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Confession: Losing Your Virginity Ain’t No Big Thang

August 18, 2011

1 Comment

photo by mccun934

A college friend of ours who wishes to remain nameless has a confession to make:

As a 21-year-old virgin I thought sex was going to be the most overwhelming, painful, awkward, terrible, awful experience ever.  Why did I think this?  Because friends, magazines, and blogs all over the place said so. Not so! Yes, cashing in your V-card is a big deal: your first experience can set the tone for how you approach and engage in sex for years to come. Which is exactly why you shouldn’t stress and fret about the impending deed for weeks or months (or even years!) beforehand like my boyfriend and I did. If you follow these 10 prep rules, then when you’re ready, you can relax and just do it:

  1. Make sure you’re with a partner that you trust completely. If you’re in love, great! But even more important than true wuv is trust. This comes from knowing your partner well and having a history of caring for and about one another.
  2. Admit it’s your first time. Because if you don’t, then you’ll be distracted with acting experienced, you’ll feel like you’re going through your first time alone (ironically), and you won’t give your partner the chance to make it special, memorable or comfortable (see #10).
  3. Share your expectations with each other. I sat down and told my boyfriend exactly what I wanted from the first night: Passion, Trust, Ability to Laugh at Ourselves/Not Take Ourselves too Seriously, Most of the Day Together Afterwards. Your list, your partner’s list  – they might be totally different. The point is just to make a list and then share it.
  4. Get your protection lined up beforehand. You don’t want to find yourself in the moment without a safety net. There are TONS of options out there, but your go-to will probably be condoms since they provide some decent STD-protection and quite good pregnancy prevention. Even better if you double-up with a back-up form of birth-control (like the Pill). I highly recommend using a lubricated condom for your first time — since it makes everything much smoother and lovely-feeling! One thing that no-one warned me about: the rubbery smell of the condom will be noticeable. It bothered me a lot the first couple of times, and I still notice it, but now I just think of it as ‘The Smell of PROTECTION!’
  5. Speak up in the moment. When it comes to sex for the first time, there’s no such thing as oversharing. The night we did it, my boyfriend knew what was going on in my mind the entire time because I told him how I was feeling and asked him for exactly what I needed. This communicating made us feel connected and confident about the new things we were trying together.
  6. On that note: Even if you think it’s a stupid question – ask! I was wondering a bazillion things before I first had sex. For some reason I wanted to know how many girls my boyfriend had been with before me and if any of them had been virgins too; during sex I wanted to ask about what he was thinking, if I was angling my hips right, if he could feel the kegels I had been practicing, if he thought my waxing job was nice – all these crazy, random thoughts! Well, just ask. Wondering will only distract you.
  7. Be sensitive to your partner’s concerns. Whether they’re a virgin or not, they’ve got plenty too. I had thought only I, the naive virgin, would be nervous about sex – but it turns out that my boyfriend was even more nervous than I was! He was worried about everything from making the evening really nice for me, to his own (very unnecessary) worries about performance, to where to best place the condom for easy and fast access.
  8. It’s okay if you laugh! No one warns you about the fact that sweaty bodies in the act of sex can make a myriad of hilarious noises. My boobs, when pressed up against my boyfriend’s chest, can create a rather epic fart noise! The first time it happened I just stared up at my boyfriend in horror, but he started laughing so hard and was so totally un-phased that I realized that weird stuff can happen and it doesn’t have to lessen the awesomeness that is sex!
  9. Lower your expectations. It’s kinda like your 16th birthday, when you thought everything was going to drastically change and magically improve when you got your license and officially became a young adult. Didn’t happen, right? At least not overnight. Same thing here: I honestly thought that as soon as we had sex my relationship with my boyfriend would change in some drastic way, I would become more mature, the sky would be bluer and the flowers would smell sweeter. Nope! My boyfriend and I are much closer now because of how intimate we’ve become, but this change wasn’t drastic and it didn’t happen overnight.
  10. Help the sex feel great. I know, I know, every other personal essay you’ve encountered has been a horror story of pain and dissatisfaction. But I’m living proof it doesn’t have to be that way! In addition to adhering to all the above rules, Em & Lo recommend the following: make sure you are turned on and well lubed (purpose-made lubricant can help), engage in lots of foreplay, and go slowly (not like gangbusters!). Special considerations for the ladies: make sure you’ve had experience with penetration before (be it with fingers or toys), get some manual or oral sex immediately before the big event, even have an orgasm right before to help make sure you’re physically ready.


