionally cause problems for me. I have this habit of seeing both sides of the argument, and talking myself into thinking I’m wrong. I’d like to think that helped me in relationships, but really it just teaches the women I’m with that I can be easily convinced that I’m in the wrong.

I need someone who can see the big picture with me, but who can also let me know when I should really be paying attention to the little things. I’m going to see the forest, and the neighboring meadow, but I need someone who can show me the leaves and flowers are beautiful, too.

(Of course, this would have to be without undermining the beauty of the forest itself.)

7. I rely on my intuition, even when it’s wrong.

I see patterns when there might not even be any. Sometimes this means that I’m wrong, and I’ve come to terms with that. I won’t always admit it, but I know my intuition doesn’t have a 100% success rate – and I need someone who’s still going to love me, even when I am wrong.

Most of the time, though, my intuition is going to be spot on, and I’m going to want you to go along with it unless you can logically explain to me why I’m not making the right connections.

(But if you can’t cite proper sources, it doesn’t count.)

8. I don’t need to be impressed.

That doesn’t mean you don’t have to try, but I’m not expecting you to blow my mind and put all my broken pieces back together. I would rather have simple promises that you can actually fulfill than for you to promise the world.

I’d rather have a handful of wildflowers than a dozen long-stemmed roses. I’d rather you introduced me to your favorite TV show than take me to a crowded movie theater. I’d rather you cook me pancakes at 2 AM than take me to the finest five-star restaurant.

(But if you’re going to take me out, I do enjoy sushi.)

9. I can be more than a little brooding.

It might seem like I’m a pessimist, but really, I just set my expectations too high. I think things are going to be great, and then when they’re not, it breaks a little bit of my heart. I’ve been disappointed far too many times to count, and it’s taken a toll on me.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be around you. If anything, I need someone to break me out of my head and remind me that there is still good in the world. If you can be the good, even better – but I’ll understand if you can’t always be that person.

(Just don’t expect me to stick around when you’re being a pain.)

10. I need my partner to talk about things.

Communication will always be one of the greatest forms of intimacy, and I have a huge amount of respect for anyone who can say exactly what’s on their mind. Of course, I would prefer if the things you have to say are at least mostly nice, but that’s not always the case – at least you’re telling me.

Not only the things on your mind, I want to know about your history. Who are you, and who did you used to be? What did you want to be when you grew up, and what are you doing to reach that goal – or did something change it for you? I want to hear every story.

(Some of them more than once – I want to know you inside out.)

21 Reasons I’m Not Crazy – You’re Just An Ass

Dating in the modern world is a complex battleground full of emotions, words (whether harsh or loving), and even a little bit of sex – sometimes more than others. Whether you’re new to the game or you’ve been dating for twenty years, “it’s complicated” doesn’t even begin to cover it. (But thanks anyway, Facebook.)

Chances are, if you’ve had at least one previous partner, you’ve dealt with the struggles of your ex saying that you’re crazy. Maybe you’ve even said that your ex was crazy (I know I have!)

But that’s not really fair. Most people aren’t actually “crazy” – we just find something we don’t like about how they behaved, and the easiest way to write it off is by pretending it was something mentally wrong with them.

The lines become even more complicated when it comes to actual mental illnesses. For a long time, any mental illness was categorized as “insanity” – and for some reason, when it comes to our exes, we tend to do the same thing. But for the person dealing with the mental illness, being called crazy is not going to solve anything, it’s only going to make them feel worse about their situation.

(Unless, of course, their self-acceptance is high enough to laugh it off – but they really shouldn’t have to.)

If you’ve been called crazy for any of the following things, I want to tell you – personally – you are not crazy. And if you’ve ever called someone crazy because of the following things – you are definitely an ass.

Having a mental illness does not make you crazy.

The brain is an important organ that literally controls everything you do, and it can get sick just like any other organ. Whether you choose to receive treatment or you choose to manage it on your own, you are not crazy.

Getting mad about being mistreated does not make you crazy.

If your girlfriend doesn’t treat you right, you deserve to be mad about it. This is true whether she’s a liar, a cheater, a thief, or just a jerk. No matter how she treats you badly, it is not your fault, and you are not crazy. (There’s a bit of a grey area if you’re the one doing the mistreating – which you should never do anyway!)

Worrying about the state of your relationship does not make you crazy.

Sometimes women like to play mind games. I really wish it wasn’t the case, but it would be ignorant to pretend it never happens. If your girlfriend leaves you wondering and you actually wonder, you are not crazy.

Worrying about anything does not make you crazy.

Conspiracy theories aside (which still leaves room for interpretation, as I’m sure some conspiracy theories are probably true), worry is a natural function of the human brain. Sometimes, that function works in overdrive – as it does for many of us suffering from mental illness. If you are worried about anything and you bring it to your partner’s attention, you are not crazy.

A self-harming past does not make you crazy.

It’s a sad fact, but many women struggle with self-harm at some point in their lives. This can be really difficult if you’ve already moved on from this part of your life, but you literally wear the scars of your past. Just because you have harmed yourself in the past, you are not crazy.

A self-harming present does not make you crazy.

There are still a number of stigmas surrounding self-harm, and while it is definitely a mental illness (see item #1, above), you are not crazy.

Expecting your partner to be faithful does not make you crazy.

Unless you and your partner have specifically discussed that you will have an open relationship, you have every right to expect that the two of you are exclusive (even though many relationships don’t actually start off as exclusive – more on that later). If you and your partner say that you are committed to one another and she cheats (and you call her on it), you are not crazy.

Being unhappy in a monogamous relationship does not make you crazy.

I know I said that you’re allowed to expect monogamy – but it’s not the only answer. People who are trying to force themselves into monogamy when they’re really not cut out for it isn’t a bad thing, exactly, but if you find that it simply doesn’t work for you, you are not crazy.

Having a bad day every now and then does not make you crazy.

As women, it’s pretty much implied that we’re going to completely flip out sometimes. (Especially if it’s right around that time of the month). While no one has the right to treat others badly, an occasional freak-out is understandable, and you are not crazy.

Handling your problems in an unconventional way does not make you crazy.

Since people handle their problems differently, there are bound to be some times when you and your partner don’t exactly have the same approach. A good woman will realize that conflict resolution is a little different for everyone. Even if you do things in a way that is completely unique, you are not crazy.

Having an addiction does not make you crazy.

For those who have never struggled with an addiction, it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense that your partner might be caught up in one. Even when we recover from our addictions, we will never not be addicted – once an addict, always an addict. But that doesn’t mean that we will always act like an addict. If you have ever had an addiction, whether you’ve “beat it” or not, you are not crazy.

Over-explaining does not make you crazy.

I have my suspicions that over-explaining might be tied to over-thinking (which is definitely a symptom of anxiety). Some of us just feel the need to clarify and answer questions that have yet to be asked. This is in effort to avoid miscommunication, and you are not crazy.

Being quirky does not make you crazy.

Some of us just do things differently, and that’s OK. The idea of “personal quirks” varies widely from person to person, but the person who would say that you’re crazy for these things is actually the one with the problem – you are not crazy.

Loving yourself does not make you crazy.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I didn’t learn to love myself until I was well into my 20s. There are actually a lot of us like that. Once you learn to love yourself, it’s really difficult to hear that you shouldn’t – because you already know how important it is that you do. If you love and value yourself, you are not crazy.

Disliking yourself does not make you crazy.

Just because those who love themselves know how important it is, that doesn’t mean that it comes naturally to everyone. This is particularly true for people who were raised in a less-than-supportive environment. If you haven’t yet learned how to love yourself, you are not crazy.

Liking sex does not make you crazy.

Sex is like pizza. When it’s good, it’s great, and even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good. Some people thrive off of sexual energy, and there’s nothing wrong with that – most humans are, by nature, sexual creatures. If you enjoy having sex regularly, you are not crazy.

Not liking sex does not make you crazy.

As great as sex is, there are still going to be some people who don’t like it. We’re all programmed differently, and for some of us, sex just isn’t important. There’s nothing wrong with that – at its core, sex is for reproduction, and not everyone wants to reproduce – you are not crazy if you’re not into sex.

Your identity does not make you crazy.

People are different, and there’s no right or wrong answers when it comes to what’s right for you. If you come out to your partner (as any label), whether they support your situation or not, you are not crazy.

Having “unreasonable” dreams does not make you crazy.

As humans, it’s our job to dream big. This is one of the ways that we’re different from the other animals on the planet – we strive for bigger and better things. We want to find our purpose in life. We want to be the best at something. If you have a dream that someone else thinks is never going to happen, you are not crazy.

Not having a dream does not make you crazy.

While many humans benefit from the idea of hopes and dreams, not everyone is set up that way – and that’s OK. Those who are content to go with the flow might just not have found their dream yet – some people don’t find it until much later in life. Or maybe your dream is just to simply not have a dream – that’s OK too! If you don’t have a “greater plan”, you are not crazy.

Basically, no one is crazy – we’re just all different.

I don’t know why any of us wants to tell anyone else that they’re crazy. Even worse is when we tell a completely unrelated third party that someone is crazy – even if it was true, it’s not this other person’s business, so why would you spread it around like it was? Let people live their own lives, and let them be unique.

You are not crazy – you are a beautiful snowflake. Own it!

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Lesbian Teens In The US Have More (And Riskier) Sex Than Their Peers

A study in the US has found Lesbian teenagers have sex younger, have more partners and engage in riskier practices than bi or heterosexual girls.

One in five sexually active lesbian teenagers in the United States also reported recently having sex with a man, according to the research, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The study also discovered, lesbian teens reportedly lose their virginity at the average age of 13 years 9 months, which is significantly younger than bisexual (15 years 1 month) and heterosexual (15 years 6 months) girls.

Lesbian and bisexual adolescents also have considerably more sexual partners than straight girls, although bi teens reported having more sex with males.

The report suggests this could be because bi girls feel greater social pressure to have sex with men, or because they experience greater sexual pleasure doing so.

As for safe sex, lesbians were found to be much riskier then their peers, with less than a third saying they had discussed using condoms or dental dams with their most recent sexual partner.

The report suggests this may be because ‘lesbians are less likely to believe they are at risk for STIs when having sex’.

In comparison, nearly two thirds of bi girls and three quarters of straight girls said they had discussed the same issue with their partners.

One of the co-authors of the study and president of the Center for Innovative Public Health Research, Michele Ybarra, explained:

Our findings highlight that sexual orientation labels and sexual behaviour don’t always align – especially during the teen years.

This means that lesbian and bisexual girls may be having unprotected sex with boys – and with girls.”

Another, the University of Boston Columbia’s nursing professor Elizabeth Saewyc added,

Sexual health education should be comprehensive and cover sexual health for everyone.

Programs need to teach all youth about safe sexual practices for the kinds of sex they’re having, and that means teaching pregnancy prevention and condom negotiation skills to lesbian and bisexual girls too.”

Co-author Margaret Rosario, a professor of psychology at City University New York agreed, saying:

Experimentation is normal, which is why adolescent health professionals need to make sure that every young person has the skills she needs to keep herself safe.”

The study, co-authored by researchers from the University of British Columbia and the Graduate Center and City College of the City University of New York, used data collected online from nearly 3,000 US girls, aged 13–18 years.

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Bisexual Woman Discuss The Difference Between Sex With Men And Women (VIDEO)

In a new video from YouTuber Arielle Scarcella, she explores the difference between sex with men and women.

Bisexuals Explain - Sex With Men Vs Women

Talking with bisexual, queer and pansexual women, the video give insights into the differences between their sexual relationships.

Both are very good in very different ways… I love topping girls so it’s not about my pleasure necessarily when I’m going into a sexual interaction with a girl.”

Check out the video below:

You can catch more videos from Scarcella on her YouTube channel – so good and so funny.

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Tricks To Help You Get Over Your Ex Faster

Say it with me now – breaking up with someone sucks. Of course, there are some factors which make it suck less (like if you did the dumping) and things that make it suck more (like if you were blindsided by the breakup). But, generally speaking, it takes a while to get over things, even if it was completely mutual.

Many lesbians make things even harder on themselves by trying to be friends afterward. It seems like this will make it easier – by letting her stay in your life in a diminished capacity – but, realistically speaking, this isn’t usually true. Your mind (and your heart) will want something more, no matter how many times you tell yourself it’s off limits.

The good news is that you can help yourself get over it faster, even if you were completely caught off guard by the whole ordeal. What are some of the tricks that seem to work the best?

1. Out of sight, out of mind.

No matter how long you two were together, it’s helpful to get rid of any easily-visible reminders of the relationship, until you’re sure you’ve moved on. You might choose to completely torch any memories you’ve had (such as throwing away the pictures, smashing the gifts she bought you, etc.) but this isn’t actually necessary.

If you’ve got pictures of her on your wall, or set as your profile picture on social media, take them down – as soon as possible. No matter how much you want to keep her memory alive, forcing yourself to see her face every day will make it harder on you.

For those who don’t want to completely erase her, there is a simpler, non-permanent solution: Hide her away. Your photos together can go into a box. If they’re on social media, move them to their own folder, and tell yourself not to go through them. Take her off your social media accounts, too – even though you might be tempted to stay friends, seeing her posts will keep you attached in a way that’s unhealthy.

2. You can’t be “just friends” with someone you are in love with.

It might seem like staying friends will help lessen the pain – but you need to know that the part of your brain that is telling you this is a liar and a scoundrel. That part of your brain wants to keep her in your life at all costs – and trust me when I say the cost is your pain and suffering.

Particularly if you were together for a long time, it can be tough to rationalize the idea of letting her go completely – but it’s important that you actually do let her go.

This will be hard at first, especially if she wants to stay friends, too. But you owe it to yourself to be firm here – you can’t be friends until all the feelings are gone. Remember, sometimes your heart is an asshole – you shouldn’t let it win all the time.

3. Do not hold her things hostage.

If you have hopes that the relationship will sort itself out, it can be tempting to keep the stuff she left at your place. But, remember: People don’t change overnight. If you two are going to have a shot at making it work after you’ve broken up, the two of you will need to spend a fair amount of time focusing on your own problems. Having her things there while you do this will only serve as a constant reminder of what you’re missing – which will not help you to focus on yourself.

It’s also important to realize that, in most cases, our desire to get back with someone after a breakup is based on the (wrong) assumption that the breakup will magically fix whatever was wrong. Chances are, once you’ve taken the steps to make yourself a better person, you won’t even want to get back together.

Most of the time, when we break up with someone, it’s not because of timing – if the timing was actually wrong, we probably wouldn’t have gotten with them in the first place. This is of course not universal, but it’s important that you realize that things working out the second time around is the exception, not the rule.

4. Give yourself time.

If you try to rush the process of getting over someone, it’s probably going to backfire. There’s something about setting restrictions for ourselves that works against us – I think it’s reverse psychology or something. I don’t know, I’m not a doctor.

But what I do know is that the tighter of a timeline you put on yourself, the more your mind is going to completely screw you over. You ever notice that the harder you try not to think of something, the more it’s on your mind? Same thing here.

Instead of trying to push yourself over her, focus on taking time to do your own thing. This is much healthier for you, and will probably yield much better results. Give yourself all the time you need, and you’ll probably need less time.

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Help Needed: My Girlfriend Is Pushing Me Away

Dear KitschMix,

I have been dating my girlfriend for 9 months, but the last 3 months have been s**t. She upsets me on a daily basis, and when I get upset, I get angry with her, which means she gets angry with me. She has become controlling over the time we spend together, and we are together I find her very self-centred. She is always on her phone, and seems disinterested in anything I have to say.

I’m really confused because this shift is a new thing. Everything was great between us, until these 3 months. I am her first girlfriend and keep wondering if that’s the problem!? I have told her she changed, and she said she will fix it. And she does for a week, then things go back to the issues again. I have done a lot for her. When we met she was very isolated, and I encouraged her to get out and meet new people. Now she has an active social life, we both do. Don’t get me wrong, some of our fight is my fault I know that.  But I feel something is not quite right. Is this just a phase for us? I love her and do not want to break up with her. Any advice that’s not breaking up?

