Search Results: Being A Good Top

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Boys Will Be Boys

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Name: James
Gender: Male
Age: 19
Location:
I want to know if I should have sex with a man for the first time.

Well gee, darlin’, I suppose that would all depend on if you are into man-sex or not. If you are, I suppose having your first encounter will be like falling off a log. However, if you’re not into gay sex, then why would you even be considering such a thing.boys kissing

For the sake of argument, let’s just say you are into some hot man-on-man action, or think you are. If that’s the case, I have some questions. Do you have a particular partner in mind? If you do, what is it about this guy that makes you want to get physical with him? If you’re honest with yourself about this, you will probably be able to determine what kind of sexual contact you want to have with the dude. Which brings me to my next set of questions.

What kind of gay sex are you looking to experiment with? Something light, like kissing, making out, mutual masturbation, shared hand-jobs? For more information on this, check out my swell tutorial about hand jobs titled: The Art Of The Humble Hand Job.

Perhaps you’re looking to be a bit more adventurous, like cock sucking. That’s great too. But wait! Would you know how to smoke some pole with grace and ease? If not, check out my tutorial: So Ya Wanna Be A World-Class Cocksucker …Or How To Give The Perfect Blow Job. To find this brilliant expose and lots more information about the humble hummer, go to the CATEGORY pull down menu in the sidebar and look for “ORAL.” Then look for Cock Sucking.

Maybe you’re considering butt fucking. That’s a bit advanced for the gay sex novice, but it’s not unheard of. If I were you, I’d return to the CATEGORY pull down menu in the sidebar and check out the heading “ANAL”. There you will be treated to loads of information about being a good top, like my tutorial, Finessing That Ass Fuck — A Tutorial For a Top. As well as my tutorial for being a good bottom, Liberating The B.O.B Within.

There’s only one thing you absolutely need to know when it comes to ass fuckin, regardless of what position floats your boat. Be sure that whoever is on top uses a condom. And if you don’t know why you need to do that, then darlin’, you’re just not ready for sex with any kind of partner…same sex or otherwise.

Good luck

Name: Tony
Gender: Male
Age: 24
Location:
I’m trying to find out how to get ink marks off my dick without hurting my dickhead.

Whoops! Looks like you need to reevaluate the company you keep when you drink to the point of passing out, my friend.

I realize writin’ shit on a guy’s johnson while he’s unconscious is a hilarious practical joke among the frat-boy crowd. I mean, what could be funnier, right? Of course being on the receiving end of this little prank, like our friend Tony here, is considerably less comical.

i enjoy penisRidding oneself of ink marks, particularly the indelible variety, from one’s privates is a pain — both literally and figuratively. The best one can say about this clean-up chore is that it will probably cure the guy of binge drinking, at least with a bunch of rowdy adolescent-minded companions with Sharpie markers and too much time on their hands.

OK, Tony, here’s what you do. First, apply a liberal coat of baby oil or mineral oil to the effected area. Take your time massaging the oil into your skin. You may discover that this oily massage gives you a woody. That may be the silver lining to your ink-stained cloud. Actually having an erection will help expand the skin of your dickhead and allow the mineral oil to better penetrate the skin. The oil will sink into your skin and help lift the ink stain to the surface.

Follow this part of the treatment with lots of warm soap and water. You should see ink stain lessening.

Next, massage in a liberal mount of rubbing alcohol. Follow this with more warm soap and water.

Continue alternating between mineral oil followed by soap and water and rubbing alcohol followed by soap and water. Always ending the treatment with the soap and water part. A couple applications like this should do the trick. I would, however, recommend that you be as gentle as possible. If the satin persists after two such applications, give your prick a day to rest before attacking the stain again.

Good luck

Hey dr dick! What’s that toll-free podcast voicemail telephone number? Why, it’s: (866) 422-5680. DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

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How giving up porn could help your sex life

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For many of us, watching porn can be like eating a tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream; regularly done, enjoyable – no doubt – but can also often leave us feeling, well, a tad ashamed…

by Edward Dyson

However, pushing aside those pride-deprived moments spent reaching for discarded socks, could it be true that by indulging our cravings for explicit material on the web – c’mon now, you all know the sites… – we might actually be damaging our mental health? Not to mention our sex lives (you know, the one we’re supposed to be doing… in person?)