Confession: Top 10 Ways I Disguise Love Noises

August 4, 2011

2 Comments

photo via Flickr

A college-student contributor friend of ours, who wishes to remain anonymous, confesses her favorite ways to keep things under wraps, aurally speaking:

One of my favorite quotes of all time is an uncharacteristically understated gem of advice from Kurt Vonnegut: “I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’” I try to live in keeping with this counsel and to overtly express my gratitude and joy when I’m experiencing it. At every possible opportunity. Full disclosure: I’m kind of a loud lover, of myself and of others. Being discreet in between the sheets just doesn’t come naturally to me; it feels somehow unappreciative of partner, of joy, and of sensation. That said, my audibility is often somewhat, well, unappreciative of my neighbors or circumstances. Parents’ houses, thin-walled apartments, and shoddilly constructed dorm rooms are no place for particularly audible ecstasy, stubbornly squeaky bedsprings, or especially sonic vibrations. Consequently, I have had ample opportunity to work out what works best to mask the noises, exclamations, and murmurs of my love life. I offer you the ten best:

  1. A fan. While this won’t mask high-decibel screams, exclamations, or demands, it does a damn good job of creating enough white noise to obscure the buzz of sex toys, low-key passionate moans/groans, and exclamations at a conversational volume. Bonus: this doubles as an anti-sweat measure for sweltering summer sex.
  2. Music. Cranking some tunes lends itself to a bit more wiggle room, especially if it’s uptempo and a little too loud to be considered neighbor-considerate. I maintain that this approach is more considerate, though, than involving an unintentional third (or second) party in your love life. However, music choice becomes especially important in this circumstance. I was once stopped in my mid-coitus tracks by the unfortunate appearance of the Mexican Hat Dance on my iTunes shuffle. Never have I encountered a more effective cock-block. We actually had to stop and resume action a few hours later.
  3. Strategic Timing. I have been guilty of timing my me-time and my us-time in accordance with the schedule of particularly loud construction crews, a neighbor’s drum circle practice, and especially loud weed-whacking (which, incidentally, lent itself nicely to masturbatory euphemism).
  4. Shower. Water on tile makes a great deal of noise. About the same noise-coverage capabilities as a fan, but with the added benefit of shower sex!
  5. Loud Television. Similar in use to loud music, with the same caveats. Choice is crucial. Sesame Street and South Park have yielded similar fates as the Mexican Hat Dance. And nothing gets you to a blue-balled state faster than singing puppets or jaded animations.
  6. Create a Plausible Alternate Explanation. I once wrote a note to my housemates letting them know that I was watching porn for a sociology paper about visual representations of sexuality. I then closed my door, popped in my favorite sex tape, and let the scripted screams of partnered rapture mask my own. This also allowed me to watch porn without headphones on for the first time in months. Thank you, academia.
  7. A Gag. One of my faves. This sex accessory lets me indulge my kinkier proclivities while I try to be as loud as I want. The struggle is a turn on, there’s something else acting as a muffler, and no one’s any the wiser. Epic win.
  8. Silent Sex. On occasion, challenging my boyfriend to see who can be most silent during sex has worked out quite well. I can find the requisite motivation only in situations where it’s IMPERATIVE to be quiet (i.e. in the room next door to my parents over Christmas break). But the competitive edge and power play are both quite fun. Having sex in a situation that requires that level of silence implies a level of risk that’s pretty thrilling, too.
  9. Comforters. Swathing love sounds in cushy bedclothes works quite well. Pitching a tent in bed has meant more to me than waking up to morning wood. Indeed, throwing a pillow over my lap while employing my trusty vibrating friend or ducking under a comforter cocoon to stage-whisper sweet (and not-so-sweet) nothings to my bed buddy have proven helpful in a pinch.
  10. Just Do It. You know what? Sometimes, you just need to express yourself. Sometimes, quiet sex just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes, you just have to say fuck it and get lost in the moment instead of over-cautious concern. This approach requires some strategic timing and moderation — after all, screaming “Give me more!” while Grandma’s just a thin wall away is ill-advised, and loudly indulging your Rabbit Habit and awakening your slumbering hallmates is just plain douchey. But sometimes, a mid-afternoon romp in a sparsely populated dorm is worthy of Vonnegut-esque acknowledgement.


