Communication

High and Cold (brew): A Love Story

Anyone who says they cannot be bribed simply doesn’t understand what their price is.  Everyone has something important to them, and therefore would be willing to give up that which is less important in order to obtain the item of utmost importance.  I suppose perhaps a person’s integrity might be the most important thing, therefore rendering them physically unbribable, but that would make me question their lack of transcendently important things such as: family, children, coffee, and (of course) love.  Point being everyone has a price.

So with all that said, this post has nothing to do with any sort of bribery, (as much as it may sound like it at certain points.)

I discovered cold brew coffee in my hometown of Seattle.  Tully’s coffee is more prevalent up there than it is in Florida (where I reside now) and they offer it mixed with some kind of “Madagascar Vanilla” that makes for a really tasty combo.  I liked it better than my typical iced coffee at the time, but didn’t realize exactly how special it was.  Maybe because of the vanilla, maybe because I wasn’t paying attention.  Probably a little of both.

7979313065_0f9e2c94cc_b

Cold Brew – Looks like science!

For those not yet introduced to cold brew, it’s essentially what it sounds like.  It’s coffee, but it’s never introduced to heat.  So in essence, the ground coffee beans are steeped in water so that it can absorb the flavor and caffeine.  The upside to this is a FAR less acidic and smoother cold coffee.  The downside is that in this case heat is replaced with time.  So making your own “instant” cold brew is impossible (though it IS easy to buy it instantly…  we’ll get to that in a few.)  A typical batch of cold brew takes around 20-24 hours to brew, but it’s well worth it.  Added benefit to those of us who are caffeine junkies, is that the longer you steep the cold brew, the stronger the caffeine content (to the point where even the adventurous addicts find themselves cutting it with water or some kind of milk.)

Even a couple of years ago, cold brew was nowhere to be found in Florida (at least, not that I and the general population here was aware of.)  I figured it was a Northwest/Seattle thing since coffee is a cultural obsession there.  But then I heard that Starbucks was test-marketing cold brew in it’s stores and I became very, very excited.  Of all places, surely Florida, the only state that competes with Hell for total heat and humidity was deserving of this cold brew!  Naturally, I was wrong.  Of all places, primarily the northern territories (including New York, Boston, and Seattle) were the test markets.  Why?  Who knows?  Population maybe?  Regardless a friend of mine working for Starbucks told me there was no sign we would see it in Florida anytime soon, and every other barista I asked agreed or didn’t even know what cold brew was.  So my enthusiasm was curbed, but I kept asking from time to time.

Finally, I was in Miami for a job interview last year and I randomly decided to ask the barista in Starbucks about cold brew… the answer was pure hope: “Oh yeah, we’ve already got some of the materials in, we’re just waiting for the next shipment.  Probably have it next week.”  Wait.. WHAT?  I asked again and was assured it was true.  Cold Brew had finally made it to Florida.

2016-04-01 12.10.45-1

Starbucks Trenta Cold Brew: Sleep is not an option.

What followed was months of extreme caffeine and discovery.  I learned that I didn’t need
to mix anything with cold brew and it was far more potent than an equal amount of iced coffee.  Then another friend who manages Starbucks clued me in on the potency of cold brew.  It was so strong that Starbucks HQ gave them strict orders to cut it in half with water.  So what I had been drinking and buzzing off of was only half strength!  As a regular I eventually convinced the folks at my Starbucks to serve me full strength for my overnight Uber runs.  The taste obviously took some getting used to (it is VERY potent stuff) but it kept me buzzing all the way through an overnight Uber run with some to spare for the next night.  It was my go-to for many months until I returned to fulltime work and found my caffeine needs reduced.

Regular coffee has been so easy to come by now that I had only sought regular, cut cold brew on days I needed that extra pick me up.  That was, until, I found High Brew brand cold brewed coffee.   I randomly saw High Brew on sale at Target one day when I was searching for a companion to my lunch sandwich.  It was on sale, and I was intrigued by the idea of canned, single-serve cold brew, so I thought I would give it a try.  As is typical of me, I snapped a picture of this experience, and a member of the Highbrew marketing team commented on my photo.  My one lament was that the Mocha flavor I tried had dairy milk, and I prefer my coffee either black, or with an alternative milk such as coconut or almond milk.  Fortunately they responded that they did, in fact, have a “Black and Bold” version and would happily send me a sample if I dropped them a line via e-mail.  Of course I jumped on the opportunity.

2016-03-17 20.27.01

Social marketing at it’s best!

Weeks later my “sample” arrived, and let me tell you, the folks at Highbrew know their social marketing.  They sent me several cans of the “Black and Bold” version to try, along with several more certificates good for a free can, along with a personalized note from the girl who commented on my instagram (Thank You April!)  Also, High Brew gets a ton of points for originating in Austin, TX (the coolest city in Texas and one of the coolest in the country.)

So naturally I did three things with my samples: 1. I searched for places I could use my free coupons (target doesn’t carry the black and bold I like!)  2. I tried the other flavors (all are good, but the milk kills it for me.)  and 3. I did a taste test between a can of Highbrew black and bold and fresh Starbucks cold brew with a comparable amount of sweetener (Three pumps of classic, to be fair.)  Here’s how it went:

Taste: High Brew

At first High Brew seems almost a little watered down, but that’s a part of it’s consistent drinkability and flavor.   Starbucks suffers from an inconsistency depending on the brew, and often has a funky sort of aftertaste (as this one did.)  Lately I’ve been ordering my Starbucks with coconut milk, which would give them a boost, but to keep it fair I’m comparing the same style.  High Brew would benefit from a dairy alternative flavor I think.

Smoothness: High Brew

As I mentioned above, High brew is SO easy to drink.  It’s best chilled, but it doesn’t have to be.  On ice as served, Starbucks is sometimes pretty close, but it tends to have more bite along with an occasional aftertaste.

Caffeine Content: Starbucks

In roughly 6 oz of Starbucks I feel more energetic than I do from the 8 oz can of High Brew.  There’s a good possibility that Starbucks is steeped longer resulting in both the stronger taste and higher caffeine content.  It certainly gets you through the day on it’s own while it (happily) takes at least two High Brew to get me through a long day (when I need this sort of intake.)

Price: Starbucks

High Brew ranges from $2.00 – $2.99 / can. (8 oz) A similar amount of Starbucks will run you about $1.62. (based on $3.25 for a 16 oz Grande)  The $2.00 price point I found for High Brew is the four-pack from my local Fresh Market where it’s been on special.  But even with that close race, you get more caffeine for your money via Starbucks.

Convenience: Tie 

2016-04-01 12.50.04

SO. MUCH. COFFEE.

Starbucks is everywhere, and High Brew is mostly in Whole Foods and similar stores.
(Target appears to be phasing some of it out, and doesn’t have Black and Bold.) However, if you can find a local distributor on their website like I did, you can get and STORE the cold brew in your fridge for first thing in the morning, backpacking, etc. So more portable and convenient form factor, which is why lately it’s been my go-to for the office. (It just so happens my boss sends me to shop for him at the Fresh Market that sells these.)

(And… After this review.. having drank both… I can see sound.)

What’s awesome about all this is that cold brew is catching on to the point that Starbucks and High Brew are only two of many options showing up on the market (including a tasty one made with almond milk!)  But even more awesome was the personalized effort by High Brew to demonstrate to a potential customer and share their brand.  I can easily say I’m sold as I buy a minimum of two four-packs a week and show no signs of slowing down.

If you’re an iced coffee drinker, I strongly recommend you try cold brew.  And if you haven’t checked out High Brew, give it a shot.  Besides the Black and Bold that I prefer, they also offer Vanilla, Mocha, Espresso and Caramel flavors with milk that are quite good.  If you decide to try it out, drop me a line and let me know what you think!

2016-03-18 13.29.55

I’m shameless, I know.

 

Maintainance and Placation

I think I mentioned before that show season is a very busy time of year.  As such it’s been ten days since my last post.  The majority of that time has been spent working very long hours in Atlanta and then Athens, Georgia.   The upside is the paycheck that will come from it.  The downside is the near total lack of social or any other sort of life outside of work.  It’s a season, only a few weeks out of the year, after which it becomes easier to balance living with working.  In the meantime though, it can take it’s toll and sometimes in unexpected ways.

This is the awesome sort of communication show season is made of...

This is the awesome sort of communication show season is made of…

Communication has evolved a lot over the last few decades and it makes staying in touch when long distances away much easier than previous generations.  However, with that evolution has come what I like to refer to as “connection maintenance”.  Essentially it’s that infrequent check-in that says “Hey!  I still think of you sometimes so we’re still connected and should hang out.”  Over the years I’ve used it to maintain a number of connections of varying nature with a fair amount of success.  No casual relationship (essentially, any non-committed relationship) should be forced into communication requirements.  But there’s a flip-side to that too.  What happens when all your communication becomes maintenance?

Over years people grow apart.  Interests change, situations change, people change.  Because of that, relationships of all sorts require work, or maintenance to keep from breaking down.  But like anything, as time continues to wear on those connections, a little more than just maintenance becomes necessary.  The problem with solely maintaining a relationship is that over time the personal touch dissolves.  Sure you text regularly or exchange dirty snapchats, but all the while personal familiarity is diminishing.  Technology cannot imitate all the subtle, subconscious messages that pass between people and it cannot reinforce the personal connection that develops when you spend time with somebody.  It can slow the process if used properly, but ultimately the only way to keep such a connection going strong is to actually connect – in person.   There is no better way to communicate, and no better way to relate to another person.  And though this most certainly applies in terms of physical relationships, I also speak of friendships that can be forged and reinforced through hours spent talking over coffee, wine, great food or netflix binging.

"You again!?"

“You again!?”

What’s more dangerous is when maintenance turns to placation.  Over time, as connections diminish it’s very easy to fall into a mentality where you simply humor or do what you feel you need to in order to appease your relationship with somebody.  You don’t really care, but instead of talking about it, you respond out of some outdated feeling of obligation to whatever you were before.  But it doesn’t work like that.  Almost everyone knows when they get to that level.  When a connection who once really cared obviously no longer does, physical visits basically disappear (as do the attempts to plan them) and their messages become robotic, thoughtless and eventually non-existent.  As the connection continues to erode, you never hear from them unless you instigate communication and even then your attempts often go ignored.   Attempts to connect personally are thoughtlessly and ambiguously agreed to, but plans are never made and if group plans are made, they probably won’t show for you.  We’ve all been there, I’ve seen it happen cycle after cycle and have always accepted it as another finite example of life.