Well, reader, I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but your relationship sounds very dysfunctional to me. It might be possible to fix it, so I don’t blame you for wanting to take separation off the table. But truthfully, if you care about both of your happiness (which you should, if you love her) – it actually needs to stay on the table. It’s not the only option, and I will try to help explain a few things that might help. Just keep in mind that breaking up actually is the best option sometimes, if nothing else really seems to do the trick.

First: Those magical first six months. It’s pretty normal that they’re going to be better than the time following that. After all, during the first part of a relationship, people are more likely to conceal the things about themselves that they view as undesirable. Most people try harder in the beginning, and that’s why a lot of relationships seem to deteriorate over time. You can get it back, but it will take consistent efforts from both of you, and from what I understand, that’s not something she can promise you.

I’m not sure what you mean by “controlling over the time you spend together” – do you mean that she wants to spend more time together, or that she wants to spend less time together? If she wants to spend more time together, but can’t seem to keep her attention on you, you’ve got a right to be a little peeved. If she wants to spend less time together, things are a little more complicated to explain on my end.

If you two don’t spend a lot of time together as it is, and she wants to spend even less… She is probably unhappy in the relationship. (And I must say – if my relationship was the way you’ve described yours, I wouldn’t be happy, either.) If you do spend a large amount of time together and she wants to spend less time together, this is a healthy decision and you should not deny her request. Too much togetherness is a bad thing – you each need your own time and space to breathe, separate from each other. We forget this when we’re still in the “honeymoon phase”, but how long this phase lasts will be different from person to person. Chances are, her time to ignore her own needs is up, and yours isn’t quite there yet. No matter how painful it might be for you, you really need to let her be her own person.

Next: She probably has changed. But I’m sure you have, too. Very rarely will a person stay exactly the same for nine months – especially if they were wearing a metaphorical mask at the beginning of that time. The comfort she takes in being her true self in front of you is a huge compliment to you. People grow, and change, and become slightly different people every single day. If we didn’t, we would die. (Both literally and poetically.)

Does she volunteer to “fix” things or do you demand it? This might not seem like a big deal, but it makes a world of difference. No one has the right to demand that someone else changes to suit their own preferences. Yes, this includes things that you weren’t aware of when you got together, or things that weren’t an issue. If the change is a big enough problem for you, “goodbye” is the best option – otherwise, you’re going to have to deal with it – she is her own person.

I know this is frustrating… Trust me. My current partner and I have been together over two years, and she irritates the crap out of me, on a regular basis. I know I irritate her, too – I’m a bit of a control freak (which I suspect you might be as well?). I don’t see control-freakiness as a bad thing by default, but it definitely has its right and wrong places, and your relationship shouldn’t be one of them.

Next, the fact that you’ve done a lot for her is (I’m sorry to say) completely irrelevant. No one owes you anything just because you’ve done something for them – especially something like changing themselves. You have absolutely no right to insist that she change herself, and if you’re really not happy with her as she is, it’s best to walk away – whether you want to or not. You can’t love someone while disliking everything (or a vast majority of things) about her. That’s not love – it’s an unhealthy obsession.

I know I probably sound judgmental here, and I promise you that’s not my intention. But if you’re not happy with her, and she’s not happy with you, the two of you deserve to be happy. No relationship is worth staying in an unhappy situation, and forcing her to change herself will make her unhappy. If the changes are things that she wants, she’d make a more solid effort – although she won’t be perfect – and you wouldn’t have to ask.

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10 Things You Learn When Getting Over A Toxic Relationship

The romantic in me would like to pretend that relationships are always better than being single, but the truth is, that’s not the case. I’ve definitely been in my fair share of “bad” relationships – ones where we were just completely wrong for each other, but we were too stubborn to give it up. We like to think that this is us being true to the word of love, but one thing you learn when you’re letting go is that love is not supposed to hurt. If the one you love is hurting you more than they’re making you happy, you owe it to yourself to let them go.

I know… Easier said than done. I was in one such relationship for almost four years when, realistically, the relationship was only good for the first few months. But I thought she was my soulmate – so I looked past a lot of things I shouldn’t have.

Then, one day, it reached a point where I couldn’t stand by anymore, and as much as I hated myself for not “being patient enough” to wait it out, the truth is that once a relationship hits a certain low point, it’s unlikely to recover.

A not-so-great relationship has room to improve. A toxic relationship does not. And it’s important to understand the difference.

What else do you learn when letting go of the person who’s all wrong for you?

1. Staying in a bad relationship does not make you stronger.

As much as it hurts to let go of the one you love, the pain of walking away is often much less than the pain of staying. We want to tell ourselves that we’re sticking around because we believe our partner has potential, but the reality is that we’re just too stubborn to admit we made a bad choice in partners. It happens sometimes, and you need to give yourself permission to admit that you were wrong.

Breaking up with someone who’s no good for you is not a sign of weakness, no matter how much it might feel that way. The truth is that saying goodbye is the strongest choice – which is why it’s so painful.

2. What you want and what you need are two different things.

In my past bad relationships, what I wanted was that person – but what I needed was to be fair to myself. I had a pretty long string of girlfriends who didn’t treat me right, and I rationalized that I must “need” that “tough love” – otherwise, why did I keep getting it?

But there is a difference between “tough love” and “your girlfriend is an asshole” – which I didn’t understand at the time. I was young, and significantly less wise. It took time for me to realize that I wasn’t giving up on the relationship – I was prioritizing myself for once.

3. Your friends and family probably aren’t out to sabotage your love life.

One of the biggest downsides of a toxic relationship is that the two of you have probably convinced yourselves that you’re perfect for each other, despite what the outsiders think. But if the “outsiders” are friends and family members with your best interest at heart, they might know something you don’t.

Please note: You should probably not leave your girlfriend solely because your friends and family don’t like her. But you should take into consideration their advice, even if it’s unsolicited. Chances are, they can see a pattern of behavior that you’ve made yourself blind to, and they’re looking out for you when they tell you that your girlfriend is no good.

4. Your heart will mend – probably faster than you think.

When you feel trapped in a toxic relationship, your partner might even say things like “You’ll never find someone like me” – so you believe her. After all, you should be able to trust her, right? But the fact of the matter is, if someone is making it sound as if they’re the best you deserve… They’re not. The best woman for you is one who considers you an equal.

We often put off letting go because we know how much it’s going to hurt. But the pain will subside – unlike the pain of staying in the relationship, which will stay there until you either break it off or become numb to everything. (Note: Being numb is not a good thing. Please don’t let yourself believe that numbness means you’re getting stronger.)

5. You will find someone better.

I know how much it can hurt to feel like your partner is the best you deserve. But if this was actually true, you wouldn’t have to wonder – your partner would blow your mind. Everyone deserves someone wonderful, but your toxic girlfriend may have broken down your spirit and made you think that she was the best. She wasn’t.

Once you get out of your toxic relationship, you will start to open your eyes to all the great things you have to offer another person – all without any extra effort on your part. When you don’t have a partner dragging you down, you will be happier just being yourself, which will definitely show through and help to attract a better caliber of partner.

6. Being single is better than being with someone who makes you feel alone.

Once you’ve finally got up the nerve to say goodbye to someone who does nothing for you, you start to appreciate your single-dom a little bit more. You learn to appreciate the activities you like – you know, the ones your ex told you were stupid. These things aren’t stupid. If they bring you joy, and don’t hurt anyone else, they’re just perfect.

More than just that, though, you start to notice the difference between sharing a bed with someone who obviously doesn’t want to be in it, as opposed to having the whole bed to yourself. Sharing a bed with someone toxic makes you feel much more alone than sleeping alone ever will.

7. You are beautiful, inside and out.

I’m not sure about your toxic girlfriend(s), but mine was constantly belittling me. I’ve been an independent contractor for quite a while, and she was always telling me how she was “more successful” because she had a “real job”. Once, she even offered to prostitute herself for more money – because she saw that as a more viable option than me finding success with something that didn’t violate the monogamous relationship that I thought we had. (Which… We didn’t.)

More than that, she often took to calling me disgusting when we were fighting. I had lost a lot of weight when we were together, and as such I had a lot of extra skin. Every time I got just a little bit too proud of myself for losing the weight, she’d have to chime in about the things that were still wrong about me. Don’t ever let anyone dull your sparkle – you are a friggin’ diamond, damn it, so act like one!

8. Not everything negative she said about you was wrong.

When you get out of a bad relationship, you might have the urge to dismiss every complaint your ex had about you. But the truth is, relationships are very rarely one-sided. Chances are, some of her complaints were legit – even if only a few.

When you get out of a bad relationship, it’s completely healthy to examine your list of perceived faults and pick apart which ones were actually there, and which were her projecting her own insecurities onto you. It might take a while to work out which are which, but your friends might be able to help here – let them!

9. Your friends are going to be there for you.

This applies in multiple situations. One of my friends made herself responsible for my healing process – she took me out to dinner, paid me (sincere) compliments on things that were going well in my life, and helped me work on things that should have come naturally to me that… Well, didn’t.

Another friend cheered me up by sending me a bunch of hilarious memes that she felt described my ex perfectly. While it probably wouldn’t have been healthy for me to say the things myself, it did help cheer me up a bit to hear those things.

10. You will be OK. Probably not today, maybe not even next month, but you will be okay.

If you’ve just left your toxic partner (or if you’re still in the planning stages), it seems like things will never get better. This is actually a healthy part of the process, because you are losing a part of yourself in every breakup. But, if you’re doing it right, you’re also finding parts of yourself that were repressed during the course of the relationship.

It takes time to get over someone, even when you know they were wrong for you. The people who move on right away were probably not really in it in the first place – they just thought they were. You need to feel the pain, because it will help motivate you to move forward. If it didn’t hurt, you wouldn’t learn anything from it – and sometimes the worst experiences in life are our greatest teachers.

The Real Health Benefits Of Really Great Sex

Most people really like sex. We might have different preferences, different needs, and different fantasies, but reaching climax feels good for literally almost everyone.

It’s widely known that good sex is good for your relationship, as orgasms cause the brain to surge with oxytocin, endorphins, and certain other brain chemicals that basically make you feel good – which gets associated with your partner, and expands on the idea that your partner makes you feel good.

Beyond just the neurological effects of sex, though, there are certain other health benefits that have been proven by actual science, time and time again. Don’t get me wrong – sex isn’t going to magically replace your regular hospital check-ups or make you the pillar of fitness. But, it is better than nothing – and definitely a good reason to work on your skills in the sack.

Sex is an aerobic activity.

Exactly how much of a health benefit this has will depend on the duration and intensity of your sexcapades, but on average, having sex is roughly the same as jogging for 30 minutes. (Source: Dr. Rachel Needle, Center for Marital and Sexual Health)

Orgasms release endorphins that make you feel good.

An orgasm activates the pleasure centers in the brain and lights it up like a New York city skyline. The endorphins released will make you feel amazing, and some people might even experience uncontrollable laughter.

Regular sex helps your body produce antibodies.

Alison Richardson, sexual health counselor and researcher, says that regular sex helps the body produce immunoglobulin A. This boost the immune system and helps protect you from the common cold.

Orgasms reduce depression and anxiety.

While an orgasm alone won’t completely get rid of your mental health concerns, it’s well-known that you’re in a better mood after you get off. This increase in happy chemicals gets rid of the smaller stressors in your life so that you can focus your energy on more important things, like actually working on your depression and anxiety.

Oxytocin – that bonding chemical – helps prevent breast cancer.

Nipple stimulation in particular helps to stimulate the body’s production of natural cancer-fighting oxytocin. Since it’s also released when you feel an emotional bond with someone, we reason that its effects will probably be stronger if you’re getting busy with someone you love – but this isn’t backed up by science (yet!).

Having sex definitely burns calories.

I mean, not a lot of calories, so you’ll probably want to keep a low-cal snack option on hand to refuel post-orgasm. But a half an hour of moderate sexual activity will burn over 85 calories. This means that, every three weeks (assuming you have sex for a half hour, every day) you’re essentially erasing a full day’s worth of meals. Score!

Orgasms make you sleepy.

Now, if you’ve got a partner who falls asleep like right after she finishes, this one’s probably bound to irritate you sometimes – especially if you were hoping for round two. But it’s not her fault – orgasms naturally drop the body’s blood pressure and physically relax you. This means that you’re supposed to fall asleep after sex. (I still wonder why morning sex wakes you up and nighttime sex makes you sleepy – come on, science people, inquiring minds want to know!)

Endorphins increase your pain tolerance.

This is why period sex gets rid of cramps, and why “not tonight – I have a headache” is such a poor excuse to not get busy. When your brain is rushed with endorphins, your pain tolerance can increase by about 70% – which, in most cases, will mean that your pain seems to vanish mysteriously.

Sex keeps you looking younger.

This one is actually a fairly new discovery for me. There’s this hormone that’s released when you’re getting busy (dehydroepiandrosterone, if you’re curious – but most people call it DHEA). This hormone is responsible for repairing tissue – which, by definition, makes you look younger. Those of us who are over 25 should know that, biologically speaking, that’s when your cells are dying faster than they’re being replaced (sorry to be the bearer of bad news!) But there was a ten-year study done on the effects of regular sexual activity, and then volunteer judges made guesses about their ages. The participants who had “regular sex” were guessed to be 7-12 years younger than their actual age. Hey, it might not be specific, but it’s worth a shot, right?

Sex makes you smarter – or at least less forgetful.

Sex increases the flow of blood in the body, including the brain. When you get better circulation in the brain, oxygen-rich blood flows to the hypothalamus, which controls your memory and learning capacity. This means that regular sex has the potential to help you retain information. Yass!

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My Best Friends Are Dating And I Feel Like A Third Wheel

Dear KitschMix,

Two of my best friends have started dating each other and although I’m happy for them, I’m starting to feel like a third wheel whenever we hang out. It’s so weird for me to see them together romantically because we’ve always been good friends. Now it’s transitioned to something else and I don’t know how to handle it. I find myself getting more and more frustrated and angry at them. Whenever they ask me to hang out I come up with some excuses to avoid them. They are both great people and I should feel happy for them, but I don’t know how to handle it. I feel like I’ve lost both of them. What should I do?

Well, reader, what you do next is going to depend greatly on your answers to a few additional questions. Your situation is not, by definition, doomed – but there is a chance that the problem is you and not them. Of course, I can’t make that determination through our computer monitors, so you’ll have to do a little bit of self-examination here.

(Please note that none of the following questions are to be taken as assumptions – they are simply used to help determine what your precise situation is. You don’t need to justify your answers to anyone but yourself – so be honest in your answers.)

Additionally, before you take any action, keep in mind that – to some extent – they really do deserve to know the truth about why you’re uncomfortable. Try to examine the following possible explanations, and see which one seems closest to yours. There may be more than one factor in play here, creating a situation that is 100% unique.

Are they excessively affectionate?

This is a hard one to judge, because my definition of “excessive” and your definition of “excessive” are bound to be different. Likewise, when we are being incredibly affectionate with our partners, it’s almost never in an attempt to alienate our friends. If you feel that this is the reason you don’t want to be around them, it is OK to let them know – although you shouldn’t expect that they’re going to change just because it makes you uncomfortable.

Most people, when entering a relationship, will want to be affectionate with their partners. It’s normal, and helps to create a better bond between the two (or more) people. This doesn’t mean that it’s fun to be around. Thankfully, if this is the problem, it’s likely to resolve itself before too long – most relationships don’t stay in the “cupcakey” phase for too long, especially in public. If you can wait it out, chances are you’ll get both friends back.

Are you jealous of their happiness?

Okay, this isn’t something we like to admit to ourselves, but sometimes we can envy our friends – even our best friends. One of my best friends is way more financially stable and self-confident than I am, and for a long time that intimidated me and made me not want to be around him. It can be even worse if the thing you’re jealous over is love, and you seem to be forever alone – unlike most other problems, you aren’t the only person involved in whether or not you’re single.

