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ALL MY COLUMNS ON ONE, CONVENIENT PAGE:

Asking for an STD Test – Pointing Fingers or Incriminating Yourself?

I’d like to think I have matured since my dorm rat days. While dwelling on the top bunk of a temporary triple in Tolbert I chronicled my sexual exploits on the ceiling above my bed. My “guests” signed their names, traced their feet and occasionally left trinkets like torn off neon wristbands or ‘smile today’ stickers. By the end of the year I had accumulated about half a dozen different handwriting samples.

What I didn’t realize then was that it also meant that I had about half a dozen chances of catching something, well, icky. Even that guy I only made out with for 10 minutes before my roommate barged in could have easily given me herpes simplex A (the kind most common around your mouth).

Four years later I know for certain I have caught something else – a guy who I would like to pursue a competed, monogamous relationship with. Seeing as my partner is even older than me, and has probably had an equally shameful past, I want to suggest that we each get tested. But how do you go from scandalous Sue to righteously responsible Ruth?

How do you ask your partner, significant other, bedmate, fuck buddy, or whoever you’re rolling around with in the sheets to go and get tested for STDs?

My initial fear was that by asking I would sound judgmental and incriminating. My second fear was that I would sound skanky myself. I just kept imagining if someone asked me to get tested I would be more than mildly insulted. Think – is my skirt really that short and slutty that you want to make sure I’m not carrying gonorrhea?

After a week of debating I went to the gynecologist to test myself; frankly, my new boy was a small factor in my decision. If I had all these doubts and concerns obviously the issue had more to do with me and less with him. I needed to know my freshman fraternizing did not catch up with me. I also needed to know if I should comb through my pictures of the diary-like entries on my freshman ceiling and write a nasty piece about whoever the culprit possibly was.

At the same time, if my new boy and I were ever going to make a relationship work I could not be nervous to ask him to do something so simple and painless for me.

The moral of my ordeal is this – we all have hook ups in our past that are questionable. But there is no reason to question whether you contracted anything from it. Test yourself; it’s the mature thing to do.

After all, if things don’t work out with the new boy I’m sure you will be seeing me at Balls taking Washington Apple shots in the near future, and if I do make a poor decision again (which, truthfully, is near inevitable with me) at least you know I’m clean. Can you say the same yourself?
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The Dirtier the Den, the Dishier the Deed

I have this theory that messy people are better in bed.

I try to keep a neat apartment for the most part, but am truthfully only clean when I anticipate getting laid.

For those occasions, my friends know they need to budget me an extra half hour of prep time, at the least, to make my bed, throw all my toiletries into my medicine cabinet and scoop the clothes off my floor into my closet.

My cleaning itself is chaotic. It usually involves making piles and then taking the contents of those piles and tossing them into closets or drawers or cabinets or anywhere else my slobbery can be, for the most part, concealed.

A few months ago I met a man, a cop mind you, who discovered me in my messy closet.

Let me start at the beginning, I had just gone skinny dipping with a bunch of friends (cop man included) and I needed warm clothes to put on. I thought I had secretly slipped into my bedroom so I might rummage through my knee-high pile of clothes hidden in my closet in search of something to wear (yes, I hadn’t done laundry in that long a time). So, I was leaning over the heap when this guy came, shoved me into the pile, closed us into my closet and on top of my messy, smokey smelling clothes mound started making out with me. We were drunk, but something about the enclosed space and the utter filth of it had me all kinked up and ready for a ‘lil filth of my own.

Hours later (and for many hours to cum) we had sex on top of my messy, debatably disgusting, dump of a walk-in closet.

We tried to have sex again a few days later on a regular bed but it just wasn’t the same. I guess he agreed the magic was over too as we only now exchange text messages at 2am, albeit ones about dirty socks and soiled sweaters.

Something about the literal dirt made our romp all the dirtier and ultimately all the more desirable.

Maybe it’s the okayness with chaos? Maybe it’s the lack of anal retentiveness? Or maybe it’s that the type of person who is cool with crap is also cool with carnality? After all, someone who is messy is not going to have a problem staying in bed all day eating leftover Chinese food and canoodling and copulating til the sun goes back down.

My point – sex itself is inherently messy. And no I don’t mean when you’re simultaneously screwing three University Avenue bartenders/bouncers/barflies (although it is a little nerve racking that they all know one another…). I mean that a little openness, a want to get freaky and a willingness to rock out on the road less traveled are all desirable qualities in a bed-mate, or closet-mate as the case may be.

Fucking outside the box is a great thing and people who are willing to be dirty are always the best ones to go there with.
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Backup Wanted?

It should be shameful to admit that you have someone waiting in the wings. What I mean is a lot people I know, myself included, have back ups prearranged.

In the 4th grade I made a pact with the boy I used to carpool with to school – if we’re not married by 33, then we would marry each other. After all who wants to spend a life alone, right? I moved a few years later and have since lost touch with my former future husband. In the intervening 10 years (yes, I am that old), I have realized I either need a new back up or I have to, gasp, be okay with the fact that I could end up alone.

With divorce rates over 50 percent these days, is life really about finding the other person who makes you whole? Or is it about accepting yourself and realizing that you are whole enough as is? Do I really still need a prearranged backup hubby?

Our society fills us with the idea that true bliss lies in success in both the work and domestic realms. In order to be happy I need to have a loving husband, at least two intelligent, healthy children and a dog (for good measure). Until recently, I actually bought into this design. However, considering I have difficulties holding onto a relationship for more than six (ok three) months, is this ever actually going to be my reality?

Is marriage and procreation really the end all, be all of life? I’m starting to think not. Sometimes I don’t want to answer to anyone. And sometimes the chore of taking care of myself is daunting enough. Perhaps I’m choosing to believe that self-love is the ultimate measure of success. Why else would so many women own vibrators?

My point – I’m taking it upon myself to educate our society (or at least the 7 people who read this) that single is sexy. Backups are not necessary.

Don’t get me wrong, I know many people who are in loving and worthwhile relationships. And I am beyond happy for them. I am just acknowledging that that’s not everyone’s path. There are people who are going to end up alone – it’s reality. But there is nothing sad or depressing about it. Indeed, it’s quite liberating.

