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Your Call: Is It Normal Not to Want Sex?

May 19, 2014

3 Comments


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.

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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.

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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!

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We’re Full of Advice, May We Give You Some?

May 14, 2014

0 Comments

The inbox for our Q&A advice column goes through phases: Some months, we barely have time to read all the advice questions that come into EMandLO.com — though we do read every single one, we promise! And other months, like this one, the flow is more of a trickle, and we find ourselves with all this advice burning a hole in our pocket and nowhere to spend it.

So, please, won’t you send us your questions? We promise we are unshockable — we have been ever since that woman asked for advice on getting her Labrador to give her consensual cunnilingus (or perhaps ever since that guy who worked in a morgue asked which STDs, if any, he could get from sleeping with a corpse). And right now, your odds of getting your dilemma answered — either by us, or by the EMandLO.com community at large, in our Your Call feature — are incredibly good. If you don’t send us your anonymous questions, we’ll be forced to start answering each other’s advice questions, and that could get messy fast.

If you over-share, we promise to be kind, unless tough love is called for, in which case, we promise to be fair.

Click here to submit your anonymous advice question to EMandLO.com

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Dear Em & Lo: Are There Any Good Ones Left Out There?

May 7, 2014

1 Comment

photo via flickr
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Dear Em & Lo,

I am a woman from Mumbai, India. I fell in love with Sam when she was in India and we spent 6 months together, bundled up in her apartment mostly. Once she left India she became extremely obsessed with our relationship, and I was more than ever in love with her too — we made future plans and even DOMA was right there in support of our relationship.

We decided to live together in the U.S., but as my days to leave India came closer I found out she had lied to me and spent a weekend at her ex-crush’s place for her 30th b’day. Sam had been in love with this classmate for 2 yrs and I helped her move on. Her crush (Jess) was also in India for two weeks during which Sam tried to get her attention as much as she could but instead was let down and came back to me. Sam cried in my arms and I helped her heal and move on. (Jess is now engaged to a wonderful guy.)

After I reached the U.S., I tried to make Sam understand that a relationship will not work on a foundation of lies. We had some steamy fights and she eventually knocked me down! Beat me up black and blue and choked me until I almost passed out. I left the U.S. the next day to save my life. I am in India and still not recovered from what happened to me in America. Kindly help me understand there are better people I will meet and that this too shall pass!

With great spirit (a lil broken in places),

– Ms. Doma

Dear Ms. Doma,

Yes, there are better people out there! And yes, this too shall pass.

The silver lining to dating someone who is emotionally and physically abusive is that they’ve set the bar pretty low. In contrast, everyone else you ever date will seem like Princess Charming. Of course, this silver lining is simultaneously a potential problem: After being treated so terribly by your ex, there is the risk that you’ll fall fast and hard for anyone who is remotely nice to you — even if they’re completely wrong for you, even if they’re just a spineless bowl of Jello.

So, how can you balance these two competing forces?

We published a reader’s comment a few weeks back about the four early warning signs of a toxic relationship (isolation, pressure, non-consensual physical contact, loss of sense of self) — we think reading the post is a good start in terms of separating the Good Ones from the crazy violent lying heartbreakers. But we’d like to add to this list. So here are our top four warning signs of a bad relationship, tailored for you and based on your letter:

1. Your Partner Has Major Ex Baggage

If you’re consoling your partner about their past relationships or crushes, then they’re not ready to be in a relationship with you. Friends help someone heal and move on from a breakup, this is not the job of the next partner. Sure, you can talk about exes with your current partner, and there are even times when a little sadness is appropriate (e.g. dating a widow or widower, or someone who shares kids with their ex). But you are not the shoulder to cry on!

2. Your Partner Is a Control Freak

There are many different ways to control a partner — for example, Sam controlled you by becoming “obsessed” with the relationship once you were long-distance. You got sucked deeper in, thinking it was more serious than she ever intended it to be. Any time you feel that you are a puppet whose strings are being tugged on, it’s time to look seriously at the relationship.

3. Your Partner Lies to You… About Anything

In our experience, someone is either a liar or they’re not. In other words, someone who lies about small, meaningless matters will lie about big, important matters, too. So be wary at the first sign of dishonesty, even if it’s about something you don’t particularly care about. (Unless, of course, it’s in response to the question: Do you like my new haircut?)

4. Your Partner Dominates You Physically (Non-Consensually)

You ran all the way back to India, so clearly you understand that beating someone up and choking them are indicators of a bad relationship (not to mention a crime!). But did you see any warning signs of this tendency early in the relationship? Did she grab you or woman-handle you or physically manipulate you in a way you were uncomfortable with?

Most of all: Hang in there! You will love again, and you will find someone who is worthy of you.

