Lifestyle

Martial Arts University 2015 – Day 1: Prologue

**On the plane to Raleigh** – 9:12 AM

Four years in a row I was Grandmaster’s Assistant for these events.  I was there during a key time when MAU evolved from a mind-numbing week in a single hotel conference room, to a trip into nature that was at some times magical and other times maddening.  I was a special classification that kept me out of the majority of the classes and isolated with Grandmaster and one or two other chosen assistants for the event. As the assistant it was a grueling, non-stop and often nerve-wracking as every attempt had to made to preserve his mood, condition and mindset. Simply put, he had to be utterly focused on what he was going to present, so it fell on me to make everything about him. There was little time to lose focus, move slowly or relax… for essentially four straight days it was all about Grandmaster, all the time, nonstop.   It was here in 2013 that in front of hundreds of my peers with Grandmaster seated directly in front of me, I shattered a block of concrete and earned my Black Belt.

And then, a bout a year and a half ago, shortly before the 2014 Martial Arts University, I left.   Many people told me it was a very different Grandmaster that presented their seminars that year and the event overall was said to be a great success. I thought perhaps my departure had made some sort of impact. It remains to be seen for sure though.

Does that Ginger Ale look a little dark to you? ;)

Does that Ginger Ale look a little dark to you? 😉

One year later I am in the air over Georgia heading to Greensboro, NC by way of Raleigh. But this year it’s different. This year I am a guest, and it’s weird. I had no intention of attending this year, I have only been attending class sparingly and doing occasional favors for the company president (who is truly one of the best men I know) as I very much respect and feel I owe him. But he and Grandmaster reached out to me and went through a great deal of trouble to request my presence here. Finally, the company president asked me directly to assist him here, and I know that he needs it, so I didn’t wish to refuse. That and watching a friend and former companion of mine test for her second dan and instructor certification are my reasons for being here.

But Grandmaster is happy to have me here, so much that it is odd. I am not expected to carry his bag or hold his door. I offered my business class seat to him and he politely declined (I was keeping my free drink ticket regardless) and overall it seems like he is almost awkwardly attempting to cater to me however he can. He appreciates me, he has told me that much, even though I left him. He too, for all my previous disagreements with him (and there were more than a few) is a good man. At the same time though it is almost a little awkward to accept so much (they are paying for meals and such) while not being in direct servitude. Before it was part of the package, now it feels unearned. They have both said that the things I help them with occasionally now combined with my previous service more than make up for it. Perhaps they are right and I’m selling myself short. Just last night I lost sleep staying late in their office to help with final revisions on a flyer.

With that said, Martial Arts World supported the majority of my previous cycle, and I do feel that on some level I owe them for the great years they gave me. Those experiences and people will stay with me indefinitely. It’s also true that even now the organization makes connections for me I wouldn’t otherwise have. So how much influence it will have over my current cycle remains to be seen as well.

So I’m not really sure what to expect this round. I want to feel useful, because that’s what my mindset going into these weeks

The gorgeous weather doesn't hurt.

The gorgeous weather doesn’t hurt.

always have been (I’m a “tool” after all.) But it seems like they want a bit of it to be about me. So I will try to take some time, try to enjoy myself while still being useful. This year I might keep my sanity intact and relax a bit. Maybe. Obviously I know what the real endgame here is; they want to bring me back into the fold. But if that’s ever going to happen it will be a long process involving a lot of evolution that I’m not certain is possible.

For now, because of the travel and unusual circumstances I am taking a break from Ramadan fasting (this is accepted in the Muslim religion anyway) and I’m having to re-adjust to operating in the daytime, so it’s a refreshing change of pace before I return to the grind. The moon is full, so the timing on the break is good and as usual everything seems to make perfect sense as it falls into place. With everything that led up to my ending up on this plane (I very nearly didn’t make it to this year several times for several reasons) I feel like I’m meant to be here. As for the “why?” is anyone’s guess, but I’ll certainly try to keep you posted.

