This piece originally appeared on Role/Reboot. Republished here with permission.
An email arrives from an old friend with the name of your ex-boyfriend in the subject line. In the body of the email, just this: “I’m totally shocked. When was the last time you talked to him?” You sigh, what now? Is he getting married? Having a baby? You head to Facebook, the one-stop shop for dirt on old flames. No wedding announcement, no ultrasound. Instead, there’s a video. Same crooked grin, same floppy hair, and this:
“This is a clip of me taking my first dose of Atripla, which is a combination antiretroviral drug. My name is Jake Earl, and on May 13, 2013 I was diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).”
There’s chaos in your brain for 30 seconds before you’re able to make some sense of what you’re seeing. Order descends and you start a convoluted march through a series of reactions: Self-preservation. Nostalgia. Anger. Fear. Curiosity. Admiration? Keep reading »
Originally appeared on Role/Reboot. Republished here with permission.
For a while, I managed to hold it together. There was pie to eat and wine to drink and a couch to sink gratefully into. There were friends to laugh with and sigh with, dishes to clean up, and an 8am meeting on my calendar to shake my fist at. There were distractions galore.
Around midnight Tuesday night, when my friends trickled out of the apartment, yawning, and I was alone again, I stretched out on the couch for the long wait. I remember how I felt in 2008 watching Obama’s acceptance speech, and I wanted that feeling again. Keep reading »
The previews for the Anna Faris vehicle “What’s Your Number?” couldn’t make me want to see that movie any less if they added “Exorcist”-style projectile vomiting. The premise, if you have magically managed to miss the media blitz, is that Faris’ character realizes her list of sexual partners has one more digit than most of her friends’. She spirals into a panic attack induced by slut-shaming and spends the rest of the movie trying not to add a new guy to the list. It’s supposed to be funny, but I can’t work up more of a response than a frustrated eye-roll and a long, exasperated sigh.
Here’s the thing about counting sexual partners: context matters. A number is just a number. It gives no background on the who, what, when, where, and why. If we want to judge people’s sexual activity (which I’m not convinced we do), the qualitative matters so much more than the quantitative. Keep reading »
To write this article on cunnilingus, I created a mini-survey to get some perspectives from readers, Twitter followers, Facebook friends and a bunch of total strangers. I threw “box job”—as Dan Savage once described the act—in the title simply because, sad as it seems, I assumed that that the technical term (which is derived from the Latin words for vulva and tongue) wasn’t widely known. Keep reading »
As I surveyed real friends, Facebook friends, Twitter friends, and total strangers about having sex on the first date, the unfortunate cow comparison came up no fewer than five times in my first twelve interviews. Everybody complained about it, bemoaning the lack of nuance, the icky imagery, and the overt transactional implications. And yet, it kept rearing it’s ugly little antiquated head. Are there kernels of truth buried there? Is first-date sex a relationship nonstarter? Are we, as we often claim to be, past the era of plastering A’s on each other’s chests? Keep reading »
You’re on a first date — should you do it? Run to the bathroom and whip out this flowchart to help you decide. [Rosie Says] Keep reading »
I’ve been online dating and I have not met my one true love, my soul mate, my Prince Charming, my knight in shining armor, or my other half. You may consider this a failure, but by my metrics, it’s going just fine. I’ve met fascinating, attractive, intelligent, opinionated, funny people and enjoyed a ridiculous range of conversation over a delicious assortment of snacks and beverages.
I have a lot of male friends who are online dating as well, and I’ve learned that the rules are a little different for straight dudes. What follows are some suggestions for gentleman who want to meet some ladies from the safety of their living rooms. Caveat #1: I cannot speak for all ladies dating online, I can only speak for myself. That said, my advice is aimed at men who want to appeal to the set of women whose profile features more than a bikini pic. Caveat #2: This is not advice to get you laid. Keep reading »
My mother and many of her second-wave feminist peers view pornography as an institutional ill that is degrading to women and damaging to developing sexuality. She believes that the camera-ready angles, waxed and plastic body parts and pervasive depiction of extreme acts as “normal” distort human sexuality and give young porn-viewers a whole bunch of false and dangerous expectations.
My mom is a smart lady, and she’s not wrong. While I agree that some porn (okay, most of it) fits the bill she describes as damaging, I don’t find the filming and viewing of sex acts as objectively offensive. In other words, I think that porn is not inherently problematic, but its content often includes problematic ideas and attitudes. I also believe when viewed as entertainment, porn can be a positive element in the repertoire of adult sexuality, Keep reading »
“You didn’t finish, did you?” he asked.
“No,” I said.
I’ve lied before, but I’m trying to wean myself away from it. Lying only adds a layer of mental unease to any lingering physical dissatisfaction I might be feeling, and assuaging false pride rarely seems like a good deal. The dishonesty (to myself) leaves a bad taste in my mouth; if he bothered to ask, doesn’t he want the truth? Keep reading »