3 Tips to take the Fear out of Dating

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that dating is always the easiest thing – especially as you get older and meeting people in general becomes after.  But feeling anxious and stressed about dating doesn’t need to be your fate.  There are some incredibly simple things you can do to move yourself out of fear and take back your personal power.  Check out this short video below to learn more.

 

What’s the Beef with Masturbation?


Masturbation flowers

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Masturbation gets a bad rap, and I don’t know why.  What other free, simple, kinda activity you can do just about anywhere gets looked down on so much?  And I’m not even talking about so many religious stances on the topic.  I’m constantly running into otherwise sex positive people who treat masturbation like sex’s poor cousin.

People have their reasons… I suppose.  But, like a lot of things in life, I’m not willing to let anyone with an easy first answers.  Let’s tackle some of the most common objections, shall we?

Touching yourself down there is gross.  I want you to think back to where you first heard this.   Was it family?  Church?  Other kids of the schoolground?  Think carefully and critically about who gave you that message and what power they were trying to hold over you.  Your genitals are no more gross than any other part of your body.   Like some other body parts they can get a little funky being cooped up all day; but that’s what soap, water, and a good airing out are for.  And remember, only clean the bits outside your body – inside has it’s own cleaning system.

Masturbation penisIt’s not the same as sex with a partner.  No.  It likely isn’t.  But that’s actually part of the joy of masturbation – it adds variety to your sex life! Masturbation doesn’t have to be a poor replacement for the real thing, and if that’s what you’re trying to make it I’m not surprised to hear it isn’t living up to your expectations.  Consider making masturbation its own kind of pleasure:  time for you to connect with yourself without having to care about anyone else.

It’s not as satisfying as with my partner.  Let’s examine that a bit shall we?  What do you mean by satisfying?  Does it lack the emotional component?  How’s your emotional connection with yourself?  Believe it or not, this reflect in how we masturbate.  Pleasuring yourself – really taking the time to feel your body in all it’s wonderfulness is a fantastic way to show love to yourself.  And not just your genitals.  Touch yourself.  Appreciate the curve of your calf muscles; the length of your fingers, the line of your hips.    Does it not feel as good?  You can play with that too.  Try out different techniques, increase your foreplay time (after all, does your partner go straight to your genitals?), use lube, consider toys too! There are options for clitoral stimulation, penis stimulation, insertables (for fronts and backs!) – and more.  It is a big world of sex toys my friends; have fun exploring!

I don’t know what I’m doing.  Well, how much practice do you have?  If you’re newer to masturbation – or even to exploring your body, that’s no surprise.  Our bodies don’t come with instruction manuals; we have to write those ourselves.  Set aside some time for you to explore you without expectation.  I like to dim the lights and put on some music.  You might like to pour yourself a glass of wine and hope in the bathtub.  Or grab your favourite erotica and lay out on your living room couch.   Whatever you need to do to create a safe sexy space for yourself, do it.  Then simply let your hands wander.  If something feels good, follow that feeling and see where it leads.  Not feeling a spark – go back a paragraph and check out that last sentence again 😉

Thoughts vs Actions

Action without study is fatal.  Study without action is futile

– Mary Beard

It’s awesome to know what you want out of your sex life.  It’s awesome to know what you want to explore in terms of our sexuality — but what happens if you aren’t actually acting on your desires?

Asking for your fantasy

Because a sexuality empowerment coach means talking about anything you want to talk about; so when I was asked about how one goes about asking their partner to for a group sex fantasy, I had to give it my best answer.

 

True fact – this is my most viewed YouTube video.

So let’s talk “Healthy”

Throughout the month of January on my YouTube channel we’re talking about making healthy choices when it comes to our sexuality – and I hope by now  you know that means a lot more than knowing your STI status.

 

I’m pretty excited about where this is gonna go!

Youtube videos do make it up here eventually – but if you want first crack at them take a moment and subscribe directly to the channel.    Don’t forget you can also send in questions for me to answer each month

Make Space for Pleasure in 2014

Happy New Year!

If you caught my video last week, then here’s what you’ve been waiting for is here!  Feel free to scroll right down to the bottom oh this post to register for next week’s free webinar.

If you don’t know what the deal is I’ll keep it short.  Tuesday January 7th at 8pm (EST) I”ll be hosting a free hour long webinar to talk about what we can do to make space for more pleasure in our lives.  Life can be so busy and demanding it can be hard to figure out how to hit any sort of pause button – even when we really want to reap the benefits of that button.

Spend 1 hour with me and I’ll give you some tips and tricks to build space for pleasure into your daily life so hitting that button becomes easier; sometimes so easy, you don’t even realize it’s happening.

