Hedonist

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/

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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.

A Hedonist Prayer If I Ever Heard One…

This is not mine.  I kinda wish it was because I really love this, but a friend of mine shared it with me after hearing it live the other night.  These are great, (dirty) words (and not for those of you who might be offended by such things.)  I had to share it with you because the entire time I read it I smiled and actually laughed out loud a few times…  in some ways it’s similar to how I feel about such a sacred act. 😉

Enjoy…

Saying Grace Before Eating Pussy

Copyright © 2013 By Curtis X Meyer

– See more at:

http://allpoetry.com/poem/10462757-Saying-Grace-Before-Eating-Pussy-by-Curtis-X-Meyer

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Let us gather now. Bow our heads before this feast,

knowing all food tastes better seasoned by praise: Praise

the arc of back. The holy reservoir. Fountain

spouting at the mouth of pipes. Praise delta.

Briar-patch of surging vessels. Praise toes

that curl in remembrance of the fires they’ve walked through.

In recognition of fires to come. Praise eyes that roll back

beyond reach of her skull, to behold the blackest night of her mind

so that she too, may glimpse you at last, O Lord. Praise hairs

stuck between teeth: Each follicle a codex of genes. Unseen potential.

Script used to sculpt future generations. Each one rising

from our breath shared now as a field of hosannas. Creator,

I stand alone at the gates of Your palace. If it is here

where life is born, then as I gaze through the keyhole

at The Nexus of Creation, I say praise the hand

that grips the back of scalp, pulling me in

so that I may kiss Your face,  Lord. For it is here

results appear instantly. Here alone

I am made worthy. Here alone I know

my efforts are appreciated. Here alone I know

appreciation as it drips off my chin. It is here,

beyond the night, beyond the eyes of every conceivable mob,

I know my cause is just. Her cries tell me

I am doing right. Here, all cheques come back early.

Cashed in advance. Returns arrive accelerated. Pulsing

in waves. Here, physical reward becomes actualized. Gratitude

cannot be contained in insincere whispers, nor faked

in the form of two-faced gossip. Gratitude, like laughter, knows only

how to break down floodgates, gushing out relentless and howling. I know

I must do unto others, Lord. I’ve laid armies to waste just to get here.

God spare those denied such privilege. Mercy on those forbidden the taste

of lover’s mouths and bodies. Grace upon those starving, robbed

of their privacy by the will of tyrants. God spare the lonely further judgment

at the hands of that ravenous congregation: They who don’t know

all bedrooms become churches in the dark. Forgive those

who boast they got lucky because they stood still long enough

to reap the benefits. Triumphant in their crusade. As if patience

has anything to do with luck. Let me to eat knowing

others starve,  Lord. I take no such food for granted. Forgive

those so callous as say they got lucky. Luck has nothing to do

with meeting objective. Forgive those whose objective is release

without first doing unto others. Our bodies are gifts to ourselves

and a privilege for others. Forgive them

the fruits of orchards they take for granted. Woman,

if you’ve never been made to feel miracle; if you’ve never

been told your body is a temple, I will do things

to you that will make you swear you’re catching The Holy Ghost

in surround-sound. I will dip my hands inside

your holy water. Make The Sign of The Cross upon my brow.

My lips. My heart. Father, I kneel before Your temple a broken man.

Praise challenge. Suffering keeping me alive. Praise asthma

reminding me each breath be precious. Praise the devils

that haunt my lungs, grind my weary bones to dust. I beg you:

Let her scent be what stitches me whole. All these shards

of collapsed armor. Father, sew me back together with her screams.

Praise senses given so that they may be put to good use: Sight. Smell. Taste.

Touch. Praise ears turned outward to welcome choirs

erupting from her throat. Praise sheets turned oasis. The nails

that grip the sheets. Tears that race down cheeks. Pillows grasped and thrown.

Praise the stains that gather. Praise the rain that floods the valley. Praise tears

that race down cheeks, cascading off her chin. Praise thighs

that close tight around ears, drowning out the sounds of bosses.

Sirens. Gunshots. Bombs going off outside our window. Praise distance.

