Browsing Tag

intimacy

Guest Posts, Intimacy, Sex

Sex, Intimacy, and Genetic Incompatibility

April 28, 2017
intimacy

By Becky Benson

The first time it happened I thought it was great.  Easier, less messy, a change up from the norm.  Win/win for me.  I didn’t particularly like condoms; the feel, the smell, the timeout in the heat of the moment while fumbling over a loudly crackling wrapper.  How romantic.  And I’m sure my husband was no fan of them, but it did make it better for me once we were done.  He’d just pull it off and toss it in the trash.  I didn’t have to lay there waiting for him to throw me his t-shirt to clean up with, I could just happily roll over and drift off to sleep.

The only problem with this scenario:  we needed them, which made it feel less like a novelty, a change up from the norm, and more like a reminder of what we were now facing, and how in so many ways, our relationship; our sex life would never be the same.

In 2009 my husband, Loren and I had been happily married for six and a half years.  Loving, committed, stable.  We had two beautiful daughters, Skylar, five, and Miss Elliott, ten months, when we learned that we were carriers of Tay-Sachs Disease.  We had no idea this genetic mutation existed in our lineage or that we had passed it on to our youngest daughter, who at this point was beginning to shows signs of missing her milestones as she grew.  Watching my seemingly healthy infant unable to master age appropriate tasks such as crawling, holding her bottle, and or imitating our speech, I suspected something much more was going on beside the usual variances in development, and unfortunately I was right.  With no treatment or cure, this neurodegenerative disorder would rob her of all of her physical and mental functioning before finally taking her life by the age of four. Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, Intimacy, love

Smelly Make This Bed

February 14, 2017
bed

By Cara Lopez Lee

I tuck the sheet under my chin and try not to move, hoping to trap it, that smell like spoiled sausage and goat cheese. It’s only a gesture, because already I know it’s too late.

“Sorry,” I say.
“Nice,” he laughs.

“So, this is how love dies,” I say, “one fart at a time.”

I wonder where all my gases hid when we first became lovers. I’ve never mastered the feminine skill of restrained flatulence. Yet the first time we shared a bed, the only scent I noticed was his skin, like fresh-baked bread, peanut butter, and summer sun. I felt relieved not to feel the slats of another bachelor’s futon skittering up and down my back, or to hear the slosh of a waterbed, stuck in a time warp again. Instead his bed was steady and king size, and we used every inch: him flipping me from corner to corner like the martial artist he was, me twisting into positions I could never achieve as a dancer.

When we split up, he confessed, “I didn’t do laundry for a while. I could still smell your scent on everything—the sheets, the pillowcases, my shirts—and I didn’t want to wash it away.” Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, love, parenting

Teaching Sons How To Love

April 1, 2016
parenting

By Deonna Kelli Sayed

“Come to the kitchen,” Ibrahim says. “I want to show you something.”  My 13-year-old son towers over me. A thin layer of newly sprouted moustache sits above his lips, which are now shaped in a comical twirl.

“This is Day 1,” he says, as he turns the kitchen faucet to a trickling stream. He opens the valve a bit more.

“And by Day 3….” The water is full speed now, splattering against the dirty dishes in the sink.

He is explaining menstrual flow to me, his mother, and he is proud to know such secrets. This is after he provides a short explanation of why a woman bleeds every month. Don’t tell me why, I challenge him, tell me how she bleeds.

“The thing inside peels off skin….”

“You mean, the lining of the uterus sheds?” I offer.

“Yes! That is it. It sheds,” he says, as he continues narrating the journey of ovum to unfertilized blood flow.

The conversation started when I asked him what he had learned in sex education that day. He is the only Muslim in his mixed gender class, enduring an abstinence only curriculum that promised not to discuss masturbation, sexual intercourse, or homosexuality.

“What is there to talk about then?” I inquired. He shrugged and muttered that one can’t get into too many details as both girls and boys are in the class. And yet, they teach a vagina song, and not one about the penis, because perhaps the vagina is more complicated, he speculated.

