Tag Archives: monogamy

Mother F*cker: Grappling with Baby-Making

david-bowie-angela-bowie-baby

 

 

 

 

Perhaps it’s the maniacal ticking of that proverbial biological clock. Maybe it’s the “grownup” version of peer pressure. Or even a primordial urge that’s greater than rational human understanding. Whatever the case, everything around and inside me has forced some serious contemplation about the abstract notion of motherhood. I say abstract because, to me, I am experiencing this strange dichotomy where having a child seems both a far away concept that happens to “more mature,” fully formed people as well as something so innate and inherent in who I am and what I hope to experience as a woman.

It’s literally like I am walking through Times Square and every flashing neon light, animated billboard, and larger-than-life poster is screaming: “HAVE A BABY—NOW!

(((Shudder)))

Around me everyone is pregnant. Or they’re talking about fertility treatments or about the elaborate getaway they’ve planned—its sole purpose for baby-making. Or I am standing in line at the pharmacy and the headlines are filled with baby bump-this and maternity chic-that. My dreams are also inundated with my hypothetical baby-to-be. Sometimes it’s like Rosemary’s Baby, but minus the pixie haircut. Other times, it’s beautiful and profound and what I always imagined. Maybe having a child is somewhere in the middle between the horror of having a devilish little foreign body inside you and the real-life miracle of conception. Obviously, I have no clue, but according to my subconscious, impending motherhood is seen in this hyperbolized black and white.

It’s strange how we spend our promiscuous twenties avoiding pregnancy by any means necessary. As we usher in our thirties the narrative changes to women searching either for the perfect potential mate or to procreate with a previously procured partner.

My decision to finally abandon birth control for once and for all two years ago had nothing to do with pregnancy. In all honesty, I was convinced the extra dose of hormones surging through my body was the cause of some chronic health problems. Once off the pills it was obvious that my initial suspicion was correct. My health improved. Strangely, so did my sex life.

Thinking about it now, maybe there’s something so passionately primal about the possibility of conception that makes sex that much more exciting. While there’s the tangible orgasm—an expected byproduct of sex—a baby is the ultimate corporeal gratification of coupling. It’s the end-all, be-all creation. The extra-added risk and the feeling of sex with Russian roulette-like odds bring a different level of excitement. Or maybe my body is calling.

And how apt this post is. Just in time for Mother’s Day. I think my subconscious is working overtime. Mother fucker.

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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.

Emotional Eating: Is Food the New Sex?

Crystal Renn photographed by Terry Richardson for Vogue Paris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In case you couldn’t tell from my recent barrage of disgruntled tweets about Points Values, calories, and my lack of Pinot Noir, I am on a diet. This is the first diet of my entire life—except for the impromptu wine diet of summer 2010, which was fueled by relationship hardships and provided the increased calorie count that paved the way for this new, real diet.

I recently came to realize that I lost the script—and like lost it big time.

Through all the dramatic highs and woes of the past year-and-a-half, I unknowingly fell victim to the dangerous cycle of emotional eating. Between the almost-breakups and make-ups with my boyfriend—um, now fiancé—to job stress, financial ups and downs, and the shaky freelance world, it’s been a tough uphill battle. The more and more things went haywire, the more I resorted to my social life that revolved around pleasure and comfort. That meant going out for dinner and drinking as much red wine as I could get away with before it was hangover territory.

The scariest part: With my culinary pleasure-seeking came the major reduction of quality time spent between the sheets. I shudder as I wonder how this even happened. How did food come to replace sex, which has been such an important aspect of my life and an integral part of my quest for self-exploration? And, most importantly, how did I not notice this happening? How did I get so trapped in this vicious cycle that I didn’t even see the effect it was having on my life?

Crystal Renn, photographed by Terry Richardson for Vogue Paris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My boyfriend and I were both guilty of putting a pizza party above sex on our priority list, especially when things got tough. And in the process, my body went from a well-proportioned vixen physique to a super-sized version—and all in a matter of two years. My boyfriend and I become coconspirators in our need to find warmth in a carb overload, our sex life taking a backseat as our daily stresses and pent up emotions became too much to bear—and too hard to ignore for the length of a sexy encounter.

I had never recognized the correlation between sex and food before. I mean, sure, they both provide satisfaction, help to spike serotonin, and they both can be described using many of the same terms. But, being an inherently sexual creature, it was hard to wrap my mind around how one act could easily replace the other in times of stress and unhappiness. Much like my relationship to sex, my friendliness towards food was never unhealthy. Sure, I ate and enjoyed going out for dinner, but it wasn’t the driving force that it, up-until-recently, had become.

Strangely enough, the scale initially began to tip towards an unhealthy relationship with all-things edible once my boyfriend and I moved in together and began to settle comfortably into our personal iteration of domestic bliss. Part of our bonding ritual was enjoying food together post- or pre-coitus—whether that meant visiting our favorite foodie haunts or me slaving over the stove—eating became a kind of foreplay. It also didn’t help that watching me cook is a major turn-on for my man, but that’s a whole other story…

Crystal Renn, photographed by Terry Richardson for Vogue Paris.

The more settled we became, the more I got lost in the bliss of indulgence and the act of satiation—whether that was sexual or food-wise, I was finding comfort and safety in both forms of fulfillment. But as time went on, and as life happened, the sex slowed down but the eating didn’t. Soon it almost began to replace sensual pleasures during our hardest times.