The darkness that bides us time. Praise body. This bed. This sofa.

This backseat. Wherever it is we now conduct our ceremony.

For all feasts are ceremony. All feasts are holy. This

is what communion was always meant to taste like. A feast

is someone else’s famine. Someone else’s excommunication. All feasts

are sanctuary, and I am not yet cast out of the garden.

Bodies are gifts to ourselves. A privilege for others.

Our bodies are cities made of prayer. Let us bow

to feast upon this body. For it is not my name she calls,

but Yours, O Lord. It is not my name she calls,

but Her own. For Yours is The Power and The Glory

now and forever — or at least until morning.

Amen.

Copyright © 2013 By Curtis X Meyer

From:  http://allpoetry.com/poem/10462757-Saying-Grace-Before-Eating-Pussy-by-Curtis-X-Meyer

Philosophy of Moderation – Part 2: Emotional

I am admittedly not so qualified to write this entry.  If I had named it “mental” and gone on about self-discipline and such then perhaps I would have a bit more merit.  However, as you saw in my last post, I have to write about what I’m feeling, and this is a good time to talk about emotional moderation, when it’s needed, and when maybe it isn’t.

A few posts back I talked about about what it is to be happy.  I struggle with that a bit as my natural state is to be quite neutral/cold.  On the plus side, I typically don’t get bent out of shape or overly depressed about a lot of things (there are, however, specific things, such as last week’s rape article…)  On the downside, getting me overly excited about any specific concept is tough.  I’m set at a certain level of “happy” that is very moderate.  Though my level is probably lower than your average well-adjusted “happy” person, for most people being set at a certain level of “happiness” is not a new concept.

Hedonic-Treadmill

A bit oversimplified but you get the idea.

The Hedonic Treadmill is the concept that humans tend to return to a specific level of happiness despite major events or life changes (be they positive or negative.)  In essence it compares our emotional state to walking on a treadmill, in which we simply need to keep walking (living) at a comfortable, indefinite pace in order to stay in place (so essentially our “natural” state of happiness.)  When something awesome happens, the treadmill turns up allowing you to run and gain more (happiness), faster.  But inevitably (psychologically) you’ll get tired and have to take it back down to your natural pace.  Likewise when something terrible happens, the treadmill slows to a crawl, slowing your progress and setting you back until you regain your energy, allowing you to return to normal pace.  Another (perhaps less confusing) way to look at it is like a thermostat, your normal happiness is set at a certain level.  The outside world might make you warmer or colder for a while, but inevitably your thermostat will bring you back to the temperature you are naturally set at.

The case is often made with lottery winners and those with near unthinkable amounts of money to the average person.  We always think “Man!  If I had that kind of money I would always be happy!”  But the truth is, those that do have that sort of money are no happier than you are most days.  People adapt to basically anything (good or bad,) and no matter what we have, we always want more (especially if we think we can’t have it…) Some of us are better at it than others, so it may happen faster for some, but inevitably everyone returns to that set point.  Be it Lottery, New Car, Sex, Marriage, Children, Car Accidents, Losing Your Job, Divorce and even a death in the family, life events can extend for months or even years, but your base happiness with eventually attempt to return to a certain level of happiness regardless.

Sometimes "Happy Work" means going to the beach in your suit...

Sometimes “Happy Work” means going to the beach in your suit…

Initially this idea was a little disturbing to me.  To say that no matter what happens we’re always going to achieve the same general level of happiness makes it sound like striving for anything is pointless.  But fortunately it actually gives us a purpose:  Find a way to raise your treadmill/thermostat/hedonic set point.  It sounds simple but naturally it’s more difficult than simply making yourself happy.  You have to figure out what moves you, and what you can consistently to do to make yourself happier than you are now.  It’s a lot of work, but it’s (obviously) happy work.

