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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 »



Confession: My Husband Has No Penis

October 15, 2013

3 Comments


photo via Flickr

Amy Bronwen Zemser — “writer, squirrel hunter, breastfeeder, homosexual” — just launched her new, provocative blog, AmyBronwenZemser.com. We have the honor of publishing an abridged version of one of her recent hilarious posts about coming out, homophilia, and cases of mistaken sexual identity (read the unabridged version here). Enjoy!

***

I’ll tell you a secret.

I still have some internalized homophobia.  So I get squeamish when I have to come out.

I don’t have to come out very often, but the situation does arise if I have to say, switch opthamologists.  Or if Ray wants to play with a child whose parent I do not know. Just recently, after I told the mother of a child in Ray’s Suzuki violin class that I was one of two moms, she looked at me with a completely straight face and said,  “There was a girl in my daughter’s class who had that.”

Had what?  The malaise of homosexuality?  The disfiguring disease of conjoined motherhood?

Once, when I was adjuncting at St. John’s university, the topic of homosexuality came up.

“I heard it runs in families,” an English professor said.

“Oh yes,” I chimed in.  “My brother and I both inherited homophilia.  Haven’t you heard?  It’s very catching.  Do you want your spoon back?”

I don’t want to be labeled, see.  Who does?  Even if only a portion of the lesbian population have wiffles,  I still have trouble coming out with it in ordinary conversation.  I hate the word “lesbian” because it makes me think of a bunch of women wearing patchouli and making out with each other on some Greek island.  Gay is generally a term for the boys (although I do use it) and queer still means strange to a lot of people.  I do love the word homosexual because there’s a whiff of the scientific there, and it’s funny, but admittedly I say the word in a humorous way as a coping mechanism.

Hi, I’m Amy, and I’m a homosexual.  A HOMOsexual.

To call oneself any one thing — a homosexual or a writer or a parent or a squirrel killer, for that matter, is just plain reductive. Nobody want to be any one thing.  I am the sum of all my complicated and contradictory parts.

But sometimes, as with the Suzuki violin mother, introductions occur, and you have to come up with something better than same-sex touchmonkey or Zena warrior.

I have found a solution to this issue, though.  I have my own special little stock phrase that I integrate into a conversation, when I have to let someone know that my spouse is female, and so far it has worked out beautifully:

My husband has no penis.

This is a very effective strategy.  It is funny, it is fast, and you don’t have to use the words transgender or queer.

Fine, I give you that it’s a lot longer than the word gay, but it’s infinitely more original, especially when you are at a gas station having a cigarette and you can casually blow smoke out the side of your mouth and say, oh, you know, my husband has no penis, so we just use the same rest room at the truck stop.

When Lynn and I were first trying to get pregnant, we spent a lot of time at the fertility clinic.  We spoke to many physicians at the outset who tried to convince me that we needed to use medical intervention in order to get pregnant, even though we had no idea whether, at 37, I was infertile or not.  Conversations would invariably get to this point:

Me: I’ve never tried to get pregnant before. I don’t know if I’m infertile.  I mean, do you have any statistics?

Fancy Fertility Doctor: What kind of statistics?

Me: Like, how many women come to the infertility office to get pregnant not because of low sperm count or advanced maternal age, but because, you know, their husband has no penis.   Ha ha.  HA HA HA HA HA.

FFD: (silence)

Me: My husband has no penis!  HA HA HA HA HA HA

I can’t get pregnant, I’d go on, pointing to Lynn.  We try and try but something must be very wrong with him, doctor, I really do think something is terribly wrong.

At this point Lynn turns purple and looks out the window.  Sometimes she’ll smile meekly and say this is Amy from the Catskills Resort, and her next joke will be….

For some reason I find my little joke absolutely hysterical.  I realize it sounds inane and embarrassing and puerile, like I’m in the seventh grade in Gloria Vanderbilts and feathered hair.  But every time I say it, it just gets funnier.  More importantly, it also makes real sense.  What could be a more banal, a more pedestrian and reasonable way to work into a conversation that you are gay than to say that your husband has no penis?

Since my husband has no penis, we don’t have federal marriage protection under the law.

My husband has no penis — of course we love the Indigo Girls.

Sure do wish my husband had a penis.  If he did, he surely wouldn’t need to adopt his own three kids.