It is all complicated, I say, this love and sex business. Continue Reading…

Addiction, Alcoholism, Binders, Guest Posts, Intimacy, Sex

Facts of Life

October 15, 2015

By Carol Weis

You discover your daughter has learned the facts of life. She is only seven when this profound experience occurs. Your husband has taken over this duty you thought would be yours. One your mother never shared with either you or your sister. You’d find out from your cousin when you were both nine. An image that would repulse you for a very long time. Your anger and grief about losing this right of passage with your daughter, your only child, becomes just another sticker in your already thorny side.

Sex is a thing that is hard to think about. It was your husband’s last straw, and one you have no interest in sharing with anyone but yourself. You occasionally flirt with guys at AA meetings, with no intention of going anywhere with it.

A habit that lingers from your drinking years.

And then the day comes in therapy, when it seems that your therapist might be at her wits end with both of you. She suggests you go on an overnight date, away for a night without your daughter, sleeping in the same bed without having her around.

It’s not that you haven’t tried a version of this before. Since your separation, you’ve slept overnight at his apartment, with ground rules about sleeping in the same bed. If he makes advances when you feel you’re not ready, he has to respect what you say. You’re more like a brother and sister right now, laying next to each other in your parent’s double bed.

His attempts at intimacy are always turned down. Continue Reading…

Binders, Guest Posts, Sex

That Was 22

June 22, 2015

By Janet Frishberg

Don’t worry, that was just 22. You walked this city wanting love and not knowing where to find it. Not truly believing it would ever happen, and still hoping it would. Wanting someone, a sage or a wizened ancient, to tell you: you will find it. And thinking, this cannot be all there is. These cannot be the only jobs.

Don’t worry, that was 22: picking at your skin and then healing it, biting your nails down to the bloody edges. Obsessing over every single thing you bought as though it would lead directly to your financial ruin.

Don’t worry, these bars, these nights that led to nowhere but sore feet and sour mouth taste, and left you wiggling under the comforter emptier than before you walked out of the house, that was 22.

Paying too much for bad food, accepting invitations to dates and parties you didn’t actually want to go to, taking the bus home alone at one a.m. with your shoulders held tight because you didn’t have money for a cab—that was 22.

This night was 22, when you walked from bar to bar with a group of seven friends and wondered who you’d meet while out, even as you suspected the answer would be the same as it usually was: no one. Or at least no one who would matter.

Tonight, over drinks, curled in a row around the L-shaped edge of the bar, your friends asked about your weekend and you told them you weren’t sure how, but you slept with him again, that guy from last summer. It started with drinks this past weekend, plans to meet friends at a new wine bar. You realized what was going to happen when he kissed you while you two waited in line. The kiss was a surprise; you’d had no agenda. (This was rare.) You smiled on the sidewalk with his lips pressing on yours; it felt all the same between the two of you as during summer: just for fun, casual. Friendly, you could say. You were glad for the comfort. You didn’t even really mind that you hadn’t shaved your legs since you couldn’t remember when. Continue Reading…

Dear Life., Guest Posts, LBGQ, Sexuality

Dear Life: I Am Gay & Want to Come Out But I Am Afraid.

January 14, 2015

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88

Welcome to Dear Life: An Unconventional Advice Column.

Your questions get sent to various authors from around the world to answer (and please keep sending because I have like 567 writers that want to answer your burning questions. Click here to submit a letter or email dearlife@jenniferpastiloff.com.) Different writers offer their input when it comes to navigating through life’s messiness. We are “making messy okay.” Today’s letter is answered by author Elisabeth Fairfield Stokes.

Send us your questions because there loads of crazy authors waiting to answer ‘em. Just kidding, they aren’t crazy.

Well okay, maybe a little. Aren’t we all? xo, Jen Pastiloff, Crazy Beauty Hunter. ps, I will see you in Vancouver on Saturday (Jan 17.) My first workshop there! 

 

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Dear Life,

My name is Angie. I have never asked for help on a advice column but my life right now seems out of sorts.