But there’s a flip side:  depression.  Depression (in this case) is basically the state in which perpetual negative circumstances / state of mind keep you from returning to your normal happiness setting.  This can be any number of consistent negative influences: abusive relationships (usually family or spouse), imprisonment, consistent anxiety, chronic illness and drug/alcohol abuse are fairly common examples.  Something key to note here is that this doesn’t mean the depressed person is “broken”, simply that a consistent negative stimuli is acting as a barrier to keep them from returning to their set point of happiness.  Unfortunately it’s probably possible that an extended duration of some of these could even lower the setting on somebody’s hedonic treadmill.  But the good news is, in most cases studies show that once the negative situation is removed/resolved, the majority of those experiencing this depression bounced back to their hedonic set point.

So, how do we turn up our happiness setting?  Nobody knows for sure.  To some extent it will vary depending on the individual.  Most recent research points to some fifty percent of our happiness/hedonic set point being determined by genetics.  Personally, I’m not willing to allow some unseen statistic (whether factual or not) to control how I feel, so I’m not going to think about the half that I supposedly can’t control.  Instead I’ll focus on what I can.  A pretty interesting study by psychologists Headey and Wearing (1989) suggested that our position on the spectrum of the stable personality traitsneuroticism, extraversion, and openness to experience (wiki links for you psych majors that want to dive in…) accounts for how we experience and perceive life events, and therefore indirectly contributes to our happiness levels (Elaborated via handy wiki-table:)

Neuroticism Extraversion Openness to experience
Anxiety Warmth Fantasy
Hostility Gregariousness Aesthetics
Depression Assertiveness Feelings
Self-consciousness Activity Actions
Impulsiveness Excitement/Sensation Seeking Ideas
Vulnerability to Stress Positive Emotion Values

The goal is minimizing your neuroticism category, while trying to increase your extraversion and openness to experience.  This somewhat supports my longstanding philosophy that experiences are the key to being happy (over material gains… more on this in a few.)  Don’t let the term “extraversion” mislead you though, you don’t have to be an extrovert to be happy, as you can see under that category many of those aspects are present in many an introvert.

wjn-1So WHAT experiences then?  There is no clear answer due to individual reactions to individual experiences.  What should be noted though is that your hedonic set point is, in fact, chemical.  As such experiences that bring temporary satisfaction through chemical interaction (such as drug/alcohol use) can have the reverse affect over time requiring more of said substance to even maintain your hedonic set point. Instead research indicates that maintaining a positive outlook / attitude, adaptability and altruism (due to the personal satisfaction reward) are the keys to staying on the positive side of your hedonic set point.  As a result, reinforcing or strengthening those aspects of yourself should theoretically allow you raise your base happiness.  This might help explain why those with a great deal of those with an abundance of money who appear relaxed and/or good natured are known to be highly involved and give a great deal to charity, whereas others who are equally endowed on a material level but less giving often appear more uptight, irritated or generally disagreeable.

So, long story short:  We all have a pre-set level of happiness we return to.  We should endeavor to live in order to raise that setting for ourselves and those around us.  Money is fine, but it is best used as a key to happy experiences and to help others be happier.  This, in turn, will raise our happiness.  There will be setbacks, but we are, in fact programmed to return to our hedonic set point and as such, no matter what happens, we always have a chance to make more happiness so long as we can get past any circumstances keeping us from that point.

That's a lot of experiences... just sayin'..

That’s a lot of experiences… just sayin’..

On a personal level, as stated above I am an experience seeker.  I seek those moments of bliss and euphoria (note: NOT drug related in any way… though maybe occasionally some scotch or vodka.)  But it is not so much the moment itself that contributes to my hedonic set point, but rather the positive memory of the moment that gets better and better as time goes on.  Though extremely selfish, I am also fairly altruistic towards the people I believe are worthy of it.  Going back to the title (though I haven’t said much of it thus far) I remain at a very moderate emotional state, which allows me to be objective in situations where other’s emotions may get the best of them.  However, that leaves me more vulnerable to falling into negativity, and if I do not properly moderate those feelings, they can hold me back from the experiences that would help me feel better in the first place.  All that said, who doesn’t want to be happier?  I think anyone who tells themselves that is lying.  Maybe when it comes to being happy, the philosophy of moderation should instead be the philosophy of abundance.

calvinandhobbes6

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?

Of Food and Wine (and other wonderful consumables.)