**10:31 PM** 

I need to wrap this up quickly as I am utterly exhausted by my four hours of sleep in the last forty-eight hours (I’m dozing as I write this.)  After the ridiculously massive lunch we had provided for us in Raleigh by Grandmaster’s good friend, it was a miracle we had room for the dinner provided to us by the camp this evening (I kept remarking that I had forgotten how much we eat on these trips.)  During dinner a group of familiar faces arrived to round out the initial group of leaders.  One of them sat next to me; a tall slender Korean man from another organization who had been a friend to me at many seminars in the past.  He regarded me for a moment before remarking quietly: “You’ve matured.”  Being that it had been at least two years since I last saw this man it was a pleasant compliment, and one without any sort of innuendo or side meaning.

A short tour before the meeting.

A short tour before the meeting.

After dinner we had a brief tour for those new to this location and then all met for the opening meeting.  Despite my having been away for some time now, I am included in the inner-circle as I was when I worked here.  The meeting drug on for a while with the familiar and predictable goals to make this year the best MAU yet while maximizing the return on next year.  While many good point were brought up, the fact remains that these points are not new, they’ve just never been fully and thoroughly implemented each year.  So the secret lies more in the execution than the discussion.  I had been fighting dozing for a fair amount of the meeting, so afterwards I checked to be sure I could retire, showered and called it a night (this is the last thing I do before bed.)  I should get a fair amount of sleep tonight (at least six hours,) but this is the calm before the storm.  Everyone arrives tomorrow and MAU 2015 officially begins.

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Freedom and the In-Between

“How did you expect it to feel?  You are free, and that can be lonely, and empty, and frightening… but it is also powerful.”

It’s been a while.

I did say I would return, but I’m betting some of you might’ve given up on me.  Regardless, as you can imagine, much has happened over the last nine weeks or so, and much will likely happen over the following weeks.  It is all too much to write here, in a single post, but I will attempt to recap a bit.

“Freelance”

The biggest change, and what has kept me from this and my beloved FFXIV ARR (Which I’ve been able to get back to some as well…) is that I left my position as a full time Executive Assistant.  I left on good terms and am technically still a freelance member of the team, but after the most recent show in early May, any requests for my assistance have been quiet.  This suited me fine as I had been feeling trapped and was longing for a level of freedom that I truthfully hadn’t had in some six years.

Pretty and crazy... Miami reminds me of some people I know.

Pretty and crazy… Miami reminds me of some people I know.

For a few days I allowed myself to simply stop and work on things around the house.  My stress level dropped to near nothing, I did chores, clean-up and sleeping whatever hours I wanted to.  However, I had ground rules for myself that included a legitimate job search via Indeed and LinkedIn, reaching out to whatever contacts I had and keeping my eyes open for whatever opportunities I could.  Though it has only been about a year since my last job search, as the days passed it sunk in that finding a new, promising position is not easy.  My freedom would cost me.  I was fortunate in that I had been saving for some time in order to make the trip to Japan this year, but even as I found ways to stay afloat while I sought my next opportunity, it became increasingly apparent that my trip would be delayed.

Only recently, some 8-9 weeks and many, many resumes and cover letters later did I have two promising initial interviews.  The catch is that both of them required that I relocate: one to Naples, FL and the other to Miami.  Though still in Florida, they were far enough away (in different places) to be a complete change of situation, lifestyle and routine.  Each also had their own unique benefits and potential, but even after making the trip to Miami and meeting with a two-hour gauntlet of executives, they didn’t pan out.  And so the search continues…

Uber

What has kept me afloat during this not-so-free time (along with my quickly dwindling Japan savings) is a “rideshare” aka personal taxi service called Uber.  I won’t go into heavy details about how it works because you can easily google that.  Essentially Uber makes your own personal vehicle into something similar (but better) than a taxi.  You pass a pretty thorough background/driver/VIN number check, fill out some forms and in just over a week or so you are ready to take riders.  I’ve been doing this relatively full-time and though the money is decent, it’s not something I would make a career of (watching my car mileage climb this quickly is a bit bothersome.)  That said, ninety percent of the people who get in my car are pretty great people.  I’ve got some great stories (some of which I will recount in future posts) and I’ve met one or two exceptional people that may or may not permeate outside the realm of the Uber tales.  My friends often tell me I’ve done everything, well this is another thing I’ve done to add to this list.  If I feel so inclined I might share the stories of the recent semi-orgy a group of six (not counting me… I only got to drive and witness) had in my car, or the adorable nurse that continuously apologized for her hiccups, or maybe the fifty-something drunk man that was petting me and calling me his best friend…  Or maybe I’ll tell you something newer.

