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What Made Your Marriage Fail?

April 1, 2014

2 Comments

Are you separated, divorced, or on your way there? If so, we want to hear from you. (We promise complete anonymity!) We’re working on a new project about happy-ever-afters… and not-so-happy-ever-afters… and we want to interview couples, over email, about the thing that caused their marriage to fail.

If you’re interested in sharing your story anonymously — it’s a chance to vent, or to put it all down for posterity, or to help others avoid the same pitfalls — then send us a message via our contact form here. And we’ll tawk!

Oh, and if your marriage is a gloriously happy one? Or at least reasonably satisfying? No discrimination: We want to hear from you, too. Again, anonymity is guaranteed. Just send us a message via our contact form here.

Thanks, as always, for sharing…. and over-sharing.

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Confession: The Problem with Bisexuality

April 1, 2014

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Yesterday, Nathaniel Frank gave us a male perspective on bisexuality; today, we’re getting a female perspective. In honor of the culmination of Bisexual Awareness Month yesterday, our long-time contributor Ariel E.M. Servadio wrote the following article on her recently relaunched Cephaloblog about her own bisexuality, which she’s graciously allowing us to reprint here today. 

 

Make up your mind already.

My problem with bisexuality is not that “they just can’t decide.” My problem is not that “they’re confused.” My problem is not that “they’re being greedy”. My problem is that “they” are me, and you probably didn’t know that.

Really, it’s just not fair – bisexuals can live under the guise of being straight, and therefore conform more nicely into society somewhat unintentionally, if they just happen to only meet and date people of the opposite sex. I know this, because it’s what I’ve done all of my life.

 

It makes me feel guilty. In a culture where LGBTetc. rights are finally getting the respect and legal recognition that they deserve, and more people than ever are truly “out and proud,” I am hiding in plain sight. I guess I’m not out – but truthfully, I was never really in. Because I’m gay. And I’m straight. Once, in complimenting my outfit, my friend told me “You kind of look like a lesbian”1 and I replied, “that’s funny, because I am kind of a lesbian!” Jokingly, I’ve described myself as half-lesbian, or half-gay.

Growing up, I just thought I was very open minded. I felt that for me personally, it was more about the person inside than their genitalia. I realize that’s not the case for everyone and that’s fine – that’s just how I’ve always felt. But it never really occurred to me that that person would ever be a woman, because I was only ever attracted to and dated men. Although I occasionally found myself sexually attracted to women throughout my post-pubescent life, no one needed to know about it, because I had no intentions of acting on it. I never met a woman I wanted to date. It just didn’t happen. Once, much later, I finally did meet a woman that I wanted to date, and we ended up becoming great friends instead.2

And this is really where the problem with bisexuality comes in: the truth of the matter is, I have a choice.

Let me affirm that I do not believe sexual orientation is a lifestyle choice in any way, shape or form. To quote Lady GaGa, “I was born this way, baby.” But I do, perhaps to the detriment of our already quavering reputation, think that bisexuals have a choice in the way they live their lives. Regardless of whether I’m born with an attraction to both men and women or not, if I only seek romantic relationships with the opposite sex out of societal conditioning, convenience, fear or utter cluelessness, I can live an easier, more socially acceptable, straight life.

I could spend the rest of my life choosing not to pursue romantic relationships with the same sex and live as a heterosexual, as far as everyone else knows. If federal and state laws don’t go my way and don’t respect homosexuals as human beings that deserve the same rights as all other human beings, no sweat – I can marry a man, adopt a child with him, whatever I want, and everyone will be 1) none the wiser and 2) never disgusted by how I live my life.

And that’s just not fucking fair.

You can’t help who you fall in love with, that is true – I mean, hey, I’m as big a fan of Chasing Amy as anyone. But is it unrealistic to think that I can, and have, influenced my sexual orientation over the years by unconsciously not considering women dateable? Being straight is so easy, so smiled upon, so normal – who would choose to live any other way?

No one would, and that is why it is a certainty that sexuality is inherent. I guess in a sense, we all do have a choice when it comes to sexuality: to be happy and live as who we truly are, or to be unhappy and socially acceptable. And anyone who chooses unhappiness, despite how much society shits on you otherwise, is choosing wrong. Your happiness is everything. The entire point of life is to be happy – why choose anything else?

What my problem ultimately comes down to is this – if I never date and fall in love with a girl, I could live the rest of my life as a straight woman. But I’m not going to. Because whether I ever end up doing so or not, I know that I would, and I won’t limit myself with a binary label. I’ve made up my mind: I’m bisexual.

1. She sincerely meant this in the best way possible – she loves lesbians. 

2. This can be a problem with women, I’ve found – real crushes can turn into friend crushes which can turn into incredible friendships with no romantic possibility, ever. Sigh, the sapphic life. 