Epcot Food and WIne

One of my favorite times of year here in Florida is the fall season.  The weather is damn near perfect, the holidays are upon us and most importantly, Epcot holds it’s annual Food and Wine Festival.  As an annual pass holder this is by far my favorite Disney event of the year in what is (arguably with Animal Kingdom) my favorite of the parks.  I figured this was a great opportunity to elaborate on my love of food and drink!  I am unapologetically the guy who takes pictures of his food and posts #FoodPorn.  I’ve come to terms with the fact I may lose followers as a result of that admission.  This will probably make you hungry…

 

Soda

Though not specifically part of the festival, I wanted to highlight the “Cool Zone” as it’s one of the very rare places to get FREE unlimited soda in the parks.  (The other being the “Chase Lounge” but it’s only during Food and Wine and only for Chase card members.)  Long ago I drank soda like water, but frankly it was making me fat and causing me stomach issues, so I gave it up, dropped about 60 lbs and now only rarely partake.  I do have a bit of a weakness for Ginger Ale, and it is one of the very few things I will mix Scotch with (very rarely!!)  This Cool Zone features various Coca-Cola products from around the world.  Unfortunately they introduced a number of new flavors about a year ago (which took out the Ginger Ale!!!) leaving only Brazil’s “Kuat Guarana” worth drinking.  I remember a version of this soda from my Capoeira days!   The others are worth trying, but not regularly in my opinion.

 
Pork

So, you’ve probably already gathered I’m a carnivore.  But this grilled lamb chop from the Australia section is amazing.  The pork is cooked perfectly and slides off the bone effortlessly (impressive considering how many of these they mass produce throughout the day.)  The meat is tender and juicy, but even better is that it retains spectacular flavor while not being too gamey.  The mint pesto balances the flavor perfectly and even the “potato crunchies” (read: glorified crushed potato chips) added a nice texture in the absence of (undesirable) char.   I go back for this every year and feel it’s one of the more underrated offerings.

 
 

MahiMahi
Singapore is also an annual favorite, but not for what I got this year.  A new offering was the seared mahimahi with jasmine rice and “Singa” sauce.  Normally I’m not huge on fish that’s not in a sushi roll, however a good friend of mine demanded I try this and she was absolutely right.  The fish was good: tender, boneless and flavorful, but WOW that sauce did it.  I’m a sucker for a good sauce (I’m addicted to Ponzu…) and it really made this for me.  Add that to the cheapest (and surprisingly well paired) wine offering in the park, the Marqués de Cáceres Satinela, and you have a fantastic and flavorful snack!  I tend to prefer sweet white wines, this one was a little dry, but it balanced the fish / sauce out really well.

 

Sling

Also from Singapore is the “Singapore Sling”.  This gets it’s own section as it is in fact the reason I go back to Singapore every year.  For $8.00 you get this cup of what is essentially a combination of two alcohols: gin and “Cherry Heering”. Traditionally a “sling” was an American term for any spirit and water that was sometimes sweetened or flavored.  It seems a bartender from Singapore initially mixed some sort of cherry brandy (may or may not have been Heering) with gin and the Singapore Sling was born.  The exact recipe changes from bar to bar, but almost always involves gin and some sort of cherry flavor.  The important thing about this particular incarnation is that on Disney property you’re getting essentially 3.5 – 4 shots of liquor for roughly $2.00 a shot.  Good deal.  In past years the gin ratio was really high resulting in a really potent drink that smelled and tasted like rubbing alcohol.  This year they evened it out making it a bit weaker but much more palatable.

 

Marsala

Normally the Italy pavilion is all about the stuffed ravioli (offered every year,) but this year they had a chicken marsala that was new to the menu.  I’m a sucker for mushrooms and a good wine sauce and this did not disappoint.  Even more surprising was how tender the chicken was.  I have to hand it to Disney, not only do they have natives from each country serving the food, but they manage to perfect the cooking process enough to mass-produce really well cooked food.  I wouldn’t call it “gourmet”, but regardless really tasty!  Well about the average you could find in your average chain restaurant!