There has to BE a relationship first...

There has to BE a relationship first…

But this time something is bothering me.  Before, I was a bad guy and frankly when you’re the villain, you lose people.  It’s a selfish and self-destructive path that naturally pushes people away.  Lies and betrayal can utterly destroy some of the strongest connections, and even those that remain are changed forever.  But this last time, I was alright.  I certainly haven’t been the most moral person in the world and I never will be, but I feel like for the most part I did good by the people I called my friends and connected with.  So then, when
those connections began to diminish and my attempts to maintain them were ignored, I developed a major dislike for this situation.  For the first time in as long as I can remember, I began to take being ignored personally.  Further, even those who didn’t ignore me were simply placating me out of some long-passed loyalty or connection they once felt.  I realized I really hated being ignored or placated.  Not necessarily because those connections were fading, but because some of those I was once connected with didn’t have the heart or personal strength to talk to me about it and admit it.  It’s frustrating when people that you used to feel important to act as if you’re no longer important enough to even discuss the state of your connection with you.  They’d rather mindlessly respond or simply ignore me and get on with their lives. It feels weak to me… and I don’t like weakness (especially my own!)

Eventually I realized that being sensitive about it only made it worse and came to terms with it, but it’s a sad thing to simply watch connections you might like to keep diminish.  In some cases it seems it’s meant to be and that’s not to say that some won’t return stronger one day.  But I submit to you that it’s a good idea to pay attention to the connections you have now in whatever form and decide which ones you want to do a little more than maintain.  Some relationships are worth keeping, nurturing and investing in so that they remain through the cycles and grow stronger.  Even after we leave this world, some of those connections remain in the form of memories and legacies they create.  Sometimes, with a little more than just maintenance, relationships really can last forever.

Sorry guys, you might not get that blowjob, and here’s why:

I was talking to a friend of mine a while back and she was telling me about the first time she ever went down on a guy.  It was a hook up that was, frankly, uncharacteristic of her as she had intentionally (and not for religious reasons) remained a virgin into her twenties.  The unfortunate truth of this story though is that it serves to highlight some serious issues that result from boys being fucking idiots.  So picture this: after so many years of behaving, a young girl decides that she is ready to take the next step in her sexual process.  She’s not ready for intercourse, but she’s willed up the courage to try oral sex (which a lot of guys will take over sex itself on many occasions anyway!)  Imagine that she’s nervous about her performance, wanting to do well and that she won’t somehow screw it up.  Then imagine the he actually screws it up, but she has no idea because she’s never been in this situation before.

Well, how did he screw it up?

By being an ignorant, selfish fuck.  To elaborate a bit, he decided that he didn’t want to lay down in the bed, sit or otherwise make any attempt to improve her comfort.  No, he insisted he needed to be standing up, with her kneeling (on a tile floor.)  He made ZERO attempt to make her more comfortable.  Have you ever spent much time on your bare knees on a hard floor?  If not, I suggest you try it and tell me if you think this is reasonable.  Like many girls, she doesn’t have the slightest idea if she’s doing it right, but she’s doing the best she can based on what she’s heard and/or (probably not) seen (which is also typically inaccurate.)  So there she is, already uncomfortable, trying to push this guy’s member as far into her mouth / throat as she can and trying not to gag, and what does he do?  One of the things you should never do without expressed permission/consent (I only say this because I’ve met one or two ladies that LIKE this sort of treatment, but I digress…)  He put his hand on the back of her head and forced her to go deeper.  By this point I wouldn’t blame her for grabbing this guy’s balls and squeezing until he started crying, but she’s not the type for conflict, she wanted to be good for him, so she finished him despite his treatment.  And you know what?  At no point did he attempt to reciprocate (he should’ve before but more on that in a bit.)  She never played with him after that, the whole thing put a sour note on hooking up and especially blow jobs which she no desire to do again (and who could blame her?!)  Well done, asshole.

This is just an example of the broken mentality that ruins certain aspects of sexuality for some women.  So let’s break down some of the bullshit you guys are pulling and therefore screwing things up for both her and the guys later on that (unlike you) give a shit.  A lot of this can be translated to any sexual act, and I’m pretty sure it stands with guy on guy action as well.

Entitlement:

Let’s get this out of the way first…  Somehow, at some point, the idea actually took hold that under certain (variable) circumstances, a girl “has to give you head.” I’ve heard a lot of ridiculous rules: “If you’ve had sex, she has to go down on you.” False.  “Once you get a handjob, she has to give you a blowjob next time.” False! Or the worst (and I can’t make this shit up): “If you’re making out and you know she wants it, just pull it out and push her head down.” I mean, Seriously!? People actually think like this!?  Not only is this wandering into rape world, but that girl isn’t going to want to go near yours (or probably anyone else’s penis) again.  It is REALLY worth it to put her through an awkward situation in which she’s really not going to try AND destroy any chance you have of letting it happen again?  I’m sure you don’t give a rat’s ass if she never goes down on another guy… but if you could get around your ignorant assumptions, and she actually enjoyed herself, not only might you find she’s really fantastic at oral sex, but that she might regularly offer to do so.  There’s this odd concept called “respect” that makes people more likely to want to please you.

You’re not willing to give:

This one is simple.  If you refuse to go down on her, how the hell are you going ask her to go down on you?  I’m not saying she won’t in every case (some girls genuinely just don’t enjoy receiving oral sex… granted not the majority) but it’s generally pretty logical to think that if you’re going to ask her to go down on you, you be willing to give what you want to receive.  Ideally, you’ll do so first based on the simple fact that (again, generally speaking) once you cum, you’re basically done.  She, on the other hand can usually keep the mood well after she’s gotten off.  An added bonus in this situation is that you might not even need to ask her to go down on you, you might just inspire her to do it on her own.   Speaking of that…

You don’t ask:

All about context...

All about context…

It’s absolutely magical what respectfully and tactfully asking what you want will get you.  I’ve beaten the concept of communication to death in these sex-based posts, but it’s true in every case that being willing to ask for it will let them know it’s on your mind.  If you’re already hooking up, they may think that you’re all about the sex itself and not give alternative activities another thought.  You don’t get to expect anything in regards to sexual activity, but there’s no harm in asking respectfully. (Protip: If you have trouble asking outright, playfully suggest the 69 position, if she likes that idea then obviously she’s okay with going down on you in the right situation.)  Be prepared though, if she doesn’t want to, you’re going to have to respect that.  Over time maybe you can communicate enough to understand her aversion to oral sex, but you’ll never get there if you act like a douchebag when she tells you no.  Be respectful, build trust and be patient.  Sometimes it simply boils to inexperience and and performance anxiety, which will never improve if…

You’re not willing to teach:

This may come as a shock, but other than issues of Cosmo and random blogs like this one, there’s no manual for giving a guy head.  Porn is a terrible example for a number of reasons and girlfriends are not always close enough to elaborate on the finer points of the techniques.  Because of this, even ladies that are grown and experienced sexually can carry some level of anxiety when it comes to performing oral sex.  So if you want to make this more likely to happen, and better yet, for her to enjoy it, you’re going to have to talk to her about it.  If she’s nervous, make it fun, offer to show her your spots and how easy it is.  You’d be amazed how few girls realize that a lot of the work can be done by multi-tasking with their hand(s).  Most guys know how ridiculously easy it is to make us cum when you hit the right spot, all you have to do is make her feel similarly confident and the chances of her wanting to do it increase exponentially.

You make it uncomfortable:

This goes back to my initial story.  There are a number of other asshole moves you can pull that turn a potential positive situation into a negative one.  The thing you have to remember is that the “pleasure” of giving you a blowjob primarily comes from your partner feeling empowered in the process of doing so.  If they know they are turning you on and (eventually) getting you off, it can very likely turn them on.  However, if you ruin the fun by being disrespectful or making them uncomfortable, then you’ve pretty much destroyed the whole situation and relegated yourself to asshole land.

For example DO NOT:

Cum in her mouth without permission.  This is a common assumption and one that can really piss off somebody who’s not expecting it.  When in doubt, warn them!!  Who cares if she swallows it or not?  Sure, the orgasm will be better if she’s willing to keep going while you’re getting off, but I guarantee it’s not going to be better if abruptly stops, spits it all over you and is pissed.  That’s an excellent way to be sure you’re not getting seconds anytime soon.  (And if you get an especially spiteful woman there’s a lot of very gross/vicious ways she can punish you…   )

-or-

Push / Force yourself into her (aka “Face-Fucking”) without permission.  Look, unless you regularly shove large, long cylinders in your mouth, you’ve got no real concept of how difficult it might be for her to handle you.  (Even if you do.. everyone is built a little different.)  So in those situations, when she’s trying to handle you, don’t start shoving yourself in further and for the love of god do NOT push on the back of her head. That’s arguably one of the worst things you can possibly so, especially during orgasm.  If you pull that on somebody I wouldn’t blame her for biting your punk ass.

Oh Bill...

Oh Bill…

Speaking of comfort, all of the above included, it’s a basic rule of the universe that if you want something to happen you make it as easy and comfortable as possible. This comes back to the silly concept of consideration for whomever is going to give you what it is you want.  To that end, do everything you can to make them as comfortable as possible in the situation.  So that means whatever position is easiest for them and if that position happens to involve hard surfaces, get her a fucking pillow.  It’s often the little things (no pun intended.. I hope.. for your sake…) that can make or break a situation, especially one where you’re asking for a big favor.  Because you know what will screw up the chances of a perfectly good, respectful, considerate guy getting a blowjob from a girl that decides she wants to play with him?  Some asshole before him that was a selfish, ignorant, disrespectful douchebag and did all of the above.  What pains me is how many of those creatures actually exist out there.

On a lighter note, the friend I spoke of in the beginning did indeed end up finding a good guy for a steady boyfriend, and eventually she felt comfortable enough with him to try going down on him.  As you can imagine, things turned out much better for her and it’s become a regular and exciting part of their routine.  So thank you, good guy, for treating her right and not letting another ignorant asshole damage her sexuality permanently.  I salute you and the the many happy blowjobs that happen as a result of your doing it right.

Sexual Dynamics, Part 2: Making Love

My first thought (and perhaps yours) is: “Why do you think you’re qualified to write about this!?”  I’m not.  I’ve had my brushes with the grey areas over the years, and let’s say that at times maybe it refreshed my memory, but I haven’t been consistently, romantically, lovingly involved with somebody for nearly a decade.  So am I an expert on the fine art of love-making as I feel I was for hooking up?  Fuck no.  But I’ll give it a shot anyway, maybe I can paint an ideal, unrealistic picture for us all!

