That One Time I Worked as a Sexter

sexter.jpegSeeing that #englishrosiee and I have been running this blog about dating, love and sexy things for over 4 years, I have no idea how it’s happened that I haven’t discussed this chapter of my life with you yet… So here it is: I have worked as a sexter and I have a few things to say about it.

How Did I Become a Sexter?

It may surprise you, but I didn’t spend my childhood dreaming about becoming a sexter one day. In fact, I always dreamt about becoming a writer and the fact that I’m 31 years old and I am yet to publish a novel is very disappointing to me. I have, however, written a novel, which is the first step and now I’m in the process of trying to publish it. Seeing that making my dreams come true was far away when I was 18, I needed to find other ways to make some money during a summer break.

I just matriculated and I had a few months left before the beginning of my university life. I considered waitressing or baby sitting but then a friend of mine, Z. found an ad in a local newspaper. We decided to give it a go. Just like her, I was a young person who “was over 18, wanted to earn GREAT money, typed fast and was available immediately”.
No red flags for the location in the city centre or the office itself but when a skinny man with greasy medium-length hair greeted us, I started to worry a bit. He didn’t beat around the bush and told us during a joint interview that our job would be to textwith clients about sex, send erotic pictures and make them think they can meet the person they were talking to. We were to take on various personas, depending on which of the “available” girls or boys the client chose from the ads placed in various magazines (something along the lines: “Hey! I’m Roxy. I’m a redhead and as they say when the roof is red, the basement is wet. Do you want to hang out?”). The only other rule was to never set up an actual meeting with a client or give them any personal details about ourselves. Of course, there were cautionary tales in the office about the girls who did and ended up in pieces in trash bags but of course, you never knew whether they were true or not.

I definitely went all red when I was listening to the job description. I did have some experience with men but I was still a virgin! Did it make me hesitate? Maybe for a second. The day pay was high and much higher than anything I could have earned from waitressing or any other job at 18 with almost no work experience. The night shift paid double that. I said “yes”. It wasn’t like I was going to actually have sex with these people, I thought.

Tricks of the Trade

I got a pseudonym and people called me “Monika”. It was supposed to make me feel like it wasn’t really me behind the screen (yeah, the screen, you don’t think we were typing on our phones, now, do you?) but made me see that the job was iffy instead. They don’t make you use a pseudonym when you’re a successful lawyer, you know?

My sexting skills weren’t impressive in the beginning. The first nights were tough as there were targets to meet and they wouldn’t keep you for long if you couldn’t do it. Of course, it was stressful for a virgin. All I knew about sex, came from “My First Time” columns in magazines for teenagers and my friends who often had little, no or just imagined experiences themselves. I was rather unprepared for chatting to men who wanted me to tell them how I would like to be “fucked” (what ways were there, anyway?), whether I liked “fisting” (I needed to Google the term) and would ask me to describe how wet my “shell” was (which turned out to be a term for “pussy”). 

I didn’t like the job but people in the office made it a bit better. Other employees were mostly students trying to pay their bills.
We would make fun of clients to hide the fact that we actually felt pretty shitty about ourselves. After all, these people were paying money not only for the chance of seeing “our” pictures and sexting with “us” but also for the possibility of eventually meeting the persona we created. We knew it was all a lie and felt particularly bad about the ones that were nice. We drank a lot after hours to kill the guilt pangs about them and forget about how disgusting the job really was. Also, because we were young and illegal drinking in public places in the middle of the night seemed like a lot of fun.

What made the job doable, seeing that at work you had to actually be sober, was that most of the clients weren’t nice at all. I’d say that 60% to 70% of men I dealt with were married and around half of the married ones had a pregnant wife. I had a boyfriend back then who I thought was different than these men but what I read in the text messages changed my perception of the opposite sex for a very long time. These guys, mind you, had no common denominator in terms of education, profession, income, age, the numbers of years they were married or anything else I could pick up. It was natural that I started to think that all men were like that.
It wasn’t just the fact that the were so keen to cheat and pay for some stupid sexts that was bothering me. It was also about their general attitude towards women. They would complain about their wives a lot in a vulgar way (doesn’t even move during sex, became a pig after the wedding etc etc) but also spoke to me (who was allegedly so much better than the wife) in a way that made me feel like a worthless object.
I just kept repeating to myself that it wasn’t really me but Monika who was chatting to them. It was particularly difficult to believe when they called me names after I postponed yet another meeting with them coming up with excuses.

As bad as I felt, however, I was getting a hang of it and as instructed by my coworkers I started to write sex templates to minimize my effort and maximise the return. Perhaps not surprisingly given that most clients were heterosexual males, men were much better at the job than women and they were the ones worth listening to.
Meanwhile, I got praised officially for my conversational skills on topics other than sex that made some of the few not pervy but just sad and lonely clients come back to me over and over again. I also quite enjoyed being the sexting dominatrix, even if initially I was shy about swearing at clients and coming up with BDSM scenarios (what do you think about my “I’m-opening-a-champagne-bottle-in-your-bum routine”?).

I’ve Had Better

After a full month of this work I was dreaming about sex all the time. Can you even imagine a 10 hour long shift of writing about sex? My dreams were full of people having orgies, ejaculating on my face and wearing latex. I was typing when I was sleeping too, often waking up when I hit something.
The night shifts were tough on me and so was the after-shift drinking. I was 18 and I had a strong body but with the emotional load of the job it was becoming too much.
My friends started to notice that I was changing as well. I was making overly sexual jokes and almost everything anyone said was making me think of sex.
I lost my virginity somewhere around there and it felt like the biggest disappointment ever. The only thing I wished for was that I had lost it to my boyfriend I had at 15, rather than waited for it so long. Perhaps it was partially so disappointing because I had written about it all and my partner couldn’t have made it better than what I’d imagined…

Even though I became much less shy and my sexual vocabulary was growing every day, my stats were not amazing. I felt a lot of guilt about the work I was doing and I often let go of a client when, according to my supervisor, I should have just kept lying. I just didn’t have a stomach for it and however skilfully I described the imaginary sex we could be having, the clients sooner or later wanted to meet.
My unwillingness to tell them certain things was affecting my performance. Eventually, my supervisor suggested I tried out fortune telling instead. The stats to meet were much lower and I was good at talking to people. As much as I couldn’t tell the future, the clients who contacted me mostly needed help that didn’t require a Tarot reading. A husband who was a drunkard wasn’t going to stop drinking, a student who didn’t study for an exam wasn’t going to pass it and a guy who left his lover for another woman 5 years before wasn’t going to come back… I ended up giving people love advice and my stats were finally looking good. I sexted less and less until I moved entirely to fortune telling. After a few months I quit the job to start my studies.

