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BDSM Saved My Life, But Is Ruining My Near Perfect Marriage

August 11, 2014

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Okay, so this letter below from one of our readers is super long, and it’s not nearly as memerific as Kickstarter potato salad or photos of celebrities without makeup. But trust us, it’s worth the read. It’s from a man who is married to the woman of his dreams — they love each other’s company, they make each other laugh, they still have sex multiple times a day (even after six years), they can talk about anything, they have helped each other deal with past trauma… and yet something is still missing. We’ll give you a hint: It begins with K, and it’s the opposite of vanilla. Yep, once again, a kink imbalance threatens to ruin a near-perfect relationship.

If you have any advice or thoughts to share with this reader, you can leave them in the thoughts below. But we’re guessing you’re more likely to learn something yourself by reading this letter: What it means to compromise; what it means to really listen; the power of kinky sex to heal… and the power of kinky sex to divide.

I was reading these posts and had to drop in. I’m kind of sad and broken feeling right now. I have a wife who is a beautiful lady and best friend — seriously the one person in the world I can decompress with. But I have been spending all night researching divorce and psychology of dysfunctional relationship sites.

We’ve been together 6 years and honestly we always had sexual incompatibility problems but she is such a baddass that I stuck with it and compromised. I have had a lot of power play in my past as well as “vanilla,” though I hate that term.

I don’t need power play all the time, nor do I want it. I think there’s a time and a place. I don’t want to beat my wife or have her do what I say. I’d say 90% of the time in day to day life, I just defer to her judgment on things cause I love seeing her smile; the other 10 I instantly get my way cause she appreciates me giving her the rains most of the time. We don’t have kids, though we’ve tried. Stress for another day. Due to trying we have a ton of sex, and she’ll try almost anything I want.

When we started I was clear on my past. I was abused as a child. Not sexually, just choked out, bottles broken on my head, tossed down stairs. You know the usual… sorry, bad joke. I inappropriately joke a lot, wife does, too…we like it. Anyway.

I’ve never hit a woman though I have remodeled a couple walls next to them under extreme provocation. I met a Dom in my early 20’s and that was my first adventure into the world of kink. She was kind and cruel. Heartless and all encompassingly caring. Over time, she broke me down to the point I snapped and regressed to that scared little kid in a corner with the 300 lb gorilla cracking his bones over and over. But she’d bring me back. And did that over and over. One day I didn’t cry. Another I didn’t scream. Another I didn’t flinch and magically I lost my fear. I have not once even had to fight back rage since then.

See: My rage was really fear of being powerless. I thought power was either given or taken with no in-between. Now I know true power is restraint, courage, and conviction. The man who takes 5 to the gut but still defends his family and friends ignoring the pain, not the shooter. My dad had no power, just fear dumped onto a little defenseless child and his mother. My Dom gave me this gift and set me free.

I went back to vanilla — no, I’ll just call them straight relationships. I’m still friends with my Dom. We’re both doing awesome in life, kicking ass and taking money. Confidence and a lack of fear is awesome! All that said, I wouldn’t have married her. We just weren’t compatible in other ways. So back to the now.

At first my wife would try anything, but she isn’t into kink at all. In fact she loves sex but only quickies. Takes her maybe five min tops to get off then she’s done. She’ll let me finish but it’s all me at that point. She can have more but they hurt her — 3 or 4 and she’s hating life. She just seizes up too hard when it happens. Me, I’m an all-night man. Quickies are fun, but I love foreplay. She is getting better, but honestly doesn’t see the point. Her hitting on me is turning and saying we should fuck. I like dirty talk, and she tries that too but basically I need to tell her what to say most of the time and she always feels and sounds awkward.

But the biggest thing is the BDSM thing. We used to try. Couple times she started crying. I’d stop but she’d say keep going, get what you need. Sometimes I was like, fuck this (not out loud!), and tried to cool her down. She was broken for days thinking she failed. Couple times I was like, ok, I got this, and pushed her through it. No dice either. She basically said you’re an asshole and locked herself in the bathroom to cry… I don’t like feeling like I actually raped my wife.

