Get Over the Stigma of Singledom

Single people get a bad rap. In the media, they are depicted as sad and lonely. Rarely do we see someone strong, well-adjusted and independent without a love interest lurking in the background. Then there is the butting in of certain well-meaning friends and relatives. They may come under some kind of delusion from time to time, and talk to you as if there is something wrong with you. “Why haven’t you found someone?” they ask. Or give you not so good advice like, “Maybe you should just lower your standards a little.” Just relax and remind yourself that you are in good company. The biggest growing demographic in the country today is single women. Sometimes we let what others say get to us. Don’t let them stigmatize you for loving yourself and leading your own life. Get over the stigma of singledom and enjoy flying solo. And in fact, while you are at it, help those other people get over their prejudice against unattached Americans as well.  Here are some reasons why you should feel lucky to be without a plus one. 

Ever see folks who don’t quite belong together try and make it work? It’s just sad. Why would you put yourself through that? Instead, why not wait for someone you can relate to, who flips your switch. Getting turned on is not just a sexual thing. It’s probably more emotional. It’s when you flow with someone. You have that instant rapport. There are different reasons why we are attracted to a person. When you meet that special someone who makes your heart skip a beat it dawns on you that this is someone worth pursuing. But just having a warm body next to you at the movies or on the couch isn’t worth it to those who have a brilliant mind, a full agenda and an independent spirit. There are people who jump from one relationship to another like frogs across Lili pads. These people are generally scared of being alone. But they don’t get a chance to really dig down deep and learn some personal truths about who they themselves are. A pause between serious relationships can give you time to breathe, slow down and focus on your own issues, where you are going and what you want in life. The person you have to love first and best in life is really yourself.

When you aren’t attached you can date around and see what you really like. Why not have some adventures? You can open up your social calendar and allow yourself some time to be a free spirit, sprint off without having to check in with anyone, or babysit someone who can’t keep up. Singledom is not a dilemma, it’s a rare opportunity that most people don’t have and some are downright jealous of. Now is the time to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Go teach English in Asia. Volunteer in Africa. Explore your passions. Learn a new language. Start a business. Discover your family history or completely transform yourself into the person you’ve always wanted to be. Being single can feel lonesome at times. But at least you won’t ever feel trapped by or disgusted with your lover. You won’t feel smothered or neglected, rejected or treated unfairly. Jean Paul Sartre said, “Hell is other people.” Anyone who has ever been in a bad relationship knows what he is talking about. Instead, reconnect with yourself and find your own inner light. Once you are glowing like a beacon, someone worthwhile is sure to notice you. If you’re still not convinced or are just giving up the single game read,“Best Dating Advice I Ever Got”: 3000 Women Pick Their Favorite Love Tips by Ali Binazir MD.

Why You Aren’t Finding Anyone You Have Chemistry With

Dating wasn’t any level of hell in Dante’s Inferno. But it can sure feel like one sometimes. We generally think it’s a natural process. It’s all about chemistry. You meet someone. You like them. They like you and boom! The magic happens. Cue music. Except it doesn’t always work that way. Not in real life. Sometimes you date someone and they drop off the face of the planet, right when things were just getting interesting. What was it a fear of commitment? Did they meet someone else or get back with their ex? Or else they owed money to the mob. There isn’t much you can do at this point, except pick yourself up and keep going. Then there is for some a worse situation, a kind of dating purgatory. This is when you meet people all the time. You date and date and don’t have chemistry with any of them. What do you do? Some say chemistry is over-rated. It is compatibility you are looking for. Chemistry fades as soon as the “honeymoon phase” has worn off. Then if compatibility isn’t there, there are few things to keep the couple together. Others think you should hold out for someone who knocks you off your feet. So what is the best way forward if you aren’t finding chemistry with anyone you are dating?

You shouldn’t spend a significant amount of time with someone just because you want someone there. But if you have been on a significant number of dates or spent time with lots of would-be suitors and have no feelings at all toward any of them, consider where you are. What is your selection process like? Are you being too picky? Sometimes we want everything in a mate and refuse to settle. But we forget that each of us is a human being. We all have our faults. Consider giving it a rest for now. Focus on yourself. Then come back at it fresh. But begin looking at your dating life from another point of view. Some people are very goal oriented. But one’s love life rarely fits into the plans we’ve made for it. Usually, we say we want something specific and someone comes along and mucks it all up. There are those who have started to realize that their choices in past lovers may have not been the best. Chemistry can sometimes push us toward those who are not healthy for us. It is best to resist it then. But don’t think you will be stuck in limbo forever. Your system only has to be reconnoitered. Just be patient and wait for someone who gives you that “wow” factor and is also good for you.

