Tying tubes and trying choices

This year I’ve given more thought to the subject of contraception than I have in the last decade of my life.  After twelve years of taking the oral contraceptive pill, I chose to have an IUD fitted in an effort to control my chronic migraines.  When my uterus rejected my IUD, I had to think carefully about what kind of contraceptive I would try next.  Although there are a multitude of contraceptive options available, my choices were severely limited.

The contraceptive pill was out, because although I knew it worked well for me, it definitely made my migraines more frequent.  There are a number of hormonal birth control methods, such as the Nuva Ring and The Patch which were also not appropriate for me because of my migraines.  I looked into the Depo-Provera injection but I didn’t want to have to have a shot every three months. I wasn’t keen to try another IUD and I wasn’t impressed with the failure rates of methods such as the diaphragm and cervical cap.  In the end I settled on an Implanon implant, because it was one of the few options available to me that was highly effective.

 

The effectiveness of each method was one of the most important factors to me when considering which kind of birth control to choose.  The reason for this is that I don’t want to have kids.  Not just now, but ever. During all this research and weighing of options, one other birth control method was on my mind- tubal ligation.  I thought long and hard about getting my tubes tied, and made the choice that if the Implanon didn’t work for me, then my next step would be pursing voluntary sterilisation.

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It’s really important for me to stop a moment and highlight just how much thought I gave to this choice.  This isn’t a snap decision I made on a whim.  I have known for a very long time that I don’t ever want to have children.  It’s a path I’m positive that I don’t want to walk.  For me, it’s not so much the fatigue from trying so many different contraceptive methods, but rather the fact that it seems futile to temporarily alter my fertility when I know for sure that I never want to become pregnant.  I don’t want to have children, and I would feel relieved if my body were no longer able to accidentally surprise me with one.

 

When I was rolling the idea of sterilisation around in my mind, I spoke to several friends about it.  Every one of them, at some point in our discussion said the exact same seven words…..”But, what if you change your mind?”

 

This gave me pause.  Each time I heard those seven words I felt frustrated, upset and invalidated.  I felt like nobody was hearing me.  That nobody understood the fact that I’ve made up my mind, that I definitely 100% do not want kids.  That they were all viewing me as some cold-hearted bitch whose biological clock was ticking like a time bomb, just waiting to blow my decision to remain childless to smithereens.

 

It occurred to me that when a person states that they want to have a surgical procedure to prevent them from having children, it is generally believed that they are making a mistake and that they will inevitably change their mind.  Conversely, when a person announces that they are planning on undergoing artificial insemination or IVF or another fertility treatment, nobody ever says “But what if you change your mind?  What if you don’t really want a baby?  What if you regret it?”.  And the reason for that is fairly simple.

 

Women are supposed to want to have babies.  That’s meant to be like an in-built factory setting.  Procreating is meant to be so deeply ingrained in our DNA that those who don’t want to breed are seen as strange, or wrong, or simply late-blooming.  Surely at some stage, that innate feminine urge to bear a child will overtake every woman.  Having a child is seen to be the right choice. And if that’s not the choice you’ve made, then it’s expected that eventually you’ll realise your mistake and change your mind.  Nobody questions the decision to have a child, because our culture says that having children is what you’re meant to do.  It’s the right choice, and deciding to remain childless is not.

 

One person said to me, “Imagine how horrible it would be if you decided that you wanted to have a baby, but you couldn’t because you’d had your tubes tied”.  I explained to them that this imaginary scenario didn’t worry me, because I am positive that it is only a remote possibility.  That I worry far more about the possibility of finding myself accidentally pregnant.  And they then said to me “But if you did get pregnant, once you got over the shock, you’d be excited about it”.  Again rears up the belief that pregnancy is so innately coveted that even if we think we don’t want it, if it happens we will be elated.  I couldn’t find the words to tell this person that finding myself pregnant by accident would be traumatic.  In this imaginary scenario, I feel as though my body has been hijacked, that I’m being driven by a spawn intent on pulling my world apart and destroying everything I want for myself.  I imagine being lost in the gaping maw of motherhood, pulled into a vortex that sucks me into a dimension I want no part of.  It feels wrong to express this kind of dramatic aversion to motherhood, because being a mother is supposed to be the right choice.  It’s meant to be what I want.  But I don’t.  In every corner of my being, I know it’s not what I want.