There’s a super simple (but highly clichéd) solution if this is the problem: Either get a girlfriend, or learn to be content on your own. This is one explanation that has literally nothing to do with them, and if you decide this is the problem, you might want to sugarcoat your answer a little when you tell them. Instead of flat-out saying that their relationship makes you uncomfortable because you’re jealous, maybe tell them that their happiness inspires you to find a girlfriend of your own – once you find yourself in a position where you can be happy for yourself, it might be a little easier to feel happy for them.

Are you attracted to one (or both) of them?

This one’s pretty hard to admit sometimes too, because in your mind you’ll (essentially) be:

  • Considering hooking up with your friend/friends;
  • Considering betraying your friend/friends;
  • Possibly even considering entering an open relationship that has the potential to go sour – but we’ll get into that later.

That seems like some pretty hefty stuff, and it is. But if your problem is that you’re attracted to either or both of them – it’s pretty much necessary that you admit these feelings, if you’ve got any chance at staying friends with these women. It is just a chance, though – even if you admit your feelings, there is a potential for things to go wrong.

When you confess your feelings for your friend(s), there are only a few things that will happen. Either things will get really awkward and they’ll stop asking you to hang out, or they’ll confess they’re into you, too. If one of them likes you but the other just sees you as a friend, and they’re not into the idea of an open relationship, basically, things are going to get awkward. Sadly, there’s not much you can do about it. But if they bring up the idea of an open relationship, this could be the solution to all your problems!

If you do take this path, you’ll need to realize that a breakup in the relationship will probably destroy the friendship, at least for the immediate future. Of course, this is going to hurt – but it’s hard to be friends with someone you’re romantically attracted to anyway, especially when you see them with someone else every day. Try not to let it get you down – there’s no reason you can’t try to be friends again once your feelings have had some time to subside.

Do they only ask you out for date-type activities?

This is one situation where I would probably say that your friends are jerks. If they’re constantly asking you over for things that really ought to be a two-person activity, there’s no reason you need to be there – and you’re absolutely right to decline every invitation, unless you see a possibility of an open relationship happening (as explained in the previous question). This is one situation where you absolutely should not sugarcoat things – let them know they’re being inappropriate!

Sometimes, the people who do this might be trying to drop hints that they think the three of you would make a great relationship together. Whether you feel this way or not, it might be best if you tell them you feel it’s inappropriate first – just to make sure this is actually their intention, otherwise things are going to get really weird, really fast. In most cases, they’re probably just trying to include you somewhere you don’t belong – which is still not great, but it’s fairly easy to fix once you let them know it makes you uncomfortable.

Is it something else entirely?

If it’s another issue entirely, I’m not really able to come up with a quick solution here – you will need to write in with more details in order to clarify exactly how they make you feel. Your feelings are a pretty big deal in this situation, so I can’t really guess at what they are. Everyone has their own different circumstances. I’ve just tried to cover the four most common, but I’m sure there are many, many more. Remember, you need to do what’s best for you, first and foremost. Hopefully you can find a solution that works for all three of you, but your happiness should be of the utmost concern – everyone else is optional.

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Things To Know Before You Date An Emotionally Unavailable Woman

I think we’ve all known that one woman: The one who couldn’t care less whether you like her or not. She’s just so cool – in fact, it’s like she’s made of ice.

While many women try on this persona as teenagers, a select few hang onto it and wear it throughout their lives. Being emotionally detached definitely has its fair share of perks, too – just ask anyone who’s ever been burned.

But if you’re trying to date this woman, you should know that all those little red flags probably mean stop right there – and she’s probably putting them out on purpose.

1. She’s never going to be the girl who looks through your phone or secretly installs a GPS tracker in your car.

Because she doesn’t care what you’re doing when you’re not with her.

2. It’ll take a lot of screwing up before you break her heart.

But she probably won’t stick around long enough to let you – she’ll be gone as soon as you start slipping.

3. Emotionally unavailable women don’t fall in love often.

But when they do, they fall really hard.

4. Be careful with those three little words.

Emotionally unavailable women need a great deal of time to admit their feelings – wait until she says it, or prepare to be met with awkward silence.

5. Be patient with her.

Chances are, she’s emotionally unavailable because she’s been hurt before.

6. Don’t be clingy.

Emotionally unavailable women hate clingers, and they can spot them right out of the gate. Don’t get dumped for trying to get too close.

7. They show affection differently.

She might not be comfortable with the touchy-feely stuff or with the cutesy pet names. Just because you don’t think you see her love, it’s still there, if you know where to look.

8. Try not to get too attached.

Emotionally unavailable women are the masters of bailing without notice – so she could be gone before you know it.

9. Try not to rush things.

If you try to force a commitment, she may very well end up running away. See #6.

10. She does have a heart.

She might have a reputation as a player, but that’s not true. She’s just careful with her heart, and won’t settle until she’s comfortable.

11. She might be a bit cynical.

But it’s better to keep your expectations low than to be disappointed – so that’s what she does.

12. She’s not trying to let someone change her.

So if your goal is to get her to open up, don’t bother. She’ll do it when she’s ready, and not a moment sooner.

13. She is incredibly confident and capable.

She’s with you because she wants to be with you – not because she expects to get something out of it.

14. She’s not sentimental. At all.

She won’t understand why you care about half the things you care ab0ut, and if you expect her to cry when you two break up… Well, she probably won’t. (At least not where you can see.)

15. But she loves you a lot more than she’ll ever let you know.

Just because she doesn’t tell you (or even show you) how much she cares doesn’t mean she doesn’t care at all. She’s just afraid of having her heart broken – so she keeps it hidden. Rest assured, though – when you’re with an emotionally unavailable woman, you can take comfort in knowing that – if she didn’t want to be with you – she’d already be gone.

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6 Tips For Lesbians Who Always Seem To Get Burned

Some of us are pretty much destined to be pushovers. Sure, we can break out of this cycle, but it takes a fairly constant effort to move past the person we used to be. I know – I’ve been there. For a long time, I was a total sucker in my relationships. If I liked a woman, I’d do pretty much anything for her – and every girl I was with, pretty much, took advantage of that situation.

The funny thing about this is that I had people telling me that it wasn’t my fault – but in a way, it was.

1. You teach people how to treat you.

This means that, if you consistently let someone treat you badly, and you do nothing to stop it, you are teaching them that you are OK with that. Whether you actually feel that it’s OK or not, if you let someone treat you like garbage, in time she will start to think you think that you’re garbage.

Instead of simply saying something when she treats you like garbage, you need to take a stand. Once is an accident, twice is a habit – so don’t let it happen more than once.

2. If you’re consistently choosing bad partners, you are devaluing yourself.

Remember when I said that I was in a slew of bad relationships where the woman took advantage of the situation? While no one deserves to be treated poorly, to some extent, you do choose your partners – therefore, if you notice a pattern forming, it’s quite possibly due to the choices you’re making.

This happens a lot when someone thinks that they need to be in a relationship to complete them. They will act like a sponge, sucking up every horrible woman in their vicinity – anything to make themselves feel complete. Instead, you should focus on making yourself a better person. Learn to love yourself! It seems cliché, but if you don’t love yourself, you aren’t going to draw the right type of attention.

3. You deserve to be the best – so be the best for yourself.

One of the most important steps in attracting a better partner is to be a better person. Often, this is just a matter of your frame of mind, but it will have to be a conscious decision – you’re not going to magically grow and get better unless you actively try to be better.

This will be hard at first, particularly if you come from a background that has led to you undervaluing yourself. But I promise you, it is so important. You need to learn how to be your own best friend. This will not only boost your confidence (which makes you more attractive to the women who aren’t just looking for someone vulnerable), but it will also teach you what you deserve – and help you to stand up against anyone who’s not the best for you.

4. You don’t owe anyone anything.

Even if you have been treated like garbage your whole life – or if your horrible relationship has been going on for years – you are under no obligation to stay in that situation. You are free to step up at any time, and you don’t owe anyone any explanations. Sure, your girlfriend should know why you’re leaving her – but if she treats you like garbage, chances are she already knows, and she’s pretending she doesn’t know so that you’ll stick around.

For me, I didn’t get the strength to stand up for myself until it was literally life-or-death. All at once I felt a surge of strength, and the woman who thought I was going to put up with everything she threw my way actually begged for another chance. But I had already given her too many chances – enough is enough. Please, please don’t wait until your life is on the line before you stand up – it does not make it any easier.

5. Your happiness is just as important as your partner’s happiness.

Those of us who find ourselves continually getting burned are usually the ones who value their partner’s happiness more than their own. I know there are a lot of people who say that you should treat your partner like the king/queen they are – and this is important. But the only people who deserve this treatment are those who would do the same for you.

If you are continually putting your partner on a pedestal and validating her actions to others, this is not healthy, and it’s not love. This is idolatry. You and your partner should be equals. Neither of you should be subservient to the other, and neither of you should be twisting the situation to suit your own desires. You are in this together, and both of you have the opportunity to leave you if it’s not right.

6. You will find someone who treats you right.

One of the most painful parts of being stuck in a cycle of being burned, healing your heart, and then being burned again is that you grow to think that’s normal. (It’s not.) One day, someone will come along who sees your true value – and she will do anything in her power to keep you happy. Best of all, all she asks for in exchange is that you treat her right, too.

In my case, this woman came along before I was ready for her. I still had a lot of healing to do, and to this day I still am not 100% sure that things aren’t going to go sour. But she is good to me, and I do my best to be good to her – and that’s all anyone can reasonably ask.

I know it’s hard, and it never really gets any easier. But some of the things most worth having are the things that are hard for us – and this is no exception. Trust me, you are worth every bit of effort – and one day, someone will feel the same way. Wait for her, and stop wasting your time on women who can’t see your worth.

Why You Shouldn’t Let Your Promiscuous Past Define Your Romantic Nature

When I was a teenager (which I choose to extend until the day before my 20th birthday, thank you very much), I went through this really awkward, confusing phase of my life. I know, I know – everyone goes through embarrassing phases when they’re a teenager, so let me clarify a little bit more.

I didn’t know who the hell I was. I came out around 15-16 years old (depending on who we’re talking about coming out to), but a rough breakup with the first girl I was ever really serious about had me questioning everything. I found out that she cheated on me with almost everyone I introduced her to – which was a giant blow to my ego, of course.

She had cheated on me with some of the most disgusting people I could picture: A scummy cousin of mine who once stole an obscene amount of jewelry from my family. My alcoholic brother who was technically still married at the time. And some loser ex of mine who couldn’t stay clean.

Truthfully, she wasn’t even my first love – my heart sort of already belonged to someone else (who was equally terrible – what can I say, I have bad taste in women sometimes). But she was the first woman I had made an effort to be loyal to. I gave her pretty much everything, and she didn’t care. If I was smarter, I would have realized it before she paraded herself naked in front of everyone I knew.

Supposedly, there was even a line forming outside of the room she was staying in, but I was too busy working to buy her stuff to know for sure. Officially, she admitted to sleeping with four people while we were together. She still maintains that she didn’t hook up with my brother until the day after I broke up with her, but all things considered, I don’t think it really matters.

I was a wreck. So, I did what any hardly-self-respecting 18-year-old woman would do, and retaliated. (Naturally.) I hooked up with the most disgusting people I could think of. The only problem was that my retaliation didn’t do anything to get back at the girl who did me wrong – all it did was destroy the last little bit of my ego that was left.

This actually took me a longer time to get over than the breakup itself did. I’m not saying that anyone who is promiscuous is unworthy of good self-confidence, as the above-mentioned exes is definitely one of the most confident people I’ve ever met in my life. But for me, promiscuity was not a good color on me. I spiraled into a deep depression, which caused me to undervalue myself even more. Here I had this line of people telling me that – yeah, they’d have sex with me, as long as that’s all it was.

And, for a while, I let them.

I’m not proud of it. That’s definitely not who I am anymore. Really, it wasn’t who I was at the time, either – but I pushed myself to be that person because I thought it was a good idea at the time. Most of these people I had literally zero desire to be with, in any fashion – but I felt like their attention meant that I was worth something.

Inside, I felt lower than ever. I thought the answer was to sleep around more. (Note: That’s very rarely the answer to your problems… Unless your problem is that you’re not having sex with a wide enough variety of people. In that situation, yes, promiscuity is exactly what you need.)

It took me a long time to get over this low feeling – even after I had stopped sleeping around. I felt a constant need to prove myself to my partners (and to myself) that I wasn’t really that person. Half the women I was trying to rationalize things to were not exactly capable of monogamy themselves. Whereas I had forced the idea on myself, they lived and breathed openness. (Hey – it works well for some people. I’m just not one of those people.)

Even still, I occasionally find myself rationalizing things Young Stupid Me did almost ten years ago. (Even though I know that was never who I really was.) I still regret a lot of the choices I made at that time, but realistically… Regrets do nothing.

You can’t alter history – you can only move forward and try to make it right.

Full disclosure, this quote is paraphrased from the motto of an ex-girlfriend of mine. (No, not the one I mentioned in this article.) But even though I have nothing to do with her anymore, this particular mantra has rung true for me ever since the first time I heard it.

Regrets accomplish nothing except make you feel nostalgic about the time before you screwed things up.

But our past mistakes help shape us into the person we are now. If I hadn’t gone through my promiscuous phase, would I be such a romantic now? (And for that matter, would I be as good in bed?)

Mistakes help us grow as individuals.

Some people might think it’s lucky to go through life and never experience a drastic phase that has the potential to define your whole life. I think that’s a load of garbage. After all, those who never make mistakes never really learn anything – they’re just really good at getting things right the first time.

Okay, I guess technically that still counts as luck. But they’re not lucky that they’ve never made a mistake. Perfection is a curse, and maybe it’s harder for your sense of self to change when you’re older. I don’t know; I’m not really older yet.

But I do know that I have never made a mistake that didn’t teach me something. With as many mistakes as I’ve made over the years, I swear I’m a genius by now.

It doesn’t matter who you were – only who you are now.

Most people like to make a really big deal out of their pasts. But if you break things down far enough, most people aren’t completely the same as they were in the past, and usually that’s a good thing.

When I was a kid, for example, I was this nerdy tomboy who couldn’t make friends with most girls if my life depended on it. Sure, I had a few female friends – but I don’t think any of them really saw me as a girl. I was always the Ken to their Barbies. I was always the Daddy when we played house. And I was OK with that.

(Although apparently one friend’s mom had a problem with me teaching her kids about the birds and the bees – especially since I was giving them wrong information, according to her. I still stand by my childhood assumption that sex was just when you kissed each other with no clothes on – the only difference is that, now, instead of kissing the girl’s cheek… Well, I’m sure you can figure the rest of that one out on your own.)

In high school, I had become someone different. Where once I had been a spelling bee champion with a perfect attendance award, now I was a smoker and a drinker who barely showed up for class. I’d rather make money than make good grades, so I worked and partied and generally acted like an irresponsible jerk.

As an adult, I went through other phases, too. There was the Young Stupid Me who was addicted to methamphetamine. There was the Young Stupid Me who was on unemployment for a year and a half. There was even the Young Stupid Me who thought I might be bisexual. (I wasn’t.) And then, there’s the current me – the one riddled with anxiety, who has a fulfilling career doing things I love – and who happens to be hopelessly devoted to a woman who’s a million times better than anyone I’ve ever been with.

Does my new identity invalidate every previous identity I had? No – at the time, I was each of these people, separately. But I’m not any of them anymore. (And I must say, I can even deal with anxiety quite a bit better than I ever dealt with my depression – I’m pretty fond of this new me, after all.)

Your reputation shouldn’t overshadow your identity – period.

When people think they know enough about your life to dictate who you are, they’re very rarely right. The truth is, even those closest to us can only see what we allow them to see, whether subconsciously or intentionally. There will always be gaps in their definition of you – and generally, that’s a good thing.

Just like I’m not a ten-year-old gifted-and-talented kid anymore, nor am I a reckless party animal anymore, I’m also not as forthcoming with my sexuality anymore, and that’s OK.

(Unless you ask my girlfriend – I’m pretty sure she wishes I put out a little more.)

