Oh, Valentine’s Day. Aside from Christmas, this is the number one holiday fraught with crazy expectations. You can hardly go into the grocery store or drugstore without being bombarded with cutesy heart-themed items, oversized stuffed animals, and reminders that if you don’t make dinner reservations and spend a lot of money, you don’t REALLY love your significant other. It’s exhausting. Not everyone has the money to get a dozen red roses, a card, and reservations at that really cute restaurant with the overpriced prix fixe menu; or to spend a bunch of money on makeup, a new dress with accessories, and a cute hairstyle at the salon. So, as a service to you, dear readers, I have scoured the internet for some of the cutest date ideas that don’t cost a ton of money, or ideas to spend the day with other single friends.
If You’re Single And Hanging Out With Other Single Friends:
- Buy a bunch of pretty but cheap flowers, like carnations, and hand them out to strangers on the street.
- Go somewhere cheap to eat (like a fast food restaurant), dressed to the nines (do each other’s hair and makeup beforehand), and giggle at the people who give you weird looks.
- Invite your friends over to your house for a nice dinner.
- Buy movie theater candy, make some popcorn, and watch a movie that is anti-Valentine’s Day, like My Boyfriend’s Back, or any of the ones mentioned in this article. My girlfriends and I used to do this!
- Do a “secret valentine”, similar to a secret santa, and send your friends notes to tell them how much you appreciate them.
If You’re Attached And Don’t Want To Spend A Lot Of Money:
- Cook dinner at home, and then go out afterwards for cocktails and dessert. (Thanks to Moneycrashers!)
- Find a local arcade, bring a roll of quarters, and challenge your date to a game of Street Fighter. If you’re in the SF Bay Area, like me, Musée Mécanique at Fisherman’s Wharf is an excellent choice.
- Play hooky from work and spend the whole day in bed together.
- Order a pizza and ask them to put the pepperoni in the shape of a heart. Have some wine ready, snuggle under a blanket, and watch that movie on your Netflix queue that you’ve always meant to watch.
- If you live in a city, go to the local park and find a water fountain. Take a bunch of pennies and make wishes one at a time out loud while throwing them in.
- If it’s too cold, make a picnic inside with hot chocolate. (This one and the water fountain are from Londonlady.)
- Go on a late night drive. Find somewhere to stop and get a nice coffee.
- If you’re following me on Facebook, then you’ve already seen this! And if you’re not, then you should definitely click that button on the right!
Am I missing anything? What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?
Jezebel’s new sex advice columnist is still absolute crap at giving advice. Here’s my responses to the questions directed at “Slutever”.
Dear Slutever, I do not engage in any sexual activity unless my prospective partner and I both get full STD testing. In the past five years, not one woman that I dated agreed to this. Why are so many women against getting tested prior to sex?
While I agree with Slutever’s assertion that you should probably start presenting this in a different light to your dates (and using condoms!), I’m more concerned with your reasons behind this request. Would you stop seeing someone if they tested positive for an STI?
As someone who has struggled with germ phobias, I would suggest that you engage the services of a therapist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy so that you can get past this particular quirk. Condoms and dental dams, when used correctly, are extremely effective at preventing transmission of most STIs, and I suspect that you know this already. So, before jumping into the sack with someone, even if they’ve shown you a clean bill of health, take care of yourself first and talk with a trained professional about your concerns.
I’ve been at war for the past three years but I’m coming back next week, and I really need to take my mind off things and want to lose myself in some self-love. I’m in a small town with little access to sex shops, so I was wondering if you had any unique ideas for sex toys I could fashion out of household items, or any tips that would help achieve a great orgasm experience. I really need something to get excited about!
First of all, congratulations on finishing your tour of duty! I really wouldn’t recommend fashioning your own sex toys or using things from your kitchen. There are intricacies of the human anatomy that are better left to the experts. Fortunately, although you live in a small town, you can easily order masturbatory aids online that will be shipped to you in discreet packaging. Smitten Kitten comes to mind immediately! As for interesting sex toys, there are a plethora that you can choose from! If you are interested in penatrative objects, there are items like the NJoy butt plugs, or vibrating butt plugs/perenium massagers. If it tickles your fancy, you could also experiment a bit with sounding, though I can’t find any online retailers that I would wholeheartedly recommend. For other masturbatory aids, there’s the ever popular fleshlight, and along the same lines, you can purchase a Tenga egg masturbation sleeve, or the slightly more elaborate Tenga 3D masturbation sleeves.