So wherever you are, carpool buddy, thanks, but no thanks. I am fully okay with my single and fabulous status. After all, it means I can flirt my heart out with that adorable bouncer whose warm smile and camo hat makes my stomach do flip flops. In fact, if you’re reading this, call me! 😉
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Forewarning: i wrote this about 4 years ago (which explains the somewhat dated pop culture references), but, i still find it kind of relevant nonetheless. enjoy.
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The Ghosts of Relationships Past

One brainless, drunken, first-semester-freshmen-year, dorm-dwelling night my friend-with-benefits and I traced our feet on the ceiling above my top bunk in Sharpie marker before a sloppy (and also stupid) make-out session. I awoke the next morning thinking two things: would the world stop spinning already, and what a great idea to chronicle my year right above my bed.

What I failed to think of was that Sharpie markers were permanent, and for the rest of the year I would open and close my eyes to the harsh reality of my drunken blunders and failed relationships.

For all of first semester I diligently detailed my, mostly drunken, escapades with “Bill” (my friend-with-benefits) on my ceiling. At first it was great. I went to sleep each night dreaming of the flirty fun I’d been having, but that soon changed When our hooking up became too “emotionally involving” we called it quits, but I still had some unresolved feelings looming, literally above my head.

The ghosts of Bill Black past were haunting me. They were blatantly staring me in the face; and, at night, lit by the dim neon glow of my alarm clock, my mistakes and misfortunes seemed all around me.

When I courageously marked my ceiling with footprints so many nights ago I failed to realize that college flings are often just that – fleeting flings. While I didn’t profess my love by painting the wall on 34th Street, I did ink up my one sacred area in dorm living and paid the price by closing my eyes each night to the cringe of my ravaged rendezvous.

Angelina Jolie knows how I feel. At one point she paraded her love by permanently tattooing her sweeties name on her sculpted upper arm. She told Entertainment Weekly that getting ‘Billy Bob’ lasered-off of her bicep, “doesn’t hurt much more than getting the tattoo in the first place. It just hurts in a totally different sort of way.”

Like St. Angelina before me, I covered up my scars. Back to being buds, Bill and I painted over our now prehistoric fling after spring finals. We even took pictures of the ceiling’s diary-like entries. After all, you do need keepsakes of some memories, and the kind that can be closed up in a photo album are always a safer bet.

While paint and little laser work can remove the remains of a rotting romance, the sting of seeing those reminders, even for a little while, can jerk at your heart and mess with your mind.

The point – Sharpie markers are permanent, most co-ed cuddling is not.
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The Cosmopolitan Connection

I have two really bad habits (other than indulging in leftover spinach and artichoke dip at 1am trying to write this, of course). Once I’ve had a good deal of drinks I find it difficult to say no to guys who show interest in me. And two, once I don’t say no to the guy, I immediately get caught up and fall way too hard.

Basically, I can’t separate sex and real intimacy. I just keep thinking – there must be a kind of cosmic reason that Mr. Rolling Rock and I got together, right? The reason isn’t cosmic though, it’s cosmopolitan – 2 (ok 5) of them to be exact. As if the carbs consumed by drinking weren’t enough to get me to quit.

The real issue at heart is that men and women are different on so many levels. Yes, there are the obvious ones – emotionally charged women, emotionless men – but, the level differences I’m referring to are blood alcohol levels.

While scientifically this is a no-brainer, it’s something young gals, like myself, have come to forget. No matter how hard I try, my Wednesday night Balls all you can drink cup will never see as many refills as Butch’s. And why should it?

Why do I insist on playing four rounds of beer pong even though last round I mistook a hanging potted plant as my target, while my XY chromosome partner is still going strong? Terra cotta potters and red plastic cups are easily mistaken in daylight too, might I add.

The fact that men usually weigh more than women (your gay best friend doesn’t count here ladies) isn’t really a factor either. Clinical research suggests that because women’s bodies have more fat and less water then men’s (on average), alcohol affects them faster and more potently. It also remains in a woman’s body longer and in higher concentrations. And high hormone levels of estrogen – which are raised during your period and if you take birth control – cause intoxicating effects to set in even sooner.

The gist: women are not just more sensitive when it comes to relationships, babies, and Lifetime movies. They are also more sensitive when it comes to alcohol.

Now I’m not saying all this because I am trying to excuse my drunk actions. As only my nearest and dearest know there are no justifications for half the stunts I pull. And I’m not saying that women shouldn’t drink. God knows a trip to a rehab clinic in Minnesota wouldn’t get me to completely avoid a Wednesday ladies night or two.

What I am saying is watch out and be aware girls. You don’t need to be doing a keg stand for upwards of 30 seconds. Pace yourself.

On a fashion note: ladies in skirts, you really don’t need to be doing keg stands at all. Save the peak-a-boo show for a more appropriate time – like 2am.

Drunk or not drunk, can you really say no to that adorable guy with the witty humor? After all there could be a real cosmic, err, cosmopolitan connection there.
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Studying + Masturbation = Awesome

Last week I had midterms. With three classes summer A, even arguably easy ones, the work tends to pile up when you spend too much of your time writing about sex, daydreaming about sex and then having sex, even when it is by yourself. Yes, I am in a self-inflicted slump and have resorted to being a chronic masturbator. I should be honest here and admit that even when I am getting some, I tend to masturbate, well, all the time.

One of my good friends swears she can even tell when I haven’t “flicked the bean” around frequently enough. She describes me as snappy, irritable and without that giddy glow. I think she’s right.

I’m not sure what average masturbation patterns are exactly among women in their early to mid 20s, but I’m guessing I would be considered an outlier.

I must, yes must, get off at least once a day, but prefer 3 times daily. I don’t think I even eat that many times a day.

While studying for my midterms I developed a foolproof study plan, which, perhaps, could work for you as well. For every 4 hours I devote to studying, I can reward myself with my vibrator or some porn or some good old-fashioned manual stimulation and an ongoing fantasy involving Jonathon Rhys Myers’ Henry VIII character from the Showtime series The Tudors. Sorry, I’m a history major, what can I say? But that’s a discussion for a whole other column entirely.

My point – studying = good, masturbation = good. Studying + masturbating = AWESOME! And that’s an equation we can all understand, whether our midterm is in Math for Liberal Arts Majors or Elements of Partial Differential Equations.
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Single, Sexless and Somewhat Loving It

life has been kinda stressful and crazy lately.

wait – that’s a total lie. things r only somewhat hectic right now b/c i skipped out on school for a few days and went with my friend to O-town to party with the guy who she was seeing (as in, now, 2 days later, she’s barely talking to…).