Confession: Top 10 Reasons I Don’t Own a Razor

July 21, 2011

25 Comments

photo by Flickr

Our contributor Abby Spector, who is majoring in Feminine/Gender/Sexuality Studies at Wesleyan University, confesses her love for body hair:

I am not going to judge silky-smooth-shaved ladies. But here are ten reasons I do NOT own a razor And yes, this means legs, vag, and — gasp — armpit hair.

  1. Why should I? I don’t like razor burn or the spiky feeling of leg hairs emerging from dry skin.
  2. In many ways, I look like the “typical” American girl. I am an average size, have blonde hair, blue eyes, and a smile when I’m nervous. There are few ways I can subtly show my rebellious side. I have discovered that a flash of armpit hair does the trick.
  3. I’ll pass on disrupting the natural course of my body, thank you very much.
  4. My sister and mom, two of the most beautiful people I know, do not shave. Actually, I didn’t know it was a custom until I got to middle school and my friend insisted that we (she) shave my peach fuzz legs.
  5. I’m LAZY!
  6. The first guy I slept with told me I had to shave or else he wouldn’t go down on me. I hate him. My bushy bush is my way of laughing in his face.
  7. My current boyfriend doesn’t mind. Why should he? He isn’t exactly bare down there, either.
  8. Sharp objects always seem to cut me. Thus, placing one near my vag could lead to a very unfortunate injury. I want to keep my clit intact.
  9. I am bisexual. The armpit hair works like a calling card to the lesbian community.
  10. Everyone loves Northern Europeans. Historically, this hot community doesn’t shave. I want to be as Swedish as possible.

Abby Spector



Confession: Top 10 Things I Learned from an Anti-Condom Boyfriend

July 8, 2011

5 Comments

photo by Jenny Lee Silver

A college-student contributor friend of ours, who wishes to remain anonymous, has a confession to make:

I came into college and out of my first relationship ready to be single and to enjoy my new-found singledom with as many new people as possible. Generally, things went pretty well for me. I really enjoyed the free time afforded me by not being in a relationship, and I had some extremely enjoyable casual encounters. A few months in, I found myself involved with a guy who I was interested in both as a fling and as a person. Thus, I entered my first non-relationship, more than a one-night stand.

I felt pretty ready to navigate the friends-with-benefits waters: I didn’t want to date him, but I enjoyed his company, had practice negotiating sex with non-boyfriends, and was really enticed by the possibility of getting some with some degree of regularity. As time went by, it became increasingly clear that he was pretty startlingly anti-birth control, or at least anti-birth control that he needed to have anything to do with.

I managed to hang in there and put off P.I.V. for weeks — meanwhile, his excuse of “I’m allergic to latex” morphed into “non-latex condoms don’t fit me” to “I won’t come inside you” to “female condoms are gross” before he started pressuring me to go on the pill. Which I can’t. Because I’m allergic to manufactured estrogen. Despite this guy’s douchebaggery — yes, reader, I did dump him eventually — I managed to walk away from this non-relationship with a few crucial lessons under my belt.

1. Sex ed is powerful. My past experience of real, comprehensive, and sensitive sex ed armed me with an arsenal of options to throw at him. I knew the stats behind pulling out — especially as they relate to inebriated, douchebaggy college students. I was well acquainted with every barrier method and each of their pros and cons. And, most importantly, I knew not to just “pull and pray.”

2. Any man who’s willing to say “female condoms are gross” without trying them might very well be sitting on some serious feelings about female anatomy itself being pretty gross. At least this one seemed to be.

3. Google is powerful. Okay, Mr. “I’m too big for a PVC condom.” No, you aren’t.

4. Patterns of excuses given without any attempt to find a solution = one giant suspicious red flag. I was putting more effort into this issue with a simple Google search than he ever seemed to. And that, for sure, is something I should have paid attention to.

5. Just because a guy is progressive and talks a big talk about sexuality doesn’t mean he’s gonna be all that sensitive. Prior to this, I had thought that screening for verbal sexuality-sensitivity was the perfect way to screen adventurous and understanding partners. Goodbye notions of litmus test infallibility.

6. “Don’t you trust me to not come inside of you?” = NOT trustworthy.

7. Hormones are persuasive buggers. Had he made even half of his oh-so-helpful suggestions over dinner or an innocent game of badminton, I would likely have rolled my eyes and left him on the spot. However, in the sweaty and dimly lit context of my bed at 3 a.m., my amped up libido and incredible desire for a predictable lay made his arguments seem significantly less annoying.