Although it has taken a while to fully understand and recognize these recent destructive patterns and my unhealthy coping mechanisms, it’s not all that surprising. I spent a large portion of my life relying on external things to quell my own personal demons and the daily stress of a basic mundane existence. Whether it was drugs, alcohol, shopping, or inappropriate romantic choices, there was always a diversion, something else I had to focus on that drew the attention away from me and my problems. Facing things head-on has never been easy for me, and now, trying to embrace my life as an adult, it has gotten even harder.

Food is plain and simply drugs for grownups. We fuss over new hard-to-get-into restaurants, coo about freshly-picked peaches at the overpriced farmers market, or brag about a decadent whole-pig roast we attended over the weekend the way we would about 20-something sexual conquests and debauched nights that used to define us. While I am easing into my thirties with grace—and a new diet—I don’t want to replace one compulsion for another. It’s time for a detox from all the distractions. It’s time to face life without the armor of excess.

Oversexed: Is the Modern Woman’s Amped Up Sex Drive Emasculating Men?

Rebecca Chandler shot by Robert Harper for ThePop.com

I attended a stylish rooftop soiree this past Saturday in the East Village. The Champagne was flowing—or overflowing I should say—and attractive singles danced and mingled with the monolithic Manhattan skyline in the background. It was my good friend’s birthday party, but I didn’t know any of the attendees. Instead of being a silent wallflower I poured myself a big glass of Pinot Noir and began striking up conversations with the partygoers. As usual, I subconsciously shifted the talk to relationships and sex. I was struck by how many women on this one Manhattan rooftop were bragging about their insatiable sexual appetites and how most men—both young and old—couldn’t keep up with them. Many complained about men frequently not being able to perform, or just not being in the mood and I was left wondering whether this generation of women are turning men off because of their empowered sense of sexuality.

For us women, is knowing what you want—and how to get it—emasculating our men and, as a result, diminishing their sex drives? Are we shifting the power so much that the men no longer know how to harness their power in the bedroom? I pondered over these questions on my breezy cab ride home over the Manhattan Bridge, praying that my red wine buzz wouldn’t manifest as a hangover the next morning.

With the increasing amount of power women have in the workplace, in contemporary politics, and many other facets of society and culture, it appears as though the influence of the strong female is wiping out the virility and potency of the male psyche—libido and all. There have been plenty of occasions that my boyfriend has complained about me being aggressive and “too independent,” insisting that I should respect the delicate balance of the masculine and feminine energies in our household and relationship. Being the neo-feminist that I am, at first I was pissed he broke things down like that, but I realized without the distinct gender roles that have been carved out for us by the media, our upbringing, and societal influence, many men don’t know how to operate or function correctly, especially when it comes to love and sex. Plainly stated: with the shift in the gender dynamic men don’t understand their new role and where they fit in—or how to fuck you.

Rebecca Chandler shot by Robert Harper for ThePop.com.

It’s a sad fact, but so much of who we are is a product of our upbringing and a reaction to our parent’s values. Unless your boyfriend grew up in a progressive household with parents that deemphasized the traditional roles of men and women, it’s likely that he was reinforced to see his role as the provider, the family figurehead, and the sexual aggressor. That’s not to say that he won’t appreciate you initiating sexually and feel thankful for having a partner that is as equally engaged in bringing the fire into the boudoir. But, he probably believes that there is a clear-cut male and female role within the lines of your relationship. Although these are archaic notions that are painfully outdated, once these definitions become hazy, his sexual role comes into question along with his sense of power.

Intoxicated by feeling free, beautiful, and successful, many women are looking to translate this energy into time spent between the sheets, only to be greeted by a less-than-interested man. As frustrating as this may be, we can’t expect our guys to just drop everything and update their operating systems to accommodate our amped up sex drives. This would require reprogramming many years of societal conditioning, and a complete ego overhaul. Instead, use your newfound power for good. Rather than pleading for him to have sex with you constantly, spend time pleasing your partner, indulging him in his fantasies, and trying out some steamy moves geared towards his climax. Also, take your pleasure into your own hands—literally. There’s no harm in channeling your monumental sex drive through self-love. Not only do you know how to get yourself going better than any lover, there is an array of affordable and exciting toys on the market to help you get to your sensual destination.

And, finally, try and communicate your feelings—and your urges—to your dude instead of pressuring him to pleasure you in an aggressive way. If you’re just trying to “put the pussy on him” every chance you can—like those unsatisfied rooftop partiers who found their partners unable to handle their advances—it’s a sure bet that your assertive tactics are a turnoff simply because they force him out of the dominant or “masculine” role. Because it’s this kind of gender shape shifting that is creating tension in the first place, try to make your point in a way that won’t be threatening and make him feel further emasculated. A male ego is a delicate thing, so instead of mentioning his sexual inadequacy, try to build him up by explaining how much he turns you on—because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a little flattery. Transport him back into a position of feigned power by hinting at your growing need for more sex, but by giving him the “authority” to decide when it can happen. Just let him know you need it more. By not forcefully making your point and carefully treading on this difficult subject matter—and hornswaggling him into thinking this was all his idea—the gender dynamic will shift on its own and, as a result, you will find that you will get what you want.

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.