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When It’s Okay to Invite a Guy Home for Thanksgiving

November 25th, 2014

One of our favorite Thanksgiving movies, Pieces of April 

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: “When will a guy feel comfortable being invited to his partner’s family’s place for Thanksgiving?” To ask the guys your own question, click here.

daniel_100Gay Single Guy (Daniel): Each guy is different with regards to when he would feel comfortable, and frankly, there isn’t a formula that goes, “I’ve been with this guy for X amount of time and it is then correct time to introduce him to my family on the holiday most often reserved for blow-outs and confrontations.” Why guess and why worry about whether or not it’s the right time? Be direct. Communicate. You’re not psychic. Ask for what you want. If you feel like you want to introduce him to your family, then tell him so and tell him why you want to. He’ll either agree that it’s “appropriate” and be cool with with the idea, or he may balk and reject going for his own reasons, which I’d hope he’d articulate. But most importantly, don’t guess when is right, find out by just asking him.

mark_luczak_100Straight Married Guy (Mark Luczak): For the most part, I’d say the family Thanksgiving comfort level is reached when there’s a firmly established exclusive relationship. If it’s serving specifically as the Meet The Family (gasp!), that’s always a big benchmark — while the pageantry of any holiday can be an additional pressure, on the other hand it may be as good an opportunity as any to get the big introduction over with, if both partners feel ready (kind of pulling the band-aid off all at once, heh).

But in the case where some family has already met him, mutual comfort between one’s relatives and one’s partner usually mirrors the seriousness of the relationship to begin with. If your family has been gradually getting to know the guy and starting to recognize that things are perhaps becoming more serious, then it’s likely it’ll be identified as a situation where you’d want to bring him, and he’d equally want to be your plus-one.

james_glazebrook_100Straight Married English Guy (James Glazebrook): It depends — is he Native American? Is it cool for me as an Englishman to joke about this stuff? I’m not clear on the history of it all. In fact, everything I know about Thanksgiving comes from that Friends episode when Joey gets his head stuck in a Turkey — and I’m thinking that’s no basis for relationship advice.

Over here, the equivalent is probably being invited over for Christmas dinner. In which case, unless you’re just “having fun” or in that weird hinterland between dating and being boyfriend and girlfriend, then go for it. There’s going to be free food and drink, gifts and great TV (I’m not sure you get presents at Thanksgiving, but you’re definitely blessed with football), and your family will be at their drunkest and therefore their most entertaining. The only uncomfortable feeling should be heartburn, and that’ll soon pass.

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Our “guys” are a rotating group of contributors. This week’s Straight Married English Guy is James Glazebrook; our Gay Guy is one-time stripper and sex columnist Daniel; and our other Straight Married Guy is Mark Luczak. To ask the guys your own question, click here.

Your Call: Do I HAVE to Go to My Partner’s Family Thanksgiving?

November 24th, 2014

photo via Flickr

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

Hi,

My boyfriend of eight months invited me to his family Thanksgiving, which is sweet, but I’ve met them and I’d really rather not go through the pain of it (they’re religious, Republican, old fashioned). I don’t have any alternative plans (my family is too far away for me to make the trip, plus they’re their own kind of crazy) though I could probably crash in on some friends. Although being alone wouldn’t be as bad, I think, as spending forced “quality time” with his family (in separate rooms! we’re in our late 20s/early 30s). We’re good, but I’m not sure he’s “the one” and that we’ll be spending the rest of our Thanksgivings together. I know he’ll be hurt if I bail, but I really, really don’t want to go. One crazy family is enough! Am I in my rights to decline?

Thank you!

Pardon This Turkey

What advice do you have for P.T.T.? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below.

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Your Thanksgiving Horoscopes: 11-24-14

November 24th, 2014

photo by thestarmama

Each week, we at EMandLO.com predict the course of your love life for the week with our own version of irreverent horoscopes — ignore our advice at your own peril. (Hyperbole intended for dramatic effect.)

aries (Mar. 21st-Apr. 20th)
You don’t have to take drastic, Jackass-like measures in order to get attention, like sticking your head up the butt of an entire uncooked turkey just for laughs. Instead, let your sensitive side shine through. Make friends with the turkey.

taurus (Apr. 21st-May 20th)
You can have it all if you follow the savory smells of sex and unbuckle your pants to make room. This bounty is yours to devour.