Final Thoughts?

It was definitely an interesting experience and one I bragged about for years. You know, a fun story to tell at a party! How many people, after all, have worked as sexters? If I am to be honest with myself, however, it was really not all shits and giggles. It was a somewhat traumatic experience that took away my innocence and romanticism before my boyfriend of that time taught me some realism by breaking my heart. For a long time after that, sex seemed to me only carnal and a rather disappointing affair. Who knows when I would have found a good relationship, if not for this experience that made me see men as generally untrustworthy and disgusting?
As always in life I have no regrets but I definitely had no idea what I was getting into and how strongly it was going to affect me. Just for the record, I am for legalisation of sex work and anyone above 18 should be allowed to become a sex worker, a stripper, a dominatrix, a sexter or anyone else in this line of work. However, that they should be able to, doesn’t mean that they actually should do it. It’s a decision everyone should make for themselves after long deliberation because the consequences of even the most sexless of sex jobs can be dire.

Would you allow your daughter/son to become a sexter? What do you think about sexting? Have you ever used similar services? Go crazy in the comments’ section.

 

 

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TV Series Review: The Russian Doll

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“The Russian Doll” has caught my eye on Netflix because:
1) I love Russian dolls/matrioshkas, meaning the dolls with a number of smaller versions of themselves inside
2) It has Natasha Lyonne in it, who I haven’t seen since “American Pie” but whose character Jessica is my favourite one in the movie

Instinctual series choice, in my experience, has almost the same success rate in not being shit as the choice made after an extensive research. Besides, what better to do after walking over 20,000 steps up and down on your holiday than binge on a TV series? (Pssst some self-promotion here. Read my first post about my holiday in Baku, Azerbaijan on my new blog). Brief, we decided to watch “The Russian Doll” and I didn’t regret it.

The series starts in a way that seems to be suggesting a typical comedy series. The twist is that the almost 40 year-old protagonist who’s a commitment phoebe and a casual sex enthusiast is a woman. Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) swears, smokes, drinks and in general doesn’t give a f**k. Nothing new under the sun, you’re thinking? Well, you’re up for a surprise because Nadia dies after her birthday party and then comes back to life. Is the Universe punishing her for something? Does she have a mission to complete? What??? You’ll find out when watching this sweet and short series. It’s really worth it!

The show doesn’t follow a predictable script. It’s also funny but there are elements to it, which feel very raw. I really enjoyed this emotional roller-coaster as well as the acting. Natasha Lyonne and Charlie Barnett stand out but other cast members have also been carefully chosen, which adds up to the general pleasure of the watching experience. The series has a very nice pacing, surprising you just when you think you know what’s going to happen next. You’re also given clues to the mystery throughout the series so you can see for yourself whether you’ll figure out the solution before the protagonist…

Does the series have any drawbacks? Duh. Nothing and nobody’s perfect. I think that the ending should have been a bit more dragged out to match the pacing of the rest of the series. I also think that the makers certainly haven’t done any favour to Harry Nilsson whose catchy song “Gotta Get Up” appears in the series so many times that anyone who has watched it would refuse to listen to it ever again. Still, the repetitiveness adds up to the audience being able to relate to the characters so sorry, but no sorry, Harry. Otherwise, the series is a strong 8/10 for me. There are rumours of season 2 but I think that it isn’t necessary as the series has a nice ending and it would be better of without a sequel.

The series is definitely worth watching but if you don’t believe me, have a look at the trailer:

Have you heard about “The Russian Doll”? What do you think about time loop stories? Last but not least, does a bit of fantasy ruin a story for you or do you think it can still make for a compelling narrative? Let me know in the comments’ section. If you’ve watched the series, I’m also curious to hear what you think about it.

What Is Your Number? : The Sensitive Subject of How Many Sexual Partners A Person Should Have In A Lifetime

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Once upon a time #zlotybaby caused some serious drama which eventually resulted in poor little #englishrosiee being savagely evicted on to the street 4 days before the end of the month simply by starting a Friday night drinks discussion around the subject of how many sexual partner’s a person had had. Understandably, this can be a sore spot for some. You’d think those that’d be more sensitive about revealing their number would likely be the 30-something virgin or perhaps the WISO who’d lost count of their conquests. However, what our case study from yesteryear highlighted that regardless as to where you stand on the spectrum of sexual experience : ‘What Is Your Number ?’ remains a question that tends to stir up a bunch of emotions.

Why does it matter?

It shouldn’t, really. However, let’s face it. The world is one hell of a judgmental place.

Obviously, it depends on the context one is operating in but your number has the potential to say a lot about you. You are all well aware of feelings about 30-something virgins, and I know for sure that most people around me feel the same way, although they may not be so brutally vocal about it. We live in a society that is pretty sex-obsessed, holding onto your V-card so late in life would be seen to be rather odd. However, in a deeply religious society the reaction would be quite the opposite. As hard as it may be to believe, there are still societies where you’d never dream of walking down the aisle with a popped cherry! Then again, as sex-obsessed as our society is, if your sexual conquests start to hit double or triple figures, chances are you’ll still get judged for being sexually promiscuous. Clearly, there is no pleasing some people.

And naturally, living in a man’s world the nature of the judgement you’ll face when comes to talking about notches on your bed post is likely to vary depending on your gender. There are plenty of people that’ll say things are changing but to be honest guys are still more likely to be openly bragging about their conquests than us chicks.

How do you handle such a question?  

Of course, ‘What’s Your Number ?’ along with a whole host of other personal questions such as : ‘When are you going to find a man and settle down?’, ‘When is he putting a ring on it?’ or ‘Why are you waiting so long to procreate?‘, are invasive and quite frankly none of anyone’s business. However, most people don’t give two hoots about your personal sensitivities and will go ahead and ask anyway.  So how do you deal with it?

Well, you can be brutally honest and say, call them a pervert and tell them to do one because the minutiae of your sex life has nothing to do with them. But that isn’t likely to win you any mates. You also have the option to lie. Pull a number out of the sky and go with it. Who is going to know any better? And if it shuts the gossip mongers up for a bit then it’s all good. Finally, you can totally just be out and proud of your number. Look them in the eye and let them bring on that judgement. That though, is probably easier said than done.

How about in a relationship?

So it’s one thing telling a random down the pub to keep their nose out of your business or lying to a bunch of chicks at a hen party but how about when it comes to discussing your sexual history with a significant other? It’s bound to come in conversation at some point or another. And sure, they are into you and an arbitrary number won’t necessarily change that. But let’s be honest, the judgement is still going to be there although it maybe a bit more subtle and hopefully a little less mean-spirited. There is always a some degree of comparing yourself with your person’s past. Imagine having to follow in the footsteps of a former geisha or a yoga instructor Pressure’s on! And let’s not even get started on the responsibility that’s placed on your shoulder’s if you know you’re somebody’s first time!

