Love & Relationships

Recent posts

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 →

I’m Just Not That Into You: Reasons For Turning Down A Second Date

Is there a bad reason to not go out on a second date? Blogger Anna Davies at Refinery 29 made me wonder if there are ridiculous reasons out there. In her piece, ten different readers listed a reason why they had decided that one date was enough (or in some cases, more than enough). I know from personal experience that sometimes you’re just not meant to be with a person – maybe on that first date you just don’t click romantically or after one date you are rather irritated and just can’t imagine spending one more cup of coffee with that person (sorry, Ron). One person in the article simply says, “he said he hated yoga.” Continue Reading →

When It Comes To Sex Or Religion, Intent Doesn’t Excuse Bad Behavior

In a recent conversation, a friend mentioned that she was upset about about a pattern she noticed. She described how when Christians tried to convert her, her attempts to describe how hurtful it was were met with their disbelief – after all, everyone involved had good intentions! This set off bells in my head. Because when it comes to discussions of aspects of rape culture like street harassment or those supposedly-innocuous-but-possibly-threatening flirtation attempts that get labeled as “creepy,” intention is often invoked as a cure-all. “But he didn’t mean to be creepy!” Continue Reading →

Dealing With Sexual Harassment As A Professor

GracieABD blogs about an experience being sexually harassed in her college classroom, when a student wrote on a mid-semester evaluation that her teaching would be improved if she taught naked. Her reaction – to use it as a teaching moment to educate her class about what sexual harassment is – was brave and inspired. I received one comment like that while I was assisting with a class; one student responded to the end-of-semester evaluation question “What did you like least about the class?” with something along the lines of “That I wasn’t dating the instructor.” GracieABD’s remarks about feeling humiliated and objectified resonated with me. Continue Reading →

Consent On The Playa

I’ve discussed sexual assault at Burning Man in the past, and so I was pleased to find that when my husband came home from the playa this year, he came home with this pamphlet:
The BED is a grassroots effort to promote consent-based interactions both on-playa and off-playa. Check out their publications for some of their tips on consent and intimacy. Anything that foregrounds consent gets a thumbs-up from me, so I’m glad this souvenir found its way home to me (even if it was trailing playa dust). Continue Reading →

Is Social Media Sabotaging Your Love Life?

OK, I get that the headline is a bit extreme. And I’m sure the media masterminds who created Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr—etc!—never had any intention of making connecting more complex. But now that our daily practices are so immersed in this constant cycle of sharing, at what point do we stop and say enough is enough? To give you a bit of context, I recently came across this post titled ‘10 Ways Technology Is Ruining Your Love Life.’ And after clicking through the numerous articles highlighted in that post, it made me wonder: Are we cheapening our experiences (with our partner) if we’re constantly sharing these intimate moments with all of our “friends?” Don’t get me wrong, I love that I am able to use social platforms to keep in touch with friends, family, colleagues, and past acquaintances. Continue Reading →

The “F*ck Yes” Attitude To Courtship

In the realm of dating and courtship advice, there’s tons of material out there on how to convince someone they want to be with you. However, as Mark Manson advocates in his blog post Fuck Yes Or No, maybe you should only pursue people who respond to you with enthusiasm (the titular “fuck yes”). As he puts it: Why would you ever be excited to be with someone who is not excited to be with you? If they’re not happy with you now, what makes you think they’ll be happy to be with you later? Why do you make an effort to convince someone to date you when they make no effort to convince you? Continue Reading →

The “Dating Rules” Idea

What’s up with the spate of rules that fathers make about dating their daughters? I’m sure you’ve all heard some variation of the whole “oh, so you’re dating my daughter, have I mentioned that I have a shotgun?” dating rules. Maybe they’re meant to be jokes, but they also communicate something very specific about what dating and sex are about: that boys will try to “take” sex from girls, and it’s the father’s job to lock up his daughter in order to protect her. Ugh, right? In this excellent blog post, TheFerrett deconstructs the notion that fathers should be overprotective of their daughters. Continue Reading →

Studying Something Is Not Condoning It

The 2014 debut of a new academic journal called Porn Studies (to be published by Routledge) has already created ripples: a petition is circulating to replace the board of editors with a more “balanced” membership, because apparently the current board is too “pro-porn.” I believe it’s important to study any and every aspect of human behavior, including (duh) the sexual. And it’s also important to note that studying a phenomenon is not the same thing as condoning it. We need better data on all kinds of sexual behavior before we can make sensible policies about it. However, as this Guardian article points out, there are potential links between the ready availability of violent pornography and violent sex acts in real life, which an entirely pro-pornography board of editors might miss if they end up being too biased to publish articles on all aspects of pornography. Continue Reading →