 

It’s also really important to note that there are plenty of women out there who have chosen to remain childless who have not regretted their decision.  So I don’t believe that having a baby is the right choice for everyone, nor do I buy into the idea of this mythical biological clock that is going to change my thinking.  And although our culture’s underlying ideal of motherhood is damaging in some ways, there is something that I find more upsetting.  And that’s the fact that when I wanted to talk about the idea of sterilisation, none of the people I talked to were willing to just accept my choice to remain childless.  Not one of them could respect the fact that I  know my own mind and each one had to undermine my autonomy with those seven little words.  I know that none of these people meant to show disrespect or to upset me, but it’s hard not to feel judged when your decisions are being questioned and undermined.

 

These past few weeks have brought up a lot of fear and anxiety that I hadn’t felt in a while.  I’ve had to confront a lot of shame and feeling like I’m broken because I don’t want the thing that all women are supposed to crave.  That the ‘right choice” of having a child feels deeply wrong to me.  And feeling judged by people around me for not pursing the path of motherhood.  But ultimately I’ve had to put on my big girl trousers and realise that I have to make these choices for me.  I can’t live my life a certain way just because it’s what you’re “supposed” to do.  I have to do what’s right for me, because I’m the one who knows what’s best for my life. And having a child isn’t the right choice for me.

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My IUD is gone

You might remember that a few months ago I wrote about my experience having my IUD inserted.  Well, I now have another chapter to add to that story, to close the book on my experience with the Mirena IUD.

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I had the Mirena inserted in September, 2017.  I had very few side effects and was extremely pleased with it.  I felt very safe in the knowledge that it was in my uterus, just hanging out and zapping any sperm that swam into the vicinity.  Well OK, the IUD doesn’t literally “zap” sperm.  It just disorients them and thins the uterine lining so that if one of those little buggers does manage to fertilize my egg, the egg can’t implant into the uterine wall and turn into a baby.  At any rate, things were going well and I felt very confident that the IUD was working as it should be.

 

Then in January this year I saw my doctor because I was having some abdominal pains.  My doctor sent me for a bunch of tests, which included an ultrasound and a pregnancy test.  The pregnancy test came back negative, which was a massive relief.  Even when I know that I’ve been practising safer sex, there is still a feeling of monumental reassurance when I see that single blue line show up on a pregnancy test.  My ultrasound was a little bit more alarming.

 

As the technician was preparing me for my pelvic ultrasound, she asked me a bunch of questions about my sexual history and what contraceptives I was using.  I told her that I had the Mirena IUD and that I was having regular sex with a monogamous partner.  She then did two ultrasounds- one externally over my abdomen and back (to check my kidneys) and another trans-vaginal ultrasound which is internal.  After she was finished, the technician instructed me to clean off the ultrasound goo, get dressed and then wait for her to return so she could talk to me.  I was a bit nervous because I’ve never been asked to stay behind after an ultrasound and I was worried that some very bad news was in the offing.

 

The technician was quick to tell me that she hadn’t seen anything abnormal, and although my doctor would give me my full results, she hadn’t seen anything to indicate that there was anything wrong.  Everything was where it should be….except one thing.  “I can’t locate your IUD anywhere on the scans” the tech told me.  I was taken aback and asked her if she was sure.  She replied that she’d done a really extensive scan of my entire pelvis, and that the IUD was nowhere to be seen.  So it was likely that the IUD had been expelled from my body.  She warned me that I needed to use barrier contraceptives until I’d sorted out other birth control and then showed me to the door.

 

I spent the entire walk home feeling disoriented and puzzled.  How could the IUD be gone? I knew that there was a possibility that IUDs could be expelled but this didn’t make sense to me.  It took so long and hurt a lot to get it in my uterus in the first place, how could it possibly have dropped out of there without me knowing? Surely, expelling an IUD would hurt, at least a little, right?  And even if it didn’t hurt, if it did come out of my body, surely it would have turned up in my underwear or something.   I was completely baffled.