I’ve never been the type of person to stay in one place, physically or emotionally, and I like it that way. There’s something refreshing about starting over fresh – especially when you’ve started to develop a reputation. Sometimes, a new start really is all it takes.

Things are supposed to change over time.

I’m now back to living in the same city I started high school in – and even the city isn’t the same. After all, it’s been over ten years now – things change. Just like I did.

Sometimes, these changes aren’t as abrupt as mine were. Maybe they’re a little subtler, such as my town putting in an extra few stop lights and shutting down the movie theater. Maybe they’re something irrelevant – like how I used to listen just to country music, and then pop-punk, and then hip-hop and R&B. Maybe these changes are good – such as my late-onset responsibility and ambition. Maybe they’re bad, like the fact that I’ve gained a lot of weight since I “grew up”, or the fact that I’m living with my parents again after being grown and independent for so long.

Or maybe, change is just change.

It can be so easy to hold our mistakes against ourselves, even when they’re no longer useful. But if you’ve learned a lesson and move forward – why should your past define you?

A bad person who used to be a good person is still a bad person.

A lesbian who used to identify as bisexual is still a lesbian.

A person working as a doctor who used to work as a waiter is still a doctor.

Why, then, should your past dictate anything about your life now? Your life is yours to define, not someone else’s, and as long as what you’re doing isn’t harming anyone else (without due cause), who cares?

Knowing your past is a privilege – not a right.

Unless your past actually directly affects someone else’s life, it’s really none of their business. We choose to share intimate details about ourselves with the people we’re closest to, but we might sometimes forget that we really don’t have to tell them anything.

(Exception: If you have children, STDs, or a significant other – whether that relationship is open or not – your partner really deserves to know before it gets to the point where it’s relevant.)

When we are candid with people, and then these people we’ve trusted do something to betray that trust – such as judging us for someone we used to be in the past – they’re not showing us that we’re not worthy of their time. They’re showing us that they are not worthy of our trust.

Remember that, as long as you are making the best choices for you, and no one else gets hurt in the process, no one can tell you you’re wrong. Don’t let some irrelevant jerk tell you otherwise – be the glorious, romantic queen if you’d like, or the promiscuous mynx, if that’s what works for you. Just be you, and if someone can’t see how awesome you are already, you don’t need them in your life.

Trust me – the people worth keeping around are the ones who don’t care about your past. If they weren’t there, it’s none of their business.

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Is It Really Love, Or Are You Just Stubborn?

Love is complicated. There’s no easy way around that. But some of us make it even more complicated than it needs to be, by giving the label to something that just doesn’t quite fit.

Have you ever noticed that some of your friends seem to be “in love” with someone new every couple of weeks? Maybe that friend is you – which, of course, is even harder to admit. Realistically, it takes a long time for a bond to grow enough to call it love. There’s not really a set-in-stone length of time, but if it’s only been a couple of weeks… What you’re feeling isn’t love at all.

But, these initial feelings that we mistake for love are often the things that motivate us to take things further. This is a good thing. Since love is actually a conscious action and not a subconscious feeling, infatuation is actually a precursor to love, if you let it be such.

Love is an action, not a feeling.

Many people think that love is a feeling. It’s not. To love someone is not explicitly the same thing as having a deep connection with them – it’s an active choice to be good to your partner.

This means that anyone who tells you they love you and then treats you like crap is, on top of everything else, a liar.

When you love someone, you do whatever you can to make them happy. Sometimes you’ll fall short, but as long as you’re actually trying, you shouldn’t fall short too much. If you’re giving it your all and she is, too, your relationship should be happy, at least most of the time.

Love doesn’t hurt.

It’s a fairly common belief that love is painful. This is, to put it simply, a complete load of bullsh*t. Love does not hurt – but loving someone who doesn’t love you back hurts. It hurts even more if they say they love you, but their actions show otherwise.

Remember, love is an action, so what someone says has literally nothing to do with it. If she truly loved you, she wouldn’t have to tell you. If all she offers are empty words, sorry to say, but she doesn’t love you, my friend.

Some people are incapable of feeling love.

I know I said love isn’t a feeling, but there is a connection between your emotions and your actions, and some people are literally unable to feel this connection. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re giving it your everything and your partner can’t see it – the problem is, quite possibly, her.

Sometimes, the people who seem the least deserving of love are the ones who actually need it the most, though. It’s possible that she’s built up a wall around her heart, and by showing her love consistently, it might help. But you shouldn’t waste your efforts on someone who can’t appreciate them – even if she doesn’t feel it, she should acknowledge that you’re showing it as best as you can.

Love goes through changes – and these changes are necessary.

When you love someone, there are bound to be ups and downs in the relationship. While these changes can sometimes be painful, it’s an important part of the process – and if they never went through these changes, you wouldn’t appreciate the good days.

Since real love requires a consistent effort on both parts, it makes sense that sometimes you just won’t be able to give it as much thought as you once did. The “honeymoon phase” is often the easiest, but it cannot (and should not) last forever. An absence of any problems is, in itself, a problem.

When you love someone, you’re going to fight sometimes. These shouldn’t be all-out brawls, but there is no such thing as perfect – so if you’re telling yourself it is, chances are one of you is denying your needs and/or desires in order to keep up appearances. This isn’t love – it’s acting.

Love is powerful.

When you love someone, you are willing to make changes in your life that make things better for both of you. Your partner will not have to demand these changes – her mere presence will inspire you to do greater things. Go with this – the power of love is stronger than almost any other force!

Love won’t do everything, though, and to believe that it will magically solve all of your problems is naïve at best (and downright disappointing, at worst). The truth is that it won’t solve any of your problems, but if it’s mutual, it will make you want to solve your problems on your own – and if you’re lucky, your partner will want to help you solve these things. Just remember that, sometimes, the best help she can give is a shoulder to cry on when things get overwhelming. Appreciate her efforts, and don’t expect her to work any miracles.

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The Rules Of Dating After College

Congratulations, soon-to-be college graduate! The world is your oyster. You’ve set up your life for the possibility of success, and you’ve paved a path that will lead to ultimate riches.

Or at least, that’s what they tell you.

I think when you’re in school, you’ve always got this idea that “the real world” is going to be so much better than your days as a student. Speaking as an adult with a few years of experience under my belt now… It’s not really that much better. It’s just something different.

But, this is necessary. Everything has its proper time, and your college days have to end, just like anything else. Where you used to get paid in “experience” and “credit hours”, now you’re going to get paid in actual money and benefits and treat yo’self moments. (Hey – those are pretty necessary too.)

More than just that, your dating life is going to change, too. Aside from having grown-up responsibilities now (which some of you might not have had before), you’ve got a little more freedom. You get to build up your reputation in whatever field you’re pursuing, and your previous reputation with women (and/or men) will have basically disappeared.

How have the rules changed since you graduated?

One date doesn’t make you a couple.

While you’re in school, you typically associate the first date with the start of a relationship. Everything is so serious when you’re still in school – and a relationship is often the logical step.

Most grown-ups (read: adults who are done with school) don’t work like that, though. The first few dates are used to judge whether a relationship would be a good idea or not, and things don’t usually become official until a bit later. This is good – keeping your expectations low actually helps improve the chances of the relationship working out.

It might take a while to adjust to this idea, but if the girl you’ve went out with a couple times is spotted with someone else, it doesn’t always mean she’s not into you. Unless you’ve specifically discussed being monogamous, you shouldn’t assume that you are.

If it bothers you to see her with someone else, there isn’t really a rule about when to have the conversation – bring it up when it comes up in your mind. Just don’t expect her to give up her freedom if you’re not ready to give up yours.

Marriage is actually a possibility.

I don’t know about you, but I actually made a few plans to get married while I was in school. Of course, the plan was to wait until we both graduated to go through with it – and once graduation came around, the relationship had already fizzled out.

While personal opinions on this subject are bound to vary from person to person, the person you want to marry in your teenage years is very rarely the same person you want to marry in your 20s. The person you want in your 20s might even be different than the person you want in your 30s, and that’s okay.

The part of your brain that controls your impulsive decisions isn’t fully developed until you’re in your 20s. Even the most well-intentioned and practical-thinking 18-year-olds are bound to make some rash decisions at this point in their life, but that’s okay. They’re supposed to. Remember that whole everything-has-its-place idea from earlier?

Well, back to the subject of marriage, this means that you’re more likely to come to a conclusion about the sort of person you want to marry when you’re in your mid-to-late twenties than when you were a teenager. Your impulses (and hormones) are a little more under control now, and if you’re still with your high school sweetheart, there’s a good chance you picked a good one.

(But, if you’re reading about how dating will change after graduation, I can only assume you’re not still with her. So, let’s continue.)

You probably have your own place (or you’re working towards it).

While it’s completely understandable to live with your family members or roommates while you’re still in school, chances are, you’re sick of living with them by now, and you’re ready for your own place. If you’re dating other post-college women, they’ll probably have their own place, too.

One of the important things to remember here is that your living situation should never be a crutch to stay in a relationship. If you can’t afford your own place, and that’s the only reason you’re staying with someone, the relationship has already fizzled out – you’ve got a roommate with benefits.

Unfortunately, not everyone is set up with the perfect pad right out of school, which means that – while you won’t have little brother or dorky roommate messing up your game – your place probably isn’t scoring you any points, either. Try to resist the urge to always go back to her place, though. Even if your place is a low-budget roach motel room (or you still haven’t got a place yet), refusing to bring her home can send the wrong idea.

If your new love interest is at a similar point in her life, she will probably understand your position, as long as you’re working toward better accommodations. Give her the decency of your honesty, or don’t bother.

Dating is a little more distant.

When you’re in school, you often see your partner a lot. Most likely you met in class, or at your after-school job. The grown-up world isn’t like that. At most professions, dating your coworkers is discouraged, and if you do work together, it’ll usually be in different departments.

That’s not a bad thing either, though. You learn to trust a little more as you grow up, and you learn to enjoy the art of missing each other. Your time spent together is more special, even if you aren’t doing anything special – and you don’t really fill your time with small talk anymore.

This lets you feel a little more comfortable when you’re dating, because there’s less focus on being perfect and more focus on being yourself. I know, that’s what they told you about college, too, but I’m sure you figured out that isn’t always the case.

After college, you stop worrying about pleasing others, which means you have an easier time letting people go when they’re not doing you any favors.

Sex is a little less important.

Don’t get me wrong – sex is still wonderful. But once you reach a certain age (for me, it was 24), sex isn’t as big of a deal as it used to be. Hopefully you and the women you date are on the same page – sexual compatibility doesn’t always mean getting it on all the time.

It’s ironic – right when we’ve got more freedom to have as much sex as we friggin’ want, we don’t want it as much. That’s OK, though, because you’re going to be way too busy learning how to adult.

(P.S. – you never really learn. You just get better at faking it.)

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Two Years Together And Now It’s Over – So How Do I Ease The Pain?

Hi Kitsch Mix

I’ve been with my girlfriend for 2 years, and it was the most real and longest relationship I’ve ever been in? She and I still love one another very much, but we’re at very different places in our lives, and decided to end it mutually.

Any tips on reducing hurt but also maintaining a healthy friendship?

Well, reader, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you two still have feelings for one another – no matter how much you both know it just isn’t going to work out – you can’t really have a healthy friendship.

Our brains are wired in such a way that, if we want something, we will subconsciously work toward it, even if we know it’s bad for us. This is especially true when it comes to the people we love. I have family members who have treated me horrible, my entire life, and as much as I try to tell myself I want nothing to do with them, I’ll still answer the phone when they call. (Well, most of the time.)

Of course, I don’t mean to project my family problems onto you – and it seems like your situation is nothing like that at all. We like to think that staying friends after a painful breakup is the “mature choice”, but really it’s just setting us up for future heartbreak – over and over again.

This doesn’t mean that you can never be friends. Often, the pain subsides after a while – my mother, for example, is still in touch with a great deal of her exes. They’ve got healthy friendships, and they can even crash on each other’s couches without even a day’s notice. But that didn’t happen right away.

It cannot happen while there are still feelings there.

You will both need to be fully healed from the pain of the breakup before you attempt the “just friends” thing, otherwise there will always be a longing for it to go back to being something more. There’s a million different opinions about how to get over someone, and they’re probably all true for some people – but switching to “just friends” will never be one of them. She’ll be on your mind just as much as she was when you were dating, and it will be painful.

You don’t necessarily have to both be in new relationships to make the “friends” thing work out, but you have to be absolutely confident that you will not be tempted to fall back into old habits, and that’s often hard to promise yourself. It might seem harsh, or even completely negative, but think about it. What do you do when you’re on a diet? You throw out all the cakes, right? It’s the same thing with girlfriends. If you think you’re going to be tempted to eat it (yes, pun definitely intended), you can’t expect yourself to look at it every day and not touch it. Humans have a finite amount of willpower, and you can’t really train yourself to have more. You’ll just get frustrated and give up. (Here’s an interesting paper that details this theory.)

This is really hard when you’ve been in a long-term relationship with the person. We are so used to having them as a part of our lives that we want to hang onto them, even in a diminished capacity. But we only think we can handle this diminished capacity. It’s like telling yourself, I can only watch half an episode of my favorite show – chances are, you’ll find it easier to agree to not watch it at all than you would to stop halfway through, right? It’s the same thing with relationships. When you want one thing, your mind won’t let you settle for less than that – even if it’s entirely on a subconscious level.

In time, you may find that your feelings have completely subsided, and you may find yourself back in contact again. It’s perfectly acceptable to attempt a friendship at this point – I’ve recently gotten back in touch with some of my exes from high school, and there was enough space there that we’re friends now. Not great friends, particularly if I slept with them or professed my undying love for them at some point in time, but friends to the point we can share some stories and small talk from time to time.

Would I even think about doing that with one of the women I was in a long-term relationship with? Not a chance. Not yet – it hasn’t been long enough.

I heard somewhere that the guideline is “twice the length of the relationship, plus three months” – or “seven times the length of the relationship” – or “half the length of the relationship” – but these are completely arbitrary numbers. Your situation is not the same as someone else’s situation, beyond the psychological facts. No one can set a deadline for “getting over someone”. It has to happen in its own time, and the more you try to rush it, the longer it’s going to take. I think it has something to do with letting her stay such a prominent part of your thought process, but then again, I’m not a psychologist.

As much as you want to be friends with her, do both of you a favor and don’t try to push for that now. Allow yourself time to heal first, and if you’re meant to be friends, you’ll find your way back to friendship once you’ve taken the necessary time for yourselves. You might end up not even caring if you’re friends afterwards – or you might find that you’re still not actually ready. There is nothing wrong with either of these findings, nor is there anything wrong with getting to a point where you can be friends. But no friendship (or relationship) should be painful – it’s not worth it to keep one that is.

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I Think My New Girlfriend Might Be A Control Freak

Dear KitschMix,

I started dating a woman a few weeks ago, and yes I know, a few weeks is NOTHING, but, even in that short time some things have come up and I’m having a really hard time separating what is just me being too reactive, and what might be legitimate signs that this is not a good match.

About four years ago, I was in a pretty terrible relationship with a woman. She was bipolar, and later on, I found out she lied about pretty much everything: She had a long-term girlfriend, and when she told me that she spent three months in a psych ward where I couldn’t see her, it turns out she was actually living with her.

It makes sense now. I pretty much never saw her house (she said she was living with her parents) or most of her world. It was always her in my world. The relationship eventually became abusive, to the point that I was scared for a very long time, stopped sleeping, and finally, swallowed a bottle of pills in front of her in a desperate and stupid attempt to make everything stop.

I moved far, far away, started fresh and created a great life, but it’s left me feeling like I can’t trust anyone. I can feel myself bracing for the rug to inevitably be pulled out from underneath me.

Since then, I’ve had a few relationships, none of which have really triggered any of this. Until now. With my last significant relationship, we hit things off right away. She lived a car journey away, so she’d often come over and stay for a several days, and we’d go off on little trips and adventures. Spending that kind of time with someone felt really good; it felt really secure, and it made me so happy to fall asleep and wake up beside someone I thought the world of.