Hugs,

Em & Lo

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Your Call: Do All Young Men Shave Their Chests Now?

May 5, 2014

7 Comments

photo via Flickr

We get a lot of 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 respond to a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your thoughts in the comments section. 

Submit Your Own Question to EMandLO.comTry Our New
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Dear Em & Lo,

Are all men in their 20s (and maybe 30s) expected to shave/wax/remove their chest hair these days? Same goes for pubes? What percentage of the population does both these things?

– Fur-ious

Leave your response to Fur-ious in the comments below.

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Dear Em & Lo: Can You Use a Sex Toy on Multiple People?

April 30, 2014

1 Comment


LELO’s Smart Wand

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Dear Em & Lo,

I was wondering what women’s opinions of men and sex toys are? For example, if you had a boyfriend and you were having sex, what would you think if he pulled out a Rabbit or a Magic Wand from the drawer? That he didn’t use on himself, he just had it there to use with women during sex.

Thanks, I look forward to your reply.

– Bemused Magician

Dear Magic B,

We, as women, would think: WTF, where has THAT thing been?!? Oh, HELL no. And hopefully most of us would have the nerve to say so outright. It is NOT okay to use toys intended for naughty bits, especially those with mucous membranes (clitorises, vulvas, vaginas, penises,¬†butts, mouths), on multiple partners: it’s not safe, hygienic, or classy. Would you want to use your girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend’s toothbrush? Ew. Even if you had a non-porous toy you could sterilize in boiling water, or you used condoms on all your toys with previous partners, most women still wouldn’t want your cold sex leftovers.

Which is not to say women aren’t into playing with toys with their partners in the bedroom. Many would be thrilled! Especially since some men feel threatened by phallic shaped things that can perform in ways their own penises can’t (namely, by vibrating). So good for you for being open to accessorizing! Just make sure that A) you’ve sussed out her comfort level with such things and she is indeed down before you whip anything out of your magician’s hat, and B) the item in question is brand-spaking new — we’re talking wrapped in cellophane, clearly never been opened, never been used.

The only things we can condone recycling — maybe — are restraints, blindfolds, massage candles, etc…the kinds of things that haven’t come in direct contact with naughty bits, body fluids or excessive skin. But even then, why not make the introduction of a toy into your relationship an event: talk about it together, go shopping for it together, unwrap it together, and then discover all its neat bells and whistles for the first time together — that’s a surprise you can both experience!

Presto,

Em & Lo

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Your Call: How Do I Subtly Find Out My Friend’s Penis Size?

April 28, 2014

6 Comments

We get a lot of 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 respond to a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your thoughts in the comments section. 

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

 

Dear Em & Lo,

How do you get your friend to tell you the size of his, er, meat, when he’s straight and you’re not? Thank you.

– Meat Eater

How do you think Meat Eater should approach this delicate matter of size? In case it affects your reply, we’re assuming this guy wants to know as a simple matter of comparison, i.e. to find out whether he’s above or below average. Either way, you can leave your advice in the comments section below.

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Dear Em & Lo: How Great Should First-Time Sex with a New Partner Be?

April 24, 2014

0 Comments

photo via Flickr

Dear Em and Lo,

I was married for 20 years and now I am not.¬† I’m not crying in my soup (is that the term?). I’ve learned a lot about what makes for a crappy relationship and bad sex. And I have gained a sense of humor, sexual confidence and a pretty good idea about what makes for great sex and good relationships. I’m ready to give it all a go. I’ve dated a couple of guys since becoming single six months ago (the relationship was over long before it was over, so the grieving has been done). Recently, I met a guy that I have come to REALLY like. We’ve both expressed to each other in many ways, including some pretty suggestive and fun flirting, that we are really into getting to know each other even better.

So here’s the question: How great should the sex be the first time if I want this guy to stick around? Do I pull out all the stops? Should I plan on maybe just one of the little ideas we’ve flirted around? What about role-playing and/or dress-up the first time? I kind of wonder if I should steer things in the direction of just pure romance the first time, or is jumping right into what is fun for me — and apparently him too — a good idea? I feel pretty comfortable with my decision to not introduce any toys or gadgets the first time. But what if he suggests or comes up with one? Should I say that I’d prefer au natural at first and promise we’ll get to the toys on another occasion? Or, should I let him show me how creative he is and what he likes to do?

I might not have these questions if our circumstances were different but here’s the deal: His wife died, after a long illness, ten months ago. He was happy with her. He has dated a little but I’m pretty sure no or not much sex. I’m desperate for some great sex and a great connection. He’s really hot for me but has mentioned he wants to take things slowly, which, even though I’m itchin’, I think is a good idea. Still, I don’t want him to be disappointed once we finally do get around to it. I’d love to know what you think about this.

