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Friday, November 4, 2011

272

Man Secrets and "What About That Other Thing I Was Doing?"

So let's talk about my butt. It's round, high, and generally looks fantastic ... in clothes. When I get naked, it's kind of flabtastic, and I have cellulite, and when I walk there is a sort of earthquake effect involving my entire thigh/butt area. My question: Do you care? I feel very self-conscious about this, but does it really matter to guys? I see a lot of porn chicks who appear to have rock-hard butts/thighs. My body just ain't built that way and never will be. But is a flabby butt and big thighs a huge turn-off to guys?

If I had the skill or ambition to make an animated gif that was a porn chick’s rock-hard butt and then some digital sunglasses drop down on it but instead of flashing “Deal With It” it would just play this song, I would totally make that gif. But I don’t. So, let’s just sidestep the comparison to women whose asses are probably enhanced with space-age technology anyway (though it might be worth mentioning the endless squatting — squats are great for the thighs and butt) and focus on what’s real.

By and large, any man worth his salt will know that no human surface is as smooth as polished chrome, nor would he want it to be. That is the territory of boys and, well, dudes who look at too much porn. Additionally, those men who are fans of a thicker thigh and round, high butt are in no way turned off by the accompanying jiggle or dimple. It comes with the territory, so to speak. So, in the end, it comes down to the particular guy you’re with just not being immature.

Mind you, I would bet that some women will read that as a particularly rosy piece of advice in a culture that teaches men to value the smooth, supple, and flawless contours of doctored models above all else. There are billions of dollars made off reinforcing that ideal and stoking women’s insecurities. But, if there is one irony above all ironies created by the proliferation of paparazzi sites on the internet and their ruthless celebrity criticisms, it is that we now know that even the most “perfect” women in the world have cellulite and jiggle etc. just as much as everyone else, and that the actual ideal is closer to what we see in real life. That might be an optimistic view of things, but I think it’s a real and measurable shift in our perception. We just see too much to be tricked these days, and men, followed by boys, are slowly letting go of their cartoonish ideas of women’s bodies. Add to that a solid generation of women who are fawned over by men for reasons other than looking like Marilyn Monroe, and you’re going to see some real progress.

The simplest advice I can give you is be happy with your body. Live healthy and stay fit, but don’t do it to look like what you think we like, do it because it will help you LIVE FOREVER, or run away from supertornadoes, aliens, zombies, escaped panthers and ugly dudes who love your butt.

I am a pretty sexually open/kinky woman. I have no problem telling the person I'm sleeping with what I like/dislike and it's led to some pretty fun sexytimes. However, I've yet to have a male partner who is as open as I am about what he likes, and as a result my neurotic/perfectionist side often sends me on a thought spiral that leads to my ladyboner going soft. (Examples include: "Is he liking what I'm doing with my tongue right now? What about that other thing I was doing — did he like that better? Oh shit, I just scratched the hell out of his back/shoulders and now he's bleeding a little. But he didn't say stop, so maybe he's into it. Or maybe he's being polite?" Etc.)

This level of neurosis has been made worse by a couple guys who made it clear afterward that they didn't like X, Y, and/or Z, and that it contributed to their desire to break up. The men I've slept with have also been rather silent in bed, so I've had a hard time being able to tell if they're digging what's going on. I've tried asking directly, but I've noticed that most men are kind of uncomfortable talking about sex (and often with women who talk openly about sex), so that rarely works.

So, Dude, how can I tell if a guy I'm sleeping with is enjoying it as much as I am during sex and not find out that they hate it later on?

Men’s limitations with communication notwithstanding, I wonder if maybe this has more to do with the type of dude you’re sleeping with than dudes in general. Judging by your self-description, you’re an aggressive (in the harmless sense), assertive, and adventurous woman, so you should find men who respond to that. It sounds like, so far, you’ve been with guys who were intimidated by you, which is the most failsafe mutual bonerkiller out there. You don’t want guys to go into shutdown mode just when you’re getting excited, so try to figure out who’s gonna do that before you even get them home.

What I’d ask if I could is whether you’re similar in day-to-day interactions as you are in bed? Or are you more reserved and then let loose in private? If it’s the former, try to find someone who is similar in life to what you’d want him to be in bed, who responds to you in conversation the way you’d want him to respond to your tiger claws. If it’s the latter, maybe a slower rollout of the wild side will help coax your dude out of cowed silence. Then, if you find you still want more explicit communication in bed, there is what’s called the teachable moment, when you can seize upon his requests to show him the advantages of speaking his mind. You’re probably right that men are generally slower to learn this than women, but we’re not incapable, and good sex is always better served by positive reinforcement.

On top of that, don’t let your neuroses get the best of you. The way you described your sexual experiences actually stressed me out, so I can’t imagine it makes you or your partner very relaxed in the moment. It’s great that you’re paying attention to what he’s liking and not, and he should do the same, but sex shouldn’t feel like a survey or, worse, a test. It should feel like a haunted house (just kidding. Happy belated Halloween, though!).

I'm a lady, and my other lady roommates and I have been discussing dudes lately. We've been wondering about some things, like: How often do you get wet dreams and what are they like? How often do you guys really get "morning wood"? What do you do when you have to pee really bad but you've got a boner? Also, what do guys really even know about menstrual periods and what do they think about them? Gross? Mysterious? I've only been able to get feedback from two dudes, but I'm interested in what you might know or have talked about with other dudes. Or wait, maybe you guys don't discuss those things together? Just curious!

A) Depends. When we’re 15, anytime we take a nap or doze off in class or blink too long. As we get older, much, much less frequently. But, in general, they are about as varied in type and subject as any other kind of dream except that, unless you happen to live alone with a washer/dryer in your house, you have to figure out how to avoid an extremely awkward laundry day after you wake up.

B) 270-365 days per year.

C) We stand there patiently and think about how bad we have to pee in combination with thinking about paying bills or Monday mornings or that our boner is an angry cobra that we have to lull to sleep via hypnosis. Headstands are both an urban myth and extremely dangerous for obvious reasons. On the off chance we’re camping, we slink away to a wooded grove and enjoy the rare, but awesome Hands-Free Magic Rainbow aka The Bluetooth (this can also be recreated in the shower but is frowned upon).

D) Again, our knowledge of and maturity towards the menstrual cycle varies with age (hopefully), but generally skews mysterious rather than gross, in that as teenagers we’re led to believe, or lead each other to believe, that every woman has the exact same 28-day cycle and that PMS is a time when we should make ourselves scarce, and then slowly learn that neither is a very accurate depiction of the truth. It’s when the devil leaves your body, right? I actually don’t remember it being a frequent topic with other dudes in recent years, but could see discussions ramping up again if/when babymaking is at hand.

Hope that helps!

I am in an amazing relationship with the best guy I have ever known. We live together and talk about having babies and growing old together. It is the first healthy relationship I've been in. Unlike with former boyfriends, if I need to say something, I can just say it without agonizing fearfully for weeks. I feel supported and loved and peaceful. I am so so so squeefully, joyfully in love. Here's the problem: since we have been together I have lost all sexual desire. I can barely even stomach masturbating whereas I have done it almost daily at other periods in my life. I feel really anxious about sex and

I have to basically hold my breath to get through it. I find myself staying late so he is asleep when I go to bed. Before, I had a very healthy sex drive. In my former relationships we had sex like rabbits and it was great. (I couldn't talk to them before or after and cuddling felt like an emotional minefield, but yay, sex) Currently we have sex about once a month. He has been supportive but this can't go on forever. My fear is that I need fear and emotional instability to get turned on? No, actually my biggest darkest fear is that I am not attracted to him and never will be and that I have to destroy our lives. Another piece of the puzzle: I grew up with pretty severe emotional abuse.

I hope there is an obvious answer for this that I am just not seeing because I am too close to the situation and that it doesn't involve saying goodbye to my soulmate.

Okay, this is a tough one. My first advice is to consult a professional, because abuse is more than a piece of the puzzle, it is the box the puzzle comes in and the asshole who hides pieces of the puzzle so that you lose your mind at the very end.

Having said that, I’ll answer to the best of my abilities, as A Dude of experience and a fellow human being (not Edith’s parrot!), for any curious readers with comparable, if not totally similar questions.

Child abuse is one of the most difficult things to overcome as an adult. It has an endurance greater and more insidious than any disease or injury, but the good thing is that you have a lot of agency in healing. Judging by your candor and awareness of both the causes and effects of your problems, and the appreciation of and concern for your relationship with this guy, I’d really only encourage you to continue being patient, diligent, and honest with him and yourself. And it seems like you’re on your way to doing just that. Whatever the abuse was, it will probably always be something that determines the choices you make and the people you allow into your life. You’ve gotten out of what sound like some less than satisfying, in the emotional sense, relationships and found one that is testing you in a different way. You just have to shift gears and work on that now. Exhausting, I know, but in the same way that you were rewarded with the best guy you’ve ever known after working through some of your issues, you’ll get something out of putting in the same effort on this current problem.

Because of your sudden overall lack of sexual appetite, it sounds like your fear of needing instability might be founded. Again, I’m no psychiatrist, it just seems fairly obvious. You’ve consciously or subconsciously set your switch to turn off when you feel safe, just like my night light does. But don’t worry, because you and this guy have a great relationship and maybe haven’t even gotten to the good part yet! Somewhere on the not-too-distant horizon there could be a time when you’re folding laundry or doing the dishes or something otherwise mundane together, and you’ll realize that there isn’t another person that you trust as much as this dude. You’ll suddenly understand that love isn’t just about safety but vulnerability, and that this dude will never take advantage of you and you will never take advantage of him. He’ll hand you a warm bowl that he’s just rinsed clean, you’ll notice how sexy his hands are, and a fever will come over you, a fever of domestic bliss, in which household chores can turn into sex on appliances faster than you can say Whirlpool. Or not.

As you may have heard a billion times, sometimes even the greatest people aren’t the right people for us. Sometimes we aren’t turned on by the people we love. And sometimes the timing just isn’t right. If this ends up being the case with this guy, unfortunately, you can’t really do anything about it but move on and try to preserve the best of what you have with him. The test will be who you go after next. Will it be someone like him, someone you have a connection to and feel safe with, or will it be some mook with scars and a bandana collection?

In the long run, better, healthier sex will generally come with better, healthier relationships with people who know more about you and your desires and your body, people who care about what makes you feel good and will do anything for you. Maybe you’ll still be turned on by an element of danger or fear — nothing inherently wrong with that — but you can get to that place in a different way, with someone you love (Batman costume!). You have to keep breaking down the scar tissue from that abuse, though, making sure that you’re in control of why you’re with who you’re with. Whether that requires traditional therapy or intense sweat lodge meditative visualizations is your personal choice, but just know that whatever it takes will be worth it.

Previously: "Accidental" Bra-Touching and Rebound Mathematics.

A Dude is one of several rotating dudes who know everything. Do you have any questions for A Dude?

Photo by Niar, via Shutterstock



272 Comments / Post A Comment

applestoapples

LW#1: Women get in bloody scalpel fights with their plastic surgeons over achieving your kind of ass, but they NEVER will because their booties are still fake. Think of your cellulite as the equivalent of that magical authenticity number that comes stamped inside of premium luxury bags.

emilylou

Sex should feel like a haunted house... Full of ghosts pulling your hair.

jacqueline
jacqueline

@emilylouise And mysterious things constantly jumping out at you, or hitting your face.

emilylou

What a ghastly coincidence, look what I just stumbled upon on HuffPo:
House Haunted by Sex Obsessed Ghosts
!!! This is the stuff I live for. (and they die for?)

"The simplest advice I can give you is to be happy with your body."

I'm sorry, that's the most Pollyanna, optimist, noncommittal bullshit answer I have ever heard in my life. Dude, wake up.

Beericle

@S. Elizabeth Had the EXACT same thought. In fact, nothing about this response really boosted my fanny-confidence (although, it is pretty high already)

Killer Kitties

@S. Elizabeth Besides the fact that it's not actually an answer, because he answered the question before saying this, how would you have answered? Tell her to get her fatty ass to a gym?

wallsdonotfall

@S. Elizabeth, well, it's kind of a ridiculous question. Of course a flabby butt and big thighs are turn-offs to guys--SOME guys. A flat ass and skinny little thighs turn off other dudes. The questioner can either drive herself crazy trying to change herself to fit some sort of ideal that's far from universal, or she can try to love her body and ask the same thing of the men she dates. Since she says she's self-conscious and is comparing herself to pornstars, an optimistic, reassuring response is perfectly appropriate.

rocknrollunicorn

@S. Elizabeth It would be optimistic bullshit if it was a response to a serious question about an eating disorder, but really, what seems like small concerns about a jiggly butt and thighs? That's an appropriate response. I don't know how old you are, but part of growing up is realizing that your body has imperfections and coming to terms with them, either by acceptance, or working on them as you can. Letting a jiggly ass rule your life (OUTSIDE of a real mental illness like an ED) is ridiculous, despite magazine covers and society and everything else.

thebestjasmine

@S. Elizabeth I thought the same, but what else was he supposed to say really? I don't think that there's any other advice for a woman with a great ass who is afraid of her celluite. Yes, guys see perfect asses in porn, yes, some of them will think that they're an accurate depiction of what real women are like, yes, those guys are immature assholes. Other than "go get plastic surgery to make your ass look like one in porn" or "work out harder, girl, so you're not embarrassed about your ass!" (both of which would have been terrible advice), there's really nothing else to say than "love what you've got."