Whatever the case though, if you are with a good human who truly has feelings for you, even if some judgement (or panic) exists following a discussion of your sexual history,  hopefully it won’t be much cause for conversation, they’ll get over their issues pretty fast, move on to more important things (read: the bedroom!) instead of dwelling on the past.

What about the facts?

As I said in my recent post about the Sex Recession, because we live in an age where we are bombarded by images of sex, songs about sex, blogs about sex (hehe!), we are often tricked into believing that everybody around is getting loads of lovely, lovely bedroom acrobatics on tap.  The truth is though that it would probably be unwise to give up your Virgin (In) Active membership so soon because most people, including both those in and out of relationships, cannot rely on their fellow humans for their cardio sessions.

So for the facts. According to the most recent survey I could find quoted on the interweb, the average number of sexual partners a person has in their lifetime is …. (about) 7! Obviously, that figure changes depending on your sex (i’m sure most guys are gonna be higher), location (the survey was based on people in the UK/US), sexuality (gay/straight/a-sexual or undecided), as well as your propensity to lie (as it how you judge your own number and what you regard as prudish/sexually promiscuous!)

So, basically its really difficult to gauge an average number of sexual partners a person should have had by a certain point in their lives. It’s an incredibly complicated matter. For instance, you could have had a lot of (s)experience in terms of number of partners but never experience good sex and the big O. At the end of the day, while one’s sexual history can put some of us on edge, these types of invasive question provide nothing more than ice-breaker for those somewhat mindless booze-fueled conversations. It’s not a topic that should necessarily make you re-think your life or change the world. So get angry, lie, deflect or stand your ground. It’ll be yesterday’s news soon enough.  From a more serious point of view though whether you choose to hold your V-card for evermore or treat sex as a sport and play the field, be safe, try to make sensible decisions that you can live with the morning after and don’t come home with anything that can’t be cured by antibiotics.

Rinsers, it’s over to you. What’s Your Number? An overly invasive question or a good starting point for a bit of banter on a Friday night? How would you go about answering the question yourself? How much does it matter? And what does it say about the way we judge people according to the level of sexual experience? Are you surprised by 7 being a rough average? Let’s chat in the comment section below. 

 

 

 

 

 

Why The Only Failed Relationships Are The Ones You Never Have

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Disclaimer : The title may be a bit misleading I’m not advocating pursuing a relationship with any unsavoury characters (serial philanders, wife beaters, emotionally abusive freaks of nature, etc) just for the sake of having a relationship. But anything vaguely legit is fine. 

Once upon a time, a more judgmental me vowed never to date a divorcee. I told myself I had too much self-respect to be someone’s second wife and take on all the associated emotional/financial baggage (and possibly little people) that came with that. To be fair, I’m still not too sure how I feel about it. In all honesty, I’d love more of clean slate if at all possible (yeah, yeah I know we by the age of 30 pretty much all of us have few notches on your bed post and a few issues to boot!).

Whether it’s your marriage that comes tumbling down after a matter of months or a case of you not even making it down the aisle after dating someone for half a decade, there is no doubt that when a long-term relationship comes to an end you have to deal with a bunch of ‘ agh shames’ because as society sees it you’ve failed at something. And not just anything, the most important thing in the world ever. You’ve failed at happily ever after. Pass the tissues.

Of course, some of people do marry their first love (great sentiment and all, but some of us are more inclined to try a few things at the buffet before knowing what our fave is). As this isn’t the case for the majority of us, what really is the a viable alternative to having a bunch of FAILED relationships to your name? Being a 30-something virgin still waiting for the one to materialise…don’t get me started. Sigh.

So today dear rinsers, I’m going to be smashing a huge slice of humble pie into my face and telling you why (even in the cases where they end in divorce) there is really no such thing as a failed relationship. And also why collecting failed (human) relationships is still a better option that living out a sad, (often) sexless, lonely existence. Here goes:

Broken Relationships Help Establish Deal Breakers You Never Knew You Had

When I was a chubby kid that boys never noticed, I was pretty much willing to date any bloke that paid me the slightest bit attention. Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration but I hadn’t put too much thought into it to be honest. Obviously, we all have some basic deal breakers even from the start. For example, I’ve always known I didn’t want to date a convicted to felon. But there are also things we only realise matter when we a being forced to compromise on them within a relationship. On the flipside, there maybe things we initially thought were non-negotiable but actually in the grand scheme of things realise aren’t such a big deal.

Relationships Forces You Out of You Comfort Zone

Of course, you could say that about any human relationship you engage in. However,  I do think romantic relationships have this extra potential to push you further out of your comfort zone partly because of the fact that you driven by desire to impress the object of your affections.

Sure, some people will criticise you for being you other half’s shadow and lacking your own identity. But identity isn’t something static. Surely, we aren’t the same person, with the same interests, passions and motivations that we had in our teenage years. So taking an active interest in what makes your other half ticks is much more than a basic bonding experience, it can potentially change you (hopefully only in positive ways).

Look, I’m not saying you such start snorting cocaine because some dude you fancy swears by it. But within reason, forcing yourself to try new things isn’t bad. At worst, you’ll give it go, realise its not for you and never do it again. (but at least your beau should appreciate the effort). And you never know, you might discover something that you really enjoy, that challenges you and makes you a better person.

Lets just say I had many wasted gym memberships before I found a romantic interest who could show me how to do all these super cool big man things.  And sure, the relationship has come and gone but at least I have some muscles to show for it!

A ‘Failed’ Relationship Provides Opportunity for Introspection

It takes two to tango and also to up a relationship. In the aftermath of a breakup its normal to feel a bit sorry for yourself and blame the other person. But once the dust settles, you’ll probably realise you weren’t an angel in that situation either. When I look back to relationships I had in my early 20s I can now admit I was a bit of a spoilt brat (I’m an only child so sue me!) and I’d throw my toys out the cot every time I didn’t get my way. Those relationships would have collapsed in any case but my nitpicking and lack of anger management abilities certainly didn’t help things along. Now that I’m older and somewhat wiser, I’d like to think I’ve learnt to pick my battles and know when to take a breather rather than letting a minor disagreement turn into World War 3.

