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Your Call: How Much of a Factor Is Height in Male Attractiveness?

April 27, 2015

2 Comments

photo by Ranjit Laxman Photography

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,

I read a study that said 71% of women will not look at a guy if he is under 6 foot tall. I read another study that said men who are 5’9 and under have more sex than men who are 6 foot and up.¬†Any idea on who’s lying here?¬†If women are attracted to men who are only 6 foot plus, then why is the average U.K height for a man 5’9? Surely, shorter and/or weaker men, should have died out by now…?

- ISO Perspective

What should ISOP? Leave advice for him in the comments section below.

 

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Knowing When to Talk to Your Partner… Or Your Therapist

April 20, 2015

1 Comment

The following letter from a reader is really long. Like, really long. (And this is the abridged version!) But we’re publishing it here because we think it raises a really interesting, important question about relationships: How can you tell when you’re talking too much? And how can you tell when you need a therapist as well as just a partner to talk to?

For people who were blessed with a functional, happy childhood and/or stable mental health, the question probably doesn’t come up too often. But for people who are in therapy, or think they might need therapy, or who have come a long way in their life thanks to therapy, it’s an important question.

It’s easy to use a partner as a therapist. They’re free, for one thing! And they love you (one would hope), they have your back, and, unlike your therapist (again, one would hope), they can spoon you, too. But is there a line you shouldn’t cross when it comes to talking through problems? And how do you know where that line is? Is it a matter of content? Or is it simply a matter of how much time your partner spends listening vs talking?

Share your thoughts on this topic in the comments section below. Also, we highly recommend reading this letter we received, which does a great job of illuminating the way that this issue can rear its ugly head in relationships.

Dear Em & Lo,

A year ago, my first long term relationship of five years ended very badly. In retrospect, the relationship had a number of red flags early on. Both my partner and I had emotional issues due to abusive parenting. However, I now believe that my openness to explore these issues and receive therapy whilst in the relationship lead me to become the scapegoat for his problems, on top of trying to deal with my own. 

Towards the end it got very bad. I was trying hard to receive more help with my emotions, with a growing sense that “everything was my fault,” an idea that was supported by my ex-partner, who would diagnose me with mental health conditions that the doctor did not agree with. My ex once showed me a letter he’d written to his dad in which he declared himself to be a “full-time carer to a partner with clinical depression.” This was a couple of years after I had got back to living life following acute OCD and depression (due to two abortions I’d had, encouraged by my ex). My doctor had just clarified that he did not feel I was suffering with clinical depression. My ex-partner was definitely not a full-time carer for me.

Since our breakup I have found such reserves of strength in myself that I didn’t know existed. I have developed some amazing friendships, the kind that were belittled by my ex, and I have just completed my second course of CBT. The therapy was aimed at food-related psychological problems, however, we ended up talking a lot about boundaries, assertiveness and my unwritten rules developed as a child in an abusive environment. I can see that many of these issues had become huge problems in my last relationship, as I had little understanding of boundaries, and experienced a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty throughout the relationship. I have been working to instil the belief that my feelings are important too, as survivors of abuse can typically learn to overlook their own feelings in order to navigate the feelings of their abusers, in order to check for signs of danger, or other people’s mood changes. This has been all been helpful, and I feel stronger, more positive and able to care for myself in a way that is new and exciting for me. The therapy ended last week, and my therapist has discharged me with a recommendation to my doctor that I would be suitable for further therapy, as we couldn’t go too deep in our sessions. She has praised me for working hard and making progress by using the sessions well, which is heart warming, as she has correctly identified how much of an important journey it is for me to work towards self-love and self-support.