Polina

@S. Elizabeth As someone who has often been insecure with her body, I agree that telling someone to simply put that aside is difficult. But he did have a lot of great points with regard to her actual question, which was about how someone else might see her. At the end of the day there is no hard and fast advice on how to get a person to accept themselves.

@Killer Kitties -- There are 7 billion people in the world, so there must be at least some diversity in sexual desire and what people find attractive. So here's the deal: there are going to be men who are not attracted to your ass, and that might suck. There are also going to be men who like your ass, don't mind your ass, think your ass is sexy, fetishize asses like yours, are ambivalent about asses in general, and a fuckton of other responses to asses, your ass, celulite, big thighs, or any other feature. So you know what? The question is absurd because it's asking one guy (one guy clueless enough to tell you to "accept your body" while trying to give heartfelt advice) for the opinions of lots and lots and lots of individuals. In reference to porn, well, some men are douches and expect all women to look like porn performers, and some men are not douches and just happen to like that aesthetic. Some men don't, regardless of their juicebox status. So find a dude that likes your ass, isn't a juicebox, and doesn't think all women should look like they belong in porn.

We all make fun of Rick Santos for putting all women in one big category and stating what women should or shouldn't do -- he is a juicebox. Same goes for dudes. They are all different.

karion

@S. Elizabeth: You know what worse? It is the only advice to be given. Self-confidence is a turn-on, insecurity is a turn-off, and what you communicate about your feelings towards your body can be contagious to others, including lovers.

Frustrating advice/"easier said than done", but so is the fact that diet and exercise are the only ways to lose or manage your weight.

Sucks balls.

oeditrix

@rocknrollunicorn Today's small concerns about a jiggly butt and thighs are tomorrow's eating disorder. Hopefully not for this girl, but for more than we'd like to think.

leonstj

@thebestjasmine - its also that, we as dudes are really not awfuljerks who explicitly demand perfection. Sure, it would be awesome if everyone we ever slept with was perfectly adherent to our own individual beauty preferences, but then again, wouldn't it be great for you ladies if all dudes had junk sized jussssssst perfectly for you, and definition in all the muscles you personally like and we all ditched our beer gut (or didn't, depending on your preferences).

But we've all got jiggly bits, overly hairy bits, too scrawny sections, too narrow or too wide sections. And when it comes to the big "naked reveal" - let me promise you, any dude who is not immature, an asshole, or both, finds you ten billion times hotter when you are naked for him than when you're in clothes. I know women don't like this, but if we are sexually interested in you, we have spent an inordinate amount of time imagining every inch of your body. We do it each time, and we eventually become masters at it. We're very rarely surprised - you'd be amazed how could we are at it.

Also, we're not monsters. The more we like you, the hotter you get. Do you know how often a dude is just smitten w/ some woman because she makes him laugh? One of my secret probably offensive theories is that fashion/beauty industries are so filled w/ gay men because straight guys are horrible judges of pure aesthetic female beauty (not that such a thing even exists, but you need to pretend it does or the whole industry is predicated on nonsense) because how much you float are boat for any of infinite possible reasons makes you more attractive to us in all ways.

FromTheFuture

@S. Elizabeth actually in defense of this advice I have to say-- after 30-or-so years of hating my body, I've finally come to a place where I'm like "actually-- its kind of great!" I look/weigh pretty much the same as I ever have, but I'm.. well.. in my 30s, am a lot happier with myself, and I go the gym on the regular so I KNOW I am doing the right things to look good/feel healthy. Maybe he should have couched this better, and while someone just saying "feel better about yourself!" isn't really super effective, I think his impulse here is sound...

Dorothea

@leon.saintjean you could be a dude!

@FromTheFuture I think the sentiment is nice, but isn't an entirely appropriate answer to her question. She's worried about men thinking she's attractive and if a specific feature is unattractive. Yes, a lot of that needs to be "this is my body and either I'll hate it or like it, and it might be healthier to try to like it." But a lot of the issue that was not addressed is that maybe, just maybe, it's problematic to ask one person if a feature is attractive and expect him to answer on behalf of billions of people.

tigolbitties

@S. Elizabeth except the dude's advice pretty much included what you just said, but better. what the fuck is the problem again?
a deconstruction for those commenters who agreed with your inane comment:
let’s just sidestep the comparison to women whose asses are probably enhanced with space-age technology anyway = no one's butt really looks like porn star ladies butts thanks to editing software.
(though it might be worth mentioning the endless squatting — squats are great for the thighs and butt) = you could work out if you think it would get you closer to having the butt you think you should have.
By and large, any man worth his salt will know that no human surface is as smooth as polished chrome, nor would he want it to be. That is the territory of boys and, well, dudes who look at too much porn.= some guys like butts that look like pornstar ladies butts, those guys aren't really worth your time.
those men who are fans of a thicker thigh and round, high butt are in no way turned off by the accompanying jiggle or dimple. = there are plenty of dudes who like butts like yours, find those dudes.
We just see too much to be tricked these days, and men, followed by boys, are slowly letting go of their cartoonish ideas of women’s bodies. = we're making progress and starting to realize bodies aren't always going to be photoshopped/airbrushed/softly light, and hey they come with imperfections!
The simplest advice I can give you is be happy with your body = fucking be happy with your body already, someone out there likes that shit!

wee_ramekin

@tigolbitties Squats are also good for working off a tendency toward comment rage...

I agree with what you're saying here, but were the insults necessary?

treeskier170

@S. Elizabeth That's the whole point of Ask a Dude though. Asking a dude for his thoughts on a particular subject. Dude could have answered a bunch of different ways. A)Go to the gym to work on your flab. B)Have plastic surgery. C)Love yourself and others will follow suit. He also makes sure to say in his response that guys who love a bigger butt won't be turned off by jiggle. But seriously, his answer was great. Good guys don't expect perfection, we expect you to look good naked. And if we've already started dating you, we're pretty damn sure you're going to look good naked, so don't worry about it. Get naked and have some fun. That's all he's saying. Will a girl who wants to get toned turned me off? Not at all. But who doesn't appreciate some nice muscular tush? Point is, if we want to be with you, we'll be with you regardless of a little bit o'jiggle. You have to be comfortable though, b/c if you're not, we'll see it, and insecurity, especially in the bedroom, is a turn off.

werewolfbarmitzvah

@S. Elizabeth I'd suggest that the best advice for this lady would be...date guys who LIKE round, jiggly butts. There's honestly a whole lot more jiggly-butt fans out there than flat-butt fans, from what I've seen of the world.

leonstj

@werewolfbarmitzvah - And also, while most dudes have a preference in what we think an ass should look like, it's really pretty much not the deciding factor to not date someone ever, unless it's like, made of knives or something I guess? Yeah, if you had an ass that was physically constructed from shanking-implements, that would be a huge dealbreaker.

What I'm saying is, if your ass is made of skin and whatever else human asses are generally made of (dreams? wishes? various cellular structures, tissues and organic compounds? Science may never know.) and your guy likes you in general, your naked ass is just not going to be a dealbreaker.

fabel

@S. Elizabeth I would have mentioned that not all porn stars are made of plastic, and that a lot of guys are actually more turned on by "amateur" stuff where there's definitely some jiggly asses?

tigolbitties

@wee_ramekin other than inane, i'm not sure where the insults are?!?! (is it cause i dropped a couple f bombs?) although, i totally agree about squats and comment rage, i blame it on not enough squats and too much dissertating!

sweetleah

@S. Elizabeth am I the only one that thought her description of her butt sounds SUPER HOTT?? and was confused by her sadness about it? It sounds like my butt, and it is delightful :)

WaityKatie

@FromTheFuture Me too. I often suspect that the best/only advice on dealing with body image issues is "get older." My brother (8 years older than me - I'm in my mid-30's) recent put it thus: "don't worry, once you pass 40 it gets a lot better. You just stop giving a shit." I'm looking forward to my 40's!

JuicyJuice

@S. Elizabeth I think there are actually two things going on in A Dude's response: 1. Love yourself! 2. Different dudes are attracted to different features! I think they're both totally true, but I can appreciate how someone might read them as being pollyannaish. I mean, TheHairpin's advice seekers often already know the answers to their own questions, obvi. But, what they need is for ADude/ALady/AQueerChick/AGoodRealLifeFriend to explain to them why the obvious answer is in fact true. So, here's how I would answer the question:
1. Love yourself!
2. I'm like way short, and sort of self-conscious about it. Whenever I'm feeling particularly unconfident about my height, I try to pay a little more attention to my surroundings, and I'm always surprised by how many super-pretty girls are holding hands/making out/etc. with super-short dudes. Try it! It works! Now, this advice is admittedly kinda creepy and voyeuristic, but maybe it can be kinda helpful? Or maybe I'm a juicebox.
And back to lurking in 3, 2...

wee_ramekin

@tigolbitties When I read it, it just came off as really harsh ("he said what you said, but better"), and then combined with the f-bombs (heh, I love that word) and "inane", I just thought it was sorta harsh Tai.

But I also have a soft spot for S. Elizabeth and a history of overreacting when I think my 'Pinners are under attack, so I could have read it wrong!

Ah! <3 u's and tiny pies for everyone!

DMcK

@leon.saintjean Nothing more to add except an emphatic "yes" to everything you've posted in this thread.

tigolbitties

@wee_ramekin fair enough! though it really wasn't directed at s. elizabeth personally, but the general "what the dude should have said was..." I felt his answer couldn't have covered any more bases than it did already!
i'll throw some cocktails and diy projects in with your hearts and pies!

Mingus_Thurber

@S. Elizabeth "...most Pollyanna, optimist, noncommittal bullshit answer I have ever heard in my life."

I've been working on this Pollyanna, optimistic bullshit for thirty years and still haven't come to a peaceful place with this body I inhabit. Even though I'm stronger than most of the people I know, can move faster and jump higher and survived fucking cancer because of the shape my body is in, I still am unhappy in my body, and with my body, more than I'm happy.

If this is a bullshit answer for you, then God how I envy you. For me, it's a distillation of the hard work that I still have to do.

Xanthophyllippa

@karion Except for the part where diet and exercise aren't the only ways to manage/lose weight. Quite a few medical conditions (and medications!) carry weight gain as a symptom/side effect, and no matter how well we eat or how often we exercise, the weight stays on. Getting the underlying condition straightened out can take years; recognizing that starving ourselves and running ultra-marathons won't do shit-all for us does not come easily.

@everyone: Nor does learning to "love your body" - and that's my issue with this A Dude's advice. Even the comments here in his defense acknowledge that it's not an overnight thing; note that no one's saying, "yeah, I went to bed one night determined to love my wall-eyed tits and stretchmarks, and when I woke up I was beautiful!" Most of them are along the lines of "however many years later, yeah, I learned I look fine." A Dude isn't giving bad advice, but it's hard for anyone to suggest learning to love your body and have it not gloss over the depth of the struggle. (And it's hard for me to hear that advice and not want to punch the giver in a face with a brick, but that's a separate, less intellectual response.)

Xanthophyllippa

@Mingus_Thurber I just commented on this above, but it's for the exact sort of reasons you describe that I agree with S. Elizabeth. Getting to this point is a LOT of work, and any variation on "learn to love yourself" is the giant flaming epitome of easier said than done. If I can find one or two minor things to like about how I look on any given day, I feel victorious; expecting any more than that of myself will only lead to the same depression that made me hate my body in the first place.

@Mingus_Thurber See, that's my point -- is that everybody here has done their fair share of ass-kicking obstacle-conquering and general badassery and it's still difficult for a lot of women to love their bodies. And while you might see it as something that you personally still get to work on, I happen to think that when somebody tells me to "love my body," they completely overlook and underestimate how difficult that might be. It's condescending. And yes, I stand by my statement that the advice is optimistic, unrealistic, near-sighted drivel because it is so much easier said than done and therefore not particularly useful.

"Do some squats, love your body." If that were the best answer, I'm pretty sure this woman wouldn't be writing into the 'pin.

apb
apb

@S. Elizabeth Much easier said than done. But I agree with above posters also that there are not a lot of other advice options to give here, because everyone's personal Quest For Body Acceptance (tm) takes different routes. Mine has involved running like mad (because I love it) (but I have gained sig. weight since I started) (much in the excellent ass area though) and, well, sleeping with attractive guys?

& I guess, that would be my advice, or at least something to try: exercise in a manner you enjoy on a regular basis (it might take awhile to start enjoying it); and, if you are the kind of person who enjoys unattached sex, go have a decent amount of it with people you find attractive. The former helps you appreciate your body for what it can DO, not just how it looks (I got on the exercise train realllll late & theorize my teenaged body-loathing would have been minimized had I been into sports at all as a youngling), and the latter will help you remember that, well, people you want to have sex with want to have sex with you, which if you are in the right mindset can be a boon to the old naked-body confidence.