Since my husband has no penis I had to drive all the way to Mt. Kisco to get my ovaries fluffed before Tuesday’s insemination in Manhattan.

Usually nobody laughs at my private joke, but I am always happy to have it.  It means I don’t have to say lesbian.  Gay.  HOMOsexual.

I hate the label, so I make a joke.  I don’t want to be reduced, so I make a joke.  I make a joke, I make a joke, I make a joke.

One time, at one of my poker games, my friend Melissa, a dentist, told me that after I had gone in for a cleaning, her administrative assistant shook her head sadly after me, saying, “That poor woman.  Did she tell you? Her husband,” and here she lowered her voice to a whisper, “Her husband has no penis.”

It took Melissa a while to explain to the woman that I was a lesbian, and that I didn’t have a husband at all.

“But what about the penis,” she insisted.  “What happened to it?  How did it come off?  How terribly painful that must have been.  For both of them.  In different ways, of course.”

Melissa said they had to go around a few times before it was all straightened out and the next patient could go in for his bite wings.

At this point most of the women around my Texas Hold ‘em table were wiping their eyes and crying over this poor office assistant who  seriously thought the reason I was having trouble conceiving was because, despite vigorous attempts, my penis-less husband was unable to squeeze any seeds from his fruitless loins.

I must admit that I would love to know if any of you use different terms to get around the discomfort of coming out.  If you are reading this and you are not a homosexual, then try and drum up a gay memory or two, perhaps the time you made out with your best friend in college.  Please share your experiences and thoughts on my very public forum.  What do you have to lose?  At worst you’ll be deeply humiliated. At best there is always deep shame.  It’s all good.  Everybody wins.

***

For more hilarity on artificial insemination, gay parenting and squirrel hunting (for real!), check out  AmyBronwenZemser.com.

 



Comment of the Week: I’m Jealous of My Wife’s Friends

August 28, 2013

1 Comment

Reader Jeff posted the following in response to our post, “Your Call: Why Is My Husband Jealous of My Female Friendships?” We thought it would be a great jumping off point for a debate about how to compromise in a relationship when one person wants a lot more solo time with their friends than another. How and where do you draw the line, if at all?

I freely admit to people that I have discomfort and feelings of jealousy about my wife’s time spent with her numerous friends and co-workers, some single some married. To begin, our Saturday morning time may be interrupted before we are up and about with phone calls and instant messages. I rarely complain about it but it has a cumulative effect over time.

She has done fifteen vacations with friends away from me in the last fifteen years where she is the only married woman, usually for less than 7 days out. My wife is astounded that I even have a count on how many but I remember every one, very well. She is constantly being asked by her single friends about where to go next on girls trip, some very costly. I actually agreed to let her go to Vegas with 1 single friend recently if she behaved herself, which she seemed to have done. A girlfriend of hers that did not make the trip gave me crap about letting her go there which almost caused me to say some fairly unpleasant things to her that would have caused a serious rift in the friendship and marriage. ( p.s. advise your “friends” not to say such a thing to your husband if he actually trusted you !)

Bottom Line: I try not to resent my wife’s high level of time spent personally, on the phone, and on vacations with friends. It’s not good for our marriage. I have said that I have never had a desire to vacation without her and told her that I have no concept of what motivates her to want to go places without me. My guy time is done same day, there and back.

Men will generally always have an issue with being left home for two, but especially three weekends in a row, while a wife travels. Men will generally resent too much phone time if they have an active work life and little time with the spouse. Women, you just need to understand that this is not “3 year old” emotion, its called commitment and results from an honest desire to be with your wife. If there is a problem fitting your marriage into your agenda then the marriage is going nowhere good.

It is natural for men, especially after 20 years of marriage, to be concerned that their wife has more fun in her relationships with friends than in the marriage. If one has never noticed a the marriage where the wife drifted away from her spouse emotionally then one is just not paying attention. Any who cares is not going to stand idly buy and let that happen.

There is a spectrum to judging this type of jealousy as to whether it is normal or healthy. Who among would say jealousy is not a normal human emotion when loss to a rival is possible. Kneejerk reactions that this is about control aren’t doing anyone any good. Not allowing your wife any friends is over the top and ridiculous. Having your marriage interrupted by constant friend communication, friend time, and “girls” trips of more than a few days is also over the top.