Just make sure you eat and drink plenty of fluids, use lubrication, and go out of the house every once in awhile during your “me time”. It would be tragic to see a headline like “Soldier Starves to Death During Marathon Masturbation Session.”
I am a 31-year-old woman who has been married for 5 years. We still have frequent and awesome sex, but I have an issue that (oddly) seems to be getting worse with age. I orgasm way too quickly! And then I’m basically over sex. I’ve never had multiple orgasms, ever. I have one gigantic, eye-popping orgasm after about 3-5 minutes of intercourse and then I’m ready for sex to be over. I’m constantly telling my husband to slow down or stop totally during sex so I can prolong it enough for him to get off too, but it’s getting to the point where he’s a little hurt that I can’t “hang on.”
Much like last week’s column, I would recommend that you spend a lot more time on foreplay, concentrating on getting your husband close to orgasm. It would also help if you talked about this outside of the bedroom, and make sure that he knows you are asking him to slow down or stop because you want him to enjoy sex too! The numbing agents that Slutever recommended can help, but you also might have an adverse reaction to them. I know a lot of women, personally, who find that creams or lubricants that are supposed to numb their genitals give them a burning sensation instead.
It is uncommon for a woman to orgasm that quickly, especially if there isn’t some sort of direct clitoral stimulation during intercourse! A little more communication between you and your husband can really go a long way here.
I think this is going to be a regular post for Nice Girls, at least until Jezebel hires a better sex advice columnist. Some of Slutever’s recommendations are downright dangerous or unhealthy, and I hope my responses provide a needed balance. Let me know what you think in the comments!
Jezebel introduced a new columnist yesterday. Karley Sciortino, aka “slutever” has published her first column, and honestly, I can’t tell if this is satire or not (if it is, it is poorly done), so I’m going to go ahead and write my own answers to the questions posted.
I’m a 26-year-old European exchange student currently studying in the US for five months. I have a (relatively new) boyfriend back home who I’m totally into, and before I left we agreed to be monogamous. But now I have a dilemma: I love Chatroulette, and I usually skip over the random masturbating men, but recently I’ve been fantasizing about not skipping over the dicks and engaging in some hot, anonymous Chatroulette-cybersex. Would that be cheating? I want to think not, but I also realize it’s different than porn — it’s an actual sexual interaction with another human being. My boyfriend and I Skype sometimes, but it hasn’t turned into Skype-sex. And besides, the fantasy is more about the anonymity of it. So: cheating or not-cheating?
While my personal inclination leans towards “not cheating”, your long-distance boyfriend may have a different opinion. Tell him about your fantasy, G. Who knows, he might also find the idea hot, and he might try to be the person that you have hot, anonymous Chatroulette-cybersex with! A supportive partner should try to help you fulfill your fantasies, especially when you are trying to make a long-distance relationship work.
I would caution you to make sure that your face and any other identifying characteristics are hidden from view if you do engage in anonymous cybersex. Protect yourself, just as you would if you were engaging in real-world sexual activity. Like some STIs, images on the internet are forever, and can come back to haunt you at the most inopportune times.
Ever since I started having sex I’ve always shaved my vagina without even thinking about it. It may look a bit nicer, but it’s a pain in the ass having to plan ahead and make sure you’re pristinely smooth every time there’s the possibility of sex. I don’t know if I’d like it grown out, but I think I want to try it. But I’m terrified the guy I’m sleeping with will freak out! It’s my body so I can do whatever with it, but should I tell/ask him about it before the experiment begins? Where do you stand on the ‘to shave or not to shave’ debate?
Hopefully your partner likes you for more than your pubic hair grooming habits, Reba. Any guy who actually freaks out at the sight of the perfectly natural hair between your legs has probably not had much experience with women, and may have some maturity issues. It’s your hair, and while your partner may offer input about his preference, it is ultimately your decision. Pretty much every partner I’ve had has expressed the opinion that they are fine with pubic hair, but they would like it if I keep the area trimmed. I bought a $10 trimmer from my local big chain drugstore, and have used that ever since.
