Love & Relationships

Recent posts

Activist Pick-Up Lines

Wanting to impress that socially-conscious special someone? Check out these pick-up lines for activists that have been trending on Twitter. My favorites include:

I’m a socialist in the streets but an anarchist in the sheets. Is that a rolled up secular, minority rights-protecting constitutional draft in ur pocket,or are u just happy to see me? Rose are red. Continue Reading →

Stereotypes About Kink And Alternative Sexualities

Molly Ren’s post at The Frisky about the ridiculous assumptions people make about BDSM/kink got a chuckle out of me. Yes, a lot of folks assume that practitioners of BDSM (short for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism) are sex-crazed deviants… but that’s generally not true. In fact, if anything, practitioners of alternative sexuality lifestyles such as BDSM/kink and polyamory tend to have a heightened sense of consent and boundaries (arguments have been made about BDSM being a sexual orientation, but for now we’ll go with lifestyle). If anything, the insights and communication strategies from queer, poly, and non-normative relationships offer many benefits to straight, monogamous, and vanilla folks. Continue Reading →

Treat Yourself For Valentine’s Day

Instead of a list of some (probably great) gift ideas for a special sweetie or a post about trying to not feel lonely this Valentine’s Day, why not consider spending some quality time with one of the best people in your life – you! Spend a half an hour spoiling yourself or a whole day. So many people i know spend hours a day trying to please everyone around them that they don’t take time for themselves. This Valentine’s Day, I urge you to take some quality time out for you. Think about what makes you feel nice and appreciate yourself – whether it’s a nice bath while reading a magazine, eating crackers in bed, or even some self loving. Continue Reading →

No Relationship Model Is One-Size-Fits-All

As I’ve blogged about before, queer and poly relationships actually have a lot of communication strategies to offer straight, monogamous, and vanilla relationships (not to mention the fact that a world where every kind of relationship is not only tolerated but also accepted is a better world for everyone). In a similar vein, Ferrett Steinmetz’s blog post There Is No Okay In Poly does, despite the title, apply to monogamous relationships as well. The post came out of the “Is this okay to do in poly?” questions that the author got tired of hearing, leading him to write of relationship models: “Maybe you select something off the rack at first, but the end goal is to not emulate some other happy couple, but to become one yourself.” In other words, no two relationships are (or should be) the same. Continue Reading →

What If We Thought About Consent In Terms Of Food?

In my attempts to theorize consent, I sometimes think of it in terms of metaphors and stories (see my joking “tangerine consent” post for an example of this). Along those same lines, I began wondering: what if we thought of sexual consent in the same terms that we think of food? Ponder these scenarios:

A woman is really tipsy, and someone who’s talking to her reaches toward her mouth with a piece of food in hand, as though about to begin feeding her. The conversation has not been on food, and she’s not given any indication that she’s hungry. A man is napping, and someone comes up to him and begins to work open his mouth with their fingers so a morsel of food can be inserted. Continue Reading →

Compulsory Monogamy Going Mainstream?

Perhaps I should clarify: compulsory monogamy is already mainstream. It’s already the norm, and a largely unexamined one at that. What I mean to discuss here is how the idea of compulsory monogamy is now under discussion in the mainstream, thanks to its application to The Hunger Games movie franchise. This essay, Compulsory Monogamy in The Hunger Games, by Mimi Schippers, PhD, has been picked up by The Huffington Post and Jezebel. Meaning, it’s now reaching a lot of readers. Continue Reading →

Poly 101 Vs. Poly 201

In the class on non-monogamy that I’m teaching this semester, we’ve spent some time discussing polyamory and open relationships, focusing on how these relationship models intersect with cultural notions of gender and sexuality. We’ve covered a lot of “Poly 101″ topics such as how to communicate in non-monogamous relationships, so I’m going to pass along to my students this link to a blog post about Poly 201 issues. In it, blogger AmazonSyren describes the importance of having a space in which to discuss the issues that arise when one is practicing an alternative sexuality lifestyle. It’s less about “whoa, this is new, what are my options?” and more about “ok, now that we’re here, let’s discuss managing the daily things that crop up in this lifestyle.” Continue Reading →

Rethinking “Consent Is Sexy”

Condom Monologues recently published an interview with sex educator Ashley Manta on consent, sex positivity, and other hot topics in the world of sex education. In it, she urges us to rethink the phrase “consent is sexy,” claiming that it’s an oversimplification:

Consent is not always sexy—sometimes it’s downright awkward. Having a conversation about boundaries, STI testing, and other pre-sex talking points can be incredibly difficult. That does not make it any less necessary. I think it’s important to let people know that these conversations can be challenging and that good sexual communication takes practice. Continue Reading →

Thoughts On “Carrot Dating”

Thanks to an MIT alumnus, there now exists an app called “Carrot Dating,” which allows allows people to offer potential dates a gift for going on a date with them. The problem, of course, is where the gift crosses the line into, say, a bribe or a payment. The app’s creator explains the idea like this: “Giving is the greatest ‘icebreaker,’ and anyone can date the man or woman of their dreams by simply dangling the right ‘carrot.’” The idea is apparently more about having a way to break the ice, and then seeing if you connect, than actually trying to pay someone to go on a date with you. As someone with a background in cultural anthropology, I can agree that giving occupies an important role in many cultures. A glimpse at my field’s classics will confirm this. Continue Reading →

Why Can’t We Just Talk About Sex?

I’m annoyed at our sex-phobic culture a lot of the time, for a lot of reasons, but today it’s specifically because we consider it taboo to talk about sex outside of a few limited contexts. When is it okay to talk about sex? Presumably with one’s partner(s) – though in the mainstream culture it’s assumed that in order to talk about sex you’re heterosexually married and pursuing sexual activities as a way to procreate. And in theory you should be able to discuss sex with your medical professionals, especially if you’re experiencing a disorder that’s sexual in nature (genital pain, trying to conceive, etc.). Otherwise, there aren’t many socially acceptable venues in which to openly and honestly discuss sex. Continue Reading →