8. Tenacity is satisfying. Alright, so I could (should) have dumped his sorry ass earlier. Womp. To repeatedly field his pressuring and negate his increasingly weak excuses, though, actually felt awesome. I was in control, even if I was miffed with his juvenile refusal to take responsibility.

9. I deserve way better than this. I had really good boundaries in my romantic relationships (I am communicative to a fault about my expectations). I had really great boundaries with entirely casual acquaintances (“You’ll either be putting on that condom or waving goodbye to the promise of the awesome blowjob heading your way”). I think I needed to be really, awfully embroiled in the F.W.B. gray area in order to wake up and realize that I had both the right and the need to assert my boundaries and expectations, and to walk away when they were pushed or not met.

10. It can — and should — go way better than this. This guy’s incredible stupidity made the next, respectful, fun, and easygoing guy seem that much better. Moreover, it made me that much more sensitive to early signs of sexual doucheyness, birth-control related and otherwise. Ultimately, now that I know I possess the artillery to deal with this situation, it’s great to know that with the right guy, I don’t have to.



Confession: Top 10 Worst Things About Studying Sexuality in College

June 23, 2011

7 Comments

photo by krossbow

Our contributor Abby Spector, who is majoring in Feminist/Gender/Sexuality Studies at Wesleyan University, confesses the downside of her chosen field:

  1. Picture this: it’s a Sunday night. You’re lonely. However, instead of watching romantic comedies and listening to Joni Mitchell, you have to read about the beauty of the female orgasm. Reading about great sex is not comforting when you are sad and horny.
  2. If you’re a writer, you are bound to write about your sexual experiences. Most of the time these experiences include a second (or third or fourth) party. Pseudonyms can only go so far. They might read it. For better or worse, the honest truth gets out.
  3. Sex loses its sexiness. It’s like Christmas every day. The secret, rebellious allure of sex can disappear when it’s all you read about.
  4. “Hi, Grammy! I’m studying sex. Aren’t you proud?” Awkward.
  5. Just because I study sex does not mean I have it or want it all the time. My work does not mean I am promiscuous or excellent in bed. So stop thinking this!
  6. “So what are you going to do with a degree in sexuality?” I hear this question at least twice a week. I usually respond with a joke, but in all honesty, I have no idea.
  7. You are not always in the mood for controversial subject matter. Sometimes you want simple answers. For better or worse, this is not offered in sex studies.
  8. Flirtation, dating, and sex have the potential to be viewed as an anthropological study rather than day-to-day life.
  9. Carrie Bradshaw made money, but she was a fictional TV character. A degree in sex studies does not guarantee you a fab NY studio apartment, Mr. Big, or a lifetime supply of Manolo Blahniks.
  10. Keep writing away from parents! I repeat: Keep writing away from parents! Fathers do not like hearing explicit details of their daughter’s first blowjob.

Abby Spector



Confession: Top 10 Date Activities I Enjoy Solo

June 9, 2011

3 Comments

photo by paulisnat (nudity not required for most solo date activities)

Our contributor Abby Spector, who is majoring in Feminine/Gender/Sexuality Studies at Wesleyan University, confesses her love for the table for one:

People are impressed if you travel to Africa on your own, but if your solo adventuring is a tad less exotic, they tend to look down on it. It is considered “bizarre” to enjoy typical “date activities” on your own. I am here to teach disbelievers otherwise. I actually like flying solo — so keep your pity and learn some independence. Here are ten of my favorite “date” adventures to enjoy on my own. (Note to readers: all of these adventures are fun with a partner, too. I am just pointing out the benefits of doing them by yourself.)