Other than mine being silver, that is my car.

Other than mine being silver, that is my car.

In the meantime, shameless plug:  If you’ve never used Uber before and want to give it a shot, download the app and in the promo code enter: P9W5KUE.  It will give you your first ride (up to $20 – only if you’ve never used Uber before) free, but the driver still gets paid.  Likewise if you’re considering driving for Uber use that as a referral code and you get a bonus after so many trips (as do I!)

Regardless, stay tuned, I have lots of material.

Ramadan

As of this writing, I am two days away from the halfway mark of this year’s Ramadan.  To answer your immediate questions: No, I’m not Muslim. -and- Yes, it means that from first light to sundown every day I do not eat anything, drink anything or partake in any.. debaucherous activity.  Thoughts are supposed to remain clean and peaceful too.. (fortunately that’s more of a guideline or I’ve failed consistently every year.)  For more back story as to why I participate in Ramadan, I invite you to visit the blog a few of us used to contribute to during this time: https://alegriabalancocascata.wordpress.com/

I haven’t written there this year, but if you start from the beginning (The most recent post shows in the front page, I suggest you navigate to the first post in the archives) you’ll get a good indication of the “why”.  Naturally you’re welcome to ask me questions here as well.  Rather than post to that site, I will likely write about notable aspects here and either reblog or re-post them there if I feel the need.

This looks good anyway... imagine it after sixteen hours!

This looks good anyway… imagine it after sixteen hours!

This year is interesting as I’m primarily nocturnal while driving for Uber.  At first thought one would think that Ramadan fasting would be easy because of this.  However, while I do believe I am having an easier time than my good friend Leslie (in Japan) as a result of my schedule, the very short hours of night time compared to the very long days of Summer mean that at least 50% of my awake time is during the fast if not more.  Comparatively speaking though, she has a tough teaching schedule all day that requires a great deal of focus and awareness, two things that are easily compromised by prolonged fasting.  I can’t complain in comparison to that!

But with that said, for me, a major realization this year is that sleeping the second half of your fast makes waking up, and getting out of bed much more difficult.  Keep in mind the fasting hours now are between fifteen and sixteen hours (literally the longest days of the year,) so though people normally fast for (hopefully) eight hours or so by sleeping,  I’m waking after roughly double that having had nothing.  Think extreme lethargy and zero motivation.  Then remember that as time goes on, the effect amplifies through the wear on your body.  Suffice to say much coffee was had after breaking the fast at sundown.  The other aspect I didn’t think about is when I stay up all night for work, start my fast, and continue to operate into the day as I am today.  The effects of fasting + all-nighter hours are a bit rough to say the least.  But then a large part of this is the learning experience, and I am learning a lot.  More on this and the second half of Ramadan later.

What’s Next

Like clockwork, Martial Arts University is right in the middle of Ramadan this year (aka Tomorrow.)  For those of you that don’t know, I have been involved in Martial Arts for nearly a decade now (with some breaks here and there.)  MAU (for short) is a five day long testing / seminar series that takes place at a camp in Greensboro, NC.  I spent many years serving as the assistant to the Grandmaster who presides of this event, and I’ve been asked to attend by a specific master that I look up to and owe on some levels.  Since I will be traveling, I will break my fast while I am gone and make up the days at a later date by feeding the less fortunate of fasting extra days after the Eid holiday that ends Ramadan.

Like a bos... err.. black belt.

Like a bos… err.. black belt.

When I return from MAU it will be back to Uber and back to finding the next step.  So the interviews didn’t work out, that just means I keep looking for the next ones.  I am fortunate enough to have had savings and a support structure that allows me to supplement with something like Uber and not be forced to sacrifice the quality of life that I’m used to. I have also been getting better and better at managing my time with a very irregular schedule.  That means it’s not going to be several months before the next post.  So in order to keep this at a readable length I’ll draw the line here.  There are many more adventures and “wisdom” to come.