I eventually stopped trying. I want her to smile. She doesn’t like blowjobs, or even me going down on her. All she wants is missionary or doggy quickies constantly. 2x a day on average. Sometimes more, sometimes less.

We fought a lot at first which for us is calmly talking — we don’t yell. And almost split, but settled on me going slow and her having time to grow into it. But she just instantly gives up and makes me feel it’s hurting her. Well that’s supposed to happen, but not that way, a bad way. This made me stop trying to push her and stop trying. But we stayed cause we’re as close to soulmates as I’ve ever even met in a woman anywhere. The best friend ever out of everyone.

But 6 years later our sex is stagnant. I have trouble keeping it up sometimes and mostly just get her off then just tell her I’m tired and we stop. It’s starting to distance us. I don’t even know how to talk about it anymore cause we have, over and over, and she always just says sorry, I’ll try harder, and nothing happens.

I don’t know what to do anymore. I can’t see BDSM as evil or an addiction: It saved my life. and I have friends that have entire play rooms dedicated to roleplay that have wonderful kids and happy compromising lives. To me, it’s a physical statement of love, saying, I want to control every aspect of you, you beautiful person. Or, I want to give myself to you cause you are the one I chose to control my everything.

I don’t think I can meet anyone like her again… but I know on this road I might eventually cheat, and I hate cheaters. Or I’ll just continue to die inside. Which I feel like I’m doing. Shriveling into slow isolation cause I can’t express myself the way I need to, to the only person I care to express myself to. I just can’t lose her but I can’t stay this course.  I can walk from anything but I can’t walk from her… or myself.

Share your thoughts on kinky sex vs. vanilla marriage in the comments section below.


Your Call: Is Intellectual Inequality a Deal Breaker?

August 4, 2014


photo via flickr

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your advice in the comments section. 

Submit Your Own Question to EMandLO.comTry Our New
*PRIVATE* Advice Service!



Dear Em & Lo,

I’ve been with X for a few years: she’s pretty, fun and genuinely nice. Our political values are totally in line. We both wants kids and I know she’d make a great mother. I love her. The only problem is: I think I’m smarter than she is. I always used to think that in the perfect loving relationship, each person would think the other one was smarter. So now I’m worried that down the road I might start to resent her lack of intellectual curiosity, that her occasional cringe-worthy comments might start to irk me. But then I think I’m just being shallow — that being a good, loving person is way better than reading The New Yorker cover to cover. It’s at the point where we have to decide whether we’re going to get married — if not, I should get out now, for both our sakes. But I’m just not sure. Thoughts?

– Torn

What should Torn do? Leave your advice in the comments section below.




Your Call: Can I Tell My Married Boyfriend’s Wife About Us?

July 28, 2014


We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your advice in the comments section. 

Submit Your Own Question to EMandLO.comTry Our New
*PRIVATE* Advice Service!


Dear Em & Lo,

I have been having an affair with my supervisor for the past two years. Yes, he is married, but he made promises to me to leave her. She suspected us but he denied it, but when she tried to overdose on pills he called it off with me. He tells me he and his wife are over, too, but I don’t know if that’s true. I know we had a special love, and he is just calling it off out of guilt. Do I tell her?

– Cheatin’ (at) Hearts


8 Ways to Overcome Anxiety About a Gynecologist Visit

June 20, 2014

1 Comment

photo via flickr

Nervous about going to the gynecologist? That’s a bummer.

Okay, that’s all the sympathy you’re going to get from us, because you’ve got to get over it. Your health is at stake, especially once you’re sexually active — and there’s nothing more important.