Craig Ferguson perfectly articulates my feelings about coffee, tea and bisexuality:

Craig, where do yo come down on the tea vs. coffee debate?
There is no tea vs. coffee debate!
You're making it up!
I like tea, I like coffee!
I like milk chocolate, I like dark chocolate!
I like penises, I like vaginas!


Confession: (My) Bisexuality Is Really Not That Complicated

March 31, 2014

1 Comment

In honor of the last day of Bisexuality Awareness Month (it’s sort of ironically fitting, given how overlooked bisexuality so often is, that we only just realized March was Bisexual Awareness Month), we’re publishing an essay by our friend Nathaniel Frank, originally posted on Slate. He is best known as the author of the book Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America, and was an expert witness in two Constitutional challenges to “don’t ask, don’t tell,” whose success helped end the policy. And though he’s been a friend for years, until he published this essay, we’d always assumed he was gay. Which is one of many reasons why we wanted to publish it…

Bisexuality has been the subject of chatter lately, since the New York Times Magazine ran a cover story on the quest to prove it exists. There was a time when I used to dread this topic. I’m one of those people who, when pressed, identifies as bi, but far more often says I’m gay. And I’m not alone: When surveyed, a majority of LGB people say they’re “B,” but how many self-identified bisexuals do you know? Most Americans have gay or lesbian friends and associates, but many fewer seem to have bisexual ones that they know of, despite their statistical ubiquity among LGB people.

Why don’t bisexuals like me come out more? Part of it is laziness. But you don’t find many gay or straight people identifying as something other than who they really are just because they’re lazy. Part of it is stigma. As discussed in (and, some say, perpetuated by) the Times Magazine piece, bisexuals get little respect, not only from the world at large, but specifically from gays and lesbians, some of whom have long insisted they don’t exist. There is a widespread belief that those who identify as bi are either in a transitional stage or are lying (to themselves or others)—trying to savor the status of straightitude while enjoying the pleasures of gaydom. And this suspicion of the enduring reality of bisexuality contributes to “bisexual erasure,” which the Times piece defines as “the idea that bisexuality is systematically minimized and dismissed.” Read the rest of this entry »



Tell Us Your Viagra Story!

March 28, 2014

1 Comment

Does your partner use Viagra for erectile dysfunction or just recreationally? Have you used it yourself, for whatever reason? If so, we want to hear from you! We’re working on an article for a new national health and wellbeing magazine about the pros and cons of Viagra use in relationships and marriages. ANONYMITY GUARANTEED! If you’ve got some experience with this drug, please write to us via our contact form, selecting “Interview Me for Your Article!” from the pull down menu — and be sure to include your age, relationship-status, a sentence or two about your experience, and your email address so we can reach you directly (we will not share your address with anyone). Looking forward to hearing from you!

Share your Viagra story with us!



Comment of the Week: BDSM Destroyed My Marriage

March 26, 2014

5 Comments

photo via flickr

Reader Nancy told the following heartbreaking story in response to our post, “Your Call – He’s Kinky, She’s Vanilla, Is the Relationship Doomed?” Sometimes, it turns out, love just isn’t enough…

I have been married for 17 years and recently discovered my husband’s infidelity. He started with a porn addiction which affected our sex life negatively and now is in pretty deep in the BDSM world–of course never communicating to me about his desires. I knew something was “up” for about six months, and then started having him followed. Such a sad way for me to discover his alternative lifestyle. I had to have answers for his behavior and mood changes so I am not really sorry I did the surveillance thing.

His personality changed in a negative way. He became very disengaged from our children and myself. Irritable, self-centered and defensive about any kind of inquiries about his life. (I realize these are behaviors that anyone would demonstrate if having an affair). After I confronted him about his activities, we had huge communication sessions about what led up to this. We love each other dearly and have three wonderful children who deserve both parents in a loving household. It probably won’t be possible to continue with our relationship. He cries and says he wants a committed, loving, monogamous relationship with me, but knows in his heart the BDSD charge is very strong and admits it will be next to impossible to maintain fidelity in our marriage.

I am sick about this, but don’t have an answer for any of it. I was sexually, emotionally, and verbally abused much of my childhood by an abusive stepfather. My mother was an extremely submissive person who “looked the other way” and accused me of lying when I would complain. I have worked extraordinarily hard to overcome the scars and damage from this. I am proud of myself for who I have become. I look for the light and positive in everything I do. My life is devoted to helping other people. BDSM has cast a very dark shadow over my children, my marriage and my future.