Most men will draw the line on this issue somewhere — be assured of that. Be reasonable.

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Spam Poetry of the Week: Hurt of Condom

August 6, 2013

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The following email recently arrived in our inbox.  We’re particularly fond of the line “there is not sweet taste for / Sex meeting.” Pure poetry. You’re welcome!

HURT OF CONDOM
WHICH USED AS CONTRACEPTIVE
TO PREVENT PREGNANCY IN
WOMEN
_______________________

When the man using
CONDOMS
As contraceptive the woman
Become mad and crazy… this duo to the semen of
Man is remaining In the CONDOMS
And it was not ejaculated and dropping in
Vagina of women there is not sweet taste for
Sex meeting .
Like that you are drinking tea or coffee with out
Sugar the coffee or tea is not sweet it is bitter.

Semen
Of man is like Sugar it make the coitus and
Sex meeting sweet to woman
The sex meeting
Sweet With out
CONDOMS
When man is not Using
CONDOMS
In sex meeting with woman the
Semen of man will Ejaculated and dropping and
Falling in vagina of Woman then the semen is
Absorbed by vagina wall and inter the blood
Circulation and reached the brain
Then the women mind become in a convenience
Mood and good feeling she is not be a Madden Or Crazy woman
______________________

ADVICE FOR YOU
_______________________
To good enjoy and pleasure in your sexual live
And good ERECTION of your CLITORIS i give
You this ADVICE

STOP

Practice reading and writing
Because practice reading and writing
Loosening and lowering the SEXUAL ability and power of you.
GO TO LIVE IN Villages and forestry far from cities and towns
Practice READING and WRITING make you unusual
Woman or SODOMITE (SODOMY) women.
__________________________________
SO WE HAVE NEW METHOD FOR
CONTRACEPTION
————————————————————————————————–
BARLEY AS CONTRACEPTIVE AND
SEX TONIC FOR MEN AND WOMEN
___________________________

BREAKFAST
* Barley loaf – bread
* Margarine
* Jam
* Tea or coffee
________________________

LUNCH
* Barley loaf – bread
* Grill ham
* Salad – (Cucumber, celery, Pepper, lettuce)
* Pickly – mayonnaise
* Pepsi cola
______________________________

DINNER
* Barley loaf – bread
* Fried egg in vegetable oil – With out shaking the yolk
* Prawns
* Oyster
* Shrimp
* Salad -(Cucumber, celery, pepper, lettuce)
___________________________________

IT IS FORBIDDEN TO EAT THE
Following FOOD cause it increase
Fertility in WOMEN and MEN
—————————————–
* RICE
* HONEY
* FRUITS (DATE – GRAPE – FIG – APPLE -
APRICOT – BANANA – PEACH ……..etc)
* OVINE MEAT (SHEEP)
* BOVINE MEAT (COW)
* FISH
________________________________________________________

The statistical indication of Successfulness of this method is finding
Out in population of
CHINA
Cause they depend on RICE since old or ancient times.

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Confession: I Want to Do My Boyfriend with a Strap-On

June 20, 2013

2 Comments

Strap-on harnesses are available for sale at GoodVibrations.com

Our contributor, a woman who wishes to remain anonymous, has a confession to make.

My boyfriend’s butt is beautiful. It’s pretty. It’s plump. It fits in the palm of my hand. I can’t keep my hands off it, and simply touching it turns me on. I’ve spanked it, kissed it, rubbed it, grabbed it, bit it — and now I want to stick something in it.  A strap-on dildo to be exact. I want to bend that boy over, face down, bum up, and do him in the most dirty of ways. I want to make his prostate gland giddy with anal afternoon delight.

So last November I said to him, “I want to do you in the butt with a strap-on. I think it’s only fair.” He’s not only put his peen in my vajayjay, he’s poked me in the tush too.

“Um, no.”  He laughed nervously and changed the subject. Needless to say, this no-bullshit approach did not work.

Read the rest of this entry »



Confession: I Am Heteroflexible

June 13, 2013

1 Comment

Our contributor is a college student who wishes to remain anonymous. She has this to say about labels…

I’m definitely not straight, definitely not gay, nowhere near asexual, and not exactly bisexual.

In its simplest form, the meaning of heteroflexible can be found on the sexual spectrum as a sliding scale between straight and bisexual — and this is the label I am most comfortable with, if I’m forced to give my sexual orientation a name.