gemini (May 21st-June 21st)
Say what’s on your mind. If you’re a vegetarian, don’t eat the meat just to be polite. Because then you might throw up, and that’s not polite either.

cancer (June 22nd-July 22nd)
You’ll be full of energy this week. We’re talking about the kind of energy you exude during an intense game of Cranium with the family, when you’re frantically and somewhat pathetically trying to walk like a penguin in the hopes that sis will eventually stop shouting “Stick up the butt” and correctly guess “Charlie Chaplin,” before cous’ and that annoying know-it-all uncle of yours get it right and win the game for the third year in a row. It’s that kind of energy that may piss off your relatives but will appeal to your romantic partner(s).

leo (July 23rd-Aug. 22nd)
Take action and you’ll receive the kind of love you’re looking for. If you take time to talk, all will be lost this week. i.e., play Pictionary instead of Balderdash.

virgo (Aug. 23rd-Sept. 22nd)
Face it, you’re never going to impress your partner with your cooking skills. Focus instead on what they love you for (money, fame, sex, season tickets to the Knicks, etc. ).

libra (Sept. 23rd-Oct. 23rd)
Move on, loser. S/he’s never coming back. That’s what you get for burning the turkey last year.

scorpio (Oct. 24th-Nov. 22nd)
You don’t need to settle for someone who is still committed to someone else. No one gets two turkey dinners. Make sure they get a plate of mashed potatoes in the face if they try.

sagittarius (Nov. 23rd-Dec. 21st)
This week, you’ll find love in the strangest places. So what the hell, accept that invite from your parents’ friends’ socially awkward son/daughter to get a fancy cocktail at the local Chili’s while you’re home over Thanksgiving. The only downside is that if you do meet a hottie at the bar, you’ll be forced to admit to your friends that you met in Chili’s, and you might have to go back once a year on your anniversary. But really, isn’t that a small price to pay for true wuv?

capricorn (Dec. 22nd-Jan. 20th)
You can’t rush a relationship anymore than you can rush the cooking of a turkey (unless you deep-fry it, and that’s plain gross). Slow down and take time to stop and smell the turkey.

aquarius (Jan. 21st-Feb. 18th)
It’s a good thing a bunch of family holidays are coming up, because you need some kind of speed bump on your highway of sin. And what better to keep your mind off of cheap and easy sex than a visit with your big, blue-haired Auntie Bertha? The only legs that should be spreading in anticipation of a good stuffing this Thanksgiving are the turkey’s.

pisces (Feb. 19th-Mar. 20th)
The stars suggest politely that “you may want to avoid too much interaction with others this week. ” Apparently you’re liable to sweat the little things and have trouble keeping your cool. Hey, that sounds just like Thanksgiving at our house. We don’t recommend trying to wrangle your way out of any Turkey Day plans — that’s taking this advice a little too seriously — but you might want to reconsider making it a five-day weekend.

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PINO: The 1st Pleasure Product Exclusively for…Bankers?

November 21st, 2014


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Okay, it’s actually a gift set for men, but our friends over at LELO decided to have a little fun with the marketing, explaining that the banking angle “gave us the opportunity to come up with loads of banking puns: Deposit; Hostile takeover; Double dip; Sperm bank; The Ultimate Stimulus Package…”

So what’s the hook? “Bankers screw us so often, we may as well get some pleasure out of it.” Funny.

PINO, “the first pleasure product made exclusively for bankers” [and those are big air quotes], is by far and away the most luxurious vibrating couple’s ring money can buy, presented in LELO’s most premium gift box ever. The perfect gift for the powerful man who has everything and still wants more, inside you’ll find:

  • Cufflinks: A pair of engraved silver cufflinks that hint subtly at your expertise at market penetration.
  • Money Clip: A chromed money clip bearing the mantra of many a successful trader: Always Be Closing.
  • PINO™: The powerful, 10-function vibrating couple’s ring from our Insignia range, with a unique ridge design to add some liquid to your assets. (100% Waterproof & USB-Rechargeable.)

But again we ask, why single out bankers? LELO’s (fairly tongue-in-cheek) spiel:

Wall Street can be a cut-throat place, and everybody wants a slice. We believe it’s in our interest to keep Wall Street smiling because, if the moneymen are happy, it’s usually good news for the rest of us.

