Em & Lo's RSS Feed Em & Lo's Daily Email Feed Be Our Facebook Friend! Follow Us on Twitter!
EM & LO's Sexy Holiday Gift Guide

Good Vibes Sex Toys

Buy on Amazon Kindle!

Christmas Story Lamp on Amazon


Archive | Advice RSS feed for this section

How to Live a Complete Life Without Sex

December 5, 2014

1 Comment


photo via WeHeartIt

Dear Em & Lo,

I’m 34 and I’ve never had a boyfriend. I was molested as a child and raped as an adult. I’ve never had consensual sex. Yet I have intensely sexual dreams. I’ve had years of counseling, but the fear of having a sexual relationship remains. I isolate myself from men.  The only ones I feel comfortable around are gay or married. I feel ostracized from a society which places such a high priority on sex, and I feel I am missing out on life because of my limitations. Am I really missing out? Is it possible to live a complete life without sex?

–Not Feeling It

Dear NFI,

This may sound strange coming from two women who’ve made a career out of talking about sex, but you absolutely can live a complete life without sex! It’s really not that big a deal. Well, it certainly is for some people (Tantric sex practitioners and right wing Republicans with secret gimp mask collections, for example). But for a lot of other people, sex is something they could simply take or leave — whether because of their body/brain chemistry, religious beliefs, or past experiences. And there are certainly many other things under the sun that can make for an interesting, fulfilling life. Orgasms are nice, but they don’t teach kids to read, or build Habitat for Humanity houses, or organize community activities, or run marathons, or pass a bill on Capitol Hill…

We know it’s hard being constantly bombarded by sexual imagery in the media, but please understand that the majority of it is a fantasy, one that’s often orchestrated simply to get us to buy products (even stuff as mundane as instant rice!). The reality is that while sex can be fun and exhilarating and bonding, it can also be messy and stressful and unfulfilling. We’re certain our society’s obsession with sex, especially idealized sex, has led to an awful lot of disappointment in the sack. Add to that the sad fact that sex can be used as a weapon of violence and subjugation, and we see nothing wrong with people — especially people who’ve been through the kind of trauma you have — choosing celibacy, if that’s what’s right and works for them.

Now, you mention that you do have sexual dreams, but you don’t say anything about masturbation. Just because you may choose to forgo partner sex, doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) have sex with yourself! The great thing about self-pleasure is that you are in total control — of the pace, the timing, the techniques, the mood — without having to worry about anyone else’s good time. If you haven’t already, we’d really recommend getting an empowering book on masturbation — Betty Dodson’s classic Sex for One or Jayme Waxman’s Getting Off — and giving yourself permission to try to start enjoying the nerve endings you have, on your own terms. You can also browse the masturbation archive at our site, which includes articles like, “How to Make Masturbation Feel More Intimate,” and “10 Steps to Orgasming without a Vibrator.”

If deciding not to pursue romantic and sexual relationships doesn’t give you peace, and you still feel like you’re missing out on something, then we’d recommend getting a new therapist who might be able to make new headway with you (perhaps one specializing in post traumatic stress disorder and/or sexual issues), as well as joining a psychotherapy group for rape survivors (if you haven’t already), which according to the New York Times Health Guide, is one of the most effective treatments. While the world is full of horrible people (everyone from criminal monsters who commit unconscionable acts to little selfish assholes who have no qualms about casually breaking hearts), there are good guys out there who are kind, good, and giving — in life, in relationships, and in bed. But again, they’re not necessary for a rich life: some women really do need a man like a fish needs a bicycle.

More power to you,
Em & Lo

RELATED ARTICLES ON EMandLO.com:



9 No-Duh Sex Moves Men Should Brush Up On

December 5, 2014

0 Comments


by Eden Strong for YourTango  |  photo via WeHeartIt

Your sex life might be good but aren’t there always a few things that could make it, well, better? Quick answer: YES. How do I know? Over a glass of wine (or several), I flat out asked my friends if their sex life was everything they wanted it to be. I was surprised to hear their answers weren’t about what their partners were doing, they were about the things that they weren’tdoing.

While they unanimously agreed that their sex was swell, they also all agreed they just wanted a little more of these eight things. Listen up, gents!

1. Whisper in our ears.
When we’re getting our sexy on, we obviously want to feel sexy and when you whisper in our ear how sexy we are, it really gets us going. Tell us why you enjoy being with us and I guarantee we’ll reciprocate your efforts.