 

After denial over losing the IUD came anger.  I was furious.  I’d spent a fair chunk of money on doctors appointments and the unit itself, I’d gone through the pain of having it inserted and the stupid thing hadn’t even had the decency to stick around and do it’s job?  I was mad at the doctor who had put the IUD in, worried that maybe she didn’t do it properly, and frustrated with my own body for rejecting it.

 

And then an icy wall of realisation slapped me across the face.  If I didn’t know when the IUD was expelled….it might have been missing for months.  Which means that I’d been having unprotected sex for months.  I knew I wasn’t pregnant because I’d just taken a pregnancy test, but holy crap, I’d been playing Russian Roulette with my uterus.  That thought was the thing that frightened me most of all.  I don’t want kids.  Ever.  And the idea that I was unknowingly at risk of becoming pregnant was enough to nearly make me lose my lunch.  I felt like I’d dodged a bullet, because it really was only by sheer dumb luck that I hadn’t fallen pregnant.

 

I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor to discuss the results of the ultrasound. She confirmed that there was no trace of the Mirena anywhere in my body.  It’s gone.  She believes that the abdominal pain I experienced was related to my uterus expelling the IUD.  As to where the actual unit has gone, it’s possible that it was flushed down the toilet or washed down the drain in the shower without me knowing.  Either way, it’s not in my body anymore.

 

It turns out that expulsion is actually not that uncommon with IUD’s.  Around 5% of people who have a Mirena implanted will expel the device.  Expulsion usually happens in the first three months of having an IUD, but it can happen later on.  Expulsion can be painless, and it’s possible for it to happen without you knowing.  And that’s pretty scary, because it means that you might think you’re protected from unwanted pregnancy, when actually you’re still fertile.

 

I’m not telling you this to frighten you, or to put you off getting an IUD.  IUDs are a very effective form of birth control and work for lots of people.  But they do come with risks and they can fail.  That’s why it’s incredibly important to consider all the different contraceptive options available and also to listen to the messages your body is sending you.  If I hadn’t had that abdominal pain, I might not have had the ultrasound and wouldn’t have known that my IUD wasn’t in position.  I am glad that I listened to my body telling me that something wasn’t right, and got it checked out.

 

So this has been a very frightening and confusing experience.  I’m still feeling upset but relieved that things weren’t as bad as they could be.  I’m back to square one with contraception, and I’ll be getting an Implanon rod inserted soon.  If you’re interested, I’ll chronicle my experience with the Implanon, and also answer any questions you might have about it and the Mirena IUD.  Fingers crossed I have more success this time.

In the style of: American Horror Story Murder House

Each series of American Horror Story has it’s own distinct style, embodied by each of the larger than life characters.  Murder House is probably the season that has the least outrageous and most wearable costumes of all the seasons that have been released so far.  I wanted to take some time out to take a look at each of my favourite characters from this season and dissect their personal style for you.

Violet Harmon

Violet’s wardrobe puts me in mind of a teenager who spends all her time rummaging in thrift stores for treasures to take home.  It’s a mish-mash of eras: the 70’s wide brimmed hats, the 80’s floral dresses and the 90’s knobbly knits and chunky shoes all worn together.  Most of Violet’s clothes are oversized and baggy, all the better to laze on the floor of your room with a book and the neighbour boy.  Shades of mustard, khaki and black are plentiful in Violet’s wardrobe, with the odd splash of deep red.  Accessories are worn sparingly, but this is a girl who loves her hats and rocks fedoras, beannies and fur caps.

Tate Langdon

 

Tate’s style is firmly rooted in the 90’s grunge era.  Take your inspiration from Kurt Cobain and let rips and tears adorn your gear.  Tate prefers his clothes baggy, loose and fraying, preferably in dark shades.  Carry all your belongings in a school satchel and don’t forget your sneakers…perfect for running away from your enemies at school or sneaking around with your favourite girl.