Admitting you have flaws which contributed to the downfall of a relationship is never nice. However, becoming aware of your shortcomings is the first step in working on yourself and finding ways to overcome these issues. Whether its a bad temper, insecurities, a tendency to rush into things or poor personal hygiene being  given the insight to fix the issue could also help you develop into a better human in general thereby making you a more viable dating option for the next potential hottie that comes along.

Mistakes Provide Good Lessons

If you try hard enough you should be able to find something positive in every relationship. There are some however that really are overwhelmingly bad such as ones where you emerge from the destruction with your self-esteem in tatters after being called a morbidly obese time and time again. In such cases, a bit of analysis will probably reveal that there were red flags from the outset that you chose to ignore. Hopefully, nothing too disastrous should happen (i.e. you don’t end up in jail or worse, knocked up!) as a result of your poor dating decision. Regardless, having a handful of dealings with such shady characters should enable one to develop enough street smarts and become a better judge of character so when the next deadbeat comes along you’ll be able to quickly spot the signs and save yourself the heartache and drama by simply NEXTing that person!

And Relationships Give You The Best Sex

I know there will be some WISO (we still don’t know if such a thing exists) who will beg to differ with me on this one. But I’m sticking to my guns here. Relationship people get better sex.

I did recently have someone tell me I didn’t need to be in a relationship (or Tinder) to get lucky. No shit Sherlock! But I still don’t think a one nighter with even the most smoking hot sexpot in the world ever can compare to bedroom acrobatics with someone you actually have feelings for and don’t feel repulsed waking up next to the next morning. Oh yeah, and unlike a one-nighter which is somewhat unpredictable, when you are in a relationship you have the good stuff on tap. Just saying.

Finally….Consider The Alternatives? 

If you’ve recently come out of a relationship or marriage it is bound to feel horrific. Add to that this sense of failure which is no doubt put on oneself but also exacerbated by wider society, and things start to look pretty bleak. Can there really be anything worse, than having a ‘failed’ at happily ever after? Believe it or not, YES..

The way I see it, there are two alternatives both of which are infinitely worse. You could opt to be ‘brave’ and stay in an unhappy nightmarish relationship to avoid looking like you ‘failed’ at something. Lots of people do. We’ve probably all held onto a toxic relationship for longer than we should have at some point in our lives. And if you’ve experienced this you’ll know it is a hellish experience and one which I’d say rarely has any benefits. Despite the fact that it is horrible being in a relationship where you spend most of time avoiding each other and cursing the day your other half came into being, there are plenty of people who’d rather have the facade of a happy ending than nothing at all. I’ll take the failure. Thanks.

The other way to avoid a ‘failed’ relationship is not to engage in one at all. A prospect that doesn’t ever bear thinking about if you ask me. By now you know my feelings about WISOs (they don’t exist) and 30-Something Virgins. Lets stop kidding ourselves by saying we are above all this relationship drama or are waiting for the ONE to come along. Most people have to do some soul searching and sift through the deadwood before they find the person they want to be with forever (or the foreseeable future as this generation would have it). But you could die tomorrow with your V-card still in tact waiting for this unicorn to fall from the sky.  Who in their right mind wants that?

And the point to all the prattling on. Well basically, failed relationships are better than no relationships ever at all or a farcical happy relationship. Life is about taking (calculated) risks and although heartbreak is the WORST most people who’ve been through it will tell you that things do eventually get better. Meaningful romantic relationships give us important life skills, teach us what we can/cannot accommodate in a relationship and provide some useful insights into our own shortcomings which may not have been revealed had we remained single forevermore.  Romantic relationships also have a special kind of dynamic that you can’t get elsewhere.There are people out there that will tell you there are other sources of love out there – friends, family, puppies, etc but they aren’t quite the same. So keep at it, make a few mistakes, take a break from dating if it all gets all too much, but take no notice of the world has to say about success and failure when it comes to happily ever after. Because its all a matter of perspective really.

Oh and  as for the million dollar question. Am I going to compromise on my rather lofty ideals about divorcees? Hmm…I don’t know about that. To be fair, I am a fan of living in sin so I’ll probably end up giving the guy a lot of jip about his starter marriage. One thing I can say for certain though is, if presented with a divorcee/relationship failure and someone still in possession and their V-card, its a no brainer which one I’d go for! The good sex 😉

Alright Rinsers, over to you. Do you think its better ‘to have loved and lost than to have never loved before’? Or do you think its better for your emotional well being to stay away from relationship altogether and opt for a bit of no-strings attached fun? And does holding out for the one and trying nothing in the interim come with its own problems? Go wild in the comments section below.

 

The Sex Recession – Are We Living In an Overwhelmingly Sexless Society ?

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Apparently, stats show that rates of sexual activity are declining (well, at least in the Western world where they have enough time/money to research such things!). But honestly, I didn’t need some complicated research paper to tell me that, its obvious from the world around me. Sure, people might claim to be sexually liberated and free to discover a whole host of weird and wonderful sexual activities – sex with men, women, elderly people, groups of people, best friends, randoms from the club, randoms you’ve held a five minute conversation with…and if things get really tough you can always pay for it and if you are broke you can have a healthy sexual relationship with your hand (I’m told sex toys are getting pricey these days!). We live in a world where pretty much anything goes. But if you ask me, its all a bit of a facade.

Sure, in our 20s it was easy enough to hit the club and if you were somewhat pretty/handsome and on the pull you’d be likely to end up taking some generic guy/girl home for a one-nighter. Things are different the older we get – we have other priorities and wild nights become few and far between. By now you already know what I think about relationship girls vs. WISOs – relationships require more effort and may look a bit boring at times but in my experience, those are the people getting the best sex on tap. The WISO story is a bit of fairytale – even the hottest girl on the block is unlikely to be bedding a different bloke every night and even if they are, the bedroom antics are probably less than satisfactory.  That said, people are taking longer to settle down but surely that shouldn’t mean they have to be pretty much celibate in the interim, right?

I get angsty if I haven’t had any action in a few months ( and like I mentioned last time, my biggest concern when being deported back to my homeland was that of regaining my virginity due to lack of opportunities to get lucky) but then again I take comfort in knowing that the situation is so much worse for others. I’ve heard of those who’ve had sex droughts that have lasted years and worse still there are those that in their 30s that are not only still waiting to have that cherry seen to but are yet to be kissed. Oh my! It really is a sad state of affairs. It really does look like we are sexless generation. Sigh.