We all have to do things we don’t like: take our vitamins, shovel snow when it’s blocking the front door, pay our taxes, leave the womb. But we do it; we just get it over with as quickly and with as little fanfare as possible — and it ultimately makes our lives easier and better. When you were a kid, you certainly didn’t want to get your shots, but you had to, your parents made you, you didn’t have a choice — and at the time, you probably thought you were going to die. But you didn’t. And because you got the shots, you’ve avoided getting terrible diseases which could have killed you. See, better!*

Yes, there are much more enjoyable things to do than go to the gynecologist, but it’s hardly a visit to Gitmo. You lie back, bend your knees, spread your legs, breathe deeply, and try to relax while your gyno takes a look down there (more deets from Dr. Kate here). It usually takes less than two minutes, though our nerves can make it feel like fifteen. It’s not painful, just a bit uncomfortable and awkward.

Here are 8 things we’d recommend to make the whole thing less daunting, i.e. more comfortable and less awkward:

1. Get a mirror and start probing yourself. It’s sounds hippy-dippy, but the better you know your own body, the more empowered you’ll be. Doctors are often scary because they hold all this knowledge that you don’t. Even the playing field a bit by getting down there and taking a look around. Feel inside with your fingers. You can even order your own speculum from a female-friendly place like GoodVibrations so you can see what your gyno can see. (Just be sure to read up on proper procedure.) Plus it’ll get you familiar with the feeling.

2. Love your vagina. We know talk of speculums and beaver shots may sound gross, but there’s nothing gross about your body. Try to have happy, positive thoughts about your bod, especially your genitals — learn to love them, and then you’ll want to take care of them by going to the doctor regularly.

3. Go to a doctor that comes highly recommended. Ask around and find out who among your friends and family has a great gyno — then, assuming she’s in your health care company’s network, go to her. And we do mean her — having a person who can empathize with your body parts, and not inadvertently make you feel even more self-conscious while your pants are off really makes a difference, at least in our book. But just because a gynecologist is a woman, doesn’t automatically mean she’ll have a great bedside manner (which is why you need the personal recommendation), but the odds are probably better with a lady doc.

4. Have a close friend or family member be your wingwoman: Explain that you’re nervous and ask for help. Make the appointment for a time they can come along with you. Have them pick you up and go with you to the appointment. If you’re really scared, then them come into the exam room with you (just get clearance from the doc’s office beforehand). Have them hold your hand, make eye contact with you and distract you with small talk during the exam. Don’t worry about being perceived as a wimp — if it makes you feel better and keeps you up on the exam table, that’s all that matters. If you’re there, you’re not a wimp.

5. Tell your gyno that you’re nervous. Sounds basic, we know, but if she knows you’re nervous (we’re guessing the wingwoman will be a hint!) she can make a special effort to talk you through what she’s doing as she’s doing it. (The best gynos do this as a matter of course, which is just one more reason to get a recommendation.

6. Learn how to relax, physically and mentally. Take some yoga classes, do your kegels, get in the habit of breathing deeply and abdominally — because the more tense you are, the more uncomfortable it’s going to be.

7. Schedule your appointment in the afternoon so you can go to lunch and have a glass of wine first. Then, make sure you have something fun to do with your friend afterwards, so you have something to look forward to. But make a pact with yourself that you can’t do the fun thing unless you go to the doc first.

8. Check yourself: If you think there’s a chance your anxiety stems from some past trauma you haven’t dealt with emotionally, seek professional therapy. (This is not to say, of course, that your anxiety necessarily has a root cause — it’s perfectly natural to be nervous about a gyno visit with no past trauma at all.)

Be sure to check out Dr. Kate’s take on gynecologist fears here (after all,  she’s a nice woman who looks at vaginas all day long!)

 *Let’s save debates about vaccinations for another website.


Your Call: Revenge on My Ex Didn’t Work, I Feel Worse Than Ever

June 17, 2014


image via Wiki Media

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your advice in the comments section.

Dear Em & Lo,

I (a man) was found by my married H.S. sweetheart. We hooked up, an old flame was reignited, and within a week we were planning our life together. Three months later, it turned sour for me as it seemed like she was stringing me along and never really planned on leaving her comfortable life with her husband.