  1. Orgasms. Sex is great. The sweaty, body-on-body companionship is irreplaceable. However, when it comes to the actual, vaginal orgasm, my vibrator cannot be beat.
  2. Movies. Your choice of flick. Your choice of time. Your choice of seat (no need to crane your neck in the front row because your date forgot his glasses). And best of all, you can pick the quantity of butter on the popcorn.
  3. Sleeping. Sleeping in the same bed as someone is nice. Sweaty, sticky, single-beds are not. Every once in a while it is refreshing to sprawl across the mattress like a cat on Valium.
  4. Restaurants. Feel free to sop up entire bowls of pasta with a piece of bread. Challenge yourself by not bringing a book, computer or newspaper. Enjoy staring at strangers. Watch the child at the next table rub mashed potatos on the walls and be happy you are not responsible of clean up.
  5. TV watching. You can Keep Up with the Kardashians and the rest in the world of shitty television without being berated about how you should be watching something important or educational or artsy instead.
  6. Road Trips. Find your own path WHILE singing Now 6 at the top of your lungs. Best of all, you can take pee breaks every twenty minutes without worrying that you are derailing someone else’s adventure.
  7. Drinking wine. It might sound sad (or alcoholic) but a glass (or bottle) on your own is good for the soul…. every now and then.
  8. Weddings. As much as I enjoy having a plus 1, being on your own at a wedding gives you time to catch up with crazy drunken family members on a personal level.
  9. Biking. It is not a competition if you’re by yourself. (And you don’t have to worry about how your ass looks in your mom’s old neon-pink gym shorts.)
  10. Showering. Okay. I understand that this is not (necessarily) a first date activity. But it happens. Let me tell you — showering by yourself is a luxury. You control temperature, water pressure, and which crevices the bar of soap is allowed to explore. In addition, showers can be small. Slips happen. The idea of sex is appealing, but it doesn’t logistically work unless you enjoy the pain of a sprained ankle.

Abby Spector



Confession: I Attended My Very First Orgy

May 26, 2011

2 Comments

photo by Vacasion

Our contributor Alice Hua, a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, has a confession to make:

I spontaneously took a bus from Philadelphia to NYC one Friday for a single reason: My friend Lexi was attending an orgy and I wanted to check it out. It was just a college themed party, so at first I blew it off. As a second semester freshman I’d already been to my fair share of frats and house parties and I didn’t think this so called orgy party would be fruitful, or even fun. But Lexi assured me that kids at her school “committed” to these sorts of things, so I admit, my curiosity was piqued.

Casual (but responsible!) sex with strangers has never been taboo to me. While I know there’s a time and place for romantic sex, at this point in my life, I much prefer the no-strings-attached kind. It beats the awkward meeting in class the next day or the weird limbo of expectations that can occur with a friend-with-benefits for whom you suddenly develop feelings. Sure, critics say casual sex is just as awkward when you unexpectedly bump into your one-night stand walking down the street to class, but, hey, that’s what iPods and cell phones were half invented for right? And given the large number of students on my campus, one-night stands with neither expectations nor awkward repercussions are not uncommon. All the same, I’d never actually experienced anything like a party with pure unadulterated sex before.

More than anything, I wanted to see the inner workings of an orgy — I wanted to know what orgy sex looks like. Because while I’m a fan of casual sex, it has to be for the right reason — meaning, for the sake of the sex itself. It can’t be because I’m lonely or hurting or need my self-worth validated by outside sources. I see this kind of casual sex all over my campus — would an orgy be a way to enjoy a purer form of casual sex? Sure, plenty of college parties end in casual sex, but I had never attended a party where the explicit goal was sexual pleasure. Would the party be filled with desperate girls with daddy issues? Annoying frat boys? Or legitimately interesting people who were comfortable with their sexuality?

Getting dressed for the party was the first step. It seemed so simple — you showed up with no clothing, but both Lexi and I agreed that although the rather large bottle of Skyy Vodka we’d been sharing was almost empty, we hadn’t lost enough inhibitions yet to step through the door in the nude.

The invitation stated that a shot would be required for every article of clothing one decided to wear to the party. Clearly if we still had our inhibitions now, they wouldn’t be an issue inside the party. We briefly flirted with the cliché idea of wearing trench coats over lingerie, but finally settled on wearing street clothes over our lingerie and making the final decision on whether or not to get naked at the door of the party.

The amount of alcohol present and the pressure to drink was a bit disconcerting. I’m sure at a more legitimate orgy party, the free flow of booze would have been frowned upon. Consent is absolutely key in any sort of sexual behavior and an orgy party is no different. But no one was so incapacitated to my knowledge that they no longer knew what they were doing.

Once inside the party house, I had to laugh. It looked like a teenager’s interpretation of a cheesy strip club: the lights were dimmed and covered with red Saran wrap, so a red glow covered the room. We took our prerequisite shots at the door and then entered. The walls were covered with printed-out tips on how to perform the most outrageous sex positions, probably only realistic for yoga teachers or Olympic gymnasts. Read the rest of this entry »



The Virgin Diaries: Why Marriage Is Not for Me

May 12, 2011

16 Comments

photo by jronaldlee.com

Our contributor Katherine Chen, who is a junior English major at Princeton University (check out her personal site here), is penning a series of confessions for EMandLO.com collectively called “The Virgin Diaries.” Here’s her eighth installment:

