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An Ending, and New Beginnings

I’ve gotten a few concerned messages from followers of Nice Girls, worried that something had happened to me because my last post was back in January. Well, something did. I finally feel like I can write about it in a way that has at least a small sense of perspective, and isn’t just coming from a place of pain.

Fiancé is no longer my fiancé. We chose to end our engagement a couple of months ago, and we’re still trying to figure out how and where and whether or not we will fit in one another’s future.

Breakups are messy and painful. Ours was not an exception.

It started slowly. The dissolution of his startup had left him depressed and listless. Over the course of six months, he pulled away emotionally, mentally, and physically. We had opened up our relationship, and right at the same time as his startup dissolved, he had found a new partner who he invested the lions share of his energy towards. I had come to depend on him for love, intellectual stimulation, and support, but with his new relationship, I was shunted aside.

I was hurt and angry. I felt abandoned. I actually was abandoned, for days on end, with minimal contact from him. When he would finally decide to spend time with me, I would lash out and demand he listen to my anger and hurt. He responded by retreating further, wrapping himself in the new relationship like a warm blanket, rather than deal with the sobbing, snarling, wreck of a person I had become. Boundaries were trampled, agreements were broken, and our respective ideas of the future were no longer in sync. Lies, deceit, and avoidance grew where love, acceptance, and honesty were supposed to flourish. I went through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

I could no longer trust him to be honest with me. He could no longer trust me to be kind. We made the mutual decision that, despite the fact that we still cared for one another, we would be better apart than we were together. There was no big announcement, no huge public blowup. I’ve been fielding questions from friends, as they realize we are no longer “in a relationship” on Facebook.

I am in an unenviable position right now. Because we were living together (and, consequently, living with his girlfriend too. I forgot to mention that.), I am now essentially homeless. I won’t be sleeping on the streets, because I have wonderful friends here (shout out to you guys, you know who you are, and you are AWESOME), but I am adrift yet again. The vast majority of my personal possessions are still in our once-shared room, or in the storage unit we shared. I am living out of a suitcase.

That isn’t the worst part of this whole situation though. When you spend more than three years with someone, your lives are intertwined. We have countless mutual friends. His parents’ house felt more like a home than anywhere else I had been in years. His extended family embraced me wholeheartedly. It is impossible to fully extricate yourself from this sort of relationship. Little things, like pictures from family gatherings on Facebook, that bring me joy to see from others, now feel like a tiny stab in the heart when they come from his family. I had to request no contact for an indefinite period of time, so that I could fully heal, because his late-night “I miss you” texts were simultaneously making me angry and breaking my heart all over again.

I’ve never had to do this sort of adult breakup before. I used to cut all ties when a relationship ended, but that simply isn’t possible, and furthermore, I don’t want to do that. Forcing friends to choose sides simply isn’t in my nature, and if it were, the inevitable result would be disastrous and even more painful. I have no internal road map for this.

I have no idea where my life will take me from here. I’m working a part-time job and looking for full-time employment, but I’m hesitant to lean on my network too much at the moment. Having a roof over my head is a more immediate worry than a full-time job. My current job gives me enough income to eat and to pay my meager bills, but there isn’t much left over afterwards. I’m trying to increase my skill set by learning some programming through Code Academy. I’m dating a lovely new guy who I adore, and he’s been a wonderful respite from my daily worries.

I am okay. I’ll be more than okay. I am going to thrive and grow, both personally and professionally. Thank you for being patient with me, my dear readers.  I am not going to make any promises to you right now about a posting schedule. My posts will likely be sporadic, but I hope that they will increase in frequency again.

When To “Lose It”: Let’s Talk About Virginity

Whew.  It’s been quite a month, hasn’t it?  As much as I enjoy this season, I’m feeling relieved that the holidays are almost over.

I got this wonderful question in my Survey Monkey, and it’s an important one.

I read your blog about vaginal discharge and stuff. it helped me too cus I was having the same problem. here is my question: everyone was talking in school about whether they are virgins or not. they asked me and I just skipped the question. I am a virgin. should I lose my virginity just so people wont make fun of me for it. I think I am ready, but I don’t know if I should

I’m glad you enjoyed my previous post, my dear!  I love hearing that I’ve helped someone.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret that people generally don’t find out about until much later in life: Virginity, meaning whether or not someone has had sexual intercourse, doesn’t matter at all.  Really.  No one is going to think differently of you when you’re an adult if you’ve never had sex.  They aren’t going to think of you differently if you have had sex.  It flat out doesn’t matter when you’re an adult.  I can think of two people that I am friends with (one male, one female) who have never had sex.  Both of them are in their mid-twenties.  No big deal.  Now, I know that doesn’t help you out right now, but it is something to think about.