This new woman, she wants to take things slow. We’ve seen each other quite a bit, and now that it’s been a couple weeks I want to sleep beside her. I am not talking about sex. I just mean having her spend the night or me stay with her. I can feel her get weird about it, and it really fucks me up.

That, and a few little things she does, have started triggering bad memories from my ex, and I am having a really hard time reconciling them. I tried explaining my past and why I am suddenly acting overly analytical and self-sabotaging even though I don’t want to, and now I feel as though I wish I had never told her anything. When I told her that my ex used to force me up against a wall and hold my head while she punched the wall inches from my face, her response was that her ex punched her in the face and broke her nose, but that she’s not projecting that onto me because I’m not her. I get what she’s saying, but it also made me feel diminished and like some sort of fucked up trauma pissing contest was taking place. She used a similar response another time when I told her something heavy after she had asked about it. She said I blindsided her by saying stuff like that, and both times, I walked away feeling really shitty.

Normally I am pretty level headed and decisive and confident in my decisions and know what I want and what I’m about. When I’m with this woman and something comes up, I feel so fucking confused and unsettled and like I should have never said anything. I’m so scared of being mind-fucked again. This woman is really smart, and really good at arguing her points, and it makes my head hurt because I don’t know if I’m just messing it all up because I’m terrified, or if she maybe has some serious controlling tendencies because she won’t stay over because she says she’ll only fall asleep if we have sex, but does not want to have sex yet. She also made me feel like I should be more appreciative that she’s let me come over to her house, because even her best friend have only been there two or three times. Am I just spinning in my own insecurities?

First things first: Yes, a few weeks is very soon to come to any sort of conclusion as far as a relationship goes. That being said, you do have some legitimate concerns here. Allow me to address them as someone else who has a great deal of insecurities in terms of relationships.

Your ex-girlfriend sounds a lot like my ex-girlfriend. The only difference is that, she was honest with me about being with someone else – we were on a three year “just-friends-but-wanting-more” section. (We briefly hooked up as teenagers, until one day she came home, kissed me, and then told me she was going to ask her neighbor out. Yikes!)

Anyway, during this time, my ex didn’t tell the woman she was with about me. She told them we were talking, but not that we’d had sex before they got together (a lot of sex), or that she frequently told me she loved me. Yet for some stupid reason, even after all this, I got with her – and we were together for about four years, after the three years of her playing obvious games.

(She was still playing games while we were together, but I was too stubborn to admit it until she became physically violent with me.)

Once you get to the point where you’ve had enough with the horrible treatment, you find yourself holding new partners to a much higher standard than you did before. While this can be frustrating to them (it’s obvious that your new partner is frustrated with this), it’s absolutely necessary for your own mental health, and she should be at least somewhat understanding.

My current girlfriend treats me pretty well – we have our disagreements, of course, but she understands my hesitation about certain things, and while she may grumble about them, she hasn’t gotten tired of putting up with me – and in December, we celebrated our second anniversary together.

I still question things – a lot. Every now and then, when she forgets to check in before going to a friend’s house, I take some time to gather my thoughts and process everything, and then I let her know why I feel that was inconsiderate of her. We both know that the things my ex did were not her fault, but if she cares about you, she won’t mind catering to your insecurities sometimes.

See, my girlfriend was also in a terrible relationship – like, other than the physical violence, our exes were a lot alike. (And now that they’ve both moved away from us, to near the same area, we both keep joking that we should introduce them – maybe we can introduce your ex, too, and the three of them can have a happy life together!)

Unfortunately, not everyone is as understanding as my girlfriend is. Some of them are going to be seriously offended that you can’t instantly get over the bad things from your past. (Trust me – I’ve had a lot of bad things in my past, and more than half the time, I regret sharing them with others.)

The girl I was unofficially seeing before I met my current girlfriend was… Let’s just say, she wasn’t into sharing. She always came to me, because she lived with her mother – but the other girl she was seeing (who I didn’t find out about until later) was allowed to come to her house. The first time I opened up to her, she freaked out and went to my best friend (the friend who set us up) and complained about how I was crazy and told too much of my life “too soon” (it had been about two months since we started talking, and I was under the impression it was exclusive).

I gave her another chance, shortly after which I found out about her other “just talking friend” (who I also found out she accidentally butt-dialed when we were having sex one time… extra funny story there). But she still wasn’t into hearing about my past, good or bad. She was barely even interested in my present. But in my mind, I was convinced that she was perfect – and just a bit jaded because of her own past.

If she’s triggering bad memories of your ex, you have every right to bring this up to her. You do not have to settle for the things you’ve settled for in the past – and you shouldn’t. As we grow up, we get a better idea of what we want and don’t want, and we set stricter preferences. This is a good thing.

It’s important that you realize that some of the problem is your own insecurities – but not in the way you might think. When you have baggage, like many of us do, you need to find someone who’s willing to help you unpack. I think that’s one of the biggest difference between my current girlfriend and anyone else.

She knows I have crippling anxiety… And on particularly rough days, when I’m being someone not even I want to be around, she calmly asks me if it’s an anxiety thing, and she rubs my shoulders. Something so simple really does make a huge difference.

She knows my ex was a pathological liar… And when her stories don’t exactly add up, she tries to explain herself a little better to set me at ease. I don’t (usually) ask her to do this, but she wants to know that I know she’s not trying to take advantage of me.

She knows my ex was a chronic cheater… And in the aforementioned situation where she forgot to check in before going out with friends, or more recently when I found an unfamiliar shirt in my drawer, she took the time to explain what happened. (Turns out her sister gave her the shirt, for me, and I’m actually wearing it as I type this.)

There are a million examples I could give, because my girlfriend is wonderfully supportive, but the point is that, as long as your “demands” are not excessive, it is entirely reasonable that you would have some. You shouldn’t be trying to change her, but you have a right to demand respect – and if she belittles your experiences and insecurities, she doesn’t respect you.

A lot of people say that you shouldn’t get with someone new until you’re 100% over what happened with your ex. I agree, in a way, but I also understand that there are some things that you never really get over. Being treated like shit is one of those things. I’m starting to get to a better place, but it has taken a lot of help from a wonderful woman to get me there.

Let me reiterate, though: It is not your girlfriend’s job to fix your problems. It is her job to help inspire you to fix them yourself – and in terms of emotional baggage from an old, fizzled-out relationship, that means she should listen to your concerns, and the two of you should work together to find out which expectations are reasonable.

The impression I get is that your current girlfriend might be a little immature in her relationships. There’s nothing automatically wrong with this, but you aren’t at the same point she is. This is one of the hugest places that compatibility comes into play. If you’re ready to be more serious about each other and she’s refusing to step up to the plate, you need to let her go.

From what I’ve read, you’ve already tried alerting her to your “expectations” and how she’s not meeting them. The right woman for you will take this into consideration, and allow your love for her to help her avoid the things that she knows will hurt you. If she can’t be bothered to try, or worse – if she puts you down for your insecurities – you need to let her go be a child on her own. You deserve a woman who acts like a grown-up.

Take care, reader, and please don’t hesitate to write in again and let me know how it went!

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How Do I Get A Femme To Date Me?

Dear KitschMix,

I need help when it comes dating women who are femme. I’d consider myself femme, but I never seem to get close enough to date other femmes. I am not even hit on, but ignored or forced into the friend zone. I would like to meet someone, but I am never sure which women are into women.

I like girly girls. And talking to them is not hard, (hello girly girl here) but I don’t want to freak them out by asking them to go on a date. I don’t know where to go over the line of friendship to the dating zone.

So here is a short story. Last year in the spring semester, I had a class that was really hard. There was one girl I really liked. She was cute yadda yadda and sometimes she would get to class early. I would chat with her and during the semester I saw her in a study room and helped her with her work. So basically I am capable of finding a person, making friends with them, and getting on their happy side. But the issue is when I want to date them and not just be their friend. We had a discussion once about dating but she said she didn’t have a boyfriend and I told her it was the same for me. Now I don’t know if she is fully straight or bi or anything, but I just couldn’t bring myself to ask her out or anything like that.

I doubt she would be into me, but the point is that there are other girls I can become friends with so one of them by sheer statistics has to be bi or even gay. Anyways, what advice do you have for situations like this? Where do femmes meet other femmes in real life? I can always make female friends but how do you move from friendship to dating w/o making her feel odd?

Hello Reader! It is so hard to find femme women. Realistically, it’s getting hard to find any women who are into women, because the lines between “gay clothes” and “straight clothes” are getting fuzzier than they ever have been. Personally, that’s a great thing, but when you’re trying to find a girlfriend, it sort of sucks.

I seem to find myself recommending online dating a lot lately, and I think that might be one of the easiest options for you too. The stigmas that only losers use online dating are long gone now, and it’s actually one of the easiest ways to find someone in the queer community. This is particularly true for the “invisible queer community” – I have never even once been hit on by a woman, unless I was either introduced by a mutual friend or I had found them (or they found me) online. This even includes at the gay bars – I’m a straight-man magnet, apparently, and the only straight guy in the whole bar will find me and assume I’m the only straight woman in the bar. It’s happened far too many times for me to consider it a coincidence.

It’s actually a little sad to me that, the more acceptance the gay community seems to get, the more invisible we become. I mean, there’s a man dancing in heels in an Axe commercial, and trans actors and actresses are all over TV like never before, and all those actresses we’ve secretly been hoping were gay for years are now coming out as gay, bisexual, or sexually fluid…

…and yet still, I can’t pick out another lesbian without an extensive questionnaire.

Thankfully, online dating sites provide that extensive questionnaire for you, most of the time, and you can actually tailor your search to exactly the type of woman you want to be with! Of course, I do still recommend being friends first. Some people don’t agree with that approach, but think about it: If you can’t even be friends with someone, how are you ever going to know if you have stuff in common?

In the online dating world, that’s not usually how it works out, but you can still use it to your advantage. Find someone you’re interested in, and take your time getting to know them. Most women want to meet up sooner, rather than later, but I recommend at least a couple days of talking before you agree to go that route. If she’s worth seeing, she won’t mind the extra precautions.

If you really don’t want to go that route, I would check to see if your school has any sort of queer student union or gay-straight alliance. Not all schools do, but many have something along those lines. If your school doesn’t offer one, I’d look into local meet-ups. This is a good way to meet women who are interested in other women, without the bar scene. (The lesbian bar scene is usually crap, anyway. Don’t you wish we all had The Planet nearby? From The L Word, if the reference wasn’t clear enough.)

Once you have found a woman, who likes women, who you hit it off with as friends, subtle flirting is your friend. Don’t jump into sexual innuendos or promises of romance, because if it turns out she’s straight, this is the stuff that will make her feel weird and shy away.

I find that it’s sometimes easiest if you come out to the person before flirting – as nonchalantly as possible. I usually don’t make the first move, though, so I won’t do this until the woman has at least hinted that she’s interested. Your experience may vary – I’m not sure how shy you are or what your personal limitations might be.

When flirting with a woman whose sexuality you’re uncertain of, if you want to safeguard yourself from having to come out first, make sure your approach involves compliments and humor. Make sure to note similar interests, as this is what will make the two of you most compatible. Since you’re good at making friends, the approach for a girlfriend is really pretty similar, except you will eventually try to touch and/or see her butt. (It’s usually worth the wait, too.)

Some people have a lot of success with the dive-right-in approach – that is, making a pass at her and hoping she’s not revolted. These women are generally a lot more confident than I am, though. But you know what they say – apparently women are never completely straight. This is probably good news for you.

I also understand why this all-in approach probably doesn’t work for everyone, though. You have to have a tremendous amount of confidence to make the first move, especially when there’s a lot of uncertainty on the line. And, since these women are friends of yours, it can be even tougher knowing that a little awkwardness now could potentially ruin the chance of a friendship, too.

On the other hand, if you go with the “subtly hint that you find her attractive and that you two would be perfect for each other” approach, at worst, she will be flattered, but not interested. At best, you’ve already established that you care about her as a human being, as well as a love interest, and you’re setting a course for a great relationship if things do work out.

I hope this has helped, and please don’t hesitate to write in again if you have any more questions! (Or just to let me know how it went!)

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I Want To Be More Than Just Friends

Dear KitschMix,

Long story short, I work with this girl. We get on and for the last few months with chatted in work and texted once in a while. But last month she asked if she could get the same shift as me and be on the same team.

I was like yea let’s do it. We ended up on the same team. Started to talk more, and at lunchtime we go out with some other people each day. We all sit together and chat and joke about work. Simple…

However, last week she was told me about her current relationship, how they never do anything together, how she feels her current relationship is turning into more a roommate situation and how she feels trapped at home after work. I felt bad for her, and the first thing I said, was “I’ll take you places and go with you.” She was hesitant at first and then was like I’ll think about it.

So a few days go by, I find I’m meeting just her for lunch. We talk about everything and then she said she was planning to go downtown on Monday. I chimed in by yourself?! And she asked if I would go with her. I was like sure.

During work she asked if I was doing anything Saturday and I was like not really, so she asked if we could go walk in the morning. I was like sure. So on Saturday, we walked and talked. Learned so much about each other. I then asked if she would like to go to get breakfast. She said she sure, so I suggested a place that was about 30 minutes away and I offer to drive. We get to the place and it was a blast. She enjoyed every minute of it. We talked, learned that she lived in the same places I have before. Same kind of experiences, same interests. It was a good time. We talk some more on the way back, and out of the blue I asked want to go for a ride on the ferry and just drive? She was like sure, and the next few hours that day was the best time I had in a long while.

On the trip back home, we were talking and she was talking about fate in how we met. She said we were like two puzzle pieces that fit perfectly together and she never had that happen before. Then there was that comfortable silence between us. You know the one were two people can be happy with each other and not say a thing.

I not very good about reading signs, but that left me confused. Today over lunch, I was telling her how I enjoyed my time with her and how happy it made me. How I actually wake up happy in the morning because I know I can get to see her, and she said that’s how she feels and that she been planning other outings for us.

I haven’t had a relationship in a long while, I have put up some pretty walls so I don’t get burned, but this feels like the start of a new relationship. However, I really can’t tell if she is looking for a person to hang out with or looking for something more long term. This is part where I am confused because if I say I want more than a friendship, then it can go one of three ways. She can say me too, or it will be an awkward friendship, or it will be like “umm how did it get to this and no more contact.”

Just need some thoughts and a second look.

Well, reader, it sounds to me like you have a perfect almost-girlfriend for you. Of course, I understand that the confusing part is in the not-too-distant future: That point where you have to clarify, to keep your own sanity. I’m a bit like you – I have a lot of walls, and I rarely make the first move. (I also make it a little difficult to climb over my walls, but that’s another story entirely.)

My first question to you is: How important is it to you that this develop into a full-fledged relationship? I’ve had good (great) friends who I almost lost by misunderstanding my feelings. Once you put it out into the world that you’ve got a big, fat crush on someone, you’re right – there are only a few ways it can go. (Thankfully, there is actually a fourth option – the person could reply “No, you just think you do” and the awkwardness is very mild – 8 years after my BFF and I had this chat, we still talk several times per week, despite me moving to a different state, and then moving again a few times within my new state.)

Now, I’m going to assume that it is very important to you for the rest of my advice – because, sometimes it is. It seems like you guys have a great “relationship” together – wherever it stands – which can work in your favor. But my second question – does she like women? This is pretty important, too. You should know for sure, in her own words, before trying for anything else. If you find out that she isn’t interested in women, then your obvious choice will be to go back to step one and decide how important it is, but this time your answer will mean something different.

If she’s not into women, but you’re falling for her, some space is necessary – and quickly. There’s nothing more painful than falling in love with someone who doesn’t even think of you as an option. If she’s gay, bi, or even curious, there’s a chance – but do not try to convince a self-proclaimed straight woman that you can change that.