Recently I decided to open myself up to dating again, and over the past two months I have been building a new romantic relationship. Early on we were very open about our emotions and history, which feels really good to me, and he has observed my need to be open and talk about how I feel in great detail. We do have a lovely time but he has explained that he feels like he is in therapy with me, and that he can’t feel as many moments of effortless joy and relaxation that he would like in a relationship. It is early on in this relationship and I feel I have been displaying an excess of hyper-vigilance because the foundations are not set. I do have anxiety about not looking after myself, ending up in an abusive dynamic and not reading signals properly, which I am beginning to regard as hyper-vigilance. This can come through in behaviours such as being hot-headed and reactionary, even though I am aiming to be calm and assertive. Talking really helps, as when I can understand little things that my partner is experiencing that affect his mood, I can relax to know that it is not my fault.¬†

It is becoming clear to me that I would like to be with a partner who is comfortable with the level of work that I have done and will continue to actively do with myself. In my mind, this is beginning to translate as someone who has a good understanding, or experience of, self-awareness, or therapy, and is someone that is working towards their most positive self, with whatever issues they might harbour. I would like to be with someone who shares and understands my need to communicate, yet I would also like to pursue strategies for myself in how to deal with my hyper-vigilance, and to manage healthy boundary awareness, in order to minimise over-communication, emotional exhaustion and burn-out, which I feel I may be guilty of.

For the time being, I am not afraid of being alone in order to do more work on myself, however, I am also aware, since this recent relationship, that some of the work I would like to do on myself might only come up in a close intimate relationship. Right now I plan to keep loving myself, being kind, journaling thoughts and feelings, taking care of my body and continuing to apply the boundary and assertion ideas recently taught to me.

Is my dream of finding a partner who can accept me as I am unrealistic?¬†How do I navigate the issues that I experience, and my history, with a partner?¬†Should I seek more therapy now, or wait until I “need” it?¬†Which kind of therapy might be best for the issues I have raised?

– Saffy

What do you think: How can you tell when you’re talking¬†too¬†much in a relationship? And how can you tell when you need a therapist as well as just a partner to talk to?¬†Have¬†you been on either side of this situation yourself? Share¬†your thoughts in the comments¬†section¬†below.¬†

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Your Call: Should I Have a Fling with My Long-Distance Boss?

April 13, 2015

5 Comments

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

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

 

Dear Em & Lo,

I recently got out of a 3 1/2 year relationship. For the last year, our sex-life was basically non-existant, so now that I am “free” I am horny as hell.

A couple of weeks ago I got back from a business trip where I met a fascinating guy. He works in another branch of the company and lives 400 miles away, but technically he is my boss/ superior at work. Lots of flirting occurred and was followed up by a heavy make out session on our last evening. However, nothing more happened because I was still in the middle of my breakup.

Since I got back, we have been emailing or texting almost daily, and now he has invited me to come visit him for a few days in summer. He has made it quite clear that he is not the relationship type, needs his space and generally doesn’t do long distance, but that is fine by me. Right now, I am not interested in a relationship and am actually enjoying being “just me” for a while. I just love the way he makes me feel…

Most of me really wants to go and just have an amazing sexy weekend together, but I can’t help thinking that I am playing with fire here. In the fall we will be going abroad on another business trip together for six weeks to work on a project that is very important for my career. Am I being incredibly stupid, putting my career at risk with this fling? What if the chemistry we felt fizzles once we spend some days one on one? Is there a way I can avoid future awkwardness with a pre-emptive conversation? What do I say? “Promise me whatever happens this weekend won’t affect our professional relationship” sounds pretty lame and I doubt it will change anything…. On the other hand, backing out now seems pretty awkward as well, and I’m not sure how to do it elegantly….¬†

I don’t feel I can talk to my friends about this because my breakup is so new and everybody loved the ex… Please help me solve this mess!

– Boss or Bail?

What should BoB do? Leave advice for her in the comments section below.

 

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Your Call: I Almost Climax Just Thinking About a Date, Is This Normal?

April 6, 2015

0 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. 

 

Dear Em & Lo, 

I’m a 22-year-old female and I find it very strange that every time I plan to see my boyfriend, I experience near climaxing experiences on my own without anything initiating it. They begin one after the other, and I physically have to stop them. Is that normal? This has happened with every guy I dated, even if we are not going to have sex.