On the other hand, it continues to be a daily struggle (and my newfound penchant for younger men adds a new frisson of insecurity, realizing that the other ladies they are likely to have seen naked recently have undoubtedly been, well, firmer than I am) (but the advantages of the youngs outweigh this) (by a lot). But really. I'm not sure if you're allowed to give "fuck around" as advice but...there you have it.

oeditrix

"(though it might be worth mentioning the endless squatting — squats are great for the thighs and butt)"

Erg, this particular parenthetical comment kind of destroyed me. Why dude? Why taint all your basically good, common-sense advice with this little poison dart?

Oh yeah! That's right! Porn stars do endless squats. That is what makes them so super sexy! It doesn't have anything to do with butt implants, tucks, tightenings, and all the other plastics they have to inject to give them a sexy-sexy-bot-body.

Kristen

@oeditrix And it's NOT EVEN TRUE. Endless squats will make your butt bigger and awesomer, but they won't get rid of cellulite, because NOTHING EVER WILL. That's the thing about cellulite - once it arrives, it's there forever, until you die and you finally achieve your ideal weight because all of your horrible imperfect flesh has rotted off your bones.

Polina

@oeditrix I thought cellulite was genetic, too. So, do all the squats you want but it's not going to change much if you are predisposed to it..

Megasus

@Polina Well, women get cellulite because we have much thinner skin than men (but that's why our skin is softer), I dunno if genetics make you less likely to get it?

oeditrix

@oeditrix Okay I know that he mentioned plastic surgery too. But SERIOUSLY. What are you, my personal trainer? Hey, I wonder what would firm up my backside? "SQUATS," you say? WOW I NEVER THOUGHT OF THAT DUDE. Thanks a mil! I'm off to the gym to spend my copious free time doing these, what did you call them, "squats"?

I know that parenthetical wasn't meant to be weirdly passive-aggressive advice, but it came off that way. Because HAS ANYONE IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND EVER ADVISED MEN TO DO SQUATS TO PERFECT THEIR THIGHS AND BUTT? I'm just going to be generous and assume our dude was speaking from experience, that he personally does tons of squats every day to enhance his manly ass. If so, I think that is a delightful habit and I wish him all the best!

But I would bet my hard-earned fellowship money that this poor girl with her normal-girl thighs and ass has never even thought about the ass of the guy she would like to bone, and that for ever guy who stares at his butt in the mirror for a minute or two wondering if he's good enough to get laid there are ONE BILLION WOMEN WHO DO IT FOR HOURS EVERY DAY.

I know this dude did not mean to embed an obvious body-image trigger in his sage advice, but I just want to jump in and tell LW#1 not to even read that parenthetical, because what you need is not a personal trainer, it's a combination of Beauty Myth 101 and contact with real live non-douchebag men, who do exist, and who frequently love big round jiggly cellulite-dimpled butts and thighs. Not just because they're attached to the women they love and want to bone, but also because said butts and thighs are hot.

Enough ranting, I gotta go bake a cake.

oeditrix

@oeditrix Sorry that came off as really vitriolic. I don't hate this dude. I really don't. The whole concept of this vulnerable girl appealing to this straight dude for approval of her cellulite just makes me enraged at the entire world, not just one dude who happened to be writing an advice column in a lady-friendly space.

Polina

@Megan Patterson@facebook I didn't say that was the only reason women get cellulite. What I was saying is that I thought there was a proven genetic susceptibility to it for some people as well. And now, as I look this up on Wikipedia, there seem to be many potential factors. All I'm saying is that cellulite is one of those things that not every individual can get rid of by doing some squats.

piekin

@oeditrix No apologies, lady - I'd give your diatribe 500 thumbs up if I could!

oeditrix

@Kristen ". . . until you die and you finally achieve your ideal weight because all of your horrible imperfect flesh has rotted off your bones." A million hearts to you.

Yeah, this dude has obviously not been investigating the scientific data on cellulite. You know, the data that every woman has memorized long before she even starts to develop signs of it. Just so, you know, when it shows up she can get a head start on hating herself! As if seeing it circled, magnified, and digitally enhanced on the covers of tabloids during "worst beach body" month weren't enough of an education in that.

dinos

@oeditrix I totally read the squat line as a joke about porn positioning. Like, how ladies in porn are often doing the same kind of repeated squatting motion. Did anyone else get that?

noodge

@oeditrix to be fair, the LW wasn't just complaining about cellulite, but about tone (at least that's what it seemed like to me) - not to say that "get thyself to a gym!" is the BEST response, but it would help to address the tone issue. This seemed a very small aside compared to the entirety of his response. Again, there's not a really good way to answer this question - it's like - own your ass, love your ass, find others who love your ass, (or change your ass which really isn't the option he's advocating).

swirrlygrrl

@oeditrix *hearted*

ormaisonogrande

@dinos I thought the same thing.

thebestjasmine

@dinos I agree, I don't think he was actually telling them to start acting like porn stars.

oeditrix

@dinos Okay this seems totally possible! In which case, a poorly-worded joke has made me apoplectic all for nothing. I'm still not sure his advice was thorough, but you've convinced me it might not have been the worst.

treeskier170

@dinos that's the first thing i was thinking about.

DangerDangerDanger

@dinos That's what I thought too. The recommendation of tons of gym time seems a little incongruous.

PS were dude the only ones who got the joke? Maybe we can/should chastise A Dude for not knowing his audience.

wee_ramekin

@Andy Dangerous I'm a lady; I got the joke.

leonstj

@wee_ramekin I doubt it. Women don't really "get" humor. But it's okay, you're a very empathetic group. Plus you don't make gross noises/smells.

H.E. Ladypants

@oeditrix I got the porn joke!

I blame having watched too much porn.

Lily Rowan

@wee_ramekin Ditto.

oeditrix

@wee_ramekin It seems like maybe not every lady had a meltdown today about how her upcoming heteronormative shitstorm of a wedding was making her feel as if she should do a million squats every day so she would look awesome in her wedding dress. Followed by subsequent rage that her relationship to exercise, which by the way she loves, has been completely ruined by her mom's lifelong obsession with weight loss, which started when that lady was 8 years old. But that's another story!

NeenerNeener

@Lily Rowan Is there where I admit I may have gotten the joke quicker than others because I've worked out at the gym for more squatting endurance at home? Now it is.

leonstj

@oeditrix - All of you are doing the internet wrong. What is with all of the reasonable discussion of peoples' reactions to things? Also, I'm not sure why nobody has called anybody Hitler yet.

wee_ramekin

@oeditrix Oh darlin'!

Let's meet at Bouldin for something delicious (vegan cookie sammich?!) and I will help you with anything you need me to help you with for said wedding. And you can also unload onto me about heteronormatively-induced wedding stress, and then we can talk about your fiance and what a peach he no doubt is, and maybe talking about him in a way not related to your wedding and to someone who has never met him before and is super interested in your love will make the wedding loom a little less intensely and bring it back to your lurrrrrrrrv, which is what weddings (should be) about? Could that make it better, maybe?

Well, that and Bouldin.

NeenerNeener

@oeditrix *Hugs* I hope you get to relax some this weekend. Don't do a million squats! And I understand how A Dude's aside could be enraging without the joke aspect.
(Also, congratulations - in a very hushed voice)

Lily Rowan

@NeenerNeener Hee! Of course it is.

oeditrix

@wee_ramekin @NeenerNeener Aw, thanks guys.

Alls I can say is, if and when my non-hetero friends ever get to marry their sweethearts, which god willing will be soon, I hope they don't ever make the mistake of picking up a copy of The Knot.

Lily Rowan

@oeditrix Aw, lady! It will be OK, and you don't need any squats -- your ass is fabulous, I'm sure.

NeenerNeener

@leon.saintjean Shhhh! Don't ruin it!

wee_ramekin

@Lily Rowan It is! I've seen it (at a Pinup)(@oeditrix was clothed)(ok, this is getting creepy)(what I am trying to say is @oeditrix is really pretty and has a fabulous ass and will look beautiful at her wedding)(shut up, wee_ramekin. Shut. Up.).

Lily Rowan

@wee_ramekin Never shut up, wee_ramekin!!

And I might as well give my ass qualification here: I have a great ass, if you like them biggish and not real taut, and have had several dudes tell me so. So skinny-girl culture can STFU and stay out of my bed.

oeditrix

@leon.saintjean Whatever, HITLER.

feartie

@oeditrix Also, hopefully for your sanity: http://www.indiebride.com/kvetch/ really helped me not panic, not spend money like societal forces seemed to want me to spend it, and generally just breaaaathe.

likethestore

@oeditrix I'm totally nodding along with you. Rant on sister.

oeditrix

@wee_ramekin I'm totally blushing right now. And yes, let's get together and listen to me bitch about heteronormativity/talk nice about my fiance (who is indeed a peach) at a coffeeshop! That all sounds delightful (Although a $9 burger/beer special at Cherrywood is more my speed . . . .)

wee_ramekin

@oeditrix Let's do it! Cherrywood sounds good to me -- though I've never actually been there.

Phlomis

@dinos Me, too.

poorplayer

@dinos That's what I thought he was saying. Then again, I might just have a dirty, dirty mind.

BoozinSusan

@wee_ramekin and @oeditrix - Were you guys at the Boston Pinup at the Eastern Standard? I know there was *someone* with a "famous" handle there (here's lookin' at you, wee_ramekin; I think you qualify as famous!) but I can't remember who it was...

ejcsanfran

Frequency of wet dreams is typically in inverse relationship to amount of beating off being done (or sex being had - yeah, right!)

atipofthehat

@ejcsanfran

Never had one.

Oh, what a giveaway!

pinkmoon

@ejcsanfran I KNOW. Me, either. Nobody I know has ever had a wet dream, actually. Apparently I'm only friends with chronic masturbators.

angelinha

OMG-penises-are-so-mysterious-I-ask-my-dude-friends-to-tell-me-how-often-they-get-morning-wood-ness aside...can you really not pee when you have a boner? Is that something I was supposed to have known?

andrew

@klibberfish You can sort of point it downward, and by the time it gets going, you sort of loosen up a bit and your targeting function is back online.

ormaisonogrande

@klibberfish I have never had the stereotypical experience of the man who falls asleep immediately after sex. My current man generally spends at least 1/2 hour anxiously waiting to be able to pee before he can come back to bed and sleep.

null

@klibberfish Your comment intrigues me -- maybe he should empty his bladder before he has sex? Or maybe the dudes I've hooked up with slip out of bed a half hour after I've fallen asleep to use the bathroom without me ever noticing? My guy falls asleep after sex all the time.

null

@klaus I meant that for @ormaisnogrande!

ormaisonogrande

@klaus I will respond then! Actually, my guy has told me that the problem is worse if he pees beforehand - like, really having to pee makes it easier to overcome the residual boner issue. Thinking more carefully, I kind of exaggerated about the 30 minutes thing -- it's usually more around 10 to 15 minutes, but it does sometimes get up to a 1/2 hour.
Hah, I'm sure my boyfriend would love to know that I'm discussing his post-coital urination habits on the internet.

null

@ormaisonogrande hah well, sometimes I like having sex if my bladder is kinda full because it heightens my sensitivity? Like, I don't drink a glass of water if I know I'm going to have sex soon to prepare or anything weird like that (not judging!), but if I already have to go and sexy times ensue I won't interrupt things? OK, that might be the weirdest thing I've ever admitted to strangers on the internet (or anywhere, ever?).

treeskier170

@klibberfish You push it down as hard as you can and hope to god you don't lose your grip. because if you do, piss on the walls.

H.E. Ladypants

@klaus ME TOO. I never even thought to admit this but I have to go just a little (not a lot) it can feel sort of nice.

madge

@H.E. Ladypants going AFTER is the best, no?

kickupdust

@klibberfish

my personal Dude also has a piercing through the tip (P.A. for those "in the know"), so he has to squat down so it's like, inside the bowl of the toilet so it doesn't spray out of the top and bottom and you know, EVERYWHERE.

hilarious to watch, obviously.

BadWolf

@kickupdust I have *always* wondered how those things worked. Except I think my imagination must've veered into a magical realism place where a PA has no impact on pee-coordination, and I was ignorant till you came along. The more you know!

MissT123

@kickupdust I've always wondered about whether the piercing really does, uh, help hit the spot in bed, for you or for him or both of you.

Acrylic Disaster

@treeskier170 Why would you lose your grip? Is it powerful like a hose?
Seriously asking.

I'm Not Rufus

@ormaisonogrande Sometimes it can be difficult to pee after ejaculating. However, if you just have a boner but don't ejaculate, it's still perfectly possible to pee, albeit sort of awkward because of the social norm that pee should generally be directed towards a toilet.

apb
apb

@MissT123 I wish I knew - former bf had one - but it seems that one thing they don't tell you at PA training is that it's incompatible with condoms. (I wonder if they do tell you about the sitting down to pee thing, though?)

tactfactory

I think I have to defend this Dude a little. "Be happy with your body" IS good advice- confidence is super sexy! Just because it's simpler to say than to do (like "relax during your math test") doesn't mean saying it isn't important.
Also, squats ARE good for your butt. True, that's not the major factor involved with porn stars... but I think along with the "love your body" you DO need just a touch of "take care of your body" since he doesn't know her body at all. Appropriate sentiment unfortunately conflated with porn asses.

tactfactory

@tactfactory also i am sorry for capping up those verbs so much. i hereby temporarily renounce capitals entirely as penance.

oeditrix

@tactfactory It's almost more that he slipped that little parenthetical in as an aside - like "You should really love your body (also guess what, fatty, squats are terrific for you!)." I have personally never had an eating disorder but I know a trigger when I see it. I don't think he meant it to come off that way at all, but when you're writing advice to someone with body insecurity in a society where almost 2/3 of women have some form of ED I think you have an obligation to be careful.