This is less love and more a fire hazard...

This is less love and more a fire hazard…

So what’s the difference between sex and making love?  Rose petals? candles? magic?  No, not really.  It comes down to comfort and trust.   Yep, that thing I’ve talked about as being dangerously bad in the past is one of the defining differences between hooking up and making sweet love.  Trust is a given, if you don’t trust your partner, you have no business being with them and claiming you love them.  In my experience, even if you don’t automatically trust the person you love, you choose to.  So with that in mind, if you trust your partner mentally and emotionally, it seems reasonable that physical will follow.  Especially when the element of communication is present.  As I’ve said, that’s pretty essential for any sort of good sex, but if you don’t communicate properly with the person you’re supposedly in love with, it’s going to severely dampen you sex life (along with your relationship.)

Comfort is a double-edged sword.  When you grow emotionally comfortable with somebody, the personas you put out to the outside world (including those you may have hooked up with) strip away and you feel good about showing / giving yourself to somebody completely.  Exposed, vulnerable, honest, raw.  They get what the hookups don’t, they get all of you.  Getting naked and getting off with somebody is easy, letting them have you with all your mental and emotional defenses down and trusting them to do right by you is much, much harder.  Making love is (and should be) a physical metaphor for your entire relationship: physical, mental, emotional, even spiritual.  Over time though, that comfort can easily fall into taking each other for granted.  Even the act of making love can begin to feel mundane over a long amount of time and lose the very thing that differentiates it from simply hooking up.  It’s a fine line, balanced properly by effort, communication and dedication to satisfying each other’s needs. The physical aspect of a long-term relationship must be maintained as much as any other aspect, or it can just as easily end said relationship as anything else.  You’ve pledged yourselves to each other for the long haul, that means taking care of all the needs you can for them.

Pictured: Magic (I had no idea I was being painted...)

Pictured: Magic (I had no idea I was being painted…)

Don’t get me wrong about magic either, when you’re in love with somebody the magic is (ideally) in everything, especially at first.  But the magic is the love itself.  In the beginning.. the “honeymoon phase” the newness and excitement makes this magic almost automatic, but once that fades it takes some level of work to recognize, appreciate and make magic.  You have to make  love.  Perhaps that’s where the term comes from as many of the more romantic (and in my opinion misguided) belief systems consider sex to be the ultimate expression of love.  While that’s utter bullshit, it makes a decent point in reinforcing that the physical certainly is important as a balanced form of expressing your love physically.  In my experience, the special someone will always have that pull, the intangible, explainable thing that draws you to them, but it’s up to you both to recognize and elaborate on that.  Part of loving somebody is being dedicated to exploring and nurturing the magic that you have with them, and that very includes the bedroom.  If it doesn’t… well then you fall in the very large percentage of people who do what they feel they have to on the side.  It doesn’t meant the love is gone, but it means something has fallen to the wayside on a physical level at least (if not other levels as well.)

NOT Love.  But REALLY, REALLY fun.

NOT Love. But REALLY, REALLY fun.

So, what about non-traditional situations?  Threesomes, Orgies or just open relationships?  I’m not going to go into Polyamory or other alternative relationship situations because this isn’t about the relationships, this is about the love-making within the relationship.  Can people really be in love with multiple people equally?  Yeah, probably.  But let’s talk about that some other time.    In the meantime let’s start with three or more people since I’ve got some experience with this.  First of all, this is by no means wrong or bad for the relationship as long as both people are totally open and honest with each other.  This keeps misunderstandings from happening and allows ground rules to be set if necessary.  Done properly, adding an addition person the mix for a couple to share can be very exciting and fulfilling.  The key is that both partners are equally interested in the situation and they regard the third person as a toy for them both play with.  The third person should also be very clear about their role, and honestly would rarely complain.  In my experience, the threesome+ itself is exciting, sexy and even satisfying, but not making-love.  It’s more like the couple as a singular entity are “hooking-up” with another person.  It’s recreation, fun, sexy recreation for all parties involved.  The nifty side-effect I’ve noticed is that such situations usually result in a second, more connected “love-making” session a bit later on.  Call it reconnection,  reclaiming, whatever.  It’s probably just because the threesome highlighted the contrast between hooking up and making love enough for the couple to crave the added intimacy.

As for open relationships, the best way to explain this is simply that when those in love are with each other, they have that greater connection and intimacy that is making love.  When they venture out and see other people, they are just plain fucking.  It’s like masturbating, but better because it’s always better when somebody else does it.  Obviously this sort of situation requires that the couple not be possessive of each other physically and have spectacularly good, straightforward communication (both of which are much harder in practice than in theory.)  This maintains the necessary trust along with the obvious need for open communication among all parties regarding healthy sexual practices.  I absolutely must point out that love is not possessiveness.  I’m not saying that it’s wrong to want your partner all to yourself, but if somebody isn’t physically possessive, it doesn’t mean they don’t love somebody, it just means they have drawn a clear line in their mind between making love and hooking up.  I’ve heard people say in the past that they like it when their spouse/partner gets jealous because it means they love them.  Fuck that.  Jealousy isn’t love in any way, shape or form.  It’s about possession and nobody owns anyone.  A good relationship is when two people want to give themselves to each other and share their lives equally.  Ownership has nothing to do with it. Ever.  So with that said, while jealousy is natural, it can also be controlled and mastered, and if that’s the case, then a loving and open relationship is certainly possible.

They OBVIOUSLY get it.

They OBVIOUSLY get it.

So what is “Hooking Up”?  Two (or more) consenting adults happily get naked and do sexy things to each other until they end up in a happy heap of post-orgasmic bliss.  What is “Making Love”? Two (or possibly more) people come together without barriers, personas or presumptions and give themselves to each other mind, body and spirit.  They truly connect on multiple levels and and express their total desire to share their lives with each other.  Hooking up is great when done responsibly, but making love is a rare treasure on a whole different level.

Sexual Dynamics, Part 1: Hooking Up

**Seems I never learn.  I was done with this post and had about 1000 words wiped out by accidentally hitting the back button on my browser.  I get that I should get used to writing these in a word processor, but dammit WordPress, your auto-save sucks. So you guys get version 2.0 of my thoughts on this. /end rant. **

Well holy crap.  Last post was by far the most popular post I’ve written since I began broadcasting my brains onto the internet. Thank you for reading and sharing and especially for your candid responses.  I got a ton of feedback from people who could relate or felt that I might have missed something.  They were right, it was missing a lot actually.  I couldn’t possibly fit the intricacies of good sex into a single blog post (at least, not without it being the size of a novel.)  The last post was an introductory guideline… one possible choice in the foundation for good sex.   Judging from the reaction I got, I’ll be writing more of that.  In the meantime though I want to take the chance to address some of the feedback I received.  It’s pretty awesome when blog posts write themselves. 🙂  Some of this will re-hash older posts, but some of you weren’t around back then anyway.  First let’s talk about what I touched on a bit too briefly:

casual-sex-formalFirst let’s clarify that “Hooking Up” and “Making Love” are two very different concepts in my mind, with more or less different agendas but preferably the same physical outcome.  This post, I’m going to start with what I know know more about.  I’ve been single for just over eight years now, but my sex life has (for the most part) been quite healthy.  This means casual sex (AKA No Strings Attached) has been a pretty constant part of my routine.  There have been a few grey areas in the emotional spectrum, but for the most part it’s been very straightforward situations.  I’m not really one for one night stands, in fact on the rare occasion I have sex with a stranger, I make an effort (often to their surprise) to get to know them.  If it’s good, why wouldn’t you want more!?  Especially due to the safety of the situation though, I tend to prefer some level of knowledge before the hook up.  In many ways getting to know somebody on a physical level makes me feel closer to them simply as a person (which explains why most of my best friends are women.)

Hooking up is (ideally) simple.  No emotions and no expectations, just a mutual physical attraction and an agreement to take care of some needs.  There’s no obligation to hang out more (though I often do) and no need to text daily with updates on your life.  It’s just a matter of getting together to take care of some needs and then getting back to your lives.  This goes back to what I wrote last post though:  You’re there for one reason, you best try to be good at it.  As I said, in this situation, there are not supposed to be expectations except the obvious one: generally speaking you’re both there to get off.  I’ll wager that 9 times out of 10 any guy that is trying to “hook up” is specifically looking to cum.

Meanwhile, probably half of the ladies out there say they are content for the excitement/attention but don’t expect to get off.  Well, that’s pretty ridiculous.  It unfortunately stems from all too many lazy, selfish, often falsely entitled assholes who aren’t willing to put any effort towards the hookup past what gets them off.  Sure, they might go down for some ten seconds during “foreplay”, but they think it’s just for warm-up.  Losers. If that makes you feel a bit insecure, this might offend you, but you’ve made an unspoken agreement to participate in this, and unless it’s expressly one-sided, your pride should tell you that you need to at least give it a good shot (no pun intended… kinda.)  Also.. I say again guys: If you are going to ask a girl for a blowjob, the best way to increase your odds of getting one is to get your ass down on her and make her cum first.  What guy doesn’t like blowjobs!?  Totally worth the effort.

Well.. that escalated quickly..

Well.. that escalated quickly..

Now, I realize there’s specific situations where things will be one-sided.  Public sex often needs to be quick and doesn’t allow for the steps that one or both partners require to get off (though it’s often such a turn-on that it’s not impossible.)  Road head obviously requires the driver to focus on driving as much as possible.  Drunken parties sometimes escalate into (semi)public acts that might need to delay reciprocation and then sometimes people that are sexually involved just want to do a quick favor for the other when there’s not time for a full session.  All of that is awesome, but might I suggest considering these and I.O.U. for some undisclosed future date?  Hell, keep am orgasm tally if you like.  Spontaneous sexual reciprocation is pretty awesome.  (Remember too, that I suggest a 2-to-1 ratio of female to male orgasms if possible since many women can have more than one in a session.)

In the case of a one-night stand, you do your best (guys, see last post if you need help) under the circumstances (again.. pride?) It’s basically implied you’re both being pretty selfish and expectations can’t be too high, but you know what?  I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to try be that guy/girl that they talk to their friends about later (and people do talk.)  Personally, I’d like to be the exception that the girl says “Damn.. that guy last night was the best sex/hookup I’ve had in…” or at least “Oh yeah, that guy was totally worth it!”  (Again, I’m not really huge on one-night stands, but if you’re gonna do it, you might as well be memorable right!?)  You guys know you’ll probably get off during sex regardless, so why not try to be most badass hookup they can remember?  Be that guy.  Even if you decide you’re not that into her, if you’re still trying to selfishly get off with her, do it to keep it fair, do it because she deserves it for sharing herself with you.

