“I found out something about my housemate the other day,” a friend says to me. We’ve been sitting in Wetherspoons for the past hour, talking about porn; I feel we’re comfortably past the point of being able to shock each other. “She’s never masturbated.”
My heart broke a little for this man, and so many like him, who are feeling nervous now about engaging erotically with women for fear that they’ll not only be rejected but accused. Conscientious men like him are not the problem. And yet he is scared.
When we start out in a new relationship, all juiced up for how wonderful this person is, how well we get along and how much we have in common, take a breath and promise yourself not to talk about where to have the wedding before you’ve had that first big disagreement.
Watching old videos of yourself having sex with an ex is a voyeuristic experience. I guess I know that now because, not long ago, browsing through old folders on my computer, I stumbled across some of my own. I caved in to curiosity and opened the files. Watching all those collected minutes, a younger me roaming the screen, despite the distance between us, I felt like an intruder.
Social media has a huge impact on the love lives and sexual relationships of young people. Allowing instant connections that would otherwise have been difficult or impossible, the rise of apps like Tinder, or the more visceral Grindr, give us much more choice over who we want to sleep with than any previous generation. And while it’s certainly useful being able to meet people so easily, that power to sort the wheat from the chaff with just a swipe of a finger can go to your head.
Tolerating your lover with their friends of your same sex is an exercise in trust. If you can be reassured without turning green, then it’s likely you have a relationship that will resist a buffeting by bigger, trickier issues.
Many who write about online dating seem to be tolerating, with teeth clenched and assholes puckered, the chore of dating. What a waste.
The few times I’ve had a man look into my eyes when he’s coming he wore an expression that said, ‘Good god, my balls are being electrocuted.’ Practice I say, practice.
Saying you're open can come across as a justification for sleeping around, imply you don't have the emotional skills to commit to a ‘real’ relationship, or that you're so bent on living a life less ordinary that you're willing to suffer through the heart stomping emotion of knowing your partner is fucking someone else.