Ok, another lie. I went b/c i had this inkling that maybe i would get laid. it’s been awhile and since things had been somewhat stressful in my life i thought a good fuck would be my cure.

turns out it didn’t happen. indeed the only thing i got from my lil va-cay (if u can even call it that) was fat.

so now, here i am, trying to play catch up with my life as it seems to all zoom by me. did i mention i’m getting fat as well? and that i still have yet to be laid?

wanna know a secret only my good friends know?

i keep various timers on my phone so i can keep track of just how sad my love and sex life can be:
one’s for the last time i saw the man I lurve.
one’s for the last time i was laid well.
one’s for the last time i was fucked, period.
and one’s for how long it’s been since i worked out.

this wasn’t always the case.

there were times when i was juggling three men at one time. times when i had my choice of who i wanted to be with. times i didn’t need timers or couldn’t be troubled to constantly change them. times when my friends who live in different towns would need updated directories of the various people (i.e., men) and places (i.e., where i saw, drank with or screwed the aforementioned men).

now, instead, they hear about how Ron Paul is the only Republican i would vote for (not that I’m ever really apt to vote for any member of the GOP), why Hemmingway is growing on me and is not just the misogynistic twit i thought him to be and when the last time i blogged at the downtown starbucks was.

all of this said, i’m not so upset with my recent changes – crazy, hecticness and all.

my friends hear all this new fodder from me b/c i now have time to devote to it instead of devoting my time to juggling men and dumping men and meeting new men to replace those men.

maybe i’m somewhat scarily single right now. and maybe that’s ok.

maybe something magical about sex (something that i had come to forget) is that sometimes it is best with someone whom you can discuss existentialism with (or whatever other semi-intellectual banter u desire). so thank you, yes you, for reminding me.

perhaps i can delete those countdowns. tho i really do need to know when i exercised last! b/c philosophy or no philosophy if i don’t work off that Too Jays Reuben i ate in O-town ain’t no way i will be in my own private O-town giving my O-face anytime soon!
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Worth the Trouble

I’m in a situation I’m neither used to nor happy about.

I’ve been trying to avoid discussing this publicly because this particular person does have access to the musings I post here. Not sure if they ever sample it, but, I suppose that is trivial.

I am in the throes of having a ginormous crush on a man who has told me he is back with his ex-girlfriend.

I’m not a level headed person by any means, but I’m aware of the situation and have consciously tried to make sure to avoid him and attempted (albeit not very successfully) to not think about him.

Yet almost every night, like clock work, I seem to have a running dream of smoking pot with this person outside under the stars, making him listen to Beatles music. It’s odd because there is no sex involved at all (a usual mainstay in my dreams) but there is a level of intimacy that is rarely ever realized in real life (at least not by me).

This horrid, yet lovely, dream has me dreaming about him in my waking life too.

Obviously I need to move on. Mama always said there is no use in crying over spilled milk, but, when you do still taste the milk and it’s still sweet, how do you throw it away?

I guess what I mean is that unlike other men I have consorted with, this guy is always kind (perhaps bordering on inappropriately flirtatious tho) and has been honest and upfront with me from day one. He’s, gasp, actually one of those nice guys that you always hear about but never seem to meet. The sheer fact that he’s willing to stick it out and try for another round with his girlfriend is even appealing to me. So now, he’s infiltrated my mind, he’s invaded by dreams and he’s inescapable when out.

See, here’s where Gainesville sucks. Gainesville, while hosting 50,000 plus students, is rather small. And people tend to run in circles that make it near impossible to not see the same people over and over again. I see this person a lot. And that’s not going to change.

What does need to change is my attitude. While it’s easy to fantasize about people, if this dude chose to be with her instead of gambling on me, well, then, how fabulous is he really? I completely understand that history is a hard card to trump, but ya know what, I’m worth the risk.

This whole post should be a no-brainer (and I’m sorry for the chaotic ramble you had to just suffer through). But sometimes it’s nice to be reminded (or perhaps just reinforced to yourself) that you too are well worth the trouble. And yes, I use trouble very purposefully there! 😉
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Objectification is a Two-Way Street

I admit to checking out other women’s boobs. I’m not sexually interested in them, but, rather, curious how mine compare. Are hers perkier than mine? Bigger? Rounder? Firmer looking?

My guy friend admits he’s an ass man. The more “bubbly” the better he explains. He doesn’t like wide butts only those of the “sticking out there..shelf” variety.

It all makes me think how unfair it is. Push-up bras and other shapers, enhancers and firmers aside, anyone can size up a woman’s physical assets just by looking at her.

But as a self-proclaimed penis lover, I don’t ever have any idea what I’m getting myself into before I literally get into his pants.

Sure the stereotypes abound – he has big shoes, his hands are huge. But I have generally come to find (or, rather not cum to find) that those are usually poor predictors.

I am also the kind of person who always wants what they can’t have. I regularly find myself looking around my classes, at bars, waiting in line at Starbucks wondering just how big Joe Schmoo’s johnson is. Is he girthy? Meaty? Circumcised? Long and thin? Tasty and kosher?

Much like my interest in boobs, my penis obsession is largely fueled by scientific interest – I just want to know what he’s packing.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not picking on guys who may be below the estimated average penis size of 5.25 inches (when hard, relax dude). Indeed, super large penises, like extra large tampons, scare me. I am just curious as to what size it is and what it looks like.

On the whole, my obsession does have a logical root though. Samples of average length penises’ simply don’t tell the whole story. There are so many variations on the form that are, for the most part, undocumented.

My obsession is also nothing new. It’s no coincidence that some of the greatest works of art, pieces that are now deemed “classics” are of men’s nether regions – the David, several Da Vinci sketches or Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam. What was once a celebration of a man’s manliness is now tucked away in extra support boxer briefs and I can’t help but wonder why?

When Mark Wahlberg played Dirt Diggler in 1997’s “Boogie Nights” he used a prosthetic for his now infamous closing scene even though the male frontal nudity was probably only a nanosecond long. Why the shame Marky Mark?

He’s not alone. Think Austin Power’s penis pump and pop-up internet ads for penial implants.

It all makes me kind of chuckle. Our society is so boob obsessed that seeing a pair of tits is about as un-noteworthy as passing a Greek shirt on Wednesdays.