Hard to argue.

Hard to argue.

Now, in a “Friends with Benefits” situation, you’ve got the communication aspect I stressed so much in the last post. (See also my post on casual sex a few weeks back… I’ll link it at the bottom.)  Maybe the first time it’s unexpected, but after that you’ve got time to talk about it.  If you’re getting naked with this person, and you’re going to continue to get naked with this person, you really shouldn’t have a problem discussing / figuring out what you both both like.  You’ll be able to tell pretty early on if the physical / sexual chemistry is there (and that can make a huge difference.) So honestly, at this point you need to man/woman up and talk.  You should be talking about physical / sexual health anyway, so really talking about your preferences beyond that should be easy.

The great news about this is that if you pull off an ideal “Friends with Benefits” situation, it’s second only to passionate love-making.  Once you’re comfortable with communication, you can use each session to fine-tune, explore and give feedback on what you want and like.  It adds a pretty fun, sexy twist on regular friend activities and lunch/work conversations.  The process might be slow if you only see each other a couple times a month, or it might develop quickly if you have a “regular” you see several times a week.  Either way, each time you get to explore somebody’s body (assuming you’re paying attention) you get to know and practice what works for it until both you and your partner are fine-tuned machines of ecstasy and release.  Added bonus is without the pressure or commitment of a romantic relationship, if something is missing from your otherwise-ideal hook up situation, you are free to find that elsewhere without remorse.  You sacrifice a level of reliability but the trade-off is added potential variety (and by the way, in my experience threesomes, foursomes, etc. have the highest probability of happening in this situation, especially if your partner is bisexual.)

Just stick to the "contract".

Just stick to the “contract”.

As I’ve elaborated before though, successfully navigating a no strings attached situation with a friend is difficult.  You have to be an adult.  That means getting over jealousy, possessiveness and keeping your emotions in check.  Once again communication and honesty with yourself and your partner play huge roles here, and if something is turning into something else, it needs to be addressed ASAP or you risk destroying a friendship at the very least.  Get over the idea that a “Friends with Benefits” situation is going to turn into a loving relationship like the movies.   I’m not saying it can’t, but what’s more likely is that one of two will become attached and start expecting things that they shouldn’t (and for the record, that is not usually the woman, despite the stereotype.)  When that happens a decision has to be made.  Either the playtime has to stop, or you have to agree to stick to the “contract” (Like Christian Grey would if he weren’t in a sappy Twilight fan-fiction…)

Hooking up is not on par with “Making Love”.  There’s a lot to be said for the emotional connection and mental engagement that greatly enhances the act of sex itself.  Love is powerful, in many ways and definitely in bed.  However, if you find somebody you get along with and click with on a physical / sexual level, you take the time to study / learn them in bed (how can this not be fun!?) and you keep your head straight and attitude good about the situation, you’ll find that while it’s not love, it can be the next best thing: Mind-blowing, euphoria-inducing, stress-killing, ultra-orgasmic sex.

For more tips on casual sex done right, check out this post:

http://thegreyarea.org/2014/11/17/how-to-casual-sex/

Dear Boys: Stop failing at sex.

**Warning:  This post contains somewhat dirty words and pictures/descriptions.  If you think sex is icky, don’t read this.**

Seriously.  Though i use the term “boy” for a reason, I’m talking to men of all ages, because apparently some of you still think you’re seventeen and don’t know how to do this.  But before we get started, let me clarify something right away:  I’m really not amazing at the actual act of sex.  I’m decently endowed but by no means huge and I’m not all that into marathon sex (because there’s only so many positions to go through before you’d like to get on with your life…)  What I do right is what any guy can do right regardless of all that:  Be about your partner.

(*note that while I’m speaking generally, I’m only (mostly…) qualified to talk about heterosexual sex.  Though much of this is universal I would imagine some mechanics/dynamics are different in a guy-guy or girl-girl pairing, so take that with a grain of salt.)

One thing most of us can agree on, is that emotional sex (or what I refer to as love-making as opposed to casual or recreational sex) adds a powerful and generally better element to the situation.  Though even then, especially after some time as passed, you guys can screw that up.  Let’s also be clear that I know “it’s not always the guy!” but holy crap the number of comparisons and horror stories I hear from ladies is ridiculous!  So let’s get started, I’ll make this super easy and hopefully when you quietly read it you’ll pick up a concept or two.  If not, I won’t be too heartbroken because frankly, guys that don’t make me look good, and are probably responsible for fair percentage of the reason some girls come back to see me.  So without further ado:

Unfortunately you don't normally get signs like this...

Unfortunately you don’t normally get signs like this…

1. Communicate – For the love of god guys put your false ego away, it’s making your manhood look small.  If a woman trusts you enough to let you touch her naked, then she deserves (as much as you do) for you to care and ask her how she wants to be touched.  Newsflash:  EVERY woman is different and likes different things.  So your style isn’t going to cut it every time.  Deal with it and be adaptable.  Ideally this conversation happens before you actually get down to it, so you have some idea what she wants and how she wants it.  Not only does this help build confidence for both parties, but this kind of talk is pretty hot for both parties involved and can definitely help move things along if you haven’t already gotten to it.  Do note however, that talking about it, even if she seems receptive, does NOT mean it’s going to happen.  Do not ever make that assumption.  Also, I realize sometimes things happen unplanned, in fact sometimes it’s ultra hot and spontaneous and that’s great but that certainly gives you something to talk about after the fact.  In rare cases, she may not want to talk about it, if so then she’ll have no trouble telling you (one way or another) to get to it and you can move on to my next tip:

2. Pay Attention! – If not vocally so, your partner will react to things she likes.  Things like muscles tensing, sharp/quick breaths, gripping / holding you in place and (obviously) moans are all great signs you’re doing something right.  On the other hand, different girls like different things.  I’ve met women that have extremely sensitive nipples to the point they can orgasm from having them licked/played with, but on the other hand I’ve known women that find too much nipple play annoying / uncomfortable.  Obviously if you try something and they squirm out of the way or push/pull you in another direction, that’s a clear sign.  Otherwise, if you don’t know the person well, it might be hard to tell the first time.  But as you get to know them, study their reactions, pay attention!  Honestly, this is your job.  This woman decided to share herself with you intimately, the least you can do is try your best to be sure she enjoys it.  That said you have an obvious goal:

Don't be THAT guy...

Don’t be THAT guy…

3. Make her cum – This IS why you’re doing this, right?  Sure, maybe you love her and you want to share intimate moments with her, but the climax of the experience is for you each to reach that great orgasm that leaves you breathless and satisfied.   Well, let’s face it, for the most part, we’re pretty easy.  Guys can usually get off through straight intercourse in most cases (and in some cases, a bit quicker than she would like.)  On the other hand, girls are usually one of three types I refer to as “Inny”, “Outie” and “Both”.  The most common of the three are “Outies”.  These ladies typically get off by having their clitoris (or “clit” for short) stimulated.  The second, less common type is the “Inny” which typically has orgasms through internal or “G Spot” stimulation.  These are the lucky ladies that can more often orgasm through intercourse along with the really lucky ladies who get through “both” or either manner.  Note though, that regardless of type, they won’t necessarily be easy.  Sometimes it’s a bit of (sweet, sweet) work to give a woman an orgasm.  In addition, women are typically more influenced by their mental state than men, meaning the more comfortable and turned on they are, the easier it will be for you to make it happen for them.  You attitude should be enthusiastic, and you should take great pride in your ability to work and make this happen for them.  Since intercourse is not by any means the best way to give a woman an orgasm, start with this:

3. Go Down On Her – If I had one piece of advice overall, it would be this.  Especially if you’re even considering asking her to to reciprocate, you better be ready to do your part.  But the thing about this is, it requires one or both of the previously mentioned steps to be effective.  It is rare (not impossible) for a woman to not enjoy receiving oral sex, but it is not uncommon for different women to like different things, styles, etc.  Generally speaking though (assuming she hasn’t told you what she likes,) start slow, tease her inner-thighs and then gently work your way up to her clit with your tongue.  (If you don’t know where it is… please google it.. for the love of god… there’s some variety, but you can figure it out.  If you can’t, nobody can help you.)  Once you have a clear indicator that you’re hitting the right spot (even if she’s silent, you should be able to tell by tensing muscles and quickened breathing as mentioned above,) you can pick up the pace with your tongue.  (If there’s no reaction at this point, check her pulse, you may have bored her to death.)  Once you have your tongue moving the way she likes it, you can take it up a notch when you:

Here's a diagram.  You have no excuse.

Here’s a diagram. You have no excuse.

4. Use Your Fingers!  – You know what the difference between passible (maybe) oral sex, and good oral sex is?  Multi-tasking (and really that goes for both genders!)  This means while you’re working that tongue on her, you can put those two hands/fingers to work.  Start by slowly sliding one of your fingers into her vagina.  Do not just ram it into her, work it in slowly, using some that saliva and her fluids to allow it to slide in smoothly.  Once you have one finger sliding in and out, work it around a little bit and gently try to slide in a second finger. (The number of fingers a girl prefers can vary, but two is generally a good universal number to start with.)  Once you have both fingers sliding in comfortably, you can go for the internal button (aka “G Spot”.)  Keep in mind again that on some women internal stimulation doesn’t do too much, and the “G Spot” itself has no real effect for them, but you probably won’t hurt anything but going for it, and if it does do something for them, you’ll probably be able to tell.  The exact position is individual, but you’ll generally have a good chance of finding it by inserting your fingers all the way in at an upward angle, and then running them along the top of her vagina (assuming she’s on her back) in a “come here” or hooking motion with your fingers.  As with before, start this motion slowly until you hit what you think is a good spot.  One of the benefits of having your fingers inside of her is that when you’re hitting good spots you can often feel her muscles tensing around your fingers (yay feedback!)  Once you’ve practiced that to the point you’re comfortable, move on to:

5. Multi-Task! – I know, you’re already multi-tasking.  But you have another hand and you might as well use it.  There’s a number of things you can do here.  The safest options are to reach up and fondle one of her nipples if possible.  You can also reach around and (gently) pull up a bit on the area above her clit, this often makes sure you you have better access with your tongue (always a good thing.)  Likewise, on some women, if you apply gentle pressure on their lower abdomen about two inches  above where you are licking, there is a nerve cluster that can enhance the sensation noticeably for them.  One other major option is to use your other finger for anal penetration.  Many women actually enjoy this (probably more than are willing to admit.) However, this is a bad idea unless you are well established with your partner for two reasons: First, if they don’t enjoy those sorts of things and you do it, it can literally and instantly kill whatever progress you’ve made toward their orgasm and possibly take them out of the mood.  Not worth it.  Second, even if they do like it, a great deal more trust, care (and lubrication!!) is needed to comfortably pull off that move.  Again, not until you know it’s something they want and how they like it.  Regardless of the accepted multi-tasking ends up being, there’s a pretty important rule:

You get the idea.  But over and over...