2. Tell us why you think we’re beautiful.

Every girl wants to feel beautiful, duh. But it’s not just enough to tell us that we are beautiful; us emotionally complicated creatures want assurance as to why you believe this to be true. Yes, we love that you think we have a “sexy ass” and “amazing tits,” but while you’re under those sheets, we’d also like to be reminded of our beautiful smile and our amazing eyes. Every lady wants to be beautiful from head to toe, not just boobs to ass. We want to be the women of your dreams, not just the women of your fantasies.

3. Ask us what we like … and really mean it.

Every single girl I know has been with at least one guy who was going at it while saying things like, “You like that? Oh yeah baby, you like that!” Um, if you’re telling us that we like it, chances are you didn’t even bother to ask us. So ask! And when you ask us, we want you to really ask us. Don’t make the act of asking a rhetorical ego booster that makes you feel like you’re “doing us right.” Ask if we like what you’re doing because you really want to do us right, not because you’re assuring yourself that you are. Trust us, ladies want to be having just as much fun as you would like to think we are having, but we don’t all like the same things so do yourself a favor and find out what gets us going.

4. More foreplay!

Most men I know can go from 0 to 60 in half a second but it takes women a lot longer. Sure, a quickie is nice every once in a while, but why rush it? We want and need foreplay to get us ready for the grand finale. We know you’re excited but give us a little time to get there as well. Not to mention that not only does foreplay feel hella good, but knowing that you’re focused on making our entire body tingle will make us want to return the favor.

5. We want less control. I mean more. I mean …

This one was a split pole when I questioned my friends. Half wanted their men to take charge and rough it up a bit. “He’s so respectful of me that he’s almost afraid of using any force in the bedroom but what I really want is for him to grab me and take control,” said one of my friends. I’m obviously not suggesting turning up the roughness to full volume  without your woman’s consent but you’d be surprised how many of us enjoy playing a more passive role in the bedroom and want nothing more than for you to run the show. That’s one opinion. The other other half of my friends said they wanted their man to back off a bit and let them take the reins. “I feel like as a woman I have a lot less control in the real world than a man does and there’s nothing hotter than switching that up and being the one in charge in the bedroom,” another friend said. So for this one men, please refer to #3 and find out which side of this opinion your lady leans to.

6. Make sure we both finish.

This seems SO obvious, except apparently it isn’t. If you’re going to cum and then flop down beside us before we finish, we didn’t really need to be there because they make blow-up dolls for that. This sex thing, it takes (at least) two people so make sure both of those people reap the rewards of their participation.

7. Change it up.

We’re women, which means you’ll never completely understand us because we constantly change our minds! One day we want romance and the next, we want something else. So basically, in order for you to give us what we want, you’re going to have to constantly change what you give us. We love rose petals on the bed and candles around the tub because we love romance but we also love the thrill of being whisked away for semi-public sex. Not only will the change-up in sex excite us, but it’ll let us know that you’re interested in keeping things fresh.

8. Bring in reinforcements.

As much as we like your man parts, sometimes they just don’t quite hit the spot for us. In those cases, we want you to grab a few extra batteries and a buzzing little toy to help us get to where we need to be. As frustrating as it might be for you to not be able to finish us off with nothing more than your manhood, it’s even more frustrating for us to be left unsatisfied. Just because we need a little more, doesn’t mean you weren’t enough; it just means you’re man enough todo what it takes to please your lady. Trust us, we applaud you for your efforts.

9. Read our body language.

While we may want it rougher in some areas, there are a few areas – namely the clitoris and the nipples – where we’d  like it gentler. Unfortunately, a lot of you dudes get so caught up in the moment that you fail to decipher our “ooo’s” and “ah’s” from our “ah’s!” and “ouch’s!” As my friends agree, we want you to be in tune with our cues so that you know when to lighten it up a little bit. Good sex starts with good communication, so be a great partner and listen to what our body is telling you, especially if our body is flinching, fidgeting, or jumping. Ouch!

