Category Archives: Sexuality

…flirting…

I started doing a few of these for TikTok. And I was extremely surprised by how many people watched a couple of them. Everyone of course has a deep interest in having a deep and loving relationship with their partner. It’s not hard to see that most of us have difficulty. I’m no different. I know damn well most of the time the kind of behavior I crave from my partner. The Golden Rule covers just about every aspect of behavior in a relationship. Behave and be the person that you want.

I was reluctant to write about flirting because it’s almost undefinable. So much of the interpretation depends on the person doing it. But observers can’t read motivation or intentions.

One of the commenters on TikTok wanted me to give it a shot.

Flirting is truly harmless in most contexts.

It boils down to the context and the people involved. I found that many people in relationships are uncomfortable with the way their partners interact. It’s easy to gaslight yourself when you have an uncomfortable reaction. That’s normal. This sort of thing relies so much on instinct, experience, and knowing your partner.

Love, X

Sexual Fantasy Lives & Lies

This post is WAY outside my comfort zone.

Please stop reading if you’re uncomfortable with sexuality.

I didn’t polish this post. It’s not perfectly well-expressed. That’s okay because I’m not sure my subconscious allows me to process and share exactly what I want or need to.

Most people can’t rationally and calmly think about their partner’s fantasy life, which runs congruently in their heads, whether they are physically with a partner or alone. This is true even though they undoubtedly experience their own. Imagining them getting pleasure by thinking about being with another partner naturally stirs up ancient reactions in our lizard brains. As a result, a lot of couples never openly talk about what goes on in their heads.

Sometimes, they don’t even dare to discuss what gives them pleasure.

Studies regarding fantasy life yield some conclusions that cause discomfort. Some of the most common female fantasies are sex with strangers, sex with a specific celebrity, sex with multiple people, being dominated, sex in unusual places, oral sex (giving and receiving), exhibitionism, forced/reluctant sex, rough sex, same-sex encounters, sex with previous partners, watching others have sex, age discrepancy sex, and even romantic/passionate sex. Men share a great deal of the same fantasies. A common denominator in them is novelty, taboo, or things they’d most likely not participate in.

It’s hard for many people to distinguish between fantasy and life. It triggers an avoidance reaction. That’s because our brain renders real what we imagine. We feel the excitement but also the stress, jealousy, or other unintended issues about ourselves.

The truth is that you can’t really know what is going on in your partner’s head most of the time. But if you’re participating physically, you should focus on your partner’s pleasure. If they aren’t comfortable talking about their fantasy life, there’s a reason. It’s usually complicated, partly because we are still programmed to avoid discussing it. Yes, even when we are in a committed relationship or marriage.

Our largest sexual organ is our brain.

It’s a rare couple who can freely share fantasies without animosity, jealousy, or other emotions. Brain studies reflect this.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” dominates many people’s lives.

It doesn’t help men to know that women are far superior biologically to them concerning sexual activity and pleasure.

Because our brains are adept at creating thoughts (or dreams) that our body reacts to physically, it is no wonder that fantasy life is so crucial for sexual fulfillment for so many people.

They just don’t talk about it. Not really. The outliers do, that’s true.

I think anyone reading this should read all the major sex studies about sexual pleasure. At least those who are interested in their sexuality. You can Google it by searching for “Most common female sexual fantasies” (or male) and then focus on the percentages of frequency for all types. It might surprise you. At a minimum, you won’t feel so freakish, of that, I’m sure. If you’ve not considered it in depth, though, it might bring discomfort. It might also bring revelation to both you and your partner.

One of the best examples is cuckolding, wherein a man shares his female partner with another man. Over half of men in almost all studies report using it as a fantasy. The mechanisms to explain this can be complex or simple, both from an evolutionary/biological and social viewpoint. It goes against our basic tendency toward jealousy or territoriality. It’s not rational. And that’s the point.

One of the most common fantasies is a threesome. The odd thing for me? That doesn’t arouse me at all to imagine being with two women. I know that sounds like I might be lying. I am not interested in touching two women simultaneously. Both of us pleasuring my partner, though, that is arousing.

Imagining my partner in a threesome, however, is arousing, no matter the combination of sexes. It’s not something I could deal with in real life, though. In a fantasy framework, it’s arousing.

If I transpose that same scenario and try to imagine her having done it in real life, it acquires a negative cloud immersed in retroactive jealousy. It is very hard for me to process rationally.

The same is true for fantasies involving virginity.