Around two years ago, just when I was about to go to college for the first time, my father had an operation to remove the colostomy bag he had been using and restore what remained of his colon. My parents and I were generally unconcerned about the operation: we had been assured on nearly every visit to the clinic that this was an easy, straightforward procedure that would be done by an experienced surgeon. I went to work that day while my mother accompanied my father to the hospital. Hours passed, and I began checking my phone every ten minutes or so for an update — but no one called. Finally, my mother rang, and the news was not good: the operation was unsuccessful.The doctor had emerged from the operating room shaking his head — he couldn’t even pinpoint what had gone wrong. And now my father would have to remain in the hospital for a good while longer. I was furious, and my mother was heartbroken.

Over the next few months, my mother visited the ICU every day, keeping my father company and bringing him food she’d prepared that he had no appetite to eat. That whole year, my mother must have slept an average of three to four hours a night. The hospital was her workplace, and my father’s ICU room her office. She was more vigilant than the nurses, and when they ignored her, she went to fetch the doctor herself. She fought tirelessly to bring my father back to life. Today he’ll tell you he probably would not have survived the ordeal at all if it weren’t for my mother’s hard work and persistence.

I watched my mother’s devotion to my father with awe. While I certainly admired her strength and patience, I realized I would never be able to do the same for my hypothetical husband.

Thinking back on that year, I’m reminded of the wedding vows that a bride and groom make to each other at the altar. My mother must have taken my father’s hand in her own and said something along the lines of “I, Betty Yu, take you, Ray Chen, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and obey, till death us do part.” If this vow is intended to be taken both seriously and literally — and I believe it is — then it absolutely terrifies me.

Could I spend all my free hours taking care of somebody and tending to his medical and emotional needs? Could I willingly put my own career on the wayside and make him the utmost priority of my life and existence so long as he needed me? What if he asked me to quit my day job and spend all my hours with him at the hospital, like my father did with my mother? Could I agree to do all that? The answer is a resounding no! And I don’t think it’s a heartless answer, just an honest one.

I am not prepared, mentally or emotionally, for the obligations and responsibilities that come with a union as colossal and consequential as marriage. I just can’t imagine ever sacrificing my independence and ambitions for someone else, and so far in my life, I’ve never had to. In a discussion I had with my mother not too long ago concerning marriage, I told her, “I can never marry because I love myself more than I could ever love another human being.” I’m not afraid of coming across as selfish or superficial by making such a statement: I do love and cherish myself. But that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of loving another person. It’s just that I’m unwilling to sacrifice my own livelihood, dreams, and well-being for anyone else.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I’ve never felt responsibility or obligation to another human being. I feel a strong sense of both towards my parents because they were the ones who raised me, clothed me, fed me, and spent thousands of dollars on my early education. That whole academic year, I traveled every other day from my dorm to my home to the hospital and then back. I juggled a number of jobs to pay what small bills I could for my family and to help ward off creditors. Because of all my efforts to raise and save money for them, my schoolwork suffered and my social life was virtually nonexistent. But I was more than happy to help them out during such a difficult time.

On the other hand, I cannot imagine ever possessing such strong feelings of responsibility and obligation towards a lover, someone I’ve only known for a small part of my life, someone not blood-related. And I’m not just talking about when tragedy occurs. Whether it’s having to negotiate where to go on vacation or what car to drive, I despise that feeling of being controlled, not getting my own way, or just having the course of my life altered from my ultimate dreams and ambitions. Relationships are all about compromise — something I’m not willing to do right now. And I doubt I ever will be willing.

My parents do not have an ideal marriage, but their relationship is built on a solid enough foundation that my mother was willing to dedicate everything to her husband — in essence, give up everything — during one of the most trying periods of his life. There are certainly pros to marriage that even I can’t deny, such as companionship, intimacy, and support — and hey, it works for millions of couples worldwide. But none of these pros are advantages that I don’t think I couldn’t find in a less romantic permanent relationship, or even platonic ones with friends and family. For better or worse, marriage, with all its heavy vows and responsibilities and burdens, doesn’t fit my temperament or my dreams right now. And isn’t it better to stay honest and sane, even if it’s at the cost of being single?