@oeditrix And another thing... there are some ladies who are really, really fit and have cellulite. There are some ladies who are really, really fit and have round, muscular, big asses that don't look like porn butts. There are some ladies who are just fucking built in certain ways, and no amount of squatting is going to change the way I'm built.

signed,
chick with badass strong legs and a ripped lower body, still has cellulite and a curvy ass.

queenofbithynia

@tactfactory my whole life is made up of swinging back and forth between those two poles of HYPERCAPS and humble repentant nocaps. like the samuel johnson thing of humanity being like a fellow who, after falling off his horse on the right side, makes sure to remedy the error by falling off the left side the next time. Was it johnson? it was johnson.

NeenerNeener

@oeditrix: I thought he was referring to sex when he mentioned the squats; I'm not sure you think that's any better. It's at least funnier.

oeditrix

@NeenerNeener No, it is better! Lots better. I was so blinded by rage that I couldn't see the joke. I still think it was poor word choice, but I get it now. Rage over! Time to bake!

gobblegirl

@tactfactory CAPS LOCK IS HOW I FEEL INSIDE RICK

Dorothea

@oeditrix i have a couple of guy friends who are super in to weightlifting (like, have recommended starting strength to me a million times, say "physical strength is the most important thing in the world" with great earnestness), and they are always recommending that i do squats. not because they think women's butts have to look a certain way, but because they think that women--like men!--should take pride in their bodies' capabilities, i.e. be strong.

which is just to say, i completely did not read the parenthetical "do squats" the way you did. maybe this dude just really thinks it's important to love your body's ability to get stronger.

tactfactory

@oeditrix yes i essentially agree.

tactfactory

@gobblegirl I KNOW I LOVE THAT SO MUCH! ANTHROPOMORPHIZING CATS IS THE MOST REWARDING!

Diana

@blahstudent

I feel like I'm going crazy because that's how I read this comment too. Especially considering the last line of his advice - to work out not to achieve some beauty standard but to strengthen your body and make it useful and healthy. Even as somebody with her own ED recovering issues, I think a lot of people need to chiiiiill and give this guy the benefit of the doubt considering the rest of his answer was thoughtful and sound.

oeditrix

@Diana Fair enough. In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I am getting married in a month and that I HATE the way that suddenly makes me want to do squats. Sometimes I feel like my relationship to exercise was completely ruined by my aerobics-instructor mom, who used to say things like "A moment on the lips, I lifetime on the hips" and "You don't want to end up fat like your friend Rebecca" when I was 9 years old. I have a naturally athletic body, tall and strong; I love the way exercise makes me feel; and yet whenever I'm exercising regularly I always wind up feeling bad about myself because I can't help having those "Am I losing weight yet?" thoughts. For a long time I just avoided exercise entirely because of that. Now I realize that I need it and I love it, but this upcoming wedding is just making me all kinds of crazy, like suddenly the body issues I thought I had gotten over are attacking me in droves.

tactfactory

@oeditrix SERIOUSLY THIS. i am getting married in the spring and, holy fuck, i am suddenly COUNTING CALORIES. which is wildly uncharacteristic from a woman who historically had no problem with eating an entire pie in one sitting. i used to exercise because i loved exercising and eat because i loved eating and now i weigh myself almost daily.
why?? why the crazy wedding brain??

Xora

@oeditrix You should print all your comments here and send them to your mom.

RK Fire

@blahstudent: I've done starting strength (I train for powerlifting and oly for fun, although I'm still fussing with my training schedule) but yeah, once you go in that mode you realize you'll be doing squats forever. FOREVER. I think some guys get really taken aback because they seem to have be socialized to think that all that matters is training their upper body and to focus on bench presses and biceps.

slutberry

@Diana yeah. I have my own ED recovery issues, and squats helped me learn to love my ass. Actually.

and now I LOVE MY ASS. Really.
it's bomb.

charizard

LW4, hormonal birth control made me disgusted with sex. I was interested in it long enough to pin down a boyfriend and then my body decided to quit enjoying it completely. It wasn't that I wasn't attracted to my boyfriend, it's that I wasn't attracted to anyone anymore. Not even David Tennant (tragic). In the end, I did quit the Pill (I went through multiple prescriptions including the ring before I gave up) and my sex drive returned in about three months' time, complete with the week of frustrated hell in which I will rub my junk on anything convex. Just a thought, in case your problem might have a pharmaceutical source.

parallel-lines

@charizard Has anyone had this experience with an IUD? Specifically the non hormonal one? I feel like it's sapping my mojo.

Monkey

@charizard SECONDING. This same problem almost killed an otherwise really awesome relationship for me before I realized that my pill was basically completely rewriting my body chemistry in a way that made me not want or think about sex ever. Switched pills, bam, problem (after a few cycles) gone.

mariebee

@charizard Yes, I thought the same thing. Had the exact same experience at the start of a relationship a few years back, and through process of elimination, determined it was all Yaz's fault.

Monkey

@mariebee Mine was Yaz too! What the hell, Yaz?

Polina

@charizard Yeah, I definitely had a pill that dried me up in more ways than one :/

noodge

@parallel-lines nope - my copper iud hasn't impacted my libido, it's gone through its peaks and troughs based on hormones, stress, illness, etc, just like always. anything else going on?

null

@parallel-lines I've had a non-hormonal IUD for about 8 years now and haven't run into this issue. I was on the pill before that but it fucked me up emotionally.

parallel-lines

@teenie I feel like I have my period all.the.time, which is NOT sexy and sometimes it feels a little uncomfortable in ways it didn't feel uncomfortable before when we're getting freaky. I noticed a sharp decline when I got it, but it was a rough adjustment and it hurt too much on the way in to even think about taking it out :(

tandemkas

@charizard My pill zaps my mojo, too! I'm totally uninterested in sex until I realize my husband's tricking me into foreplay, then I'm pumped for it to go down. It sounds awful but if it was just up to me, we'd never have sex at all. And I like sex.

mynamebackwards

@charizard oh my god this is me too! I am so in love, but I just don't feel like myself (sexytimes-wise) anymore. I went to the gyno yesterday and asked her to switch my pill and we'll see what happens. it makes me feel so much better knowing that someone went through something similar and emerged triumphant! I don't want to quit the pill, but if that's what it takes, I will totally do it.

DrFeelGood

@parallel-lines YES, YES and MORE YES. Mine has made my periods a lot longer, more crampy, and in general I'm crankier because of it. I think that most of the time when I'm NOT on my period I'm like, psh, leave me alone dude and let me sleep in peace. Also, marriage. That too.

It took a long time to also adjust to the feeling of it during sex - how long have you had yours? Sex was acutely more painful for about 6 months.

noodge

@parallel-lines how long have you had it for now? i felt a little tender for the first few months, but that's really simmered down now. is the thought of the IUD being _in there_ on your mind a lot? during sex? that can be kind of libido killing too, i think.

tortietabbie

@parallel-lines Did you just recently have it inserted? Because for the 1st month that I had mine, I was a fucking monster wreck and in constant pain and if my dude hadn't already been on the opposite side of the country I would have insisted he keep his hands to himself. I did NOT feel sexy.

tortietabbie

@tortietabbie Also when I went to the doctor convinced I was dying (constant pain for a month, argh) I asked her to snip the little string things because they just felt...long. Like in my head they were dangling out of me? But she said if they were shortened they might have a stabby effect on any penii in my cavity so I left them alone. Don't even notice them anymore!

parallel-lines

@DrFeelGood I think I've had it for six or seven months now--the breaking in period was brutal. I mean - sobbing, cramping - I would have had it taken out immediately if the insertion wasn't so bad I almost fainted. And the periods have been a week long--sometimes longer! And so much worse than my periods were pre IUD--it's difficult for me to go to work because I'm sometimes in really bad pain. Not good for sexytimes. I know hormonal isn't an option for me (oooh boy crazy train) but if this doesn't work I'm not left with all that many options...

TreatYoSelf

@charizard @charizard Agreed. I also want to mention that different anti-depressants can cause this same effect. I know that Prozac zapped every sexual desire I had and it was soooo much better when I switched. Obviously don't know if you're on anti-depressants, but there's my two cents just in case.

Stay strong girl, it sounds like your boyfriend is a wonderful and supportive person. *hug*

noodge

@parallel-lines - ugh, i'm sorry. i almost fainted in my insertion as well, but it sounds like my experience after insertion has been much easier. Have you noticed an improvement over time? like there may be hope that over another couple of months it will become bearable?

TreatYoSelf

@parallel-lines Glad to see this conversation going as I've been really thinking about getting an IUD lately, but am a little uncertain because it feels like if the side-effects are bad, you're much more locked into it than you would be on the pill...

TreatYoSelf

@charizard Since we're all talking about this, has anybody here tried Implanon? Thoughts?

Stevie

@charizard Can we please talk about IUDs? I'm very interested in switching off of the pill -- though I've found the best pill for me so far in Zarah, which is a generic of Yasmin -- but I want to talk to people who actually have experience with IUDs. I am not sure if I should do the localized-hormone Mirena or the copper one, and I'm also interested in your experience with it. Have you ever been on the pill? Did you notice a difference once you went off the hormones (or switched to localized ones?) I'm mostly wondering what my actual personality is like after so many years of being on the pill, and hoping it's better and more even-keeled. Plus, I'm a bit concerned about all the artificial hormones in general. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks!

charizard

@Stevie I am no doctor or scientist, but artificial hormones are artificial hormones. A woman dealing with negative effects from multiple brands of Pills will probably experience similar effects when they're delivered in a different form (whether it be IUD, ring, implant or injection).

beeline96

@stevie Token IUD-touting friend here!! I could not deal with hormonal bc, much like other commenters, so I got the Paragard. My experience with it has been great so far, though, to be honest, I split with my boyfriend days after its insertion and, um, I haven't really had a chance to see how it "works" with anyone else. But I definitely experience that same week of frustrated hell charizard mentioned, and I'm doing juuuuust fine by myself, wink, so my desire is "normal", you could say. also, my cramps are a bit stronger and achier, and the period drags on longer than it used to, but I am feeling so much better without the added hormones! Also I think insertion depends on expectations and pain tolerance. I had, I think, 800 mg of Ibuprofen beforehand? And I am used to concentrating on something else to take my mind off the pain, a la blood donation. So it kind of shocked me for a few seconds ("aaaaahhhh my cervix!!!") but a few deep breaths later, I was fine. And now I'm baby-free for ten years!

Stevie

@charizard Now, in my fantasy land, I was thinking locally-delivered hormones would have less of an overall impact than just introducing them into my bloodstream. But this is one of my many questions that I will ask the doctor eventually, but only when I have to go, because I am not paying a $50 copay for a chat. So thank you, you make a good point.

kayjay

@charizard THANK YOU!!!! I was just about to mention this. In fact, I wrote a whole thing about getting an IUD after being on the pill for nearly 20 years, but for long and drawn out reasons I shan't go into here, Edith couldn't post it.

Anyway, hell YES hormonal birth control adversely affects your sex drive. Mine was diminishing to the point of alarm, and then I got a copper IUD about three months ago and...let me just say that my boyfriend has told me a few times that maybe we should just cuddle tonight, instead.

The pill made me emotional, fat and libidoless. My IUD has completely changed my sex life. It hurt upon insertion, but now, I'm so glad I got it.

BosomBuddy

@charizard Yes! We should talk about IUDs. My impression is that every woman (surprise!) has a different response. I was on the pill for a good 7-8 years, during which time it killed many of my emotions and my sex drive. I have had the copper IUD for one year now and I LOVE it. I can't imagine ever going back to any kind of contraceptive. For me, insertion was easy: painful, but only slightly more than a pap. When it was over, there was only a little bit of cramping for a day, and then I was back to normal.

Adjusting to the lack of hormones, however, was a bit different. My face erupted in zits, my period was extremely irregular and I became (and still am) greasier than I was on the pill. I experience mood swings with PMS, but nothing earth-shattering, and my periods vary in intensity. I don't have a problem with intensity or cramps that a couple of ibuprofens can't solve.

In sum, I love the IUD and recommend it highly to others. It does require patience, however. It took a good 6 months for my body to regularize, but that was more the result of going off the pill than anything.

SarahP

Not to turn this into an IUD thread, but...

@Stevie I have had my paragard (copper, non-hormonal IUD) for 13.5 months and I looooooove it. There's a livejournal community called "IUD Divas" that has some good resources and great archives if you're interested in lots of reading, but I would be PSYCHED to write/talk about my experience here if you want. I think the transition was harder for my friends who've been on the pill for a long time first, because they didn't know what their "normal" was, so they had a hard time figuring out what their "new normal" was with the IUD.

@parallel-lines I know this isn't what you want to hear, but my doctor initially told me it takes 6-12 months for a body to adjust, depending upon the body. ALSO, I have heard/read a bunch of removal stories and it is nowhere near as tough as insertion, so if it's really time to say goodbye to the IUD, don't be afraid!