Dear Slutever, I am a 26-year-old boy, and though I’m not a virgin, I am terribly inexperienced. I’ve recently started seeing a girl (yay!), however I’ve been having a little ejaculation problem. The problem isn’t that I cum too quickly, but rather that I stay hard all night and can’t ejaculate! It’s no problem for me to get hard, and stay hard, but it just requires too much mentally and physically for me to reach the point of orgasm. Am I not emotionally connecting? Is my problem psychological? Should I find some way to ‘sensitize’ myself?
I’m interested to find out your masturbation habits, M. If you are the kind of person who masturbates frequently, you might want to hold off on that until you find that you are able to orgasm more easily. You and your partner should also try doing more foreplay before penetrative sex. Kissing, fondling, oral sex, and mutual masturbation are all ways that you can get your motor revving and ready to go before sex, and you may find that the increase in stimulation will make it easier to orgasm during sex. Just make sure that she also reaches climax!
What do you think, readers? How did I do in comparison to the writer on Jezebel?
There’s been so much in the news in the past few months about abortion, contraception, and a woman’s right to choose that as I said in a previous post, I’ve been overwhelmed. I’d like to take a moment to get a little idealistic.
When I was in high school, I took a class about early human development. We learned about the stages of pregnancy, and the different stages children go through in their first two years of life. At one point in my class, we were given the task of brainstorming the ideal situation to have a child. We already knew that adoptive parents had to fulfill certain criteria in order to be able to have a child, so we were told to imagine a “test” of sorts that a woman (or a set of parents) would have to pass in order to have a child.
If I remember correctly, we came up with the following points:
- Financially stable, with at least six months worth of income in accessible savings.
We came up with this because pregnancy and raising a child are both expensive. There’s also the risk of complications with the pregnancy or child’s health leaving one or both parents unable to work for a period of time. We thought that at least six months of income in the bank would help ease that potential burden.
- Emotionally stable, with a supportive network of friends and family.
Just like the financial cost, pregnancy and raising a child can be unexpectedly difficult, emotionally. We learned about postpartum depression, and how the woman’s emotional state can affect the child’s development in the womb. Having a supportive network of friends and family, especially people who are geographically close, is important to making sure that the parents can have a break occasionally.
- Good health, and good health insurance.
Making sure that the woman is already in good health when she gets pregnant, and maintains her health during the pregnancy were also stressed during my class. Proper nutrition and regular exercise, as well as the ability to see a doctor when necessary, were things that we deemed of highest importance to the development of the child.
- A stable and safe place to live.
Being teenagers in the suburbs, we were imagining owning a house with a large backyard. While I no longer think that is necessary, I do think that living in a relatively safe neighborhood, and taking the proper precautions to baby-proof your house are incredibly important.
- Ease of access to hospitals, schools, and other important services.
I think this one is self-explanatory.
I am close to many women who have had children without checking any of these boxes. Their children are happy and healthy, and they are excellent mothers. I still think that all of these are important things to have in place before I consider having children, and that is why I chose to get an IUD. When I decide to have children, it will be because I am ready. This is not a criticism of any woman or her choices. I fully realize that this is an idealistic list.
I would posit that is also idealistic of the Republican Party to expect to reduce accessibility to contraception and abortion and to somehow still not have any unwanted pregnancies occur, or for parents to not need some sort of assistance to care for their children. Abstinence education just exacerbates these problems. People are going to have sex, and sometimes, despite precautions, pregnancies occur.
If you had to come up with a list like this, what would you put on it? Do you think that the list we came up with in high school was good? Have you formulated a similar list? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
There have been a few recent articles about the “moral case” of either completely abstaining from sex until marriage, or having sex with partners beforehand.
This all started with an incredibly egotistical and almost horrifyingly judgmental article by Steven Crowder on foxnews.com. In his piece, Crowder calls women who have sex before marriage “floozies”, and is openly disdainful of another couple after meeting the bride at breakfast the morning after their wedding. That newly married man’s crime? Deciding to drink at his wedding.
The people next to us that morning? Well, theirs was just one big party. And the morning after? Just another hangover.
Our “weddings” were the same event in name only. They know it, and we know it.
Honestly? That is precisely how I envision my wedding next summer: one big party. I want my family, Fiance’s family, and all of our friends to be there, and to be celebrating our union. I want dancing and toasting and laughter and fun. The fact that I am intimately acquainted with Fiance’s nether regions (and vice versa) does not make our wedding, our engagement, or our relationship any less than yours, Mr. Crowder.