I’m often not attracted to the conventional manly/good-looking man, and I like men who explore their own sexual flexibility. I often find myself sitting silently when my friends swoon or trade obscene sexual quips about men in magazines or on the streets. Even when I was as young as 2nd grade, I can remember not having as many crushes on my fellow peers as everyone else. In middle school, I had an unusual amount of male friends — and as it turned out, my best male friend had just as many female friends. Not surprisingly, under those circumstances, combined with hormones and peer judgement of preteens, we had more than one conversation about whether or not we were gay. Thus the contemplation of my sexuality began to evolve.

As soon as high school hit and puberty was in full swing, I was certain guys were on my mind and they were absolutely in my bed. But I still wanted to kiss girls too.

At that time, however, being bisexual had more of a stigma, even for women, and it wasn’t something people were jumping to identify with unless they’d had a “real” relationship with a woman. If you were like me, and had only kissed and crushed, then it was easier to just be a straight girl who liked watching The L Word.

And then, at the beginning of college, I took a class where the professor had us write down three one-word self-descriptors — such as “tall, white, male” or “lesbian, Asian, woman” — and then had us each cross one out. I crossed out my sexuality. Being “straight” didn’t feel right. I crossed out the descriptor that felt the least important to me. Maybe it didn’t feel as important because as a straight person I felt little oppression, but it also didn’t belong on the list because it didn’t feel a part of me.

This was a significant exercise for me because it allowed me to really think about my own sexuality. I always felt like my sexuality was very fluid, but at the time I had only ever had boyfriends and had only kissed women before. I felt like, if I identified as bisexual, I would be discriminated against. And also that I’d be a “poser” because I’d never had a girlfriend or even slept with a woman before. In other words, as Britney Spears almost kind of sang, I was not straight, not yet bisexual.

Part of me still feels uncomfortable about the idea of being in a relationship with a woman. Women and romance is still a mystery to me. I don’t even know what kind of woman would like me. The role I play and the type of relationship dynamics I have in my female vs male friendships are very distinct from one another. So I can’t help but think that a romantic relationship with a woman would be very different from the relationships I have with men. I think I would take a more submissive, possibly not as confident, position in a relationship with a woman. Whereas with men, I feel a perfect balance between mutual nurturing and free spirited-ness. The thought of being with a woman can feel scary, because it is an unknown.

I still think about women and have crushes on women, though. I sleep with women. I fantasize about women and how different being with a woman might be from being with a man. However, I always end up with bigger, more accessible relationships with men. I consider myself heteroflexible because that is what I feel is the closest label to my reality.

I could go without a label. Or pansexual even hits close to home. But heteroflexible feels more honest and genuine to what I’ve experienced. Maybe it’s simply my lack of experience that leaves me identifying as heteroflexible — or maybe it’s my heteroflexible nature that makes me lack a more bisexual existence. I suppose only time and self-exploration will tell.

Our sexuality can feel intimately intertwined with who we are. Labels can make us feel closer to or further from ourselves. They can map out and give us little pushes in the movement and labyrinth of defining oneself — being comfortable with accepting of oneself. For now I will let my heteroflexibility, sexual fluidity, and (oh yeah, thanks to Freud) my pleasure principle guide me.

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The Inspiring Results of One Couple’s Better Sex Experiment (Part 2 of 2)

May 29, 2013

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As you might recall, our intrepid couple Emma and Seth volunteered to take on Durex‘s “Get Closer to Go Further” challenge. They’ve spent the past few weeks experimenting with an intimacy kit sent to them by Durex containing sex toys and lube and sex tips and spa gift certificates, oh my! Did they get closer and go further? Or did everything just end in giggles? Let’s find out:

Em & Lo: What was it like getting a box of love treats in the mail?

EMMA: Super exciting! I came home hoping it was there and not stolen or lost in the mail (SF postal service is cray) and when I saw it I got giddy. Seth wasn’t with me when I found it, but I was too eager to wait for him so I just opened it a little, just to get a hint at what was inside. Then when we were together we went through it all and were really surprised how much nice stuff there was — you never know with these giveaway packages, but Durex totally delivered on their promise.

SETH: They did a really great job of wrapping it up all nicely in tissue paper and including a handwritten note, which made it really fun to open for the first time.

