Juicy words men are dying to hear (You'll be shocked & intrigued) - Click Here!

The Shocking Thing Men Find Attractive in a Woman (You Can't Guess This) - Click Here!

Secret to obsessive love - Click Here!

Modern Love - Dating And Relationship / Get Your Ex Back (click Here) 

Body Language: Dating, Attraction And Sexual Bodylanguage Ebook: 
Proven Seller In The Dating Niche For Men And Women. The Full PDF Download Has More Than 250 Fully Captioned High Quality Images. Full References To The Primary Scientific Research To Back This Training. 1900+ Page Website With Video Tutorials. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

Monday, June 25, 2018

10 Things Men Wish Women Knew About Sex

Freud called female sexuality "the dark continent." Well, if that's true, male sexuality could qualify as the dark planet. After all, when it comes to sex, men are far from simple. The bedroom is one of the great stages of male performance, so what you see on TV or hear from them is typically the role, not reality. Here are 10 "unmasking" facts straight from men and experts that you may want to know.

1. We respond to praise.
It's believed that men are so consumed by our libido that we have no self-consciousness surrounding sex. But men are no different from women when it comes to compliments as catalysts for sexual confidence. This praise can be delivered before reaching the bedroom (give us the once-over and tell us how buff we look), and after (give us the once-over and tell us how buff we look naked). Along those lines, men worry about the size of their guts (and other measurable organs), their hair (or lack thereof) and other attributes. Try to be extra affirming about those sensitivities.

2. We fear intimacy …
… but not for the reason you think! Studies have shown that boys are more affectionate, even more expressive, than girls until they reach school age. At that time, social repression begins — of words, thoughts, feelings — and our desire for human connection goes underground. So taboo is this desire for intimacy that its possibility can terrify men — not because it's smothering, but because we realize how desperate we are for it. What's a woman to do? First, understand that your guy's hasty retreat post-sex may be about his own shock at how much he craves a connection with you (and how much he's denied it in life). Then, retreat a little yourself. This gives him time to see that his boyhood habits are, in fact, perfectly manly.

3. We appreciate sex for sex's sake.
Having said that about intimacy, sometimes a little "throw-me-down sex" is the right medicine. According to Joe Kort, PhD, a psychotherapist and sexologist, "Men want their wives to enjoy raw sex, not just endure it or take it personally. For men, it's not about dominating a woman, but ravishing her." On occasion, try letting him ravish you.

4. We're not just our … you know.
The penis gets all the press, but men have "many erogenous zones," says psychologist Melodie Schaefer, PsyD. "Men tend not to correct women because they're afraid women will shut down and not touch them at all. But there are many places a woman should touch." Like the chest, inner thighs, and face. There are two other key areas: Gently gripping a man's testicles can be a real turn-on, as it blends control with release. Also, stimulating the perineum, the area between the scrotum and anus, will heighten pleasure during oral sex.

5. We encourage fantasies.
"Men want to share their fantasies but worry their wives will shame or judge them," says Dr. Kort. Similarly, Dr. Schaefer reports that men wish women would reveal their imaginings. Want to open yourself to these possibilities? Try making a game of it. First, and most important, promise not to judge the other. Then, privately write out scenarios that have tantalized you and place them in a box. When you are next intimate, pull one out. If you're both comfortable, give it a shot. If not, Dr. Kort recommends asking the author a key question: What about this fantasy do you like? Sometimes, its themes can be addressed in different, more comfortable scenarios.

6. We like it when you talk.
Talking during sex stimulates more than our ears. What kind of talk? Dirty, praising, and instructive are great starts. As amusing as it may sound, a woman's words can make a guy feel as potent and virile as a Roman gladiator, even if he's a suburban banker.

7. We need your honesty.
Sex can solve the stresses of a relationship, but it can also cause stress. If we complain about a lack of sex (or your doing certain things only on our birthday), we may be overlooking serious issues that underpin such withholding. We need you to enlighten us. The male ego is often tied to sex, so it's easy for us to dismiss bedroom problems as female disinterest rather than issues we have a part in. Avoiding these problems, however, only perpetuates your feeling unseen and our frustration.

8. We enjoy the dance.
Men like a good quest. Allow us to court you and make us deserve your desire. Dr. Kort makes an additional point: "Emotional intimacy is about closeness, but sustaining sexual desire demands a certain amount of distance." How do couples strike this tricky balance? By allowing each partner to have what he calls "separate sexuality": a sexual life that doesn't include, but doesn't betray, the other. "For him, that might mean allowing his wife to use toys or letting other men look at her; for her, it might be permitting him to watch pornography in order to experience a fantasy." Such indulgences help maintain the balance of desire and devotion for both parties.