This article originally appeared on YourTango

More From YourTango:



Dream Interpretation: I Cut Off My Own Penis

December 4, 2014

1 Comment


Game of Thrones‘ resident Eunuch, Varys (image via HBO)

Other people’s dreams are never interesting…except when they’re about sex. Each week, our dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg tells one lucky reader what their dirty dream means. Got a dream you want Lauri to analyze? Click here to submit it (18 and older only, please). This week, a reader asks Lauri:

I dreamed that I cut my own penis off, but then I put it back on like nothing ever happened.

Lauri:  You’d be surprised how many men tell me some version of the detachable penis dream! So rest assured, you are in good company.

Dismemberment dreams are often connected to some sort of separation in real life. You did the dismembering in the dream, so is there any person or situation in your waking life that you have cut yourself off from?

If not, then the dream may be more about what male genitalia often represents. It’s really more about what we attribute to the male persona than it is about your actual junk, so don’t worry! Male genitalia in a dream is often about one’s ability to be assertive, to man up and take care of business, so to speak. At the time of this dream, was there anything going on where you did not want to utilize this part of yourself? Were you afraid to be “stand up” and be assertive about something? Or were you in a situation where you felt it best to be more sensitive and understanding?

I think it’s a good sign that you were able to put it back on like nothing ever happened. That tells me you either reconnected with someone and let bygones be bygones, or you’ve learned the fine art of balance, of being firm when you need to, and caring when you want. In either case, I think you deserve a pat on the back.

 

Visit Lauri’s site, WhatYourDreamMeans.com, for even more dream interpretations! If you want to be able to figure out your own dreams every morning, then check out her latest book, Dream On It: Unlock Your Dreams Change Your Life, which will give you the tools you need to become a dream expert, too. Check out all of Lauri’s books here.

 

 

MORE LIKE THIS ON EMandLO.com:



How to Determine Whether Your Dating Age Gap Is Embarrassing

December 2, 2014

5 Comments

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week, a straight woman asks, “How much younger than them do you think most guys are comfortable dating before it becomes embarrassing? Or is there no limit as long as the youngster in question is legal and not a complete airhead?” To ask the guys your own question, click here.

Gay Single Guy (Jay Dyckman): Yes, there is an age too young for anyone to date. But I think it happens only after you hit 35. Any dating combo of two people both under 35 (provided both are over 21…yes, 21, not 18) is probably not a big deal. No one really considers themselves that old before hitting 35.

After 35, all bets are off.  If you’re over 35 and you date someone more than 10 years your junior, you will — and rightly so — be mocked (and silently envied) by your friends and enemies for such dating hubris. It will put you squarely in the “oh please” zone. And this goes for both men and women: Dating much younger than yourself connotes a power dynamic that is creepy yet totally gender non-specific.  Both sexes look entirely ridiculous parading their toy around, be it male or female. But if you’re over 35, you can date anyone  — of any age disparity — who is also over 35.  A 65-year-old and 37-year-old?  Sure, why not.

This might seem arbitrary, but age designations exist for a reason. The good people of corporate America have decided that once we’re older than 35, we are no longer a desirable marketing demographic.  That’s real science, people. After 35, big age differences are obviously apparent, but both parties have fully exited the nubile stage so no one really cares. You are no longer hip, cool, or capable of dating someone who had a “The Voice”-themed Bar Mitzvah. That’s not to say you shouldn’t do it.  Hell, if someone of the Gen Next persuasion wants to tap your old bones, consider yourself lucky. Besides, anyone who mocks you, well, your old ears won’t be able to hear them anyway, so who cares.

Straight Single Guy (Tyler Barnett): For guys in their twenties, like me, up to guys in their mid-thirties, I think the lowest we should go is 21. If I cannot legally have a glass of wine or cocktail with a girl, I don’t want to date her. It’s not that I am some sort of alcoholic or can’t have a good time sober, but there’s something sexy and intimate about sitting in a bar that cannot be substituted by Starbucks or Jamba Juice. It also makes me feel like an old man if I am with someone that has to use a fake ID to buy a beer. Besides, if the girl in question is still in school, the conversation will usually leave something to be desired due to her lack of life experiences and responsibilities — it’s hard to listen to tales of college papers when I’ve got bills to pay and employees to manage, you know? There is a lot to be said for being in the same place in life, age-wise at least.

But generally, I think women a good five years younger (so long as they aren’t under 21) work well since women tend to be more mature than us guys. For an older man, say in his forties or fifties, a fifteen year age gap is socially acceptable and generally comfortable. And I think once a woman passes the age of thirty, up to a twenty year difference with an older guy is just fine.