You get the idea. But over and over…

6. DO. NOT. STOP. – (Until you’re told to.)  There are multiple reasons for this, but the primary two are as follows:  First, consistent rhythm is key to allow her to build to orgasm.  Women tend to gradually build higher and higher (I know one woman who describes it as a roller-coaster ascending slowly before the fun part) and if you stop at any point during this ascent or the orgasm, you run the risk of not only lessening the build-up, but possibly resetting it.  Meanwhile stopping during the orgasm will very often reduce it’s intensity and length, which is just depressing.  The second major reason you don’t stop is that some of our lady-friends are endowed with the incredible ability to orgasm over and over.  Some have one gigantic one like many of us guys do, some have two or three before they are done and some can have well into double digits before it gets to be too much.  Regardless of which it is, they will have no problem scrambling away, pushing your head back, or otherwise signaling that they have had enough.  That’s not a bad feeling, when she tells you she needs a break because it’s too much.  Typically, I think a fair ratio is that she should have (at least) two orgasms for every one she gives you.  Obviously, you should give her hers first because in most cases, when a guy is done, he’s pretty useless in bed (at least for a while.)  So get good at all the above and you’ll find it’s pretty simple to:

7. Have GOOD sex! – First of all, if you’ve done all of the above, she’s already satisfied, so the pressure is off.  If she’s the type who has multiple orgasms, she’s probably much more primed to receive you now and enjoy it a lot more than if you’d gone straight to the sex.  Even if she’s not the type to have multiples or to cum during sex, she’s probably going to be pretty happy to do what it takes to give you yours and enjoy herself along the way.  And if you happen to be quick that day, she probably won’t mind, because you did your job.  There’s always the chance she’ll offer to orally return the favor and you’ll get a blowjob in addition to or along with some great sex.  In most cases, there’s no downside to making sure she’s taken care of first. However:

See?  This is important!

See? This is important!

8. Communicate! – After your random hookup or the first time that was quick and passionate and in the moment without communication, there’s no excuse.  Talk to her, find out what she likes and how she likes it.  The above is a guideline but there are so many variables.  Some really enjoy the initial penetration of sex right away (and THEN oral!)  Some aren’t comfortable with oral at all and would rather you use fingers, and some want you to put yourself somewhere else entirely!  The point is if you’ve been intimate with her, there’s zero reason to be shy about figuring out exactly what she wants.  Once she knows she can tell you without you feeling threatened or judging her (if you do, you need to move on) she will happily tell you and feel more comfortable / excited that she can.  DO NOT ever get irritated or upset about instruction, especially during, because all it will do is make you more of a rockstar for her and make her happier that she can trust you with her desires.

As long as this post is, it’s only a small fraction of what you can do.  There’s so many variables, tricks and elaborations using any number of positions (using your body or fingers to rub her clit during sex) and factors (toys!)  But start with this, and I can comfortably say the majority of women you are involved with with enjoy themselves.  As I said in the beginning, the key is to go into this being about your partner and doing your best for them.  With that attitude, everyone cums out happy.

The Double Stand-Up

-or- “How the universe saved my ass from the curse of Sea World.”

I make mistakes sometimes.  As I’ve mentioned before, one of my best friends observed that the worst thing I can be is alone for long periods of time, and bored.  When this combination happens I begin to reach, or at least occupy my time with things that are better left alone.  This is the story of one of those times, and how the universe essentially bailed me out of something that could’ve been so much worse.

In my endless search for “the one” with “it”, I pursue many avenues including a now well-known “dating” site known as “OkCupid”.  I’ve had a profile on there since before it had anything to do with dating, when it was a simple quiz site called “TheSpark” that evolved into “SparkMatch” and eventually to the “OKCupid” we know today.  Originally the appeal was takingthe many tests and seeing how you compared to other members, I suppose turning it to compatibility and dating was the next logical step.

No, I'm not linking my profile, go find it. :P

No, I’m not linking my profile, go find it. 😛

I’ve had very little success on the site.  Those I get messages from, I’m generally not interested in.  Those I am interested enough to put forth the effort of messaging respond *very* rarely.  In fact, I don’t recall the last time they did.  I have overhauled the descriptions on my profile many times, to no avail (perhaps because the information doesn’t change much, it’s just presented differently.)  But on VERY rare occasions, something worth at least looking into surfaces… or I’m just at the point where I’m feeling particularly… open-minded (aka alone and bored.)

One such experience happened a little over five years ago…  I had spent weeks corresponding back and fourth with a seemingly attractive and intelligent girl.  I don’t honestly recall if I expected it to go anywhere, but I can assume (especially considering my state of mind at that point…) not anywhere other than perhaps to bed.  Regardless I was interested enough to go and meet up with her.  The thing is, at THAT point I hadn’t got my shit together yet either.  I was either unemployed or just coming off being so, and I was driving a crappy, older VW Cabrio with a number of issues (and… standing water that later earned it the name “Swamp Car”.)  Among these issues was the fact that the breaks were all but failing.  They had been manageable but were getting progressively worse.

This + Florida Storm = Swamp Car.

This + Florida Storm = Swamp Car.

So the day came that this girl and I decided to meet up.  She was a manager at Discovery Cove (the upscale park owned by Sea World where you get to interact with dolphins and such) and offered to get me into Sea World for free as our first meeting.  I’d never been, so it seemed like a good idea whether the day went well or not.  From the get-go I was in trouble.  She wanted to meet earlier in the morning so we had time to do a full itinerary (she was an expert at catching all the shows!)  I arrived pretty close to on time, and was supposed to meet her in the parking lot, but my brakes had been really bad on the way there, and when I finally made it to my parking spot… I couldn’t stop.  Instead my car barreled over the curb and up on the dirt before I managed to use the E-Brake to stop it and allow it to roll back down.  Needless to say I was already embarrassed.  When I apologized to her and tried to explain, she said she didn’t see it anyway, but I think perhaps she was just trying to preserve my ego.  Regardless, off we went into the park.

Have you ever met somebody of whom nothing was wrong with them at all, they were perfectly nice and physically attractive, and yet you had absolutely ZERO chemistry?  To the point it made everything really, really awkward?  Well, long story short, that was this day.  We went from show to show, I got splashed by a Sea Lion as a volunteer to impress her, and I got a photo of it for free because she was connected.  But that was the only connection that day.  That night I think I recall sending her a message that essentially thanked her, and (from her reactions) said that I thought we agreed that nothing was there.  Naturally, I never heard from her again, but I still have the photo of myself and the sea lion.

If only I could blame this...

If only I could blame this…

Now, fast forward to about nine days ago, and a potentially bigger mistake.  It began similarly to the last one, but there were some notable differences.  I received a message from a girl on OKCupid.  This in itself is pretty rare, but then the message wasconfident, straightforward and articulate.  So, I was impressed.  I went to check out her profile and found very little to go off of.  A single photo that was… okay.  Physically she is in great shape being very athletic and vegan (there is nothing wrong with this.. but for me!?  Have you met me?!)  Her face was.. not ugly.  That’s about the most I could say.  Now, normally I’m honest with myself and know better than to bother.  Normally I would’ve simply not responded because of the potential to pretty much go nowhere.  However, this day was one of those days.. I was feeling adventurous and “open-minded.”  I was alone and bored.

I wrote a message back saying something along the lines of: “Alright, I’ll bite.  But to be honest I don’t know how we’re in any way compatible.”  This was apparently enough for her.  She suggested Gatorland (which was cool because I’d never been and frankly it’s cheap.)  Numbers were exchanged and plans were made for the following (this most recent) Saturday.  All seemed fine.  If nothing else it “should be fun” I thought.

But as the week went on I came to dread the upcoming Saturday more and more.  Her text messages came across daily with horrible shorthand writing (I hate that…) and she ended up applying to work for my company (she’s nowhere near qualified so it’s not a concern.)  Finally Saturday arrived and we had plans to hang out after she got off work at 2 pm.  At this point I was hoping she would be late, or stand me up, or something would happen.  But she did text, and I responded because I do try to do the things I say I’m going to do (I’m just usually better at saying “no.”)

Then came complication number one: she decided it was too hot for Gatorland, and instead decided (I bet you guessed it) we should go to Sea World!  Immediately I felt the irony of the universe closing in.  Things were different this time though, my nearly new Prius has no brake issues whatsoever and I had to pay my own way in.  I got online and ended up just buying myself an annual pass for $15 a month (resident special!)  My alternative was $90 for a day pass and not including parking, and meeting her just wasn’t worth that in my mind.  At least with the annual I can go back with friends of mine (or see the ones that work there!)

Siri.. this doesn't seem right...

Siri.. this doesn’t seem right…

Despite the purchase of the pass, my motivation was very low.  However, I managed to drag myself out and eventually was on my way… just a little late.  I had told her that the change from Gatorland to the farther Sea World would make me a few min late, but thanks to my lack of motivation, and (honestly) Siri deciding to take me a VERY out of the way route, I arrived about thirty minutes late.  I texted her and told her I had to pick up my pass and I would be along.  Fifteen minutes later I was in the park and sent her another text message asking where I could meet her.  She hadn’t responded to my previous text message, and now, after a few minutes I didn’t get a reply.  Obviously, I normally would be concerned… but in this case I decided to just let it go for a while.

I wandered to the seal exhibit and found a pretty bird to take a photo of.  Who knew seals could give such good puppy dog eyes!?  They are masters of their craft (suckering the tourists!) but the birds too are excellent goal keepers, capable of swiping feed out of mid-air.  I really wished I had a professional camera on me (thankfully I have a pass now!)  At least another half hour passed and no response came from my texts.  I resolved that I had done my part and honestly hoped she had simply stood me up for being late.  Next I proceeded to the sky tower and fourty-five minutes later the sun was setting with no message in sight. It was the happiest I’d been about being blown off pretty much ever.

Pretty Bird.  NASTY Goalkeeper.

