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The Unedited Truth About Why You Suck At Relationships, Based On Your Zodiac Sign

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By Erin Cossetta

Aries
(March 21st to April 19th)

You suck at being able to put up with boring.

You’re not naturally interested in commitment until you find someone just as exciting and adventurous as you are. This means that you have a lot of short relationships (or long ones where you’re secretly extremely bored most of the time). You don’t want to slow down and have a huge fear about being tied down to someone who wants you to “settle down”. You’re going to keep sucking at relationships until you meet someone whose version of “growing old” is as exciting as yours.

Taurus
(April 20th to May 21st)

You suck at opening up to people.

You scare people off because you appear to be such an emotionless rock from the outside. Not many people are willing to stick around as long as it takes for you to trust them and open up. You’ve got to give them something that lets them know you’re interested and they should keep trying to get to know you.

Gemini
(May 22nd to June 21st)

You suck at being the adult sometimes.

Geminis live in their own positivity bubble where everything is sunshine and unicorn frappucinos. Relationships require unpleasant work from time to time and when a Gemini fails to realize this, it can make their partner feel alone (which makes them question the viability of the relationship as a whole). You’re going to keep sucking until you find a way to infuse all your passion into the mundane things like relationship maintenance, too.

Cancer
(June 22nd to July 22nd)

You suck at standing up for yourself.

Cancers love love and hate conflict. It’s very hard for them to handle any kind of disharmony, but moments of conflict are necessary for the longterm health of the relationship. Instead, they prefer to sweep issues under the rug and continue to idealize their partner until their emotions explode out of them. You’re going to continue to suck at relationships until you realize that small, unpleasant conversations are better than waiting until the issues are too big to casually discuss.

Leo
(July 23rd to August 22nd)

You suck at trusting people to give you your due.

It’s no secret that Leos love attention and this can often present itself as feeling overlooked or under-appreciated when their love isn’t piling compliments on them. Admit it, you’ve started fights because you think your partner is taking advantage of you. At the beginning of the relationship you need to communicate clearly to your love that you need attention and affection from them to come in the form of concrete words. You’ll both be happier when this expectation is clearly defined.

Virgo
(August 23rd to September 22nd)

You suck at picking the right people.

You view garbage people as a fun project, something for you to challenge yourself with fixing. And then, months later you wonder why you feel more like your bf’s mom than his partner. You’re going to keep sucking at relationships until you force yourself to be vulnerable enough to pick someone who is on equal footing with you.

Libra
(September 23rd to October 22nd)

It’s not that you suck at relationships, it’s that everyone else sucks at relationships.

Seriously. You’re totally out of place in the cold-hearted world of modern dating. You genuinely care about people and want to form relationships with them. You’re not interested in commitment just for the sake of commitment, but it’s hard to find someone who isn’t scared off by wanting something real. You’ll stop sucking when everyone else wises up (or you find another Libra to get with).

Scorpio
(October 23rd to November 22nd)

You suck at letting people know you like them.

People get exhausted by having a crush on a Scorpio because Scorpios never want to be vulnerable enough to return someone’s affection. But this is how good, healthy relationships start. You end up in the same game-playing relationships because you refuse to do this. You’re going to keep sucking at relationships until you humble your ego a little bit and put yourself out there.

Sagittarius
(November 23rd to December 21st)

You suck at taking potential relationships seriously.

Because of your laid back nature, you’ve let healthy relationships slip through your fingers. You prefer to take things as they come, and it can read to others like disinterest. You need to realize that if you meet someone great, they are a rare commodity and worth the occasional stress it will take to lock them down.

Capricorn
(December 22nd to January 20th)

You suck at realizing that everyone has flaws.

Your standards are sky high and you justify it because you’re just as hard on yourself as you are on everyone else. However, you prevent yourself from meeting and dating a lot of really incredible people because they don’t perfectly fit the mold of what you think you want. You’re going to keep sucking at relationships as long as you think love is going to come to you in a cookie cutter form.

Aquarius
(January 21st to February 18th)

You suck at thinking anyone else is on your level.