This article provides a in-depth look into the reasons why this maybe the case. Factors mention include the growing popularity of porn (you have a access to all your wildest sexual fantasies without having to interact with a dumb ass human – win/win apparently!). DIY/Sex Toys (again, why bother interacting with humans when you can DO you), the prioritization of career/education/independence over relationships (after all, your job/degree won’t wake up one day and decide to vacate the house leaving you with nothing more than a cat for company – true story of a tinder boy!), the Tinder mirage (yes, people call it the hookup app but in reality we all know its easier said than done to meet a compatible match and it is more of a time-killer than anything else) #metoo (not in the sense that consensual sex is a bad thing but our preoccupation with consent makes it harder for people to make the necessary moves), our obsession with technology killing our chances of meeting someone organically (e.g.the moment we have some downtime we are glued to the screens of our smartphones), the paradox of choice (there are so many options to explore, that we are all to afraid to settle for a relationship which could offer us stability and regular sex!), our obsession with looks/the increase in obesity (we aim too high and dismiss people that could potentially be a good match or the basis of looks. And increasing rates of obesity in an age where people are obsessed with looking good, makes it hard for those people to get laid. Plus, its not unheard of to be fat and fit,  but sure, obesity probably makes the cardio aspect of sexual activity a little more difficult!).

And this doesn’t just apply to single people either. Of course, I still stand by my belief about relationship people having better/more regular sex than the WISO and its male-equivalent. However, I realise that my argument is all good theoretically but isn’t flawless in reality.  I mean I’ve heard of people in relationships who’ve admitted to scheduling sex (spontaneity is overrated it seems). Then there are decade long long-distance relationships where the two parties only physically meet each other for 2 weeks of the year (Skype sex counts, maybe?). And worse still, there are those in relationships, and even marriages  who don’t engage in any fornication at all. I think you’d be surprised how many married people sleep in separate beds. Why ??!?? I just can’t deal.  I once had a friend at high school, who at the age of 15, still believed that her parents had only had sex twice in their lives, once to make her and once to make her brother. Everyone scoffed at the idea and awww’d at her innocence. A decade or two later, I’m beginning to think she may have had a point.

I’m sure there are some people that’ll say I’ve got it all wrong and to them, I probably come across as some sex-obsessed man-eater. Surely,  relationships shouldn’t be based on copulation? And I agree that there is more to a good relationship than regular orgasms. But that said, I certainly think it should be part of any healthy relationship. Of course, you don’t expect people to be going at it like rabbits once the relationship is more established and there are obviously other priorities in play. But it should still feature, right? Otherwise, really whats the point of all this dating/relationship malarky anyway? For company? Get a dog. To have someone to talk to? Stop being a Billie No Mates and find some friends. So that you won’t die alone? Well….there is no guarantee this isn’t going to happen in any case. Your husband/wife/life-partner, etc may just kick the bucket before you. An idiot once told me, we come into this world alone and we’ll leave alone. He had a point. To procreate? So, you’ve passed on your genetic code. Now what? Surely, intimacy is what sets romantic relationships apart from all those we have with friends, family and sentient beings.

And when it comes to the reasoning behind why we are such a sexless generation ? I have no clues. I don’t think it is enough to blame porn, dating apps or obesity rates. The only thing I can think of is that maybe its just a case of messed up perceptions. Maybe the fact that the media bombards us with sex the whole time spurs us to spend much of our lives thinking, talking and even blogging about sex but less time actually getting in on the act. Who the hell knows? Just seems like a sad, sad, situation to me.

So Rinsers, Whats your take on this sad state of affairs? Are we living through a sex recession? Is it something we need to be concerned about? Is bedroom acrobatics all that important or are there bigger things we should be worrying about when it comes to human relationships? And is it more of a problem for the singletons or does it apply attached people too? Tell me you views in the comments below. 

Valentine’s Day – What Are Your Options?

  • Happy Valentine's Day

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ll not fail to have noticed that February, as well as being the month of the fabulous people, is the month of LOVE. HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY Rinsers.  The Day of Love and Blah Blah Blah.

As much as people (both those in and out of relationships) would like to believe they are above such a commercialised occasion, it is bound to have some impact on a person’s life. Whether that means you’ll be getting yourself into debt forking out for a bit of bling to show your Significant Other how you feel about them, wallowing in self-pity and contemplating why Prince Charming has failed to materialise for yet another year or stressing about what to wear for a non-date/luncheon meeting with the Christmas Fling that went horribly wrong, I guarantee that V-Day, like Christmas, is not something that will truly fail to register on your radar. Now we’ve established that let’s look at some of the options available to make the 14th February as momentous or pain-free as possible.

Be Loved Up

If you are in a happy, healthy relationship or arrangement of sorts. Yay for you! Being ‘in love’ (or lust even) is the best feeling in the world. Even though relationships always have their ups and downs and love doesn’t always last for ever, if you happen to find yourself in a good place on the most ‘romantic’ day of the year, go with it! A wise lady once told me, you’ve gotta take love wherever you can get it.  So, if you are are lucky enough to be loved up make the most of the day by getting into the V-Day spirit of it all – buy the flowers, smash those over-priced chocolates into your face, indulge a PDAs (a be sure to shout back at people who tell you to get a room), and then get a room and enjoy copious amounts of glorious, glorious sex!

Get Nostalgic (Don’t!) / Contemplate Your Romantic Future

Part of me will always be convinced that V-Day is part of the universe’s evil plan to make a) single people and b) coupled people in somewhat unhappier relationships feel inadequate.  I mean when you are surrounded by hearts, teddy bears and all things red (remember its also the colour of hos 😛 ), its hard to avoid contemplating your romantic future. For singletons that probably means wondering whether, you’ll ever find a suitable partner and live happily ever after or worse still getting nostalgic about V-Days of years gone by, where you were once in love and wondering if you’ll ever find yourself in that happy place again (you will, don’t worry. It may not be on V-Day but these things do happen more than once in a lifetime!). And if that fails remember that there are honestly worse things than being single of Valentine’s Day.

For those in relationships that aren’t all that happy, V-day is probably one of those occasions (like Christmas and New Year) that forces you to reflect on the situation and reassess your levels of happiness/satisfaction. If the thought of spending time in the presence of your so-called Significant Other on the most romantic day of year fills you with dread, perhaps its a sign to call time on the encounter? On the flipside though, all this talk of love may make how good you’ve got it and might encourage you to take the relationship to the next level (although Valentine’s proposals are totes cliche!).

Attempt to Buck The Trend

Christmas jumpers are eww. Unicorns don’t exist. You sleep through the New Year’s Eve fireworks every year. And what’s with all this Happy Valley nonsense?  Perhaps you are one of those that refuse to get caught up in such mainstream nonsense  (or claim to at least!). It’s a normal day, you are going to carry on as NORMAL. Work your dull office job, wear a black suit and go home with litre of vodka! Ha! As much as you can refuse to get involved in societally-imposed celebrations, I don’t think you’ll turn your nose up as free red velvet cupcakes being distributed at work.  Or maybe you’ve faced facts that you can’t avoid V-Day, but you’ll use it for your own purpose. Screw Valentine’s Day, it is all about Galentines Day in your world (although that’s technically the day before).