9. We can explain pornography.

Finding a spouse using pornography is a top reason couples seek counsel, says Dr. Kort, but it shouldn't be overreacted to or pathologized. A few things to clear up: 1. Sex addicts represent only 4% of the population, so it's unlikely your man is one. 2. Because childhood experiences influence sexuality as an adult, people are very idiosyncratic about what turns them on. In other words, says Dr. Kort, "no woman can, nor should she, be everything to a man."

Still, the question remains: How does a woman not take pornography personally? First, determine if your mate is compulsive, or can only have sex with pornography. If so, you may want to seek counseling. If not, Dr. Kort recommends taking the secrecy out of pornography by discussing it. Use the lens of "what about it turns him on versus what turns you off." That way, a dialogue is created that allows for honesty, dignity, and closeness.

10. We always need it, but not for the reason you think.
Men are accused of being sexually insatiable, but women should rethink this. "Men see sex as a celebration," says Dr. Schaefer. "They wish women would take more of a 'carpe diem' approach to it. We move through life at the speed of sound, with multiplying challenges and pressures. It's easy to allow demands on our time and energy to rob us of the joy, pleasure, and opportunity that sex affords us.

On the long list of priorities, it should not be on the bottom rung." If that doesn't make you want to "seize the day" (or something else), consider the health benefits: Orgasms release oxytocin, which has been called the "bonding hormone," bringing couples closer together while it alleviates anxiety and stress, reduces blood pressure, and promotes healing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

I'm no stranger to casual racism, but there's an extra sting when it happens on a date

I’m a mixed race Australian living in London. I have an Anglo sounding first name and a Muslim sounding surname. I’m single, so I date. Want to know what it’s like? It’s being on a date with someone who prides himself on being progressive and assuming the worst outcome of telling him my surname is that he’ll find all my selfies on social media. Instead, what happens when I say “my last name’s Mohammed” is that he replies earnestly "I'm genuinely surprised by that, you don't have any of 'those features' at all" in a tone that’s clearly supposed to be a compliment, but actually just makes my skin crawl. Does he mean that I should be happy that I don’t look more like my grandmother? My aunt? My cousins? That I should be grateful that how I look in this dark London bar masks my heritage? When I tell him more about my dad’s side of the family – which has gifted me my name and my skin and my history – he asks "but your mum’s . . . normal, right? Like, white?" At least when I stare at him incredulously he has the decency to look embarrassed and say "I don't mean that how it sounds, I just mean, she's normal Aussie?" As though the idea that being a white person is what’s ‘normal’ and anything else is a deviation. It’s true that there are benefits to being light skinned in a world that values whiteness above all else, but I would rather try to tear that system down than reject part of who I am simply to fit into it I’ve been taught my whole life that women should never cause a scene in public and that kindness is the best way to educate, so I swallow my anger and take a sip of my drink. I choose my words carefully, and try to reassure my date that he's probably not racist, telling him gently that words matter and the idea that white is 'normal' in any sense is a problematic, let alone in a country as multicultural as Australia. Maybe I should have spoken angrily, maybe I should have stormed out, because instead of listening, he insists that he didn't mean it in a racist way. He tells me that I know how progressive he is, how he would never say anything intentionally harmful, how he’s a good person, really. Not an apology or reflection to be found. This is much more than just a bad date; this is the casual racism that I’ve heard from co-workers, dates and acquaintances my entire life, no matter which country I’ve been living in. It’s people telling me I’m a “basically a white person” or that I’m not proper south Asian. It’s their surprise at how quickly my skin darkens in the sun or their comment that I don’t look or sound like what they expected given my name. While I’m no stranger to casual racism, there’s an extra sting and added complexity when it happens on a date These things are minor compared to the outright racism and prejudice darker skinned people face, but it’s as if people think that having Anglo heritage means that I’ll agree with them that being white is somehow more desirable. People can’t possibly understand why, as someone who’s part white, I don’t want to make that my identity or make an effort to be seen as “more white than not”. It’s as though people think that being mixed race means having discrete, non-white parts of me that I want to cut out or hide. Because surely, if you had the option, you’d want to be white, right? Of course it’s true that there are benefits to being light skinned in a world that values whiteness above all else, but I would rather try to tear that system down than reject part of who I am simply to fit into it. I’d sooner cut out my heart than deny the brown blood that runs through my veins and the beauty and strength of all the family who came before me. A position I’m certainly privileged to be able to take. While I’m no stranger to casual racism, there’s an extra sting and added complexity when it happens on a date. Dating is about connection – open minds and open hearts – and there’s an element of vulnerability that makes these comments hurt all the more. We also date in good faith, on the understanding that the other person isn’t trying to hurt us, so how much benefit of the doubt do you give someone in these circumstances? The problem with casual racism is that these words and actions have impact – and cause hurt – regardless of how they were intended. I know my dates didn’t mean to be hurtful, and that there are likely to be many people reading this wondering ‘what’s the big deal?’ The reality is that the world we live in values whiteness and treats it as the default with everything else as ‘other’. Do you want your words and actions to continue this narrative or change it? I know what I choose.

