Tag Archives: Love

Love and Marriage?

 

So it’s been a year since I’ve written anything on my beloved blog. There have been many ups and downs, with many learning experiences along the way. Jobs gained then lost, new friends made and old relationships evaluated. The one thing that’s been a constant is my impending wedding—like a familiar shadow following me everywhere. While the planning of my nuptials has had its annoying moments or frustrations, it has been a nice distraction from the tumultuous year. As has my relationship with my fiancé, who has been at my side for every last smile or tear.

This past year I have also watched many relationships dissolve. It’s been interesting to witness a seemingly solid partnership fizzle out, the couple relegated to near-stranger status. Two people once bonded are now just a piece of each other’s past. How sad is that? I’ve had many breakups, but as I watch these long-term relationships devolve from intimacy to spiteful pettiness it just makes me realize how much we change over the course of our partnerships. This is obviously not a bad thing, but it’s interesting to study and wonder if I, too will one day wake up feeling like a different person and like my current beau is no longer a perfect fit. Honestly, I feel as though I have made the best choice for me in terms of a life partner—someone who makes me laugh, someone whose smell is the pheromone equivalent of home, and who gives me comfort and satiation in equal measure. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking, on the eve of my wedding season, whether there is truly nothing definite, even when it comes to true love.

We all marry and cling to each other for different reasons. Whether you’re searching for comfort and security (either emotionally or financially), companionship, or the dizzying, intangible notion of love, the decision to devote yourself to one person for eternity is daunting and in a sense—after watching many celebrity parings end miserably or even the supposedly solid relationships of our parents end—seemingly impossible. What does it take to stay in love? How can we insure that we never lose sight of our partner’s needs, and how do you prepare for the inevitable changes we are all destined to face?

All this uncertainty and these unending questions swirl in my head as I attend the tastings, the consultations, and fittings for my wedding ensemble. But, instead of giving in to them, like a weird sick and twisted peer pressure, I feel almost more strongly and sure about my future and my decision. Perhaps being armed with the knowledge of how other people’s marriages have crashed-and-burned is allowing me insight into what to prepare for or at least how to potentially detect what I should stay aware of.

With the future so uncertain all we can do is trust in our own personal version of love, happiness, and the bond of our partnerships. Maybe I am naïve, but I still believe.

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Three’s Company

Here’s why threesomes are sometimes better in theory and tips on how to make them hotter!

Threesomes, ménage a trois, lascivious love triangles, or a sexy triumvirate—whatever you may call it, inviting a third party into the bedroom activities of a couple is a cultural fascination as well as a pervasive fantasy. From classic literature to TV shows and movies, the trio is a constantly recycled symbol of the sexual pinnacle, the ultimate hookup sandwich scenario where two is most definitely better than one. While the media glamorizes this type of inclusive tryst, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the three-way. I mean, if it was that simple wouldn’t we all be indulging in the touch of multiple lovers? Plenty of my polyamorous pals and my acquaintances in the swinger scene have the group thing down pat, but it’s the everyday folk that have a harder time divorcing their emotions and insecurity from the hands-on action, or being ready for this kind of extreme sensual stimulus. Threesomes can be confusing, frustrating, and most commonly jealousy-inducing. Once you bring another person into your bedroom, you can’t expect your current relationship to remain the same—for better or for worse.

Whatever permutation of group sex you enjoy—whether you have a female-male-female (FMF), a male-female-male (MFM), or a female-female-female (FFF) three-way—it can get complicated. If you’re the couple who are looking to spice things up, it’s always smart to first evaluate why you guys want to invite in a third party. This will help to eliminate any unnecessary emotional baggage when the big moment comes—or when it’s over. Is this a fantasy that you both share? Is one of you more gung-ho about the tryst than the other? Will you two be the main focus of the pleasure or will your mystery guest be the recipient of the dual attention? What do you both want to get out of the experience? One thing that I have learned from my peripheral pals in the swinger set is that, although it may seem to be the antithesis of what is spontaneous and fun about sex, laying the ground rules before you initiate adult “play” guarantees better results. If you don’t fully explore the motives behind your decision to have a threesome, or don’t figure out how you want the action to play out, there’s a greater chance of drama, resentment, and someone’s feelings getting hurt. Come to the situation prepared and with a plan, that way when the action gets underway you both won’t be overwhelmed by the experience and lose the script or cross the boundaries of your relationship.