Now, if she does like women, you already have a solid foundation of why you’re great for each other. You’ve got a ton of similar experiences, and obviously a load of shared interests. (I’m telling you, if she’s gay, I’m pretty sure she’s already falling for you, too.) The problem here is the other relationship. Is it over? If it’s still “active” – even if it’s unhappy – you should distance yourself a little until it’s not. Everyone is entitled to friends, but the second your feelings reach a point that could break someone’s heart, you have a responsibility to step back. Make it known that you’re there for her when they break up, but that you won’t be a mistress.

Some people might not feel the same way about this situation as I do, but if someone is unhappy in a relationship, it is their responsibility to leave. Cheating is never the right answer, even if you’re unhappy, and if she did agree to cheat on her significant other with you – what sort of precedent would that set for the relationship the two of you might have?

If the relationship has ended, or she’s about to leave, you should probably ask her out on a date – with the understanding that you don’t want to be the back-up when her significant other isn’t cutting it. (If you’re OK with the idea of an open relationship, this can be suggested, but it sounds like she’s not happy with her current/ex-partner, so it’s probably best if she just walks away.) With the sort of friendship the two of you had, you might have to make it a little more obvious that this is, in fact, intended to be a date. Once you have a firm footing on where the two of you stand, dates like your typical outings with her are a great way to keep everything fun and exciting – especially if neither of you are the type for fancy dinners (I’m not) or romantic movies (I’m not).

From the limited information you’ve given me here, I do see a promising future for the two of you. It seems that you get along great, and she seems interested in you. I know the next big step is hard, but with these few interim steps, you’ll be eliminating almost every possible “no” if you make it all the way to the end. I wish you two the best of luck, and please don’t hesitate to write back in and let us know how everything went!

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I’m In My 30’s And Still Single. What Am I Doing Wrong?

Hi Barbara,

I’m not really sure why I’m writing you. Actually I am. I need to feel ok with being single at 33 while still maintaining hope that I can find a solid, real, lasting relationship.

I embrace being single. I appreciate being on my own and dictating my own schedule, I do a ton of yoga and look great (might sound conceited but it’s true), I own my own successful business, I own my house, I save money, I travel and pursue things that are interesting. I believe strongly that I can’t and won’t settle until it’s RIGHT.

I’m admittedly scared that that conviction will keep me from being in a happy relationship because I’m asking for too much or won’t know “right” when I see it. At the same time, I seem to keep getting hurt.

There’s a pattern – I date a woman for a month or two. In the beginning, it’s always her pursuing me hard. And then I let my guard down and start to like her, start to think about a future with her, and then, like clockwork, she backs out. I really don’t understand. I know that you have said over and over that we shouldn’t try to draw some sort of conclusion about rejection, but I am struggling here!

Most recently, I was seeing this woman that I was very interested in. True to form, she worked hard to date me while I was not so sure at first. After about a month and a half, I thought things were going great. I had to go out of town for 10 days, for work and to take care of my mom who’d had major surgery. We texted or called each other every day when I was gone. When I got back, rather than making plans to hang out for an evening, she wanted to stop by for sex on the way to a party that she “had to make an appearance” at. I suggested hanging out another time when we could actually spend time together rather than be rushed. She said she understood but basically I never heard from her again.

Maybe I hurt her feelings? I made it clear that I wanted to see her, just was not really ok with those circumstances. I love sex but I felt like a “layover” (ha, ha) on the way to her obligation or good time. I knew she’d been busy at work but in her shoes, I would have made time, invited her to the party, not gone, something else.

Even though she put a lot of time in in the beginning—hanging out every day, calling and texting all the time, telling me how much she liked me, etc., etc. The worst part is that I still really like her! I can’t shake the idea that I was too demanding or inconsiderate.

Am I trying too hard? Not trying hard enough? Do I need to lighten up? Be more blunt? Do I get attached too quickly or not quickly enough?

I’m really trying to just be myself and see where it takes me, but these little episodes where I date women who disappear is messing with me. They make me question how great my single lifestyle really is, question my approach to dating, get my hopes up and let them down.

Hello reader! Let me start by saying that it seems like you have a great life for yourself already. Are you sure you want to be in a relationship? If I had my stuff together as much as you seem to have yours, I’d probably prefer being single!

All jokes aside, I do understand that the single life can get lonely sometimes. Especially when you are independent and have a great life for yourself, it’s hard (or even impossible) to bring yourself to “settle” for someone who doesn’t fit.

Yes, I do talk a lot about not letting rejection define you. And that’s an important thing to remember, too. I know, I know – easier said than done. But this cycle you seem to be in tells me that maybe you’re just picking the wrong women for you. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them, or that there’s anything wrong with you. It just means that you’re not right for each other – and that’s what dating is all about.

You see, the purpose of dating is to find out whether you want to spend your life with someone or not. At its simplest form, dating isn’t about definitely spending your life with someone – that decision won’t come until later. If you really do enjoy your single life (aside from the loneliness), maybe you need to re-evaluate your stance on the issue.

Here’s how it stands from what I gather:

  1. You enjoy being your own person, and need a partner who can complement this, not complicate it.
  2. You don’t need a girlfriend, you want someone to enrich your life a little more than the already-rich-and-wonderful life you’ve built for yourself.
  3. (Now, this one is just an assumption, so please forgive me if it comes out wrong:) I think you’re looking for girls you don’t have enough in common with.

I know, it’s hard to find out how much you have in common with someone right away, and that’s what dating is all about. That first month or two is a time for getting to know each other – which you’ve done! – and then, quite often, we decide that we’re not compatible after all.

This has something to do with the fact that we form our attractions primarily based on physical appearance. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, no matter what anyone tries to tell you – it’s human nature to find a partner who is attractive to you. No one can force or coerce you to be with someone you’re not attracted to.

Unfortunately, the side effect of our basic human instinct is that, sometimes, the attraction is all there is. To me, it sounds like this is the case with your recent interest. She was attracted to you, you were attracted to her, you both put in a lot of work, and then when something came up that wasn’t “attractive”, per se, she bailed.

I do want to take a minute to address what you would have done. While some of these do sound like Great Girlfriend Choices, there’s a saying: Hindsight is 20-20. It’s easy to say what you’ll do when it’s not you having to make the choice. This mostly pertains to the “not gone” part of it – maybe this party really was something important, whether she was telling the truth about why it was important or not, obviously it meant something to her, right? If you were really in her shoes, you would probably still have gone.

Next, she should have either made time for you or invited you to the party – I definitely agree with you there. However, maybe the party was invite-by-host only, in which case she wouldn’t have been able to change her plans at the last minute to allow you to come. That leaves one real option of what she should have done: Made time for you, too.

But, of course, it’s not really that simple, either. (It rarely is!) You say she’s busy, so maybe that’s the problem, but if she completely stopped talking to you when you requested a reschedule (I hate how formal that sounds!) then the problem probably lies on her end.

I don’t think you’re trying too hard, or not trying hard enough – just that you’re reading too much into it. If you’re really happy on your own, maybe it’s best if you keep it that way for a while. It seems cliché, but the right person will come along when you least expect it, and the harder you look for Mrs. Right, the less likely you are to find her. That sounds hopeless, but it shouldn’t, really.

If you want to help things along, you could try setting up an online dating profile. I know Match has been advertising lately that 95% of their users are happy being single, but open to dating the right person – and in my opinion, this is where you should be in your life right now. The single life definitely has its own perks, after all, especially when you already know what you want.

There’s also no such thing as “getting attached too quickly” or “not getting attached quickly enough”. You can’t really help how soon and how hard you fall for someone – although there are things that people do to try and help control the situation. (In my experience, they don’t usually work, especially once sex enters the equation.)

Perhaps the best approach for you would be to stop worrying about finding a girlfriend for now. Maybe set up the online dating profile and see where that goes, but it sounds to me like you can afford to be pretty picky. Just lay out what you want in a partner, along with your best qualities, and maybe one or two not-so-great ones, framed like you would in a job interview. No one believes anything that’s 100% positive, so if you don’t let a little flaw show through, people will probably think you’re catfishing them. I mean, don’t put on there about that one time you forgot your toothbrush when you went to camp as a kid and didn’t brush your teeth for two weeks, but I’m sure you know what I mean.

My last bit of advice for you is to not let these women get your hopes up. You should never rely on expectations from others – especially when you’re handling your own expectations of yourself so well. It seems to me that you’re a bit of a secret romantic, which is a tough spot to be in when you’re also so independent. (You’re not doomed, though, I promise!)

My final verdict: Try setting up an incredibly-descriptive online dating profile (but no personal information – that will come later). Be selective about who you agree to go on a date with; you can definitely afford to. Then, when someone starts to seem just right for you, don’t jump in head first. If you’re worried that it’ll be all about sex, try holding off on sex for a while! If you’re worried that it’s about your money, don’t agree to meet up with anyone who doesn’t have their own. As much as we value the face-to-face connections we have, it really is easier online.

Do me a favor, and if you do decide to go the online dating route, take a look at these articles (if you haven’t already):

Take care, reader, and please let us know how it works out! I’m always here to answer your questions.

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17 Things Everyone Who Has Sex Should Know

Having sex is a big commitment. It comes with its own set of responsibilities and requirements, and it’s hard to know what all you really need to know. Luckily, we’ve collected a few facts that might make your sex life just a little bit sweeter.

1.     You’re probably not being tested for every STD.

This is a scary thought: If you ask to be tested for “everything”, you’re probably only being tested for the most common things. Herpes, HPV, and syphilis are often not tested for unless asked for specifically, or if you exhibit the symptoms associated with that disease. If you’re concerned, make sure you ask about everything. The big ones are chlamydia (which often shows no symptoms), gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV, herpes, and trichomoniasis. (If you’re unfamiliar with that last one, you can get a little more information here.)

When you make this request, your doctor will probably ask about your sexual history and specific risk factors you may have. Even if it’s embarrassing, it’s absolutely necessary that you are 100% honest during this discussion – that’s the only way your doctor will know if the test is really necessary. The CDC has produced a handy guide to help you know what you need to know.

(And, of course, you should be practicing safer sex as well as being tested – even if you’re monogamous. It might take away a little of your spontaneity, but it’ll also take away some of the risk of horrible infections.)

2.     Cigarette smoking leads to a reduced genital response.

As a smoker myself (yes, I know how bad it is), this one makes me pretty sad. I mean, my orgasms are pretty good, but science says they’d be better if I quit smoking. This has something to do with the concentration – nicotine affects your blood pressure, which makes it more difficult for the blood to rush into your sensitive bits. If you are a smoker, and you have no intentions of quitting (which you probably should anyway), try to refrain from nicotine use directly before sex, and see if it makes any difference for you.

3.     Drunk sex isn’t very good.

This one seems like it’s not true – many of us get incredibly aroused once we’ve downed a few drinks. But alcohol is a depressant, and that means it will reduce the responsiveness of your sensitive regions, making them… Well, less sensitive. Just because you think you want it more doesn’t mean you should go through with it.

(If you must get it on while you’re drinking, it’s much better if you stop when you’re buzzed. The more you’ve had to drink, the lower your inhibitions will be, but the less likely you’ll have a satisfying outcome. Save it ‘till the morning after.)

4.    Sex, in general, is really good for you.

While orgasms definitely have their own benefits, research shows that there are added bonuses associated with regular lovin’. Orgasms can help lower your blood pressure, eliminate the stress, shut down the worst parts of a migraine, and even help to boost your immune system. As if you needed another reason to get naked with your woman, am I right?

5.     Sex burns calories – even if you’re just receiving.

The exact number of calories you burn will depend on the specific acts you’re participating in, but being an active receiver (that is, not just lying there) burns about 3 calories per minute. More active sex burns even more calories, of course – so get creative!

Additionally, sex as an exercise is great. It increases your bond with your partner and can help keep you in shape – so if you’re self-conscious about your naked body, getting it on with your lover can actually help fix the problem. It’ll take time, of course, and it’s probably best if it’s not your only form of exercise, but if you’re not sure where to start, it’s probably the most fun workout you’ll ever have.

6.    Your brain reacts similarly to sex as it would to drugs or candy.

The pleasure center in your brain, responsible for determining positive activities, goes completely haywire when you’re getting freaky. It’s actually been shown that stimulating the nipples lights up the same part of your brain as genital stimulation – for both men and women. This confirms what we’ve secretly always known: The nipples should definitely get some action, too.

More than just that, though, is the fact that the part of your brain that controls your fear response pretty much shuts down while you’re experiencing the waves of pleasure. This particular effect can help explain why some people have fetishes involving things that might otherwise be off the table – such as choking, biting, and butt-smacking.

7.     Men fake orgasms, too.

This is one of those things that many women think they’ve got a monopoly on. You don’t. Approximately 30% of men polled by Time Out New York said that they had faked an orgasm. Overall, this number might be smaller – it’s difficult to gauge the exact numbers on such a sensitive issue.

8.    Many people who fake orgasms do it for really sweet reasons.

In a recent study (which focused primarily on heterosexual women – although we might not be as different as we think), many reported that they had faked orgasms in an effort to protect their partner’s feelings. Others said that they had hoped it would increase their own arousal, as some type of self-fulfilling prophecy – willing a fake orgasm to become a real one.

Other people had less selfless reasons. Some said that they faked it because they had insecurities. Some even reported that they faked an orgasm as a way to hurry up and get it over with. We’d prefer to keep things real, though – and your partner would probably prefer if you did, too.

9.    It’s OK if you don’t get off every time.

In fact, it’s completely normal, and we need to learn how to accept that, as a society. On average, a woman will orgasm about two thirds of the time (although we expect that number is a little higher for lesbians, wink wink). Men, on the other hand, will orgasm about 91% of the time.

Realistically speaking, you shouldn’t put so much of a focus on orgasm in the first place. Sex is like pizza – even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good. Understand that it’s not always going to be a home run – sometimes you’ll just bunt it to first base. Consider yourself lucky if this number seems low for you – you’ve got a good thing going with your partner!

10.                        Communication makes an orgasm more likely.

Women who talk dirty during the act are more likely to get off – as are those who mix things up. If your partner seems to be having a hard time getting there, try switching it up. If you’ve been giving mostly oral stimulation, consider trying penetration for a while. If your partner is into anal play, try that too. If you really want to blow her mind, you can always add more into the mix.

For some people, it might be easier to orgasm if you have a loving and emotionally intimate relationship with your partner. This can make the communication come a little easier, too, so don’t hold back! The more detailed your sexual conversation is, the more likely your partner is going to get it just right, so feel free to lay out all your desires on the table. (For me, personally, hearing my partner moan while pleasuring me is a huge turn-on, too, but only if it sounds natural. I don’t advise faking noises, if you’re the quiet type, but make sure you’re not stifling them, either.)

11. Lube is nothing to be ashamed of.

Sometimes, we associate artificial lubrication with a lack of arousal – but there are a million reasons why a woman might not be as wet as she could be. While there are definitely some people who use lube to help them when they’re not particularly aroused, some women just don’t produce enough moisture on their own. It doesn’t mean they don’t want it – it means their body isn’t cooperating with them.

Even for those who do get sufficiently wet before sexual play, using lube can increase your sexual satisfaction. Friction definitely has its place in sexual fun, but so does slipperiness – and lube provides that slipperiness. If you’ve never incorporated lube into your routine, consider giving it a shot – you never know what you could be missing!

12. Moderate exercise can put you in the mood.

As if exercise didn’t already come with a slew of great benefits, it can actually help put you in the mood, too. (Surprisingly, this is even true if the woman’s libido has been diminished due to antidepressants.) It also helps to boost endurance, strength, and confidence, all of which can help make the entire sexual experience more fulfilling for all parties involved.

An estimated 10% of women can actually get so turned on by exercise that they have what is referred to as a “coregasm”. Something about the way the abdominal muscles are engaged leads to a heightened state of arousal, and even with women who can’t experience a full-blown orgasm this way, engaging your core during your normal sexual activities can help you boost your enjoyment, leading to a stronger orgasm than usual. Give it a try!

13. If your eventual goal is penetrative sex… Don’t start with it.

We’ve already said that a variety of sexual acts are necessary for most women to achieve orgasm, but the order in which you do these acts (or, at least, the order in which they’re introduced) can have a big impact on things. The non-penetrative sexual acts are responsible for vaginal tenting (which is what makes the vagina bigger, to make room for penetrative fingers, toys, etc.) as well as vaginal lubrication.