I’m 33. I feel lost and confused in every aspect of my life.

Right now I am in a relationship but I am scared of the future of this relationship. You see I’m gay and no one knows aside from a few close friends. My family has no idea. My GF has been very supportive but I know the fact that I am not out has bothered her a bit. I would like to come out but am afraid as my parents are very religious and European. I don’t think they would understand. This lays heavy on my heart.

Another issue is the fact that lately I feel unable to accept touch from her. She is a very touchy feely person and I feel lately I can’t take all the feeling. Part of me wonders if its a sign things are not good between us. I love her to death and can’t see time without her. But I am just so uncomfy with touch. I am not even sure if I can explain it to her.

Anyways, do you have any advice?

Angie

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being.

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being.

Continue Reading…

courage, Guest Posts, Sex

Conscious Celibacy Vs. Not Getting Laid.

June 20, 2014

Conscious Celibacy Vs. Not Getting Laid by Janet Raftis.

Something strange is afoot.

I don’t want to have sex. I mean, I do, of course; sex is awesome. In fact, I’d love to have sex. The difference is that the type of sex I’ve used as a crutch in the past just doesn’t sound appealing anymore. And that’s not to say there was anything wrong with that and I am in no way judging or condemning casual sex. It has definitely served a wonderful and fulfilling-in-many-ways purpose in my life. Some of the best sex I’ve had has in fact been outside of a formalized relationship. The reason that it doesn’t attract me anymore is completely beyond the scope of a kiss or even an orgasm. It has to do with me.

For many years there was a part of me that didn’t feel like I deserved to have it all. I would allow in bits and pieces but I would never permit a full consummation. So, if I really liked the person and the sex was great, there might be a level of emotional unavailability involved. And if the person really liked me, I might not want to be fully available. The dynamics could shift, but it was never all-inclusive.

Many of my trysts were mostly secret because the element of covert affections naturally dictated that the level of emotional involvement remained safe and stunted. I found safety in clandestine affairs as the very secrecy itself worked as a shield over my heart. I really didn’t have to risk a whole lot, and risk in love was a very scary idea to me. If I “lost”, my shame would be public and it would prove my lack of self-worth in a very open forum. That was not something I was willing to deal with in most cases.

For me, I had the whole sexual empowerment thing wrong. The reason I say “for me” is that I believe each woman and man to be different and what doesn’t work for me might really work for someone else. I believed for many, many years that casual sex – fucking – was empowered sex, and that was because I was very disempowered when it came to the experience. Even before I was raped, sex was confusing to me. It didn’t come from my parents – they’ve been mostly happily married for almost 50 years, but it was present from a young age. I imagine that it comes from growing up in a society that objectifies women as sexual objects in powerful forums such as media and print ad. Even before adolescence I equated being desired by another as validation and power. And I was not attractive as a young girl. I had really puffy hair and braces and acne. I was an insecure mess and all I wanted was to be desirable. I believed that to understand how that fit into the sexual game was the necessary key to being a bigger and better me.

After being raped, I cried my way through sex with men that I cared about, completely shut down and disassociated from my body. I remember once thinking that I had reached the point of raping myself every time I engaged in sex. I would watch from above as my psyche betrayed me. It was much easier to not have deep feelings towards anyone. By remaining emotionally distanced from the man, I could attempt to wield a power that I felt I didn’t have. It was a clumsy attempt at not feeling vulnerable. If the sex was casual, I could have perceived control in the situation. When there was hurt because emotions towards the person later arose, as can happen when being intimate with someone, I would choke them back and deny them with all of my heart.

If, God forbid I did like someone from the outset, I would unconsciously create some sort of distance between us. This typically manifested with men that were emotionally unavailable. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t have them because I just couldn’t have them. Then I could have some sort of control over the lack of control. This often manifested as a variation of the covert affair situation. There was a sense of security with respect to my self-worth within that configuration, as it shifted the responsibility from me to someone else. I was not aware of this at the time – this has all been learned as I’ve done the work to really get into my subconscious programming in order to liberate it.