 

Cheese Platter

Cheese.  If there is any reason in the world I would hate to go vegan, it would not be giving up meat, it would be giving up cheese.  I love cheese.  I often joke that one of two things in this world will be the death of me: women, or cheese (or some freaky combination of the two.  This offering was at the “Hops and Barley” pavilion (read: USA.)  This actually had the one cheese I’m not terribly fond of: bleu cheese.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat it, it’s just my least favorite in my favorite category.   However, the other two made up for it.  In the middle of the tray was a fantastic cloth-wrapped cheddar, and on the left was (my favorite of the three) soft, creamy goat cheese called “Purple Haze”.  It was so good that I think I understand why then made it’s name sound like a designer drug.

 

Frozen Martini

Next up was the France pavilion.  It is very difficult to choose here as they offer arguably the best assortment of food and drink that is, while pricey, generous and well-made.  While not the deal the sling was, this “La Passion Martini Slush” gives you more than enough to cool off in the Florida heat while a combination of (presumably mid-level) vodka and Grey Goose Le Citron helps you feel it.  It’s tasty, cold and easy to drink, so basically an expensive slurpee for adults, which is pretty fitting for this sort of event.

 
 

French Food

France has an equally wonderful selection of foods.  Most people go for the escargot, an annual favorite.  I’ve had it before, and I love the garlic, but it didn’t win me over enough to ignore other offerings (and my wallet can only handle so much!)  New this year was the “Gratin De Crozet De Savoie”  Since I have no idea what the name means, it was the description that sold me: “Wheat pasta gratin with mushrooms and Gruyere cheese.”  Carbs..?  Mushrooms? CHEESE???  SOLD!  Let me tell you, it was probably the highlight of my festival this year.  It was a pretty good serving but it was just not enough.  By now I was already quite full and I considered getting another.  Very, very good.  I hope it makes it back next year.

 
Canada is probably the winner for my kind of diet.  I’ve had the pleasure ofSteak dining there at the legitimately gourmet “Le Cellier Steakhouse” thanks to an amazing friend of mine who works at Epcot and put our names on the list months in advance.  This offering during Food and Wine is a petite version of the amazing steak I feasted on before and it does not disappoint.  Granted, it’s really hard to go wrong with a decently cooked Filet Mignon, but what you see on top is truly wonderful truffle butter accenting a bed of wild mushrooms.  Really, really good.  Compared to the full-sized, fresh cooked to order version I had, this is probably an 8 out of 10, which is pretty good considering the circumstances.  I love steak… and mushrooms… and butter.  Yum.  Also worth mentioning is the Canadian cheddar cheese soup!  However, it doesn’t photograph well (rather plain) and this was already a long entry, so ask me about it if you like (also really good!)

 

Honey Mead

My last highlights come from Ireland.  (Greece is also great, but again the presentation left a bit to be desired and that’s an important part of the package!) As I mentioned before, I prefer sweet wines so when I come across something called “Bunratty Meade Honey Wine”, it gets my attention.  You get a relatively small serving (about your average shot.. maybe a bit more) but the flavor is distinct and sweet.  Though this is not a pure mead (from honey only,) it’s a dessert wine and you can absolutely taste the honey heavily used to flavor this treat.  Most importantly the dulled bite of the white wine pairs really well with…

 

Irish Cheese

Irish cheese! I can’t resist another cheese platter, especially one offered by Kerrygold!  I’ve long been a fan of their unsalted butter (I’ve even put it in my coffee!)  This particular selection includes a Reserve cheddar, Dubliner with Irish Stout and Skellig (a slightly sweeter Irish cheddar developed specifically by Kerrygold.)  The chutney, bread and butter add substance to the platter for the price, but the cheese is exactly what you expect: quality Irish cheddar with no real surprises.  In my world, that is very, very okay. I’ve picked up this platter every year for the last three years (or more.. I don’t remember…) and I will look for it next year.  If you love cheese like I do, don’t miss it.

There are many more pavilions, and probably a lot of fantastic food I didn’t try, but that’s what next year is for.  In the meantime though, if this manages to make you as hungry reading it as it made me posting it, I’ve done my job.  Unfortunately the Disney Food and Wine Festival is done for the year, but I’ll see you there next year!