What items came in the Durex Kit?

EMMA: Susie Bright’s “I Dare You” cards, Kama Sutra’s body chocolate, an aphrodisiac cooking book, a Durex bullet vibe, Durex massage and lube in one, Durex Extra Sensitive condoms and Performix Intense condoms, a kit to make mixed drinks, $200 to spafinder, $150 to restaurant.com, and a Kind Notes jar.

What were your favorite items and why?

EMMA: I liked the cook book a lot! I had read through it before in a bookstore and thought it was a pretty book. Now I finally have a sexy themed coffee table book..about time. Also the little Durex bullet was unexpectedly powerful. Anyone who doubts a condom company can make a good sex toy should buy it. The silicone is even velvety soft and smooth!

SETH: The spafinder gift certificate was pretty exciting because neither of us have had professional massages before. We ended up getting a Swedish couples massage together. It was neat to share the same anticipation together in the waiting room, and then to share our first-time thoughts about it afterwards.

What were the results of playing with the “I Dare You” set? 

EMMA: We went through the entire “I Dare You” card set in one night. Some of the dares were difficult to try because we still have roommates — we didn’t want someone walking in on us when we were christening a common room! Although Seth did make it into the kitchen to take a ridiculous photo — big thanks to Susie Bright for that one, something my eyes cannot unsee.

The dares were definitely the best part of the deck (compared to the truths). There were lots of suggestions on how to incorporate each other’s whole bodies rather than just focusing on the usual/obvious places to touch…which is always a good reminder and I was able to express to Seth how much I like when he explores even the most forgotten, simple places on my body.

SETH: The 2-in-1 massage oil/lube was a fun treat because it’s perfect for transitioning from a massage to sexy time. It was an easy way to help get each other relaxed so that we could leave the stresses of the day behind and become more in touch with our bodies and each other. It also paired well with the mixology/cocktail kit.

Did you discover anything new — about sex, or about each other — by doing this? (E.g. things you like, things you definitely don’t like, ways to talk to each other, etc.)

SETH: We learned about what ways of talking and tones work for us in the bedroom, as well as some more unconventional ways to turn each other on. For example, I never knew that a large glass of water could be used as an intimate bedroom accessory.

EMMA: We also both discovered from opening one Kind Note a day that cheesy quotations on love don’t really do it for us. And that neither of us really enjoy “ice breakers” — we’re definitely more into forced dares than forced truths!

How has this experience improved your relationship?

EMMA: We were given a chance to do things that we otherwise wouldn’t have, at least not yet anyways, which allowed us to have new, unique experiences together. We were able to bond and set out quality time for just for the two of us instead of getting distracted by work, friends, facebook, etc.

SETH: It prompted good conversations about what turns us on — especially the “I Dare You” cards. And it helped us bring new and spontaneous activities into our relationship.

Was it helpful to have this set period of time where you agreed to try new things together — or did it feel forced/silly? Would you recommend this kind of experiment?

EMMA: Seth was at the end of his intensive coding school when we got the package, and I didn’t want to distact him from his studies too much, but it was nice when we were able to carve out some time. And a massage is a pretty perfect way to celebrate the end of a semester. I would definitely recommend it because getting outside your comfort zone can be a good opportunity for growth, even if it seems awkward or distancing at first.

SETH: The time-frame was a little short to fit all of the activities in around our busy schedules, but it was still really nice to have all these ready-to-go ideas and suggestions for when we were able to have couple-time.

What will  you continue to do in the future based on this experience?

EMMA: Try to express more how I feel right then when something in bed makes me feel uncomfortable, rather than kind of getting quiet, trying to work it out on my own and then talking about it later. I need to remember to talk about and experience everything in the bedroom together. This project helped me focus on everything as more of a partnership.

SETH: I’ll try to remember to keep things spontaneous both inside and outside the bedroom.

Em & Lo’s Take Away: Investing in your sex life a bit, buying yourself and your partner toys and treats, setting aside specific times to play and experiment, trying new things — these are all things that are essential not only to making long term monogamy work, but to keeping it hot. You may not get a box of free sexual tips and treats in a nicely wrapped package on your doorstep, but following good (and free) advice like on “Get Closer to Go Further” (as well as this humble little site) is the next best thing!