Fiance and I lived together for quite some time, and, unlike you, we have already gone through the awkward stages of living together. We know that we are compatible in practically every way possible, and that includes sexually. Yes, it still annoys me that he forgets to put his dirty laundry in the hamper, and he is largely baffled by my beauty regimen, but we have reached a point of homeostasis in our relationship and we know that we can actually share the same space. You’re going to have to learn all of that, and you’re going to have to learn everything about sex. Don’t worry, Mr. Crowder, I’m here for you and your wife!.
On the other side of the coin, Jill Filipovic (of Feministe fame) wrote a fantastic response article for The Guardian, detailing precisely why it is better to have sex with your partner before a long-term commitment. I honestly couldn’t have constructed a better article. This is my favorite quote,
Sex is good whether you’re married or not, and certainly folks who wait until marriage can have a lot of sex once they tie the knot. But waiting until marriage often means both early marriage and conservative views on marriage and gender – and people who marry early and/or hold traditional views on marriage and gender tend to have higher divorce rates and unhappier marriages. We know that, on the other hand, there are lots of benefits to marrying later and to gender-egalitarian marriages. Couples who both work outside the home and also share housework duties have more sex. Financially independent, college-educated women who marry later in life have extremely low divorce rates.
It turns out that feminist values – not “traditional” ones – lead to the most stable marriages. And feminist views plus later marriage typically equals premarital sex.
I wish you luck with your marriage, Mr. Crowder. I wish you and your wife every happiness. It’s a pity that you, with your nose in the air, can’t find it in your “Christian” heart to do the same for me and others who are like me.
If you’re a fan of Dan Savage, you’ve probably heard Dan talking about this book on his podcast, Savage Love back in 2010. In the book, authors Christopher Ryan, Ph.D. and Cacilda Jethá, M.D. explore “The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality.”
Covering everything from the form and function of the modern human, to the ways that we act in relationships, Sex at Dawn turned the study of human sexuality upside down. Through observing and drawing parallels between modern humans, and our evolutionary cousins, the Bonobo chimpanzee, the authors draw the conclusion that modern humans have a difficult time with monogamy because we are genetically engineered towards multiple partners.
On the website for Sex at Dawn, a chart by Franklin Veaux maps the different relationships that modern humans engage in. The overlap is fascinating.
Although it may seem that the authors are advocating for non-monogamous relationships, they claim that is not their purpose. An excerpt from the FAQ on the website for Sex at Dawn:
So you’re recommending the everyone should have an open marriage or not get married at all?
Definitely not. We’re not recommending anything other than knowledge, introspection, and honesty. In fact, as we say in the book, we’re not really sure what to do with this information ourselves. We hope Sex at Dawn advances the conversation about human sexuality so people can focus more on the realities of what human beings are and a bit less on the religious and cultural mythologies concerning what we should be and should feel. What individuals or couples do with this information (if anything) is up to them.
It took me longer than I expected to read Sex at Dawn, because each page has information that borders on revelation. I found myself having to stop frequently just to absorb each new piece of information. I am normally the type of person who breezes through books, but I simply couldn’t do it with Sex at Dawn. The authors did an amazing job at fully researching the topic, and presenting it in a way that is entirely accessible to those of us who are not in the academic field.
If you are struggling with any sort of infidelity in your relationships, read this book. If you found yourself suddenly no longer attracted to a partner after going off of hormonal birth control, read this book. If you are curious about how and why the modern human body and sexual organs are shaped differently than every other species, read this book.
If you’d like to support Nice Girls, you can purchase Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality through this link. As an Amazon Affiliate, I will receive a small amount of the price of your purchase. Thanks!
To be honest, I don’t remember purchasing The Choice Effect by Amalia McGibbon, Lara Vogel, and Claire A. Williams, for my Kindle, but I just finished reading it two nights ago. I wasn’t impressed. On one hand, I commend the authors for writing a semi-sex-positive book about dating (except they portray men as completely disposable), and some of the interesting problems the Millennial generation faces. On the other hand I finished the book feeling vaguely insulted by some of the ways they characterize my generation, and I became increasingly annoyed by the constant pop culture references.
Their term for the ladies currently in their 20s, “choisters” is an interesting portmanteau created from the word “choice” and the phrase “the world is your oyster”. The entire book revolves around their hypothesis that because, as a generation, we are more mobile and more connected to the world, we are paralyzed by the plethora of choices available to us and refuse to commit to anything.
