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CRISIS SITUATION! I Played with Duct Tape and It Won’t Come off My Sevens!

December 6, 2011 Help!, How To, Lessons No Comments

Duct tape fail

You were into it. You like being told what to do, being restrained and made to beg. You didn’t mind the gag or the ropes. You didn’t even mind the duct tape even though it was a little tight. At least, you didn’t mind it until it was time to go back home and you noticed duct tape doesn’t just pull off.

Your favorite pants. It’s a full on crisis situation and you need to act fast, before someone figures out what you’ve been up to. What to do? … Continue Reading

There’s Nothing Wrong With You


In a piece for New York Magazine, Davy Rothbart spends a lot of time agonizing over how the availability of porn online is affecting his sex life. He’s faking orgasms.

The article brings some good points about the difficulty some men may be experiencing in regard to how they understand the role of masturbation in their lives. The article is rife with the suggestion that masturbation and fantasy via porn is destroying men’s libidos. It’s a good conversation to initiate, however misguided, but it takes a turn for the intolerable when it suggests that women are changing their behavior to compete against pornography. … Continue Reading

To Be Loved, You Must Love Yourself First? Not Necessarily

January 14, 2010 Help! No Comments

“Remember the story of the princess and the frog?” asks psychotherapist Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D. “We can all turn into something charming when we let ourselves be loved.”

His piece on Psychology Today’s Emotional Fitness blog is worth noting for all of you starting anew this year:

There is a psychological myth going around that you have to love yourself before someone else can love you. The real truth is that many people learn to love themselves by first being loved by another.

If you never had a loving family, it’s more difficult to build healthy self-esteem. Appropriate affection from another person may be the magic touch you need to actually believe that you are loveable. When someone you admire gives his or her heart to you; it makes you feel cherished and in turn you learn to love yourself.

I know a number of people who were only able to develop self-love after someone who made them feel worthwhile came into their lives. For many, this love blossomed into a healthy and life long relationship. For others, it was an experience that put them on a path to finding their true purpose in life.

In many support groups one of the things that helps a person to recover is that the group loves the individual until he or she can love themselves. This is also one of the ways in which therapy helps individuals to heal from depression, loss and addiction.

Information from Psychology Today.

Why Does He Need To Masturbate To Porn When He Has Me?

January 12, 2010 Help!, Lessons 6 Comments

As someone who writes about sex and relationships (despite the fact that most people who read my column can generally come to the correct conclusion that I know very little about the latter) I am asked about how to deal with the private use of pornography by men quite frequently.

I’m going to be honest about this–once upon a time, it bothered me, too. I was in a relationship that I considered more than sexually adequate and one day, I walked in on my boyfriend getting off watching porn. I couldn’t understand it–was I doing something wrong? Was he lacking something? Also, WTF. I was in the next room and he couldn’t even invite me in to participate? What kind of bull is that?

I chewed him out.

And since I have had a blog since I was, like, five (total exaggeration, by the way, but close enough), I ran over to the computer and asked my humble couple hundred readers what the deal was. And that’s when I found out from several married, older women what was then the shocking truth and what I will tell you now: “honey, don’t panic. It has nothing to do with you.”

Mark Goulston, a couple’s counselor over at Psychology Today offers his take on it:

You might not like what I am going to say, but please hear me out. For women, verbally venting their frustrations is a great stress reliever. No one knows why; it just is. Well, for men, an orgasm is a great stress reliever (not to say that that isn’t also the case for women). No one knows why; it just is (Actually in an upcoming Usable Insight, you will discover that there is a reason why these work, based on recent findings in neuroscience).

There are two kinds of sex — sex with love and sex just for sex’s sake. Many husbands feel guilty about having sex just for sex’s sake with their wives, because they feel like they are using her as a thing (as opposed to making love to the person they care about).

So instead of using their wives as things, many men use pornography and masturbation (and often feel ashamed or even pathetic for doing so – one man in a couple’s session when confronted yelled in embarrassment, “Meet Hilda!” and pointed to his right hand).

I’m not advocating it or saying it’s a wonderful practice, I’m just saying it’s fairly common and not always unhealthy. Pornography and masturbation (in moderation) have probably saved more marriages than they have hurt. I think it’s pretty sad, but it’s just a fact of modern life. The trick of course is to do it in moderation rather than letting it become a full time substitution for real sex.

To give you an idea of the stress men feel, one man asked me a few months ago if I knew what the definition of a shower was. I told him I didn’t. He told me: “A shower is the place where grown men go to cry when they’re afraid they can’t keep the promise they made to their wives and children to always take care of them and don’t want their family to see how afraid they are.”

If you can show your husband that you understand the pressure and responsibilities on him, he may feel less alone and less stressed out. And if he feels less stressed out, he may not need to resort to pornography as much. Take him aside and say to him: “Nobody, including me, knows how awful the pressure from all your responsibilities makes you feel. And nobody, including me, knows that sometimes — even though you love me and our children — you wish you could be single and have nobody to worry about but you. Isn’t that true, honey? I’m sorry it’s so tough.”

From there, you may be able to start a dialog about what is worrying him and help him find positive ways of dealing with the pressures in his life.

Information from Psychology Today.

Avoid Going To Bed Angry

January 11, 2010 Help! No Comments

Relationships are hard work, they say. They’re totally lying. Hard work is being chairman of the Federal Reserve when the economy is collapsing. Relationships are more like being an over-worked, unpaid slave, building the pyramids at Giza.