Earlier this year pop star Will Young opened up about having a porn problem, sharing with fans that his childhood trauma and shame was at the root of his dependency on several vices. These included alcohol, shopping but – the one that grabbed the most headlines, predictably – was the revelation that he had developed an obsessive level of consumption when it came to pornography, which he believes he used to ‘fill a void.’ And if the rich and famous feel empty enough to be filling their voids with porn, exactly what hope is there for the rest of us – the great unwashed?

Admittedly, most of us probably won’t have thought into the matter too deeply, and while we might not be broadcasting the number of weekly web wanks we’re racking up, neither are we too worried that a cheeky three-minute viewing of a US College Boys video might, in fact, be a reflection of some underlying issue. Most of the time, it’s fair to say most of us have already forgotten about the content we’ve, ahem, enjoyed – before the Kleenex has even been safely disposed of.

But it isn’t just the original Pop Idol winner who began to wonder whether there might be a darker side to viewing all this badly-shot -and even more terribly acted – footage we’re apparently so fond of. Recent research suggests that by watching porn, we could be debilitating our ability to form healthy sexual relationships – in the living breathing world – and could potentially be inflating any pre-existing mental health issues we might already be dealing with, whether or not we’re aware of these threats.

Many psychological experts have repeatedly stated that – despite being laughed off by naysayers for obvious reasons – porn obsession is undeniably real, and forms as a type of process behavioural dependency. The reaction of the brain to this material can be very similar to the stimulation that happens after taking drugs. And in even more limp news, doctors have also reported on the growing trend amongst men who struggle to get an erection with a real-life partner because they’re so used to using explicit imagery in order to help them get off.

And, let’s face it, it’s all very much out there, readily available for the watching. According to the website Paint Bottle, 30 per cent of all data transferred online is porn, and Virginia lawmakers claim that all pornography is “addictive,” can promote the normalisation of rape, can lessen the “desire to marry, equate violence with sex,” as well as encouraging “group sex,” (not necessarily a bad thing… who are we to judge?) and –of course – “risky sexual behaviour and infidelity,” among other effects.

But are they all just taking it too seriously? Perhaps being a little too prude-ish… right in front of our salads?

Sex guru Jerry Sergeant – a self-confessed former sex and porn obsessed himself – believes that one vital component to a healthy sex life is to quit porn and traditional masturbating, and instead follow a tantric path.

Never mind cold turkey. This here is cold jerk-y. (Sorry.)

Speaking about the perils of consuming X-rated content to Gay Times, he warned: “Porn is dangerous, and people do get obsessed with it. I was for many years. At my worst, I was watching videos on the internet all the time, every day, four hours on end. When I stopped, it was like being a heroin addict going clean. It’s just a fantasy, but it means people are no longer looking in the most important places for what they want.”

And the damage it does to us when we are forming our ideas about sex during our younger years is difficult to reverse, he admitted.

“It’s almost a violation,” Jerry says. “I believe meditation, and tantric sex should be taught in schools. Unfortunately, the schooling system takes kids outside of themselves, and just pushes facts, figures and information on them.”

Tantric sex in schools? Well, beats PE, that’s for sure. But now, not only does Jerry not watch porn – (never, not even Justin Bieber’s nude leaks, for crying out loud!) – but he doesn’t even masturbate. No, never. Now that’s a hard one… (so to speak.) He explains: “What a load of people don’t know is, you can have the most incredible orgasm all on your own, without ever putting your hand on your penis. Masturbating tantrically is extremely powerful.”

But in an age where people are too busy to even pick up the phone and order their own takeaway – thanks Hungry House! – can we reasonably expect people to take the time to bring themselves to orgasm with just the power of their mind?

Jerry assures us: “It’s worth it. OK, so what you do is start with something that can be quite tough at first: you have to give yourself an erection without thinking of something sexual.”

Does the men’s rugby team count? Apparently not, as Jerry continues: “Perhaps think about a partner, or someone you know would like to be with, and imagine yourself getting to that state – then squeeze the muscles that are just between your anus and testicles, squeeze them for ten seconds, then release for ten seconds… squeeze again, release again. Eventually you’ll start getting an erection, and the more excited you get, eventually you will come to the point where orgasm happens.”

Blimey. Who needs porn when even the tantric guide is this steamy? “I’ve taught this to a lot of people,” Jerry says, unfazed. “Close your eyes, take long deep breaths, and settle into a space, and combine it with meditating if you can. You can light candles or incense, really relax and enjoy stimulating yourself. And it doesn’t have to be done alone, either.”