My larger point is this – objectification is a two-way street. Why is it so socially acceptable for women to pose in Playboy, for men to frequent strip clubs and encourage drunken girls to make out with each other? Why are boobs everywhere and far from taboo and yet penises so concealed? If so many women are willing to, literally, put it all out there, then I think it is only fair that men do the same.
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Is All This Technology Helping or Hampering Our Relationships?

i recently had a mini-breakdown.

it was midnight and i was texting with a crush. it was cordial, but i was (at least i’d like to believe i was) being coy, cutsey and a wee bit flirty when suddenly i didn’t receive a message back. i waited about 20 minutes before i texted my friend to explain that he “just kinda didn’t respond” and that “it was weird b/c you coulda ended a convo then, but you also didn’t have to.” i waited another 20 minutes for her to respond – nothing. i was now beyond confused. was it possible that my texts weren’t going through? what are the odds of that after all? and if so, did it mean that he thought that i wasn’t responding to him? instead of simply calling him and asking what the deal was, i called my friend.

“did you get my texts?”
“no!”
a ha!

in a panic i sent a text out to 4 other people, who already know how neurotic i can be, asking them to please text me back b/c i was concerned i wasn’t able to text in the first place.

no responses.

still not convinced i began calling these friends just to confirm that they had not, in fact, received my texts. finally some relief – an hour after the initial non-response, a friend told me she was getting my texts.

what was i to think? did my crush hate me? was there something wrong with only some of my friend’s phones? why did others not answer my phone pleads at 1:37am? didn’t they grasp that i was on the verge of a short circuit myself?

technology is supposed to make us more connected. we’re supposed to be able to communicate faster and more efficiently. instead its just left me panicked and confused. (albeit with something for the drama queen in me to feed off of…)

this isn’t the first time technology has failed me either. i have nightmares, almost weekly, of people attempting to google my name.

i’m blessed (i mean this VERY sarcastically) with a very original name. when you google me, you get me. maybe this is a good thing to some people, but maybe some people don’t have a picture posted of them on a site they have no jurisdiction to control. a picture that is from 7 years ago – you know the REALLY awkward years. i have considered contacting the site manager many many times, but have always wussed out. (if you do in fact know my real name, please realize that admitting this publicly is more difficult for me than talking about failed attempts at anal sex…so please, please realize that everyone has their bad years…don’t make me google you!)

the larger point – technology allows us more access to people, but at a price.

people’s myspace pages and facebook profiles are really just products of what people want us to believe able them, not necessarily true reflections. and bootytext messages make relationships so hands off that you don’t even have to hear a person’s voice to arrange a rendevous. a simple 😉 ususally suffices.

i fall victim to it also.

obviously i freaked about a text. i have profiles on both myspace and facebook. and i have friends who are in relationships with people they have meet on online dating sites.

technology does have its perks.

all i’m saying is it really sucks when you’re waiting for a text at 2am and you’re not sure if its coming because a) the person doesn’t wanna talk to you b) the person is too drunk to operate a phone or c) your goddamn phone service is a F*%@ing piece of S$^t!

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When Girlfriends Attack

I recently got punched in the face. I thought bitch fights went out of vogue with teased hair and spandex but apparently not.

Let me backtrack. My friend and I were out and a guy, whose girlfriend we know, was hitting on my friend – hard. He was also annoying me by egging my friend on to show him her boobs. A trend that I also thought went out of vogue with Vanilla Ice and pogs. So I did what any good friend would do – I called his girlfriend.

She came to the bar and before I could utter a word slapped and scratched my friend. I was in shock, but immediately stood up for my friend explaining she did absolutely nothing. The girlfriend then slugged me.

The next morning I woke up with a swollen jaw and a totally bewildered demeanor. Did this girl really beat us up because her boyfriend is a dog? It just made me feel sad about the state of women these days.

We have always competed for men but that competition is usually bitchy, dramatic, manipulative and for the most part a head game. It’s rare that it comes to blows. But shouldn’t we be relying on each other for support and not trying to, literally, take each other out of the game?

I also understand jealousy, but this elevated that to a whole new level. This girl was so wrapped up in her boyfriend that she consciously, undrunkenly, choose to have it out with girls who were the prey of her asshole of a boyfriend. She consciously, undrunkenly, choose to not let loose on the person who deserved a beat down – her boyfriend. Why?

If you ask me it has to do with esteem. We have been taught since elementary school that we need to believe in our selves, but women who stay in abusive relationship, who attack other women, who blame everyone except the one person who deserves to be targeted do so for a simple reason – they don’t believe in themselves, they fail to see that they are worth more.

So girlies, while I usually preach about the importance of a bikini wax or the art of fellatio, I am instead hoping that you take away this lesson – if we all refused to be victims, if we all stood up and said the way we’re being treated is unacceptable, if we all refused to blame other women then perhaps this kind of behavior would disappear. It’s not the other woman; it’s the person sleeping in your bed.

That said, I did clock her back.
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Sex First; Relationship Later?

It’s been said that there’s a pattern to everything. And when it comes to relationships our society has laid the foundations for it quite clearly – you meet, you woo, you copulate, you fall in love.

But can the pattern work in a different order? In these times of casual sex can you ever segue your bedmate into your real mate? If you start with sex, can you ever have anything more?

I bring this up because it tends to be my pattern. On several occasions I have slept with a man innocently enough only to then fall hard.

It doesn’t happen right away and I’m almost never looking for anything beyond an orgasm. But usually after a few romps in the sack, some post-coital communication and an underlying attraction, I find it hard-pressed not to start excessively pinning and basically getting caught up in the rapture. Is my lust really triggering love? And if so, is it ever feasible that a real relationship will come out of it?

According to Helen Fisher, anthropologist and author of Why We Love? the answer is yes and possibly. Fisher says that “the hormone of sexual desire can trigger the release of the brains’ elixirs for romantic passion.” Basically after-sex cuddling with my one-night-stand sends all sorts of messages to my brain that are fueling my ardor.

So while it’s biologically possible, is it ever realistic or, for that matter, advisable?

My friend Meg slept with her now boyfriend before they started dating. They had been friends for some time but one night had a little too much to drink and ended up screwing. Three years later, they live together and are now contemplating getting married.

I haven’t had nearly as much success. In fact because of my penchant for falling for my friends-with-benefits I now have to avoid the Circa computer lab by Marston and also have stopped going to a certain ‘Sunday-Funday’ pool party.

I can’t help but think that gender differences play an underlying part here. It’s easy for women to get caught up in the intimacy created from sex, but for men, if there’s no challenge, no wooing, no working for it, they tend to lose interest. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free, right?

Truth is, I wish I had an answer. While some of my friend’s have been successful in this department, I most certainly have not.