You Get What You Pay For – Part 1: Women

You probably already know I don’t subscribe to any specific theology, but I will be the first to tell you that world and the universe are alive and connected to you (along with everyone else.)  I don’t see karma as the divine reward/retribution that many portray it as because it’s very black and white (and this is, after all, the grey area.)  But what I do see is that in this world, you get what you pay for.  Not just with money, with action (or lack thereof) and even your way of being.

On Sun-day.  (Get it?)

On Sun-day. (Get it?)

For example, I have hinted in the past that I have been pretty successful sexually (no seriously, you wouldn’t believe some of it…)  The ladies I involve myself with are quality individuals who are smart, strong and beautiful in their own ways.  Of course like anything it ebbs and flows.  In my arrogance of comparing myself to a central celestial body, I liken my lovers to planets on varying sorts of orbits: very few pass daily or weekly, and then others once a month or two, 6 months, a year and sometimes even years.  But the key to my success is that I carry some sort of long-term relationship with each of these people.  The currency is patience and respect.  It is a mistake to discount anyone as not worth your time based on their current situation in life because the one constant in this world is change.  While that can be a scary thought to those you treasure now, the bright side to that concept is that new, and even those estranged may be brought back into your life.  It is in this manner that a woman I was drawn to over a decade ago might find her way to my affections in the present.   You can often have what you want if you’re willing to wait for it… NICELY.

Let me reinforce too that when I mentioned respect above, it was not a small part of the equation.  Most that know me, know that I’m much like Adam Levine and his fantastic quote (from my Misogyny post):“Maybe the reason I was promiscuous, and wanted to sleep with a lot of them, is that I love them so much.”  While in most cases I’m very hesitant to use the word “love”, I am not afraid to say that I respect and admire women completely.  In fact, I often state that they are much smarter than the majority of men whom I openly dislike for a number of reasons.  There are exceptions on both sides of course, but as far as I’m concerned, women are pretty much the best thing in the world.  The great thing is, they know when you regard them in this manner.  Some part of them unconsciously understands when you actually respect them as powerful, equal (or better!) individuals.  This automatically makes them feel comfortable and familiar with you.  At that point, if they feel the same physical attraction that you do, it’s only a matter of time (and respect.)

She'll tell ya!

She’ll tell you!

Let’s talk a little more about what respect means.  Because even if you don’t like the guy she’s with now, SHE has her reasons.  Perhaps it’s love, perhaps it’s security, sometimes it’s purely a situation that arose from a mistake.  But regardless of the circumstance, you must respect them.  You do not have the right to interfere with her life, make waves in her relationship, or cause awkwardness for her or her friends.  If you truly want to show respect, even if you don’t understand what she could possibly see in that guy, you will respect her situation and maintain your relationship on a level that she is comfortable with (like the weird concept called “friends”.)  This also means cheerfully accepting that some people have something truly amazing and rare, and that you will in fact never have them (to this day these make up some of my best friends, they and their good men both.)

The major thing that will bring all of this crashing down around you (and many relationships really) is being possessive and/or jealous.  For the most part I am not a possessive person, I value and am grateful for the honors I am given in terms of the women who share themselves with me (physically/mentally/emotionally.)  But just as you move on with your life, they do as well, and it’s none of your business what they do with the life they choose not to share with you.  There are exceptions, when they choose to involve you in another’s jealousy, or attempt to put you at risk through poor decisions, but that’s the point hen you draw the line (respectfully) and simply be a friend.

Preach.

Preach.

Further, you must be careful not to fall into the trap of introducing negativity through jealousy.  I am not completely immune to this, I admit that I have (on a couple of occasions) in the past fallen victim to this trap, but for the most part I’ve got a good handle on it.  You have to because introducing that sort of negativity into a relationship is poison, and will usually get you exactly the opposite of what you want.  Possessiveness and jealousy are concepts that reduce a woman to an object in order to be owned.  THAT sort of thinking is what will destroy any type of positive relationship; It is a complete lack of respect for her as a woman and as a person.  Ideally, you will earn her time, affection, adoration and even love by showing her the same.  It’s a price you should be excited to pay if you’re doing it right.