Constance

 

Constance is a total Southern Belle.  A lady wrapped in silk sheath dresses and flawless diamonds.  A goddess in spiked heels and perfectly-coiffed hair.  However, underneath that perfect exterior is a heart as bitter as sour milk.  This flawless appearance is merely a trap to draw people close until she can figure out how best to use them to her advantage.  As such, every detail must be sublimely shimmering in order to create the illusion that she is a true lady of impeccable morals…although she is anything but.

Nora Montgomery

Nora is a very picture of elegance and glamour, tarnished by the stench of death.  Her grief has transformed this once vital woman into a mere shadow of the sophisticated creature she once was.  Her outfits are heavily inspired by 1920’s styles, with drop waist dresses, beaded details and cloche hats on perfectly curled hair. Black is the main colour of choice, with of course, some blue accents to match her eyes.  Art deco jewels and a mourning brooch are the perfect finishing touch to this sombre ensemble.

Moira

 

To get Moira’s look, you have to master the art of duality.  Moira is a woman of stark contrast and deep secrets.  Black and white create a sharp silhouette, and the lines of her outfit look outwardly prim and proper.  The crisp collar, the mid-length sleeves and the polished shoes all speak of someone respectable and modest.  But her corset belt, skyscraper heels and suspender stockings whisper hints that this tightly-laced woman is not all that she seems, and in the right light might just be a tiger waiting to pounce.
Which Murder House character is your favourite? Which one has the most enviable wardrobe, in your opinion?

 

What I wore: Wall to Wall 2018

Every year, my home town of Benalla holds a street art festival.  For one amazing weekend every year, artists set up their paints, brushes, dropsheets and spray cans to create masterpieces on buildings and fences all over the town.  In addition to the artwork, there is live music, food trucks, market stalls and guided walking tours.

The Wall to Wall festival weekend is one of my favourite weekends of the year.  It’s so exciting to watch the artwork taking shape and trying to guess what each piece is going to be.  Last Saturday I dressed up nice and comfy to take a long, lazy walk around the main street and soak up the artwork.

I am wearing:

  • Captain Planet tee shirt
  • Denim shorts from Target
  • Converse All Star sneakers (thrifted)
  • Apple headscarf (thrifted)
  • Mistress D and Master Rick pins from Geeky and Kinky


I was particularly proud of my makeup.  It had been so long since I’d worn a Tank Girl inspired ombre red lip so I revived that look for the day.  It’s such a 90’s trend but one that I still enjoy wearing.


In addition to the street art, this year the Wall to Wall festival also features an art installation by Callum Preston called The Milk Bar.  Mr Preston has build a milk bar inside the Benalla Art Gallery complete with a Telecom phone booth and Australia Post red post box out the front.  It’s really quite incredible, as you walk inside through the plastic strip curtains you’re greeted by shelves and shelves of colourful products all lovingly hand-painted, a rack of magazines and a counter staffed by a very sweet woman with pink hair and a pinny.  I had such fun reminiscing about all the lollies that I once loved which are no longer available (remember Snap n Crackle bars?) and lamenting the fact that Bubbalo Bill ice creams seemed so much bigger when I was a kid.

The Wall to Wall festival is even bigger in 2018 than in any other year.  Best of all, the street art remains up for a full year so if you’re driving through Benalla you can stop off and take a gander.  It’s well worth the trip if you like awesome artwork in unexpected places.

Product review: OVO L1 Loveballs

I’d been on the hunt for a set of kegel balls when I spotted the OVO Loveballs.  I’d previously tried a set of basic Doc Johnson Ben Wah Balls which I wasn’t taken with.  Then I got a set of duoballs as part of a “free gift with purchase”.  I liked them a lot but they were average quality and I resolved to upgrade to something a bit sturdier.  That’s when I found the OVO Loveballs at the Passionate Jade stall at Kinkfest.   They were only $30, which seemed like the perfect price for an experiment.  So I  snapped up a set and took them home to play with.