Phew. We were beginning to worry that all this tantric malarkey might be so enjoyable it might make the idea of partners redundant… “Another way, which is really cool, is to do this with a partner, sit opposite each other, breathing together, getting into a rhythm and building it up,” he shares. “Tense those muscles, and let them go, continue that process thinking of only each other, not physically touching each other, and then experience it together. The more you practise it, the closer you’ll come to reaching orgasm at exactly same time. It’s a mind-blowing experience – you connect on such a deeper level.”

This may be all very well and good for those who have enough time in the day for hour long sessions of mental self-pleasure. But how does it help with our actual sex lives?

Jerry promises: “Once you’ve learnt to harness and keep that energy inside of you, you’ll never go back to normal orgasms again. It’s like having a big carrot being dangled in front you, then nothing’s there – an anti-climax. It can last for at least 30 seconds, sometimes a minute and a half if you’re doing it and holding it… your whole body vibrates and vibrates. Compared to a ten second shot, which is wasted time, it’s just amazing. This will follow into your regular sex life, and this kind of orgasm will become your norm.”

He adds: “The beautiful thing this is, if you’re on the right frequency, you’ll meet the right person who will also be open to learning all about it.”

It’s certainly a tempting prospect. Jerry admits he’s not only more sexually satisfied now than he was when he was porn obsessed – spending thousands paying for sex and drugs – but he’s also generally happier in himself.

That doesn’t mean the journey is easy though. “I remember when I first found out, to start with – to masturbate while staying in your body and mind took a lot of practice,” he admits. “And I was practising a few times a day and would get it wrong; I was doing it two or three times a day, then once a day, then whenever I felt like it really. But I would suggest not having sex while you’re mastering this technique, then when you do, you can start experimenting, perhaps tantrically with a partner, or friend, in an open relationship, there are lots of options, and it can be really exciting.”

And even if the tantric route is not the right path for everyone, Jerry is adamant that quitting porn should be something everybody at least attempts. Basically, try to give a toss…

“I would suggest not watching anything for a month, first of all. Treat it like Dry January is to alcohol,” he says. “See how much you actually miss it. You might surprise yourself.”

To continue that comparison, highlighting the darker sides to the relationship you have with a certain vice, be it alcohol or porn, shouldn’t mean condemning every beer bottle – or every piece of voyeuristic sex – straight to Room 101. Plenty of people can enjoy a drink in moderation, and plenty of people also have a healthy relationship with porn. Most certainly, not everyone who partakes in a cheeky bit of ManHub or XTube is secretly turning into Michael Fassbender’s character in Shame – giving his tripod todger third degree burns from office computer misuse and compulsive masturbating. However, because watching porn is, by its very nature, a solo activity, rather than a social one – rarely discussed even with the closest of friends – as a habit that could spiral: it’s easy to take your eye of the ball, (or balls…)

Sure, we count the calories of our food, and the number of alcoholic drinks – that we can remember, anyway – largely due to fears that are related to social judgement and obvious physical effects. But usually, unless you’re really quite brazen, regardless of how much porn you’re watching, those around you will generally be none the wiser.

That’s why it remains, and will surely continue to remain, a habit that can only truly be monitored through maintaining a strong sense of self-accountability, and perhaps asking yourself some tough questions. Has your relationship with porn ventured into unhealthy territory?

Below are a few signs that your relationship with sexually explicit content might have got, ahem, out of hand…

So… do you have a problem?

1. Excessive time spent viewing porn

An obvious one, but a good place to start. Now, of course there are no NHS guidelines – like there are with alcohol – as to what counts as excessive. But a helpful question to ask yourself might be: does the time dedicated to this activity impact heavily on your day-to-day life? Signs could be: regularly finding yourself late for work because of watching porn. Watching inappropriate content on work (and not just NSFW gifs, we’re talking extended disabled lavatory visits….) Or cancelling on friends. Put simply, just because you have a wank doesn’t mean you have to be a wanker.