Pretty Bird. MEAN Goalkeeper.

I DID get a message, but not from her.  It turns out another old friend of mine who is in the Blue Horizons show was performing and she wanted me to go see.  Finally, somebody I was excited about seeing! (To clarify she’s an old friend and it’s never been like that.)  I got a fantastic seat in the stadium and was snapping instagrams of my friend airborne when finally I got the call from the girl I was supposed to meet.  Well…shit.  Naturally I immediately ignored this call, because pictures, a live performance and loud music wouldn’t make for a good conversation anyway.  But I wasn’t going to just ignore her.  When I had suitable pictures I sent her a text message saying hello, and that I hadn’t been sure I was going to hear from her.  She explained that her phone had die and she’d been unable to turn it on to send me a meeting place.  Since we hadn’t connected she’d seen a show and then left, and was on her way home now. Yessssss!

Feeling properly off the hook I texted her lightheartedly that I had ironically bad luck at Sea World when it came to meeting people, but she was upset and replied that it was “really stupid, or really shitty of me to not bother calling.”   Unfortunately for her, especially at this point, I didn’t care that she was angry and sent a rather curt message back saying I texted her twice, and for all I known she was pissed I was late or gotten cold feet and chosen to ignore me.  Calling would do no good with a dead phone anyway. For a long while she didn’t respond.

In the meantime I met up with my friend after the show and traded stories with her.  She told me dating sites like that would probably never produce anyone worthwhile, and that I needed to get out, do things and meet people situationally.  She backed it up by telling me the adorable and serendipitous story of  how she met her current partner, whom she’d been with only two weeks and was uncharacteristically swooning over.  It was adorable.  I knew her message was pretty on point too.  After a selfie an some hugs I was off to see the penguins of the Antarctica exhibit (It was later and dark, so I was hoping for shorter lines.)

Because Penguins!

Because Penguins!

It was 10AM the next day before she wrote back.  A three-part tirade about how I was inconsiderate and hadn’t been thoughtful.  I didn’t respond to it until around four that afternoon. I was way beyond caring and was just happy I had escaped and had a good time without investing any more time in a situation I never should’ve gotten myself into to begin with.  The universe had bailed me out of this one.. and I was grateful.  Because I was feeling grateful I sent a friendly message back with the honesty I should’ve shown at the get-go.  I explained that after looking at her profile, I couldn’t imagine that we’d have been compatible anyway (had she even read mine!? It’s a NOVEL!)   I told her that I try to be open-minded, but our lifestyles were completely different and that she was looking for something long term that I couldn’t see happening.  I wished her good luck in her search thanked her for giving me a good reason to pick up an annual pass.  Overall it was an amiable message meant to leave things civil and straight forward.

Her response was three words: “who is this” 

Perfect.

Interlude: A Personal Fairy Tale (Part 2)

The Tale of Kaska-Ta – Part 2: Tragedy and Doubt

(*Note: This is a continuation of what can be described as a semi-fictional history.  The settings/terms/names/periods are changed but the story facts are true.  In order to get the entire story it is suggested you read the previous post first.) 

The land of Krawen is a dangerous land often covered in shadow and inhabited by many kinds of demons. On this night, as it was well past the witching hour when the demons are most plentiful, it was foolish for Kaska-Ta and the Owl Princess to linger outside the protection of a palace. As they were speaking a band of four demons passed nearby, but did not to seem to take notice of the carriage or it’s inhabitants. As it turns out, that was only a clever act.

Choose... and act.

Choose… and act.

Before either realized what was happening, a loud smash hammered the side of the carriage where the Owl Princess was sitting, the four demons approached, each with deadly fire-sticks in their hands. These projectile weapons were known to give great and lethal power to those who otherwise had none, so, especially with the princess to think about and four on one, even a warrior like Kaska-Ta had no chance of recourse. The demons pointed the firesticks, at the two of them and commanded them out of either side of the carriage. Kaska-Ta was quickly thrown on the ground and a firestick put to his head while the other demon scoured his pouches for riches. Kaska-Ta had no intention of fighting until he realized the other two demons still had the Owl Princess on the other side of the carriage. In that moment, when he thought of what they might do to her, he resolved that he might die that night. He pleaded with them not to harm her, but they told him to be silent and dug the firestick harder into the back of his head. Despite that he knew he could not allow the demons to violate her and do nothing.

Kaska-Ta’s calm compliance turned to anger and his own inner-demon that he normally fought to restrain began to surface. He knew he had to surprise the one that held the firestick to his head, and that if he could not act quickly it would be the end right away. He was certain he had no real chance, and that he would probably be killed unceremoniously, but he had already resolved to act.  However, in that moment, before he acted, he heard the other two demons approach, and the Owl Princess was put on the ground next to him unharmed. Any resolve to fight faded, and after seizing what they thought were all their valuables, they jumped into the Owl Princess’s carriage and sped away into the night.

As Kaska-Ta and the Owl Princess picked themselves up off the ground the others made their way out of the palace. Mockingbird said he had seen them jump in the carriage and leave… but Kaska-Ta could hardly hear him. He was both enraged and defeated while the Owl Princess broke down in tears. They were separated and the city guards were called to investigate the incident. Eventually they went to the guard captain’s headquarters with the Gull General. He was quiet, but did his best to calm the Owl Princess and Kaska-Ta while she was recounting the loss of her carriage to the guards.

Sunrise over Krawen

Sunrise over Krawen

By the time they returned to the Gull General’s palace it was morning, and Kaska-Ta was scheduled to travel back to the southern region that day. It would’ve been a simple enough matter to have a member of the tribe take Kaska-Ta to the airship landing by carriage, but the Gull General could not be bothered to make such arrangements and none of the other Princes or Kings thought to make a point of it. The truth was, he was livid at Kaska-Ta for endangering the Owl Princess, and he had his own mission in mind that day. He dropped Kaska-Ta at the nearest transport station and left him to travel the long road to the airship landing with the masses. But before he left the carriage, Kaska-Ta said his goodbye to the owl Princess. He told her to be strong, and not let the demons win, and then he kissed her, briefly. It was not romantic, they had bonded through trauma, but at that moment they were close. The Gull General was certainly displeased, but neither of them cared.

The one fortunate turn was that they had not managed to steal Kaska-Ta’s money. Somehow, in their haste the demons had missed his pouch which contained an unusually high amount due to his traveling. So though he was exhausted, had no personal means to send messages and was still recovering from the situation itself, at least he had funds for the long journey. When he arrived his tribe was there, supportive and sympathetic.

The Castle of the Southern Kingdom

The Castle of the Southern Kingdom

Over the next few days after Kaska-Ta arrived back in the southern tropics, the tale became easier to tell and things began to feel normal again. He heard from the Owl Princess and she was having a harder time recovering emotionally, but she was getting better by the day. If anything her concern was to the many rumors floating around of what happened and why.   Many stories had been told, including recounts of how the Gull General had heroically set out alone on his mighty steed the same day Kaska-Ta had left. Scouring the realm of Krawen in daylight, he eventually found the cave in which demons that had attacked resided and had summoned soldiers to arrest them and retrieve the carriage.

Kaska-Ta had avoided mentioning the Owl Princess in his recounts because he also didn’t wish to perpetuate the spread of rumors, but those who were present (such as Mockingbird) also knew what had transpired, so it was impossible to keep completely quiet. Regardless, days and then weeks passed and the memory of the incident faded.

Until a private message arrived for Kaska-Ta from the Gull General, it read:

I wanted to wait a few weeks to make sure that what I wrote was free from all emotion. Initially I was nothing but anger and I needed to let that go. Your actions and behavior in my palace were the topic of discussion for days after you left. None of the men in the house could understand why you acted the way you did while you were here. So that we are clear I am talking about your leaders and kings. When you set your sights on the Owl Princess we were all just a bit confused. After speaking to her and hearing her side so that we were not just basing our judgment on what we saw, we were sure that we were confused about your intentions. It appears that you were interested in her and made some very bad decisions and actions.

To tell her that you were upset about the amount of time that she spent with me is an insult. You were a guest in my palace, and you were upset with a woman you had just met about how much time she spends with me, in my home. That makes no sense. If a woman spends time with a man who is your host, you back the fuck up. Under different circumstances, like had he not allowed you to stay in his home, do what you want. I take this as a personal insult to my kindness for allowing you to stay and you are not welcome in my palace again. After the Princess told you to back off and insulted you, you persisted in your efforts. Under the guise of asking for a short ride to an airship landing that is 90 minutes away you persisted in trying to talk to her.

You took her out of the safety of my palace to the outskirts at well past the witching hour. Even further you followed her to her carriage and stayed. In effect not allowing her to leave because you were in there, and still talking about a ride to the airship landing. You took advantage of her kind nature by continuing to ask her and sitting in her carriage knowing she would not send you away. Even had the demons not attacked, this is unacceptable behavior for a man. We wondered what kind of sex act you were hoping for her in the carriage. As men we know what we do, we persist until there is no hope of conquest. You never had hope in this situation, but you persisted until the end was past and tragedy struck. To say that you never should have shown romantic interest, weather blatant or covert, is an understatement. From the beginning she was not interested but you never gave up. As a man you broke a cardinal rule of manhood. Never put a woman in danger. Not even in the south would I sit unprotected in a carriage so long past the witching hour with a woman. So why do it in these lands with a princess as she is?

You asked to be attacked. Of course I blame the demons, but they only work on opportunity, which you gave to them. Take the following as lessons: Never put a woman in danger. Never persist where you are not welcomed. Take no for an answer. Do not take advantage of the kindness of others. And never disrespect a man in his own palace. When your prince left you here, you were his representative, so what he says to you about this incident has nothing to do with me. As a member of our tribe, what you do on a journey such as this reflects the rest of the group. What the King of Trees says to you about this incident has nothing to do with me.

As a General in this tribe and the man you offended I would never cross a line and use a training circle to show you my anger. My anger is gone, I will not go after you in sparring, I will not try to hurt you in any way. I told you what I needed to say to you, and now it is done. Reply to this or to just let it go. I will let it go and we do not need to discuss it further unless you choose to.

Again this was from me personally, I will visit your tribe in 2 weeks and I have no intention of discussing this with you or acting towards you with any anger.”