I Let a Life Coach Re-Do My Dating Profile

There's a scene from a movie in which a dude nicknames another character "Frances Un-dateable" and chases her all over town. He thinks it’s charming. It’s not. My girlfriends started calling me "Faran Un-dateable" after my boyfriend and I split. A year later, they still haven’t stopped. But that’s not the worst of it. That comes a little later, when I’m introduced to the very actor in the film who calls her un-dateable! We’re at a party. His friends are trying to set us up. He’s not trying to be charming. (He is.) I would totally go out with him, but guess what? Mr. Un-dateable thinks I’m actually un-dateable. Seriously. COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR So my interest is piqued when this assignment arrives: check out Sweet Pea, the new dating app that has "empathy, kindness, and respect" in its mission statement and an article on fuckboys on their blog. Idealistic and firmly rooted in reality? I’m in. Of course there’s a catch: the assignment isn’t just to check out their app—it’s also to give my dating profiles a makeover with help from a life coach. I’m skeptical. I’m annoyed. But I’m also literally "un-dateable" so what the hell, let’s go. Step One: Commit to Doing the Work "I pray you’re just trying to get laid," says Lauren Handel Zander. She’s a life coach and author who’s guided everyone from rock stars to CEOs, and even mitigated corporate battles. But right now, she’s just trying to figure out if I’m a femme bot. "All your [dating app] photos are you being a party girl," Zander says matter-of-factly. "We get it. You’re smoking hot. You’re out all night, all the time." She stops on a photo of me in a vintage Galliano dress, submerged in a swimming pool at 4 a.m. "If all you want is a hot guy to take to bed, you’re all set," she says. "If you’re looking for a life partner, this isn’t going to help." COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR "I don’t know if I believe in life partners," I answer. "I think people do a lot of damage thinking they have to be with someone else." "Well, I do believe in finding your soul mate," Zander answers. She’s not earnest or preachy, which I appreciate. But she’s talking about scary stuff, like love and commitment, so I hold my breath as she continues. "I’ve helped people find the crazy love of their life. But I look at it like this: Who doesn’t want a million dollars? Everyone does. Who’s willing to put in the work to make millions of dollars? Not everyone. I think the number of people willing to put in the work to find their soul mate is around the same range. And I’m mortified that people don’t do the work to find that person. Because they could." Step Two: Admit What You Want in Your Profile According to Zander, "the work" involves admitting what you want and owning who you are—even on something as casual as a dating app. "You can find love on an app, absolutely. But you have to be honest." That starts with my bio description. Right now it says, I love art supply stores and dance parties. Once Rihanna told me I was cute. COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR Zander instructs me to write a bit more about what I love and what I do, along with what I’m looking for in another person. "If I knew that, I’d already have it," I snap. She’s not buying it. "When you don’t tell people who you are, it’s like you’re putting up a wall for no reason. But that’s not a wall to keep. That’s not your wailing wall, okay? There’s nothing spiritually sacred about it. It’s stucco. It’s drywall. Tear it down." Okay, but isn’t it desperate/psycho to say, I’m looking for someone I actually want in my life. I think I believe in love, but I also believe in myself, and right now I’m good with that. Want to prove me wrong? "What’s desperate is lying to yourself, and to others," Zander says. "If you look at what’s happening in our culture right now, the biggest thing I want to eradicate is lying. There shouldn’t be fake news on TV. There shouldn’t be fake news in politics. And you shouldn’t create fake news for yourself, or what you want in a partner." Fair enough. Step Three: Make Your Photos More Diverse "You can have one sexy picture," says Zander, "but I’d rather see happy pictures where you’re honestly somewhere that’s meaningful to you. And you also want to give people context—show them your community, your friends." I tell Zander I can’t show my friends in a dating app, because they’re all hotter than me. The dude would automatically start sweating them instead. "YOUR SOUL MATE RECOGNIZES YOU WHEN THEY SEE YOU. THEY’RE NOT THINKING, 'WHY ISN’T SHE AS HOT AS HER AS HER FRIENDS?'" "Humans are way smarter and more intuitive than you give them credit for," Zander replies. "Your soul mate recognizes you when they see you. They’re not thinking, 'Why isn’t she as hot as her friends?' They’re thinking, 'Cool, she has her own little family in New York.'" COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR Step Four: Learn the Four H’s (Hell Not Included) “Every human has three voices competing for attention,” says Zander. “Their head, heart, and hoo-ha, otherwise known as the vagina. When I get a person to sort out their dating patterns, usually people get two out of the three. You hear these people saying, ‘You have to compromise.’ That’s a lie, to me. Compromising is how you don’t get your soul mate. Eighty-five percent of what you want is not good, not good enough. You should be able to find someone you like, you love, you respect, and you want to have sex with.” Okay. But I haven’t. So…? “So, there’s a fourth ‘H’ after head, heart, and hoo-ha,” says Zander. “The hunt. Get out there. Talk to people. Fill out your profile in an honest way. That’s part of the hunt.” "BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF IF YOU LIKE SOMEONE. BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF IF YOU DON’T." Step Five: Honesty Is Sexy “Telling the truth is hot.” Zander says. “You can say, ‘I’m really looking for my person. They’d better be good.’ But you also have to tell the truth to yourself,” she says. “Be honest with yourself if you like someone. Be honest with yourself if you don’t. Otherwise, you’re just going to be manipulating someone else, and yourself, for a relationship you might not even want. To me, that’s desperate. Not saying, 'I’m multi-faceted, I have a lot of parts to me, I want to be with someone who acknowledges them and I want to have fun, too.'" Copied. Pasted. Done.