Perhaps the answer is simply that no one wants to tell their grandchildren that their happily ever after began with “once upon a time we had too much to drink and I took grandma home from the bar…”

Maybe the pattern is that relationships begin, end and subsist in all manners and forms. If you can make it work, great. In fact, if you can, do you think you could e-mail me how? I’d rather not avoid a certain bar altogether anymore.
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Dating Game Requires Strength and Maturity

I’d known the bouncer a few months by now. He had stopped asking to see my ID. We ran into each other at various midtown watering holes. I’d seen him with his ex-girlfriend. He used to give me sober rides home.

Nevertheless it was a complete and utter shock when he and I were in bed laughing at 6am.

For the first time in several months, arguably years, I had effortlessly connected with someone. For a girl who usually wants a cocktail, an orgasm and an escape route, this was virgin territory.

He played with my hair. We discussed politics, philosophy, religion and music. There was never an awkward silence. He called me beautiful and sexy after he kissed my head goodbye.

If I never saw him again, I would still be elated.

The problem was he was my bouncer, we went to all the same bars and it was inevitable I would see him again.

And that’s when I became the in-between girl.

The in-between girl, or guy, is the person you casually see in between a break-up and reconciliation with an ex. Like dating a married man, it’s never a good position to be in.

The next time the bouncer and I spoke he told me I was “awesome,” which is kind of like being told “great effort” by your gym teacher in elementary school when you’re the first one out in dodge ball. He tried to redeem himself.

“That night was a pleasant surprise and I do want to get to know you better, but I need to know for sure where I stand with her before this can progress.”

For my part, I wanted to prove that I was cool and calm and “awesomely” mature so I agreed to see where a friendship could take us. I was full of bullshit.

Why did I allow myself to be put in a position where I was completely powerless and totally vulnerable?

Things progressed and a few nights later we made out. A couple of nights after that we talked on the phone until 5:30 in the morning. And with each passing interaction it became more difficult for me to tell myself we’re just friends.

So I did what every in-between does, I threatened him.

“I’m too good to be an in-between,” I told him. He agreed.
“If you’re still unsure about your feelings for her then I’m not waiting around.” He understood.

He then did what every in-between fears, he got back with her.

I remained cool and calm and awesomely mature; we were friends. It was bullshit.

It also clearly wasn’t over. He’d watch me intently when I was at the bar. We’d flirt. He would call or text me when he got off work. I had no desire to talk to, let alone sleep with, anyone else. He never changed his Facebook status from single.

And then he told me he was moving. With her.

Seeing as I have watched far too many romantic comedies, I knew I had two weeks to break them up and keep him from going.

And that’s when it hit me. This would be the ultimate prize. What better way to define my own worth then by getting him to give up an over a year long thing with her.

Don’t misunderstand me. He was a prize as well, and I genuinely did (and probably do still) like him. But sometimes we get so caught up in the thrill of the chase that we lose sight of why we’re chasing to begin with. This man chose to be with another woman over the awesomeness that is me. So really, how great is he?

The week before he left he called or texted me every day. We hung out , and I tried not to let go the last time he embraced me. I don’t doubt that he had feelings for me. For him, leaving was more than just she or I. But I’m still the one who got hurt. Being the in-between means it’s your feelings that are marginalized.

The night before he left he admitted his confusion and apprehension. But it was too late. If timing really is everything, an in-between has the worst.

The truth is that we all get involved with people who we know, subconsciously, can’t be with us or aren’t right for us. They will never fulfill the fantasy role we envision for them to play in our lives, and yet we’re too disillusioned to believe anything different.

The bouncer has only been gone about two weeks and while I have refrained from contacting him I still find my mind replaying conversations we’ve had. Our situation was not carved out of spite or retribution. I genuinely felt understood and I think he did too.

While not just following what you feel is a difficult task, the dating game requires more than just puppy dog adoration and bright-eyed innocence. It requires strength to know you’re worth fighting for and the maturity to realize that sometimes the real world presents near insurmountable obstacles.

But I prefer to believe it’s these near misses that make the real deal all the more rewarding.
____________

Higher utility + fulfilling my ideal “type” mold = perfect potential boyfriend?

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin recently came out with a list of 237 reasons we have sex.

It made me think about two things. Are there actually 237 ways to say “I was just horny”? Are there actually people who are able to categorically delineate 237 reasons to begin with?

And that’s when I realized these researchers do what we all do – overanalyze our relationships.

I, for one, characterize and classify all of mine. I have specific journal entries charting what type of men I’m most attracted to.

I once kept track of if I got more action with my hair curly or straight. There was even an accompanying graph. I constantly, scientifically, dissect every call, text and Facebook Wall post from prospective men.

In general, I approach my love life like a science fair project, complete with a unique taxonomy of its own.

My periodic table of men would look something like this:

Mercury, which is toxic to humans in large doses, would be the barfly I enjoy despite the fact that he’s horrible for me.

Carbon, the most essential element for life, would be the guy I completely like but unfortunately cannot be with.

Sexually there’s a clear ranking:

Gold would be the bartender I have phenomenal sex with but would never consider dating.

Silver would go to the older man with whom I learned a lot about sex.

Bronze is the frat guy for whom I have always had a weird, undying passion.

Helium is stable, non-reactive and, to generalize, fairly commonplace. This is the guy who really likes me, but I’m on the fence about him. Neodymium, a somewhat useless earth metal with a cool name, is the dude I call when I’m desperate.

Now consider that each of these man elements fulfills a need for me. For scientific purposes we’ll call it their utility. And you thought you’d never be able to apply those econ principles practically!

There are the men who do it for me physically, those who fulfill an emotional need and those who raise my self-esteem.

Add into the equation that I probably won’t talk to a guy under six feet, I prefer shaggy hair (I like to be able to hold onto something), and for some reason that totally eludes me, I tend to pick thinner men. Most importantly, guys have to make me laugh.

Those man elements with a higher prospective utility combined with a greater frequency of fitting into my “type” mold should theoretically make for perfect potential mates.

I know, I’m crazy.

But I’m not alone. Amazon.com lists 161,852 books about dating approaches and advice. You get matched on 29 scientifically proven dimensions of compatibility at eHarmony.com.

Scientists spend hours and billions of dollars identifying the hormones in the brain that contribute to romantic love and sexual attraction.

Here’s the irony: My life tends to go to pieces when I overanalyze things, whether it’s my relationships, my schoolwork, even this column, though let’s hope not this week.