 

Kaska-Ta was shocked. Not so much by the Gull General’s anger or banishment from his palace (he had no desire to return there ever again anyway,) but by the statements made in the letter. He, Kaska-Ta, had persisted in his efforts? Unwanted!? He had taken advantage of her kindness!? He was “hoping” for a sex act!? This was simply not the case. He could understand the conclusion given his… liberal reputation among his tribe, but that had been the last thing on her mind that night, and he’s known it. The Gull General had a story that had not transpired, and this disturbed Kaska-Ta greatly. Now, the leaders of his tribe had this judgment of him, a judgment that was false. It was true that he’d had a part in endangering the Owl Princess, but he had not understood the danger, and his ignorance was indeed his fault. But the other accusations… they made no sense. Had the Owl Princess turned on him so easily? He supposed it was possible, she lived within the Gull General’s territory, and so it would be much easier to feed him a story in order to make peace there.

Kaska-Ta sent a reply essentially explaining that he believed there were many misperceptions, miscommunications and possibly two different stories being told. He accepted responsibility for being recklessly foolish about the timing, but also knew that was the only place that conversation could’ve happened as the Owl Princess did not wish the Gull General or any of the others to overhear her laments.   He was thankful, and hopeful that perhaps Mockingbird would back up his side of the story as he had been there for much of it. Still, Kaska-Ta had doubts. Many false stories had been been floating around now.

1924186_32613672263_6607_n

The Sunset of the Golden Age

That evening, Kaska-Ta sent word to the Owl Princess of the message he had received. He asked her what she had told the Gull General and if the things he said were what she truly felt. When her reply came it seemed much as he’d expected. Immediately after his departure the Gull General had cornered her and demanded she explain herself to him. Though she denied saying the things the Gull General wrote about in his message, Kaska-Ta could easily understand her desire to protect her own situation, especially after a recent trauma such as she had endured. In the end, somebody was lying, and it came back to him either way. Kaska-Ta wanted peace, so he did not push her, nor did he instigate with the Gull General after he did not respond.

A few days later the Gull General arrived. It was exactly as he said it would be in his message; no signs of malice or unusual aggression when training. When not training he and Kaska-Ta more or less avoided each other. Neither the King of Trees or the Prince of Stories said anything further. The matter was done and Kaska-Ta had his peace. But in addition he had learned an important lesson about the mentalities of his superiors, and though he would continue with his tribe, this lesson would stick with him and remind him every time he saw similar situations transpire. This was the end of his golden age. The beginning of doubt.

How to: Casual Sex

My last post on relationships / cheating / communication was the most popular in the last five posts or so.  I know, you want juicy stuff as opposed to pictures of fantastic food (though I maintain that tasty food is one the great joys in this life.)  I think you’ll find that communication (and a lack thereof) remains a major theme in many of these posts as it directly affects the success of probably 90% of human social interaction.

It's tough.  He understands.

It’s tough. He understands.

Anyway, as you’ve read a few times now I’ve been single for right about eight years now (I’m literally within a week or so of the anniversary of the breakup.)  Post relationship I spent a lot of time focusing on myself and rebuilding, and then a few years later I started looking around for somebody who could be “the one”.  Well, the bad news is I haven’t found her yet.  The good news is I’ve gotten pretty good at this bachelor thing.  I’ve had a fair amount of forward movement professionally,  I’m improving my financial status daily, I’ve got some pretty strong bonds with friends of mine personally and (sometimes related) I’ve generally been pretty successful sexually (As in, women have regularly found me desirable enough to share themselves with me in that manner…)  So if I can’t have the one, this is a pretty awesome close second.

What blows my mind when I talk about this with some people is why they (or more often their “partners”) really suck at this casual sex thing.  It’s like they took something they saw in a movie and expected real life to be like that (thanks Hollywood.)  While I understand the male need to “alpha” (ugh) and the female desire to not be a “slut” (really ugh) you need to understand that those terms, and even those concepts are fucking ridiculous ideas created by insecure morons who were likely trying to manipulate you in order to keep you “in your place”.  Men must be physical, unrelenting, dominant, stupid cave men, and women must be weak, blindly dedicated, subservient nurturers.  Obviously… NO.    Now don’t get me wrong, this sort of role-play in the bedroom as playtime is all fine and well and healthy if that’s what you’re into, but as a standard of operation in the real world it’s narrow-minded and limiting for both genders.

So, whether you’re in-between serious relationships, getting a little on the side (legitimately.. or not..), indefinitely single by choice or you’re like me and are holding out for “the one”, here’s a few guideline “Dos and Do Nots” that have worked very well for me and I think are pretty universal (but is nowhere CLOSE to a complete list.)

First, DO:

Honesty at work.

Honesty at work.

1. Be Honest.  If there is one thing that will ruin a potentially good situation and make it ugly, it’s you spouting a bunch of bullshit.  It’s not “the game”.  It’s real adult life, so act like it.  Be straight up about what you want (and even how you want it…) in the beginning, even if it’s tough to let somebody who was hoping for more down.  It’s true, this might damage your chances of getting busy in the short term, but think of it as an investment.  The worst thing that happens is they respect you for being straight up with them and move on.  Sometimes though, they become friends, and sometimes that comes with benefits.  More than a few times I’ve been told I’m a good choice for that sort of thing because they know where I stand and don’t have to worry about complications.  Honesty keeps it simple.  When things are simple we can do our thing and get on with our lives.

2. Be Respectful.  This is huge.  Did you know that when somebody feels like you respect them, they are much more likely to let you see them naked?  It’s not rocket science.  This means eliminating words like “slut, whore, etc” from your dictionary as those are basically misogynistic double standards created to shame women (and albeit far less often, men.)  Newsflash: If you make people feel bad about being sexual, they are a lot less likely to be sexual with you.  This is ironic because people will often put down somebody’s sexual activity/history with others and then turn around and try to make something happen. You’re not going to make them feel okay about hooking up with you if you berate them for hooking up with others.

flirty-just-friends3. Be A Friend.  So a big part of functioning as a friend with benefits, is (wait for it) being an actual friend.  I’m not saying you need to pour your soul out to them and spend a bunch of time with them, but communicate, relate and hang out without any expectations periodically.  You’ll find some people become important to you and others stay very casual, but as long as there’s not false expectations, things stay pretty light.  When the benefits DO kick in, it depends on the person, but they might be wanting to play every time they see you anyway.  Sometimes that really IS the core of your “friendship” (gee darn.)  But the danger is in assuming.  So be cool, be a friend, keep it light, and fun.  The more fun and flirty (if accepted / appropriate) you are, the more likely at some point you’ll hit that moment when you know something is about to go down.

4. Be Patient.  If there is any one major secret to my sexual success, it is that I know when to be patient.  Often times people are not in the mindset / position to hook up (or, maybe just not hook up with you) when you first meet.  But that doesn’t mean they won’t always be. If you were honest (see step 1) and told them what you were about in regards to them, and then you were respectful (see step 2) then you will probably have some level of interaction with them on a friends basis (see step 3.)  So long as you’re not overbearing about it, if they thought of you sexually at some point in the past, odds are somewhere deep down it crosses their mind from time to time IF you’ve been fun and easy to be around.  Then if you’re lucky, they’ll let you know when they feel like acting on those thoughts.

Possibly overkill....

Possibly overkill….

5. Be Smart.  Sometimes I tell my friends stories of people I know that have literally slept with over a hundred people.  To this day they are healthy and happy and obviously know how to attract attention.  On the flip side I have personally witnessed somebody in a Frat House years ago who had been with probably five people in their life at most, hook up with three different people consecutively in a drunken rampage that didn’t appear to include protection.  That, to me, is a stupid, sad story.  (For the record, there was no visible rape involved… this person was literally seeking the people out and they were very happy to receive them…)  Point being, both sound pretty scary right?  Yes and no. There’s something to be said about numbers, as number of partners can indeed affect your chances of contracting an STI.  But the point of my example is that the first person knows what they are doing, is protected and communicates openly with their partners.  The second… not so much (obviously.)  Who’s the bigger risk for you to hook up with?  Call me traditional (see that whole friendship thing) but I kinda like to get to know my partners and even moreso communicate with them.  Does this mean I haven’t hooked up randomly at a party before…?  Well, no.  But I was protected and though I left the next morning, I left my information (which she was super surprised by), we became friends, had some great sex and her and I have hooked up a few times in between her boyfriends since then. Regardless my point is:  Learn about your potential partner by communicating with them, use protection, get tested.  It’s all fun and games until you start screwing around with somebody’s health (including your own.)

Next: DO NOT:

1. Have expectations.  This isn’t just about friends with benefits, this is about dating in general.  Numerous times have my friends told me the person they were out with made some offhanded remarks like “Oh man you’re going to be so amazing when we finally sleep together…”  What?!  I can’t even make up something that ridiculous.  Needless to say that sort of attitude is a very quick way to screw your chances (no pun intended…) and possibly damage the friendship.  Having expectations also leads to inevitable disappointment if they happen to not feel like hooking up at that point.  This can cause you act out in stupid ways and damage your chances in the future too.  So play it cool, show your interest (casually!) and don’t count on something happening the first, second or any time.  To be honest I’m not certain of the science behind it but I very often end up getting busy when I am pretty sure something won’t happen going into the evening for whatever reason.  It’s nice to be surprised!

What.. are.. you?!

What.. are.. you?!

2. Try too hard.  I’ve done it, you’ve done it, we’ve all gotten to the point where we got really really excited about a potential date/hookup/girlfriend/boyfriend/etc.  We got super nervous, put on too much smelly stuff, forced the conversation and likely drank entirely too much in the process.  Where did it get you?  Lot’s of places, but not in bed with the person you wanted.  Both genders have a sense for when the other is trying too hard, and it comes off as desperation, which in most cases is a huge turn-off.  Sometimes they may have totally planned to hook up with you, and the sort of erratic behavior that comes from nervousness and irritating passive-aggressive pushiness convinces them it might be a bad idea.  It’s good to seem interested, but keep your cool because desperation will scare most people off.    

Don't Judge. :D

Don’t Judge. 😀

3. Judge.  I’m going to be straight with you here, your opportunities for casual sexual encounters will come from all kinds of unexpected places (I mean.. they have websites for this stuff.. and no, for the record, I’ve never used Ashley Madison.)  Anyway, the point is regardless of circumstance, judging the other person for their choices will (obviously) screw up any chance you have of hooking up with them.  I’m not just talking about those fooling around on their spouse either.  You want to take the moral high ground?  That’s your business.  But otherwise people are in totally honest, open, polyamorous or even mostly monogamous relationships that might, for some reason with to include you and/or legitimately see you outside of it.  Maybe the idea of multiple people weirds you out? Well that’s fine!  But judging others about their activities outside of their involvement with you is not.  At the very least, it’s really hypocritical being that you’re trying to make yourself a part of those decisions.