But that’s not all. Bankers and traders are famous – or infamous, more accurately – for their insatiable excesses and recklessly hedonistic lifestyles. Sure, the movie portrayals are undoubtedly exaggerated, but there is a foundation of truth beneath the Gordon Gekkos and Wolves of Wall Streets we see in the cinemas. They are, after all, based on real people. LELO is in a unique position to stimulate that market.

Since a large section of sex toy early adopters tend to come from the financial sector, we are only too keen to service their demands and desires, as we do for so many other core sections of our most loyal customers. Bankers, though, have sex differently from most of us. For most of us, sex is an appetite. In the male-dominated, testosterone-drenched world of banking, it’s an obsession. We need to make sure they’re doing it right. PINO™ is kind of an outside consultant in that respect: it’s not cheap, it’s very flashy, and by the time you need it, it might already be too late.

But should we really be lavishing the greedy, morally bankrupt jerks of the world with nice presents? And what about the female jerks in finance? Do they get their own high-end, high-powered gift package?

It’s not as flashy, but how about we just think of the PINO Pleasure Set as the perfect splurge this holiday season for the man — not the jerk — in your life who sometimes has the occasion to wear cufflinks? Because that couple’s massage ring looks like it’ll be a pretty sweet present for you, too!

Dream Interpretation: My Dead Husband Came Back for Sex

November 21st, 2014

Other people’s dreams are never interesting…except when they’re about sex. Each week, our dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg tells one lucky reader what their dirty dream means. Got a dream you want Lauri to analyze? Click here to submit it (18 and older only, please). This week, a reader asks Lauri:

I dreamed that my deceased husband came back and all he wanted was sex. At the same time I said, “Don’t you see me, I’m losing all my teeth.” Then he got mad at me and said, “No, we better not, you might get sick.”

Lauri:  I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. I can see how this dream would have you scratching your head. It is more likely that this dream is trying to help you with life after him, rather than it being him coming through to you in the dream.

I don’t know how long it’s been since he passed, so I am going to assume it’s recent enough that you are still adjusting. His desire to have sex is really your desire. Remember, this dream is a creation of your own mind, so everything in it is of you.

It’s very interesting that you turn him down due to concern over losing your teeth. While that would surely kill the mood in real life, I think it is actually more symbolic of something you feel you are losing. In my research I have found that when we lose teeth in a dream, it is because we have allowed something out of our mouth that should have stayed in there permanently, we said something without thinking about it first. Is there anything you wish you had never said to your husband before he passed? Or is there something you wish you had said?

Losing teeth can also be connected to feelings of being inadequate. Have you been feeling less of a person since your husband passed? He then proceeds to get angry with you. Remember, this is really YOUR anger. Are you in the anger phase of grief? Or are you angry at yourself about something?

Whatever it is, you are told in the dream that you might get sick. Pay attention to whatever you are told in a dream because it is coming from your wise, subconscious, intuitive self. Have you been making yourself sick with grief, regret, anger or anything similar? Your dream states you might get sick, so it’s not an issue yet, but perhaps getting close. So take care of yourself, forgive yourself, and love yourself. It’s going to be okay.

Dreamer’s Response: Thank you so much. I’m pretty sure you hit this right on the nail. I lost my husband 18 months ago. I have always felt that I didn’t tell him enough how much I loved him. And that I had guilt that I didn’t care for him long enough. Because he died so quickly. And yes I do feel inadequate. I miss him so much. He is all had. … again, thank you.

 

Visit Lauri’s site, WhatYourDreamMeans.com, for even more dream interpretations! If you want to be able to figure out your own dreams every morning, then check out her latest book, Dream On It: Unlock Your Dreams Change Your Life, which will give you the tools you need to become a dream expert, too. Check out all of Lauri’s books here.

 

 

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5 Ways to Look at Your Partner In a New Way

November 20th, 2014


by Leslie Saul for YourTango  |  photo via flickr

Anyone who’s been in a long-term relationship at least once in their lives knows what I’m talking about when I bring up the dreaded relationship rut. When you first start dating someone, they seem to be all you think about. You may find yourself daydreaming or having trouble sleeping at night. Maybe your phone battery even dies more quickly because you’re constantly checking it to see if they’ve texted or called. It’s like you’re walking on air, in love, and you’ve never felt more energized or excited than you do when you get a glimpse of him or her.