Like most men, milf eroticism is arousing, as is the idea of my partner giving someone their first experience. For reasons that fascinate me, it turns me on. Hearing about such real-life encounters in that capacity is another thing entirely. Personally, though, I do not enjoy fantasies of being someone’s first sexual partner. I know that seems contradictory, but it’s entirely normal – not that “normal” is really normal, anyway. I suppose it is to be expected that for me, being taken by someone for the first time is arousing, as is the idea of my partner doing so. But I admit I tread carefully about imagining it in real life, as those thoughts bring unwanted consequences. I’m hard-wired toward monogamy. The commonality of both scenarios is the excitement of finding one’s sexuality or the gift of such an offering.

I realize that I seem to have contradicted myself. Cuckolding fantasies don’t interest me per se. Yet ones where my partner gives someone the gift of their first sexual experience do. I’m guessing it doesn’t trigger the same emotional and visceral jealousy response.

As for my retroactive jealousy, like most people, I have to be able to be sexual with my partner while being aware that some of these fantasies are playing in her head or what gives her literal physical pleasure.

I recently heard someone say, “Don’t be afraid of her toys. They are teammates, not competitors.”

I have to appreciate fantasy life in the same way.

Whether people talk about it or not, it is a huge part of their sexuality.

I was sexually active during my previous adult life, of course. I underwent a transformation when I realized that there were things I liked that surprised me. Being with someone who you trust helps. Knowing they find pleasure in it is what makes it sublime.

When they do share, it’s important that you protect their secret fantasy life. It’s secret for a reason.

Everyone should explore as much of the playground as they can. For love, for intimacy, for each other. Where there is trust, it is immeasurably easier.

Trust yourself and trust your partner.

I trust mine. I’d be in a world of hurt if I didn’t.

And remember, fantasy is not reality. Don’t judge. Or try. That’s hard enough for most of us. We are harshest to ourselves.

X

The Fidelity Observation

Preface: A while back, I warned y’all that I’d write more things outside my comfort zone. The analytics are clear, though: posts about relationships, behavior, or anything adjacent to these topics are read by many people. I’d suppose it is because relationships are the central element of our lives. Most of us experience the same issues.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’ve been on both sides of the coin.

I’m not ever going to be on the other side again.

I’ve been to therapy to discuss all these issues in detail. I’ve read every major relationship and sexual study out there. I’ve spent a lot of time digesting the conclusions. They all convince me that the blueprint I followed for most of my adult life is the only way I can be happy. To remind myself, I ask myself where not doing things the right way led me. Obviously, I was off course! Had I not been, I’d be happily married to someone who follows the same relationship blueprint I’m looking for. I can’t blame other people, not really. Not taking time for deep consideration would result in further disappointment for me.

And because it’s the only way to happiness for me, I’m assuming it will be more than enough for most people.

There is a difference between adultery and infidelity. Don’t fool yourself. Infidelity can be equally damaging. It violates trust, a promise, and commitment to your partner. It involves breaking any romantic, emotional, or intellectual agreements that you share. It does not require these agreements to be spoken. It’s true that boundaries and expectations between people might vary. But if you think rationally, you’ll discover that most of us have the same expectations. We certainly overlap regarding things that we know would hurt us.

Infidelity: any action or behavior that either makes the partner doing it feel guilty – or any action or behavior that is kept hidden or secret because the partner is aware that it will cause emotional hurt. This is true because it is infidelity to the relationship the moment either half of the first sentence becomes reality.

Don’t overthink it. It’s simplicity in its rarest form.

“Fidelity” is an old word, coming from a mix of “loyalty, faithfulness, trustworthy.” Generally speaking, if you can’t write it, say it, or do it openly and in front of your partner without a reaction, it probably falls on the wrong side of the line. You might argue and fight my interpretation. Obviously, though, behavior and words that are intentionally kept from your partner must have some impetus toward concealment. Motives may vary. The consequences don’t.

Behavior that is benign rarely gets cloaked. (There are exceptions.) If you don’t trust your partner to react rationally, that signals a bigger problem between you. The act of concealment, misdirection, or minimizing deservedly draws scrutiny. It’s not rational to keep things from your partner based on how they might react. Their reaction, if they are your ideal partner, won’t be out of proportion or indicate anything other than their confusion or hurt. You have to put in the work when misunderstandings arise.

Healthy relationships with an ideal partner require transparency.

Transparency is a child of honesty.

Stop defining infidelity as a specific act. If it triggers you to conceal or if it will hurt your partner to see it, hear it, or hear of it, it’s infidelity. Yes, I know my comments are a bit general.