– (Almost) Back in the Saddle

Dear ABITS,

Okay, let’s get one thing straight before we go any further: This man is not going to be disappointed! You’re full of sexual confidence and excited to have fun in bed, you guys have great chemistry, and he probably hasn’t had sex in a loooooong time. Just plain old vanilla sex is going to melt him like butta! Chances are, in fact, he’s more nervous than you are (especially if he hasn’t had some good online friends regularly encouraging him like you have). So take a deep breath and just try to enjoy the fact that you’re about to have sex with your new crush. It’s been a loooooong time since you had sex with someone new, and half the fun of this is the anticipation!

As to what you should do in bed the first time, there are no hard and fast rules, it really all depends on what you’re both comfortable with. You don’t want to act like someone you’re not in bed, just to please or impress your partner. If what really gets you off is whips and chains, you don’t want to keep that a secret from your partner for an entire year — just in case that’s not their cup of tea at all. If, on the other hand, you enjoy role-playing about as much as a root canal, there’s no point in pretending you love it in the beginning, just to be agreeable — because then you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of sweaty latex nurse outfits. It’s better to find out if you’re sexually compatible before getting in too deep.

That said, being willing to try some new things earlier rather than later can set the right tone for a relationship: it establishes the fact that you’re always going to be willing to experiment, at least a little. If you wait until you’re in a rut to break out the blindfold and switch positions, it’s likely to feel a lot more awkward and out of place. So we’re thrilled to hear that the two of you have already talked about role-playing and dress-up! We see great things for the two of you in bed.

But there’s a difference between first-time sex and early-relationship sex. We tend to think that first-time sex — assuming it’s the beginning of a beautiful relationship and not a one-night stand — doesn’t really need any accessorizing. (Except for condoms, and perhaps some¬†lube, which is always welcome.) First-time sex with a new partner is serious sensory-overload. For example, this will probably be your first view of each other’s O-faces! You don’t need to bend over backwards in some Kama Sutra position because the basics still feel brand new and exciting. Plus, you’ll probably both be nervous, which isn’t really conducive to pulling off complicated bondage knots or the wheelbarrow position or nurturing your inner saucy librarian/naughty farmhand. There’s also something to be said for having at least a little experience in bed with each other before making sex technical or theatrical. The better you know each other, the more likely you are to know when it’s the right time to whip out the spanking paddle.

That all said, we don’t think you should necessarily rule out anything. Go with the flow and if something feels right and good and sexy in the moment, then do it! If he suggests a toy (though we doubt he will, given that he’s nervous and wants to take things slowly) and you think that sounds like a fantastic idea, then buzz away (just make sure you put a condom on that too if it’s not fresh out of the box!). But even if you don’t break out any toys, your new-found sexual confidence will still come into play whenever you have sex. It takes a lot of confidence just to ask for what you want in bed — and that might be being led around like a pony, or it might just be a certain manual technique that really does it for you.

On a final note, we know we said that the anticipation is half the fun of first-time sex, but we also want to caution you not to go in with overly high expectations. While sex with a brand new partner is rarely dull or boring, it can sometimes feel awkward or clumsy — and for a woman, it’s not always particularly orgasmic. Sometimes it takes a guy a while to find his way around a new partner’s body, or it takes her a while to become comfortable and relaxed enough with him to climax. (Or it takes her a while to become comfortable and relaxed enough with him to explain how exactly he can get her to climax.) In other words, don’t sweat it if the Earth doesn’t move the first time around. It doesn’t mean you’re destined to have bad sex together and it definitely doesn’t mean you’re not meant to be together. Just think of it as having something to look forward to.

Have fun storming the castle!

Em & Lo

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Dear Em & Lo: How Can I Find a Man to Love My Enlarged Labia?

April 23, 2014

2 Comments

photo via flickr

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Dear Em & Lo,

I was reading a little about my problem on this website: I have an enlarged labia, which I’ve heard referred to as beef curtains, roast beef, etc. I felt better after reading some of the comments men and women alike posted, but it doesn’t really alleviate my insecurities. It’s such a problem that I can’t have a relationship, and I refuse guys to the point where they think I’m frigid.

I really want to be with someone and be able to have sex without stressing on it so much that it ruins the whole experience. I am in recovery, and the only way I’ve ever been able to have sex is by getting so wasted that I wouldn’t care — and then being too ashamed to continue correspondence.

I feel like this is ruining my life and my confidence. I’m 23 and I feel like none of the guys in my generation would understand, considering the things I hear my male friends say. If it weren’t for this problem, I’ve been told I would be a great catch. I can’t afford surgery — if I could, I would get it in a heartbeat!

What can I do? Or where can I find a guy that will like me anyways? Do they make chat rooms or meetings for this sorta thing?! I feel like if I found a guy who liked that sorta thing and knew up front, it might not be so bad.