I felt more disappointed than heartbroken and I sent her husband pics of us together and told him everything that had happened in those three months. Now it seems like she is happy and still with her husband and I am the one fucked over… even though I ended it with her.

I’m just pissed. I have never messed around with a married woman before and won’t be doing it again. Lots more to the story, but you get the jist of it. I am thinking about revenge, but don’t really want to because I feel that I already got my revenge. What should I do?

– Bitter Much

Do you have advice to share with Bitter Much on how he can move past his anger and disappointment? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


10 Steps to Crossing the Finishing Line in Bed Tonight

June 6, 2014


One of the most common questions we receive from women is, “How can I orgasm in bed with my partner?” We hear some version of this question at least once a week. The really demanding women want to know how to orgasm simultaneously during penetration, every time. If this is you, then sorry, you’re out of luck. If we knew the answer to that question, we’d be richer than Oprah.

But here are ten things we do know that will help increase your chances of orgasmic success in bed tonight…

1. Are you assuming that “sex” means penile penetration? If so, that’s your first mistake. Maybe you’ve tried many intercourse positions, but it’s not necessarily an intercourse position that will ultimately do it for you — maybe it’s oral sex, or handwork, or some combination of the two. There’s no shame in getting your orgasm via non-intercourse means — the majority of women don’t. Nor is there any shame in you having your orgasm and then him having his. Remember, sex — especially for women — doesn’t necessarily happen in a straight line, i.e.  your orgasm won’t necessarily be located conveniently at his finish line, or vice versa. Plus, it’s much easier for gals to keep going after a Big O than the lads. And you may find that certain intercourse positions feel even better (perhaps even orgasmic) after you’ve had one orgasm.

2. Again, intercourse alone is orgasmic for very few women, given how far the clitoris is from the vaginal opening — and how key clitoral stimulation is for most women’s orgasms. So don’t forget to supplement all those positions with a little extra clitoral stimulation — your hand, his hand, a small vibrator, a helpful neighbor’s hand…

3. Three words: Coital Alignment Technique. Learn it, live it, love it. In fact, any position where your bodies are mashed up against each other is good — because close contact means more friction down there, and more friction down there means more clitoral stimulation.

4. Try a vibrating love ring, like this one from GoodVibes. Because vibrating clitoral stimulation could be just the thing your intercourse life has been missing. You know all those times a dude looks at a sex toy and thinks, “Hey, my penis doesn’t vibrate like that?” Well, now it can!

Read the rest of this entry »

Your Call: I’m Too Anxious to Enter the Dating World

June 2, 2014


photo via flickr

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your advice in the comments section.

Submit Your Own Question to EMandLO.comTry Our New
*PRIVATE* Advice Service!


Hi Em & Lo,

I’m a 20-something young lady who never dated throughout high school or university. I am a professional with a steady income, and occasionally go on dates. However, I can never let things get beyond a few dates because of my intense anxiety. I can’t ever seem to let the date get beyond going out for supper because I tense up when sitting with a guy on a couch.

I have a few guy friends and have no issues hanging out with them, but when it comes to the thought of dating or getting ready for a date, my stomach twists into knots and I freak out. I have never really been kissed because the couple of times it happened I didn’t let things get too far and kicked them out.

Part of my fear comes from the unknown – because I’ve never been in the situation, I don’t fully know what to expect. Also, even though logically I know that a guy is unlikely to go further than I want to, I’m afraid that he’ll push me beyond my boundaries. Which admittedly aren’t very far out there.

Have you got any advice to get over this? I really want to be comfortable enough with a guy that I can sit on a couch and watch a movie with him, and enjoy the intimacy that being in a relationship brings!

– Nervous Nelly

Do you have advice to share with Nervous Nelly on how she can conquer her anxiety and enter the dating world? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.