It’s important to live out your wildest sexual fantasies, but make sure you’re doing so without hurting each other’s feelings or compromising your primary relationship. Having another girl in your bed should not be an excuse to cheat on your girlfriend with her in the room. Include her in the action, and if you want some personal time with your play partner for the night, make it known. Test the waters by conveying to your girlfriend that you’ve always wanted to have her watch you get off with another woman, and gauge her reaction. If she’s adamantly opposed to the idea you need to start off slow and keep her in the mix at all times. If she seems into the idea of letting you two have alone time, then keep checking in with her throughout the process. At the end of the night your sexy guest star will have made her boudoir cameo and will disappear into the night, leaving you two to clean up the emotional aftermath, so it’s essential to be on the same page at all times.

If you’re a lady who’s always fantasized about having two men, bring this up with your boyfriend. There’s a terrible sexual double standard about female sexuality, and especially in the realm of threesomes. While it’s culturally acceptable—and even encouraged—for men to have two women at the same time, women are seen as oversexed if they want the same experience with two men. In addition, there is the issue of your male partner not being comfortable with another man in your bedroom—unless he’s of the bi-curious sort, that is. And don’t forget, because he will not be the center of the action, the presence of another man getting off with his girlfriend could make him very insecure. It takes a very, very confident man to handle a male-female-male ménage a trois. But ladies, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring it up if this is something you truly desire. Just remember to tread lightly, because you don’t want to bruise his ego in the process of pursuing your own pleasure.

Female threesome, photo by Terry Richardson.

Being the “guest star” of a three-way also comes with its pros and cons. What if you’re only really attracted to one person in the couple? What if there’s no sexual chemistry? How can you make sure you’re giving both people enough attention? How can you make sure you’re not a physical symbol of a failing relationship? How can you tell if someone is jealous? What about STDs? While you might have questions like these swirling around in your mind, remember that first and foremost threesomes are supposed to be fun and you should only do it if you think you will get something positive out of the experience.

On the upside, as the third, you are the person who can enter into this romp without the emotional repercussions—that is unless these are good friends of yours, then that’s a whole other story. Also, because this couple already knows what to expect from each other sexually, they will be excited to have you in the mix, making for an almost guaranteed multi-orgasmic experience for you. On the flipside, be cautious of couples in turmoil. Oftentimes, as a last resort, people think that inviting another person into their bed will spice things up or help them rekindle their fading love for each other. This is a warning sign, and most times it’s a symbol of the impending end.

During a threesome it can get confusing. Who’s touching who? Who is further along in the process? Who should I be focusing on? While there’s not a paint-by-numbers way to predict which way your trio session will go, you can make sure to be aware and attentive as much as you can. There are more people, and more factors to deal with. This can be really exciting, but also incredibly overwhelming, especially for a man that is called to perform multiple times. Pace yourself, and if you get carried away and finish too early, just focus on getting your other “teammates” to that same place. Like the cheeky Interpol song suggests,  “There’s No I in Threesome,” so be prepared to please everybody.

It seems like sex would be so much easier if we could eliminate the head-trip that comes with it. In a perfect world, threesomes would play out the way they do in the movies and in porn—and in some circumstances they do.  Similar to any type of physical intimacy, communication is the key to a successful group session. Take the time to plan, engage, and discuss. Sometimes it helps to “court” your potential playmate. Taking them out on a date so you can all get to know each other in a no-pressure environment first can really help solidify a connection that will translate to the bedroom. Flirt, kiss, touch, and see if there’s a spark or even good chemistry in the first place. I have found that diving into the sex isn’t always the best move, and oftentimes it’s hotter to go in stages—just like you would with a potential partner that you’re getting to know. Like ordering in a restaurant, you don’t want your main course first, so relish in all the moments—both sexual and non-sexual—that lead up to the experience. If done right, a three-way can be monumental—just ask all of my sexually satisfied swinger friends who have perfected the art of the ménage a trois. Now that you’re ready to embark upon your three-way adventure, just remember to have fun and love equally!