Straight Married Guy (Jim): Come on, give us guys some credit: most of us know there’s a huge difference (emotionally, intellectually, maturity-wise) between someone around our own age and an 18-year-old with AP credit.  She’d have to be a Rhodes Scholar studying quantum physics if the difference in their ages was more than about 25% of his. So, what does he teach?

MORE LIKE THIS ON EMandLO.com:



Help: My Inability to Orgasm Is Ruining My Relationship

December 1, 2014

5 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. 

Dear Em & Lo,

I’ve been dating my current boyfriend for a few months now but he’s becoming frustrated that he can’t bring me to orgasm. For a little background information, it has never been easy for me to reach orgasm especially with another person. I have somewhat successfully mastered being able to reach orgasm with a vibrator. But never through manual stimulation and only a handful of times during oral sex.

My boyfriend isn’t doing anything wrong, is the problem. It feels absolutely euphoric and I get right on the edge of climaxing, but then it just doesn’t happen. My boyfriend blames my vibrators and feels insecure that I can orgasm with them but not with him. He feels like he’s failing in the sex department when it’s completely opposite.

I love having sex with him and we go at it like animals. But this orgasm frustration is really starting to interfere. Tonight he suggested breaking up because he feels like he’s not fulfilling my sexual needs, and it’s killing our relationship. We usually have so much fun together, and I love being with him. I don’t want to see us break up over this. Help!

– On the Edge

What should On the Edge do? Leave your suggestions in the Comments section below.

MORE LIKE THIS ON EMandLO.com:



4 Ways to Tell a Guy You’ve Been Faking

November 25, 2014

2 Comments

Are you a liar, liar, whose pants, unfortunately, are not on fire at all? If you’ve been faking orgasms with your boyfriend or husband, you need to fess up — after all, the only way to get orgasms is to be honest about what does and doesn’t work for you. You know all this, right? But you just can’t figure out how to tell the truth after all this time. If this sounds like you, then you have four choices:

1. Tell him you’ve been faking.

Explain that you only lied because you were scared and insecure (or embarrassed, or shy, or whatever your reasons) and you’re telling the truth now because he means so much to you and you feel he deserves the truth. Apologize profusely. Make him feel really special, like he’s the only guy who’s ever earned your trust enough to be told the truth, like he’s the only one you’ve ever met who’s man enough to handle the truth. (Do not tell him that other guys have been able to make you climax during intercourse, even if that’s the truth.) Explain to him that the majority of women (like 70%!) don’t climax from intercourse alone — it’s just the way our bodies are built. Then show him exactly how you do climax. And make sure he knows you’d love nothing more than to figure out various ways to get you off together, whether during intercourse or not.

2. Keep on faking and living a lie.

As the years go on, the fights and the sex will both get worse until just the way he holds his fork will annoy the shit out of you and you’ll end up taking it out on him by sleeping with his best friend and then later when you get really mad at him you’ll scream, “I hate you! I’ve always faked with you! But you know who I don’t fake with? Your best friend!”

3. Dump him and find a new man to start over with, this time being honest from the start.

Hey, we never said these were four easy options!

4. Ease into the truth.

For the record, we don’t recommend this approach: when it comes to fessing up about faking, we think option #1 — the band-aid approach — works best. But if you’re feeling really wussy, we guess this approach is better than faking for the rest of your life (#2) or dumping a guy (or even a husband!) you really like (#3).

Start by increasing clitoral stimulation during intercourse — and there are plenty of ways to do it. Encourage him to use his hand on you, or use your hand on yourself. Or bring a little vibrator into the bedroom, or get him to wear one of those vibrating love rings or finger vibes. Or try out positions that are high on full-body contact, like the famous coital alignment technique. Gush effusively about how amazing the sex is when you do these things together for a little Pavlovian conditioning.

Next, encourage him to spend time using his hands on you or going down on you before intercourse — no reason why you can’t have your orgasm before the intercourse starts. And for the record, climaxing during oral sex is climaxing during sex. Same with getting off on handwork. They’re just different varieties of sex, and there’s no shame in favoring one over another. Also, you may well find that intercourse feels even better — perhaps even orgasmic — after you’ve climaxed once. For more tips on how to make sex better for you, check out the advice we gave a while back to a woman who couldn’t orgasm with her boyfriend.