This is not a reflection of the men out there. I’m sure that there are plenty of good ones. The truth of the matter, though, is that I haven’t been able to find one that is good with me. My story with the unavailable type tended to go something like this: I would find a good man who would tell me that I was awesome and great and that he couldn’t believe how wonderful it was that he met me. He would tell me that I was pretty and sweet and that he loved spending time with me. He would touch me and hold me and say nice things to me and draw me in. And then the shoe would drop, and I’d find myself on the outside looking in.

I was recently granted the opportunity to view this pattern completely. At the time it really hurt and I felt completely out of control with respect to the situation. When the familiar scenario began to play itself out, I realized that it was time to be done with these old worn out patterns; they had far out-stayed their welcome. I’m grateful for it, painful as it was. I had been doing all kinds of healing work to get to the point where I could finally have a mutually uplifting romantic partner experience. I was healing and growing and rediscovering myself in a new way, and so when this pattern popped up I was at least in the space to recognize it. I could actually see and feel that it was not in alignment with who I really felt myself to be. I saw myself behaving in ways that were no longer comfortable but that I almost couldn’t avoid. Through detached eyes I was able to see that this was an unconscious pattern that was stuck on the repeat button. I saw the dominos tracing back through time and decided I was ready to topple the stack.

I sat with the pain and did my best to communicate through it. I still fumbled, but with each stumble, I checked in with myself. What I realized was that if I want to have a wonderful, actualized, mutually loving, communicative, and uplifting relationship, I needed to do some more work to get there myself. I could only attract to the level that I was at or below, and what I wanted was vibrating a little higher than I was. It was time to get serious.

I realized that I was going to have to spend some really good quality time with myself. It was time to explore my terrain as an independent and empowered woman, to dig deep, to open and expand. I needed to do this before I got into relationship with someone, and sex from a disempowered place can confuse things for me. I want a relationship that has it all – a partner that I consider a best friend who is also a delightful lover. I want a man that knows what he wants and is living his soul purpose. I want a man that is so confident in himself that he has no doubts about us. In order to have all of that, though, I need to be all of that. And I couldn’t find that while looking for validation or a false sense of bravado through sex. Until I am fully and authentically empowered, sex cannot be fully and authentically empowered. I need to create space and then respect the space to learn and understand exactly what it is I want so that I don’t forsake it and therefore myself. Already I’ve been granted the opportunity to be tested, so to speak. I’m grateful to myself that I did what I needed to do to move through it while maintaining alignment with my current personal ideals.

And so I was lamenting to a dear friend my plight, which isn’t really a plight except that I have had less sex in the last year and a half than I have in the last many and that was feeling a little grim to me. And she asked me if I felt that conscious celibacy might feel a little better. Well, I’m still not getting laid, but yes, conscious celibacy seems like a much more empowering choice. The moment I stepped into that circle felt like a breath of fresh air along with a gentle and loving nudge of personal accountability. This is a space I can hang out in for a while.

 

Happy Bio Pic

When not running around with her 11 year old son or chasing after a member of their menagerie, Janet Raftis plays as an energy healer, psychic medium, and wellness coach. She focuses on helping women to break through fear and trauma that is holding them back from expressing their true selves and from finding their authentic and empowered voice. Writing is one of the tools that she has used to heal herself and to reach others. She has been featured on Manifest Station and elephant journal, and she maintains a personal blog as well.

Janet has a new website under construction (janetraftis.com), but until that is up and running, you can still reach out to her at either totemguidance.com or through her personal blog happilyyes.wordpress.com.

 

 

Ring in New Years 2016 with Jen Pastiloff at her annual Ojai retreat. It's magic! It sells out quickly so book early. No yoga experience required. Just be a human being. With a sense of humor. Email barbara@jenniferpastiloff.com with questions or click photo to book. NO yoga experience needed. Just be a human being.

Ring in New Years 2016 with Jen Pastiloff at her annual Ojai retreat. It’s magic! It sells out quickly so book early. No yoga experience required. Just be a human being. With a sense of humor. Email barbara@jenniferpastiloff.com with questions or click photo to book. NO yoga experience needed. Just be a human being.