The Gray Area: Being happy with being content

For someone that considers herself to be an all-or-nothing type of gal—you know that black and white mentality that’s anything from temperate?—coping with what I call the “gray area” has been an arduous and unglamorous undertaking. What is the gray area of which I speak? Well, it’s that place that exists between the two extremes, a place that is pleasantly breezy and exempt from drastic action. The gray area symbolizes peace and habitual action, monogamy, trust, safety and security. Oh, and love.

Basically, for me, the gray area has always symbolized a state of being that’s the complete antithesis of sexy. It’s not in-line with my character, which drives off of exalted experiences, high-impact happenings, and heightened emotions. This middle ground, this comfortable place, is what I am not accustomed to. Monogamy, routine, love, safety, trust—these are foreign notions for someone who has spent her life playing the field, one moral ambiguity at a time. And, no I was never doing things to outwardly hurt people or to affect the lives of others, or to rock the boat for the very sake of rocking it. Instead I was following my heart. Sometimes my heart is wrong. I made mistakes that did lead to people getting emotionally injured, but I never pursued amorous adventures with malicious intent. As my mom always says: “The heart wants what the heart wants,” and at a certain point in my life I was willing to feed all of my urges—good or bad.

The point being is that I was constantly challenging the notion of love, romance, and my own preconceived ideas of how to pursue these pleasures. It was really never about settling down, and if I did actually stay grounded with someone it would have to be a connection built heavily on the strong foundation (and fallacy) of undying lust. I wasn’t basing my life on the big L word—and I’m not talking lesbians here, although I am not opposed to lady-love in the slightest. Love was always there like an elusive beast lurking in the fantastical forest, but it wasn’t necessarily what I was looking for, or rather, I wasn’t really sure I had perfected the right definition of what it really was. While, I am not certain I have found the answer to that age old question, I can safely say that I am sure that I have found some permutation of love that’s far closer to healthy and closer to something stable and secure. That is exactly what my problem is.

While you may be right in saying to yourself that my predicament is far from a real problem, it’s more about me adopting a new mode of operating—to embrace a new way of life, so to speak. And, yes, I know how ridiculous it sounds that I have to reconfigure myself and my life to let love in, but I have a feeling this problem is way more common than you might imagine. Some people just come out of the womb knowing how to love and how to negotiate a functioning relationship. The remaining others, like myself, tread water trying to figure out first what we want, and second what to do with what we want once we get it. Dealing with your prize is the first step of the learning process. Once you have the object of your desire do you even want them anymore? Is the idea better than the real thing? Is the fantasy better than the cold, sober intimacy? In most of the relationships I’ve been involved in throughout my life, the answer to these questions was what bogged me down. I can’t say that I was always excited about the person I was hot and heavily pursing once I had them in my arms and in reality.

I guess you can say that part of my black and white existence makes me a fantasy-driven person who thrives off of the highs and lows rather than the in-betweens. I also get bored very easily because once I conquered my crush the chase was over and I quickly reached a plateau. This was primarily the case with many of my previous liaisons because I wasn’t with the right people. I was enamored with people because of looks, unsustainable sexual chemistry because it lacked substance, and whatever other fleeting fascinations I had at that moment. Maybe he was an amazing artist who I quickly became obsessed with, but once the novelty of his incredible talent and the façade of brilliance wore off, he was just reduced back to being just another guy with mommy issues. Next!

And so the story goes…I spent all of my teens and twenties playing this game. But unfortunately it’s the game that feels familiar, and not this feeling of mutual love. To love and to receive it in return is one of the most amazing feelings in the world, but it’s a different kind of feeling. It’s not a rush that sends you on a roller coaster ride of emotions (although it can be pretty intense at times), but rather a constant energy that grows each day. And while I write this I recognize how silly it is to complain about something that we as humans spend a majority of our lives searching and doing ridiculous things for. But as I said above, it’s more about the fact that I have to learn to reprogram my habits when it comes to men and this so-called gray area. Gray isn’t necessarily a bad thing it’s just different. And as we all know, change is scary.