Dear Em & Lo: I’m 21 and Tired Of Being Single

May 21, 2014


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Dear Em & Lo,

I am 21 years old. I am currently single and not dating anyone. I have only been in love once in my life, but unfortunately the relationship did not work out. It’s frustrating being the single one in my group of friends. I am constantly wondering how they find relationships so easily, and I have the hardest time finding a guy I can connect with. I can go months without meeting anyone, then when I do finally meet a guy either he turns out being a jerk or I just don’t feel a connection.

At this point in my life, I really want a committed relationship. I have been told that I have to put myself out there more. I have also been told that it will happen when I least expect it. At this point I am tired of waiting, but I also do not think I should make finding a relationship a mission. So my main question is: Should I take a more active role in my love life? Or should I just let things happen?


Miss Connection

Dear Miss Connection,

One of our favorite lines in movie history is when Demi Moore, coked out and lonely and broke in St. Elmo’s Fire, says, “I never thought I’d be so tired at 22.” It was funny when we were 22, and it’s even funnier now. (Okay, so we’re not completely heartless: In the context of the movie, it’s pretty bleak, but as quotable lines go, it’s pretty funny.)

Not that we’re laughing at you, of course. But to hear a 21-year-old complain about how tired she is of being single, well… get used to it. Or, rather, find a way to be okay with it. Right now, getting comfortable with being single is a hundred times more important than finding someone to date.

You actually shouldn’t find the person you want to marry right now — what a bummer that would be, in fact! You’re way too young to think about marriage, kids, mortgage, divorce. (Yes, we said divorce: If you head toward marriage at 21, then you better be ready to head toward divorce, too.*) What you should be doing instead is enjoying being single, and all that entails — casual dating, ladies’ nights, not dating at all, booty calls (if that’s your thing), TV marathons, reading marathons, one-night stands (again, if that’s your thing), “finding yourself,” finding your G-spot, staying out late, sleeping in late, and all that jazz. If you find The One right now — and, for the record, we think the concept of The One is B.S. anyway — you’ll miss out on everything that’s fun about your twenties.

If you’re wondering why your friends find relationships so easily, we’re guessing it’s that they’re less picky. You’re doing it right: You’re steering clear of relationships with guys who are jerks, or with guys where there’s no connection. Congratulations, it takes some people until their forties to figure this out! Your friends aren’t lucky or blessed; rather, they’re still learning — or maybe they just hate to be alone (again: still learning).

You’re right, you shouldn’t make finding a relationship your mission. Right now, at 21, your mission is yourself. Your career, your finances, your body (including the many and varied routes to your own orgasm), your hopes and dreams for the future. Yes, those hopes and dreams can include a partner and children, but just not yet. Let those things happen. Continue to be picky. (Oh, and for the record: Some people only fall in love once or twice their entire lives, so to have experienced that once by 21 is pretty good!)

Stay picky, Ponyboy,

Em & Lo

* And yes, we realize there are exceptions to this rule. Two of our most happily married friends got married and had their first kid in college. But not everybody gets to be an exception to the rule, and it’s probably not you.


Your Call: Is It Normal Not to Want Sex?

May 19, 2014


photo via Flickr

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your advice in the comments section.

Submit Your Own Question to EMandLO.comTry Our New
*PRIVATE* Advice Service!


Dear Em & Lo,

Almost one year ago I had sex for the first time. Since then I haven’t had the urge at all, is this normal? No matter how hot a guy is I just don’t care make conversation (it also doesn’t help that I’m an introvert who is terrible conversing with the opposite sex anyway). Do you have any advice?

– Meh.

What advice do you have for Meh? Leave it in the comments section below.



Does Enjoying Anal Play Mean You’re Gay?