PS:  I took a look at my readership and was pleasantly surprised to see it’s not only been consistent, but has even spiked more than a few times in my absence.  Good to know my writing has some staying power! THANK YOU to all my readers… I don’t know what you’re getting from my rants, but I appreciate the time you spend here regardless!

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.

Forward Motion

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about today, I have a ton of ideas in my head but none of them are totally fleshed-out yet (that’s mostly “no pun intended”…)  I do have a concept in mind of explain how I tend to bond with people sexually (I know, y’all need a sex post soon…) but I want to think about that a bit more before I broadcast.  So instead I think I’ll give you a couple of “small” things that may or may not get bigger.  The lack of cohesion might not appeal to you all, but it’s my blog, so you get to deal. 🙂

Dream Girl:

The real one is out there... somewhere.

The real one is out there… somewhere.

I didn’t dream last night that I can remember, I got just under six hours of sleep which (I fairly recently learned) is consistently dreamless as far as I can tell.  I would imagine it has to do with when I wake up in regards to my sleep cycles, but regardless I tend to remember my dreams a lot more consistently at the seven and a half to eight hour mark.  Monday night I did indeed dream, but it was a sleep-deprived dream at only four and a half hours.  Normally when I dream, it’s lucid.  I’m aware I’m dreaming and reacting with that knowledge.  But this was one of the very rare ones; ultra detailed, specific and realistic.  I didn’t know I was dreaming.  Obviously the typical “dream fog” about how I had gotten there was in effect as I didn’t question it, but it got me regardless.  In this dream I was having a conversation with a girl I don’t really know (as in I know of her, and we’ve talked online and what-not, but have never met her in person…)  and we talking about “us” and confirming that we should be together.  It was a touching and kind of adorable situation that I’m not 100% comfortable describing because it was a but mushy.

What’s important about this though is that I had absolutely no reservations about this girl.  “It” was there and I was very, very ready to dedicate myself to her.  It reminded me of what it can feel like, what it should feel like.  It’s been a good fourteen years now since it felt like that, exactly right, and my subconscious still remembers it enough to recreate it.  Maybe that’s what fooled me, how easily we can be manipulated by the heart.  I woke up confused, disoriented and trying to figure out how I got to my bedroom after I had been spending time with her (sorry, no sex, this was a gushy dream, not a sexy one…)  For the first time in a long time, after a few seconds when I finally realized it was a dream, I was actually a little sad.  I thought about sending the girl a note telling her about this, but I don’t know her, at best I just know my idea of her based on limited discussion and social media.  Unfortunately, telling her something like this would likely just creep her out, and I couldn’t blame her for that.  She made an excellent dream girl regardless.

Unpause:

No.

No.

Every so often routine sets in and things just sort of freeze for a while.  While I understand it as a natural necessity of life and try to use it to my advantage, the truth is I find it very, very boring.  Me bored is bad.  Even though I have tons of things (like this…) to fill my days with, if I don’t feel like my life is in motion and things aren’t developing and growing around me, I tend to get very resigned and more likely to start reaching at things I probably shouldn’t.  Relaxing is a GREAT thing, and routine is beneficial when populated with good habits, but boredom with the state of your life is poison and needs to be fixed as soon as possible.

I’ve been in said routine for a while now.  Much of it was intentional as I had a bit to reconcile from the previous cycle to this one (probably not quite done with that… but more stable anyway.)  However, things are in motion again.  Spring is almost (literally) here and the world around me is beginning to shuffle and put things in motion that it’s been whispering about for some time.  In short, even if my life won’t dramatically change anytime soon, the state of my life and several factors around me have already begin to and will continue to.  All these prospects are the opposite of boring, and anticipating the shake-up is admittedly exciting for me.  It’s not that I crave chaos per-say, but I like renewal.  Change often sucks when you lose things, but the upside to that is that eventually new things begin to take shape and the potential they represent is exciting.

Fitting DMB Lyric. :)

Fitting DMB Lyric. 🙂

Is that vague / cryptic enough for you?  Well for instance, I have things to look forward to.  A week from now, I will once again be in Seattle for a week or so.  While I don’t have the exciting plans I had last time, after the show ends on Saturday, I will again see family, again eat far too many of my father’s hot wings and very likely find a few ways to entertain myself (though in all honesty I’ll also just be happy to relax and take in the Northwest again.)  Following that, show season is in full effect for Cybis until May, when “Dave Season” (Dave Matthews Band) begins with a concert in Atlanta on the thirtieth with some really great people.