Of course, even if you’re using a high-quality lubricant, like we suggested above, non-penetrative sex has been shown to increase arousal and blood flow to the genital region. I’m sure you’re well aware that more blood in the genitals means that the area is more sensitive – so it’ll feel better the longer you “play around” first.

14. Most people want foreplay to last longer than it does.

This study (which focused on heterosexual couples) found that both men and women longed for more foreplay before the “final act”. In same-sex relationships, the foreplay often lasts longer than with heterosexual couples, but it’s still not a bad idea to give it more attention. After all, the longer you leave your partner wanting it, the better it’ll feel when you finally get it.

In fact, teasing should be an occasional “final act” in itself. After all, we’ve already said that you’re not going to get off every time – so why not let your partner intentionally leave you hanging sometimes, and finish up the next night? This delayed gratification goes against what we think we want, but the truth is, the longer you wait for something, the more you appreciate it when you do finally get it.

15. Your “safer sex” is probably not as safe as it could be.

Before I have people getting up in arms and telling me I’m making an unfair assumption, let me clarify. Most methods of safer sex are highly effective, but only if you use them every time, correctly, and early – like, before you start.

If you’re having heterosexual sex, slight mistakes in your birth control plan can lead to unintended pregnancies, and any skin-to-skin genital contact puts you at risk for certain STDs, whether either partner has reached climax or not. That means that the already-low 12% of people who use safer sex methods in the first place are decreasing their effectiveness by not using it as directed, or by not using it until after they’ve already started. This is actually just as bad as not using protection at all!

16. Most people stop using protection too early.

The majority of people between 18 and 34 only use protection for about two months after being exclusive, according to a study by Trojan. This might seem like a decent length of time to wait, but unless you’re having the full let’s-get-tested talk (and actually going through with the testing) before ditching your safer sex methods, you’re probably not protecting yourself.

The truth is, monogamy doesn’t mean safe sex. Since many STDs can exist without noticeable symptoms, it’s a little scary thinking that only about a quarter of people (out of the roughly 12% who use it in the first place) don’t even talk about getting tested. A one-time test and then safer sex from there on does not necessarily mean you’re safe – get tested regularly, just in case.

17. Talking after sex is really good for you.

When you’re basking in the afterglow of your orgasm and your brain is swimming with all those happy little chemicals, intimate chats are much more open. Sometimes, we might get embarrassed by this unintentional openness and try to hold it back – don’t do that! The effects that an orgasm have on your brain affect your pillow talk and give you greater benefits. (Yes, this one’s backed by science, too – see this study for more information.)

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Science Says Couples Who Do This One Thing Together Have More Sex Together

In a recent study conducted by Apple and Sonos – a company making WiFi-connected audio systems – music played out loud has a magical effect on couples: it leads to more sex.

For one week, 30 families from around the world were observed going about their days as usual, with no music played out loud.

Their homes were stocked with Apple iBeacons to track the proximity of family members to each other, smart watches to monitor their heart rates and several web cams.

Without the presence of music, family members rarely made eye contact or spoke to each other, even when they were in the same room.

Both children and parents seemed to be preoccupied with iPads or iPhones, which kept their heads down.

In the second week, the households were given Sonos sound systems, as well as subscriptions to Apple Music.

Video filmed during this portion of the study shows family members laughing together, singing, dancing and displaying much higher amounts of affection.

During the week when music was played out loud, families reported spending 13% more time together and 20% more time in closer proximity to each other.

The total increase in sex was significant, with a staggering 67% spike.

Neuroscientist and author Daniel J. Levitin, who was involved in the study, attributed these findings to music’s effect on the brain.

Previous research determined music triggers a release of dopamine and the neurotransmitter oxytocin.

Levitin reportedly said,

[Oxytocin is] responsible for helping us feeling connected with people, bonded to them or avoid them. It signals what in [our] social environment is good and bad.

Sonos allows different music to be played in different rooms, but it’s the act of sharing music with each other that appears to have brought the families together, according to Levitin.

He reportedly added,

This is a return to something that’s more organic and natural to us as a species.

These findings were released in accordance with Apple Music becoming available on Sonos.

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She Couldn’t Make Me Come

Hi Barbara,

I’ve only recently come to terms with the fact that I’m attracted to girls, and as such I had never been with one before, only with males. Well I recently met a woman who I’m incredibly attracted to, both physically and emotionally. Yesterday I slept with her (my first time with a girl). I really enjoyed myself and managed to make her orgasm several times (which I was not expecting!). However she couldn’t make me orgasm, no matter what she tried and I realised I wasn’t as turned on as I could be. Could this possibly be due to having repressed my feelings for girls for so long, or nerves? I was really excited beforehand for how good it was going to be, and I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t feel the amount of pleasure I thought I would feel. Although I know it’s not all about pleasure and I did love making her feel good and cuddling with her afterwards, so it wasn’t all bad 🙂

Well, I see a few possibilities here, and I’d like to address each of them separately, if that’s all right with you. I can’t tell you which situation applies in your case, but I can help steer you in the right direction as far as what to do next.

Possibility #1: You’re not actually sexually attracted to females.

This one’s tough. It’s possible that, even though you’re physically and emotionally attracted to females, it’s just not there in the bedroom. There’s nothing wrong with this – attraction is infinitely complicated and there are no two people who experience this attraction the exact same way.

For women who are physically/emotionally attracted to women, but not able to be sexually satisfied by them, an open relationship is often a good choice. (In fact, sometimes it’s a good choice, even if you are sexually attracted to them, but this will depend on your own situation – no one can tell you whether it’s OK for you or not.)

Another option would be to keep it a fantasy. I know, that sucks – but if you think you’re not actually sexually attracted to women, but rather the idea of women, it might be the easiest option.

Possibility #2: She wasn’t very good in bed.

I know most lesbians like to say that we’re automatically awesome in bed because women know what women want, but here’s the thing: It’s a lie. The women who are amazing in bed have worked hard to be that way. When you factor in that many women choose to fake an orgasm when they can’t reach one, she might not even know she’s bad – so she might not have bothered learning to get better.

Sexual prowess, like any other skill, can be learned. If you like her a lot and want to make sure you have an orgasm with her, talk to her about it! If she thinks she’s doing a great job, she probably won’t bother trying anything new, because she thinks it’s already working. She could be inexperienced or just bad. Either way, if she wants to get better, it’s as easy as you giving her ideas, and her trying them out. Really – it’s that simple.

The good news is that women do have a more intimate understanding of the female anatomy, in general. (Transwomen might not have had their female anatomy for as long, or they might not even have female anatomy, but generally they have paid closer attention to it than the average cishetero woman.) This means that, most of the time, you can tell her where you want her to go, and she’ll probably know what you’re talking about. If not, you can always look this stuff up together.

If you don’t want to be a teacher (which, I don’t particularly blame you, but this of course depends on how bad she really is), you could also try finding a different woman to sleep with – while treating this one with respect, of course – to see if maybe that’s the problem.

Possibility #3: It was nerves.

I’ve been out of the closet as a lesbian for ten years now, and been with my current girlfriend for more than two of that. I still have days when I get nervous and insecure, and despite her being the best lover I’ve ever had in my life, some days I just can’t get off. It’s frustrating, but I let her know I enjoy her efforts, and I just give her some and we go to bed.

Scientifically speaking, a lack of arousal in women is more often an abundance of “turn-off” switches being flipped – not a lack of “turn-on” switches in play. This pretty much means it’s essential to be in the right frame of mind before sex, otherwise you’re not going to enjoy it, no matter how much you ordinarily would.

I’ve had days where all I can focus on is how my thighs jiggle when she’s fingering me. It’s a bit embarrassing, and I usually stop her when I realize it’s not going anywhere, but sometimes it’s even more uncomfortable to do that. I definitely advise against faking it – you’re never doing anyone any favors if you pretend you had a better time than you did.

The good news is, if it was nerves, it will gradually get better over time – all on its own. Particularly if you incorporate a few of the other techniques here, too, this one is almost guaranteed to sort itself out without any (extra) effort on your part. You gain confidence by finding success – so once you hit that sweet spot (or once she hits it – har har) you’ll be a lot more confident going into it the next time.

(Unless, of course, you’ve got some serious anxiety problems going on – which will likely result in it cropping back up every now and then.)

Possibility #4: You could be a giver. (Yes, even if you were a giver and a receiver with men.)

Sex with women isn’t the same as sex with men. The attractions often have completely different stimuli, and if you are attracted to both, you’re most likely not looking for the same thing in one as you are the other. This could extend to the bedroom, and you might be a giver when it comes to sex with women!

Personally, I usually get more pleasure from giving. Have you ever had an orgasm-induced-orgasm? That is, you got off on the idea of getting someone else off. Technically this is considered a “mental orgasm”, but the point is that there are a great deal of women who derive most of their sexual pleasure from giving pleasure to other women. (I guess there are some straight women like this, too, but I’ve got pretty limited experience with straight women.)

If you enjoyed giving her pleasure, and that’s really enough for you, then why bother with why she can’t get you off? You’re always free to try again later and see if things are different then. My current girlfriend is actually the one who broke me out of my “mostly-a-giver” routine. She’s mostly a giver, too, and we were actually sleeping together for several months before she let me touch her. Now, things are a little more equal, but it only took a little bit of compromise to make it work.

Possibility #5: You built it up too much in your head.

Sadly, there’s one ugly possibility, too: You built up the idea of lesbian sex in your head so much that the real thing just couldn’t meet your expectations. I know, lesbian sex is often paraded as the best-of-the-best, and under all the right circumstances, it’s pretty wonderful. But there are still limitations to what’s possible, no matter what anyone tries to say. It’s never going to literally make your mind explode. It’s not always going to last for days (in fact, the only time I had sex for more than 5-6 hours at a time was back when I was a heavy drug user). And you’re not going to get off every time.

You will probably get off most of the time – but with only one experience to draw from, it’s really all-or-nothing. Most people don’t have an orgasm their first time anyway – in a way, you have to learn how to get some from a woman, too. Often they’re softer than men, and generally just different. If you’ve only ever been with men, this can take a little longer to get used to than if you’d never been with anyone at all. In a way, you are losing your virginity, all over again. I had a friend who used to call it “girlginity” – your virginity as it pertains to sex with women.

(I bet you thought losing your virginity was only awkward the first time!)

While I really can’t tell you which situation you fall under, you should be able to understand for yourself, and choose the appropriate course of action. It’s quite possibly a mix of a few of these reasons, so feel free to play around with them and create a custom action plan for yourself. Remember, no two people are exactly alike, and no two situations are exactly alike, either. If you decide to give lesbian sex another shot, lower your expectations and find a way to relax first – that should do the trick. (It might not help right away, but practice makes perfect.) If not, maybe sex with women just isn’t for you, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

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Your Vagina: An Owner’s Manual

Vaginas are magical, mystical parts of the human body that have, for a long time, gone unnoticed. But whether you’re celebrating the ban against female genital mutilation (like in Gambia, here, or Nigeria, here) or just really happy that you’re a PVO (Proud Vagina Owner), we’d like to make sure you’re doing everything just perfect so that your vagina stays happy.


The Vulva

This is the true name for the part of the body that most women mistakenly call “the vagina”. The vulva is actually just the external part of the vagina. It’s not a specific part, in and of itself, but it’s a collective name for the area that contains the mons pubis, the labia (the outer labia, or labia majora, and the inner labia, or labia minora. We’ll get into that in just a minute.

The Mons Pubis

The mons doesn’t get a lot of attention – at least not in talking. Truthfully, the mons pubis is made up of the two halves of the labia majora. Its name literally means “pubic mound” – and it’s not hard to see why. This region is often rounded, especially for larger vagina-owners, and its general purpose is protection – not sexual gratification. (But that’s not to say that rubbing and kissing on it is a bad idea – hint hint!)

The Labia

The labia, or the “lips” of the vagina, is composed of two pairs of lip-like skin-flaps. (That’s definitely not a very sexy way to put it!) Your outer labia (or labia majora) will grow pubic hair, but your inner labia (or labia minora) will not. These flaps of skin are responsible for helping keep debris away from the more sensitive parts of your vagina. Shaving the hair in this region is largely a matter of personal preference, but the hair actually is there to serve a purpose, and shaving it off sets you up for infections and other unsavory results. If you’re really concerned with how bushy it is (hint: you shouldn’t be!) consider trimming the hair with scissors, as opposed to shaving it completely off. Trust me, it’s much healthier for your vagina that way, and your partner should understand you prioritizing your health. (If he or she doesn’t, kick them to the curb – your sexual health is way more important than their sexual gratification.)

The Hymen

The hymen is a small membrane inside the vagina. For a very, very long time, it was considered a sign of virginity – but as our sexual awareness became greater, we’ve learned that there are other things that can affect the hymen besides just penetrative sex. Horseback riding, tampon use, and some falls can break this thin membrane. Additionally, a hymen owner can have non-penetrative sex their first time, which makes them not a virgin – but with an intact hymen. (In theory, of course. Most of the time, the hymen will be broken by some act.) This small bit of skin is the part that we think of bleeding during your first penetrative sexual experience. (Sorry to disappoint the guys who might be reading this, who thought it was your huge girthy penis that made her bleed. It wasn’t.)

The Vagina

The actual vagina is just the canal that connects the vulva to the cervix. (Personally, I often refer to the entire tube as “the cervix”, but that’s not really correct, either.) This is the part of your body where a tampon will lie, if you choose to use tampons. We often hear of a “tight” or “loose” vagina – but there’s something you should know. The vagina is a muscular tube; it expands and contracts based on stimulation. A non-aroused vagina is about three inches long and less than an inch around. If it seems like there’s more room in there, that’s because the vaginal walls are folded to allow it to expand – several more inches in length can be “added”, and many inches in width as well. The vagina also produces a fluid that not only helps to lubricate for sexual activity, but also works to clean and prevent bacteria and yeast growth. This fluid is a type of mucus, very similar to saliva, but often much thicker.

The Cervix

The cervix is a part of the vagina that most people don’t really come into contact with, aside from when they’re born. This part of the vagina is often called the “birth canal”, because it’s really just a tube that leads from the uterus to the vaginal canal, and helps to push the baby through during childbirth. Some women may enjoy deep penetrative sex that reaches to the cervix, but for most women, this is incredibly uncomfortable. This isn’t a very long tube, though – it is about 1/3 of the uterus and basically only exists as a “guide rail” to help things move into or out of the uterus as necessary.

The Clitoris

Most lesbians are pretty well-versed in where the clitoris is. (It’s often called just the “clit” – this is not considered incorrect, just informal.) The clitoris is a sensitive bit of tissue that’s responsible for very intense, but often shallow, orgasms. The entire clitoris is about the size of a soybean, but you can’t see most of it. For those who are used to handling a penis, the clitoris is very biologically similar, and responds well to similar stimulation – just remember to be gentle! There are thousands of nerve endings in the clitoris, which is responsible purely for sexual gratification.

The Female Reproductive System, As a Whole

While this area is widely recognized as the female reproductive system, this implies a need to reproduce – and that’s really not its only purpose. Your reproductive system performs a variety of tasks that range from increasing sexual gratification (like the folds in the vagina – these add friction and stimulation to the partner who is penetrating) to lubrication (like the vaginal epithelium) to simply protecting the vagina from injury and infection (yes – I’m talking about the labia and pubic hair here).

If you have a vagina, it is your right and responsibility to be familiar with it. There are many more components to your sexual anatomy than just the ones we’ve covered here, and understanding how they all work together can help demystify the sexual experience for everyone involved. If your partner doesn’t have a vagina and doesn’t know how to properly handle one, let them know! This is your body and you have every right to insist it’s taken care of by your partner. Just make sure you’re doing your part, too.

For more information, please check out the interactive diagram, located here, or simply take the time to get to know your vagina. Feel around and get comfortable! It’s easiest to explore in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Learn what works for you, so that you can better explain to your partner how to please you. (And if you and your partner both own a vagina of your own, you might even be able to surprise her with your new findings!)