Firstly, let’s quickly talk about the difference between ben wah balls and duoballs.  Both are inserted into the vagina with the purpose of strengthing the kegels to provide stronger orgasms, a tighter vaginal canal and even assist with incontinence.  Ben wah balls are a pair of solid balls that are inserted and held in place by the vaginal walls.  Duoballs on the other hand feature a free moving ball encased in an outer shell.   They usually come in pairs and are inserted into the vaginal canal.  While the wearer has to focus on contracting the kegel muscles to keep a set of ben wah balls in place, wearing a set of duoballs is a more passive experience.  The inner balls move slightly during normal activity and this movement is felt by the kegel muscles.  The muscles will contract involuntarily in response to this movement.  So when you wear a set of duoballs, you don’t have to concentrate on actively working the kegel muscles, the muscles basically do the work for you.

The OVO Loveballs come packaged in a dainty little box.  The box contains two sets of duoballs- a lightweight coloured set and a heavier silver set.   The balls come in three different colours: light blue, violet and lilac.  I got the lilac set.  The kit also contains a silicone casing which holds two balls at a time.  There is also a warranty card (the OVO products all come with a 15 year warranty) and an instruction manual (which seems excessively thick for a booklet that could just read “stick these up your vagina, go about your business, remove, wash, repeat”).

The OVO Loveballs won an honourable mention in the 2013 Red Dot Design awards.  The clever design makes these duoballs really versatile and suitable for a range of bodies.  To begin with, the outer casing is a soft, pliable silicone which is non-porous and body safe.  The balls themselves are made of ABS plastic, which is body safe but can be porous.  Which means that they are safe to use, but not safe to share.

The intended way to use the duoballs is to select the two that you wish to use, slip them into the silicone casing and then insert them into your vagina.  The casing is really soft and it’s easy to slip the balls in and out as needed.  The casing also has a nifty retrieval cord which makes it extremely easy to remove the toy from your body.  However, I noticed that using the Loveballs in this way doesn’t work for my body all the time.  The reason for this is that I have a fairly low cervix, which means that my vaginal canal is relatively shallow.  Like most women, the depth of my vagina changes throughout the month, as the cervix moves up and down during my monthly cycle.  So early in my cycle, wearing the balls in the casing was perfectly comfortable.  Later in my cycle, I found that my vagina was too shallow to insert the balls far enough to be comfortable when they were in the casing.

The OVO Loveballs cleverly get around this issue though, because you can just as easily insert the balls without the casing.  So on days when my cervix is riding a little lower, I can just use one ball instead of two and it’s much more comfortable.  You could also take this approach if you’re finding that two balls is too heavy to begin with, starting with just one of the lighter balls and then working your way up.

Being able to remove the balls from the case also means that you can mix and match weights, starting with the two light balls, then one of each, then the two heavy balls.  I personally love this feature because it recognises that no two vaginas are the same, and every vagina changes a bit depending on a range of hormonal and physical factors.  I am impressed with this toy’s ability to accommodate a range of physical differences and allows you to customise how you use them.

There are two slight downsides to using the balls without the casing.  The first is that you won’t have that handy retrieval cord.  That’s not a big deal, because it’s pretty easy to reach the balls if you squat and/ or bear down a little with your pelvic floor.  But if you don’t like fumbling around in your vagina then this might not be for you.  Secondly, each of the balls has a seam where the two halves have been joined together.  You can easily position the casing so that it covers this seam, but without the case the seam is exposed.  The balls are fairly smooth, but you might find that this seam causes discomfort or irritation after a long period of use.  It also makes the balls tricky to clean, because bodily secretions tend to gather in the seam.

I’ve worn my OVO Loveballs a lot and they’re really comfortable.  I started out wearing these around the house, and quickly felt adventurous enough to leave the house with them.  They stay in place perfectly.  I’ve worn them to the supermarket, on the train, out to dinner and to the movies with no dramas.  You can feel the inner balls moving around as you shift your weight but it’s not a strong sensation.

One thing I will note is that the Loveballs are advertised as being “inaudible” and I don’t think they are.  I have noticed that if I make a sharp movement I can hear them rattling even when they’re inside my body.  While they are discreet, they do make a very quiet noise in response to sudden and dramatic motion.  But I mean, I doubt anyone will notice and if they do, it’s unlikely they’d guess that the noise they’re hearing is something rattling inside your vagina.