 

 

Beating Fear with a Stick, Jen Pastiloff, Jen's Musings

I Don’t Like You But I Want You To Want Me.

February 26, 2013

1

By Jen Pastiloff.

I used to play this game in my twenties with men. I don’t like you but I want you to want me it was called. I was insecure and wanted all the attention I could get from men but I didn’t want to have to give anything up for it: sex, intimacy, love. I wanted to feel pretty and desired without having to look into anyone’s eyes or have them claim me as theirs. I felt ugly and short and I overcompensated by wearing high platform shoes and low cut shirts which showed my cleavage. And a lot of makeup. I was a master at flirting. I could make men want me.

Then I would panic. I would avoid. I would not return phone calls or emails. I would hide. I would be distant. I was a fraud. I couldn’t hold my own.

I didn’t want to hold my own.

A good friend of mine has been in a situation where a man was flirting with her and showing signs of attraction. She was attracted to him. She was confused by some of his behaviors and she told him as much. He then called her up to say: Just to be clear, I have no romantic or sexual interest in you. 

(Easy there, cowboy!)

What an asshole I said over the phone. Until I realized he was playing the game I used to play, or a version of it. I want you to want me but I want no responsibility. I don’t want to take this any farther but I want to feel desired by you. I want you to fall in love with me and I want to have zero accountability. In fact, I will be somewhat shocked when you call me out on my behaviors was the name or names of his game.

I remember after I got dumped in my 28th birthday I agreed to go on a date with a guy I had been waiting on for years. I had known he’d had a crush on me and I wasn’t attracted to him at all but I was trying to get over heartbreak and I thought it would be a good idea to get out. I wasn’t interested in him but the date was fun. He took me to a big famous Hollywood television producer’s house for a Christmas party and I felt funny and pretty and after we left he told me the big famous Hollywood producer kept asking about me. Who was the cute little Jewish girl? he said the producer kept saying. I’d felt flattered.

I wasn’t into this guy but I tried to make myself because I thought he would be good for me. He was a successful television writer and he was smart and funny. And he liked me. (I had been with someone for two years who didn’t like me very much.)

I just didn’t want to kiss him. Ever.

We went out on a few dates and finally he emailed me and called me out after I sent him a forwarded joke via email. He told me that he had enough friends. That he wasn’t interested in me as a friend and I needed to be straight. Was I interested in him or not?

I panicked. I wasn’t. I stared at the computer, horrified. I couldn’t bring myself to type the words. I admired him for his straightforwardness. Here I was sending him dumb emails just to keep him at bay, hoping he would disappear but not without pining for me.

I forget what I said exactly but it ended with No, I don’t want to date you. I probably beat around the bush. I probably made it sound nice and fluffy and a little dishonest.

I never heard from him again.

Look, I get it. He didn’t want to be my friend. He wanted to love me. He was being honest and fair.

I remember being shocked at his email. It was harsh, as I’m assuming his feelings were hurt, but I had never received such a blunt email before. He was so willing to speak what he wanted, to say what he felt and what he needed. And a friendship with me wasn’t any of those things. Fair enough.

I cringe when I think of the things I used to do for love. I hated myself and thought that if enough men wanted me it could fill that hatred with something. Even something I didn’t want.

Why so many lies?

I don’t want you but I want you to want me. Or even the I don’t like you but I can’t stand that you don’t like me. I want everyone to love me.

Oh, there it is. I want everyone to love me.

It’s so ugly and horrible and smelly that I throw it down the basement stairs before it burns my eyes and blinds me with its filth and stench.

There’s a roomful of people who are all nodding and digging what I am saying. They are into it. Then, there’s one who isn’t. I focus on the one.

I want you to like me. 

I focus on the one.

I sent an email to someone the other day which included my newsletter. I wrote about it the other day. He simply replied “unsubscribe.”