Yeah, I know. I’m just a little ray of sunshine. But don’t worry! Psychology Today‘s Dr. Mark Goulston has a piece up about how to avoid going to bed angry. Let me tell you–there is nothing more corrosive to a relationship than unspoken anger and unresolved issues. I know all about it, but I will leave it to the experts:

Often before you get to feeling angry, you start out feeling frustrated. Frustration is a rather unstable emotion and often slides into one direction or another. Either you begin to feel like a victim or feel self-righteous, both of which can lead to your becoming angry. Once that happens you’re in a reactive mindset and it’s unlikely that a conversation at that point will go anywhere but downhill. So next time that happens to you, while you are in the frustration phase, do the following to counteract your slipping and sliding into those other places:

To counteract feeling like a victim, pause and think of three things you are deeply grateful to your partner about, You’ll find that you can’t be grateful and feel like a victim at the same time. For me, that would be my wife attending to the thankless details of our home that would drive me nuts, being there for my kids and me and grounding me when my mildly ADHD/bipolar traits start me rushing down the runway.

To counteract feeling self-righteous and as if the other person is utterly clueless, pause and think of three things that make you a piece of work to live with. You’ll find that you can’t feel earnest humility and be self-righteous at the same time. For me, that would mean my wife tolerating my mildly ADHD/bipolar traits, my disorganization and the Don Quixote in me.

Information from Dr. Mark Goulston.

Crisis! My Friend Is Dating A Man-Eater

November 25, 2009 Help!, Lessons No Comments

My friend has been talking about this girl for months. After a while of being unable to express any emotion for anyone, it seems he’s finally found his heart. The problem? I know this girl. She’s a well-known man-eater. She went out with another friend of mine for a while, totally used him, and left him high, dry and utterly devastated. I can’t tell my friend about this other relationship because it’s supposed to be a secret and I know people in the throes of infatuation don’t really listen anyway… so what do I do?

Here’s the thing–when it comes to people, you really don’t know what’s going to happen. No matter how close we are to someone in a relationship, we don’t really know the inner workings of their union or the reasons why it didn’t work out. It’s possible you don’t have all the details, or that she’s changed, or that this man she’s dating now will revolutionize her world just as she has his. The only thing you can really do in this situation is wait and see what happens.

You might be unable to tell him about the past entanglements–either because you’ve been sworn to secrecy or because they’re hearsay and you don’t have all the information–but you can still point out things that may go down between them that you’re not in agreement with. Be there for your friend, but remember that you’re a friend and not a parent. We will all make mistakes–we have to. That’s how we learn. Stand by him and guide him to the best of your ability should issues come up between them.

That is all you can do.


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Gamers Won’t Be Seduced, Will Stare At Random Cleav Instead

That Steam allows the objectification and sexualization of female characters in a variety of its games but refuses to accept a game about actually engaging with women in a more interactive fashion is astonishingly backward.

FetLife Is Not Safe for Users

That the site doesn’t take measures to protect user content and has shown incompetence or negligence in regard to user privacy, all the while prohibiting victims from warning others about predatory behavior creates an environment where it is nearly impossible for members of the community to take care of themselves and one another. By enabling FetLife to continue espousing a code of silence, allowing the spinning self-created security issues as “attacks,” and not pointing out how disingenuous FetLife statements about safety are, we are allowing our community to become a breeding ground for exploitation.

Why You Should Vote No On Prop 35

Should people who benefit (parents, siblings, children, roommates!) from the earnings of “commercial sex acts” (any sexual conduct connected to the giving or receiving of something of value) be charged with human trafficking? Should someone who creates obscene material that is deemed “deviant” be charged as with human trafficking? Should someone who profits from obscene materials be charged with human trafficking? Should people transporting obscene materials be charged with human trafficking? Should a person who engages in sex with someone claiming to be above the age of consent or furnishing a fake ID to this effect be charged with human trafficking? What if I told you the sentences for that kind of conviction were eight, 14 or 20 years in prison, a fine not to exceed $500,000, and life as a registered sex offender?

Pretty and Calls Herself a Geek? Attention Whore!

If you are a woman, you might be given a chance to prove yourself in this community. Since there is no standard definition of what a “geek” is and it will vary from one judge to the next anyway, chances of failing are high (cake and grief counseling will be available after the conclusion of the test!). If you somehow manage to succeed, you’ll be tested again and again by anyone who encounters you until you manage to establish yourself like, say, Felicia Day. But even then, you’ll be questioned. As a woman, your whole existence within the geek community will be nothing but a series of tests — if you’re lucky. If you aren’t lucky, you’ll be harassed and threatened and those within the culture will tacitly agree that you deserve it.

Cuddle Chemical? Moral Molecule? Not So Fast

Zak’s original field, it turns out, is economics, a far cry from the hearts and teddy bears we imagine when we consider his nickname. But after performing experiments on generosity, Zak stumbled on the importance of trust in interactions, which led him, rather inevitably, to research about oxytocin. Oxytocin, you might remember, is a hormone that has been linked previously to bonding — between mothers and children primarily, but also between partners. What Zak has done is take the research a step further, arguing in his recent book, The Moral Molecule, that oxytocin plays a role in determining whether we are good or evil.

How to Avoid Pissing off a Stripper

Let’s talk about the strippers. Whether they like to be half-naked or not, whether they enjoy turning you on or not, there’s one thing they all have in common: they’re working. Whether you think that taking one’s clothes off for money is a great choice of career is really beside the point (is it a possibility for you to make $500 per hour at your job without a law degree? Just asking). These women are providing fantasy, yes, but that is their job. And as a patron of the establishment where they work, you need to treat them like you would anyone else who provides a service to you.


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