Assuming that at least some of these tips work, eventually you’ll get to a point where some of the stuff you do together makes you climax — and some of the stuff doesn’t. Eventually you might actually be able to tell him, in all honesty, that he made “the earth move like no other.” And if the gods are smiling on you, you might even be able to phase out the faking without your guy catching on.

But assuming your guy is actually paying attention to you in bed — and if he’s not, then that’s your problem right there! — we’re guessing you’re still going to have to fess up. At this point, however, the truth won’t hurt so much — because it’s not like you’re telling him that you’re a big fat faker and nothing he does has ever made you climax. No, you’ll be telling him that you’re a medium-sized faker and some of the stuff he does works better than other stuff. Gentler on a guy’s ego, we have to assume.

That all said, however, we still think that just sitting down with your man — outside the bedroom — and telling him the truth is the way to go, not only because honesty is the best policy, but because guys need to learn that intercourse isn’t the be-all-end-all for a lot of women.

We’ve talked to numerous women who’ve had this conversation with their guys, and the most common reaction is that the guy takes it as a challenge: He wants to jump into bed right then and there and not come up for air until the faker in question has climaxed for reals. Hey, maybe your boyfriend or husband is that kind of guy. And if he’s not? Well, he wasn’t really a keeper after all, was he? The truth hurts, but a life of faking hurts way more.

MORE LIKE THIS ON EMandLO.com:



When It’s Okay to Invite a Guy Home for Thanksgiving

November 25, 2014

0 Comments

One of our favorite Thanksgiving movies, Pieces of April 

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: “When will a guy feel comfortable being invited to his partner’s family’s place for Thanksgiving?” To ask the guys your own question, click here.

daniel_100Gay Single Guy (Daniel): Each guy is different with regards to when he would feel comfortable, and frankly, there isn’t a formula that goes, “I’ve been with this guy for X amount of time and it is then correct time to introduce him to my family on the holiday most often reserved for blow-outs and confrontations.” Why guess and why worry about whether or not it’s the right time? Be direct. Communicate. You’re not psychic. Ask for what you want. If you feel like you want to introduce him to your family, then tell him so and tell him why you want to. He’ll either agree that it’s “appropriate” and be cool with with the idea, or he may balk and reject going for his own reasons, which I’d hope he’d articulate. But most importantly, don’t guess when is right, find out by just asking him.

mark_luczak_100Straight Married Guy (Mark Luczak): For the most part, I’d say the family Thanksgiving comfort level is reached when there’s a firmly established exclusive relationship. If it’s serving specifically as the Meet The Family (gasp!), that’s always a big benchmark — while the pageantry of any holiday can be an additional pressure, on the other hand it may be as good an opportunity as any to get the big introduction over with, if both partners feel ready (kind of pulling the band-aid off all at once, heh).

But in the case where some family has already met him, mutual comfort between one’s relatives and one’s partner usually mirrors the seriousness of the relationship to begin with. If your family has been gradually getting to know the guy and starting to recognize that things are perhaps becoming more serious, then it’s likely it’ll be identified as a situation where you’d want to bring him, and he’d equally want to be your plus-one.

james_glazebrook_100Straight Married English Guy (James Glazebrook): It depends — is he Native American? Is it cool for me as an Englishman to joke about this stuff? I’m not clear on the history of it all. In fact, everything I know about Thanksgiving comes from that Friends episode when Joey gets his head stuck in a Turkey — and I’m thinking that’s no basis for relationship advice.

Over here, the equivalent is probably being invited over for Christmas dinner. In which case, unless you’re just “having fun” or in that weird hinterland between dating and being boyfriend and girlfriend, then go for it. There’s going to be free food and drink, gifts and great TV (I’m not sure you get presents at Thanksgiving, but you’re definitely blessed with football), and your family will be at their drunkest and therefore their most entertaining. The only uncomfortable feeling should be heartburn, and that’ll soon pass.

MORE LIKE THIS ON EMandLO.com:

Our “guys” are a rotating group of contributors. This week’s Straight Married English Guy is James Glazebrook; our Gay Guy is one-time stripper and sex columnist Daniel; and our other Straight Married Guy is Mark Luczak. To ask the guys your own question, click here.



Your Call: Do I HAVE to Go to My Partner’s Family Thanksgiving?