There are those who find that nerves get in the way. It is often those people who are very reserved. Others are shy and introverted and take time to get used to others. Chemistry cannot be formed when one is experiencing high anxiety, or when one’s date is. Spend a little time with the person who is nice but whom you aren’t sure about. If you or they are nervous or seem to be, spend time in a setting that is comfortable for the uncomfortable person, on their home turf. If you just aren’t sure about them and nervousness doesn’t factor in, try and see them from a different vantage point. A new context or different environment can bring out other sides of a person, ones you may be more attracted to or less so. Take them out with friends, bring them along on a hike or do some volunteer work together. Realize that compatibility with a little bit of chemistry makes for a better long-term relationship than the other way around. You can do novel things together to turn that spark into an inferno. But compatibility on the other hand is an either have it or you don’t scenario. Realize that a love life just doesn’t work the way other aspects of our life like family, friends, or our career does. Those things are relatively straightforward. But a vibrant love life takes patience, confidence, and a great attitude and the ability to start over, to come out the other side unscathed and smiling. Just be yourself. Be happy, open, curious, and practice nonjudgment towards others. Sooner or later someone you fancy will be knocking on your heart’s door. For more on better ways to travail the often bitter landscape of the human heart readThe Secret Laws of Attraction: The Effortless Way to Get the Relationship You Want by Talane Miedaner.

How to Tell Your Partner You are Bi-Curious

 

Though still stigmatized, bisexuality is becoming more accepted in our culture. Moreover, people in long term relationships are starting to feel freer to explore different interests and emotions associated with their sexuality. In days gone by these feelings were most often suppressed. If they were acted upon it was hidden and never spoken about. But today, those in long-term relationships want to open up to one another about their true sexuality. One can say that in a way, true love is being accepted by one’s partner as one truly is, while reciprocating this acceptance to the beloved. Discovering and exploring your sexuality together is a way to really get to know yourself and your partner, keep the spark alive, and grow closer. Today, couples feel more comfortable exploring BDSM, tantra, role playing, and much more. But what happens when you are bi-curious? Springing on your plus one that you wish to be tied up, or want to play student and teacher is one thing. But wanting to have a sexual interaction of someone of the same sex is another. First, realize that this experience is actually quite common, for women and men. It was Alfred Kinsey’s pioneering 1950’s research into human sexuality that uncovered that bisexuality was more common than first surmised. Psychologist Eric Erickson later found that sexuality instead of being a dichotomy, is actually a spectrum. Each of us falls somewhere in between heterosexuality and homosexuality.

The next thing to determine is how bi-curious you are. How strong are these impulses and interest? Do you fantasize about other men or women? Do you like seeing their bodies? Consider how often you appreciate those of the same sex. Do you watch videos about it? Do you read articles online? How often do you fantasize about it? There is a difference between a mild fantasy that bubbles up to the surface now and then, and a strong attraction or desire. Have you ever had a crush on a person of the same sex? Ever kissed someone or gone farther? The farther you have gone, the more it is a part of your psyche, and the more pertinent it is to share with your partner. Once you have determined your level of bi-curiosity, consider how far you want to go with it. Is it something you truly want to explore? Each of us are sexual creatures. Exploring our sexuality freely without judgment but curiosity, devoid of shame but with enthusiasm, is part of becoming a fully actualized adult, and loving your authentic self. Learn to embrace this new interest. Do some research. Read articles and consider how far you feel comfortable going.

