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Your Call: How Can I Enjoy Sex When I Was Taught Not To?

December 15, 2014

2 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 am a 26-year old-woman who lives in a country where women are under much more pressure, where rape rates are quite high, and street harrassment is common. My parents are very nice people and not that close-minded, but still — I have been raised with myths like sex hurts, you bleed, you become a wh… etc, etc. Still, I have to hide that my boyfriend sleeps over from my mom & from the neighbors.

Well, my problem is, I tried to have sex for the first time when I was 19, and it hurt soooo much that I couldn’t do it. I realised it was called “vaginismus” and I tried to get over it, trying to have intercourse attempts with different men (all end up with pain and tears), going to doctors etc. Recently, I discovered feminism and their sex tips, I bought an external vibrator, and had my first orgasm. I also could insert (once) a dildo with lots of lube. But only once you see. And I still have this problem where I even can’t insert a tampon.

Now, my problem is, I have a boyfriend who is really nice, but he is a really big guy, and he is a little bit hyperactive and impulsive, even when I say that what he does is hurting me, he sometimes doesn’t stop. He’s very keen to show his physical strength or whatever. Knowing I have lots of sexual dysfunction issues, that leaves me very angry and frustrated and closes me up even more.

On the other hand, maybe I could enjoy his enthousiasm if I was able to have sex. I really, really want to have a fullfilled, regular, good sex life and I know that deep inside, I can be that grown up girl who enjoys sex in every way. And I love this guy, so I want to continue my sex life with him. But you know, it is so ridiculous to ask this seeing I am 26, but I am afraid of his “size” and, more concerningly, his “rapey” manners.

How can I get myself to be normal and get rid of these issues? Thank you, and have a nice day!

– Love Hurts (But Sex Hurts More)

What advice do you have for L.H.B.S.H.M.? Share your thoughts in the comments area below.

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How to Write a Love Letter Like Georgia O’Keeffe

December 12, 2014

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“Blue Flower,” 1918

We’re not surprised in the slightest to discover that Georgia A-Flower-Is-Never-Just-a-Flower O’Keeffe was quite the steamy letter writer. Her love letters to the (ahem, married-at-the-time) photographer and modern art promoter Alfred Stieglitz were published as part of an exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art  a few years back. The two married eventually, and Stieglitz cheated on O’Keeffe eventually, too, so we guess karma already did all the judging for us. Which is not to say that you shouldn’t learn from (and take notes on) the passion conveyed in the following letter — it’s good stuff. We would just argue that, though more challenging, the same kind of intensity can be found in loving relationships that don’t have stakes-raising, taboo-tingling adultery at their core. We would also argue for better grammar and punctuation.

From New York

13 June 1918
You will be here in a few minutes I guess but I have to get up and write you – its necessary – I must – I’ve been lying here listening for you in the dark – my face feels so hot Aching for you way down to my finger ends – an actual physical ache –
As I came up the street into the sunset after supper – I wondered – can I stand it – the terrible fineness and beauty of the intensity of you – I do not know – may yet have to run away – it seems almost too much –
…
And lying here – wanting you with such an all ache – not just wanting – loving – feeling – all the parts of my body touched and kissed – conscious of you
A volcano is nothing to it
No words I know say the hotness – consumingness of it
Still I some way feel I can be quiet when you come can control myself
Feeling it grow though—I seem to feel that the moment will come when I cant control myself when I’ll be blind and mad
…
The woman you are making seems to have gone far beyond me – Almost out of sight

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Four Things You Need to Know About Casual, Anonymous, Tinder-esque Sex

December 12, 2014

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by Aaron Kaplan for YourTango  |  photo via Flickr

Just as people were becoming more cautious about casual sexual encounters like anonymous sex and one-night stands, Tinder blew up on the “dating” scene, and people stopped being quite as cautious about risky rendezvous.

No one is saying you have to be a total prude when dating these days. Just because you’re being careful doesn’t mean that you have to take a vow of celibacy. You just have to use some common sense. For instance …

1. Skip the drugs and booze. These include such things as drug and/or alcohol filled parties where you don’t know a lot of people. While raves are usually attended largely by teenage and college-aged kids, there are many adults that like to pretend that they’re still teenagers. A lot of drugs are mood enhancers and act as aphrodisiacs. When you’re high and horny, you’re not going to be thinking about such things as condoms.

2. Wrap it up. Pregnancy isn’t the only thing you have to worry about when it comes to casual sex. There’s also the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). These run the gamut, from minor tempororary discomfort (like crabs) to infections that never go away (herpes). Some are even deadly, like human papillomavirus (HPV). Your random romp in the sack is the equivalent of playing Russian roulette.

3. Know thy partner. Anonymous hookups can be exciting and even fun, but it can also be one of the more risky behaviors anyone can engage in. You have no clue about the person you’re having sex with, and a lot of the encounters don’t even involve condoms. Worst-case scenario: Your hookup is a rapist or a a serial killer.

3. Bottom line: If you decide that your type of sex simply has to be kinky and risky, use some sort of protection against exchanging bodily fluids, even though it may not be 100 percent effective at protecting you against an STD, it’s better than nothing. And always make sure someone knows where you’re going. You certainly don’t want to become a victim of something simply because you wanted a little excitement.

This article originally appeared on YourTango: “The Tinder Factor: The REAL Risks Of Risque Rendezvous”

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Wise Guys: When, If Ever, Is Cleavage Unsexy?

December 9, 2014

2 Comments

photo via Flickr

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: We know that men love boobs, but is there such a thing as too much cleavage? At what point — if any — does it become tacky to guys? Is it all about the situation and context?

Straight Married Guy (Matt): Yes, I guess there’s such a thing as too much cleavage. If I took a date to a wedding and she rolled up with 3/4 of her boobs out, I’d be a little embarrassed (and, okay — it’d probably turn me on at the same time). You see, my inner ape is endlessly fascinated with boobs, and seeing cleavage is always appreciated. But sometimes it’s inappropriate or tacky. I think all guys are a little schizophrenic about this. It’s like, man, that is a ridiculously cheesy outfit… but I wish I could see the rest of those boobs.

Straight Single Guy (Colin): I fall in love all over again with cleavage each day, but I guess when you really get down to it, there are a few specific contexts when it’s time to cover up. The scenarios are hard to distinguish. If you’re meeting my family, it’s a no-go on breast exposure, whereas if you’re meeting my co-workers, it’s totally okay. If we’re going to dinner, take them out, but if it’s Sunday brunch you might want to keep them concealed. If you’re a woman with real class, you’ll always find a way to pull it off. But please, double check with a friend who’s not afraid to hurt your feelings before you try something like J-Lo’s 2000 Grammy dress. Read the rest of this entry »



Your Call: Is My Boyfriend Secretly Gay?

December 8, 2014

4 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,

What are signs that your boyfriend may be secretly gay?

– Beardy

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

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How to Live a Complete Life Without Sex

December 5, 2014

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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

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9 No-Duh Sex Moves Men Should Brush Up On

December 5, 2014

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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

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Dream Interpretation: I Cut Off My Own Penis

December 4, 2014

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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.

 

 

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How to Determine Whether Your Dating Age Gap Is Embarrassing

December 2, 2014

6 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?

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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.

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