Regardless of whether you decide to live in denial about the existence of V-Day or attempt to go against the grain by finding your own way to celebrate, it’s hard to buck the trend so do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel better. And then remind yourself, its just one day and it too shall pass. The get yourself down to your local supermarket on the 15th of Feb and enjoy all the bargainous flower and chocolates they’ll be trying to flog.

Have Fun With It

Finally, if you can’t beat them, join them! Perhaps tomorrow, you’ll find yourself sad and alone, happily single, loved up or finding an excuse to hide from your better half. Regardless of your situation, try to make the most of it. This might mean enjoying some bubbly with your mates, going to a V-Day themed speed dating event, being showered with lots of bling, bling things, snuggling up with the one you love followed by mid-week bedroom goodies or simply enjoying a good old flirt over coffee with your very own ‘unicorn’.  Who knows?  So whatever you decide to do tomorrow, try to enjoy it as best you can.  Wear the red ribbons in your hair, indulge in pink doughnuts and be sure to drink copious amounts of bubbly because after all Valentine’s is just another day but also an excuse to do whatever silly thing we want in the name of LOVE.

Alrighty, Rinsers. Share your thoughts on V-Day in the comments below. Is it intended to make people feel inadequate or simply a lovely lovely celebration of love. How will you be spending this epic day? And do you think it is really possible to avoid the hype entirely? Please indulge me in the comments below (unless of course your busy practising your Karma Sutra moves in which case I’ll let you off). 

 

The Fine Line Between a Broken Heart and Bruised Ego – And What Is Worse?

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In an age governed by all things instagrammable, the social image matters. As much as we may try to keep our romantic relations away from the public realm its always easier said than done. And even if we succeed, nobody likes to experience rejection and humiliation, even behind closed doors. Unless you are a inclined to be a social recluse who’d much rather remain in the confines of their cosy boudoir, we are all bound to encounter a few not-so-nice episodes when it comes to the pursuit of happily ever after. But then there is always that Facebook ‘friend’ who you know is going through some drama when you start seeing memes about how much they hate the opposite sex or inspirational quotes about being a strong, independent woman….bla bla bla. It gets tiring. Surely, noone can expect the public to sympathise when they seem to change boyfriends/husbands more often than the average person changes their socks. Hmmm..so pray tell. How. in an age governed by public image, do we differentiate actual heartbreak from a mere bruised ego? Here are some thoughts on the matter.

How much investment was in the relationship?

Millenials, they say, are a fickle generation. We upgrade our perfectly functional iPhones every year. We quit jobs after 3 days when it gainful employment no longer works around our yoga schedules. And when we hit a rough patch in our relationship we all know our next ‘love’ is just a swipe away.

However, as we get older and experience more and more failed relationships we learn that nobody is perfect and quitting isn’t always the best course of action. Those of us who don’t believe we are god’s gift to the rest of mankind will probably do some level of self-reflection and work on things we can do better. So hopefully, before we make any rash decisions sleep on things and give the situation some real thought.

That said, there are also times where you’ve tried your utmost to make some reasonable requests and some changes to the dynamics without losing your identity, and after crying yourself to sleep every night for what feels like an eternity, you bite the bullet, realise he isn’t going to leave his ‘wife’ as he has been saying for the past 2 years and call time on the relationship.

Of course, it’s not always about how long you’ve held on to things by a thread but generally speaking, there is a difference between a relationship that was all for the pleasure of your instagram followers come to an end and having to give up on something you worked so hard for. Sure, facing a certain degree of humiliation amongst your acquaintances and social networks is a bit of dent on the ol’ego but it doesn’t really equate to the crippling heartbreak associated with losing someone you actually planned on having a future with.

How ‘real’ were the reasons behind the termination of the encounter?

I’ve reiterated the importance of knowing your deal breakers time and time again. However, superficial or silly these non-negotiables may seem to the world at large. I believe as that as long as a person is open about their deal breakers from the get-go, as not to waste another person’s time (aka precious childbearing years for some!), then they are entitled to make certain demands to the universe about what they seek in a potential partner. Yes, when it comes to your personal dating life, a person can be as racist, sexist and able-ist as they want. It might not get them very far in life but they can do as they please.

That said, being rejected because you are unable to live up to a partner’s lofty ideals isn’t likely to be the most fun experience. Learning that someone just dated you for the sex, your money, or because they needed a bed for the night or a plus one for their best friends wedding will certainly be a knock to one’s self-confidence. In such cases, you eventually realize it was their loss, put it down to experience and move on to better things. Be thankful you dodged that bullet.

On the flipside, you have relationships where you’ve been through the wars and stuck together but still, manage to find some issue that you can’t compromise on. It’s all well an good setting your deal-breakers at the start, but the fact is we have relationships with human beings, not inanimate objects. Humans are open to change and so 1, 2 or 10 years down the line you might find that you are no longer dating that carefree young chick you met in a bar ever-so-long ago.  It’s when you’ve worked and worked on something and finally admitted defeat that things get sad. At some stage, you realise its no longer worth fighting this losing battle so you cut ties. You won’t necessarily hate the other person, in fact, you may still love them enough to take a bullet for them but you just come to terms with the heartbreaking reality that things weren’t meant to be.

And in the end, what’s worse? A broken heart or a bruised ego? 

Turns out the jury’s still out on this one. It would be easy to say that heartbreak being more entrenched is going to be worse. However, from experience, I find that sometimes the impact of a continuous knocks can not just bruise an ego but do more long term irreparable damage to a person’s confidence.

Think of it this way, when you experience real heartbreak its the result of having had a real relationship which involved real feelings. Sure, it’s sad when something that was once so good comes to an end. But at least you walk away with a few good memories. On the other hand, when your ego gets knocked around its often seems more superficial but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a lasting impact.

Regardless, of whether the encounter last 1 month or 1 year, it was unlikely to be based on any solid foundations. Once you are at a stage where you can look back at things objectively (and if you find you can’t do this, find a friend to help you out!), you’ll likely see that any ‘good memories’ you thought you had weren’t all the ‘good’ after all. All those nice meals you guys used to have, well the food probably doesn’t taste so sweet when you remind yourself of how the nights ended with him calling you Fatty McFatty! And all those sweet nothings he used to whisper, well those aren’t so melodious when you realise he said what he needed to say to get his leg over. With these sort of ‘waste of time’ experiences, you are often left doubting your judgment and often hating the opposite sex. And this has the impact to tarnish future relationships.