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5 Things You Need to Know Before Losing Your Virginity

We (as a society) tend to put a lot of focus on losing our virginity. There are some people who lose it really young, because that’s what they think everyone else is doing. There are some who hang onto it until they’re married because they think that’s what you’re supposed to do. There’s nothing inherently wrong with either of these approaches, but most people fall somewhere in between.

The truth is, your virginity is really only yours. No one can tell you when the right time to lose it will be, because everyone is different. Circumstances change from person to person (and sometimes even from one day to the next) and there really are no right or wrong answers. The only way to really know it’s the right time for you is if you already know all of the following information – and you still want to proceed.

How many of these did you already know? And, if you’ve already lost your virginity, how many did you know before the big day?

1. Your brain is the real MVP here – so act like it.

For many women, their brain isn’t in the right place before losing their virginity. We often tend to ignore our brains when we’re horny – which results in poor choices for a sexual partner (I’m sure you’ve been there before), decisions to “forget” safer sex practices (most people think about it – but not everyone follows through), and many other bad choices. Your brain is literally the smartest part of your body, so why would you ignore it at such a big moment in your life?

But it’s not really your fault, especially if you lost your V-Card early (according to society’s standards). The part of your brain that’s responsible for impulse control isn’t fully formed until you’re in your twenties. This basically legitimizes any use of “I was a dumb teenager back then” or “But I didn’t know any better” – it’s true!

If your impulse control isn’t fully developed yet, that doesn’t mean that you’re not capable of making smart choices, though – it’ll just take you a little longer to reach the right conclusion. For best results, you should try to wait as long as possible, to let all the information fully sink in before making your next move. You should be processing each decision for at least a full minute – at this point, it’s less impulse and more thoughtfulness, which develops a little younger.

2. Your heart is a key player, too.

When you’re young, it’s easy to confuse your racing heart for feelings of love. But the truth is, love isn’t a feeling, it’s an action – meaning the fluttery feeling you get around your crush is nothing more than hormones. (Sorry to be the bearer of bad news!)

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. The butterflies you feel in your stomach and the heart palpitations that are running rampant often inspire you to bond with a person – which will create a deep, true feeling of love. (OK, so maybe love is an action and a feeling.) But generally speaking, it takes months or even years to actually fall in love with a person – everything up to that point is just chemical reactions and mixed signals from your body.

There’s nothing wrong with this, though. Just make sure that if you’re having sex with someone because you love them, you’ve given your body ample opportunity to wean itself off the initial highs. It can be very easy to confuse love and infatuation, and many people (even older people!) have a hard time telling the difference. It might be cliché, but you’ll know when it’s something greater – and it won’t fade away.

3. Your sexual health is your responsibility.

The term “sexually transmitted disease” is a bit misleading, because virgins may think that they’re completely safe because they’ve never engaged in intercourse before. But there are a few reasons why this thinking is flawed. First of all, while we associate STDs with penetrative sex, many are passed on by simple skin-to-skin contact. If you’ve ever borrowed a friend’s underwear or engaged in dry humping (which most consider to “not be real sex”), you have actually put yourself at risk for certain STDs.

Additionally, oral sex (which many do not consider to be a “virginity-taking activity”) can spread STDs as well, so make sure you’ve been tested if you’ve had any sexual contact with a partner. Truly, the only 100% safe sexual activity is no sexual activity, so make sure you’re taking the precautions that you can.

Beyond just those which involve the genitals, sexually transmitted diseases can be passed on from seemingly-unrelated activities as well. Many of the “more serious” STDs are caught from infected blood. This means that kissing someone with sores in their mouth, sharing needles (whether for piercings, tattoos, or intravenous drug use), and blood-letting activities can all cause the spread of STDs, too – even to virgins.

While you should be safeguarding yourself every step of the way, the truth is that most people don’t even know how to properly protect themselves. It’s your responsibility to be informed, and you have the right to ask your partner to be informed, as well. Many places have free or low-cost clinics to help test for sexually transmitted diseases. You should get tested regularly, even if you don’t show any signs. Many STDs have no visible symptoms, but can still be passed from one person to another. And don’t be afraid to ask your partner to get tested before you get into bed with them – it’s not rude, it’s responsible.

4. Your vagina doesn’t always know what it’s talking about (so to speak).

Maybe you get really wet when you’re around the person you’re into. Does that mean you’re ready for sex? Well, not always. This means that your body is physically preparing you to have sex with that person – but there’s still more work that needs to be done first.

All too often, we (as a society) let our actions be influenced far too much by what someone else thinks is right. And sometimes, even your vagina is out to see you fail. If you’re letting the excretion of mucus from your nether regions dictate your sex life, you’re doing it wrong.

Let me clarify to say that there is nothing wrong with enjoying sex, or even being “promiscuous” (as long as you’re doing it safely and with respect to all parties involved. But letting your vagina make your decisions for you is dangerous, both for your sexual health as well as your mental health. Many people who gave into their hormones at the first sign of an opening will come to regret it later in life.

The best course of action is to let your mind lead the way. Trust me on this one. If your brain is in the right place before sexual activity, your vagina is definitely going to cooperate, and there is a lower chance of regret. (Note: You still might regret your first sexual experience, but it’s best if you eliminate as many risk factors as possible first.)

5. Your vagina is a complicated piece of machinery.

Most people take for granted that the vagina is pretty straight-forward. It’s not. There’s quite a learning curve associated with it, and truthfully most sex ed curricula doesn’t give it enough attention. There’s a lot going on down there, and ideally you should understand it before you open the doors for someone else.

Some common misconceptions:

  • You don’t pee from your vagina. You pee from your urethra, which is actually closer to the opening of the vagina than you might think. In the penis, sperm and urine must pass through the same tube, but that’s not the case for vaginas.
  • Your clitoris is a lot bigger than it looks. This means that you can actually stroke it, very similar to how you might stroke a penis, and it causes a great deal of pleasure.
  • Your pubic hair is there for a reason. Shaving it off is actually a bad idea – but as a society, we’ve been conditioned to think that women should only have hair on our heads. This is 100% societal construct. Pubic hair is not unclean, it does not imply that you don’t care about yourself, and demanding that your partner shave it off makes you a jerk. No exceptions.

7 Positions to Accommodate Three People

Threesomes are scary territory for many people. Realistically, they add an extra element to your sexual relationships that might not be possible without a third person – but there can be a lot of emotional needs involved too. We must urge our readers that are considering having a threesome to openly communicate with all people involved to make sure that everyone’s personal needs and boundaries are being respected.

But what if you already know a threesome is what you want, but you’re not sure where to go after that? Well, we’ve got you covered! We’ve compiled a list of threesome sex positions that will accommodate a third person, whether male or female. We have tried to focus on positions that can incorporate either.

Curious and ready to get started? Here they are!

1. The Equilateral Triangle

One partner will be lying on their back. The other two partners will be seated such that one is on the first partner’s face, and the other is straddling and being penetrated by the first partner. (If you’d prefer, these two can be swapped, into more of a missionary position.) The upright partners will be free to make out, caress each other, and whatever else they desire as they are mutually pleasured by the partner who is lying down.

2. The Eiffel Tower

One partner should be on their hands and knees, positioned between the other two. One partner should be behind her, pleasuring her from behind. (You can use toys, your fingers, or your mouth – whichever you prefer.) The third partner will be in front of her, receiving oral pleasure from her. (The profile of this position should look like a capital letter A, or the Eiffel Tower.)

3. The Double Tease

One partner will be designated “the receiver”. If you want, you can bind and blindfold the receiver so that they are completely at the mercy of the other two. The “giving” partners will them simultaneously pleasure the “receiver”. Making out with each other while giving oral sex is a great option, but the possibilities are limitless.

4. The Doggy Dare

One partner should be lying on her back, with her legs spread. The second partner will be on her hands and knees, providing oral pleasure to her partner while simultaneously receiving pleasure from behind. You may choose to use toys, fingers, or your tongue – it’s all a matter of personal preference.

5.    The Daisy Chain

All three partners should be lying on their sides, each with their head between the legs of the next. (Truthfully, you can add as many people into this one as you please, as long as each has room to spread out and provide pleasure.) From there, the three of you simply pleasure each other however you see fit. The most obvious choice here is oral sex, but you may prefer something else.

6.    The Bystander

Two partners will have sex in whatever position they’d like (or, ideally, many positions). The third person will watch, command, and/or masturbate, instead of actively participating. This is great for people who are unsure about having a “real” threesome, as well as for those who get off on watching (or being watched). If you all agree, this bystander may eventually join in.

7.    The Multi-Tasker

This position requires two “receivers” and one giver, which can be incredibly sexy, but may be more difficult to execute. Two of the partners should be lying on their sides, their stomachs, or whatever position is most comfortable for them – but the important part is that they are not allowed to touch each other. The third person will pleasure both partners – whether simultaneously, or alternating. (We find that orally pleasing one while penetrating the other with a toy is the easiest, but your personal preferences may vary.

Is Porn Ruining Your Sex Life?

Porn has come a long way over the years. What started as a dirty little secret kept by teen boys under their mattresses is now a huge industry that caters to every fantasy you might ever have (or even think about). The subject of porn itself is largely divided, though – some people steadily maintain it’s just harmless entertainment, while others tout lists of evils that the porn industry is responsible for.

Here at KitschMix, we talk about the wonders of masturbation. Like, a lot. And it would seem that porn and masturbation go hand-in-hand – but do they really?

Porn actually messes with your brain.

It seems strange to think about, but it’s actually been scientifically proven that “compulsive porn users” react to pornographic cues in the same way that a drug user would react to drug cues. There’s a section of the human brain that was developed when civilization was still relatively unheard of. This part of the brain deals with pain and pleasure (or punishment and reward, whichever way you choose to look at it).

Now, the brain’s reward center actually does a lot of good for the body. We naturally associate things like sex, food, and intimacy as positive things. This is good when they’re done in moderation. But in some people, an excess of the chemicals produced for these events can lead to a strong dependence – a literal addiction to either food, sex, or physical touching. For a food addiction, this can often mean that the person will consume large quantities of high-calorie, low-nutrient food. For those who crave touching, it can create a sense of neediness.

(Please note that needing your partner’s touch is not automatically a bad thing – but if the need is so strong that it impacts your daily life, that is definitely a problem.)

When we translate this to porn, it means that we’re always searching for the “bigger high”. For people with an addiction to pornography and sex, this means that the “normal, boring” sex is often not enough, and the person will always be reaching for the next big thrill.

Kinks in sex are not a bad thing, either. But if you are unable to have a pleasurable sexual experience unless your kinks are satisfied, this can create a lot of undue strain in a relationship. And of course, if your partner isn’t meeting your sexual needs, you’re more likely to turn to porn – which only deepens the inadequacy of your partner.

Porn creates unfair ideals.

Porn’s detractors often cite the unrealistic body types represented in porn. The women are often busty, feminine, and downright gorgeous. That’s because it’s a consumer industry, and that’s what people want to see. But it creates another sense of inadequacy if you don’t meet those ideals.

(Note: Please don’t base your body image on any media representations, especially ones that value “conventional beauty”. You do not have to look like that to be gorgeous.)

Some people like to claim that this is mostly unfair to women, but it actually does extend to men, too. Think about the last porn you saw that featured a male actor. (If you’ve never watched porn that included a man, feel free to skip this section.) Most likely, these men are well-groomed, well-endowed, and well-off (at least as far as appearances go). How many men are actually hung like a horse and waxed and oiled and rich? Not very many.

I’ve already said that porn is a consumer industry, and that means that it wouldn’t be that way unless people wanted to see it like that. But unfortunately, this creates even more of a rift between the porn addict and their partner. Since it’s nearly impossible for the partner to match up to the expectations of professional sex actors (yes, it’s important to remember that’s what they are), it can create a sense that the partner will never be good enough.

Often, the porn addict won’t see it like this. He or she may even think that it’s a way to get their fantasies fulfilled without disrespecting their partner. But the truth is, over time, you will grow to expect these things – even if you don’t think you will.

Over time, you will build a tolerance.

Most likely, when you started looking at porn, it was just still images of naked women. (I’m pretty sure that’s how it usually starts.) But you know that there’s more out there, just a few clicks away – and you will find it. The internet is already a crazy place, but add in the perceived pleasures that could be waiting just around the proverbial corner, and you’re setting yourself up to need bigger and better.

Eventually, these occasional indulgences become serious fantasies, and at that point, it can become hard to be satisfied until you’ve checked them off your list. You’ll want porn that goes above and beyond the edgiest you’ve seen so far, and you’ll want your sex life to step up to the plate. The same sex you’ve had a hundred times is suddenly not so great anymore – you need more.

Trying new things in the bedroom is good. The feeling of being completely sexually uninhibited with your partner is one of the most liberating and invigorating feelings you can experience. But it’s important to remember that not everyone is into the same things – and if you pressure your partner into doing things that she’s not really sure about, it’s probably going to be awful for her – which means it’s going to suck for you, too.

It can be tempting to want to try every new thing that you saw in a porno, but it’s important for you (and your partner) to remember that sex is deeply personal. Just because it worked for some actors doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you – and even if it does, that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to do things.

Try to remember that your partner’s sexual needs are important, too, even if that means she doesn’t want to participate in the activities you’ve got planned. If it’s so important to you that you feel the need to make a big deal out of it – chances are, she’s not the right partner for you. Either you or her would need to change drastically to make the relationship work. Are you ready to take on that challenge?

(Hint: When in doubt, do not assume your partner will change for you. It’s wrong to expect her to, and if she does change for you, it’s your responsibility to make it worth her while.)

Habitual porn use changes your actual sex life.

The more frequently you’re exposed to pornographic images, the harder it is to be sexually aroused by your partner. This can be particularly ironic if you’re watching porn with your partner, in order to get in the mood. It’ll probably work, but it’ll become an associated part of the sexual experience – leading to issues if you don’t have the porn to kick-start things.

“Easy,” you might think. “Just watch a porn every time you want to get intimate.”

Well… Yes and no. Again, it’ll probably work, but your partner is quite likely to feel inadequate because of this. How would you feel if she was more aroused by a stranger than by you? It’s a painful thought, even though it’s not (entirely) your fault. It’s just how our brains work.

This happens because we are so inundated with possibilities and ideas that we have a hard time being satisfied by things that aren’t new and novel. When’s the last time you watched the same porn twice? Probably never – or very rarely. That’s because we know there’s something else out there. Why would we be content for the same thing every time?

This is damaging when our brain starts to associate it with real sex, too. I’ve often thought that watching pornography was not as bad as cheating, but the truth is habitual porn watching may actually make you more inclined to stray. If your partner loses her novelty and you’re after the newest piece of eye candy, your brain can deceive you and make you think that a wandering eye is a good option. This has the potential to turn ugly, pretty quick.

Of course, this isn’t to say that porn watchers are always cheaters. Not even close. There is an implied sense of willpower and self-control. For those whose self-control is more powerful than the allure of these new, novel, beautiful women, infidelity isn’t even an option – but, then again, I wouldn’t consider those people to be porn and/or sex addicts, either.

Is it hopeless?

In short: No. But if you have a strong dependence on porn, it’ll probably be hard. You can reverse the effects of a porn addiction, just like any other addiction, but only if you’re dedicated to fixing the situation. If you think of the negative associations with porn (the above, as well as social anxiety, depression, and overall arousal addiction), it might be a little easier to let go.

If you want to see a true change in your sex life, try giving up porn completely. It might seem drastic, but if the addiction to porn is enough to cause strain in your personal relationships, it’s time to make some changes. Focus on how things could be better, and in as little as two to three months, they may very well have gotten better – as long as you’re diligent.

Truthfully, porn is intended to be shock media. We associate it with arousal, but that’s not its only purpose. The porn industry at large is bent on making money – not curing any problems. Use porn for inspiration, not replacement. It’s perfectly normal to want to look, as long as you don’t make it your primary goal.

You can thank me later!