Now consider your partner. How open are they to the subject of bi-curiosity. Consider how they may take the news. Some people are interested in letting their partner explore their sexuality with another. Others would only enjoy the prospect in the course of a ménage-a-trios. Otherwise, they would feel left out. But of course, these are important concerns. Are you up for a threesome, or only comfortable exploring on your own? If the latter, you are leaving your partner out, which may drive a wedge between you. Consider a nuanced negotiation. Then there is the emotional side. Some people cannot take their partner having emotional intimacy with someone outside the primary relationship. They consider it cheating. Evaluate how your partner will feel. But if this is a marriage or a long-term relationship, it is best that you discuss these feelings with your partner. Perhaps start out slow. You can point out people of the same sex you think are attractive from time to time and ask your partner their opinion. Feel them out. Most couples find this harmless fun. Then perhaps ask them what they would think if you kissed someone of the same sex. Over time, you can work into the conversation so it doesn’t come as such a shock. If this does not work with your partner, go for the direct approach. One day when you are both relaxed and spending time together, let them know about your feelings or a fantasy that you had. You might want to preface it with how much you love and adore them, how precious they are to you, how much you enjoy making love to them, and how attractive they are. This is to assuage their ego and allow them to not feel threatened.

Then you also want to know about these other feelings, who and what you find attractive, what experiences you have had in the past, and if or how you want to act upon these feelings. Just have a conversation about it. Let them ask any questions. If you get a negative reaction, give them some time. Allow them to mull over and sort through their feelings for a while, and revisit the issue later on. Understand that many couples go through this, and it is perfectly natural. Find out what level of interaction is safe, comfortable, exciting, and conducive to the relationship. Keep talking about it, and thinking about. Your sex life is an ever unfolding process not a destination. Enjoy the ride. For more pick up a copy of The Bisexual Option Fritz Klein MD.

Are your Ready for a Long-term Relationship?

 

According to society, the media, our family, and perhaps even friends, a long-term, monogamous relationship is the only legitimate kind. Dating around is considered something for impetuous youth, and for the eternal playboy who flaunts societies rules and fails to slow down. Women are judged even more harshly if they do not want to find “The One.” Though many powerful, innovative female role models in the past never settled down, the fact is gleaned over, if not forgotten. Even after a painful breakup or divorce, folks will reach out, try to set you up with someone, ask when you are going to “get serious” with someone again, or merely inquire, whether politely or otherwise, why you are still single. The fact is, there is no right or wrong way to manage a love life. It is really all up to each, particular individual, what works for them, and where they are in life. No one can tell you if you are ready for or even want a long-term relationship, right now or ever. Only the voice in your own heart can tell you. If you rush into one with the wrong person, or with the right person at the wrong time—failing to allow things to develop at their natural pace, tragedy can ensue. It really is out of anxiety for others or societal expectations that we jump into a long-term relationship when we do not want one, or when we are not ready. So if you are interested in a long-term relationship, and that is your goal, how do you know when you are ready?

Did you just get out of such a relationship? If so, jumping into another may not be the smartest move. If you are seeing someone to get over your ex, to make them jealous, or if you know in your heart of hearts that this is just a rebound, do not move forward. You would be doing so not because you want to but out of expectation. A house of love built on a flimsy foundation will sooner or later come crashing down. You will have broken the heart of someone you had no intention of truly loving. Do not set up false expectations. Let the person you are dating know where you have been, where you are at, and how you aren’t looking for anything serious right now. Do not open the door to future seriousness with them if you have no intention of doing so. You will only set up a false expectation.

There is nothing wrong with a rebound or dating casually, as long as each party is aware of exactly what is going on and everything is consensual. Another time to avoid a long-term relationship is when you are expecting big changes soon. If you are moving away, starting a new job, entering into medical school, or taking some time off to take care of a sick relative, your time will be limited. Do you really have the time and energy to make this relationship work? Spreading yourself too thin will only cause arguments, derision, and heartache. A Long distance relationship needs even more of an investment. Talk it over with your love interest and let them know where you are at, and where you are going.

Some people love singledom and hate being tied down. Then they meet someone that they like, and even though becoming a unit doesn’t feel right, they do it to not lose the person. But they are never truly happy in captivity. Whether it is a temporary thing such as you are at a transition point and need to do some soul searching, or you have always been a lone wolf and will always be, do not settle for what you know in your heart will never work. State who you are and what you like clearly. If they won’t take no for an answer, you probably shouldn’t be dating this person to begin with. Perhaps you feel as though you need to keep your defenses up. You cannot trust anyone to get close. This is not the time to get serious with someone. They will attempt to get closer to you, while all you will be doing is pushing them away. This situation makes both of you dissatisfied. Instead, work on yourself. Why do you have these trust issues? Where do they stem from? Get yourself where you need to be, and once you get there, you will know how to manage your love life in the way that is right for you.