So, in the absence of dream love, there may still be a few good reasons to peek outside of my cave.  I’ve been a little recluse on purpose, but the universe will only allow that for so long.  It is not my way to be idle and there are things to be done.

The “Hook-Up Culture” Myth

I keep hearing the term “hook-up culture” and it being used in a derogatory manner.  They say that it’s causing “the decline of meaningful relationships” and indeed if you look at some of the statistics compared to the days of yore it can be twisted to reflect such a message.  But the fact of the matter is that it’s bullshit.  In fact, the term “hook-up culture” is just a way to generalize a much broader concept: sexual self-reliance.

“I didn’t want to be dominated by anyone...”  (Hell yes Emma!!)

“I didn’t want to be dominated by anyone…” (Damn straight Emma, you tell em’!)

The most common story comes from those crazy college kids these days that are just getting together and having wild drunken sex parties.  But they act like this is something new.  This is not new, it just keeps getting better. Looking beyond the filthy bullshit that is male entitled rape culture (I know it’s a bleak reality, but I’ve ranted about that already and that’s not the point here…) and what you have are individuals that aren’t afraid to be individuals.  But to say that this is a college thing, or that it’s a new concept is ridiculous.  I literally read an article yesterday about Emma Murano, a woman who is one-hundred and fifteen years old and do you know what she credits her longevity to?  Raw eggs and being single since 1938.  Do you think she’s been celibate since 1938? Hell no.

The truth is that “hooking up” has been happening forever and the current time frame isn’t even the first time it’s been given a name.  In Roman times it was a common occurrence (especially among the higher classes.) Hundreds of years later in the 60s and 70s it was “free love”, but then many referred to it as a “counter-culture” made up of “dirty hippies”.  That’s basically what happens now.  Certain groups of narrow-minded people that fear the concept try to generalize and degrade it with labels.  The same goes today with those trying to label and put a negative spin on “Hook-Up Culture”.  You don’t have to look far to read about how this culture is “destroying” things like “traditional dating”, “modern romance”, “Love as we know it”, “Gay youth culture” and even an entire generation.  I mean.. shit!  Who knew the power of getting it on with somebody you probably don’t want to be with forever was so potent!  Next time we got to war, instead of sending the troops over and dropping bombs, let’s just send some “Hook-Up Culture” ambassadors to their country to fuck the love right out of their whole generation!   It’s a crisis!

...and sending that text when the mood strikes...

…and sending THAT text when the mood strikes…

What has really happened is that with the power of the internet and support that was previously too hidden or distant for us to see, individuals have found that they don’t have to conform to outdated and gender-bias/misogynistic traditions or rules to run their romantic life.  Instead, they feel more comfortable wanting what they want and the fear of god/society/etc no longer keeps many of them from acting on those desires.  Now it’s okay to be a successful unmarried woman with a healthy sexual appetite (we have shows about this now!)  Likewise you’re not a loser if as a man you don’t have or even want a wife or family.  We’ve gotten to the point where we can talk about men hooking up with men, women hooking up with women, and gender-neutral people hooking up with both, or none, or whatever they prefer.  “Hookup Culture” isn’t about hooking up at all really, it’s about people deciding they are going to sexually be what they want, fuck who they want (as long the partner is willing…) and not have to conform to meet expectations.   There’s no more hooking up than there ever was before (trust me.. your parents had just as much sex, they were just afraid to talk about it.)  We’re simply being more open, educated, intelligent and accepting of it all as a part of our lives.  That scares a lot of the more traditionally conservative people to death, so they feel the need to slap a label on it and cry doomsday.

But you know what?  Love is still happening.  Marriage is still happening.  Kids are still happening (granted Japan is in a bit of a population crisis… you might wanna make a few more babies over there…)  If the birth rate goes down a little in the US or even the world, that’s okay for a while.  We have a pretty serious global over-population issue as it is and a lot of quality human beings with a great deal of potential that need adopting.