Ready to join me January 7 at 8pm  (EST) to talk about how you can bring more pleasure into your life?  Go get registered!  Interested in the topic, but aren’t able to join in live?  Don’t worry; I’ll be recording the webinar and am happy to send it directly to your inbox.  Sign up here for that to happen and you don’t have to miss out.

sparkler heart

Hope to see you!

Can You Be Friends With Your Ex?

Can I confess something?  We can still be friends is one of my most hated sentences in all relationship-speak.  Not because I don’t like friends – friends are clearly awesome; who else will be there for those special type of ethically/legally/morally questionable shenanigans?   [See reason #257 about why I care about helping you uncover your ideal sex life instead of teaching you how to have mine.]

No, I despise this sentence because of how thoughtlessly it’s often trotted out.  Either people can’t say no, so they offer friendship to soften the blow of rejecting the romantic relationship (regardless of what they really want), or it’s the post romance default status.

Friendship:  where old romantic relationships go to die.

Here’s some reasons why you might want to stay friends after a romantic break up:

  • The break up was mutual, affable, and you all genuinely want good things for each other’s future
  • You genuinely like your ex – they were a friend before you dated, and while you dated; why change that now?

And that’s kinda it.  You want to isn’t a good enough reason alone to cut it with me – I want to know what is driving your desires before I’m willing to sign off.

  • Is it because you’re desperate to keep them in your life in some way, and friendship is better than nothing?  I predict you’re setting yourself up for a lot of heartache my friend.
  • Is it because you think you can win them back?  Friending someone as a pretence for a romantic assault?  This all smells a little too friendzoneish to me.
  • Is it because you can’t imagine them not in your life.  That’s cool – but can you imagine them in your life without romantic relationship?  You know that feeling in your gut when you just want someone so much, but you don’t have them?  Is that what you want to set yourself up for?
  • Is it because you thinking not having everyone like you means you’ve somehow means you’re not a good person?

None of the above reasons have anything to do with the other people, but are actually about stuff you need to address within yourself.

I’m going to say something very clearly, pay attention:

A relationship that ends without friendship does not mean that relationship was a failure.

Sometimes we share a period of our life with people and then we part ways.  Simple as that.

Romance and friendship are not the same thing.  Offering friendship to ease your guilty conscious for disappointing someone, or even breaking their heart isn’t good for anyone.  First, it’s unfair to chain yourself to a yet another relationship you don’t truly want.  Seriously, forcing yourself into any sort of relationship, romantic or platonic, is all but guaranteed to end in resentment.  Second, it’s not fair to your ex to be insincere about what’s on the table and what isn’t.  Just as it sucks to take someone’s number and never call, it sucks to offer friendship without actually acting like a friend.

On the flip side of this; if you’re someone being offered post-break up friendship, think about if that’s the right move for you.

Forcing a friendship to keep someone happy when you’re healing isn’t going to work either.  Like the tweet that inspired this post said:

Keeping your ex in your life as a friend when you’re not truly ready to be their friend can make it harder to move forward.  Sometimes removing someone from your life is the healthiest thing you can do for yourself.

And I’m not talking parting ways hating each other either – we don’t have to split things into such a dichotomy.  There’s a whole spectrum of new relationships that can come out of a romantic relationship whose time has passed:  acquaintances, partners in crime, wingmen, fuck buddies, friends, social media friends, book club buddies.  Take a moment to think about your new found freedom – what kind of relationship (if any) do you want with this person now?  If you and your ex in agreement about where to go next the world is your oyster.

Remember, none of these decisions have to be made right away.  You can take space from each other for months, even years before you move onto a friendship if that is what it takes for you to truly be this person’s friend.  You don’t owe anyone friendship.  It’s okay to do what is best for you and your healing post break up.

Whatever happens after your relationship ends, let it be on your terms – not some default.
Not sure if you should be friends with your ex or not?  Perhaps this handy flow chart will help with that.  I know the text is small – there’s a lot to consider!  Click on the image to see a larger version

Should you be friends with your ex?

On Honestly, Vulnerability and Dating

I like attention – not in the please stop me and tell me I”ve got a great rack (even though I do), but being seen and heard, and having people show up with their full self to engage with me. I love being the centre of your universe – though only for a brief while, and I cherish being invited in.

I updated one of my online profiles to say that today.  It’s something I  know to be true about myself and important for someone considering a relationship with me to know.  I’ve known this about myself for a while, but I’ve been sitting on it.  Sitting on it because I was afraid of what putting this truth out there would mean; that I might now be seen a selfish, or demanding.  Or if I’d have to turn in my poly card for saying in this instance I don’t like to share in this way.  Or this might be the tipping point from yes to no.