For more up a copy of Every Single Woman’s Battle: Guarding Your Heart and Mind Against Sexual and Emotional Compromise (The Every Man Series) Workbook by Shannon Ethridge.

When Your Partner Isn’t Into Your Fetish

When Your Partner Isn’t Into Your Fetish

In the honeymoon stage sex is happens spontaneously and often. But when things move on it takes a little more effort to find novelty in the bedroom, or else things can grow stale. This is a good time to explore deeper fantasies together. Everyone has them, although in our culture we are often taught to suppress them. But it is psychologically healing to be able to reveal your inner self and have it be accepted by your partner. That said, many of us are living with the psycho-social residue of sex as being taboo. So it becomes difficult to open up to our partner about areas we would like to explore. In this case, couples can be a perfect match on all things, and yet be mismatched in terms of sexuality. Common difference include a frequency differential—one person has a strong sexual appetite than the other, and differing interests. For example, one person is kinkier than the other. Or one wants to be submissive while the other could never see themselves as dominant. In any case, a couple doesn’t have to break up just because you do not share the same sexual interests at the outset. Negotiation, open-mindedness, and an I-will-do-this-for-you if-you-do-this-for-me, mentality applies. Here is what to do if your partner is not into your fetish.

Your course of action depends upon whether or not your partner is aware of your fetish. Let’s say for instance you are a female who desires to be tied up and ravaged. But your husband grew up with an overbearing, feminist mother who instilled in him a deep and resounding respect for women, not a bad quality, but it could hamper your desires in this case. He may just need some introduction into what you are interested in. First, get in touch with every aspect of your fetish. You will need a deep understanding of it before you can truly communicate it to someone else. What is it that turns you on? Why do you think that is? Next, try subtle things like watching pornographic videos where this is portrayed, reading certain erotica together, bringing up interesting through pertinent anecdotes, or talking about little aspects that interest you or turn you on. It is important to slowly get your partner acclimated to the idea.

Now try moving things up a level. First, start with dirty talk. Get him to call you derogatory names, and give him what he wants in return, as a part of positive reinforcement. As things unfold, sometime in the near future during another session, ask him to tie you down while incorporating the aforementioned language. Now try role playing and have him in a very assertive role such as a dirty teacher, police officer, or soldier. Next, have some time alone together where you share your fantasies and elaborate farther. Make sure you state this is a realm free of judgment before discussing. Explain to him what turns you on about it. Be patient and be ready to explain in many different ways and on different occasions until he in this example, or she understands. What makes something repellent to us as a species is not understanding something. But once we get it, the weirdness comes out of it, and we are more willing to take part in it, and make our partner happy.

If it is something they already know about but are not interested in, do not give up. Let him or her get used to the idea. Start out slow. Discuss it on multiple occasions. But be sure that they get to talk about their interests too, and you do your best to fulfill their fantasies. Negotiate using the process of “How about instead of (whatever is objectionable) we do (something similar).” Workshop the entire process if it is a role play so your partner doesn’t get stuck. Always be sure to practice safe play. If he or she is still uninterested, leave the door open. If and when they agree to take part, always take baby steps letting them get acclimated, and each time getting a little closer to what you want.

Both of you need to understand that the bedroom sphere is completely different than the outside world. The rules in one do not apply to the other. Some of the things that really turn us on in the bedroom would be the same things we would fight against tooth and nail in the outside world. If your fetish is too far beyond the pale for your partner, even after long negotiations, and this is one of your needs, talk about what to do next. Are they okay with you interacting with another in this manner? Visiting a club or social group where this interest is held in common? Would they be okay with you seeing a provider to have these needs met? In closing, do not feel bad about your fetish. Understand that we all have our kinks. They are one thing that makes us human and ultimately, interesting. Most couples can talk through impasses, and in time learn to enjoy the other’s fetish, or at least making one another happy.

Want to know more about exploring the world of kink with your partner? Then read, Playing Well With Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Navigating and Exploring the Kink, Leather and BDSM Communities by Lee Harrington.