The answer to your question is no, you should not lose your virginity just so people don’t make fun of you for it.  You should only have sex when you actually want to do it.  That previous sentence will be true for the rest of your life, not just about your first time, so let me say it again: You should only have sex when you actually want to have sex.  If you feel pressure to have sex because you think your friends are all doing it, and that sounds like the case here, then you should wait.  If your friends make fun of you for the fact that you haven’t had sex yet, then they aren’t very good friends.  It’s okay to say that you aren’t interested in having sex, or that you want to be in a good relationship first, or even just that you don’t think you’re ready yet.  All of those are valid reasons for waiting.

I know that in middle school or high school, it can seem like everyone else is “doing it”, but that isn’t actually the case.  Some people have, some people are lying because they want to look cool or they think that other people will judge them for not having sex yet.   In a study that was done a few years ago, they found that the average age that someone has sex for the first time (male or female) is 17.

There’s another thing to consider.  You said that your friends were making fun of you for not having sex yet.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t generally go away even if you do have sex.  You’re at an age where everyone gossips about everyone else.  People will probably talk about you and your sex life (or no sex life), if you and/or your partner are talking to other people about it, no matter what you do.  Teenagers and adolescents can be mean.  Try to not let the opinions of other people, even your friends, make you decide to do something if you aren’t comfortable with it.

If you and your partner want to have sex, then go for it.  Have fun, and be sure to use barrier contraception.  You can go to that link to find my blog post about barrier methods for heterosexual (male and female) couples and learn about condoms.  You should always use a condom, especially for your first time.  You can go to this link to learn about how to have safer sex with another female (and these safer sex practices also apply to heterosexual sex too!  Especially using a dental dam!).  You should make sure that your partner respects you, likes you (maybe even loves you), and isn’t pressuring you to have sex before you’re ready.

Sex of any kind will pretty much always be awkward the first time.  And yes, I mean every kind of sex.  Oral sex (giving a blowjob, more properly called fellatio; or “going down” on a girl, more properly called cunnilingus) is still sex, giving someone a “handjob” or “fingering” is still sex, and anal sex is still sex too.  It is so important to know that it’ll be weird: your bodies will make strange noises, there are new smells, putting on a condom is generally awkward (please stock up, and read the instructions!), and if you still have your hymen then it might be a little painful too.  Having a partner who you care about and who cares about you will make it more fun than awkward.

I’m not saying this to scare you, or to try and make you not want to have sex, but to give you as much information as I possibly can in a short blog post.  Get some books and read about sex.  I can recommend S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College.  It is a great book with a LOT of information (and if you buy it through that link, then you help me make some money!).  If you feel comfortable, talking to the school nurse might help too.

I can’t tell you when to have sex.  Only you know when you’re ready.  But I can tell you that you shouldn’t do it if you are looking to avoid being teased, or to make your friends happy, or even to make your partner happy.  You should only have sex when you want to do it.  I really hope this post has helped you.

Do you have a question about sex or relationships?  You can go here to ask me anything, completely anonymously!

Demystifying Dirty Talk!

Talking dirty in bed is easier than you might think!

Let’s Get Idealistic

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.

I Don’t Care About Your Abstinence, and it Doesn’t Make You Better Than Me

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.

Book Review: Sex at Dawn

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!

Book Review: The Choice Effect

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.

Grace’s Diary

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.

Your Questions: Answered!

For those of you who don’t know, WordPress gives bloggers the ability to look at a lot of the data associated with a blog that one owns.  The information that I find the most intriguing (and often hilarious) is the search terms that lead people to Nice Girls.  The searches are often in the form of a question.

After sharing a couple of these on twitter, I thought I would amuse myself by answering them here.  Hopefully you will find these as interesting as I do! Read the rest of this entry

Fifty Shades of Red Flags

 

The Fifty Shades trilogy has been at the top of the NYT Bestseller list for 10 weeks now.  I can’t even begin to count the number of people who have suggested I review these books.  I’m on vacation in the Outer Banks, North Carolina right now, and I figured they’d be good for reading on the plane.  I started reading the first book at 3:30am, and knew that I probably wasn’t going to like them, as I had started cracking up laughing at the terrible writing by 3:45am.  Warning, those who have been in an abusive relationship may be triggered by the following post. Read the rest of this entry

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