I guess part it depends on the way your built though. As much as its easy to dish out platitudes like ‘time heals’ and ‘there are plenty more fish in the sea’. Both heartbreaks and bruised egos suck albeit in slightly different ways.  Hearts do mend and often after the dust settles you can have fond memories of those encounters. If there is something good you can take away from the experience, you can live somewhat hopefully that another more positive experience could potentially be just around the corner. Egos tend to be a bit more fragile.  Coming to terms that something ended because you weren’t pretty enough, smart enough , or simply too naive to see through his cunning ways… (all factors you don’t necessarily have any control over) well that can leave you scarred for life.

Anyway Rinsers,  as the title of this post state there is a fine line between a broken heart and brusied ago. Both suck. Both are part of life and the quest for happily ever after. So give me your thoughts. How do you spot the difference ? And which one is worse ? Go wild in the comments below.

 

 

 

‘Can I Kiss You?’ Making Moves in the Age of Consent

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Once upon a time (well, like 3 years ago!) an incredibly articulate gentleman asked me the million dollar question : ‘Can I kiss you ?’ (NB – He was the same guy, who, when I eventually ended things and told him we could be friends (out of politeness) replied with that classic line: ‘Friends or Friends of an intimate nature’ PEWK!). At that moment, I scoffed and offered him a glass of water. The next day, I debriefed the said encounter with a few girlfriends and oh, how we laughed! They also laughed at me for my terrible attempt at deflection. One friend even said : ‘If he had to ask the question then answer should have been obvious!’. However, since then, it seems things have changed. I guess that whole #metoo movement had something to do with it. But suddenly there is the whole ‘consent is sexy’ thing happening!

Call me old-fashioned, but even 3 years on, I’m sticking to my guns and PUBLICLY ridiculing any guy that asks me if he can kiss me (just FYI I laugh at men who ask girls out on coffee dates too – potential romantic encounters should never feel like an informal job interview). However, it does seem perhaps I am in the minority. Having asked around, it seems that its now protocol to ask before falling onto another’s humans face. Oh my!  Anyway, it was pointed to me that my initial reasons for turning my nose up at the ‘can I kiss you ?’ question were quite predictable. Fair enough. Although, this article, did force me to dig a little deeper, nothing has fundamentally changed. I still don’t think any significant relationship in my life will begin with such a question and here is why:

Alternative Ways To Get Consent

Nope I’m not talking about reading body language which is yet another grey area.  In any case it seems that literacy levels (in every sense) are pretty low these days. Some people are the brightest crayons and need everything spelled out for them. Sigh!

And yeah, I get it, the odds aren’t really in a guys favour these days. You never know if when you go in for a romantic smooth whether the raging feminist will lose her mind and start shouting ‘PERVERT! PERVERT!’. So, perhaps so verbal cues are necessary for a dude’s peace of mind.

And maybe its because I work with words all day or the Brit in me but a surely a simple matter of phrasing can make the whole situation a little less lame if you ask me. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but there have been a few instances where men have felt the need to do a Mr Darcy and ANNOUNCE their intention to kiss me before going in for the kill. Rather than asking you, they are tell you. Yes, we know some women are going to start ranting about equality, gender roles and blah blah but I don’t think assertiveness is necessarily a bad thing especially in an age where noone seems to know what they want in life. Furthermore, this way of doing things not only allows the guy to feel like a BIG MAN, it also gives the girl a certain amount of time to a) RUN away or b) mentally prepare herself for what could be the start of something wonderful. Win-Win!

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

I think a big part of why this whole thing irks me so much is that I think having to explicitly ask something so basic is that it seems we now live in a world where people (men, basically) are guilty until proven innocent when it comes to contact (physical and verbal) with the opposite sex.  I mean in some fields of work there are strict protocols on what one can say or do when dealing with humans. You see a colleague balling their eyes out because their dog died, you may instinctively want to hug them in an attempt to make it all better BUT you better think twice before initiating contact who knows 2 years down the line it may be held against you in a sexual harrassment trial. Of course, you may think I’m being a drama queen here but that’s not to say such a thing has never happened.

Look, I’ve experienced my fair share of perverts. Old ones, young ones, good looking ones and ones who should stay at home chained to their computers. Even the ‘Hunk on Wheels’ well he recently spotted me in passing (have I mentioned Cape Town is a small world!) and suggested that I sit on his lap (just ewww!). That said, I also know lots of guys that aren’t all that bad. I mean, questionable fashion choices aside, they are just nice, fairly normal people. And even those that have tried their luck tend to back down once you subtlety (or not so) put them in their place. I just think its a shame that good guys are going to have to question their every move because of the likes of Trump and Co.

When The Tables Are Turned….

I know the ‘Can I Kiss You?’ Rule is intended to everyone – guys kissing girls, girls kissing guys, guys kissing guys and so on. But is the situation really the same? Following, #metoo we saw lots of guys coming forward with incidents of sexual harassment at the hands of woman. Sure, its debatable how widespread it is but it does happen. But does society really react in the same?

Back in the days when I used to drink copious amounts of box wine, I remember literally having to chase a friend around in circles as she ran after a guy who she just planned on jumping. It was like a scene from a Tom and Jerry cartoon. But we’ve all probably be THAT drunk girl, who uses booze to get rid of all inhibitions and pluck up the courage to make a move on a guy. The move could be as innocent as a beautiful, public declaration of love through poetry, or more likely throwing oneself (in some cases down a flight of stairs) at the guy and desperately hoping he’ll kiss back.  You see we are not all that different.

‘Can I Kiss You?’ Is Still Not The Answer To The World’s Problems 

I’m not much of a touchy-feely person. The way I see it if you are not my Significant Other, I have no reason to touch you and you have no reason to touch me either. But we live in a social world and sometimes you have to awkwardly hug people (however much you’d rather just fist pump!). Should we be asking people ‘Can I hug you?’, ‘May I hold your hand?’…. Where do we draw the line?

And then there are words. I could argue that sometimes the things people are say are often more vulgar and intrusive than a simple kiss. Of course we don’t need to be idiots about it. Clearly, asking a girl to sit on your lap is far more offensive than telling her she is pretty. But people take offense at different things. Believe me these days, with the PC police out in full force you could get done for referring to another person as ‘baby’, ‘sweetheart’ or ‘darling’ (when in fact you are probably only having to use those terms because you are bad with names – jokes!).