More telling, I’m still single. So besides being funny fodder for my column, what use are all these hypotheses and formulas except to keep me from meeting someone whose qualities and values don’t neatly wrap up in a package in my mind?

Perhaps the secrets of the mating game defy academia? Maybe if I stopped charting and predicting and simply went with the flow, I would find Mr. Right – or at least Mr. Right Now.

But then again, what else would I do with my free time – actually study?

The point: living in a hypothetical reality only distracts you from the real world filled with real people. Overanalyzing never gets you anywhere. Instead, we should just sit back and let nature run its course. Perhaps what’s beautiful about science is that it continually suggests that all this chaos can’t be meaningless – things, and more pertinently relationships, ultimately play out for a reason. Just enjoy the ride.
__________

The Freshmen Guide to Getting It On – UF Style

The story told on campus tours when I was visiting UF a few years ago went like this: every time a virgin graduates a brick on Century Tower drops. The punch line here, of course, is that a brick has never dropped. Lame, I know, and as I can tell you first hand, completely untrue.

The point is that while college is synonymous with overbearing and often eccentric professors, hours of cramming and, yes, fake IDs, a lot of my time at college has been spent discussing, participating in and fretting over sex. And I’m not just saying this because I’m the Sex Columnist; I dare you to find a college student who isn’t preoccupied with the act. And that’s completely ok.

So to better acclimate you to UF and, more pertinently, the sex scene, here are some things I wish I had known:

Coming to college a virgin is not a bad thing. I did and while I am probably in the minority, look where I am now. Don’t be in such a hurry to give away the v-card to an unworthy mate. While it may seem like you’re the only one who isn’t engaging in reverse cowgirl sessions (something you will learn about, or possibly wikipedia , if you don’t already know), your virgin status really won’t be (or at least shouldn’t be) judged – we were all there at some point. There are tons of sexy things you can do that don’t involve penetration, and I’m not even referring to pulling a Lewinsky. Mom and dad won’t walk in on you so take your time exploring each other, there’s no need to rush ahead to the Big Bang. Above all know that sex is an individual choice, indeed that’s what’s so great about it – there are 50,000 + individuals here, one of them is bound to be your sexual soul mate. Just make sure you’re first time isn’t on light colored sheets, I have a friend who can tell you all about that one.

Sex is a lifestyle choice, with your health being the number one priority. I will never be able to say this enough – use a condom. You all think you know this but three well tequila shots later will you actually be able to remember this? And, dear freshmen, I guarantee you will at one point think taking three well tequila shots is a good idea, then you will fall down a flight of stairs and then you will, hopefully, know better. But I digress; having condoms in your wallet is not just a guy’s responsibility. Keep two in your purse at all times ladies. You honestly never know when you or one of your friends may need one. Condoms are available for free all over campus from the Infirmary to the inside of dorm recreation rooms. The health center also offers STD testing, birth control and counseling. And Planned Parenthood, located just north of University Avenue on 13th Street provides an array of other family planning services. Basically,everyone is aware that college students are a horny bunch, but it’s your responsibility to be, well, responsible.

At one point of another you will go home with a person you meet at a bar of club. This is as normal as passing a Greek shirt on Wednesday (which you will also soon learn). Don’t get mad at yourself and try to not have it be that creep who already hit on all your friends. UF used to have a slogan “nobody likes a sloppy gator” and while I’m proof positive that is not always the case, it is somewhat when it comes to sex. While being too gone leaves you open to having embarrassing pictures posted on Facebook and thinking the aforementioned creep is Matthew McConaughey, it also leaves you prey to being taken advantage of. Sorry to tell you but not all Gators are nice ones. Some are predatory sharks dressed in orange and blue.

A note to freshmen ladies: this time of year there are whole gaggles of guys who literally prey themselves on getting with freshmen girls. I think it’s some sort of right of passage. Just be aware of that when the adorable senior of B.S. fraternity shows interest in you, and by interest I mean buying you the aforementioned tequila shots. Trading sex for alcohol is really not cool let alone worth the trip to the Student Health Center for a herpes test. Plus, there are plenty of cool older girl who will gladly sneak you a drink in the bathroom (note – I have brown wavy, sometimes straight, hair, a permanent scar on my left shin and usually wear a jean jacket over a dress). We’ve been you, we’ve gone home with B.S. frat guys, we’ve regretted it, we understand the temptation.

College really is a time of exploration. Some of you will couple up. Some of you will engage in tons of meaningless sex. You’re both guaranteed to leave here knowing more sexually then when you arrived. It’s no coincidence that 30-something’s stories surrounding the deed usually involve the caveat “well, except for that one time in college.” There are people who engage in anal sex, one-night stands, threesomes and all sorts of other taboo sexual practices. My advice is to not judge and roll with it. I’m not advocating doing anything you’re not comfortable with (quite far from that!), but I am suggesting that you use this time to experiment and discover what you really like. Ladies learn what it takes for you to have an orgasm; guys discover that penis-in-vagina sex is not the only erotic thing you can do in a bedroom. Chances are you will never again live around so many virile, sexy people your own age. Embrace that.

Embrace this entire experience. College can be the best four, or five, years of your life. Ultimately, it’s a time when you’re allowed to be selfish; discover who you really are. That said, you will fall down and you will stumble and you may even engage in promiscuous behavior with someone you never would have imagined you would, but rejoice in getting up.

The point – asking questions and experimenting is normal, even expected, just be safe and responsible doing it.
__________

Rid Yourself of the Relics of Relationships Past; Start Anew this Semester

Trying to affix shelves to the crumbly plaster walls of my new apartment was no easy task. I thought I had the shelf above my desk in well and began to stack my books when it crashed down right on top of my 15-inch MacBook Pro.

Upon inspection by the Mac techies in the Apple store my computer was deemed donzo and with it my hard drive, which housed over 3,000 songs, my photos and most everything I have ever written.

While I knew I could easily redownload Rihanna’s Umbrella, I couldn’t retake photos with exes or repiece back the saved IM conversation where he admitted he was falling for me. Unlike Rihanna those primary source memories now wouldn’t be with me forever.

I start this semester with an adorable new apartment, a fabulously fresh haircut and a blank canvas of a laptop. I also begin with my last crush in a new zip code, no attractive alternative and a lack of those trinkets we all save from our past relationships.

I couldn’t be happier.

Truth is holding onto relics of relationships past is neither healthy nor practical.

And maneuvering through the rough waters of the dating world necessitates an internally open hard drive (i.e, an open mind).
With the school year just starting what better time to clean out your prehistoric coupled cobwebs?