Go ahead and try to tell me those children don't have a beautiful family life. :)

Go ahead and try to tell me those children don’t have a beautiful family life. 🙂

Speaking of which, thanks to hook-up culture, we have a new breed of successful singles that don’t have to be married but want kids.   Those folks along with the growing  government acceptance of gay marriage (which is also simultaneously “destroying” most of the things Hook-up Culture is…. along with the “sanctity of marriage”) are giving a lot of those kids who need adopting really amazing homes and families.  I’ve personally witnessed better parenting from some of these singles/couples than I’ve seen from a great deal of heterosexual parents that either accidentally reproduced or did so under pressure from their non-hook-up culture (when they didn’t even really want children.)  Who’s going to be the better parent?  The ones who feel forced to have kids they aren’t sure they want, or the ones that have to deliberately apply and invest in a very thorough process in order to raise children they actually really want?   Which of those family situations is more likely to produce better-rounded contributors to our upcoming generations?

If “Hook-up Culture” is a real phenomenon and things are truly changing so drastically, then it’s for the better.  Perhaps the traditional marriage rate is dropping, but if that’s true, then I would wager the majority of the marriages that aren’t happening would’ve been the unhappy ones.  The truth about culture now is that it’s becoming the sexually and romantically liberated culture.  People are learning that they can have sex, and it can just be sex.  They can have love, with whoever they want.  They understand that sex and love do not have to be mutually exclusive (but they still certainly can be, if they want it to be.) Most importantly they are realizing that there’s not a damn thing wrong with any of that.  

Oh my god you're right!!  LOVE IS DYING!

Oh my god you’re right!! LOVE IS DYING!

Love and romance cannot simply be killed off because somebody got a boner for a girl he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life with and she liked how his abs looked when he was shirtless, so they did their thing and got on with their lives.  I like to think love is a bit stronger than that.  I’m also pretty certain that both “Generation Y” and “Gay Youth” are doing better than before because of the shift towards acceptance of individual sexuality. (and honestly we still have a long way to go…)  In the end, “Hook-Up Culture” is just a label that will be used and abused as propaganda (which is almost always false.)  If there’s been a cultural shift, hooking up is a product of it, not the reason.

Rain

It’s Monday, but it’s mellow.  When it rains like this; casually, lazily, with no purpose other than to renew the land, nourish the life and make the streets shiny, everything seems to slow down just a little in order to receive it.  My hometown has more of these days than not (which explains the coffee obsession) so when it rains like this in Orlando I think it makes me a bit nostalgic.  Orlando gets it’s share of rain, but it’s more of the soaking, torrential, relentless downpour for fifteen minutes.  That has it’s place, and can be fun in the right circumstances, but today is a lazy rain, the kind you can walk in without worry of ruining your hair or damaging your iPhone.

As of now I’m sitting at my normal lunch spot watching the drops hit the glazed marble walkways as people walk down the streets with grossly oversized umbrellas.  In Seattle you don’t usually bother with an umbrella, the rain is more like a dense mist, but here if you’re caught without an umbrella in a downpour, nothing can save you from being soaked.  Those that walk without an umbrella today are fine, but they aren’t being as a Seattle native, they are simply unprepared.  Ironically I meant to write a slightly ranty post today, but it rained and I am calm.  If I’m not feeling it, I can’t write it.  Instead I am here, just being a part of it, soaking it all in metaphorically and feeling peaceful.

It was so, so sexy though...

It was so, so sexy though…

In essence the rain made today.  I spent the first part of the day driving and hanging around exotic cars as a result of my boss’s convertible top being stuck down.  This morning the rain had not yet come, but we knew it would, so I had to arrange for service.  At the same time, we were filming a promo spot for the the local Mall at Millenia which required the use of a high-end vehicle.  The plan was to use my boss’s Audi S5, but with it in service, I took it upon myself to convince the dealership to loan us one of theirs (I tried for the R8, but they weren’t feeling that brave.)  So, I got to have some fun driving these and checking out some other exotics while coming through in a pinch for my boss.  I call that win.  So thanks to the rain, today is mellow, pleasant, relaxing and productive.  But the day is only half done and there is more rain to come, so I’ll continue this tonight…

As the day went on the rain gradually increased, but never to the point of downpour.  As I left my office this evening I was greeted by another nostalgic sight of the city buildings piercing the fog with a majestic glow.  The unfortunate truth is that Orlando’s skyline leaves much to be desired compared to other grand old cities like Boston, New York or even a younger, smaller city like Seattle.  Orlando is great, I like it here and I like a lot of things about it, but I feel like it’s more a very large, spread out town than a real city.  Still, the few skyscrapers we have are relatively impressive and to see them bathed in glow of fog similar to Seattle is a treat in itself.