It’s easy to draw the conclusion based on my recent past and the things I write that I am anti-relationship, but this is not the truth.  I both want and respect real relationships.  It is also not my place to judge what is and is not a real relationship.  Monogamy is a pleasant and ideal situation for some (seems more and more rare these days) and I like to subscribe to the idea of meeting “the one”.   But for many it is not the only way, and I do not, by any means believe it is the only right way.  Many of the happiest and most functional couples and parents I know are in “non-traditional” relationships. (Silly term anyway considering historically, orgies and polygamy in various forms was commonplace.)  What makes a real  relationship in my world is love, trust, communication and respect.  Everything else is the business of those in the relationship and whomever they choose to share it with.

IN THE BEGINNING….

2014-09-26 15.12.48-1… I had to figure out what this was about. I wanted to write and I wanted to write for people that both do and don’t know me. As it is I write fairly often anyway, but always for myself or select individuals. Long ago I attempted a couple of different blogs with mixed results, but I still enjoy looking back on them. But I have a greater purpose in that I want this to actually be interesting to you. While that’s impossible for all of you, I figure if I can keep some of you around (and piss some of you off) I’ll be doing an okay job.

So what is this about? Well, me. I’m more or less a narcissist after all. But while it’s about me, it’s not. It’s about what you think about what I think. You don’t have to tell me (but I’m sure some of you will anyway, and that’s ok!) A lot of people close to me tell me that I’m different, that I see the world differently and they often don’t entirely understand why I do what I do. I can’t totally explain here, but by sharing my opinions, maybe you’ll get a better idea.

Ahhh but why would you care right? So many people blog, and reading is so much more boring than YouTube. Well, I decided I need to touch on some things that you will agree with, or get angry at. I’m going to try to manipulate you to react. I don’t care how you react (seriously it’s not personal… in most cases) as long as it makes you think, or feel, or both. In order to do that I need to focus on stuff that gets your attention, so basically: Sex, Lifestyle, Religion, Politics, Tech, whatever. Nothing is going to be held back except names and places of personal experiences may be changed to protect the innocent (in other words, people other than me.) Maybe you can put two and two together if you know me outside of the net, but keep in mind I’ll be counting on that, and misdirection is a powerful thing. I won’t lie (outside of previously mentioned), I really hate lying, but I’ll let you go wherever you want with what I give you, even if I know it’s the opposite direction.

Pictured: Sexy.

It won’t always be scandal or intense though. I’m also going to focus a lot on my hedonistic tendencies: Food, Drink, Sex, Things (Cars, Tech and what-not)… and whatever it is I do to enjoy my time on this world (experiences!) now. Frankly, I think that when people talk about dreams in the sense that you sacrifice now to be happy later is ridiculous. Goals are great, and working towards them gives you purpose (which you need, now!) but storing your happiness in the future is useless because I can guarantee two things: 1. The future isn’t going to play out exactly like you think, and 2. Once you get there, you’ll regret not having more fun along the way.  There’s also always the possibility that some of us simply won’t last as long as we expect to.

Perhaps that’s where the “Libertine” comes in. I’m no “Lord Byron” but I can definitively say that I exist in the grey area of morality. We should do what makes us happy now, and if something is NOT making us happy, it’s best to discard it.  Granted I realize in today’s complicated world it’s just not that simple… but that’s why the grey area exists; the world is not simple, and neither are the solutions.  You can MAKE it simple by leading a hard-line black and white life, but that either requires a huge amount of personal restraint, sacrifice and fortitude, or complete and total faith in ideals and concepts that are frankly questionable at best.  If you do it for the first reason, and are happy that way, I’m both impressed and respect you (even if I don’t agree with you.)  If you are one of the latter, I’m not judging you personally, but I feel it’s both a cop-out and dangerously narrow-minded.  I have many friends that are religious in some form but continue to keep an open mind, I can respect that much more…

Originally this post was much longer, but a friend I had proofreading this suggested I divide it here before I dive into some arguably heavier stuff.   For the sake of your attention span and avoiding boredom I agreed…