When I got really down and dirty with myself I was willing to ask Why did you send him the email in the first place, Jen? I’d had a hunch he didn’t like me. I had known. And the answer came. I was again in my twenties wearing a low cut shirt and high shoes to hide. I wanted him to like me was the wimpy little 5 year old kid answer.

The thing is, I only sent the email because of that. If I get down real low and look where I am afraid to look like under the bed and in the basement. It’s disgusting. Want me want me want me want me want me from the darkest crevices you can imagine.

Here’s the great thing about being honest with yourself. When you finally are, you leave the basement. The ugly truths about you aren’t so ugly once you face them. You just get a little wet washcloth and move forward with your day dusting off whatever needs dusting. It’s just that most of us are afraid to look inward so we keep throwing things under the bed and down the basement stairs.

I would be scared to go down there after a while too.

So that guy, the one who was leading my friend on, I don’t know what his deal was. (And yes, I still think he was an asshole for saying that to her.) I do know that he flirted with her and sent her every signal that he was interested and then when she called him out, he balked. He wanted what he wanted without having to be there for it.

Who wants to live that way? It’s ghost living. It’s like lying your way through your life and knocking people over with your big bag as you walk down the sidewalk. It’s like making a mess and walking out as you yell Someone else will clean it up without so much as even glancing over your shoulder.

There is a fine line between being honest and being an asshole.

Don’t get me wrong. At times I have been both. What I am concerned with now is the former.

I want to love you is a revision of I want you to want me. 

I want to love you. 

Imagine the world where we are all concerned with what people think of us and if they like us and how much better we feel when they do love us and how we don’t want to have to actually be in our bodies but rather parade them around looking perfect.

Oh wait. Right.

We live in the world. You and me and all the other pots calling the kettles black.

We get to create what the experience is like for ourselves. I want to love you. I don’t care if you like me. 

Except that’s a lie and we all know it.

We care.

I care.

How about this: I want to care less.

I want to care less about the things that don’t matter and the people who don’t love me back (there will always be some so get over that now.) I want to care less about who is loving me and more about who I am loving.

We live in the world. There’s not much we can to to change that fact except not live in the world and that choice seems grim. We live in the world and we live in our bodies and the capacity to love is great. It’s so great that we don’t even have to do anything about it except acknowledge it and ask it to sit down for a glass of wine. It has a dog’s nose and can smell shit a mile away so don’t worry about that.

Your capacity to love is so great that it will carry you through most things in this world.

 

Join Jen Pastiloff, the founder of The Manifest-Station, in The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts in Feb of 2015 for a weekend on being human.

Join Jen Pastiloff, the founder of The Manifest-Station, in The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts March 3-5, 2017 for a weekend on being human.

 

 

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the sunflowers!

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Email barbara@jenniferpastiloff.com to register. June 17-24, 2016 or Sep 9-16! Click pic of info.

 The 12 Day Detox is here. Sign up now for the next cleanse on November 30th. Space is limited. This detox comes at just the perfect time. Reprogram your body and mind as we move into the holiday season. This is your time of rejuvenation and renewal.This is not a juice fast, or a detox based on deprivation.


The 12 Day Detox is here. Sign up now for the next cleanse on November 7, 2016. Space is limited. This detox comes at just the perfect time. Reprogram your body and mind as we move into the holiday season. This is your time of rejuvenation and renewal.This is not a juice fast, or a detox based on deprivation.

 

 

Ring in New Years 2016 with Jen Pastiloff at her annual Ojai retreat. It’s magic! It sells out quickly so book early. No yoga experience required. Just be a human being. With a sense of humor. Email barbara@jenniferpastiloff.com with questions or click photo to book. NO yoga experience needed. Just be a human being

Ring in New Years 2017 with Jen Pastiloff at her annual Ojai retreat. It’s magic! It sells out quickly so book early. No yoga experience required. Just be a human being. With a sense of humor. Email barbara@jenniferpastiloff.com with questions or click photo to book. NO yoga experience needed. Just be a human being

 

Featured image by Simplereminders.com.

 

 

 

 

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