ALSO, I know there was that NYT scare article on vitamins, but most doctors say that almost all women should be taking calcium supplements, and it's supposed to help with heavy periods/PMS. My doctor also recommended I take a Vitamin E supplement a couple days before my period to help reduce cramping/bleeding (based on a study I can point you to if you're curious), and it has totally worked. (I've read other sources saying it works even better if you take it every day, not just before your period, but I'm unconvinced I need that much vitamin E.)

Stevie

@kayjay I would love to read your whole thing. Is there any way we can make this happen?

charizard

@Stevie My doctor told me that was the case with Nuvaring! Except I was in her office to discuss why Nuvaring was making me dry as the fucking Sahara and more interested in knitting than penises. Hormonal birth control necessarily affects the hormones secreted from your hypothalamus and pituitary gland, so I'm not sure it can really be localized.

(Man, someone more qualified should clarify for us. My abstinence-only midwestern upbringing and liberal arts degree both leave me painfully unqualified to discuss biology. I am ashamed.)

realtalk

@Stevie I have Paragard because I'm too freaked out about artificial hormones to even deal with the pill OR Mirena, and I have an awesome success story. Insertion was not terrible - I went to a gyno who inserted like 15 a week, and she was in and out in less than 10 minutes. Then I had cramps for a couple days, but they were manageable with advil. For like three months after insertion, my cramps were worse - 2 days of needing advil every 6 hours, rather than one crampy day - and my period was like a day longer. But gradually, all that disappeared. Now (a year later), my periods are shorter than they were before, my cramps are better, and I'm baby-free until 2020. The one weird thing is that now I can feel myself ovulating - like, a brief sharp pain around one ovary once a month - but it's not that ouchy.

Everyone has a different story, but I could not be more thrilled with my IUD!

mariebee

@Monkey Yaz was the worst. Nuvaring was a lot better, but still not great. I decided to get off (ha) all types of birth control when my bf and I split up eight months ago, and I am just now starting to feel like a normal sex-crazed lady. I have been thinking copper IUD for whenever I am next in need of long-term birth control. All, hi 'pinners. Long-time reader, first-time caller.

charizard

@kayjay "emotional, fat and libidoless" - yes, yes and yes. I convinced my husband take on birth control duties, so he got snipped. He now agrees that sometimes we should just cuddle, but overall, we are doing awesome because I feel like a sexy, moon-cycling, strong woman free of uterine hardware, artificial hormones and the ever-present fear of pregnancy! Sterilization rules.

noodge

@SarahP just a caveat to the supplementation advice.... our
bodies many times can't use a supplement for a number of reasons, or if our body uses it, it can also cause problems (calcium is a primary example). The best way to get your Ca is to eat foods high in Ca. If you really want to take a supplement, take it with a meal so there are accompanying nutrients for your body to use the supplement best.

kayjay

@Stevie I could email it to you, or anyone else who's interested, for that matter. Drop me a line at kandyjo@gmail.com and I'll pass it along.

TreatYoSelf

@mariebee There can't ever be enough of these conversations. It is so valuable to see what people's experiences have been, despite that it's equally as frustrating to realize you're just playing a crapshoot with your body and you're never going to know until you try a new kind of birth control and then wait a few months. I'm in a similar situation - been off birth control for about a year and a half (went off after a breakup with a long term bf) but I'm trying to jump back into the dating game and feel like it's time to go back on. That said, I'm very interested in trying an IUD but if it can take up to 6 months to a year to get comfortable with it, that seems like something I would want to do after I have a long term partner who is willing to understand what that process is like. So confusing!

Also, just because I saw a few others talking about it, my experience with the Nuvaring was really bad. It was insanely expensive, I actually found it harder to remember to put in/take out because it was every three weeks instead of a daily routine, it killed my sex drive, and jesus christ I gained so much weight on it.

Since this is an 'Ask a Guy' column, I'm always interested in what guys think when they read through/hear discussions like this. Are you horrified? Impressed? Baffled?

SarahP

@teenie Thanks, right. I should have mentioned that adding vitamin/supplements to your life should be discussed with one's doctor, because messing with your body without being educated about it can be risky.

SarahP

@TreatYoSelf I ask my husband that all the time after I'll ramble on about my IUD for a while, or I'll be like "OH MAN I CAN FEEL MYSELF OVULATING!" or "I'm bleeding out! noooooo" and suddenly realize this is not his world at all. He always tells me it's cool.

But then, he never asks questions, whereas I quiz him about his morning wood all the time. So maybe it's not cool?!

noodge

@SarahP It's cool - I'm a nursing student in the middle of a nutrition course, so it's all up in my head right now. Figured I would try out some friendly nutrition advice :-)

mariebee

@TreatYoSelf Yes! It took me way too long to figure this out (13 years of being on-off various forms of birth control), and this was why I decided I needed to go hormone free for awhile to really see if it made a difference. I too have just started dating again, and have been going back and forth about how to handle it, but have decided condoms are the way to go for me for now. Especially given what you and others have said about the process of getting used to an IUD. Man, this makes me wish we could talk to our health care providers more honestly and openly about all this. I even see a nurse practitioner, who is easier to talk to in general, but I feel like she still gives me the Rx company's brochure copy whenever I ask questions about specific BC options.

Money in the Banana Stand

@TreatYoSelf I just created an account to rave about Implanon! I had an IUD for a couple of months earlier this year and it decided it didn't want to stay in, so it basically sent me into labor for two days so it could be expelled. I switched to Implanon and I couldn't be happier. Insertion was super easy (they numb the area, and then use this thing like a syringe to insert the rod). My periods happen less often and are lighter, and I haven't noticed any emotional issues like I get on the Pill. The hardest part, for me, was getting used to the idea that I have a 2 inch rod under my skin--it's a little squick-making until you get used to it. I highly recommend Implanon!

redheaded&crazy

I didn't think hormonal birth control had killed my sex drive until I stopped taking it. Then it was like WOAH. What. WHAT. And then I realized I was "back to normal."

Of course I stopped taking it because I broke up with my boyfriend, so, that worked out really well for me.

Lily Rowan

@mariebee On the sexual health front, condoms are DEFINITELY the way to go when you're dating, but of course you know that. I actually like being off hormonal bc when I'm slutting around, because it really really means no glove, no love. And the morning-after pill that one time the condom broke smack in the middle of my cycle, but whatever. Small price to pay.

joie

@TreatYoSelf when I told my boyfriend before we started having sex that I had an IUD, he wanted to know why I had a roadside bomb implanted in my uterus. After I stopped guffawing, I told him how it worked and he thought it was pretty much the coolest idea ever and wondered why more women didn't have it. I would have to agree with him. IUDs (I have the copper one) are so wonderful, and if you do any amount of breathwork or meditation in your life, the pain during insertion is very manageable. You just need to breathe with the pain and it's over super quickly. Also, if you're poor like I was when I got it, it can be practically free. I think I paid $20 for it?

charizard

@heyits Man that cracks me up. I wasn't poor - more like working poor because I had a shitty job with health insurance at the time - but my deductible was so high that I was going to have to pay for my IUD out of pocket. I ended up not getting it because I didn't have $450 to blow. Even Planned Parenthood was like, uhh, you're not eating ramen on the street, so you get to pay full price.

mariebee

@Lily Rowan Agreed. Completely. I'm a-okay with condoms, and any boy who puts up a fuss likely isn't someone I want to be involved with anyway.

DrFeelGood

@TreatYoSelf It's not so much that you're locked into it, it's just a pain to get out, and expensive to get put in. I also love it in theory, and some months are great and some not so much, so I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with it.

DrFeelGood

@parallel-lines Hmm 6-7 months was around the turning point for me, so maybe give it some time? Sex felt a lot better for me after that point, also have you talked to your doc? they told me to take ibuprofen regularly before the period started to lessen blood flow, so maybe ask. I am kicking myself for only now beginning to chart eeevery little thing about my period, cramps etc. and it is really helping me in deciding whether or not to keep it, but I am having new issues with it at this point.

Lily Rowan

@mariebee Although seriously, lack of condoms is right up there on the list of benefits of a long-term relationship.....

DrFeelGood

@Stevie Your stomach breaks down and destroys most of the hormones in an oral BC pill, so the dose you receive locally from your NuvaRing or what have you is going to be about the same as what you get through an oral pill.

tortietabbie

@Stevie I have the Mirena IUD (our 3rd anniversary is Feb 9th, haha) and I love it. LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT. Before this I was on Depo Provera for awhile and I liked it while I was on it (no babies, yay) but when I came off I just felt fucked up. It took awhile for my body to go back to feeling like my body, instead of this alien thing I was stuck to. (I don't know if that's to do with the Depo or my poor mental state, or if that's related.) The IUD was REALLY rough for the first month but after that it's been awesome. I pretty much feel exactly the same with it as I did without it - I have a totally regular cycle, with all the related horniness (I have a week every month when I am a fuck-raged animal) and cramping and boob tenderness and ovulation-feelings, but no bleeding. It's kind of strange in that regard, I guess. Like, I get a period without the period. I don't think it's made me put on any weight or screwed with me emotionally. I was lucky enough to get it for free and I hope in 2014 when it's time to re-up I'll be able to get a new one put in. Although this Implanon doohickey sounds pretty cool...

Ophelia

@Monkey Way ditto! Now am very nervously on the condom train.

Legs Battaglia

I just made an appointment to get and IUD because I truly believe that hormonal birth control pills are not only stifling my sex drive, but are also literally inhibiting my ability to attract a man. Because I feel almost sex-less, I give off zero vibe.

realtalk

@mariebee babygirl, if you can't talk to your health care provider openly and honestly like this, FIND A BETTER ONE. I know that's not only possible, I know it's difficult, but finding the right doctor is almost as important as finding the right therapist.

This whole discussion is validating my decision to go into reproductive health, though! because you're right! We all need to trust our doctors to not be all judgey-mc-judgerpants, so we can tell them everything about our sex lives.

dormilona

@charizard I have the Mirena- I've had it for about two years. It was super super painful going in, but I went home afterward and popped some extra-strength ibuprofen and all was well. I spotted for a couple of months (annoying, but normal), and now my period is incredibly light. I had little spasm-y cramps at the very beginning (I like to think of it as my uterus being protective of itself and trying to sort out why it had a t-shaped tenant), but now there's nothing when I get my period. I've had a couple of partners in the time I've had the Mirena, and I haven't heard any complaints. I don't feel anything, either, and it's not often I think about it (except to be like, I'm glad I don't have to think about this things, ever, until 2014 when it needs to get taken out!).

This is my first form of long-term birth control, so I can't compare it to pills or anything. But I thought the very low dose of hormones directly into my lady region was preferable to taking something orally every day (I'm sure I would forget to take a pill daily, too).

(I am a big cheerleader for the Mirena- I feel like women don't know about it or are afraid of IUDs or have been told they're only for married ladies. psshaw!)

atipofthehat

@SarahP

Sounds like you got your IUD the day I got my baby.

Danzig!

@SarahP Ah man, my bestie has an IUD and lately when we've been out she's had terrible, crippling cramps. Eats tylenol like candy. She hates the pill but she's seriously considering giving up the IUD. I think it's a brass one, too, which makes me wince (even more than the general notion of pushing something through the cervix). I had a urethra-to-bladder stint put in after kidney stone surgery and I know rigid stuff in your private parts is hell on earth.

So, uh... any tips on living with a foreign object in your uterus? I'm sure she could use all the help she can get.

Unaccompanied Lady

@parallel-lines Just had my 3rd mirena put in -- 10 years of no hassle, never thinking about BC, periodless joy. Insertion isn't THAT big of a deal -- like an aggressive pap smear. I did pass out after the second insertion but the Gyno explained that's a natural reaction of uterus attracting all the attention (ie blood) away from your head or some such and the solution is to lie down for 30 mins or so after the insertion. I didn't even need tylenol after this latest effort. SO WORTH IT.

Heidi Holland

@charizard I need to preface this comment with the caveat that I am not a doctor (nor do I play one on TV), but I am a public health person with a special interest in lady health. With that in mind, two things.

First, not all hormonal BC is created equal. The majority of us who are on the Pill are on combined estrogen-progestin, but there are progestin-only pills out there too. In general, women go on combined pill unless they have a risk factor for cardiovascular complications (like history of blood clots, smoking, etc.) So if you think the pharmaceutical estrogen is what's making your sex drive wonky, you could ask your gyno about that. Second, I am not 100% sure about localized progestin (which is the hormone in IUDs with hormones), but there are definitely examples of localized estrogen therapy being safe and effective in cases when oral estrogen is a little dicey, and I would think the same would go for progestin. (This mostly comes up when a lady hits menopause and she's noticing her ladyparts are a little dry...there are estrogen creams that act on the tissue right there but don't appear to increase cardiovascular or breast cancer risks, like you might see with systemic estrogen.)

I hope that helps!