The beginning of a semester presents unparalleled opportunities – to flirt, to naively believe we will attend class each and every day and, most importantly, to be open and available when it comes to dating.

I’m a firm believer that what you put out into the universe is what you get back. My now sunny, almost giddy, demeanor will surely bring me a slew of suitors, right?

See that is what’s so great about the start of the school year – you can almost believe those glass half-full assertions.

My point – anything’s possible right now. The sky’s the limit.

How many times in your life will you get to essentially start anew? Feel empowered by that.

Talk to the cutie in your lab. Grab your wingmen and girls and go out. Accept the date with that co-ed who isn’t quite your type.

By the end of football season you just may be blocking your seats with a new sweetie. Perhaps you’ll even think they’re greater then Tebow himself? But then again, that may be a little too optimistic.
__________

What are you Willing to Sacrifice to Make a Relationship Work?

Lately I’ve been studying my coupled-up friends, trying to dissect what exactly makes a relationship work. The cynic in me keeps coming back to the same question: What are these people giving up?

That sounds horrible, I know. And I’m sure that anyone in a good relationship will argue that the benefits of having someone there far outweigh any desire to eat cookie dough on the couch while crying to “The Notebook.” But that’s not what I mean.

Yes, I will admit that I am a bit of a relationship-phobe who has at times sought out men who could never be with me. (Psychology majors, take heed – I’m well aware of the mounds of therapy I will eventually need to combat this.) But I’m referring to losing a part of you in your quest to become a twosome.

What are we willing to sacrifice?

My friend’s boyfriend hates going down on her. He has actually suggested that it should be saved for special occasions or when they’re in the shower. He ironically (and in this sexpert’s mind, wrongly) has no problem having her tend to his south-of-the-border. In the past my friend has proclaimed that getting oral is her favorite sexual act. Should she be willing to go without just because of his irrational belief?

I posed the same question to a former roommate of mine over lunch. For as long as I have known her she has been in one serious relationship or another, so it seemed logical that she’d be able to clue me in.

“You really only surrender your time,” she sagely suggested, “assuming it’s the right person.”

I was still confused.

“But nothing about who you are as a person changed by being in such serious relationships? And you never really had to forgo much to have them work?” She put her sandwich down. “Not really.”

My hunger for a satisfying answer kept growing.

Obviously, there are certain things we each want out of a relationship. I, for one, would love someone who looks like George Clooney and can cook. Perhaps, however, I need to realize that having someone who may not be skilled in the culinary arts is a reality I need to accept.

Maybe the answer really is as simple as my former roomie suggested. For those who matter, you sacrifice.

Maybe relationships work like a scale and when the payoff potential seems great, you give of yourself, and when the rewards seem insubstantial, you don’t.

Maybe it’s about forfeiting little things and putting the energy once spent on those little things into the relationship itself.
Not talking to your ex, abstaining from a girls night out and watching an action movie are all relatively easy tasks. Not receiving head? Well, it takes a bigger romantic than me.
__________

Saying Goodbye to the Single Life

I had an entirely different column written and submitted to my editor a few hours before my Tuesday 5 p.m. deadline. It was about trusting your gut when it comes to the dating realm.

Truth is, I was denying mine.

Over the last few weeks I have casually been seeing a new guy. Casually would be an understatement. When he texts, I roll my eyes. Calls me, I cringe. Tries to kiss me, I back away.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I am completely terrified of letting go of my single status.

What’s weird is that I always know what guidance to give my friends regarding dating or how to maneuver any sexual situation.
I’m the go-to gal when answers are needed about your relationship.

So why can I never heed my own advice?

Why is beginning a relationship so scary?

I have completely engineered the entire situation with my new man. When I am out and drunk and want some attention, I call him. When I need a large object in my house moved, he’s the one to do it. When I’m feeling bad about myself, he’s there.

Yes, I’m a horrible bitch. You can send me hate letters.

Thing is, my new guy is incredibly nice. He epitomizes the “good guy” we all search for. He is responsive, communicates constantly, and is beloved by my friends. I have no doubt that he would be here for me.

Having to rely on someone else and to give up my thrill seeking, happy-go-lucky ways is still petrifying to me. But perhaps growing up means not being so inherently selfish?

Maybe when I wrote about trusting your instincts over the opinions of everyone else I failed to realize that I was being hypocritical.

Relationships cannot exist in a bubble; they are subject to the scrutiny of the outside world. Believing in what you have with another person is the only remedy. No one knows what happens in those private hours at night, and no one has to.

My friend cornered me the other day. She likes a guy who she never imagined she would. He’s completely different from her, and she’s completely smitten. Afraid to admit her admiration to others, she asked me what to do.

“It’s so simple,” I sagely suggested, “YOU like him, what more do you need?”

I will acknowledge, like most things, it’s much easier said then done.

For some of us, myself included, the baggage of past relationships makes it difficult to trust. For others it takes strength to accept that someone wants to care for you. Still some are overly concerned about what their peers think.

My initial column was correct in many regards. Trusting your instincts is arguably one of the most difficult aspects of dating. It’s also the most necessary.

There is never a connect-the-dots formula to finding happiness, but what’s beautiful about the process is that sometimes unexpected things happen.

Sometimes columns need rewrites.
__________

Hook-ups: Just Another Item on the Sexual Puu Puu Platter?

Everywhere I turn it seems someone (usually someone older than 30) is bashing the so-called “hookup culture.” And yet I know only a handful of people who don’t somehow engage in it.

As I’ve come to know it, a “hookup” is a catchall phrase for a brief sexual encounter ranging from kissing to intercourse. “Subversive,” “demoralizing” and “unfulfilling” are the terms most associated with the act. For women especially, the stigma is intense.

To the critics, I offer this: You are retrograde and narrow-minded.

In the 1960s counterculture, the idea of “free love” was conceived and immediately linked with promiscuity and deviance. But “free love” was much more than that. It never advocated unhealthy sexual relationships. Instead, it advanced the idea that love and sexual relationships should be free of government and religious jurisdiction.

“Free love” allows me to have this very job because it attempted to lift the taboo associated with allowing sex to be a normal part of public discourse.

Hookups today are similarly attacked for not falling within society’s predefined courtship patterns.
I can’t help but think there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

For as long as I can remember, education has taught us there is no set way of doing things. Who’s to say that our hookup culture is not making us more sexually savvy?