The Ovo Loveballs probably won’t rock your socks or feel stimulating to wear.  However, they can be excellent for foreplay as they really draw your attention to your genitals, and can make you feel like you’re doing something cheeky and taboo.  They’re also excellent for BDsM play as a Top might order a submissive to wear them in preparation for a meeting, or in public as punishment for a transgression.  Although they don’t produce an orgasm on their own, they can be a great tool for putting you in a sexy mindset or to introduce during power exchange scenes.

For just $30 I think the OVO Loveballs are an excellent addition to your toybox.  They’re admirable quality for the price and they’re so versatile.  They will work for a huge range of bodies and you can easily customise them to suit your needs.  They’re beautifully designed and can open up a range of play options.  If you’re interested in improving your kegel strength or just want something fun to try, I definitely recommend giving these a go.

Coming too soon? Dealing with premature ejaculation.

I’m excited to be answering another question from a devoted reader today.  I received a message from one of my single heterosexual male readers who is experiencing premature ejaculation.  He’s feeling ashamed about this and is hesitant to initiate sex with new partners because he’s worried that he won’t be able to satisfy them or that they will think he’s bad in bed.  I thought a lot about this and I can offer several suggestions for dealing with premature ejaculation and the shame that comes with it.

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What is premature ejaculation?

The International Society for Sexual Medicine has defined premature ejaculation as “ejaculation which occurs before or within one minute of penetration”.  However, popular opinion suggests that a lot of men consider premature ejaculation to be “coming too soon”.  For some, they feel that reaching orgasm well before their partner does, or sooner than they’d like, is premature ejaculation.  So it seems that while perhaps many people don’t fall within the medical definition of premature ejaculation, their expectations of how long they “should” be able to last colours their perceptions of their sexual ability.

 

Why is it a problem?

There are a few reasons why premature ejaculation is seen as an obstacle to great sex.  Firstly, there’s the idea that sex = penis in vagina.  And so if the “P in V” part of sex doesn’t last long, or if both partners aren’t satisfied during intercourse then we think that the sex was bad.  Secondly, we are constantly presented with sex scenes in movies and television shows where a couple having sex falls into bed, rolls around a little and then orgasms in unison.  So when our sexual responses don’t synch up with our partner’s, we feel like we’ve done something wrong.  And finally, a lot of the time premature ejaculation is the punchline of jokes in movies, so there’s this idea that men who come early are losers.

In actual fact though, premature ejaculation doesn’t have to be a barrier to awesome sex.  The way I see it, a lot of the time men feel like they’ve come to early when their body’s performance doesn’t match their expectations of how long they should be able to last in bed.  And so there are two ways to tackle this issue: either change the way your body performs or change your expectations (or a combination of the two).

 

Change the main event

A huge part of anxiety about premature ejaculation comes from the fear that once ejaculation happens sex is over and one party is left unsatisfied.   To overcome this idea, try switching up your perceptions of what “sex” entails.  It doesn’t have to just be about penis in vagina.  Expand your definition to include oral sex, mutual masturbation, kissing, humping and exploration.  Once you no longer consider “sex” to be just about penetration, the need to last longer becomes less important.

 

Get your timing right

It’s a well established fact that women usually take a lot longer to reach climax than men do.  The physical process of arousal tends to take up to three times longer for women, and actually reaching orgasm can take even longer.  If you know that you’re a bit of a quick-draw, try spending more time on your partner’s pleasure before you begin penetrative sex.  Use mouths, fingers or toys to bring your partner close to orgasm before you start boning.  Then, once she’s ready and close, you can begin P in V sex.  This closes the orgasm gap, making it a lot more likely that you’ll come in close succession.

 

Edge yourself

Some men have become conditioned to orgasm quickly from years of masturbating in secret, and trying to reach orgasm without getting caught.  Just as we can train ourselves to speed up our sexual climax, it is possible to learn to slow it down.

One way to do this is with a technique called “edging”.  To begin with, you want to masturbate on your own, ensuring that you have plenty of time and privacy.  Masturbate until you are right on the edge of having an orgasm, and then stop touching yourself and breathe slowly until the intensity dies down.  Then do it again, masturbate until you’re just about to come, then pull back from the edge.  Do this a couple of times before you allow yourself to orgasm. And then try this exercise a couple of times a week.  Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t manage to stop in time, just try again later.

