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FROM THE FUCKBUCKET: In what way do you best phrase your feelings of insecurity without hurting your S.O.?

If this is your first conversation that the two of you will be having about things that might be accompanied by feelings of insecurity and jealousy, then you probably won’t be able to do it without some amount of hurt. These conversations, and the feelings that happen on both sides of the equation, are fucking challenging for most people, even if you’re used to having them—like many polyamorous people or open sex workers—and the first time out can feel scary and bad. Just remember: you aren’t unevolved or “basic” or whatever for having either the initial feelings of insecurity OR for feeling anxious about the conversation. They don’t teach this shit in school, although they should.

The best thing you can do going into such convos is for both people to assume the best intent and mutual investment on both sides. (If you can’t do that, then feeling insecure and jealous is not the deepest level of challenge that you have, and I recommend seeing a couples’ therapist pronto.)

Another basic thing is to really make yourself physically present. Sit across from each other so you can have eye contact; turn off the damn phones. And be prepared to breathe a lot and stay silent and listen.

I talked about this a while back, about leaving lots and lots space in tough conversations. You’ve got to leave room, take time to hear the other person and then come up with your response. This is basic conversational respect: don’t be preparing your response when you haven’t even listened completely to what they are saying.

It’s worth going into these with similar sorts of ground rules that you establish together. Whether that’s my “asterisk” concept (setting up a code word that indicates that you have finished speaking for the moment) or an understanding that one of you may cry when upset, but that doesn’t mean ending the conversation, whatever your particulars are, it’s good to get them out on the table to support the process.

Also, and maybe this is obvious, do some thinking ahead of time about what is really going on. Take notes for yourself if you need to; it’s easy to get lost in your head when emotions are running high. At the very least, spend a little time thinking or journaling about what happened to bring up this conversation, so that it’s not all unfolding real-time during your discussion.

Okay, enough about prepping. How about that actual conversation?

When you tell your partner about those feelings, hook them up to a specific event or situation where you feel them; that is, avoid sweeping statements like “I’m just feeling so insecure lately!” Try phrasing it as a cause-and-effect thing: “when you stay out so late and I don’t hear from you, I feel anxious/insecure/angry (whatever the tough emotion that you feel).” The cause, however, is not them, it’s a behavior or situation, and you are reporting your feeling about that situation, NOT THEM.

Spend some time digging in with your partner. Are you worried about losing your partner to someone else? Do you think that their co-workers are more attractive than you are? Are you missing some intimacy at home? Are you dealing with so much instability in your life that you just need one spot of stability, and you thought that was your partner, but now this is happening? Go deep. Because yes, there are things that they are doing or ways that they are being that are bringing these things up, but you are not a blank slate or a puppet with strings waiting to be pulled: you are bringing your own history and feelings in as well.

When you’ve hashed out what is really going on, and how they feel, and actually what are the facts about the situation, it’s time to ask for what you want. Can you lay down some action items, and make a date to check in on them? Sometimes the remedy is as simple as a phone call or text; maybe you do need a therapist together. What is something that they could do, or the two of you together, that would help you feel better?

Remember also to think about the things that you could do to help yourself. I’ve heard this called “self-soothing,” and holy crap, is it something that I have had to work on constantly when it comes to my own relationship insecurities. Basically, you’re looking at non-harmful things that you can do when you’re feeling bad, and also just committing to sitting through the uncomfortable feelings. Sometimes you need to share with your partner when the shitty feelings come up; sometimes you can share with trusted friends, or work on it by yourself through journaling or making art. You get to decide for yourself, hooray, self-sufficiency! (That was only partially sarcastic.)

Then at the end? Your partner might still feel hurt or whatever; you might still feel insecure. But make sure that you have something good to do together afterward, making dinner or watching a movie or a bath together, something bonding. Because you did it. Feeling insecure and hurt are normal things, but you talked about it, and you planned for change, and you still love each other and the world did not end. Well done!


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FROM THE FUCKBUCKET: “What’s the best thing you can do to expand your erotic imagination?”

The erotic imagination lives in the brain, and you know what they say about the brain…

It’s a muscle. Stretch it. Exercise it. Keep it flexible.

It’s a channel for electricity. Throw out lots of synaptic points and see what connects.

It’s hungry. Give it lots of food for thought.

There are any number of excellent metaphors for what you need to do, but it all boils down to this: to expand your erotic imagination, you need to feed it, use it regularly, and push outside your known zone every now and then.

Feed it. Where you get the fuel for your particular machine isn’t that important, as long as it’s legal, ethical, and interesting for you. Porn can be a good source, if you’re visually inclined, but you can also read erotica, or have a partner read erotica to you. The good thing about written or audio erotica, versus visual, is your mind gets to fill in the blanks. Try reading a piece to yourself, and then having it read to you, just to see changes for your between the two different takes!

What you feed your erotic imagination doesn’t have to be straight-up depictions of sex or kink, either. You can get out there and experience activities that are aimed at the senses. Get a massage; play in water; carefully cook a dinner that requires more than one napkin. Hit a museum or sculpture garden, or visit a fabric store, where you can run your hands all over the silks and satins. (Don’t make groaning noises, that’ll just freak the sales people out.) Go dancing to different kinds of music to see how they feel in your body.

(PSST: go to a Smut Slam near you and hear about other people's sex adventures. You will definitely get some ideas, and possibly some good cautionary advice, too.)

Plain ol’ conversation helps keep your well full, too. Talk with your partner(s) about the things you already do together, as well as the things you might do. Take them with you on these fieldtrips, and talk about what happens there. But don’t just make these forays a one-time thing. You need to…

Use it regularly. That phrase “use it or lose it” is not just a nicely rhyming platitude. This is true of all skills or abilities: if you do not regularly do a thing, your ability to do it will eventually atrophy.

With the erotic imagination, this means both going out and getting your “source material,” as it were, AND THEN making space in your life for playing. Don’t worry about any direct correlation between what you are doing on your sensual dates and what you are doing in your sexy times. You don’t need to force the connection; your brain will do the alchemy on its own.

Push your boundaries. I don’t mean break through them like a randy rhinoceros, or ignore your own internal misgivings or pain warnings or actual hard limits. I just mean, if you discover something that makes you shiver a little, or if your partner suggests something that you know nothing about… maybe try it.

Normally, in the course of your regular sex-having schedule, you’d probably push unknown items back in favor of activities you know and love, right? Go for the sure thing. But in the interest of stretching your boundaries, go ahead and lean on that question-mark spot, when one arises. Obviously, do all the safety prep and checks first: discuss it beforehand, including safe words/signals, investigate accurate technique, and even maybe plot out baby steps to this new and possibly scary thing, if it’s something you really aren’t sure of.

But look: if you’re already making the time for sensual dates, and making regular space in your life to incorporate all that new material, you’ve got enough time to slow down and gently push. Leaning into a stretch is how you make it bigger.


I'd like to think that I'm helping to broaden people's erotic imaginations too. If you think so, and you'd like to help me to more of that, please think about getting over to Patreon and becoming a patron of mine. Rare footage of stand-up comedy sets, exclusive backstage interviews, and more as perks for my supporters!

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