Intellectually, you don’t think anyone is really on your speed and this is the kind of snobbery other people pick up on. Instead of showing off all the things you know, you need to spend time building bridges and drawing the conversation out of other people. That’s a skill! You can read about it! As soon as you take this as a challenge and put your mind to conversation as a discovery process instead of a sparring match, you’ll be a lot more successful with people.

Pisces
(February 19th to March 20th)

You suck at welcoming people into your world.

Pisces are extremely intimidating people to date, but they never realize this is true about themselves. They think they are warm and open, when in fact they disappear into their own world without inviting their partner in. They’re these unattainable smart dreamy people who don’t ever seem as focused on the relationship as their partner is. You’re going to keep sucking at relationships until you realize perception is reality and the people you date need to see how much you care.

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When You Are Old, Chinese, and Gay

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Gay, lesbian, and bisexual retirees seek companionship and acceptance in old age, but some find it harder than others.

 

By Fan Yiying

Zhang Guowei, a 76-year-old bisexual veteran, is relishing his twilight years. “I couldn’t be happier with my life post-retirement,” says Zhang, who was a doctor in the army until 1994.

As a former military officer, Zhang’s monthly pension is 10,000 yuan ($1,440) — five times the average pension in Changde, the small city in central China’s Hunan province where he lives with his boyfriend. Zhang divorced his wife in 2003 and met the love of his life — Wu, who is 40 years younger — a year later on the internet. “I expect him to accompany me through the remainder of my life,” Zhang tells Sixth Tone after finishing his daily exercise routine.

Zhang says he is bisexual but prefers men. He gained support and understanding from his ex-wife and two daughters when he came out to them in 2003. When he passes on, his assets will be divided equally among his daughters and his boyfriend. “My kids have no problem sharing with Wu because they know he is the one taking care of me in my final years,” he says.

The May-December couple have been living together since 2005 in an apartment provided by the government for retired army cadres and their families. The 10-story building houses a dozen veterans in their 60s through 90s, some living alone and others with their spouses.

When Wu first moved in, Zhang told his neighbors that Wu was his gan erzi, or adopted son, whom he met online. (The Chinese concept of gan erzi allows for a sort of informal adoption of adults, with no legal or religious implications.) “I had this vague idea that they might be gay,” says 74-year-old Lu Shize, who lives downstairs. “But it’s none of my business to ask about his private life,” Lu adds.

Last year, following in other veterans’ footsteps, Zhang wrote a 218-page autobiography — including his experiences of recognizing his sexuality — and shared it with his fellow cadres. His neighbors were very understanding. “Everyone knows about us, and no one gossips or gives us a hard time,” Zhang says.

Lu, who had never before met any out gay or bisexual men, says he admires Zhang’s courage. “Being gay or not, it doesn’t change the way I see him,” Lu says. “We are in our 70s; what’s more important than being happy and healthy?”

China’s population is rapidly aging. The proportion of the population aged 60 or older was more than 16 percent at the end of 2015, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, and that number is only set to increase. The nation’s changing demography brings with it challenges for managing welfare and health care, especially as fewer seniors are able to count on their families for support.

Two older men hold a symbolic wedding ceremony in Beijing, Jan. 30, 2013.

Decades of family-planning restrictions mean that even seniors who have children often must become self-reliant, as children born during the one-child policy can’t afford to support two parents and four grandparents. As a result, for many elders, being childless is no longer a major concern or an unusual occurrence.

Wen Xiaojun, 56, is single and childless. Immediately after he retired in November from working as a civil servant, he rented an apartment in Sanya, on the southern island of Hainan, where he is spending six months avoiding the cold of his hometown in the eastern province of Zhejiang. “I still feel young and restless,” Wen tells Sixth Tone. “Being childless makes it easy for me to travel after retirement.”

Like other older people, LGBT seniors want to have rich, fulfilling, and independent lives. They hope that retirement will give them the opportunity to focus on what they truly love.