This stage of the relationship is called the “romantic love” stage, better known as the “honeymoon” phase. You spend a ton of time learning about your new flame and going on dreamy dates to get to know each other better. You probably have a few “Pinterest-perfect” moments, and give each other small tokens of affection to show you’ve been thinking about each other. You really want these newfound feelings to last forever, but you are soon disappointed when you find out they won’t.

You’re not alone though! The “romantic love” stage of a relationship usually does not last any longer than 18 months. This may vary some with how quickly you rush into the relationship. For example, if you move in together right away, you might just become disillusioned with your new love a lot more quickly than if you’d taken things slower.

It is entirely normal for a relationship to enter a “rut” once the “honeymoon” phase passes, for a number of reasons:

  • Getting too comfortable
  • Routine becomes boring
  • Experiencing a dry spell
  • Dampening of desire

The Truth About Relationship Ruts

Ruts are easiest to get into when you live together, whether you are married or not. They are especially easy to bump into when you have children, as they require so very much of each partner’s time and attention. It is also possible for a couple that is still in the dating stage—you don’t live together, you aren’t engaged, you are serious” but you aren’t ready for that next step—to enter into a relationship rut.

Thanks to our culture’s unrealistic portrayal of love in fairy tales, movies, books, and television shows, many men and women assume that bumping into a relationship barrier (like an over-done routine, lack of gratitude, boring sex life, or lack of communication) means that the relationship is doomed.

They take it as a sign that things have run their course and the person they are with is just not “the one.” Sometimes, they end the relationship without ever broaching the topic with their partner. This is NOT the course of action you should be taking if you’re in a relationship rut; instead, you need to recognize it for what it is, talk to your partner about your feelings, and come up with some solutions to turn it into something positive that will strengthen your relationship.

If you don’t talk to you partner about your boredom, lack of desire, or feelings of being unappreciated, they will start to fester. As they do, you will become hypercritical of your relationship and focus on your partner’s negative traits, rather than their positive ones. This is one of the quickest routes from rut to break up, which is probably not what you want if you’re reading this article. Right? So talk to your partner; they very well could be feeling the same things that you are.

If so, try incorporating some of these tips into your daily lives and see where they take you. Not all relationship ruts originate from the same source (boredom, not spending enough time together, not showing each other enough appreciation), and each and every one may not be effective—but one of them is bound to be.

Try sitting down with your partner and talking about which ideas you two think would be most effective for renewing your relationship … then, get going!

1. Renogatiate with your partner.

Do you remember the conversations you used to have in the beginning of your relationship? The ones where you laid out your boundaries, got to know each other’s deeper thoughts and selves, and maybe even made goals for the future together? The things you learned then may not apply anymore now, as you and your partner have grown and changed over the course of your relationship.

Therefore, it is important to take the time to have these conversations every so often as your relationship progresses, as you grow and change as individuals. Try thinking of the situation as a time of renegotiation with your partner.

2. Give each another some space.

When you first started dating your partner, you weren’t around them 24/7. You had time to focus on your own passions and they had time to focus on theirs. Effectively, you were more resistant to burn out and quite possibly more interesting as individuals. There might be some truth to the old cliché “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” after all. Why not take advantage of that to better yourself and strengthen your bond at the same time?

3. Have sex.

Even if it’s just a quickie, an intimate interaction can reinforce the bond that you share and remind your partner of your attraction to them. It’s a simple way to show that you care, but it cannot fix your problems all on its own.

If the belief that your sex life is boring and contributing to your rut, try something novel together—making love in a new place or position, role playing, or incorporating toys. Just make sure that you’re both comfortable. The vulnerability that trying something new affords will leave you feeling closer than ever, with a newfound trust.

4. Shake up the routine.

If you do the same thing every day after work, especially if your after-work routine mostly includes passive pastimes like watching television, adding some variability can work wonders. Try going for a walk around your neighborhood after dinner if you don’t usually get out of the house. If one partner usually cooks and the other cleans up, try switching roles. The change doesn’t have to be drastic, it just has to be different enough to allow you to see one another in a different light.

5. Try something new together.

This can be as big or as small as you’d like it to be. Bonus points if it’s something that betters you both as individuals in the long run—like a cooking class or a new fitness routine.

If you have any anti-relationship rut tips of your own, please feel free to share them. These are, by far, not the only ways to overcome one; they are merely suggestions. Failing to plan is planning to fail and taking no action will surely lead to a lack of closeness and distance between you and your love. Leave your relationship rut in the dust by talking it out and deciding on a few small habits to change.