– Eager Beaver

Do you have any words of wisdom for, or stories to share with, Eager Beaver? Leave your suggestions for her in the comments section below. 

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Your Call: Why Did He Break Up with Me?

March 30, 2015

3 Comments

The “beyond my control” breakup scene in the film Dangerous Liasons

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. 

Dear Em & Lo,

I’ve been in a 15-year relationship with a man that I love. We had broken up many times in between but we always came back to one another. We have a connection. I recently found out that I am sick and he left me right before I was to have surgery. He said he didn’t want to leave me but he felt that we were just not right for each other anymore. We disagreed on several family related issues but he never vocalized that he would leave me because of them. He even used to tell me that I would get over the issues when we got married. I then found out that he has been seeing this new girl and that she is supposedly the right one for him to start his life with and get married to. He claims he really likes her but she is not even his type. He says she is a family person like him. It’s only been four months since we broke up. He tells me he still loves me but that he has to move on in life. I don’t understand what is going on. Any advice would be so great right now.¬†

– Sick & Single

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

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In Defense of Sex Toys, Feminism and Trolls

March 25, 2015

2 Comments

For the most part, we tend to ignore the trolls. But every once in a while, outlandish claims need to be addressed to ensure that reality-based facts win over fear, insecurity and hate. In response to a post about a woman whose inability to orgasm without a sex toy was hurting her boyfriend’s feelings, one commenter recently made some particularly ridiculous, utterly unhelpful statements — we break them down, one by one, below (without his, shall we say, colorful language).

Claim: Sex toys make women loose.
Reality:¬†It’s pretty much the opposite.¬†The vagina is not a cheap sock that goes limp with repeated use. It expands and contracts with arousal. The perineal muscles which surround it help maintain its integrity. So the more pleasure the area receives, with say a sex toy, the more workout those muscles get, the stronger they’ll be, and thus the more supportive they are of the area, the tighter they can contract, and the more responsive they become to stimulation. Win-win-win!

Claim: Men don’t want to be with women who use sex toys.
Reality: Smart people know that women who use sex toys are comfortable with their own sexuality, better understand how their bodies are built and work, know what they like, and are more successfully orgasmic — all things that make for better partner-sex. Men who are comfortable with their own sexuality will use sex toys with their partners for variety and fun without feeling threatened. Which is not to say that dangling a toy with “realistic” aesthetic details but “unrealistic” proportions in front of one’s self-conscious male partner is polite — in fact, it’s the epitome of insensitive rudeness. But a woman who uses her favorite toy, discretely if feelings require it, while finding some other accessory she and her partner can¬†both enjoy can only improve their sex life.

Claim: Your vulva/vagina is your male partner’s property. AND:¬†Men only like women for their genitals.
Reality: Do we even have to address this? It’s so tiresome, so transparent. We get it. You long for a time when men ruled the world, and women were their sex slaves. And now it kind of sucks that you have to deal with this upwardly mobile class of people who now have rights and power, often more power than you. And so, in a desperate attempt to slow down the inevitable rise of this group, you try to take them down a peg or two by insulting them. Are you twelve? It’s been quite a while, at least in this country, since women were married off as property. Yes, human rights are actually a good thing. Please acknowledge all the happy, well-adjusted grown-up men around you who interact, work, fall in love and/or have sex with women they view, value and respect as equal human beings. Both men and women are multi-dimensional — it’s not all about intercourse.

Claim: Sex toys make it harder for women to reach orgasm.
Reality: Many women require clitoral stimulation in order to reach orgasm. Unfortunately, it’s another of Mother Nature’s cruel jokes that the jackhammering many men prefer during intercourse avoids contact with the clitoris altogether. Add to that the great variability among women with how their genitals operate and respond to stimuli; the atrocious state of sexual education in this country; the pervasiveness of male-centric, unrealistic porn; the still-rampant sexism in our country which shames women’s sexuality and limits their sexual agency¬†(Exhibit A: your comment)¬†– and it’s a miracle women can orgasm at all! They need all the help they can get; sex toys offer that help. And often times, once a sex toy can finally get them to their happy place, they’re better equipped to experiment with other ways to find satisfaction, both alone and with a partner.