Wen enjoys his slow-paced life in Sanya. He goes to exhibitions, takes walks along the beach, plays volleyball with locals, and sometimes meets up with men he contacts through Blued — a popular gay social app, on which he hopes to find a long-term boyfriend.

But dating isn’t easy for older gay men. “Younger generations can build a relationship quickly by kissing or having sex soon after they meet offline,” Wen explains. “But we want something more spiritual and stable.”

Similarly, 62-year-old Ah Shan, as he’s called within the gay community, says that finding a partner is his biggest problem these days. His finances are secure, as he owns his apartment in Guangzhou — capital of southern China’s Guangdong province — and receives a monthly pension of about 5,000 yuan, but he has been single for four years and is ready for that to change. In the meantime, he is renting out one of his bedrooms to gay friends so he has some company at home.

Ah Shan poses for a picture in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, 2013.

Most gays, lesbians, and bisexuals of Ah Shan’s generation knew little about their sexual orientation until internet access became available at the turn of the millennium. Even when Ah Shan was working in the U.S. in the late 1980s, he refused to consider himself gay because the only information he’d heard about gay topics in China was AIDS-related or implied that homosexuality was shameful or immoral. “I think I was brainwashed,” Ah Shan laughs.

Over the last two years, Ah Shan has been working on a gay oral history project, recording the stories of older gay men in Guangzhou. He has talked to more than 60 gay men aged from 60 to 90, who have experienced some of China’s most critical historic moments, from the Cultural Revolution to the nation’s opening-up era. “If we don’t record them now, part of the important history of LGBT in China will be gone,” he says.

Many of the men are married and choose not to come out to their families. “They go to this particular park to chat with other gay men in the daytime to release their emotions, but when the sun goes down, they have to return home to bear their family responsibilities,” Ah Shan says with a sigh.

Ah Shan’s own parents passed away before he was brave enough to tell them the truth. His mother died in 2000, a year before homosexuality was declassified as a mental illness in China.

Compared with gay and bisexual men, older women find it even more difficult to disclose or discuss their sexual orientation. Since 2010, 45-year-old Yu Shi from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, has been working on an oral history project for older same-sex-attracted women across China, but she says the process of locating participants and persuading them to share their stories is tough.

“Chinese women are in a weak position in the family, which doesn’t allow them to speak out for themselves,” Yu says, adding that of the 30 or so lesbians who have taken part in the project over the last six years, only one has come out to her family. Many won’t divorce their husbands even if they have female partners. “Chinese people are very concerned with saving face, and they think it’s a loss of face to get a divorce if you’re already a grandparent,” she says.

Yu and her 40-year-old girlfriend have lived together for over a decade, but despite their enduring, loving relationship, they can’t enjoy the security of a formal union, as same-sex marriage is not yet legal in China. Some issues can be resolved by making a will, but others — like legal or medical power of attorney — remain a problem.

According to Yu, some LGBT seniors who are single and childless have considered building their own retirement estate where they can live together and take care of one another. Although they aren’t opposed to regular nursing homes, Yu says “they prefer to live in a place where they can open their hearts and share their experiences with others in the same circumstances.”

A lesbian couple kiss each other during an event in Shanghai, Dec. 22, 2013.

As more and more seniors live separately from their children, retirement facilities in China have struggled to meet growing demand. The government encourages investment in privately owned nursing homes, but so far none have been established exclusively for members of sexual minority groups.

Little public attention is given to the needs of older LGBT people, but to Wang Anke, a 50-year-old bisexual woman from Beijing, these individuals don’t do enough to stand up for themselves, either. “We are almost invisible,” she says.

Wang married her husband in 1990 and plans to spend the rest of her life with him. Though Wang considers herself happy and fortunate, she says that most older lesbian and bisexual women she knows are pessimistic about their senior years. “They’re lonely and lack emotional care,” Wang says, adding that many would rather live alone than move into a nursing home where they fear they can’t be themselves. “Loneliness will go to the grave with them.”