How One Couple Gets Closer to Go Further… In Bed (Part 1 of 2)

May 28, 2013

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***Originally Posted on May 2nd, 2013***

Introducing Our “Get Closer Go Further” Project

We’re thrilled to team up with Durex for this “Get Closer to Go Further” project, which encourages committed couples to do just that: build intimacy in order to explore more sexual territories together. And when we say “go further,” we’re not just talking physically, but emotionally, too. Call it the liberating side of being together, a.k.a. long-term monogamy does have its benefits! (So there.) With great tips, challenges, and products, we’ll show you how couples can get more out of their love lives, whether they’re newly committed or married with kids for 20 years!

How It Works

Meet Emma and Seth* (pictured above), a San Francisco-based couple in their mid-twenties that we’ve chosen to be our model couple for testing out the “Get Closer to Go Further” plan. Today, we will tell you a bit about what makes them tick, sexually and emotionally speaking. Then we’ll send them away for a few weeks so they can experiment with a fabulous intimacy kit from Durex — sex toys and lube and sex tips and spa gift certificates, oh my! We will talk to them again after — and we’ll report back here, of course, along with a video of the couple chatting about their experience — to discover what they learned about intimacy and exploration.

About Our Chosen Couple

Emma and Seth met about a year ago — he was playing bocce ball with some friends at the park in San Francisco, while she was on a reading date with herself at the park (how much do you love them both already?). Seth invited Emma to join them — hello, brave man! — and they bonded immediately over their mutual love of the Talking Heads and Wes Anderson films… which segued very nicely into a date to see Moonrise Kingdom together (which is pretty much the most awesomely romantic first date movie we can think of).

Two elements which are key to their entire relationship, from a simple lunch date to what they do in bed together, are laughter and communication. And these elements were there from the very start — Seth says that the first thing he noticed about Emma was “her goofy sense of humor and unforgettable blue eyes.” Meanwhile, the moment Emma fell for Seth was this: “When we first met he described the full scope of the personality of a dog he once knew — afterwards I called my mom and told her I met a really funny and thoughtful guy.”

So how does this translate in the bedroom? In terms of communication, they are both very open about sharing their sexual fantasies with each other — things they want to try, what they like and don’t like. Plus, they are really into debriefing after sex, especially when they’ve tried something new: How was that for you? What could have been different? And so on. And in terms of laughter? They have started to experiment with some light playful domination and submission together, but it involves lots of laughter, Emma says: “Things get hot and heavy, but laughter eases any potential anxieties we may have.”

How They Get Closer

  • On weekends, they love to explore their city, San Francisco, together.
  • They try to find new ways to learn more about each other, such as reading the same book and meeting for a discussion.
  • They are in separate social circles but still spend a lot of time together, e.g. enjoying “parallel time”  together where they are being productive on separate interests while keeping each other company.
  • They both value music, literature, psychology, and the arts, and pursue these interests together.
  • They are very nurturing to each other and love helping each other out and doing favors. Emma says, “This started out by him helping me re-park my car on street cleaning days, which was more of an excuse to hang out on my part — but it actually gave us a nurturing element to our relationship very quickly.”

How They Go Further

  • The safe and supportive environment that they have created together means they both feel free to be sexually creative and expressive, which obviously leads to better sex!
  • Because of this, Emma says:  ”I feel more freedom to concentrate on what feels good or what would be fun at that moment, rather than worrying too much if I am doing the right thing. I have been able to lose myself in my pleasure a little more.”
  • To avoid getting into a rut or getting too comfortable in bed together, they are constantly reading books or sending each other articles on new things they might like to try. And they maintain a constant dialogue about sex outside of the bedroom — this is great both for discussing sex in a low-pressure environment, and also for keeping the foreplay going all day long!
  • To get specific, Seth says:  ”I’ve learned to speak up more during sex and that dirty talk can really add to the experience. I’ve also learned that I like to play with light power dynamics.”
  • And Emma chimes in, just as specifically: “I’ve learned the beauty of orgasm from nipple stimulation and have grown to accept some kinky things about myself that I was slightly afraid of facing before, like being totally okay with a sexual experience purely based on spanking.” (Yep, we’re pretty sure that everyone has at least one Christian & Ana fantasy worth exploring!)