We silence ourselves in so many ways when we’re looking for relationships.  Covering up the bits that make us inconvenient, or difficult or awkward.  Best to cast a wide net, right?  Hook as many as possible, so you can widdle down from there.

But the truth is casting a wide net is a bad idea for me.  I’m not the most easy going or convenient person to date.  I know what I want, what I’m willing to compromise on, and what I’m not.  Yes this does make me less desirable to a number of people out there in the world – but in turn, they aren’t all that desirable to me, and why should I place being desirable to someone above someone being desirable to me – after all; I have to be in the relationship too!

By putting my truest self upfront when dating helps the people who are interested in me, with all my uniqueness, quirks, and complexities find me, and starts any potential relationship off on a better foot.

Sometimes, the ways I try to shrink myself, to silence or lessen myself for someone else can feel immense, but really I know this isn’t true.  I know it’s not true because the very fact that I can now recognize when I’m disempowering myself is proof of how far I’ve come in my journey to living a sexually empowered life.

Empowerment: getting to this place, and staying in this place for me, has always been a case of recognizing the problems, figuring out how to do differently and the moving forward, better than before.  Not perfect, but better each and every time.

Honestly and vulnerability – two things that produce fear in me.  But, despite those fears, knowing I’m operating from a place of authenticity, and knowing what power that holds still feels pretty damn good.

Is all fair in love and war?

Sometimes things get a little ranty around here….

How can we be more respectful, and really – more fairness into our sexplorations?

My Favourite Sex Toy Shops

Since I’m about to spend the next few weeks talking about sex toys over on YouTube, I figured I should also give you some information about where I go to shop for my toys and sexy accouterments.

Some people have never thought twice about what kind of store they shop at; they get in, they get out, and they go about their day – no matter what they’re shopping for.  Me?  I like to shop places where the staff like to chat.  Because I like friendly staff, I like the idea that I can become known in a store I frequent often, and I really like to know the sales associates are gonna be cool when I tell my thick thighs are eating my tights, and not go all bug eyed because I talked about my fat.

Sex Shop are especially like that  for me.  With the exception of a few tried and true products I really want a store where I know I’ll feel comfortable talking to the associates about any questions, or any concerns I have, and I definitely don’t want them sending any negative vibes my way.    When I’m working with clients who are nervous about sex toy shopping and want a welcoming, truly sex positive, comfortable (or, at least, as comfortable as possible) experience, these are the stores I recommend.  Try them out – try a few of them out, see what you like, and don’t about each place, who staff gives the recommendations that fit your style best, and don’t forget to give a peek to all the non toy extras like workshops, tours, podcasts, and events.

Comes as You Are – Toronto – my local haunt.  Staff are always friendly, knowledgeable, and have done special orders just so I could get the sexuality books I’ve wanted over the years.

Good For Her LogoGood for Her – Toronto –  Also the store that hosts the Feminist Porn Awards, and has special hours for women and trans* shoppers only.   True story: once, Tristan Toamino helped me look for something in the store.  No, she doesn’t work there, she was just in town for the Feminist Porn and helped me do some shopping!

The rest of the list I haven’t shopped at personally, but I’ve met their founders, owners, associates, educators – someone from the store – and know enough about their philosophy and style to be comfortable recommending them to you.

Babeland-20anniversary-group-grey-magentaBabeland – Seattle, New York, Brooklyn –  I’m not sure if it’s just been my luck, but every Babeland employee I’ve met in my travels is fun on a stick, with enough creativity to make just about every idea I’m wondered about out loud into a reality.

Good Vibrations – San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Palo Alto, Massachusetts – The majority of my favourite Sex Educators have worked at these stores at some point in their careers.  In addition to toys,  Good Vibes has a serious educational focus which really scores points with a workshop junkie like me.

Pleasure Chest – Chicago, New York, Los Angeles – Since 1971 y’all!  In addition to being a great store, these are the minds behind Sex Is Back, which is a website dedicated to people sharing their stories, experiences, fears, and funny-as-fuck moments around sex.  Check out my clips!

TSKLogoStickerSmitten Kitten – Minneapolis –  Consistently the company responsible for the sex ed video I”m watching, and one of the leaders in bringing your safer, non-toxic toys.

All of these stores do have online sales – but when you aren’t sure what you want, I really recommend an in person visit so you can get a proper look at the options, put them in your hands and ask any “silly” questions that might come up.

That list is not even remotely exhaustive; so if you want to see more check out The Redhead Beadhead on her Super Hero Sex Shops Tour.

Happy shopping!