This article originally appeared on YourTango

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This Week in Great Subliminal Phalluses from History

November 20th, 2014

We just finished Sam Harris’s Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion for our book club last night. It was a spirited debate, which went a little something like this:

- Harris is self-centered, arrogant and off-putting.
- But you just don’t know him like we do.
- He condones drug use.
- And that’s wrong why?
- Religion does good.
- Religion does bad.

Wine was drunk, feelings were hurt, and someone misplaced their Diva Cup (for real). But we all went home agreeing on two points:

  1. We would all try to meditate more (at least more deliberately than zoning out for 20 seconds on the toilet).
  2. There was definitely a hidden penis in one of the illustrations in the book.

In the fourth chapter on meditation, Harris talks about how one British contemplative was inspired to describe “what it’s like to glimpse the nonduality of consciousness” (duh) after seeing a self-portrait by the 19th century Austrian physicist/philosopher, Ernst Mach, “who had the clever idea of drawing himself as he appeared from a first-person point of view.” And here Harris includes the drawing:

Now, maybe it’s a symptom of writing a sex blog for a living. Maybe our subconscious was at work in mysterious ways. Maybe, like the optic blind spot, there’s a phallic symbol blind spot that most people aren’t aware of, but sexually enlightened folks like us can see through. Or maybe we’re just seeing what we want to see. As Harris attests, the brain works in incredible, complicated ways. (We’ve juvenilely highlighted the dick in question with color below.)

Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion by Sam Harris is available on Amazon.com

Turkey Porn: Hot, Naked Birds

November 19th, 2014

Aw, yeah. It’s that time of year again, when the dirty birds come out to play and anything’s possible: a full-body basting, a good stuffing up to the elbow, even succulent vegan experimenting! You know you want it. So dig in!

 

 

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How to Work with What You’ve Got (Yep, We’re Talking Penis Size)

November 19th, 2014

EMandLO.com M.V.P. reader Tony shared some excellent advice this week in response to our post, “Your Call: How Can I Compensate for a Skinny Penis?”

A male perspective here.

First off, you are not broken, nor does your penis size dictate that “you will be broken up with.” Everyone has a different penis (or breast) size, and what one person prefers may be very different from the next. I’m assuming that you wouldn’t tell a woman with smaller breasts that she is “broken” or that “she will always get broken up with”? Same thing.

Having an attitude that “I’m going to get broken up with anyway”, on the other hand, may influence your own thoughts, words, and actions such that you “get broken up with” for potentially preventable reasons. As the saying goes, change what you can (work on living as fulfilling and meaningful a life as you define it, and work on presenting your best self), accept what you cannot change (your penis size), and be wise enough to know the difference. Again, which would turn you off more – a woman with smaller breasts, or a woman who relates to you with the implicit or explicit expectation that she is fundamentally broken and that everyone will abandon her because of her breast size? I find the second to be far more off-putting than the first.

I also wonder if you are, like most of us, average in the size department. My understanding is that 5.5 inches is average, not unusually small. I don’t know what an average girth is.

I am unaware of any safe and effective means of penis enlargement, so I would skip that.

As for positions and techniques, learning the basics of a woman’s sexual anatomy and various positions would be an excellent place to start. There are numerous articles and books that go over this (including this website; I suspect that Em and Lo, amongst others, have written books on this. I’ll let someone else chime in on that).

Keep in mind that you are a person and not a sex toy, which means that sexual intimacy isn’t just about providing enough vaginal friction. Remember that most women need clitoral stimulation (which is irrelevant to penis size), and also that the G-Spot, if you believe that it exists, is only a short way inside the vagina. You also have other ways of pleasuring your partner – not only oral sex and using your hands, but massage, sensual touch, sensual conversation, etc. One comment I’ve heard is that lovemaking starts between your (and her) ears. Be mindful of friendship, good communication, being a good partner, etc.

If you were with a woman who was emotionally intelligent and mindful, a great friend, an excellent partner, and an interested and attentive lover who really enjoyed being sexual and sensual with you, would you say to her that you didn’t want to be with her because her breasts weren’t big enough? Neither would I.

Lastly, if you ask what she enjoys and show that you are interested and listening, I suspect that many women would be delighted to educate (and hopefully show!) you what works for them. Again, no two people are alike.

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