Examples: flirty behavior, however you define it. Giving someone the impression they hold your interest. Secret conversations in any form. Sexual innuendo, as it leads to the false (or correct) interpretation that you are available. Sharing your time and emotional energy with someone. We all have a set amount of time, focus, and energy. If it’s spent with someone else, it’s done to the detriment of the relationship. Etc. Again, these are general comments, not an exclusive or inclusive list or blueprint. I didn’t include any physical examples because I’ve distinguished between adultery and infidelity.

Infidelity is a huge slippery slope of defense mechanisms, explanations, and rationalizations. A kiss, though physical, is infidelity.

The behaviors that get hidden or concealed are the stepping stones to a breach in your emotional intimacy.

The modern era makes it harder to honor your relationship.

Just reverse roles when you’re engaging in actions or behaviors that trigger recognition in yourself. How would you feel if your partner did it? That’s how you know you need to do things differently.

Compassion on a fundamental level.

We all want to be loved and appreciated. To achieve that, we have to learn and follow behaviors that contradict what led us to where we are.

X

Advice From A Hypocrite

Preface: this isn’t about everyday interactions that happen over apps. This is about the personal, one-to-one, and private messages people send with intentions they’d rather keep concealed. There is a vast difference. Often, only the person with hidden intentions or desires knows for sure. People in relationships must be on guard to protect themselves.

It’s also about people who are in love, married or committed. Casual dating is a separate set of expectations and rules. Once you’re committed and monogamous, the expectations morph. The label by which you refer to your relationship isn’t what determines these changes.

I don’t know how to address connections through work or other scenarios adequately. We all know hundreds of stories wherein someone begins to morph a previously business-only exchange into something intimate. That’s what access and proximity do. As Hannibal Lecter quipped, “We covet what we see.” People in relationships need to be aware and prepare for those scenarios too. The most straightforward point to stop it in its tracks is the first time your instincts are triggered. It gets more challenging after that point.

There are a lot of lonely people out there. They have unlimited time and a lot of motivation to make connections. Someone is always going to see something in your partner, whether it is sexual attraction, creativity, or a sense of humor. Some of them will act on it and initiate conversations.

And since I’ve learned these lessons through hypocrisy, my partners will have access to my phone. I don’t have hidden apps, passcodes they don’t know, or anything similar. So if you write me and tell me that you want to eat me alive, my partner could see it.

I’ve been surprised by some great marriages or relationships being imploded because of all this. It only happens when there is a lack of transparency.

If someone reaches out by texting, DMing, or communicating with your partner, that’s normal. It’s no different than someone telling your partner, “Geez, you’re good-looking!” on the street. They might not know your partner is in love or their story. At least that possibly inappropriate or exuberant statement made in public is made in the sunlight openly.

People will cast their nets, take their swing, yolo, and all that. The biological urge toward intimacy and sex is already overwhelming. Apps and cell phones have made such access impossibly easy. What matters is how your partner responds the first time someone does. It reflects everything you need to know about love, respect, and understanding how relationships work in their heads and hearts.

If you’re lucky, neither of you has experienced the agony of being on the wrong side of this. If you have, it leaves scars – and those scars make you suspicious of almost all interactions your partner has. They pay for your previous trauma even when they are behaving appropriately and without concealment.

If they’ve engaged once, much less multiple times, the person trying to insinuate themselves sees an invitation. It’s code. You have to answer the door before someone can get inside.

Access is impossible to control.

Clarity, once it happens, is impossibly simple and elegant. “No thanks.”

A lot of people fail at this point. Whether they are looking for someone else, need validation, or enjoy someone being complimentary, they engage the other person and provide access. It’s not harmless. Just because someone knocks at your door does not mean you need to answer it, much less open it.

It’s a great analogy. “Hello. No, I’m not interested, especially since I’m with someone. But thank you!” That’s perfectly nice and acknowledges the other person – but sets the boundaries.

Imagine if your partner received such unwelcome advances and responded, “Hey, I’ve said no thanks. Does your partner know you’re writing the opposite sex on these apps? Have them call me, and maybe we can be friends.” You know darn well how that would go.

Of course, the texting person’s significant other doesn’t know!

It’s easy to get angry at the other person reaching out to your partner, whether they are in a relationship or not. It is cheating if they are casting nets, even without physical contact. They can deny it all they want. That’s part of the game. They are building a foundation toward intimacy or physical connection. Intimacy, even through the internet, is dangerous to your actual relationship. They’re somewhere in a relationship spending their energy, focus, and time attempting to connect elsewhere. All those comments, jokes, wishes, aspirations, sexual innuendo, and observations? Those could be spent with your actual partner because they are your person and would love to share those interactions with you.