2. Notable negative consequences

Related to point one, but if you can link things that are going wrong in your life to your relationship with porn, then that’s a huge red flag that things might have got spiralled somewhat out of control. Are you left financially struggling because you’re spending so much of your income on explicit websites? Is it causing problems at work or in your relationship? This leads nicely to…

3. Loss of interest in sex

Whether in a relationship or not, if – like the growing trend that doctors have noticed emerging – your dependency on porn is so strong that you struggle to become aroused in real life scenarios, then this is definitely a major problem. Most people seeking a satisfying sex life with a partner – or multiple partners – should be fine to consume porn outside of that, usually privately, but if it becomes all you find yourself interested in, then this habit might just have slipped into compulsive territory.

4. A constant need to go further

Kinkiness is an interesting subject. We all have our little kinks, and it’s sometimes tricky to know how normal – or abnormal – these are. But a tell-tale sign that porn might be having a negative effect on your mental health is if you’re constantly feeling like you need to keep actively seeking more and more extreme, and unusual, content. If there’s material that a month ago was turning you on, and now you’re craving something that takes it on even further – and this is part of a pattern – then it also might be part of a problem…

Complete Article ↪HERE↩!

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Can’t Talk about Sex

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Every month in Sex at Our Age, award-winning senior sexpert Joan Price answers your questions about everything from loss of desire to solo sex and partner issues. Nothing is out of bounds! To send your questions directly to Joan, email sexpert@seniorplanet.org

By Joan Price

Our marriage needs help. Our sex life is in a slump and we can’t talk about it. We married four months ago, after being together for a year and a half. My husband and I have a great relationship and can talk about everything — except our sex life.

It takes me so long to have an orgasm that he feels like he’s not doing it for me. In the middle of trying to make it happen, he gets angry, stops, and storms out of the room. I’m left lying there, feeling guilty about hurting him. If I could talk to him about it and give him some ideas about what would help me orgasm, I think it would help. But he’s not talking and he won’t listen when I try. We are at each other’s throats over this.

We really do love each other and want this marriage to last the rest of our lives, but we have to fix our bedroom life. Could you please advise me about what I can do to make our marriage great again?

Can’t Talk about Sex

Your slow arousal is not the problem – it’s normal. As we age, we get aroused more slowly. We need to be relaxed and allow time to get warmed up emotionally and physically. There’s no way you can ease into the sensations of sex if you’re tense and worried about not being fast enough and anticipating the moment that your husband will get angry and stop. You are not the problem here. Your husband’s anger is the problem.

You’re probably right that he’s frustrated and feeling inadequate about pleasing you, but he’s creating the opposite of what you both want by storming off and not talking. He needs to understand his own feelings and yours, and how his actions are sabotaging your marriage. I strongly urge you to ask him to get counseling. If he’s stomping off in the middle of sex four months into your marriage, he has problems that won’t be resolved without help.

You’re right that this rip in your marriage can’t be repaired without the two of you talking about your sex life. You’re the one who knows what you need to feel pleasure and reach orgasm. If he won’t let you tell him, how can he learn about your sexual responses? Again, since he’s so angry, I recommend counseling to help you talk to each other. A good couples counselor would help your husband with his anger and insecurity and teach you both communication strategies.

Meanwhile, try these tips to get the conversation started:

  1. Set up a neutral, relaxed time – not during sex – to open the conversation.
  2. Explain to your husband that slow arousal is natural as we age.
  3. Say something like, “I need a lot of warm-up and certain kinds of touch to become aroused. Let me tell you what I need.”
  4. Offer to show him how you pleasure yourself, if you feel comfortable doing that.
  5. Acknowledge that you understand his frustration, but shaming you is counterproductive and wrong, and will only make things worse.
  6. Invite him to join you in sensual activities that are pleasurable without being goal-oriented, such as massage and touching that gives pleasure without aiming for orgasm.
  7. If your sex life now is mostly or exclusively intercourse, engage him in new ways of enjoying sex without penetration. Show him this article and consider watching my webinar “Great Sex without Penetration”
  8. Assure him that you know you both want the intimacy of a loving sexual relationship, and the best way to get past this impasse by seeing a counselor.

I hope that the two of you will be able to overcome this problem by talking together and working with a counselor. I wish you honest and loving communication and mutual sexual pleasure.

Complete Article HERE!

Check out the podcast Joan and I did together. You’ll find it HERE!

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The 5 steamiest sites to get your BDSM erotica fix

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Screw watching porn. Read it.