November 24, 2014

6 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. 

Hi,

My boyfriend of eight months invited me to his family Thanksgiving, which is sweet, but I’ve met them and I’d really rather not go through the pain of it (they’re religious, Republican, old fashioned). I don’t have any alternative plans (my family is too far away for me to make the trip, plus they’re their own kind of crazy) though I could probably crash in on some friends. Although being alone wouldn’t be as bad, I think, as spending forced “quality time” with his family (in separate rooms! we’re in our late 20s/early 30s). We’re good, but I’m not sure he’s “the one” and that we’ll be spending the rest of our Thanksgivings together. I know he’ll be hurt if I bail, but I really, really don’t want to go. One crazy family is enough! Am I in my rights to decline?

Thank you!

Pardon This Turkey

What advice do you have for P.T.T.? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below.

MORE LIKE THIS ON EMandLO.com:



Dream Interpretation: My Dead Husband Came Back for Sex

November 21, 2014

0 Comments

Other people’s dreams are never interesting…except when they’re about sex. Each week, our dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg tells one lucky reader what their dirty dream means. Got a dream you want Lauri to analyze? Click here to submit it (18 and older only, please). This week, a reader asks Lauri:

I dreamed that my deceased husband came back and all he wanted was sex. At the same time I said, “Don’t you see me, I’m losing all my teeth.” Then he got mad at me and said, “No, we better not, you might get sick.”

Lauri:  I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. I can see how this dream would have you scratching your head. It is more likely that this dream is trying to help you with life after him, rather than it being him coming through to you in the dream.

I don’t know how long it’s been since he passed, so I am going to assume it’s recent enough that you are still adjusting. His desire to have sex is really your desire. Remember, this dream is a creation of your own mind, so everything in it is of you.

It’s very interesting that you turn him down due to concern over losing your teeth. While that would surely kill the mood in real life, I think it is actually more symbolic of something you feel you are losing. In my research I have found that when we lose teeth in a dream, it is because we have allowed something out of our mouth that should have stayed in there permanently, we said something without thinking about it first. Is there anything you wish you had never said to your husband before he passed? Or is there something you wish you had said?

Losing teeth can also be connected to feelings of being inadequate. Have you been feeling less of a person since your husband passed? He then proceeds to get angry with you. Remember, this is really YOUR anger. Are you in the anger phase of grief? Or are you angry at yourself about something?

Whatever it is, you are told in the dream that you might get sick. Pay attention to whatever you are told in a dream because it is coming from your wise, subconscious, intuitive self. Have you been making yourself sick with grief, regret, anger or anything similar? Your dream states you might get sick, so it’s not an issue yet, but perhaps getting close. So take care of yourself, forgive yourself, and love yourself. It’s going to be okay.

Dreamer’s Response: Thank you so much. I’m pretty sure you hit this right on the nail. I lost my husband 18 months ago. I have always felt that I didn’t tell him enough how much I loved him. And that I had guilt that I didn’t care for him long enough. Because he died so quickly. And yes I do feel inadequate. I miss him so much. He is all had. … again, thank you.

 

Visit Lauri’s site, WhatYourDreamMeans.com, for even more dream interpretations! If you want to be able to figure out your own dreams every morning, then check out her latest book, Dream On It: Unlock Your Dreams Change Your Life, which will give you the tools you need to become a dream expert, too. Check out all of Lauri’s books here.

 

 

MORE LIKE THIS ON EMandLO.com:


Tags:

5 Ways to Look at Your Partner In a New Way

November 20, 2014

0 Comments


by Leslie Saul for YourTango  |  photo via flickr

Anyone who’s been in a long-term relationship at least once in their lives knows what I’m talking about when I bring up the dreaded relationship rut. When you first start dating someone, they seem to be all you think about. You may find yourself daydreaming or having trouble sleeping at night. Maybe your phone battery even dies more quickly because you’re constantly checking it to see if they’ve texted or called. It’s like you’re walking on air, in love, and you’ve never felt more energized or excited than you do when you get a glimpse of him or her.

This stage of the relationship is called the “romantic love” stage, better known as the “honeymoon” phase. You spend a ton of time learning about your new flame and going on dreamy dates to get to know each other better. You probably have a few “Pinterest-perfect” moments, and give each other small tokens of affection to show you’ve been thinking about each other. You really want these newfound feelings to last forever, but you are soon disappointed when you find out they won’t.