May 16, 2014

1 Comment

Something we here an awful lot around these here parts is the concern many straight men have with receiving — and, heaven forbid, enjoying — a little backdoor attention. Just this week we got another comment on the topic:

My boyfriend has recently discovered he likes me lubing him up and fingering his anus, rimming him, and pleasuring him with sex toys. I think it’s amazing and I really enjoy doing it to him, and knowing that he has been so open about it is great. The only thing ruining it a little is that he feels it’s wrong because of so many people making comments about it being wrong and that enjoying it must mean you’re gay. That is utter rubbish, and completely ignorant of some people. I have found in the past that most of the men who think it’s wrong and gay are most commonly the ones that actually enjoy it and only deny it because everyone else does. It doesn’t make you less of a man for doing it, all it proves it that you’re close enough with your partner to be that open and comfortable to explore new things with them. I have reassured my boyfriend and we will be continuing to do this.

We couldn’t agree more! So let’s review one more time what enjoying anal play is (and is not) all about:

  • A well-adjusted person’s pleasant, consensual and safe sexual experience — whatever that may be — with another well-adjusted adult is is good thing. If we’re specifically talking about anal play, then engaging in it with someone you trust is well within the realm of healthy sexual experimentation, no matter your sexual orientation.
  • Nerve endings aren’t gay or straight, people are. Sex is all about context, which is why almost no women get turned on by tampon insertion. You engage in sexual activities with people you are attracted to — that’s a large part of what makes them enjoyable. If you’re not attracted to the person on a primal level, you’re not going to enjoy the sex. So if you’re not into guys, you’re not going to enjoy one of them intimately massaging your prostate. But if you’re into girls, then you very well may like having one travel down your hershey highway, because it’s chock-full of nerves that respond to stimulation (the right kind of stimulation, whatever that is for you).
  • Speaking of the right kind of stimulation, the prostrate and its surrounding nerves play an important role in male orgasm, so stimulating them through anal and rectal stimulation can actually increase sensation and thus pleasure, whether you are gay or straight.
  • If you think being penetrated is feminine, then you’re sexist. If you think enjoying anal play is gay, then you’re a homophobe.
  • Women who encourage their male partners to accept a little anal attention or who enjoy wearing strap-ons are  not sexual manipulators stripping men of all willpower and masculinity without a care for anything but their own sexual fantasies and satisfaction. It takes two to tango. If a guy doesn’t want his backdoor knocked on, there’s no way his girlfriend is somehow sneaking in a strap-on dildo. Even if his girlfriend is Angelina Jolie. (Okay, maybe he’d make an exception…)
  • Some suggest that bum-loving is a ride you can never get off. We will happily admit that some people may try a sexual activity, enjoy it thoroughly, and then want to include in their repertoire on a regular basis from then on. Everyone has their preferences. But the suggestion that once you go “back” you can never go back — no matter who you are — is ludicrous. Plenty of people are happy to try new things, enjoy them, but then can take them or leave them. Again, the average person could certainly go without, due to a breakup or an unwilling partner they really cared about.
  • Some people argue that a decidedly straight guy who enjoys anal play but suddenly finds himself without a female partner might rebel against every sexual instinct he’s experienced since childhood and suddenly “go gay.” Bullpucky! If some people were so desperate for a specific sex act after a break-up — let’s say, oral sex — then by this argument, there would be many more cases where otherwise well-adjusted people felt compelled to turn to their golden retrievers for their similar licking abilities. We’re not saying this hasn’t happened in the history of sex and pets, but that’s not a legitimate, reasonable or logical reason for people to avoid cunnilingus or fellatio altogether with partners they care about. And let us not forget: one can can simply choose from a plethora of butt-safe toys to replicate the sensation during masturbation when they’re in between partners.
  • Plenty of guys will try being on the receiving end of butt sex and not like it. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not gay!
  • All this is not to say that for some people sexual orientation is not fluid. Many people are bisexual, of course. And there’s nothing wrong with experimenting with partners you trust, whether they fall in line with your current sexual orientation or not. Would that make you gay? Only if you want it to. The range of sexual activity is so wide that we believe you should define yourself however you see fit, even if it’s not neatly black or white. It’s your sexual identity — own it. You’re free to play around with sexual roles. That’s usually where one can broaden their horizons, see how ridiculous some of the assumptions they have about sex or gender roles are, and have the most fun!