Let’s Get Wet: Practical tips for a sexual dry spell

When it comes to the realms of sex and coupling, sometimes it’s hard to not let the dark storm clouds of daily life bombard the bedroom. In the past I have been able to shelf my personal life outside of the boudoir and focus on the tactile task at hand. But last year when I was hit hard by the failing economy and laid off from my steady editorial gig, my lack of work and the financial strain that came with it put my libido in major cool down mode. Before the layoff my sex life had never been affected by life’s inevitable highs and lows, but once my unemployment was in full swing I found it hard to get down or get in the mood. With my troubled thoughts forcing me into a self-imposed metaphorical chastity belt, the lack of intimacy turned my once hot-and-heavy relationship into an artic war zone. While I’m not looking to give you a fight-by-fight lowdown on how I managed to stave off the acrimonious bad vibes of my bedroom and successfully re-conquered my feminine mojo, I want to offer some first-hand advice on how to push forward through troubled times with your sex drive fully functioning and your relationship in tact. Here is a practical guide for how to break a dry spell from someone who lived through it.

Always Make Time for Intimacy

No matter what you’ve been through emotionally that day, or how many bills you had to pay or cover letters you slaved over, there needs to be room in your life for intimacy—and that doesn’t necessarily mean full-on foreplay or sex. Sometimes just cozying up with your significant other on the couch, or taking a shower together at the end of a long day can be enough love-charged physicality. Also, with all that snuggling and shower time you’re more likely to end up in a steamy make out sesh than you would if you both sit stiffly on your designated sides of the couch. I found that any intimacy—even if it feels forced at first—will help steer you on the path back to romance.

Masturbate Daily

While you might not be feeling outwardly sexual, why not stoke your own fire with self-love sessions that will not only boost your libido, but are sure to stimulate energy and help to promote a better state of well being. Getting yourself reacquainted with the touch of your own hands—or your favorite toy of choice—will help to increase your desire for sexual engagements with your partner. It’s amazing how much the fantasies that you (literally) touch on during masturbation can spike a hunger for more sensuality, even if you’re in a depressed state of mind. So when you learn to love yourself again it becomes easier and almost impossible not to transfer that love to someone else.

Not In the Mood? Don’t Forget to Please Your Partner

When you’re down in the proverbial dumps it’s easy to become introspective and withdrawn. Since I went through this myself I can say that this can translate to self-focused behavior, which can leave your lover out in the cold. It is so very important for you to get outside your head once in a while and focus your love ray solely on your partner in pleasure. Devote some quality time to doing all the dirty things they love, because they are helping you through your hard transition, why not repay them the favor in spades. Work your magic for your significant other, whether it’s through monumental blowjobs, a much-needed massage or cleaning the apartment naked—even the smallest thing can help make a difference. My one regret was not focusing enough attention on my boyfriend because of my unrelenting fixation on my own negative thoughts. Believe me, your loved one will be thankful for the effort and will definitely enjoy the thrill of unexpected gratification.

Memory Tapes: Best Make Out Music–Ever!

Make out music genius: Memory Tapes' Dayve Hawk

While Venus in Heels might be a relationship-centric blog, I think that there is a total intersect between music and love. I mean, c’mon! Most of the tunes that dominate the airwaves —or your headphones—are sonic tales of love, lust, loneliness, and desire. That said, I figured I’d use this opportunity to turn you on to one of my current favorite artists: Memory Tapes.

This dreamy project is the brainchild of reclusive New Jersey-based multi-instrumentalist Dayve Hawk, who has a knack for creating nostalgic dreamscapes with languid beats, wistful guitar strums, and layered synth tones that are simultaneously  beautiful and achingly melancholy. Since first hearing Hawk’s ethereal tracks late last year I haven’t been able to stop listening. Memory Tapes’ arresting debut Seek Magic consists of eight delicate yet dynamic tracks that bleed seamlessly into the next, making for a different kind of listening experience—one which can easily feel like a transcendent musical haze. rather than a typical headphone sesh. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve idiotically missed my subway stop while being fully immersed in this album.

Memory Tapes is not only a great listen, but it’s even better make out music. There’s something inherently romantic in the drowsy keyboards and heartbeat-like percussion, and the lyrical content on songs like “Bicycle,” which recalls a tender yet naive coupling. If you’re searching for some new music to lock lips to, or just something to rock out to, why not try Memory Tapes on for size.