When it comes to jobs and a place to live, the economy and ever changing job market are the main factors in my generation’s inability to “settle down”. By and large, companies are no longer promoting from within and rewarding loyalty and increase in job responsibility with higher titles or compensation. I read articles all the time bemoaning how it doesn’t pay to invest in Millennial employees, because they leave the company in a few years anyway. It’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It no longer pays off to be a “company (wo)man”. When you’re looking for a new job every two or three years in order to experience career growth, it becomes difficult to put down roots.
Likewise, with such volatility in the job market, it is difficult to make what is ostensibly a lifetime commitment to a partner unless one or both of you have a mobile career, or an agreement to move if the other person is presented with an amazing opportunity. The latter can lead to an imbalance in the relationship if one partner is unable to find a job in the new area, or cannot contribute to the household finances as they did previously.
While it is true that my generation is delaying marriage and family life to a much later age than previous generations, I disagree with the authors’ assertion that it is because the women of my generation are constantly looking for someone “better” than the person they are currently dating. The notion that we are all a bunch of commitment-phobes who just can’t choose a partner, or a job, or a city to live in rings false to my ears. I’d argue that my generation’s hesitation to commit to a partner, job, or city is born of intelligent caution, and is a legitimate choice, in and of itself.
In the end, it is hard to take a book seriously when the authors are constantly dropping pop culture references to songs, movies, TV shows, and even mobile applications left and right. I sincerely hope I didn’t pay anything for this book (I can’t find the receipt, I looked), because it wasn’t worth the e-ink it was printed with.
Hey everyone, I am still very sick, so I apologize again for the short post.
I am very proud of California’s commitment to comprehensive sexual education in the school systems. A law passed in 2003 requires that sexual health education in California’s public schools be comprehensive, medically accurate, bias-free, and appropriate for students of all sexual orientations.
Unfortunately, the Clovis Unified School District is now being sued for their abstinence-only and heavily religious leaning sexual education curriculum. They are now being sued by two parents, the American Academy of Pediatrics California District IX, and the Gay-Straight Alliance network, with the ACLU providing free legal assistance.
Students were being taught that HIV could be spread through kissing, and that getting “lots of rest” was an effective way to prevent STIs. Both of these statements, of course, are ridiculously inaccurate. There were also passages in the textbook “Lifetime Health”, published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, comparing a woman who is not a virgin to a dirty shoe, and states that men who are aroused are unable to control themselves. Oh, and there are no mentions of condoms. Anywhere. At all.
Congratulations, Clovis. You have now handed these young men the mental excuses they need to rape someone: “But I just couldn’t control myself! Besides, she’s not a virgin, so she’s dirty anyways. Condoms? Eh, those don’t work anyways.”
Fresno County has had one of the highest teen pregnancy and birth rates in California for over a decade now. The Central Valley area also has one of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases. Why, then, are the schools barring their students from medically accurate information? It almost seems like they are proud of these statistics.
I recently came across this video on the TED talks website. It features Tony Porter, the founder of A Call to Men: The National Association of Men and Women Committed to Ending Violence Against Women.
His eloquent 11 minute speech is a work of art. It was definitely worth the standing ovation he received at the end.
To my male readers: what is your experience with stepping outside the “Man Box”? Do you believe it is real? If so, what can we do to raise the next generation outside of this “Man Box”?
To my female readers: what are your reactions after watching this?
Thanks to a tip from one of my dear friends, I found out about Grace’s Diary, a beautifully drawn point and click game. But this isn’t your ordinary game.
Grace’s Diary is a visual novel with easy gameplay, but this game has a purpose. Grace is concerned about her friend Natalie and Natalie’s relationship with her boyfriend, Ken. Grace has decided that she should call Natalie and voice her concerns, but Grace needs to write down the behaviors that concerned her.
As Grace, you explore your own room for reminders of times that Ken or Natalie have acted in strange ways. If you find all of the evidence, and you navigate your conversation with Natalie successfully, there is a happy ending.
Although I think some of the gameplay is a little clunky (there is one piece that is particularly difficult to find, and I had to use a walkthrough to find it) and some of the dialogue could use some work, there is no doubt that Grace’s Diary is a great game. You can find Grace’s Diary on the Amazon App store here, and it is free.