SarahP

@Danzig Aw, the poor thing! Has she had it long? Like I mentioned before, doctors say it can take up to a year for one's body to adjust to an IUD (though the average seems closer to 6 months). She should take something with ibuprofen for cramps, not aspirin--both relieve pain, but ibuprofen specifically helps muscles, which is what cramping is. And she should try to take it the second she starts feeling cramps, not in the middle of them (ibuprofen is better at heading off things than stopping them). But to help prevent the cramping, I'd have her talk to her doctor about calcium and/or vitamin E--the latter of which has really helped with my cramps (which didn't actually change much post-IUD insertion, but weren't pleasant before it),

ALSO, for the record, the copper (which is the metal they use) IUD, like all IUDs, is actually very flexible, not rigid! It's actually thin copper coiled around a flexible plastic T, which moves with your body. However, the pain comes from the fact that your uterus is all "INTRUDER, INTRUDER" and freaks out--hence the cramps and sometimes heavier bleeding associated with IUDs. So it's the xenophobic uterus itself, and not the IUD, that makes the pain.

dj pomegranate

@tortietabbie I just want to say to you all that I love you and this conversation we are having.

I just had a Mirena inserted last month - I, too, had stifled libido on the pill, but after having one pregnancy/miscarriage/medical abortion, I knew that stifled libido > baby. But I didn't like having to take it every day, and mostly it was damn expensive. I found a free clinic in NYC and got my IUD for free. I know. Free! (Although I think my insurance would have covered most of it anyway.)

So anyway, one month in, definitely a little crampier than I was on the pill but really nothing to write home about. I've noticed a little more dryness? And irritation? But honestly, also had some amazing, hassle-free sex and money saved and worry-free contraception. I vote pro-IUD!!

I really wish that it was easier to find conversations like this - I looked and looked online before getting mine but it is so hard to get any REAL information from drug websites. Like yes, thank you for telling me that some women experience side effects. Thanks a lot. HOW MANY? WHAT SIDE EFFECTS? What made my decision was talking to a bff who had Paragard and told me all about it. Sisterhood 4eva.

Danzig!

@SarahP Tensile strength of brass noted! And the uterine panic. Ouch.

She's been on it for at least six months, I believe. She's been powering through worse cramps / heavier flow but it's gotten particularly bad recently. I think she mentioned trying a different type of IUD? I'll have to ask her. I will definitely pass on the supplement / ibuprofen advice!

*edit - nooo that's not who I was replying to

LW4
LW4

@charizard et al. LW4 here. Totally good points about BC. I am not on regular birth control due to other health problems (or any other meds) - so it doesn't account for my lack of sex drive. I have had Mirena before and I heart it so hard. I actually have one in my closet right now that I have to go have inserted. I really love this thread!

Craftastrophies

@TreatYoSelf I used to have an implanon. I really fucking loved it, and I would recommend trying it, but I know a lot of people who had issues with it (spotting, cramping, massive mood swings).

I got my first one when I was 19. The adjustment period was a bit rough - basically, when I would get my period I would have PMT x100 for a week. It was rough and I actually thought I was going crazy until I worked out what the deal was. Once that was over, I loved it - it was cheap, and I never had to think about it, and it made my always-heavy periods much lighter and less frequent. By the last year I had it in I was only getting a period (well, breakthough bleeding, they're not real periods) a few times a year.

I had the first one in for four years, had it replaced and had that one in for another... two years, maybe? I had that one out because I didn't need birth control and it was really flattening my moods. I didn't feel bad, I just felt a bit robotic. The doctor who took it out said a lot of people report that the second/third/whatever replacement affects the totally differently that the past ones. Anyway, about a year later I started getting laid again and getting pregnant was NOT an option, so I got it back in. No adjustment/massive PMT period this time, I think because I was not a hormonal teenager? And also I knew how to read and deal with my own emotions better. That one was fine for a year but then I started feeling really disphoric. Like I was stuck in that part of your cycle when you're tired all the time. By that stage I was with my partner, who has had the snip, so I got it out.

I've found coming off it a bit not-good, to be honest. I had really painful cramps the first few periods, which I've never had before, and it made my migraines worse. A year in, it's not so bad, but I'm still finding that every time I have my period my eczema flares up like woah. I feel like maybe I still have stored hormones or something in my system?

Anyway, I feel like I haven't sold it as an experience, because I don't want to lie - it's not perfect. But for me it was 100% worth it while I had it. I can (obviously) talk about this forever. Was there anything else you wanted to know about it? I mean, did you ask because you are thinking of getting one?

tortietabbie

@SarahP LOL I love your description of the uterus as xenophobic! :) God, she's so embarrassing.

SarahP

@tortietabbie She's like that aunt who always comes to Thanksgiving and says stuff that makes you look down at your plate in horror and hope your date and/or impressionable young cousins aren't listening.

heartubleachie

@parallel-lines I had a copper IUD for 1.5 years, and I finally just had it removed. My cramps were super bad--three weeks out of the month--and my periods were long and heavy. I got it because HBC made me depressed and killed my sex drive, but having cramps for three weeks also made me feel super unsexy! I know lots of women have had wonderful experiences with both types of IUDs. In fact, I thought I was crazy for having a bad experience since everyone's in love with it. But, they don't work for everyone.

Related: I started using a diaphragm, and it's way easier and more convenient than I thought it would be. Diaphragm + condoms + fertility awareness = WIN!

naptime

@TreatYoSelf Hi, I know I'm several days late, but I had to chime in because in my experience not many people in the US get implanon, so I feel like I need to evangelize a little! I used to live in Australia where it is fairly common and cheap (thanks universal healthcare), and have now moved here where it's a novelty (I like to make people feel the little thing in my arm and freak them out).
Seriously, though, I am almost 2 years into my second one (they last 3 years each), so I've had it long enough to say I really, really, really love it. It definitely affects different people differently, so take all of this with a grain of salt. But it's worth trying to see how it works for you. For me, I had a bit of moodiness and irregular bleeding for about 3 months when I first got it in. But if you can wait out that period (heh) until your body adjusts, it can be so worth it! For me, after my hormones settled down, I no longer get periods at all. AT ALL! The moodiness went away (it might also have been linked to my problematic boyfriend at the time). Other good points your doctor might not mention: it is the only form of birth control with ZERO failure rate once correctly inserted. Because it goes straight into the bloodstream, you don't have the problems with possibly throwing up the pill, or worrying about its effectiveness if you take it at different times: it's just always going to work. You can take it if you smoke or have migraines (I do), because it's progestin only.
I definitely didn't find a reduction in my sex drive. Scarring from insertion is basically nonexistent - tiny dot smaller than a chicken pox scar. (make sure you go to someone who knows how to do it, though). The insertion, like someone upthread said, is no fun, but not a big deal for 3 years worth of protection. They numb the arm and use a big needle-y thing. Getting it out and back in again is a little more gnarly, but still, WORTH IT! I just never have to think about birth control at all. Or periods.
Did I mention NO PERIODS?? Seriously, I love it.

TL;DR: It's awesome for me, it might not be for you, but it's worth a try! Everyone is different and implanon is great!

PS. Someone upthread mentioned Depo Provera: I would STRONGLY suggest not getting it. I found it REALLY messed with my hormones, plus coming off it towards the end it was just a mess. There are better options.

TreatYoSelf

@naptime Didn't have a chance to respond until now, but thank you SO much for this. I don't know anybody on implanon and your comments (and another person who mentioned it in this thread) have made me seriously consider it. I just started dating someone and I have a feeling we might make it 'official' sometime in the near future. For now I'm going to stick with the pill and then once I'm with somebody that I feel comfortable talking about all this to, I'm going to transition to an IUD or Implanon. I just want to wait until I have somebody who will understand and be supportive, rather than trying to make such a big switch at the very beginning of a relationship.

whateverlolawants

@Money in the Banana Stand Re-reading all of this and had to congratulate you on your username. Truly wonderful.

crawdad

It should feel like a haunted house ! ! ! ! ! 1 1

leonstj

LW3: (a)sexy dreams are as varied as real dreams. They're also frequently about people on the "no fly" list (girls you try to pretend are not fly, even though they totally are, like a friends girlfriend or a coworker you know you should never ever think of in that way or you will always feel weird, but then, boom, you're dream-boning and oh man now meetings are weird.

(B) dude is spot on. This ends up playing into (c) way too often.

(D)vaguely mysterious, but I feel like they're not really a big deal to most dudes I know. Then again, most of us have lived w/ women (even if only friends gf's) and are no strangers to and don't think twice about "run out to the store and get this for me" (though if we don't know / store doesn't have your preferred brand we have to call for help - and I think you want it that way, I mean, there is a limit to how much a dude can know without it being weird), and we're all comfortable w/ period sex and we know that you're probably mad at us for the same reasons on any of the given days in your cycle, not just because biology.

Although, we do have a theory that keeping track of your cycle in your head is why women are so much better than men at "what is the date of the Tuesday two weeks from tomorrow?" Is this true?

elysian fields

@leon.saintjean Girls have sexy dreams too (or at least, I do. constantly. Is that weird? Is it??) I've been dating one guy for a few years now, but I've had sexy dreams about literally every marginally attractive guy I have ever met (and sustained conversation with for a minimum of 3 minutes).

And I never ever know the date -- I often can't even remember the day of the week -- which is probably why my period is always a very rude surprise.

oeditrix

@elysian fields I have a lot of sexy dreams, and when I'm not getting it enough in real life they often lead to, er, real-life, um? Which sounds nice but in reality wakes you right up.

tortietabbie

@elysian fields I have sexy dreams! All KINDS of sexy dreams! I tell my bf that he's the star to spare his fragile male feelings, but really in my dreams I'm fucking all kinds of people.

Dorothea

@elysian fields last night i dreamt my boyfriend was going to kill a machine-driving monster by jumping on it three times, and then we made out. does that count?

laurel

@tortietabbie Lately I've been having sexy dreams about celebrities I'm not actually attracted to at all IRL (Gerard Butler? Really?). So that's weird, but I kind of love it. It's like my sleep brain has clicked 'play' on a DVD, saying, "Here, watch this, I think you'll enjoy it."

Thanks, sleep brain, indeed I did. [insert Edith's little happy brain drawing here]

Ophelia

@leon.saintjean Yes! I also am generally aware of which days of the month will therefore correlate to which days of the week. It's like being a biology ninja.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@blahstudent: Your bf play video games? Lots of games have that 'hit boss three times to win'. Specifically King Koopa.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@elysian fields: I only have sex once in a blue moon and super rarely have sexy dreams; in fact, when the dream has sex in it it's more like 'Oh hey, those are some great boobs, okay moving on'. Like it's just one more crazy thing happening in the dream.

atipofthehat

@Too Much Internet

That last line is a pretty good summation of sex and life.

dinos

I think we're all overlooking the most important thing here: Edith has a parrot!?

parallel-lines

@dinos Of course she does, who's gonna eat all the spiders and yell "HELP!" when she falls in the pool?

wee_ramekin

@parallel-lines Edith has a pool?!

atipofthehat

@dinos

At the 'Pinup I think I heard her say, "Avast there, mateys," and shout "Belay that," a few times, followed by a booming, hearty laugh.

Gnatalby

LW2: I think most of us have been there, kinky or not. There is a lot of pressure on women to be intuitively good at sex and corresponding and false notion that giving instructions during sex is not sexy. But it can totally be sexy! That is why dirty talk exists! Which you know and said, but I think can't be said enough. Even though you're over the second part of that, I think you still feel the first part pretty strongly-- like you're failing at sex if HE isn't magically pleased even if he hasn't said anything.

You are not psychic! And sex is not a transaction where he is the recipient of the pleasing and you are an orgasm creation machine. So basically my advice is to try to let go of a little bit of the worry of whether he's having a good time. If he's having a bad time, it is his job to tell you, and once you have told him you want him to tell you, you have to let go of that responsibility.

Since you are a kinky lady I would suggest maybe dialing back pain and bleeding stuff with new partners, since that can put you in a really weird headspace if it turns out they didn't like it. I have been in that position with a partner before who decided to tough it out for my sake and it really upset me. But... he didn't say anything, so.

noodge

@Gnatalby I agree with your last paragraph - it can take a while for people to feel comfortable enough to communicate what they like and/or don't like in sex, because it's so intimate. Waiting to unfurl the full magesty of your (awesomely developed) kink may be best saved until you've been in the relationship for a bit, when you're committed. Unless of course you talk about it over a drink and he specifically is like "ooh, yeah, <3 it when you ____"

rayray

@Gnatalby Or, YCRAM.

Gnatalby

@rayray Yes, I forget how adequately the hairpin has covered everything.

atipofthehat

@Gnatalby

So can checklists! That way, you don't forget anything important.

Gnatalby

@atipofthehat Yes, and filling those out together can totally be sexy foreplay as well as giving you a sense of limits. And if he's shy he doesn't have to do much more than coyly tick a box.

And then tick a box.

Here's a place you can do one, there are others: http://www.soulshaven.f2s.com/chk_main.php3

Ophelia

@Gnatalby Hahahahahaha. Nice.

atipofthehat

@Gnatalby

[ ] Tickle a box

franceschances

LW2: I've definitely been the more open person in a relationship, and on a certain level it's feels hurtful and unfair. Like, I just made myself incredibly vulnerable by telling you about my turn ons, and you really just said "I dunno, sex is good?" It's not an equal exchange at all, and can be very upsetting.