 

This exercise does two things.  Firstly, it makes you aware of what your sexual response cycle looks like.  It gives you a clear picture of the signs that you are about to orgasm.  And then secondly, it allows you to practice recognising those signs and controlling your orgasm.  So when you are having penetrative sex, you will be better at noticing that you’re about to come and be aware of how to control your climax.  Over time, this can help slow down your climaxes, as well as building your confidence in your own ability.

 

Have a rehearsal before the main performance

Remember the part in There’s Something About Mary where Ben Stiller jerks off prior to his big first date?  Well, silly as that scene was, it actually had a valuable point.  If you know that you’re going to be having sex later, it can be very helpful to give yourself an orgasm before you leave for your date.  Not only will you be more relaxed, but typically men come most quickly the first time they have an orgasm within a 12 hour period, with each subsequent orgasm taking a bit longer to be reached. Having an early orgasm by yourself can draw out your stamina for a sexual encounter later in the night.

 

 

Wrap your junk

Condoms are a great tool for prolonging your orgasms.  Not only are they vital for safer sex, but they can dampen sensation so you don’t get too aroused too quickly.  Choose a thicker condom such as Lifestyles Extra Strength to reduce sensation and help you last longer.  Don’t be tempted to wear two condoms at once for this purpose.  During sex the two layers can rub against each other and this friction can cause tearing.

 

Diffuse the shame

Think about the way you talk to yourself about your sexual performance.   Instead of thinking about your propensity to come quickly as a deficit, try thinking of ways to view it more positively.  You are sexually enthusiastic!  You’re passionate and easily excited.  Reframe the way you talk to yourself about your performance and change the way you feel about yourself.

 

Talk it out

If you’re anxious about having sex with a partner because you’re worried that you’ll orgasm quickly, the best thing you can do is talk to them about it.  Shame, stress and fear all play a role in premature ejaculation, and studies have shown that these emotions can make it more likely that you’ll orgasm faster than you’d like to.  Fears thrive in darkness, and one of the best ways to deal with them is to shine a light on them.  If you’re feeling anxious, tell your partner that you feel nervous and awkward.  Mention that you’re worried that you’ll orgasm quickly and that they’ll think less of you if you do.  Believe me when I tell you that most partners won’t be fazed by the prospect of a speedy climax, and will be able to reassure you. Plus, you’ll be able to decide what to do if it does happen, so you won’t feel so nervous about the possibility of impending disaster between the sheets.  Communication is vital for good sex, and talking through your fears will solve about 95% of them.  Your partner will also be charmed by your willingness to be honest and vulnerable with them.

 

Premature ejaculation happens to most men at some point in their lives and it really isn’t that big a deal.  But if you’re feeling anxious or ashamed about your rapid climaxes, there are plenty of things you can do.  Be gentle with yourself, be honest with your partner, and find new ways to express yourself and make your sex life amazing regardless of how long you last in bed.

 

 

Is marriage important to me?

Lately I’ve been talking about marriage a lot.  It comes up often because one of my colleagues asks me every week if my boyfriend has proposed yet.  Without fail, my Monday morning will open with “So, has he popped the question yet?”  Originally I used to just shrug and shake my head but now I find it more amusing to try to come up with a pithy response.  “Nope,  we’ve decided that marriage is less special now because they’re gonna let gay people do it”  or “Nah, my boyfriend’s already married so we’re trying to keep our relationship on the down-low” or “Not yet.  He’s waiting for my father to sweeten the deal with a generous dowry”.  That kind of bullshit.

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All this talk of proposals and marriage has made me think about how dramatically my feelings about marriage have changed.

 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to get married.  Marriage was one of my life goals and something I thought I absolutely couldn’t be happy without.  I had a very idyllic perception of what married life would be like.  I imagined living in a beautiful house with my husband, who was extremely handsome and always smelled good. We’d spend a lot of time watching movies together, going on long trips and making out in our perfectly-made bed.  In my mind, once I’d found the right person, everything else would just be a snap.  There’d be no arguments, no uncomfortable silences and not a care in the world.  For me, marriage seemed like the ticket to a very happy life.