The evening was filled with productivity, but nothing exciting, nothing worth writing about.  Except that I like the glow of puddles reflecting the lights of the city and the ripples on the surface as the raindrops penetrate them.  During the day it’s reflective and meditative, at night I find it dramatic and thought-provoking.  It feels like it’s foretelling things, like little whispers of what’s to come ride on each of those ripples in the darkness.  If only we could listen closely enough, perhaps they would give away their secrets.  But then, would we really want to know?

All the possible ripples...

All the possible ripples…

I will admit my disappointment as the day came to a close and the rain let up.  If there’s any time I love the storms here in Orlando, it’s later at night.  Thunder and Lightning can happen whenever, I love it regardless.  But especially late at night, lying bed (with or without somebody there…) the sound of a downpour outside is especially soothing.  “White noise” some people call it.  Maybe that’s a good term for positive noise.  It’s probably got some technicality I could google, and I may actually be misusing the term in regards to the sound a storm makes, but for now it makes sense.  Positive noise anyway, noise that soothes and distracts just enough to relax you and allow you to drift away to much-needed sleep.  But unfortunately for now the weather has passed and the all too familiar clear sky will return.  It’s gorgeous of course, I’m not complaining, the exact opposite consistency of that which I grew up with on the opposite side of the country.  You always want what you can’t have.

There won’t be any more rain tonight.

I don’t really know what this post is about (but it’s not sex.)

aka: Random semi-coherent abstract loosely connected somewhat-logical philosophical un-sexy musings and ramblings about living. 

There’s usually three different arguments in regards to the happenings in life.  The first goes something like “Heathen! Everything happens for a reason because it’s (**insert your god/gods/entity/demon/timelord here**) plan!” (Though if you chose timelord I can’t argue with you… because you’re awesome.)  Also in this category is “IT IS YOUR DESTINY!” type thinking.  Second is the opposite idea like “Idiots.  Nothing happens for any reason.  Our existence and everything that happens is just a random coincidence fueled by variables and probability.”  So then naturally the third possibility is the moderate approach of “Some things are meant to happen, but we have free will and can go in the direction we please.  We can make things happen, our future is yet unwritten.”  Simplified, it boils down to fate, coincidence, or a bit of a sandbox.

124_timelords

Some Time Lords are better than others…

Based on what I’ve written before, you can assume I’m either the first type (cycles?) or the third.  Acknowledging any real system at all basically kills option two because it disagrees with anything that indicates an organized (by what?) system. Without ranting too much about religion (because I’m just not a fan of organized religion…) I’ll go ahead and say that I don’t want to believe in option one because, frankly, it’s a terrifying prospect to simply exist with no purpose other than going through predestined motions.  Fortunately it doesn’t make a lot of sense either though.  Why would god (Timelords don’t do that anyway…) bother giving the ability to reason and be creative to drones that are simply going to run their course anyway?  For an omniscient being that’s pretty wasteful, and quite honestly a shitty system design.

So let’s go with option 3: the “sandbox”.  This essentially says we belong to a system, probably one architected by something, somewhere that we don’t and possibly can’t understand.  This is a more comforting idea for a number of reasons.  It leaves room for a naked, white-beareded, benevolent man chilling up on a cloud surrounded by little winged babies with instruments.  It also leaves room for a lizard master race that wants to use us as slaves (fortunately the time lord will probably save us from that.)  But deities aside, what makes this ideal is the fact that it leaves room for both purpose, and reason.