You’re not alone though! The “romantic love” stage of a relationship usually does not last any longer than 18 months. This may vary some with how quickly you rush into the relationship. For example, if you move in together right away, you might just become disillusioned with your new love a lot more quickly than if you’d taken things slower.

It is entirely normal for a relationship to enter a “rut” once the “honeymoon” phase passes, for a number of reasons:

  • Getting too comfortable
  • Routine becomes boring
  • Experiencing a dry spell
  • Dampening of desire

The Truth About Relationship Ruts

Ruts are easiest to get into when you live together, whether you are married or not. They are especially easy to bump into when you have children, as they require so very much of each partner’s time and attention. It is also possible for a couple that is still in the dating stage—you don’t live together, you aren’t engaged, you are serious” but you aren’t ready for that next step—to enter into a relationship rut.

Thanks to our culture’s unrealistic portrayal of love in fairy tales, movies, books, and television shows, many men and women assume that bumping into a relationship barrier (like an over-done routine, lack of gratitude, boring sex life, or lack of communication) means that the relationship is doomed.

They take it as a sign that things have run their course and the person they are with is just not “the one.” Sometimes, they end the relationship without ever broaching the topic with their partner. This is NOT the course of action you should be taking if you’re in a relationship rut; instead, you need to recognize it for what it is, talk to your partner about your feelings, and come up with some solutions to turn it into something positive that will strengthen your relationship.

If you don’t talk to you partner about your boredom, lack of desire, or feelings of being unappreciated, they will start to fester. As they do, you will become hypercritical of your relationship and focus on your partner’s negative traits, rather than their positive ones. This is one of the quickest routes from rut to break up, which is probably not what you want if you’re reading this article. Right? So talk to your partner; they very well could be feeling the same things that you are.

If so, try incorporating some of these tips into your daily lives and see where they take you. Not all relationship ruts originate from the same source (boredom, not spending enough time together, not showing each other enough appreciation), and each and every one may not be effective—but one of them is bound to be.

Try sitting down with your partner and talking about which ideas you two think would be most effective for renewing your relationship … then, get going!

1. Renogatiate with your partner.

Do you remember the conversations you used to have in the beginning of your relationship? The ones where you laid out your boundaries, got to know each other’s deeper thoughts and selves, and maybe even made goals for the future together? The things you learned then may not apply anymore now, as you and your partner have grown and changed over the course of your relationship.

Therefore, it is important to take the time to have these conversations every so often as your relationship progresses, as you grow and change as individuals. Try thinking of the situation as a time of renegotiation with your partner.

2. Give each another some space.

When you first started dating your partner, you weren’t around them 24/7. You had time to focus on your own passions and they had time to focus on theirs. Effectively, you were more resistant to burn out and quite possibly more interesting as individuals. There might be some truth to the old clichĂ© “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” after all. Why not take advantage of that to better yourself and strengthen your bond at the same time?

3. Have sex.

Even if it’s just a quickie, an intimate interaction can reinforce the bond that you share and remind your partner of your attraction to them. It’s a simple way to show that you care, but it cannot fix your problems all on its own.

If the belief that your sex life is boring and contributing to your rut, try something novel together—making love in a new place or position, role playing, or incorporating toys. Just make sure that you’re both comfortable. The vulnerability that trying something new affords will leave you feeling closer than ever, with a newfound trust.

4. Shake up the routine.

If you do the same thing every day after work, especially if your after-work routine mostly includes passive pastimes like watching television, adding some variability can work wonders. Try going for a walk around your neighborhood after dinner if you don’t usually get out of the house. If one partner usually cooks and the other cleans up, try switching roles. The change doesn’t have to be drastic, it just has to be different enough to allow you to see one another in a different light.

5. Try something new together.

This can be as big or as small as you’d like it to be. Bonus points if it’s something that betters you both as individuals in the long run—like a cooking class or a new fitness routine.

If you have any anti-relationship rut tips of your own, please feel free to share them. These are, by far, not the only ways to overcome one; they are merely suggestions. Failing to plan is planning to fail and taking no action will surely lead to a lack of closeness and distance between you and your love. Leave your relationship rut in the dust by talking it out and deciding on a few small habits to change.

This article originally appeared on YourTango

More from YourTango: