X

Tagged advice

Browsing all posts tagged with advice

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!

*****

Are you a fan of my sex-aware, jump-on-into-it relationship advice? Show your love by either sharing the links around, becoming a patron of mine on Patreon, or both! Your support makes it possible to keep on keeping on. <3 <3 <3

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!

FROM THE FUCKBUCKET: “my partner and I have a Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell agreement, and it’s starting to feel a little weird”

we're on "don't ask don't tell" for our sorta open relationship. I want to be more open about my feelings toward others, but he doesn't, even after suggesting it. I don't mind necessarily, but it's starting to feel a bit secretive.

This is not a question, it’s just a scribbled-down statement about how things are (or were) for someone in the Smut Slam audience, but I felt like I wanted to address it anyway, because there is a question in there: "what should I do?"

If I’m recalling correctly, there were a lot of polyamorous people in the audience that night and when I read this part, a murmur rippled through the crowd. The whole room expressed a sort of “yup, been there” and then sighed one collective sigh.

Many of us have been there. Oh my lord. DADT as a policy statement for open relationships is super common, especially for folks new to open relationships who think it’s some sort of training-wheel approach, just to get started. I know I did, with both the first and second partners I tried an actual opening-up with. I had asked about it, and my partners reluctantly agreed to it, but on terms: “I don’t want to know anything about it.”

And the thing is, that works, on a purely theoretical level, in a world where all you wanna do is scratch that itch and get laid, in and out and back to your “real life” and your “real partner.” Don’t Ask Don’t Tell works there, in that world where all you want are discrete bits of time with people who aren’t asking anything from you except some time with your particular and very discreet bits. DADT works fine, in an ongoing way, when you have a perfectly compartmentalized life and psyche.

In reality, very very few people have that kind of life and/or psyche. You may say you can do it, because good lord, that person is hot and you really wanna scratch that itch! But the reality is, life bleeds out all over everything. You develop feelings for that person who was supposed to just be a no-strings-attached fuck. Or at least you like them—hopefully—so you wind up watching a movie with them that you really love and then you go back to your primary partner and say, hey, I want to show you this movie, and they love it too and they say, “Wow, that was amazing! Where did you find out about this movie?” and you’re suddenly like, eep. Can I say?

What do you do if that happens with a sex move?

No couple magically match up their free time without discussion, sometimes a lot of discussion, depending on the couple and their already existing schedules. Carving out time for other people, without mentioning those other people, is really difficult.

And yeah, those feelings. They do happen, and if you’ve already set down a DADT policy about such basic things as “no mentioning dates with other people” and “I don’t want to know their names,” you’re suddenly going to be in an even more untenable position when the feelings come up.

This is not to say that your boyfriend doesn't have the right to say, "I don't want to hear about what you and your date did in bed last night" or "I'd rather not be the sounding board for any relationship problems you're having with your other partners." Those are pretty common boundaries; hopefully the two of you can hash those out together. But it sounds like the embargo is laid down pretty hard and pretty low, so... yeah. How much of your life/time/attention/heart is wrapped up in these other relationships, and how important is it that you can be open about that?

This person isn’t asking for advice, but for any readers who may be in the same situation, I encourage you to use the Sheelzebub principle, named after a Captain Awkward reader who had some sage advice for anyone wondering what to do in a challenging relationship situation:

Can I live with this for another month? Another year? Another five years? Ten years? The rest of my life? How long?

Maybe you’d be okay with it. What about your partners in DADT-ness? That might feel a bit shitty for them too. You’re feeling a little bit constrained now. How will that feel after five years of it? I can’t answer that question for you, but as someone who tried “don’t ask don’t tell” once, I can tell you I would never go back.

*****

If you are liking what I am putting down, I hope you'll think about putting down some coin to keep the Cameryn Moore machine putt-putting along! Head on over to my Patreon page and join up as a patron, for as little as $1 per published blog post!

 

1 2 3 4