If your partner engages in it, you have to assume they are well aware of the motivations of those doing it. If they are not, take the time to explain it to them – and that it’s hurtful and counterproductive in a committed relationship. It’s hard to imagine in this modern age that someone isn’t aware of the possible hidden agendas of the opposite sex. To be clear, this is NOT always the case. But it so often is. And at the beginning, there is no smoking gun, no direct way to show your partner that you’re right about it. Again, the test is whether that person texting has shared their interactions with their partner: it’s doubtful. And if you’re partner hasn’t shared them with you, that should be a warning sign.

The looming problem is that your partner now has a connection to someone. If you don’t know about it, you can be confident that your partner knows it would hurt you to know or read those messages. It’s how many affairs start—words, innuendo, hidden motivations. People get to know each other, and unwanted behavior blossoms. Fantasies, traded jokes, things that your partner isn’t aware of.

The other person is siphoning your partner’s time and possibly affection. People can be entertaining and engaged through these communications. Your partner might be attracted to having someone light, witty, and perhaps sexual. That’s what “too friendly” means. That mental picture they are creating of the other person isn’t wholly accurate. Generally. Our largest sexual organ is our brain.

Another person talking to someone else’s partner may have only platonic intentions. But the frequency, timing, and content of those messages will reveal such purposes if they are entirely and transparently shared with one’s partner. If your partner reads them and sees something you don’t – or don’t want to believe – you should default to your partner’s interpretation. That’s hard to grasp because you’re too close to see it. But if your partner is concerned enough to admit it, fire lurks in that smoke.

Many men approach their texting targets by slowly revealing things about their lives. They hide subtle or clever innuendos in their texts and wait to see if the person getting them responds in kind, amplifies, or shuts it off. They only need to find a crack, a small willingness, or something missing in that person’s life or heart to escalate.

If either of you is discussing problems in your current relationship, this is a massive red flag and a signal to cut off communications immediately. Once it reaches that stage, one or both of the people engaging in such communication has more than platonic feelings.

The same is true for sexual jokes and innuendo. Once the person gets your partner to allow, much less participate in or encourage, sexual banter, the danger dramatically increases. We’re sexual beings. Banter like that is fun and dangerous. Anyone who underestimates how our biology affects us that way is susceptible to engaging in inappropriate behavior.

Everyone starts by being friendly or being friends.

It all starts with access.

It’s the interaction that opens the door.

For toxic people, they know this and don’t hit the door with a battering ram on the first approach. They knock softly and follow the signs and signals.

It’s not mean to tell someone texting you that you are in a relationship and don’t welcome anything untoward. It is the only healthy response if you’re committed to your partner. One, because your partner is communicating openly to the world that they are in love and committed. Two, it establishes expectations and boundaries with the person reaching out. Three, it’s vital that your partner shut off any further communication once they feel that the line has been crossed.

Above all, share this with your partner, okay? Even the benign messages. But especially the ones that went wonky. If you do that, you will actively demonstrate respect, honesty, and love to your partner. If you don’t, if something suspicious ever occurs, it will be difficult for them to trust you when you talk about what happened.

It’s no crime that someone thinks your partner – or you – is attractive. That’s normal. Communicating it is a delicate situation that easily crosses boundaries.

You don’t accidentally text someone repeatedly. Concealing the time and content of that kind of communication takes effort.

It’s the concealment that triggers the worry.

If your partner sees that you’ve left the door open, it’s hurtful.

It would be best if you were transparent and immediate when someone reaches out to either of you.

Sunlight, above all, for both people’s sake.

Love is supposed to be easy and it’s supposed to be kind. Love is easy but daily living distracts us from the essential nature of a one-on-one relationship. Love is easy as an emotion and much more difficult as a commitment and an action.

I think all of us expect transparency. We just don’t know how to get there. I believe this is especially true for younger people. You achieve it by doing it first. If there’s no reciprocity, that’s something you will have to learn to accept, change, or learn from. In my experience, I have learned that it’s impossible for things to get sideways for either of you in a relationship is transparency is the foundation.

Never catch yourself behaving in a way that would hurt you if your partner did it.

Remember, I confess my hypocrisy.

I’ve seen the danger.

Beware, but love openly and fully.

Protect your partner and your relationship.

It starts with access and ends with concealment.

Love, X