Maybe you think I’m just taking things to far. But like with all things to do with human relationships – its a case of different strokes for different folks. People have different boundaries shaped by culture, personal experiences and whole of host of other factors. How is the rest of the world supposed to gauge what these are? Million dollar questions right there. In any case, there are no hard and fast rules here. Perhaps I’ve just gone and got a bee in my bonnet because ‘Can I Kiss You?’ is just another thing that destroys the fairytale image of romance that I grew up with (after all, I don’t recall Prince Charming requesting Cinderella’s permission before kissing her ?!). In any case if it works it works and for those that prefer to err of the side of caution, go for it. (Ugh, and while we are at lets start signing contracts before engaging in any form of sexual activity – Christian Grey style!). The people that are intent on asking ‘Can I Kiss You?’ will continue to do so and I  hope for their sake they’ll be out with the type of person that appreciates the gesture, as opposed to some chick from the dark ages who chokes on her chardonnay, trying not to LOL in their face!

OK Dear Rinsers. Destroy me in the comments below! Do you ask a potential conquest ‘Can I Kiss You ?’ Is such a question even necessary? Where do we draw the line? Have you ever asked or been asked this question? What was your reaction? Share your horror stories or fairytales with us. 

 

Who Has The Best Sex? The WISOs vs The Relationship Girls

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So, this post is partly inspired by watching Chesil Beach, a movie that wanted to make me put a gun to my head as well as a conversation I had with a self-confessed WISO. For those of you who are new to the blog, WISO (a term coined by #zlotybaby) stands for Woman Interested in Sex Only. Just like a unicorn, a WISO is a rare creature – it’s debatable whether they actually exist. While the male versions can easily be found roaming the clubs, a true WISO is harder to find. You often think you’ve found her – the chick who seems to be a hit with all the guys, she may arrive at the party alone but will never leave empty-handed at the end of the night and oh, how she’ll brag about her fantastic sex-capades till you are a green with envy. But simply, scratch the surface and you’ll probably find that behind that behind that sexually-liberated exterior lies a little girl (perhaps with Daddy issues) who just wants to be loved. That said, who am I to judge what people actually want.

Anyway, back to my conversation with a WISO, it came as quite a surprise to hear her say that despite all her numerous rather wild sexual encounters in fact none of them had left her truly satisfied (sexually as well as emotionally probably!). Just to make it clear no experience was good enough for the WISO to go back for more Ho hum. That is not what I had expected to hear. You see, I always felt popular culture portrayed sexual liberation/promiscuity as something fun but probably requires a certain level of good looks and confidence to be able to maintain. But, I think the reality is a little less glamorous and a bit bleak, to be honest. Having watched my fair bit of trash TV, I can’t see it being much fun, when regardless of how hot or pretty you are, a guy from the Jersey Shore calls you an Uber as soon as the deed is done (maybe post-coital cuddles are overrated!).

On the flip side, I think those branded as somewhat prud-ish get a bit of a bad rap. No, I haven’t done a U-turn on my attitudes to being a 30-something virgin. But, you know what I mean, there is only so far one can go when it comes to glorifying sex between a run-of-the-mill monogamous couple (Although the 50 Shades Trilogy had a good go of it!). But just think about it. When it comes to sex, there can’t be much that beats it being in a happy, healthy relationship. Look at this way, unless you permanently live on different continents (remember I said happy and healthy) then you’ve got sex on tap…whenever and wherever you want (within reason – but you know lunchtime delights on the days you work from home aren’t too shabby!). This leads me to my next point, practice makes perfect. Unless you are weird like that odd couple in Chesil Beach a) they’ll be too much sexual tension to hold out on the deed till your wedding night and b) even if your first tussle is mind-blowing, you’ll give it a second shot (and a third, fourth and fifth….). And in turn, this means you can try out everything in the kamasutra (provided your relationship lasts that long) until you figure out what works for you. Finally, despite all the body positivity stuff that gets bandied about I don’t know many people that are so OK with their own naked bodies (or those of others) to actually want to strip off in front of a different person every other night without wanting to pewk in your mouth.

I’ve never been through my own WISO phase but to be completely honest it doesn’t really appeal to me. I’m sure there are still some people out there that’ll claim that WISOs have the best sex and its all about knowing your own body and blah blah. But I just don’t buy that. They’ll probably also tell you that relationship sex lacks the spontaneity that the WISO has….but that’s not strictly true. We’ve all heard of couples getting jiggy on the plane, in a field, on the roof of a church, etc…it doesn’t sound all bad.  After all, there have to be some benefits to stability and life with ole faithful 😛

Alright Rinsers, do you dare to share your stories in the comments below? What’s better relationship sex-capades with the one your love or no-strings-attached fun times? Or is there a time and place for both? Or … maybe not? Go, wild peeps….

Book Review: Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel

mating in captivityEsther Perel is a renowned psychotherapist who has been working with couples like forever. One of her main interests are long-term relationships and more specifically domestic sexuality and infidelity. She’s also fluent in 9 languages and in general a very impressive smart thinker. During one of my book shopping splurges I bought a copy of her book “Mating in Captivity” and here’s what I think about it.

“Mating in Captivity” is an interesting read. Theoretical parts of the book are supported with Perel’s clients cases. It’s quite a comprehensive book in some aspects. I did feel, however, like it was written a bit too much on the basis of Perel’s work experience and thoughts and there was too little focus on other books/research on the topic.
The author makes some very important points. She underlines how a good couple is a union of independent beings and how dependence and lack of separation is a desire killer. This is counter-intuitive given our social and cultural programming (just think about the Jerry Maguire everyone’s favorite line to his love interest “You complete me.”). I also liked how she pointed out the importance of society in formation of our expectations and views regarding sexuality and domesticity. As a representative of any Western society, you can relate to most of what she’s talking about. Still, some of her points are very American culture oriented and fall flat with a non-American reader.
The society has a big impact on us but Perel couldn’t be a respectable psychotherapist without mentioning a thing or two about the impact of childhood and our relationship with parents on our sexuality. Last but not least, she discusses the complex reasons why children can be such sex life killers and no, just being tired isn’t anywhere close to the full explanation.

The book provides food for thought and reads well. I do have certain doubts about its use for a troubled couple, though. Let’s say someone, for instance, thinks that spending 100% of your time apart from work with your partner is the blueprint for happiness but after years of doing so is struggling with resentment and a non-existent sex life. I really doubt that pointing out that this isn’t the way to go, even if supported with an appropriate case study will encourage this person to change. In a way, as good as this book is, it does feel a little bit like preaching to the choir. Perhaps the genre of the book is a bit unclear? It has some traits of a self-help book as well as some of a more general “how human works” vibe. Anyway, thanks, Madame Perel for making me feel justified in my judgment of other couples 😉