How They’d Like to Go Even Further

  • Emma is really interested in playing around with gender roles and some role reversal in the bedroom, perhaps even using a strap-0n — Seth says he is hesitant about all of this, but willing to give it a try.
  • Seth, meanwhile, would love more spontaneous outside-of-the-bedroom sexy encounters. He’d also like to experiment with different toys — Emma introduced him to toys at the beginning of the relationship, but they haven’t done that in a while, and he’d like to explore that area again.
  • Emma feels that she should get more up to date and creative in the erotic sex talk department.
  • Of course, if they’re going to accomplish this entire list, Seth thinks that maybe they should invest in some better sound insulation from his neighbors!

But note to readers: It wasn’t always like this! Emma and Seth worked on their relationship and their comfort level together to get there. For example, their first time having intercourse together wasn’t exactly Hollywood-smooth, Emma says: “Despite having had numerous sexy times together before, our first time having intercourse was, as first times often are, a little rocky. It was an intense build-up of desire and then we suddenly, awkwardly, felt unsure of what the other really wanted or liked.” But, as Monty Python would say, it got better! And we have a feeling it will get even better than that… tune in next month to find out all the dirty details.


Try to Get Closer Yourself

In the meantime, you can get a taste of some of the tips and tricks they’ll be trying out on Durex’s special “The Liberating Side of Being Together” website. It’s all about intimacy and partnership — celebrating the positive nature of sexploration with someone you trust.


*They both requested pseudonyms in case they ever have children who like to Google! Everything else in this post, including the cute photo, is a true story.



4 Reasons Why It’s Good to Take Turns During Sex

May 23, 2013

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photo via flickr

Our contributor Jewely Hoxie studies Human Sexuality at the University of California Santa Cruz (read her blog here). She has this to say about the importance of taking turns…

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in having this ever-present fantasy of succumbing to someone else completely — someone who’ll give me a pleasure power-hour. You know the kind I mean — all eyes on you, teasing as well as devouring. Well, what if I told you that you and your partner could both fulfill this fantasy for each other, all the time!? Taking turns doesn’t mean twiddling your thumbs while you wait not-so-patiently for your turn — it could actually be your answer to even more satisfying partner sex (and remember, sex doesn’t just mean intercourse). Here’s how and why…

1. Fewer Distractions, More Appreciation

  • Seeing as taking turns is basically the opposite of 69, I have to mention this particular act, though I already covered the pleasures and perils of 69 earlier on this site. However, distractions are seen in other sex acts outside of 69. The passionate I-can’t-keep-my-hands-off-of-you act, and touching each other everywhere at the same time is great, but can also have its limitations. Completely embracing your partner’s touch may be difficult if you are also thinking about about what to do for them. You may run the risk of being too much in your own head — does my partner like this? Should I mix it up? Should I stay where I am? Etc etc. Sexual anxiety can quickly creep in.
  • You can be fully in tune with your own body when it is your partner’s turn to pleasure you. Remember that concept of when you lose one sense, another is heightened? It is kind of like that — when you aren’t thinking about what to do next to your partner, you get to fully appreciate what they are doing for you.
  • Finally, it’s a true exercise of the desire you have to pleasure your partner, as well as the admiration you have for what your partner can do for you.

2. Differing Tastes

  • When it’s your turn to do the pleasuring, you get to create the sexual setting and performance all on your own. If you are both trying to turn each other on at the same time, you could get caught in a difference of mood. You may want to tease them, while they want to simply jump your bones that minute.
  • If your partner likes to move one way and you like to go the other way, taking turns is a great way to engage in those separate preferences without having to fake that you like something and not actually get off. And hey, you might actually find yourself liking something new just because you love seeing how much they are enjoying themselves. That whole classical conditioning thing.

3. Team Building

  • When you take turns getting each other off, you can’t simply rely on your amazing pheromone compatibility or staring deep into each other’s eyes. Taking turns brings you to a place where you get to really know what your partner likes physically. Technique matters more, because you can feel everything a lot more.
  • It’s important to become experts at sex with each other. This means always educating yourself on what your partner enjoys and how you both fit into that.
  • It fosters communication in bed! Taking turns creates an open space for conveying to one another what doesn’t work, what feels good, and what feels better (e.g., instead of both of you grabbing for each other’s genitals, she can guide your hand while you finger her).

4. No Guilt for Not Giving; No Dissatisfaction for Not Getting Yours, Too

It’s a win-win situation. ‘Nuff said.

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