Yes, I did try and be open to my husband and play the “sub role.” It sucked. Sorry, I don’t want to be spanked, tied up and blindfolded. I don’t want my husband to stick his penis in my mouth when I am in a vulnerable position. Doesn’t do it for me. I am not excited by the “confusion” that BDSM brings into the complicated division of “power” between a man and a wife. So, we will be divorcing soon. It is a no-win situation. My husband cries every day and says he knows he will not find happiness with a sub, but he is “just in too deep.” I have a hunch he is not going to make BDSM a lifetime commitment. I am looking forward to getting out of this mess and beginning a life either on my own or with someone who will love me in a way that shares gentleness, warmth, care light and love. I want my children to experience what a relationship looks like from that perspective.

I always wonder if people that are so enthusiastic about BDSM would want their children involved with this. Would you really want your daughter being a sex slave or sub to a dom? Would you want your son whipping his wife? Not me. Life is so full of wonderful things that include kindness and gentleness. I have walked both sides of the fence and there is nothing to me more exciting than a gentle caress, a supportive hug, a loving gaze, a meeting of the eyes while love-making, my husband’s head on my breasts, an equal say in decisions involving the household etc. It is not a boring vanilla lifestyle to experience these things, I promise you.

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What Makes YOUR Marriage Work?

March 19, 2014

1 Comment

Are you happily married? If so, we want to hear from you! We’re working on a new project celebrating happy-ever-afters, and we want to interview you over email to find out what makes your marriage a happy one. You can stay completely anonymous, we promise! (Unless you’d care to brag.) If you’re interested in sharing your story — think of it as helping to make the world a happier place, one relationship at a time — then send us a message via our contact form here. And we’ll tawk!

Oh, and if your marriage failed miserably? Or is in the process of failing miserably? No discrimination: We want to hear from you, too. Assuming, that is, that you’re willing to let complete strangers learn from your mistakes. Again, anonymity is guaranteed. Just send us a message via our contact form here.

Thanks, as always, for sharing…. and over-sharing.

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Comment of the Week: Why the Labia Jokes Have Got to Stop

March 12, 2014

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At what point can we all agree that jokes about protruding inner labia are (a) way past their sell date (seriously, Dane Cook? A “box of cow tongues”? A “high school play curtain”? Are you working from the junior high book of jokes here?); (b) douchey in the extreme; and (c) seriously damaging to women’s self-confidence. Guys, if you really want women to enjoy sex more, then stop criticizing their labia. Stop comparing their labia to roast beef, or slices of ham, or any other kind of meat. If you insist on recycling material from seventh grade, then stick with fart jokes, please. For those just getting with the program, this week’s comment by Thee (abridged; you can read the comment in full here), in response to our post, “Wise Guys: Do Men Care What Labia Look Like?”  should seal the deal. Hint: Even if a woman is laughing at your “joke” — in fact, especially if she’s laughing — doesn’t mean she’s not dying a little inside.

I really am not fond of my labia. At all. Like someone else said, I don’t remember them growing, I just know that at some point I realized they were large. I was just looking at them one day thinking all kinds of things. “Why are they stretchy looking? Why are they brown? Why aren’t they like tucked in? What the hell is a vagina typically supposed to look like anyway? Is this right? I wonder how many other girls look like this? Did I go years unconsciously pulling at myself or something? They hang. Why? Guys are going to have to adjust their eyes when they see my (Dane Cook large labia reference here) high school play curtains. They’re so ugly. And wrinkly. I need them chopped.” These things still go through my head when I’m changing in a mirror.

I go back and forth between those things and thinking to myself, “It’s not a big deal. The guys you’ve been with have NOT EVER complained. Your ex bf said he liked them a lot, you’re fine. Shut up.”

But I hear so many negative jokes about them. The other day my guy friends were talking about lip size. I just ha-ha’d and stayed balls deep into my phone like I didn’t care about the subject, but I was listening quite intently. The guys never came right out and said they prefer porn-like pussies (“pretty in pink” or “tucked away” as I think of them). They just made jokes about larger labia. The play curtain joke came up, as well as the beef curtain joke. I forced myself to laugh, but I felt so abnormal and insecure about myself.

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Poll: Can You Ever Assume Exclusivity in a New Relationship?

March 10, 2014

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Comment of the Week: A Small Penis Is Better Than No Hands

March 5, 2014

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photo via Flickr

We selected this Comment of the Week with some hesitation — thanks, in part, to his terrible username, his unnecessary mention of his own penis size (i.e. not small), and his refusal to use punctuation (which we’ve provided for him) — but his heart really seemed like it was in the right place, so here’s a part of Womanareagift’s response to the post “Wise Guys: If He Asks About Size, Can I Tell Him the Truth?” He had some other good points buried within his comment, but honestly, we didn’t have the patience to extricate them from all the bad grammar.