SarahP

@franceschances Ha, that's me, too, and it results in lots more talks. Where I do most of the talking. But I'm mostly over it being hurtful, and I don't think it's unfair--some people aren't like that. My partner is as uncomfortable with the idea of opening up about everything as I am with the idea of holding back everything I think. As long as I get the communication I need (which, admittedly, doesn't always happen, leanding to the above-mentioned talks), I think it's fair, and am okay with being the one who's always more open.

franceschances

@SarahP I see what you're saying, but I have a very bad track record of picking men who give me the communication I need in general, so it all just gets compounded with extra anxiety when the bad communication is about sex.

Apocalypstick

@franceschances Yess, this is such a pain, I'm currently at the stage where I have no idea whether the current young man is just really vanilla or really bad at communication. He might be a simple creature happy only to see & touch boobs, he might have an obscure kink that needs easing into, he might be the Joscelin to my Phaedra, but I have absolutely no idea which & it's no good for the self-esteem. That letter hit so close to home -we need more demonstrative men around :(

b3k
b3k

LW1 -- I always think it's ironic that porn stars often/usually have more "normal" bodies nowadays than do supermodels, actresses or any other type of celebrity you could name. I mean, there are still lots of Jenna Jameson non-biodegradable types, but someone like Belladonna looks a lot more like a normal, healthy human being than Angelina Jolie does. And there are zillions of top-tier porn stars with healthy-sized rumps. Uh no comment on why I know about this, but the takeaway is that even dudes' fantasy women very, very often look like real human beings.

LW Last -- sorry if this sounds harsh, but maybe it's the abuse or maybe it's a Madonna/Whore complex (which I think both genders are pretty susceptible to -- the old "ewww, I can't do _that_ with him in bed, I _love_ him!" issue).

charizard

LW1 and everyone else: The vast majority of porn actresses don't work for Vivid, make millions of dollars, or sport fake asses. If you want to see a true porno butt, move beyond Jenna Jameson and onto amateur stuff. On the sites my partner browses, for example, I can't find porn that doesn't feature big, squishy, pimply, bruised, rumply, average asses.

I'll wager that most guys don't expect a porno butt in their own bedroom. They're too focused on how much they want to get a handful of your lovable butt. You're fine.

b3k
b3k

@charizard Jinx!

charizard

@b3k Aah! Great minds. Also, I should preview before I post!

machinesss

created an account purely to talk about my cellulite ridden ass. my ass looks excellent in clothing too, but once it's uncovered it's this terrible surprise (at least in my opinion). But my boyfriend (and the boyfriend before him), both loved it, it was one of their favourite parts of me. all i'm saying is cellulite isn't by any means a deal breaker, and the men you meet will probably still love your butt, cellulite and all.

Hellcat

@marley No, no -- there's no way it's a "terrible surprise"! I mean, it's an ass... that is attached to the person they, presumably, made lots of effort to get to know in the first place. Maybe I am being Pollyanna-ish too but the worthwhile guy is not only awesome to you but is smart enough to realize that, while each ass is indeed different, it's still an ass and thus also pretty similar (I don't even know if that makes sense). And the worthwhile guy is aware of cellulite and knows perfectly well that regular, non-ass-showing-for-a-living people are not doing all kinds of ass-enhancing things all day... because they can't because they're busy doing regular-people stuff. Mine's by no means perfect (or "perfect") but my BF loves it, I assume, partly because it's mine.

Das Rad

As a dude myself, his answer to LW3 seems almost flip. Like, that woman is going to think 15-year-old dudes were having wet dreams anytime they've dozed off in study hall. I probably had sex-related dreams as often as he says back in those days, but I've had maybe 3-4 wet dreams in my life, tops, all around high school age. Just doesn't happen anymore. In fact, at my age, sexy dreams usually end in some sort of frustration, as your dream doesn't match what's physically going on down there.

My answers would have been:

a) A few times when I was younger, none lately. They are as cool as you'd imagine - waking up to an orgasm, followed by the realization that you'll have to launder some stuff on the DL.

b) What he said

c) Provided your boner isn't near the point of orgasm, you can pee with it. Point it downward and aim. No, it doesn't hurt.

d) Periods were more of a curiosity in high school, as I seem to recall a lot of gfs getting migraines or being highly irregular among other things. Don't really think about them too much anymore. I'm cool with having sexytimes during if you are, ain't no thang.

melis

@Das Rad Mmm your avatar is making this otherwise neutral comment a NIGHTMARE.

Megoon

Yo LW #1 - my ass is also big and round and looks great in clothes, and is - in my opinion - a hideous bag of cottage cheese when nude. But my husband LOVES it. It took me like two years (ok that's a lie. It took more) for me to figure out that he wasn't just trying to be nice and make me feel better; he actually really likes it. So... dudes who like your ass are out there. There are probably more than you think. Personally I think "loving" my ass is not going to happen, but I'm at the point where I don't really care about it. Perhaps not the most empowering tactic, but it works for me. Good luck! Shake it!

raised amongst catalogs

@Megoon Your username is what my uncle calls me!

Don
Don

Does everybody know that 2/3 of the porn us dudes watch these days is of the homemade, self uploaded, youtube-knockoff-for-porn variety that includes every type of body you can possibly imagine? Fake butts are MAYBE 1/3. Sprinkled in, sure, but we appreciate so much more.

tortietabbie

@doubleu I love the amateur stuff sooooo much better than 99% of the professionally-produced porn. The pro stuff is a giggle-fest for me. Can't take it seriously.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@tortietabbie: Right? How much hotter is something that the people are actually really into, instead of paid to be into? So much hotter.

kayjay

I think A Dude did okay with LW1. That's a tough one, it really is. You have to tread lightly around the "either get happy with it or change it" advice. And ultimately, it really doesn't matter what he says. At some point, LW1 is going to wake up and say, "Oh snap! If you don't like my ass, that's YOUR problem, NOT mine." I've said it before, and I'll say it forever: You don't like something about my body? That's YOUR problem, not mine. Find a way to like my body or get the fuck away from me.

Seriously, LW1, if you're reading this, at some point, you probably will stop caring about what people you don't know/don't care about think about your ass, and you will stop caring about people who, for whatever reason, don't like you're ass. I'll be it's sexy as hell, too. Give it time.

gravie

@kayjay I agree. There really isn't an easy way to answer it and I certainly can't find fault with his answer.
Semi-relevant anecdote: I have the same ass and thigh situation as LW1. The prettiest man who ever hit on me drunkenly called my butt "huge and wonderful". And you know what, it IS huge and wonderful. So is yours, LW1. Emphasis on the wonderful.

SarahP

LW4 may also just be psyching herself out: the relationship is so good, no she should/could finally really enjoy this... so the pressure's high.

And LW2: my partner is also S-I-L-E-N-T in bed and it reeeeeally threw me off at first. It helps me to talk about it afterwards (not like, right after we're done, but 30 minutes later or the next day, so sex-hormones aren't making us all crazy): "Is it better when I do [this thing] or [that thing]?" or "Did you like when I did [this], or should I do it another way (or did it not make a difference to you)?" or "Do you have a preferred way for me to do [this]?" (If you have multiple questions, I wouldn't do it all at once, since no one wants to be interrogated about sex.)

AND/OR if you're wondering how something's going in bed, you can ask. In bed. Saying "does this feel good, or should I try something else?" may seem a little awkward, but it is a LOT less awkward than the entire inner monologue you go through. (--and I've gone through; I know where you're coming from.)

SarahP

Then again, I have a pretty thick skin sometimes, so if your feelings are going to be hurt if he's like "Um, well, the scratching didn't really work for me," this may not be a good approach.

sceps yarx

Here's some practical advice for learning to love your butt-jiggle: take belly dancing lessons! When you put your jiggling in the context of a beautiful, aesthetic, ancient, feminine art form, it really starts to feel like a feature instead of a flaw. You may even start feeling sorry for sisters who have nothing to jiggle with!

poorplayer

@sceps yarx This. There is nothing else on this planet that helped me see my body as the awesome and sexy thing that it is more than belly dancing. I don't even have the benefit of a huge ass, just a stubbornly jiggly tummy when I thought I should have something notably flatter and firmer. It's some freeing shit, seriously.

rayray

LW1: Stop watching porn. Or more specifically, stop watching the wrong kinds of porn.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

Scratching just enough to draw blood? Yes, please. A++, do want again, good partner.

The 'guy is not making sound, wtf' issue is a strange and true one; if I think about it in context of myself, I think I don't want to say/do something embarrassing, which of course is funny, since P is going in V with great enthusiasm. But perhaps, deeper than that, dudes resist situations where they feel vulnerable. Like, I would feel that my love moans could be used against me in the future by someone that wanted to humiliate me.

redheaded&crazy

@Too Much Internet wow, this: " I would feel that my love moans could be used against me in the future by someone that wanted to humiliate me." not just something dudes are resistant to! I often think this as well. Like, neurotically often.

It's such a sad, jaded thought too - why would anybody even think that the person they've let into their bedroom would be so mean?! But then again, breakups turn even nice people mean, so I guess there's that.

Apocalypstick

@Too Much Internet Whatever happened to confidentiality of the bedroom?

Danzig!

LW3: Hey, dude here. My subjective experience!

A) Personally, it's always been rather infrequent, but 70% of the time it's a sex dream crossed with an anxiety dream. Like all of a sudden I've forgotten how to remove a dress, and the lady's annoyed, and then I'm naked in front of my Environmental Public Policy class. What a drag.

B) All the time! The peen is, as you're probably aware, a bunch of blood vessels and not a muscle (quite like the vulva in that regard) so when you're getting up and your circulation's kicking in again you get a bit stiff.

C) Peeing with wood's difficult but not impossible, 'cept if you're actually aroused (protip: the urethra's like a train track, it can be connected to the bladder or the testes but not both at the same time. If a guy "accidentally" pees on or in you during sex, he's either a liar or possessed of a very peculiar physical abnormality). I disagree with Dude re: the shower. If you can aim and not get it all over the place, pee while you're showering. Saves water!

D) I've always paid attention in health class and took Human Sexuality as an elective credit (and maintained a lot of close ladyfriendships) in undergrad so I guess I know more than most. The wider world seems to consider it gross and unsanitary and (especially) crazy-making, so you ought to expect that from most guys, even if it's just in the form of not wanting to put it in you when you're on your moon. It's a shame since a not-insignificant number of women find their libidos surging during menstruation.

laurel

@Danzig!

Hey, Danzig! knows some things (raises hand for that very last bit in item D [I know, it's weird! but there you go with the human sexuality]).

Also, he apparently has a kitty.

Danzig!

@laurel Instant classic. If there's one thing Glenn Danzig loves, it's his cats. If there are two things he loves, they're cats and erotic comics, of which he is in the business. He also has an impressive collection of action figures, or at least he did when he was fronting the Mistfits. Guy's a nerd.

You might get a kick out of this - somebody made a graphic novel called "Henry and Glenn forever", about a hypothetical scenario in which Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig live as roommates and have laughs / endure heartaches in each other's tender company. I don't know how to make links happen (HTML?) so here's the url: http://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/zines/3174/

"As the real-life Rollins says, quoted on the back cover, “Has Glenn seen this? Trust me, he would not be impressed.” Brill.

laurel

@Danzig! I saw that, so adorable. Poor Glenn, he's just not as open minded as Henry.

puggle

sooo, can we have a non-birth-control related discussion of LW#4? I mean, saying, "you have issues, just go see a therapist! Or break up!" is certainly a legitimate answer, and maybe that's all i'm going to get, but... i've had the same experience of attraction dying in two different long-term relationships (for men i think are SUPER sexy and still my type). I went of the pill, and my sex drive definitely increased in my present relationship, but as sex has become more of a contentious issue between us, i've wanted sex less and less. has anyone else had this experience, or a similar non-b.c.-related dip in sex drive, and beaten it?

E
E

@puggle I think having sex can be like going to the gym. You know it's good for you, you know you will feel good after, but boy! What a drag to pack your bags, and go outside to the gym and be ready for spin class. Ugh. Let's just sit here and eat chips. That happens in long term relationships, and if you start to throw in ANY other issues, it can become something of a wall to climb over.

One thing I think that helps is recognizing that sex procrastination is sort of like dishes or laundry procrastination. You are probably going through more agony thinking about how much you HATE it right now, than you will experience while you are actually in the middle of having sex or doing the dishes. There are a lot of books out there about ways to spice it up and all that, but my personal few methods are:

1. don't just turn your partner down because you feel cranky. Of course you should never have sex if you feel coerced, but if you like the person and sex with them overall, but when they kiss you you are thinking, "ugh but he didn't do the dishes and now he thinks he gets sex?!" that's a bad headspace. Hang in there for a little groping and see if your engines warm up. Sometimes in longterm relationships you pile all your other frustrations onto the sex, and make it transactional which kills so much of the fun. If there are other issues, work on those, but draw as sharp a line between the way you feel about him coming home late without calling and the way you feel about his butt as you can.

2. Think about doing it. Your big sex muscle is your brain. Read some steamy literature or watch some racy movie, or in a meeting at work, think back to something hot and replay it. Something that makes you want to go home and have sex and say, "I was thinking about us screwing around all day."

3. Recognize the relationship between stress and your sex drive. If you work long hours, don't get to work out often, haven't seen your friends lately, and mostly when you get home your are too zonked to do anything but eat take out and fall asleep on your partner, that is the sort of lifestyle that makes you feel extremely asexual. For me to feel sexy I need space between me and my dude, I need to hang with my ladies, and go to yoga and get enough sleep. Then I come home feeling interesting and healthy and happy and sexy.