Dear Commenter, we condemn the straight woman (or women) who hurt, belittled or shamed you. They are not representative of our entire gender. Just as they should not speak ill or dismissively of the male member (as we’re assuming they did), neither should you speak so ill of women’s genitals. Both men and women, gay or straight or transgendered, are so much more than the sum of their sexual body parts. The more we all start thinking about sex with our heads instead of our junk, with our hearts instead of our hatred, the better we’ll all get along, both in and out of the bedroom. Here’s hoping you find someone who can love you for you, and vice versa.


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Your Call: I Was Bi, But Now I’m Not Attracted to Men. What Happened?

March 23, 2015

3 Comments


photo via Wikimedia Commons

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. Leave your suggestions in the comments section below. 

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

 

Dear Em & Lo,

I’m a 21 year old woman who realized she was bisexual about a year ago, but recently my sexual desire for men has disappeared. My sex drive is fine, and my attraction to women is still there, but I don’t feel anything for men any more.

I’ve asked my mother and some friends, and they said it could be because I’ve been heavily depressed, but I’ve been clinically depressed for years and it hasn’t affected me that way at all. And, as I said, I’m still attracted to women — in fact my attraction to women has increased.

Was I just a lesbian all along? Do all bisexuals go through phases? I’ve been like this for weeks, and I’m worried I’ll never love men again.

– Bye-Bi Birdie

What’s your advice for Bye-Bi Birdie? Leave your thoughts in the feedback section below.

 

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Your Call: My Husband and I Don’t Care That We Don’t Have Much Sex. Should We?

March 16, 2015

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. 

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

 

 

Dear Em & Lo,

My husband and I have been married for ten years. Three kids later, we don’t have sex very often — nothing compared to our pre-married life. But neither of us seems that bothered by it. He doesn’t initiate that often and isn’t asking for more. I’m fine with the occasional sex we do have. I know we both occasionally masturbate, him I’m guessing more (we don’t advertise it to each other). I feel like we have a close, trusting relationship. But I’m always hearing about how sex is such an important part of a relationship. If it isn’t for us, should we be worried? Should I be worried?

– Libidoless in Los Angeles

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


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Your Call: How Do You Know If It’s Settling or Being Smart

March 10, 2015

4 Comments

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. Leave your suggestions in the comments section below. 

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

Dear Em & Lo,

How do you know the difference between being discerning and being too picky? I hate the Princeton Mom but I’ve read smarter articles about not waiting too long to settle down, especially if you want a family. To go with the person who’s just good enough, rather than perfect (since no one’s perfect). But my last few relationships haven’t been with people I can see making it long term with. They had many pros but a few cons that just felt like deal breakers to me. I can compromise, but I don’t want to betray myself or my values. Still, I’m in my late thirties and am starting to get worried. At what point do you just settle and hope for the best?

Fence Sitter

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

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Your Call: How Do I Give Women a Heads Up About My Penis?

February 23, 2015

9 Comments

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 Em & Lo!

Women’s advice on my situation would be much appreciated.

Imagine this: You like everything about a man, you get to the bedroom, you don’t like what you see as the undies come down.

So… I would like to know if anyone has any ideas on how I can let a girl know, ASAP, that I have a small (in my eyes, and hands!) penis. I measure an average L: 5.5 G: 4.5-5.

I understand that a lot of girls would be happy with this size, but I also understand that a lot of women will not. How do I let her know, so that she can make her mind up to go or stay ASAP, so that neither of us get hurt or, in her case, disappointed. I think it would be best for us to not waste each other’s time, so that we can both find someone who appreciates us.

Thanks!

– Average Joe

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