For me, hookups have been both rewarding and unsatisfying experiences. I have learned a good deal about myself sexually, have felt powerful and sexy by engaging in a sexual act for only the pure pleasure it brings, and have freed up time I would usually spend fostering a relationship, devoting it instead to my schoolwork and career aims.

At the same time, I have felt sad on some occasions when my hookup partner did not call me or when I craved a deeper emotional connection. But can’t the same sentiments be applied to so-called “normal” relationships as well? There will always be favorable returns as well as disappointments in any relationship.

The basic question I see here is this: Can sex, or more broadly, sexual acts without love, still be gratifying? For me, the answer is a resounding yes. For others, that is not always the case – and that is perfectly acceptable too.

Maybe what’s lacking in our culture’s view on sexuality is an open mind for people who engage in both hookups and traditionally defined relationships.

As long as you are engaging in an act of your own free will while being safe doing so, is it really so harmful? Central to that equation is communication, which is the cornerstone to all relationships.

Perhaps I simply view “the hookup” as another item to be enjoyed on the sexual puu puu platter.

Like “free love” before it, hookups extol an important virtue: Love and sex exist in various forms, none of which should be judged or controlled.
___________

In Defense of the Hook-up, my Column and Myself

In the past I have abstained from further comments on my articles. I think most speak for themselves. However, I couldn’t resist defending my September 19 column.

I recently had a friend who, gasp, was a former hookup partner of mine, stop me on Gameday to tell me he didn’t like this past week’s column very much. Everyone he knows engages in hook ups to some degree, he said, I was simply stating the obvious.

The reaction I have received regarding this column, however, speaks to the contrary.

From people stopping me on the street to random Facebook messages, a letter to the editor and a dozen comments posted on the online version of my column seem to signal that my intent on writing the column is justified – people all have opinions on hookups.

My aim in writing the column was two-fold.

For one, I always try to examine an issue that appeals to a large cross-section of students, and I think this does. I find it less than ironic that most of the negative feedback has come from the alumni, while much of the positive reaction has come from currently enrolled students.

I’m not at all saying that there are not important lessons to be learned from the past. I’m a history major who tried to put the whole “phenomena” into context by using an example from our not so distance past.

My own mother (who was a college student during the early ‘70s and is probably my biggest critic) read the piece and thought I had an excellent point, her only substantial comment being that “pu pu platter” was not spelled “puu puu platter,” an error which the keen copy editors at the newspaper thankfully caught.

My second aim is probably more important. I was trying to preach acceptance. I make it very clear that key to the hookup is safety (using condoms, birth control, etc.) and willingness (not being too drunk, not feeling peer pressure, etc.). I do agree that without those essential elements a hookup is not worth it.

Lastly, I want to address those who personally attacked me. Not that I care, but my boyfriend does. You see I am currently in a committed relationship. This article has less to do with my own sexual history and more to do with acceptance of a lifestyle that is very common on college campuses nationwide.

To those who wonder who would marry me, let me reiterate that my significant other knows about my past, I know about his.

Perhaps shocking to some, he likes me because of my honesty, open-mindedness and wit and does not chastise me for my past, conscious choices. Truth is they all led me to have a successful relationship with him. Couldn’t many of you alumni say the same? Is a large part of college not experimentation meant to direct the course of the rest of your life?

Perhaps the column was more necessary then my friend (former hookup) acknowledged.

Hookups are part of our collegiate culture; I won’t back peddle on that. Why not try to then lift them from their subversiveness and accept people who engage in all realms of sexual behavior? Once again, safety for one’s sexual and mental wellbeing, as well as that of others, is pivotal.

A healthy attitude regarding sexuality is crucial to our societies success. Everyone engages in sex, it’s what life is, why then do people feel the need to make other’s feel shameful for what they feel or want? The only answer I can think to offer is fear.

Call me a slut if you wish, I truly take it as a badge of honor now. Because if the word slut denotes voicing your opinion, wishing for sexual equality among sexes and being a proponent of all types of sexual lifestyles, then I will proudly wear that title.

Thank you Michael Walker for reminding me why I love my job and why a sex column, which is deemed purely fluffy entertainment by some (and to my own omission sometimes is), is also so important. We all still have so much to learn and discuss.
__________

How do You Ask for What You Really Want in Bed?

My boy has a consistent bedtime routine: He brushes his teeth, sets his alarm and logs on to ESPN.com to check his fantasy baseball ranking and the homepage of his beloved Astros. I quickly learned I could tease him about his OCD-esque nightly redundancy, but I could never slight his Houston heroes.

What he liked sexually in the bedroom proved harder to learn.

As a sex columnist and general sexual connoisseur, I was naturally eager to hear exactly what he’s into.

“I don’t know,” he responded, turning away from me in bed. “The normal stuff, I guess.” He started snoring five minutes later.

I remained vigilant but downtrodden. Sadly, because of societal taboos, much of our sexual selves remains cloaked in darkness, lit only by the dim, neon glow of a computer screen streaming porn when we’re alone.

My theory regarding both relationships and sex, however, is that they thrive on communication and honesty.

I asked my boy what he liked not only because I want to please him, but also because it would open up the discussion to explain what I like.

Wouldn’t we both be more satisfied if we each got what we wanted (within reason) out of our sex life? Wouldn’t we all?

Sadly, however, it’s a slippery slope, and many of us are afraid of being embarrassed or judged.

So how do you talk to your partner about what you really want in bed?

Lying in my own bed right after he closed his laptop, I opened up. I discovered that by beginning the sharing, I could both break the ice and set the pattern of acceptance. He quickly followed suit.

While it’s often easy to share your favorite movies or best childhood memories, delving into the sexual subconscious is understandably more difficult.

The boy and I were luckily able to talk openly, and we decided together what to venture into.

My friend found herself in the same predicament when she started dating her boyfriend a few months ago. She decided to gauge her new guy’s response to her favorite fantasy by hiding it in a story about one of her friends.

“Jessica is really into ______,” she slyly suggested. “She is trying to get this new guy she’s seeing into it also. What do you think she should do?”

Opening up dialogue is key, and sometimes avoiding the first person and making insinuations allows discussions to flow with ease. Amazingly, your partner is probably not as dense as you think.

Try renting porn with that particular act or scenario in it. Visit X-Mart. Where better to begin a discussion about sex than in a sex store?

I don’t at all advocate sacrificing your own internal compass or engaging in anything you’re not completely comfortable with, but be open enough to consider experimenting.

The Astros may not make the playoffs this season, but at least now my own sex life is a home run.

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