Back when the internet first came into existence, watching porn was not a proper thing you could do. That’s because most porn was written. But not to worry—there was still plenty of it to go around. Give people a way to be horny, and they’ll most certainly jump on the opportunity.

So much has changed since those early days before the World Wide Web and even though online videos have boomed in the past two decades, there is still plenty of story-based smut floating around on the internet. That’s good news for BDSM fans. Turns out the internet is filled with erotica detailing everything from light bondage to knife play. Here are some of the best story-based porn sites to check out for kink.

5 best places to read BDSM stories

1) Literotica

As far as online BDSM stories go, Literotica is legendary. Originally founded in 1998, Literotica is a free erotica hub where users from around the world can submit anything from erotic poems to novels. Over the past two decades, the site has made quite the name for itself in the online porn world, as it’s practically synonymous with the term “online erotica.”

Of course that means the site has a huge BDSM short story collection. There’s plenty to check out, from light power plays to hardcore bondage. Plus, because Literotica is centered around cultivating and supporting erotic stories, the site has an enormous catalog of short story series from years past. Expect multi-chapter goodness for those late nights alone.

If you’re a newbie to the site, there are a couple Literotica stories worth checking out: “Bruises on Bruises” is a one-shot story where a submissive woman details her dominant’s erotic brutality on her body. And then there’s “Seven Days of Service,” a seven-part BDSM series mixing business with pleasure between a dominant and his submissive. For more BDSM short stories, check out the site’s top-rated stories of all time in the BDSM tag.

2) Nifty

Gay and lesbian BDSM stories are plentiful on the internet, as long as you’re willing to look for them. And just like Literotica, Nifty remains essential in the LGBTQ community for queer erotica.

Originally launched in 1993, Nifty hosts free stories largely dealing with gay and lesbian sex. That means plenty of bondage, submission, and domination appears on the site. Right on Nifty’s front page, the site is split into four categories: gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender. From there, users can choose erotica based on varying categories, which include “authoritarian” and “bondage” BDSM stories.

Before hopping onto Nifty, though, it’s worth pointing out that some stories feature underage and teenage protagonists. It’s definitely an uncomfortable experience, to say the least. Kinks run the gamut from gay college hookups to bestiality as well, so make sure to check the tags before reading a story. Also, quality varies. Some stories are incredibly well-written, while others are severly lacking.

Still, Nifty is worth checking out if you need a queer erotica fix. Of particular note: One story deals with a trans girl’s slutty diaries, including her relationship with a submissive man who ultimately dominates her in his own way. And then there’s  “Dykes Seduce Pizza Girl,” where two lesbians pleasure a submissive delivery driver. There’s also a “best of” list detailing some of Nifty’s highlights over the years.

3) Tumblr

Love or hate it, Tumblr is well known for being a major porn hub in the BDSM world. And yes, that includes kinky sex stories. The site is filled with them. Blogs throughout the site are dedicated to BDSM erotica, with both one-shots and story series gracing its webpages. For instance, Tumblr user sweetlysubmissive writes BDSM stories featuring plenty of delicious dominant and submissive play. And then there’s Tasks BDSM Community Stories, which features a sizable number of BDSM series ranging from lesbian pet play in college Greek life to a rich, bratty bottom getting her fill.

The best part about Tumblr, though, is the site’s search system. This means that anyone can search for BDSM content without necessarily following another person’s blog. So for someone interested in a specific kink, such as bondage or spanking, simply typing in terms on the site’s search bar can lead to some pretty enticing results. This makes Tumblr not just an endless resource for BDSM literature, but one where there’s always new kinks to explore.

4) r/GoneWildStories

Fictional stories are great, but what about real-life encounters? That’s what r/GoneWildStories is all about.

Unlike r/EroticLiterature, which is dedicated to fictional erotic stories, r/GoneWildStories features real-life sexual exploits detailed for the reader’s entertainment. No unrealistic characters, no stilted dialogue; every single story in the subreddit is (probably) straight from real life. Granted, there’s no way to confirm whether a user’s sexual exploits really happened, but isn’t part of the fun—envisioning every story as true to life?

Like other adult subreddits, r/GoneWildStories uses a tag system to track BDSM posts, and many stories listed on the site aren’t necessarily kinky. Some are just random hook-ups. But the site gets plenty of exciting stories about doms, subs, and bondage for readers to look through, making it worth a bookmark.