Keeping (It) Up with the Joneses: A Multi-Orgasmic Man Tells All

May 6, 2011

4 Comments

photo by ValtheKid

In the first book the two of us wrote together, a sex manual called The Big Bang, we included the throwaway line “multiple orgasms for men — sorry, that’s a whole ‘nother book.” (What can we say, we only had a few hundred pages to work with, and it seemed to us that women who had never had any orgasms of any kind deserved a bit of attention.) Well, a reader named Alan Oberman wrote to us recently to say, “It doesn’t have to be a book. I’ve written an article, based on personal discovery, on how man can become multi-orgasmic.” He’s been so pleased with the results that he asked if he could share his experience with our readers — and given how many men write to us asking about this topic, how could we say no? (Though we must admit that we did demur when it came to hearing about Alan’s personal experience building his own perfect artificial vagina!) So, without further ado, here is Alan’s story, in his own words:

“Come again? You can keep it up for how long?”

“An hour, more if I want, but my partner has usually had enough after 20 minutes.”

Welcome to the male multiple orgasm. Being multi-orgasmic means that you can remain aroused for as long as you wish. Your penis will not go limp; you choose when you wish to stop. The pleasures of stimulation can be enormously prolonged. You cannot make any one orgasm last longer, but you can have a lot more of them.

Following a typical male orgasm, it usually takes hours, if not days, to get it up again. Being muti-orgasmic means that when you decide to end your sexual activity, you could, if you wanted, instantly return to it.

How to Become Multi-Orgasmic

It helps with any personal discovery to know in advance there is something there to be discovered (there is) and that it’s worth the effort to get there (it is). The essence of becoming multi-orgasmic is gaining control over a system (your reproductive machinery) that fires off willy-nilly. And gaining control means practice, practice, practice.

Most men do not distinguish between orgasm and ejaculation. The word “come” is used both for the orgasm and the ejaculation, as if they were one and the same thing, occurring simultaneously. But this is not the case. The orgasm precedes ejaculation. This is important because it is the ejaculation, and not the orgasm, which brings about the consequent loss of arousal. If we could embrace the orgasm without bringing about ejaculation, it would leave us ready to recommence arousal to subsequent orgasms. Fortunately, by learning to control the drive to orgasm, we can indeed separate orgasm from ejaculation. What we give up is the instinctive, uninhibited, unrestrained drive to climax. What we gain is as many hours of pleasure as we like.

Gaining Control

Start by arousing your penis. Proceed very slowly. Keep stopping, to see what your response is. You often cannot tell how close you are to orgasm until you cease moving. If you are confident you are nowhere near orgasm, move more rapidly and with bigger movements. Keep stopping to check. If you are becoming too aroused, make slow, small movements. The pace and amplitude of your movements is your accelerator towards climax. Experiment with raising or lowering your acceleration. If you are getting anywhere near orgasm, stop altogether for a minute or two, waiting for your arousal to ease. Your eventual aim is to come to a stop at a line, with your orgasm this side of the line and ejaculation on the other side. You cannot do this at speed.

Every one of us is different, so it is impossible to prescribe exactly what is right for you. The following is just a guide and you can only know what works by experiment. Take yourself to where you just begin to have orgasmic feelings. This might possibly take a minute or two. Stop, completely relax, and wait for a minute letting those feeling decline. At this stage you will not be able to gain an orgasm without ejaculating. Start moving again, perhaps going a fraction closer to orgasm. And stop again. You may need to do this six or more times. Then some change in your body takes place. With experience you learn to recognize this change and then you know you can go on to orgasm without ejaculating. The process might take ten minutes or so. Having achieved this new state of feeling, it’s possible to move to orgasm without ejaculating. The trick is to move really slowly on approaching orgasm.

Imagine that you’re trying to control a sailboard. You want the board to fly along at the highest speed (orgasm). So you lean out as far as you dare, maximizing the force of wind. But you don’t know where the tipping point is. It’s only by going too far and falling in the water (ejaculation) that you gain a feeling for how far you can go. If you sense that ejaculation is inevitable, you might choose to go for it and enjoy it rather than trying to hold it back. Continuing the analogy, you might prefer to jump rather than fall.

One technique that helps stave off ejaculation is to control your breathing. A big breath inward precipitates ejaculation. So breathe in slowly and gently and breathe out forcefully. Similarly, rapid shallow breathing can help. With experience, you won’t need to do this — in fact, you might easily go weeks or months without ejaculating. But even the most skillful multi-orgasmic man will occasionally, inadvertently ejaculate. And of course, there may well be times you choose to push on to ejaculation because that is what you want to do.