– Blushing Flower

Dear B.F.,

The first thing you should do is read our post, “10 Reasons Your ‘Ugly Vagina’ Is Normal and Gorgeous.”¬†

The second thing you should do is read it again.

The third thing you should do is print it out and keep it on your nightstand.

Okay? Okay! Now, onto your letter. You know what they say about silver linings? Well, here are two for you:

1) How awesome that you no longer allow yourself to get wasted in order to have sex! No more morning-after regret and humiliation, no more sleeping with a toxic ex or unsuitable suitor, no more being too drunk to insist on a condom. Instead, you are being forced into having mindful, conscious, sober sex. If it makes you feel better, we think a lot more people would be freaked out about their naked bodies if they had sober sex more often. It’s a scary freakin’ thing to get naked with someone — especially someone you don’t know very well. Which is why we think you should take things very slowly with any new partners. Date slowly. Enjoy kissing and making out. Build up to nudity slowly. Build up to sex even more slowly. If a guy can’t handle the wait, then he’s not worth sticking around for anyway. And here’s a handy bonus: The more patient a guy is about waiting for sex with you, the less likely he is to be one of those douches who make roast beef curtain jokes.

2) How awesome that you’re too broke to get labiaplasty! Seriously, there will come a day when you will be so grateful that you couldn’t afford the surgery you so desperately want right now. We promise you that this day will come! You will find a guy who will love you for who you are, labia included, and you’ll realize you don’t give a hoot what anyone else thinks about your lips. You might even think, “Em & Lo were so right, surgery would have been a terrible idea!” (Don’t believe us?¬†Read why here, point #3.)

Are you still thinking your labia are unsightly? Then go back and read our list again! Please. And remember, the loud-mouth idiot guys who make those jokes are in the minority — they just seem like the majority because they’re so loud and annoying. That’s the thing about douches and Tea Partiers — they manage to convince you they speak for everyone just by yelling (we bet there’s a rather large Venn diagram overlap between labia joking douches and Tea Partiers, actually) . And probably half those douches are just joining in with the labia jokes to seem “cool.” In fact, we bet most of your guy friends have already slept with women who have larger than average labia — and we bet not one of them ran for the door when they saw those labia.

Trust us: You are a great catch! Labia included! Some women actually learn to love their enlarged labia… they find them incredibly sensitive and helpful in stimulating the clitoris, for example. You may not think this is possible, but we can guarantee there is a guy out there who is going to fall in love with you… and with your labia, too.

Please don’t try to find a guy who loves big labia and then hopes he loves you — that’s ass-backwards, and guaranteed to fail. Here’s why: It’s so much harder to find love than it is to find a guy who expresses some kind of labia preference. Imagine trying to pick a guy based on pictures of his penis alone?! The chances of you actually connecting with a guy whose penis picture you liked is miniscule. Human beings fall in love with brains and faces and personalities and, yes, sometimes body type and bank balance — but genitals alone? Hardly. Those are just part of the, er, package.

Anyway. What we’re trying to say is: You’re normal! Your guy friends are assholes and wrong! You shouldn’t date any of them! But you should date other guys — now, often, lots, slowly. And when you get naked, don’t apologize for a thing, because you’re normal and you’re gorgeous and any halfway decent man who is lucky enough to see you naked will think the same thing.

Mwah!

Em & Lo

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Your Call: I Finally Escaped a 13-Year Toxic Marriage. Now What?

April 14, 2014

8 Comments

We get a lot of 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 respond to a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your thoughts in the comments section. 

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

 

Dear Em & Lo,

I am 30 years old and a single mother of 4. I just got out of a very toxic relationship of 13 years. I got married when I was 18 to a man eleven years my senior — yes, I was young and dumb. But I also grew up in poverty (my parents got sponsored to the United States just before I was born) and when I was growing up I was not educated enough to understand what a good man is.

Long story short, I accepted so many wrong things and allowed so much wrong doings in my last relationship that I almost want to become anti-social, and just do everything at home, no matter if it’s school, work, or even shopping. During my 13 years of marriage, I became oppressed and stopped everything that kept me happy and devoted my life to this man.

Now that I finally got out of the relationship, I am ready to live again, I am back in school, socializing, just engaging with society — I feel like I’m 18 again and doing everything that I stopped doing when I got married. I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing, but it really feels like I am catching up with everything I missed out on.

I’m afraid to fall in love with the wrong person and be abused in every way. I’m afraid of being alone as well — I think that’s why I stayed in the relationship for so long. Taking and dealing with all this really FUCKED me up.

I need so much help! How can I move forward?

– The Not So Gay Divorcee

What do you think N.S.G.D. should do? Leave your suggestions for her in the comments section below. 

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