But while some LGBT seniors advocate dedicated nursing homes, Ah Shan opposes the idea of separate services. “In the long run, LGBT people shouldn’t lock ourselves in a so-called safe place,” he says. “What we really need is for the overall environment to allow us to live comfortably in the community.”

Complete Article HERE!

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Vagina Dispatches episode one: the vulva

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Think you know about vaginas? Think again. In the four-part series running from now through November, we find out that even the most basic of body knowledge is lacking – people still don’t understand what vaginas look like or how they function. In episode one, we build a giant vulva, then talk to a gynecologist, a labiaplasty surgeon and a trans woman, to find out what vulvas really look like.

 

vulva-not-a-dirty-word

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Sex Advice With An Edge — Podcast #171 — 11/30/09

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Hey sex fans,

We’ll be winding up the year with our traditional Q&A format.  For the few weeks that remain hairy_buttbefore our well-deserved annual holiday break I’ll be addressing the concerns of the sexually worrisome that come to me as email and voicemail.  And if we have the time, we’ll be discussing everyone’s favorite topic; sex toys.  The Erotic Mind series will resume in the New Year with a slew of new and interesting erotic artists and authors who will share their work with us and discuss their creative process.

Among today’s correspondents are:

  • Jake wants to invite his straight male friends to a circle jerk.
  • Dennis can’t get his GF to blow him, or even jerk him off.
  • Tyler wants to know how to do a DP.
  • Uncircumcised Guy wants to get cut now that he’s an adult.
  • Anonymous wants to know what drips out his ass after gettin pegged.
  • We have a handjob question as well as some ass play and prostate questions.

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for all my podcasts on iTunes.  You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, December 1st is World AIDS Day.  To commemorate this occasion, SEXIS — the brilliant e-magazine that is lighting up the net — will be presenting an unprecedented weeklong series of essays, memoirs, personal reflections and video.

They call this The World AIDS Day Project.  And I am honored to kick off this series, today, November 30th with my essay Human Rights, Sexual Rights and World AIDS Day”.  Be sure to look for it.

Later in the week look for other insightful and poignant columns by some of the best and brightest writers on the net.  Anatomy of an AIDS Activist; Learning Out Loud; Boogeyman Logic—A Requiem for Matthew; AIDS through My Days; AIDS Really Isn’t That Funny; Live Through This: Can Gay Rights Be Gained via HIV?; and “No Dominion”.

SEXIS will also present a video montage filmed at The AIDS Service Center, NYCPart 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Again, this week of dedicated articles and essays begins, Today, November 30th and runs through Friday, December 4th.  Don’t miss this people!

Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: SEXIS.

WAD

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No, seriously…

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Name: PaunFarr
Gender: Male
Age: 41
Location: Ohio
Dr. Dick, I’m feeling the intense letdown of the ballot issues passed this week in California, Florida and Arkansas. Especially CA, where they had gay marriage but now have lost it, and my heart goes out for all those married couples now in limbo. I don’t understand this. Ohio passed their “marriage protection” act a couple years ago, and it was a devastating blow to me. Why is ok for the majority to restrict the rights of the minority? Where is our defender? Where is justice simply because it’s the right thing, not necessarily the popular thing? Will Barack Obama be able to turn around the tide of hatred and discrimination that George Bush has sewn for eight years? How long must we wait to be recognized as equal citizens and not made to feel like the lowest form of person possible? Looking for some advice on how to hold my head high when we’re so often given the message to slink away.

Yeah, I’m bummed too.  But the November 4th vote is not the end of the story.  There dr_dick_1976.jpgare many more chapters yet to be written.  Don’t let your disappointment and frustration take the wind out of your sails.

The very first thing I learned in the 30 plus years I’ve spent fighting for human rights, is that equality and justice never comes easily.  The second thing I learned is that my dignity and self-worth is not dependent on the approbation of others.