“Why are we here?” is one of the oldest questions out there, and lots of people (including me) think they have the reasons figured out.  But let’s try to avoid the overly-spiritual side for now and stick with the logical.  “Sandbox” logic says we exist in a self-sustaining system.  Which means, in fact, that we are a component of that system.  Could it go on without us?  Yep, it might even be better off, but it would be very very different.  A key component of a self-sustaining system is the ability to adapt.  We actually mirror that trait as self-sustaining, adapting systems ourselves.  So the basic answer is, we are here because we’re a part of an ever-adapting system, and we would continue to be, except that we have this silly free will that causes us to continuously add and change a great number of variables in this system.  The truth is that humans are really fucking things up. It should be utter chaos, and some people think it is, but it’s not really.  Instead, despite the massive disruptions we’ve caused, the system continues to adapt.  Maybe it won’t indefinitely, but for now it’s hanging in there.

Oops.

Oops.

But why would it?  Think about it: nature is beautiful, but it’s also harsh and unforgiving towards it’s predators.  If it were up to a mindless, instinctive system, I don’t believe humans would exist.  The only explanation is that the system was designed to allow for the bullshit humans pull.  So it becomes a matter of intelligent design (That said.. allowing humans to exist doesn’t seem that intelligent on the surface… but faith, ya know?)  But rather than shooting back to option A and saying everything is scripted (that would be really un-intelligent design…) this supports the idea that the system is set up for us, and parameters are set, but we get to navigate it the way we choose.  Some things are meant to happen on our individual paths, but if we really choose to, we can fight that… and usually face the consequences.   Consequences aren’t a punishment, it’s just what happens when you think you know what’s better for you than the supposed relatively omniscient mind that laid out your path.  The system is set up knowing that some people will always want to “fight the power”, even if it’s actually good for them.

Now (I know.. by now you’re like “Jesus.. get back to the sex posts…!”) let’s be optimistic and assume whatever charted your path did so with the idea you will experience what you need to.  The sad truth is, what people need to experience isn’t always happy.  In some cases it’s really, really fucked up.  The reasons for this on a spiritual and philosophical level could fill up a whole series of posts, but the reason for this on a logical level is pretty simple:  The system can’t support that sort of imbalance.  If nobody died, the system as it is now would crash catastrophically in a very short time.  The key element to any self-sustaining system (including ourselves) is balance.  When thrown out of balance, the system will do whatever it needs to (indifferently) to right itself.  That’s why bad things happen to good people, people die for no reason and sometimes people who really don’t deserve to get ahead do anyway.  In some way the system has to rebalance itself, and it quite frankly doesn’t care if you like how it does it or not.

But since you’re reading this, you’re one of the many who fall on the fortunate side of this system.  Thus far you might’ve had a hard path, but comparatively you are able to sit and spend time reading a blog rambling on about some obscure philosophy, so you’re not doing half bad.  Well, think of all the shit you got through to get here.  I’m willing to bet if you go only a couple years back, things have happened you never would’ve planned for.  Now if you think about all the steps that led you here, some of them made no sense at the time, and even seemed detrimental, and yet everything fell into place to get you here.  

I didn't say it would always be easy regardless...

I didn’t say it would always be easy regardless…

Perhaps where you are right now isn’t where you want to be.  Well, you do have the power to change it, and you have choices as to how.  You can try to abruptly change your direction and charge another way in blind defiance, but that very rarely helps anyone.  You can swim against a river for a while if you are strong enough, but you will go farther, faster, with less effort if you go with the current.  So another option is to charge forward with the current; head down and paddling with all your strength.  This will get you the farthest, fastest.  The problem with this is that you will eventually burn yourself out, and either sink or be at the mercy of the current.  So the obvious choice to me, is to flow with the river, using your energy to keep your head up, avoid dangers and grab what you can find to help you.  The other advantage to this is that it’s the easiest way to link up with others traveling the river in the same way.

All river metaphors aside, if you choose to believe you have paths laid out for you, driven by your choices, then you will also begin to see signs that give you some hint as to which path will go where.  All those seemingly random events and choices throughout your life have magically chained together to bring you to who and where you are now.  If you’re reading this, you’re not done.  The good news is, beyond all the endless complication and self-importance humans bring to their lives, there is only one thing any of the three options I mentioned earlier expect of you.  Choose, and act.

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.