For instance, one post details a pet’s first time wearing her collar for her master. Another explores a kinky trans woman’s experience with her first threesome, along with plenty of bondage. As far as real-life kink writing goes, r/GoneWildStories is worth the look.

Who said BDSM stories have to stay written? Reddit’s r/GoneWildAudio is an ocean of free audio stories, created by performers recording straight from their bedrooms.

With r/GoneWildAudio, performers pick from a series of scripts or create their own recordings based on a sexual fantasy. Content varies from vanilla concepts to hardcore BDSM scenes. There’s also plenty of alternative kinks to check out on the site too, like pet play, daddy doms, and forced feminization.

As with r/GoneWildStories, not every recording on the subreddit is BDSM-focused. But the site has an enormous selection to browse through using BDSM-adjacent tags, like “bondage,” “rope,” “domme,” and other terms and phrases. We recommend “Shut Up, I’m Sucking Your Cock,” which features some light domming alongside cock worship and oral sex. And then there’s “This is What Happens to Bad Girls,” where a domme teases another girl, promising to tie her up and spank her.

Complete Article HERE!

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Lessons In Love For Generation Snapchat

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Tatiana Curran, right, and her boyfriend Jake Cowen-Whitman say their three-year relationship is an anomaly amongst their peers. But they readily concede that even they have serious issues around intimacy.

By

Along with explicit sexual education classes, some schools are beginning to offer more G-rated lessons on love. Experts say the so-called “iGen” is woefully unprepared to have healthy, caring romantic relationships and young people need more guidance. So schools are adding classes that are less about the “plumbing” of relationships, and more about the passion.

At Beaver Country Day School, a private school near Boston, Matthew Lippman has taught whole courses on love and relationships. He loves teaching about love so much, he finds ways to delve into it every chance he gets.

In his American Literature class recently, he launched into a discussion about love songs.

“This is my favorite” he announces as he blasts “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi. The students howl.

“Are you kidding me?!”

“It’s so dirty!” the students say.

“Just kidding!” Lippman laughs. But now that he’s got their attention, he starts drilling them on what the song says about love — and lust.

Senior Tatiana Curran wades in cautiously. “It’s sexual,” she says. “But that doesn’t mean it’s love … y’know what I mean?”

“I understand,” Lippman reassures her, gently buttressing what may be a subtle distinction to some.

Lippman then introduces the class to what really is one of his favorites: “The First Time Ever I Saw Your

Matthew Lippman loves teaching about love so much he finds ways to slide in a lesson comparing contemporary and decades-old love songs during an African-American Literature class.

Face” by Roberta Flack. The song starts to unfurl so slowly, you can literally see these millennials getting antsy. Several seem relieved when Lippman finally stops the song, and starts pressing them on its underlying message.

“It’s showing that love takes time, that it’s not something that you rush into,” offers Joddy Nwankwo, noting how incongruous that is in today’s culture of high-speed everything and blithe hook-ups.

“A lot of (students) have short attention spans,” says Aiden Geary. “People don’t have a lot of long term relationships because we want everything like now, and then once we have it we’re bored with it.”

Curran and her boyfriend Jake Cowen-Whitman, who’ve been together for three years, are something of an exception. “I was asked literally the other day … ‘Aren’t you bored?'” Curran laughs.

But as one of those “iGen” teens who tend to text more than talk, even Curran readily cops to having some serious issues with intimacy.

“I get really uncomfortable, when it comes to like really romantic things,” she says. “Like I hate eye contact. It took me almost two years to actually fully make eye contact with Jake for a full sentence.”

The struggle to be present

“I think that’s the biggest piece to all of this,” says Lippman. “So much of this intimacy thing is being present, and that is hard for them.”

For sure, not all of them. Some young people are persevering and managing to forge meaningful, intimate relationships. And in some ways, technology can actually enable some difficult conversations. Some teens text things they wouldn’t have said at all if they had to do it face-to-face.

But, Lippman says, a significant number of young people are clearly struggling to make those real connections, and classes like his dovetail with a trend toward whole-child education.

He doesn’t pretend that one class can be a cure, but his lessons do seem to be resonating with his students.

“Walking into the class, I felt like I knew a good amount about love,” says Jade Bacherman. “But now I’m realizing that there’s a lot more to learn.”

“I don’t think we’re prepared to know what a healthy relationship looks like,” says Lisa Winshall. While kids get instruction on things like consent and sexual violence, she says they desperately need more coaching “on a much deeper level [about] what really taking care of someone else means.”