You learn to hold your head up because you KNOW you are as good as anyone else.  You fight inequality and injustice wherever you find it, not just in the gay community.  You make allies of all the other people in your community who are marginalized for whatever reason.  You build a coalition.  When your efforts fail, as they often will, you support and encourage your colleagues and plan your next assault on the in equitable and unjust system.  In fact, you redouble your grassroots organizing to broaden your base by reaching out to others in a language they will understand.  One thing is certain; other minorities will not automatically understand your oppression as a gay man any more than you will automatically understand what oppresses them.  But working together to find common ground will provide you the means to achieve your goals of equality in the dominant culture.  That’s how it’s done.

And ya know what?  This struggle is never over.  If you leave the battle once your rights have been secured, then you signal to your allies that you were only in it for yourself.  Nothing will undermine a coalition faster than selfishness.

Whatever you do, don’t be lookin for a defender to swoop in and save the day for you.  That’s the stuff of fairytales.  If you’re not on the front lines making this coalition happen, then don’t expect anyone, from the president on down, to come to your rescue.  Remember, dignity is not the result of the struggle; dignity is in the struggle.  Make this your life’s work and you won’t be discouraged with one, or even several, set backs.

Name: Paige
Gender: Female
Age: 22
Location:  Tulsa
I am engaged to a wonderful guy.  I’m excited about my upcoming marriage, but I’m also afraid that it will fail.  I know you are going to think we’re freaks, but my fiancé and I have decided to save ourselves for after we are married. Some of our friends even our recently married friends are having trouble with their relationship and with the divorce rate so high, what are the chances that my marriage will work?  Do I just have cold feet or am I not ready to get married?

First off, I don’t think you’re a freak for reserving full sexual expression till after you bride32.jpgare married.  It wasn’t too long ago when that sort of thing was the norm.  And as you say, even though nowadays most people enter marriage as established sex partners, that alone won’t insure a marriage will be a success.

So ok, if a successful marriage is not dependent on sexual experience what does it take to make a marriage work?  Hell, if I knew that I’d bottle it and make myself a well deserved fortune.

For the sake of argument, let’s just say you are the marrying kind and that you simply have cold feet, like every bride and groom to be does.  Let’s say that you and your fiancé have made the right choice…for you…to enter your marriage as virgins.  What’s next?  Possibly you need to jettison the Pollyanna notion that marriage is a breeze.  Your recently married friends are having problems because there are always problems in a marriage.  It’s the nature of the beast.  Hopefully, the problems you guys will face won’t be insurmountable.  But, sure as shootin’, problems will be your constant companions, sometimes they’ll even big problems. So count on it and prepare yourself accordingly.

If you have an unwavering commitment to one another to do whatever it takes to make your overall relationship work, you’ll probably be ok. Being sexually unfamiliar with one another may be a liability or it might be an asset.  One thing is certain, if you guys start to have problems with the whole sex thing, as often happens for newlyweds, get help right away.  There should be no shame or embarrassment about that.  In fact, you might want to be proactive and start looking around for sexual enrichment courses or videos to help you grow together as lovers.  Look to my Product Review Page for some video and toy suggestions.

bride0020.jpgHere are some generic tips.  Great sex is dependent on mutuality.  Be sure your partner knows he or she is loved, appreciated and respected.  One of you may discover that he or she has a stronger libido than the other.  That’s pretty common.  Deal with this immediately, like adults. Don’t wait for your relationship to go broken. Accommodations and compromise are always necessary in seeking the common good.  And people come to compromise and accommodation through effective communication.  If you don’t know how to do that, your relationship is doomed.

Passion is not a dirty word, nor is creative sexual expression a sin.  If you have religious scruples about enjoying your body and that of your fiancé you’re headed for trouble.  Boredom in the bedroom, particularly for newlyweds is a recipe for disaster.

Saving yourself for your wedding night does not preclude you being well versed in self-pleasuring.  In fact, the more you know about your body and the mysteries of your sexual response cycle the smoother things will go for the two of you on your wedding night. Nowadays there is absolutely no need for anyone to come to their marriage bed uninformed about sex in general and his or her sexuality in particular.  And come prepared; always have lots and lots of lube handy!