4. Talk about the actual sex you have. Like, is there this one thing your partner does and it makes you want to scream and s/he does it every time and you just wish s/he'd stop and now it all feels predictable and useless? Or you are always frantically longing for them to pull your hair and they never do? Gotta talk about that. Be tactful or don't, but spit it out- sex stops being hot when you feel like there are things you can't ask for, or things you put up with because it's expected. I think it's good to check in pretty often. Quarterly? Biannually (that means twice a year and not every two, right?).

Chesty LaRue

@E I think biannually is twice a year and bicentennially is every two years. (the more you know)

laurel

@E That was awesome.

@Chesty I'm sorry, but no on that second part.

wee_ramekin

@Chesty LaRue I think bicentennaially is every 50 years.

Nate Jones@twitter

@puggle Wasn't the big Bicentennial in 1976? Thus making it 200 years?

sam.i.am

@E Biannually: Every two years.
Semi-annually: Twice a year

Is it sad that the Victoria's Secret sale schedule is the reason I know this? I used to buy so much underwear in January and July.

LW4
LW4

@E LW4 here. That is really good advice. Thank you. I didn't expect to be uninterested in sex and I guess some of that is normal LTR kinda stuff.

zaharatish

@puggle So I seriously registered just to comment on LW#4. She is me so much that I wanted to check my email to make sure I didn't happen to submit this in my sleep. Except, I married my wonderful, loving guy, despite these sexual issues. And I don't regret it, because I know my baggage, and I would rather work it through with the love of my life and future father o' my offspring than be in 100 more thrilling but emotionally damaging tumultuous relationships with dudes that I am on eggshells around, 24/7.

SO: my advice...I'm still working through this, and by no means do I think that this will work for other ladies. But I'm dealing, and I don't regret it, so here goes.
First and foremost, you gotta check in with your baggage, and be ok with it. I mean, ok in the sense that you know you have it, and you recognize it may be influencing you, and that maybe being with quasi-emotionally abusive, emotionally unavailable dudes hits that sexual dark and twisty spot, but may actually be recreating the comfortable shame-spiral of whatever abuse was part of the past. For me, it's true. I was with a series of guys, from day 1 of my dating life, who I had super hot sex with, but who treated me like crap all the time. When I met my awesome husband, we had some good sex right out, but the more I became aware of his love and care for me, the more my lady boner just deflated. I feel like maybe, for me, it's internalized angst at my childhood emotional abuse-- like, if he likes me, he can't be all that great, because I suck pretty hard. There's no easy way out of that hole. You gotta work, every day, on it. But for me, my guy is worth it.

The second thing is one that I have no idea will work for you, or LW#4, or anyone else. But it is helping me, and I thought I'd float it because of that. BDSM helps do wonders for these issues, for me. And I am not saying that every lady should/can like it, or that all BDSM enthusiasts have abuse in their past, 'cause they don't. I only know, it helps temper my, um, relative sexual revulsion at my sweetie's visible love and concern for me. A little spanking and rough talk can do wonders to make the sexy times enjoyable. My husband has a bit of reluctance about it, which we're working through by compromising and finding fantasies that are acceptable to both of us. And it is true that I miss the drama of my past, the fear of having any sort of real conversation with my exes, the constant insecurity.. but I wouldn't trade all of it for what I have gained in the four years we've been together. It's a lot of work, but the payoff is so so so great.

Craftastrophies

@zaharatish I feel like I'm having the micro version of LW4's problem at the moment. I could totally have written that relationship description by myself. It is SUCH a relief to finally be in a relationship where I don't have to edit myself all the time, and I feel like if there's a problem, it's both of our problems and I can talk about it. It is amazing.

I haven't previously had the sex issue. My current partner is far and away the best sex I have ever had - and I have had some good sex! I've always had a really high sex drive, and he's the first person I've ever been actually satisfied with. Partly, I think, because of the emotional connection. Most of the sex I've had in the past has sort of been angry sex, even when it wasn't actually angry sex. The sex I have with my partner now is completely different.

However. In the last month or so my sex drive has totally dwindled. I'm still up for sex, but I haven't initiated, and I'm way not as into it. I had a big think about it on the weekend and realised that it's probably because we're coming up on Devocember. This is the third anniversary of my dad's suicide (and his and my birthday, and christmas), it's when my (emotionally abusive) mother gets more intrusive and harder to deal with. Basically, I've gone into emotional shut down mode. That makes sex less appealing, because the sex I have with my partner is emotional and makes me feel vulnerable. Even when I'm enjoying it, it's still uncomfortable, if that makes sense? It's confronting, and sometimes that's the opposite of what I want and need. The thing you said about cuddling made me think about this especially. Could the fact that the sex is more intimate than in the past be affecting this?

I guess I'd ask if you feel anything specific instead of desire? I mean, while you're having sex, are you feeling anxious or fearful, are you thinking about things in particular, does it feel like anything you've experienced before? I am certainly no expert, but I had sex the other week that was technically great, but was not what I needed. And I realised I felt like I do when my mum is after a reaction. I felt put on the spot, and vulnerable, and uncomfortable, and I just wanted to go away and not be touched or interacted with. Which is totally not sexy for anyone. I don't want to make everything about your childhood, because GOD can we just please be over it now, already? But it doesn't work like that, and the Dude is right - it's the box the puzzle comes in. I know for me, it's something I have to watch all the time, to see if I am slipping into bad habits, or reacting inappropriately, or having my coping mechanisms triggered.

@zaharatish this is so interesting to me. All my past relationships have been a bit kinky. (I mean, mildly, depending on who you're comparing it to). My current partner is not into that, partly because his last partner had been physically abused so he developed really good boundaries. But sometimes I want/need to be grabbed and ravished, so that I don't opt out or whatever. The point about sexual revulsion at visible love and concern totally hit home. Thank you so much for making me feel like less of a freak. I totally get that, all the time. Like, quit looking at me with googly eyes, I'm trying to have an orgasm here. This is not always an issue, but it's definitely a big difference between us that we have been negotiating. I think he's pleased every time he discovers that I'm not a (physcially) delicate flower, and on the flip side it's making me notice and deal with some of those unhealthy issues with being loved. Cos BOY do I have them. I was just actually wondering this morning if I had been extra prickly this weekend in an attempt to make some drama because it all seems so easy, and it can't be REAL love without pain, right?

Ugh.

EDIT: OMG apparently I think this is my own blog. Sorry for the massive post. It's just relevant to my interests.

wee_ramekin

@Craftastrophies @zaharatish I do not have any personal anecdotes to relate to LW #4, but I applaud both of you for doing so. The discussion of this question in the comments seemed to end up focusing so intensely on the possibility that the LW's sex drive was being affected by hormonal birth control that it seemed like we 'Pinners bypassed the fact that the LW divulged facts about past abuse, which in my opinion is probably a much greater factor in her disinterest in sex than hormonal BC. I think you two commenters and A Dude gave some really good advice, and I hope LW #4 reads it!

NOTE: This is not to say that the hormonal birth control thread was off-base, and obviously it touched a nerve for a lot of people. I just thought that in this particular case, there might be more going on than hormonal birth control.

Craftastrophies

@wee_ramekin The thing I find the most difficult is that it's never one thing. It's hormones, or being tired or stressed, or you've had a cold for a month, or someone said something at work that upset you, or a song you heard that made you think of something or...

I often find I have been feeling weird for a while, processing something that hasn't made it into my brain. And then it pops up and I think 'oh! Well, that's obvious. Why didn't I realise that'. I hate that my emotions can do whatever they like without asking permission from my brain.

But they do, and I just have to learn to deal with it. The best lesson I've learnt in the last three years is to pay attention to myself and to check in regularly - and to be gentle with myself. If I'm feeling 'off', there's probably a reason, and I'll probably work it out eventually. Perfect example: two weeks ago I was jumpy and cranky all week. Felt weird and distant from my partner and was wondering if maybe there was something wrong with me/us. Saw my mother for a scheduled visit on the weekend. As soon as she left, I felt fine again and slept for half the day. Realised upon waking that I had spent the last week anticipating dealing with her (she gets unpredicatable this time of year, and I get touchier) and had gone into a Safe Zone, where all my emotions were sort of padded and distant, which was why I felt strange, especially around my partner, since I'm used to having more emotions when he's around.

TL:DR, emotions are TRICKY, especially when you're used to them fucking you over and making your life harder. Like me, LW4 probably has lots of coping mechanisms which are great for abusive situations, but then are destructive when the relationship is healthy.

Chesty LaRue

@laurel Whoa, I just popped back in to mention that I seem to have had a Friday brain malfunction! Bicentennial, I even thought about how it was the bicentennial independence day in 1976.
Please everyone, carry on with your wonderful comments and pretend I haven't tried to make a helpful suggestion here.
Also, good luck LW4 :)

puggle

@E Goddamn, i thought this comment was too late to get any response, so i didn't check back, and i was DEAD wrong. Thank you so much for such a thoughtful, and super helpful, response, and for the rest of the conversation, other commenters.
does anyone else sometimes look at the comments they've made, and then click on the ones that got "liked," because that means that it's more likely that someone responded to your comment? don't worry, i've now set up email notifications.

NYC123

@zaharatish Amazing & so comforting to hear someone else with such a similar experience! Even down to the mild revulsion, which is such a hard facet to admit and face, for me! It totally feels that as a result of abuse etc my body and my physical responses betray my actual conscious desires & wishes. Working on it and grateful for your post!

indigo_stars

In regards to LW2: I dont think that anyone has brought this up yet, if they did, sorry! I was dating someone I was very in love with but as time went on sex became more and more difficult for me. In theory I wanted to have sex, but physically my vagina was saying hell to the no. It became more and more of a problem (which we NEVER talked about- I KNOW I'm a bad feminist but its a hard topic to bring up!). I think that fear is a major contributor. Am I letting him down? Will I be okay with it THIS time? or THIS time? What is wrong with me?? etc etc etc. The more you worry, the more you will psych yourself out.

Seriously is there anything less sexy than worrying about sex when you should just be having it? If you are afraid or worried about what your past has done to you, whether you are broken or can't appreciate love, things will just get worse. I know that saying not to obsess or worry is not very helpful- but professional help, like therapy, can help cut off the fear cycle! And help you deal with anything in your past that is weighing on you subconsciously, or consciously.

carogriffin

I guess I'm the only person who thought the parenthetical "(squats are good for your ass and thighs)" thing in LW1's answer was a joke? Was it not a joke? Because squats are a For Real type of exercise, but these ladies aren't squatting while lifting weights, they're squatting because they're mid-bone session?

I was surprised to find people thought that was him basically saying "YOU COULD ALWAYS GO TO THE GYM BTW." It's so clearly a "har har porn people get a work out from sex-having" joke to me...not at all as serious suggestion.

owlegg

@carogriffin That's totally how I read it too, and then I was surprised to see all the comments jumping on The Dude for saying that.

apb
apb

@owlegg me three

Apocalypstick

@carogriffin me four

Xora

LW1 and then all the angry comments about it seemed like an en masse reenactment of the stale jokes about women asking if they look fat in this dress, and men whining that there's no safe way to answer.

Craftastrophies

@Xora In my house it's 'does this dress make my arse look fat enough?'

kylie

I really really like this guy. Really really. And I love the questions. PLEASE no more stupid boyfriend-drama-random-stupid-drama-stupid-drama-stupid-stupid questions. They make me angry, and they don't teach me anything new or awesome (insight into dudes minds? priceless!). They are stupid. URGGGG
Okay just had to get that off my chest.
URGGGGGGGGG

LW4
LW4

I am LW4 and I thought A Dude's advice was really heartening and beautiful. Thank you for that. Also very helpful.

PompousModesty

The Hairpin is like the ultimate no-words-needed big sister figure. I love you all and I love the Internet.

lilian

Ok ladies, I'm going to need your help deciphering a guy. I would send this to the Dude but by the time he replies...
The situation is this: There's this super hot guy that I want to start a, to put it bluntly, "fuck-buddies" thing with. We've hooked-up twice before (didn't have sex, though), both times I initiated it, but he was into it too. On Saturday I texted him at 2am:

me: are you at X area of town, are you near?? (I meant to write I'm at X area of town, but you could still understand)
him: nope, I'm at Y area. Where are you?
Me: I'm at Z club. Come!
Him: (40 min later): @

That was it.
Some of you might think I should move on to the next guy, but I've never been more attracted to anybody in my life, so I'd like to give it one more shot. What do you ladies think I should do?? have you ever been in a similar situation??

All advice will be greatly appreciated!!!!

angelene

For the last questioner (worried about her libido), I do think it might be because you're not used to safety. Sometimes that can be frightening, because you're having to be more emotionally open; avoiding sex may be a self-protective instinct. Communicate with him rather than just enduring it – once a month doesn't sound like the real problem, people have different levels of sex drive, and sometimes basic things like being on the pill can affect it. It's more that you're not enjoying it. Maybe you're just not attracted to him, but it sounds unlikely if you really love him – I suspect it's a trust problem. Basically I agreed with the Dude but wanted to add that you definitely shouldn't give up without trying counselling.

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