It’s exactly what Harvard Graduate school of Education Senior Lecturer Rick Weissbourd has found. His recent research shows young people are struggling with how to conceive of romantic relationships, let alone how to actually navigate them. “It’s a deep underlying anxiety,” he says, “so they’re looking for wisdom.” And it’s not enough to just give them “disaster prevention” kinds of sex ed classes, that only deal with pregnancy, STD’s and sexual violence, he adds.

“I think we are failing epically to have basic conversations with young people about the subtle, tender generous, demanding work about learning how to love,” he says. According to his data, about 70 percent of young people crave those conversations.

For them, the motivation may be a more fulfilling love life. But Weissbourd says the societal stakes are high; healthier relationships, he says, will pay dividends on all kinds of social ills, from sexual harassment and domestic abuse, to depression and alcoholism.

Relationships beyond Snapchat

Another school that’s trying to answer the call is The Urban school, a private high school in San Francisco. Health teacher Shafia Zaloom says she too was alarmed by teens’ social struggles and their belief that they “can build relationships over Snapchat or Instagram.” So she started a kind of “Dating 101” curriculum that covers things as basic as how to ask someone out. In one recent class, students brainstormed out loud.

“Like ‘Do you want to, like, go see a movie some time?'” suggests Sophomore Somerset Miles Dwyer with a nervous giggle.

“Yeah,” Zaloom nods, but then reminds the student to add “with me” at the end of the question, “to clarify things, because it’s not like ‘Oh, come hang out with us’ and chill with the group.” When you say “with me,” she explains, “that communicates more clearly your intentions that you want to be spending time together and getting to know each other.”

Zaloom’s course also tutors the kids on everything from how to break up to how to take things to the next level.

In one lesson they critique Hollywood love scenes. “That’s totally unrealistic,” says Miles Dwyer, as multiple romantic kisses and dreamy declarations of love unfold seamlessly, over a dramatic musical soundtrack . It all unleashes a slew of confessions about how much more awkward their own encounters usually are, and how insecure that makes them.

“On TV, the awkwardness isn’t there,” says Dominic Lauber. So when things don’t go as smoothly “in your real life, it feels like you’re doing something wrong,” he says. “So it could just feel like something you’d want to avoid. Kids nod and snap their fingers in agreement.

“Yeah, that’s definitely a fear,” says Abby Tuttle. “It’s all about vulnerability.”

Pushing through awkwardness

Boston College Professor Kerry Cronin says the insecurity and aversion to taking risks persist, so even the older students she sees on campus, still struggle with basic dating protocol. “You know they’re really just sort of numskulls about basic social steps,” she says. “They really aren’t sure how to handle themselves.”

It’s exactly why she now gives students a homework assignment — in an introductory Philosophy and Theology course — to actually ask someone out, in person.

“It’s mostly about pushing thru awkwardness,” Cronin says, “and finding out that even if you get rejected isn’t going to kill you. Because [this generation is] terrified of failure. And resilience is a major issue.”

Data is hard to come by, but anecdotally, private schools seem more apt than public schools to expand the usual “reading writing and ‘rithmatic” to also include romance.

“Our teachers are already burdened enough,” says Ashley Beaver, a public school substitute teacher and mom in San Diego. She says educating kids about love should come from parents, not schools, especially given how schools have handled sex ed.

“I mean they talked to middle schoolers about flavored condoms,'” she says. “It’s just too much too soon. So, no, I just don’t trust the institution to do it correctly.”

Indeed, G-rated discussions are not likely to be any less controversial in schools than the old-school X-rated ones says Jonathan Zimmerman of University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. He agrees that the instruction is critically needed, but he says “we shouldn’t pretend that we have anything like agreement on these subjects.”

“Frankly, it’s a lot easier to get consensus on the sperm and the egg than it is on lust vs. love,” he says. “These are issues of values and ethics and culture, and in a country that is so irreducibly multicultural, we should expect there to be profound controversy and disagreement about this approach.”

Ideally, Harvard’s Weissbourd says, the lessons should come from school and home. And while many parents may think their kids don’t want to hear it from mom or dad, Weissbourd’s research shows they actually do.

As Professor Cronin put it, this generation was raised by helicopter parents — they expect to be coached on everything.

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