Like I said, mutuality is the key.  And since we all evolve sexually, both of you will need to grow right along with your partner.  Make your sex play an adventure.  Never hesitate to check in with one another to see how the pleasure thing is going.  What worked last time is not necessarily gonna work the next time.

Spontaneity is always a real good thing.  Traditional marriage doesn’t mean you have to be stogy.  Both of you need to take responsibility for seeing that your intimacy needs are being met.  Sometimes that will involve fucking like bunnies, other times it will mean vegging-out in front of the boob-tube with a fist full of Häagen-Dazs.

Openness and honesty about your most secret sexual desires and needs is essential.  Can’t trust your partner with your secrets, you oughtn’t be married to him or her.  Take responsibility for your own sexuality.  Ask for what you want and need, but don’t neglect caring for yourself.

Seek your partner’s pleasure before your own.  This is particularly important for a man.  If you become too busy to celebrate your sexuality together, you are indeed too fuckin busy.  Prioritize your life with your partner at its center.

There’s a fundamental difference between making love and fucking.  Both have their place in a healthy marriage.  And there ought also be room for solitary sex too.  Everyone in entitled to privacy and private time, especially in a marriage.

Have some creativity about your sexual expression.  Toys, fantasies, role-playing, they’re all good.  Don’t be afraid to experiment.  Attend to making your sex play spaces fit the mood — romantic to down and dirty.  One size does not fit all, if you catch my drift.

If you plan to go to seed once you’re married you can be assured that the fire will go out just as soon as you do.  Stay in shape, get plenty of exercise, and keep yourself attractive to your partner.  Pay attention to your personal hygiene. No one wants to bump someone with a smelly body and bad breath.

Make sure your partner is fully aroused before full-on fucking.  And remember sex is way more than the old in an out.  Finally, have a sense of humor about the whole thing; it will help take the edge off.

Name: Steve
Gender: male
Age: 46
Location:
Safe to swallow?  Improve the taste?

I just love it when ya’ll take the time to write or call me to tell me about your spunk. I like it for two reasons. First, it reassures me that ya’ll are paying attention to your sexual response cycle.  And  that you continue to be fascinated with how your body works. These are two really good things.

Second, well hell, I just get a kick outta hearin’ about your joy juice discoveries. Gosh, seed2.JPGIt warms the cockles of my poor old heart.  So keep it up, so to speak, and keep the good doctor informed. Who knows one day I may hear something I’ve never heard before.

Back to you Steve, there ain’t nothin’ to get all freaked out about.  Eatin’ your spooge will not make you sick. If you get off suckin’ up your own seed, knock yourself out. Have a ball! Oh wait, you already are!

Think about it for a minute, there couldn’t possibly be anything in your cum that could harm big old you, because that would mean it would also be harmful to your cute little defenseless sperm. But it’s not, so there.

Technically speaking, your joy juice, semen to be more precise, is mostly water. There’s also a simple sugar to keep you’re hard workin’ sperm alive and well. And, the rest is pure protein, baby. So look at it this way, your eating habits, so to speak, will require you to eat just a little less tofu than the rest of us.

And I do know a little something about making your spooge…spunkalicious.
Most of our ejaculate is produced in our seminal vesicles and prostate gland: not in our testicles, as most folks think. Only our sperm is produced in our balls, and sperm makes up only a fraction of our ejaculate. Our prostate gland is influenced by what we consume; eat, drink, smoke, things like that. So if you want to have sweet tasting jizz, for yourself and others, watch what you consume. Oh, and drink lots of water too.

Eating celery and/or parsley can have an almost immediate effect on the taste of your cum. Some report that the effect can be as swift as 30 minutes. So not only do celery and parsley freshen your breath, but they freshen your spunk as well. Hey, it’s like having two mints in one.

Oh and I can turn you on to a brand new product.  So brand new, in fact, that I have yetsmallermaple.jpg to publish a review of it on my Product Review Page.  Let me introduce you to Intimate Teas.  They have this special tea called My Maple Cookie.  It’s a unique blend of premium herbs specially formulated to change the female genitalia and male semen to smell and taste like pure maple.  How fun is that?  And it really works too.  I mean, who doesn’t want his/her juices to smell and taste like dessert?