As a guy, you should really not allow yourself to waste any of your life feeling unhappy about your penis. If it’s small, so what? What if you had no hands! You would be a lot less fortunate and [experience a lot less pleasure] than you can with hands and any size penis. I am around average size, based on all the feedback [I've heard], porn [I've seen] and showers at boarding school [I've taken]. I don’t feel inadequate in any way, and you should just be real. Why be concerned, did you somehow fuck up and get delivered a small one [as punishment?] NO, you had no control [over] what you got, so just use it to get as much pleasure as you desire and think [about what it would be like] if it got cut off or you had no hands.

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Comment of the Week: How to Fall In Love with Your Wife Again

February 26, 2014

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Reader John wrote the following in response to the post, “Comment of the Week: I’m Jealous of My Wife’s Friends.” It’s a long one, but stick ’til the end (just as he did, sorta) — you’ll be glad that you did!

About two years ago, I had mentally drifted away from my wife of over twenty years. It had gotten to the point that I felt I lost that strong connection we once had. We had spoken about it, but not made any decisions at that point (go forward, divorce, etc). And SEX had nothing to do with our issues. Quite the opposite, in fact. Our sex life continued to be outstanding, even right up to that point. But I got so disconnected, I moved into another part of the house, and contemplated divorce.

That’s when I started going out to bars and parties alone. During my travels to discover the perfect martini, I was seated at a hotel bar one night, minding my own business, sipping my favorite cocktail. Which is stirred, by the way (sorry 007, you got that wrong!). There was this kinda goofy dude seated to my right, and two attractive women seated to his right. I had never seen any of them prior to that night. The guy was chatting them up pretty vigorously, but I could tell by their responses, they were hardly interested.

I was surfing the internet at the time, on my new Kindle Fire, when one of the women farthest away, called over to me. I looked over and she said, “What is that you have there?” — referring to my new Kindle. I could see that she had that “Please come save me from this goofball” desperate look in her eyes. Rather humorous, I remember thinking. So, rather than trying to shout over Mr. “I’m from outta town” goofball, I decided to walk over and give her a demonstration of my new toy. Now the other women, on my left, was interested in the diversion my little device was providing. The goofy dude eventually got the message when no one was paying any attention to him.

As it turns out, the women on the left (A) was married, and the woman on the right (B) was in a committed relationship (living with her fiancé for several years). I had seen men hitting on women all the time regardless of their status. Not always in bars, either. The workplace, etc. You would have to be deaf, dumb, and blind not to think that happens all the time.

My point with all this? I wound up dating women (B) for approx. 8 months. Through my relationship with this women, I found out that this was not exactly uncommon. One of her close friends, also in a committed relationship, had been intimate with a man they had met during a convention in a hotel bar. I also found out that the friends of women B disliked her fiancé so much, they were setting her up on blind dates, even though they knew about me! Maybe it was the whole “he’s still married” thing. But so was she! She never divorced her first husband because of insurance reasons.

Needless to say, I had just bought myself a new set of problems! I ended the relationship after I found out about the blind dates. Yes, she could have refused to go, but she didn’t. These women were not slutty low life’s, you might be thinking right now. Surprisingly (or maybe not), they were all highly educated with advance degrees, and held administrative positions.

During this time, my wife was continuing to express a desire to fix things. She had started going to a counselor, and encouraged me to go as well, but I was very resistant. I decided that I needed to go at least once, for my wife’s well being. It’s been about a year since then, and we have been back together ever since (I mean REALLY back together!). I have attended many counseling sessions with my wife, and it’s been the best thing for the both of us. We really reconnected.

Yes, I came clean about my relationship with “B”. But I soon realized I was connecting (through just conversation, with the one exception being “B”) with women I hardly knew, to feel that newness, or freshness of a budding relationship. Ok, enough of my personal introspection, and analysis.

My wife and I decided to try some new things, toys, etc. to spice things up. Not that we needed to, but to add another dimension to our sexual relationship. It has really turned out to be the special relationship it always was. I had just stopped seeing it that way back then. Easy to do when you’re not looking.

So, in conclusion to this very long saga, I would encourage the writer to do the same. Seek professional advice if necessary. The bottom line: you have to discuss this with your wife, and let her know how you feel. But, going out every week, and taking yearly week long trips, all with single friends? After reading my post, does anyone see any red flags here? Kinda sounds like a former friend of mine from a few paragraphs ago.

Oh, and one last bit advice to the writer: be careful who you share with, or go to for advice. Everyone will have an opinion and be willing to tell you what they think, and what to do. For example; if there is something going on with your wife, but you decide to stay together and work it out, what do you think all those people who said dump her are going to say? Try to find that one person who will not judge you regardless of the outcome. And again, if all else fails, try seeing a therapist. You might be surprised. I was.

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