4. Be Possessive.  This happens all the time, and women get the bad rap for it despite the fact then men very often get emotionally attached and fall into this trap.  “No Strings Attached” means no strings attached. (Like “no means no” with more words.)  Do not come into a situation claiming your ability to remain unattached and keep it casual and then expect it to magically change (thanks again Hollywood.)  If you begin to feel differently, you’re gonna have to talk about it.  The whole point of the benefits behind casual sex is that it’s casual.  You can get together, have a good time, maybe grab a bite to eat, and get on with your lives without having to take it with you.  It’s like going to the gym: you might be sore from it the next day, but otherwise it has no effect on your outside life other than making you feel better about things.  I realize that for some the emotional separation is difficult, and it’s easy to attach to somebody that is both a good friend and fantastic in the sack, but once you start feeling like you can tell them not to see anyone else, or go on dates, or even how often they need to see you, you’ve crossed the line from casual to trying to control them, and that’s not okay.  If you find this happening you need to talk about it, and it may be best if you downgrade to regular friendship.  If by chance you’re both wanting to take it to the next level?  That’s wonderful!  But very rare, so don’t hold your breath.

1332453942295_473877If you keep you head in the right place and your emotions in check, you can have a really great time and take care of those urges without hurting anyone.  I think that’s the best thing: when everyone knows what they want, they get it, and everyone walks away happy.  But this is only going to happen if you’re willing to be honest and communicate about your situations.

I could go on about this forever, I even considered dividing it into two posts.  But I liked how it flowed, and I felt it was related enough it warranted a long post.  Last week was the longest post yet until this one and it was very popular so perhaps you don’t mind a lot of words as long as I can keep it interesting (or maybe just sexy.)  Regardless, expect more on this, we’re just getting started.

(In)fidelity

t0922ruey-coelho_feat10_1-660x990

Worth Reading!

I recently finished Paulo Coelho’s newest book titled “Adultery”. The subject is exactly as the title states and involves a woman’s journey from marriage to the temptations of an extra-marital affair and the ultimate resolution/consequences . I won’t give too many details as I don’t wish to spoil it for you, but I will say that thought the middle of the book got a little bit far-fetched, the overall story, thought processes and moral dilemma presented were solid and realistic. (Do note that “realistic “ is often not necessarily a happy ending.)

As you know, during my recent trip to my Seattle, I had the opportunity to discuss this (and many other) subjects with an old high school friend of mine, and contrast my lifestyle to hers. As a regular reader of my blog, she followed up with me and was interested in elaborating her views while asking me to write about mine. Since I really enjoy answering questions and providing feedback I ‘ll all to happy to oblige, especially because this is a subject that comes up a lot.

f4b733c6_original

You know who you are. Get on it!

My friend is the portrait of what many people see as the ideal relationship / marriage. She has been with her high school sweetheart for some seventeen years now and still very happy in her marriage. I haven’t seen or spoken to this man since high school, but he was good-natured and devoted to her then, so I have a feeling he is much the same now (judging especially from the photos and what-not I see on Facebook.) They have a house, two adorable children, and if they don’t have a white picket fence, I’m going to suggest she get one. Her marriage is one of two I can think of that have the chance to be that rare, older (not even “elderly” really) adorable couple celebrating their fiftieth anniversary.

At some point during our conversations in Seattle, my friend(s) and I got to talking about relationships and those that sometimes decide to include a third party (or more) in their sex life.  I’ve been involved in situations like that in the past (both as inviter and invitee) and I mentioned I’ve observed it bringing a new element into the bedroom and sometimes reviving a situation that may have become routine or mundane.  Later, my friend commented that she believed that if that happens with your partner, they may not be the right person for you.  She said: “I believe that when you are with the right person, sex should only get better and I don’t think that you need to add additional parties to make this happen.”  Further in the conversation she elaborated that every couple has problems, and the key was to attack those problems when they are small.  She gave an example of a friend of hers who is married but hasn’t had sex with her husband in (literally) years.  She hit the nail on the head when she said the solution was communication, and should’ve happened a long time ago.  The years (or even months barring medical conditions…) without sex are abnormal and destructive to the marriage.  I agreed that it was a total communication breakdown at it’s core, but where her and I may differ is that I actually believe that such communication is MORE important even than basic monogamy.

Wise man. (I can't believe that's a legit quote...)

Wise man. (I can’t believe that’s a legit quote…)

Allow me to explain: I often wish / fantasize about having the sort of situation that my friend has.  I won’t say everyone does, as times are changing and the “ideal” relationship can differ very much depending on the individual.  But many people (including me) still dream of finding “the one” on some level and living happily ever after.  However, finding that person is difficult and as my friend pointed out, even the  “perfect” marriage goes through dry spells and requires effort on both parties to continue to be a giving situation for both.  So, when things go wrong you encounter one of two scenarios:
 

1.  This is a problem we need to work out, but we’ll get past it and get stronger.

-or-

2.  One or both of us is no longer the right person for this relationship.  Either we weren’t from the beginning, or things have changed and instead of growing together, we have grown apart.

There’s nothing “wrong” with either of these situations.  Sometimes things simply are what they are and no amount of good faith effort will fix them.  But let’s focus on situation one, because once you’re in situation two, it’s just a matter of admitting and accepting it (which unfortunately can take a number of years anyway… and I can blog about that in the future…)

Cute/Funny but...

Cute/Funny but…


When a problem grows into an otherwise great, loving relationship, the vast majority of the time is the lack of honest communication.  When almost any issue is addressed straightforwardly, constructively and honestly, the majority of the time it can be resolved.  If they cannot, there’s a good chance you fall into situation two above.  VERY often I hear a primary issue of long-time couples is a stale or near nonexistent sex life.  I can tell you now that even as a 35 year old bachelor I don’t have the obsessive drive I had in my mid twenties, but I’m talking a couple of days off as opposed to weeks, months or years.  Why does this happen?  Routine? Insecurity? Too busy?  All of the above?  It happens because one or both parties is no longer excited about the prospect, it’s not longer turning them on.  Then, the situation becomes one-sided and turns into “work” instead of “play” for one or both parties.  Situations like this are what lead to people finding alternatives: Porn (individually.. and I’m not saying this is necessarily bad as it can excite one of both partners..) Toys (again, CAN be a good thing, all about how they are used…) and eventually other people (my friend doesn’t agree, but this can also end up a positive situation.)

The solution again is wide open communication.  But what get in the way is that people are afraid to tell their partners what they want.  After years, they worry about damaging their ego, being judged for something different they are craving, or coming across too needy or unreasonable for being wanted.  But I believe there’s nothing wrong with wanting something else or having expectations of your spouse on a sexual level.  If this is an ideal “forever” pairing, a partnership, both have to try to give the other what they need.  So many people are brought up on the outdated belief that love and sex have to be exclusive (and if that’s your preference more power to you), but it’s scientifically proven that this is simply not the case.  But instead of talking to their partner and being wide open about their deepest, darkest desires, they bottle it up, feel ashamed and tell themselves they are “wrong” for wanting these things. Then they try to pretend they are okay with the routine they have, but lying to yourself like that never ends well, and the all too common feeling of feeling “trapped” sets in.

Oh jesus.. THAT guy..

Oh jesus.. THAT guy..

One day, they come across somebody who is flirty and seems interested in them superficially.  Normally they probably wouldn’t even give the possibility a second thought, but two things come into play: 1. Human nature magnifies the feeling of wanting something when you feel you can’t have it (the initial desire has to be there first though.) and 2. Compared to their spouse, this person is not connected to their “real life” and is for all intents an purposes, a toy.  There is no marriage, no children and no responsibility to be an ideal spouse in this situation.  The opportunity arises to be fun, flirty, desired and greedy.  They get to demand what they want and if the person doesn’t like it, they are more or less discardable without issue.  The freedom is a huge turn-on, especially for somebody that has gotten into the habit of having to repress themselves.  I hate to bring Disney into this conversation, but this is the chance for them to “Let it go.”  Sometimes it’s a fling and nothing comes of it, others they are found out, or can’t handle the guilt and the world comes crashing down.  But it’s only a temporary solution either way, eventually the problem marriage still exists, or it’s been destroyed.

So, how do you avoid a situation like this?  I keep mentioning communication, but on a whole different level.  I’m talking about a soul-bearing, demon revealing, perverse, fucked up, this might hurt your feeling but you need to know this, holy shit this is scary but only you are worthy of this level of communication.  This is supposed to be your life partner, so you have to be willing to tell your deepest, darkest secrets and show them all the sides they signed up for before you end up feeling like you need to show that to somebody else.  Once the communication is on that level, you can figure out how to work it out (or not.  As it’s possible they simply can’t handle what you have to say, at which point I would be more likely to say you fall into option two above.)

Problem... solved?

Problem… solved?

Regardless sometimes that communication alone will solve the problem through new activities (red room anyone?)  But where I disagree with my friend I mentioned earlier though, is that when this communication takes place, it’s possible that another person, or even some other people might be discussed.  As far as I’m concerned, that’s ok.  It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re with the wrong person.  As long as the relationship has a totally open and honest level of communication, including potential feelings of pride, jealousy and inadequacy, and they are addressed respectfully with a constructive solution sought, then I don’t believe infidelity has occurred regardless of who does what with who.  The bond between two people who love each other is not merely based on the physical, and to say that somebody being involved with a different person negates a legendary bond of love is just ridiculous.  What matters is the trust.  If that is intact, so too should be the bond.

Oh son of a…

When I have these conversations, people try to flip it on me.  They say: “Well that’s very ideal, but what if the love of your life came to you and told you she wanted to be with somebody else sexually, or that she already had but she still loved you!  Could you really still be with her?”  Short answer: Yes, probably.  Longer answer:  If she had already done so, I would be pretty upset, pissed even to the point I might need some time.  But would I end it right away?  No.  I would try for the level of communication I mentioned above.  I would need to understand why she needed it, and what the solution was.  If I was satisfied with it, and I felt I could trust her based on that communication, I could stay.  In fact, once, a long time ago I already did.  But then many years later when I was similarly tested, I couldn’t open up and be that honest, I couldn’t bear my soul and make myself vulnerable, and so, I lost.  Rarely is it the actions that will kill a real relationship, but the reasons behind them that are locked away and never addressed.

When love and trust and that level of communication exist, I believe the right people for each other can overcome almost anything.  Then again, that’s awfully romantic of me… what do I know?