If your diet is heavy with meats and fish your jizz will most likely have a bitter taste. A high concentration of dairy products creates a foul taste…so does all that coffee and nicotine. Lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet (except for asparagus that is) will produce a slightly sugary taste. And if you like your cocktails (the kind you drink, silly), it’s best to stick with high-quality, naturally fermented beers, wine or liquor. The cheap stuff, the rotgut, will not only give you a wicked hangover, but will cause your spooge to have an extremely acidic taste.

Name: Alva
Gender: female
Age: 40
Location:  New Mexico

It has been over six years since I have had sex. My husband of 12 years died cancer 5 years ago.  There was no sex in our relationship the last year of his life.  He was the love of my life and I still miss him so much. I would like to get back into the swing of things.  I just don’t know how.  My friends tell me I should get on with my life.  They tell me I’m still an attractive woman and that I’m wasting my life.  Sometimes they badger me so that I don’t want to be around them.  Maybe there’s something wrong with me.  Maybe I’m dead inside.  Why can’t I just move on?

You raise some very interesting issues, Alva, concerns that are often ignored or misdiagnosed by healing and helping professionals.  Grief has a profound effect on grief-1.jpgevery aspect of our lives.  Yet there is hardly any literature on the effects grief has on our sexuality.  To my mind, grief is the leading causes of sexual dysfunction for those who have experienced the death of a loved one.  And you, my dear, present some of the classic symptoms — indecision, self-doubt, lack of libido, a desire to isolate.

Before I continue I want to underscore that grief is not depression.  And treating grief with an antidepressant is counterproductive.  It can actually take away the impetus to resolve the grief and get on the rest of one’s life.

Now, is six years of grieving enough?  Apparently your friends think so. But what do you think?  Would reviving your sex life sully the memory of your dear departed husband?  I believe it’s time for you to bring this concern to a professional for help.  I suggest that you get some therapy from someone who is well versed in both sexuality and grief counseling. I say this not because I’m siding with your friends, but because you, yourself, identify this as a problem.

What could a counselor do for you, you may ask?  Well, I can only speak for myself, and the work I do in my practice.  A good portion of my practice is with sick and dying people and their friends and family who survive them.  I know the impact a terminal illness and the dying process can have on the surviving spouse or partner.  We often go into survival mode, shutting down so much of ourselves in an effort to have the strength to cope with this life-altering experience.  Of course, trying to kick-start our life afterwards is often a monumental effort.  Without the support and guidance of a professional or a group of similarly challenged people, some of us just sink to the lowest common denominator and stop fully functioning.

grief.jpgTraumatic events in our lives can radically shift us out of living mode into merely surviving mode.  And if this goes on for a long time — and six years is a very long time in my opinion — surviving mode begins to feel like living mode.  But it’s not!  Good thing we have friends to tell us when we are off course.  You are right to say that sometimes the interventions of our friends can feel like badgering.  And I know that’s not helpful.  But how else are they to convey their continued concern for your wellbeing?

I believe in the resilience of the human spirit.  I believe that we can honor our dead and continue to live and love too.  Now it’s true that some animals and even some humans mate for life.  And when the mate dies they never mate again.  However, this doesn’t sound like you, Alva.  It sounds to me like you have a desire to get on with your life, to fill the void, to make new connections, but you simply don’t know how.  Acknowledging that fact is a real good place to begin.

Perhaps you could start by reawakening your sexuality through self-pleasuring.  Reconnect with your body and the joy it can bring you.  Six years is a long time to be without, so starting up again may take some effort.  While you are working on resolving your grief in a grief support group, you might want to connect with another group member who will no doubt be experiencing much the same things as you.  You could explore your sexuality together.

Reestablishing a social life will no doubt follow, slowly at first.  But the inevitable tug of our basic need for human to human contact will draw you, if you let it.  Remember the best testament to those who have died is to continue to celebrate life itself.

Good luck ya’ll

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