Achieving Super Sensitivity

It takes a little time (ten to fifteen minutes) to reach a state where you can orgasm without ejaculation. After that, you might have climaxes every three minutes or so, with a lowering of arousal between orgasms. If you then continue multi-orgasmic sex for a much longer time, the frequency of orgasm changes until, after an hour or so, you reach a state in which your arousal is continuous. Feelings of imminent orgasm do not subside. You feel like you’re always on the edge of orgasm and each time it may require only some 20 movements forward of the penis to reach orgasm. The waves of pleasure are intense. You have then reached the state of super-sensitivity.

Oh, and just a heads up, as it were: While you’re in this state, the shape of the penis changed. The head end of the penis is swollen and is super-sensitive to touch. Don’t panic! Once sex has ceased, the penis soon reverts to its normal shape.

Remember, the only way to gain a new skill is to keep practicing it. The more you do it, the more satisfying it becomes. Take it from me — being multi-orgasmic can contribute enormously to your well-being, happiness, self-esteem and joy in life. What’s not to love?

– Alan Oberman

This post is a part of Sundance Channel’s Naked Love Blog
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Confession: My Top 10 Songs for a Yearning Heart

April 28, 2011

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photo by Philippe Put

Our contributor Abby Spector, who is majoring in Feminine/Gender/Sexuality Studies at Wesleyan University, confesses her heartbreak soundtrack:

I had been living with my boyfriend for two months. We paid bills and grocery shopped and made animal noises at weird hours in the night. And then he left. He had to go back to school. I decided to be an adventurer and take the semester off, a decision that seemed perfect prior to forming amazing friends. All I wanted to do was cry into my mug and explain to the stranger next to me at this café the beautiful confusion of love. Damn social boundaries. You constrain me. So instead I made a play-list for the yearning heart…complete with links to the songs!

1. “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”—Bob Dylan

Dylan, the ultimate cool-man vagabond, finally (!) admits his vulnerability. Even the harmonica seems to be crying joyful tears of lost love. Sadness is a bitch. “I’ll see you in the sky above…In the tall grass…In the ones I love…” I couldn’t find a Dylan version, but here’s a good cover.

2. “True Love Will Find You in The End”—Daniel Johnston

Listening to this song is like getting a hug from a child. The kid tells you everything will be all right and you smile at their innocent optimism. The truth is a bitch.

“Cause true love is searching too
But how can it recognize you
Unless you step out into the light?”

3. ”Sea of Love”—Cat Power

Part love song. Part lullaby. It is impossible to listen to this song without imagining a loved one. Memory can be a bitch.

“Come with me…my love…to the sea…the sea of love…”

4. “You’re Going Back” –Tallest Man on Earth

The ultimate bye-for-now-but-I still-love-you song. The singer is explaining inevitable change. Timing is a bitch.

“Let us float in the tears
Let us cry from the laughter
When it’s not for some sake
And the city’s not near
Well now, you’re going back”

5. “The Trapeze Swinger”—Iron and Wine

I was unable to put this song on without crying. I felt the tears bubbling in my nose. Sadness soup brewing in my sinuses. Reality is a bitch.

“My hand between your knees, you turn from me
And said the trapeze act was wonderful
But never meant to last”

6. “A Case of You”—Joni Mitchell

Welcome to the life of a lonely artist. That lady understood the confusion of love. Vagueness is a bitch.

“Oh but you are in my blood you’re my holy wine
You’re so bitter, bitter and so sweet”

7. “Samson”—Regina Spekter

Genius. Pure genius. Plus a piano. The fact that we share a last name only boasts my adoration of Ms. Specter. Unrequited love is a bitch.

“I loved you first , I loved you first
Beneath the stars came falling on our heads
But they’re just old light
They’re just old light”

8. “Please, Please, Please Let me Get What I Want”—The Smiths

Morrissey’s voice sounds like a heartbroken crypt keeper. It’s eerie and beautiful. Wanting is a bitch.

“Haven’t had a dream in a long time…”

9. “Another Lonely Day”—Ben Harper

This was the anthem to my why-doesn’t-he—love-me days of high school. Somewhere between the lyrics and the mildly upbeat melody, loneliness morphs into contentment. The narrator is so used to sadness he is forced to accept it as the norm. Cycles of love are a bitch.

“Yes indeed I’m alone again
and here comes emptiness crashing in
it’s either love or hate
I can’t find in between”

10. “Hallelujah” –Jeff Buckley edition

Poetry coming alive. Believing is a bitch.

“It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah”

Abby Spector