 

I should qualify this ideal by explaining my background a bit.  Like most girls my age, I was raised on a heavy diet of rom-coms and teen romance novels.  The happily-ever-after storylines definitely coloured my perception of what marriage should be like. The fact that most of these tales end with a wedding paints the picture that marriage is the goal.  The resolution of all the strife and struggle comes with that walk down the aisle.  In addition to this, I was surrounded by very happy marriages.  No kidding.  Among my parents, my grandparents and my aunts and uncles, there have been exactly zero divorces.  And this isn’t just because my relatives have chosen to tolerate one another until the sweet release of death, it’s because they really are genuinely happy together.  I was raised by a pretty good selection of contentedly married couples.  So it’s no wonder that marriage was something I aspired to.

 

In addition to holding very tightly to the idea that marriage was the key to a happy life, I was also aware of the status that marriage held.  Being married didn’t just mean getting to live with somebody who would make out with you whenever you wanted, it meant that you’d been chosen.  It was an affirmation that somebody felt that you were worthy enough to say “I want you in my life”.  As somebody who is chronically insecure, that kind of validation was pretty attractive.  My anxiety was also quelled by the idea that marriage was (in theory, anyway) permanent.  That it was a way to “lock down” a relationship so that I would never have to worry about heartbreak.  I felt like if I was to get married, not only would I be assured happiness, but I’d also be safe and validated.  Who wouldn’t want that?

 

As a teenager I felt pretty sure that I’d marry young.  My parents, aunts, and grandparents were all married by the age of twenty.  And I figured that my life would follow a similar timeline.  This feeling was cemented when, at 17, I met and fell in love with my first soulmate.  He was everything I wanted in a partner, and we had so much fun together.  After about two years of dating, talk turned to the topic of marriage.  Although we weren’t ready to get engaged yet, we agreed that we’d each found the person that we wanted to spend our lives with.  And so it seemed to me that I was well on my way to being married.

 

As a few more years piled on, I began to get anxious.  Although my boyfriend and I were still happy and close, we seemed no closer to getting engaged.  There were a few times when I thought “perhaps he’ll propose to me” and I ended up disappointed.  By this time, several of my friends had gotten engaged and a few had already married.  I was beginning to feel left behind, like I was going to miss out on something I very much wanted.  I vividly remember bringing home a bouquet I caught at a friend’s wedding and watching an expression of absolute panic spread across my partner’s face.  We were together for almost ten years before we admitted that we’d grown into two people who just weren’t really compatible anymore and parted ways.  I was 27, and the man I’d intended to spend my life with had just moved out.   As I sifted through the wreckage and tried to deal with the end of my relationship, I also had to recognise that a young marriage wasn’t on the cards for me.

 

In the years after my breakup, I became a lot more sexually adventurous. I admitted to myself that I was, in fact, bisexual and had several relationships with women.  I also had a polyamorous relationship that lasted about six months.  In each of those relationships, I was aware that any future wasn’t going to include marriage, at least, not a marriage that looked anything like the picture I’d envisaged as a child.  Additional I became more acquainted with the reality of what adult relationships are actually like.  That they aren’t always lighthearted, fun affairs filled with long makeout sessions and breakfast in bed.  Real people have real problems, real goals that don’t always line up, priorities that differ, finances and stresses.  Fights happen, people get upset and even the most loving relationship isn’t immune from conflict. I learned the hard way that marriage isn’t an instant ticket to happiness.

 

After a lot of dating and learning and self reflection, I find that I’ve really let go of my deep need to get married.  Now, I’m not saying that I don’t ever want to get married, but it’s no longer something that I feel like I need in order to be happy.  If I were to marry, I’d want it to be to someone who I feel is my partner, and that we were committing to building a life together and doing the hard bits as well as the fun bed make-outs and cute pet names.  I don’t feel like I need the validation of being chosen as a wife, and I recognise that marriage isn’t the secure haven I thought it was.  I also know that if I never get married, I won’t feel like I’ve failed.  I’d rather never be a wife, than to enter a marriage as blindly as I would have in the past.  If I do, I want to do it with my eyes wide open, and my heart and mind as well.