What Do People Do With Nudes From Past Relationships?

It’s 2018, so chances are you have been on the sending or receiving end of more than a few nude pictures. (Also know by their street name, noodz.) Maybe you’ve sent what you think is a tasteful dick pic—an oxymoron if we’ve ever heard one—or an unfiltered photo of your butt (that we’re sure looked great!). Or maybe, God help you, you received an Airdrop on the subway from A Terrible Man. Simply put: Chances are, pixels and parts have been sent and received. But what happens when the relationship fizzles? In most cases, sending nudes is a relatively harmless and consensual sexy exchange of horny content. Even if we don't really acknowledge it at the time, we're all aware that once a nude is in the cloud, there's really no telling where it could end up. Still though, what are the ethics surrounding the nudes that you've received in good faith? Is is good form to delete instantly? Is a secret little folder on your desktop only fair? What if you get back together? These are the types of 21st century conundrums that digital daters face. We spoke to three New Yorkers about their habits sending, receiving, and archiving nudes. Are both men and women sending and receiving the nudes? The general consensus from all parties is that content in 2018 is shared generously. That being said, Devon, a 26-year-old woman, said she only sends and receives nudes when she’s serious—a.k.a. you won't be getting a nude from Devon just because you swiped right. Kathleen, who is 30, loves the rush of sending initially but after a few days the thrill is gone. Kathleen notes that a nude video—as opposed to a still photo—can take the sexiness to the next level. Videos can be personalized and seem more intimate, whereas photos can feel staged or mass. Is the stigma around sending nudes gone? Shoutout Snapchat. For millennials living in New York at least, sending nudes is as casual as ordering in Seamless. We can agree that nudes are no longer taboo. Like, at all. Although many of us can get a bit cagey admitting our habits, for the most part everyone agreed that nudes are a well-established part of dating culture. “In my experience women are so quick to send nudes,” explained Joe an investment banking associate. “It’s considered ‘sexy,’ so there is less stigma.” He did voice his feelings that it wasn’t the same sexiness for men sending nudes. “I think there is some stigma with men sending them though, which is kind of sad.” [Ed note: Guessing the ubiquity and dominance of images of female nudity in our culture at large likely contributes to why pictures of the rarely seen male nude form might feel strange or jarring. In that sense, it is...sad.] What do you do with nudes from relationships past? The women delete. Joe does not, but does not stand as the single representative for his sex. Kathleen deletes all nudes from past flings in hopes of getting the relationship—and their accompanying bits—out of her mind. Devon is a quick delete, making sure she rids her photo album of good moments that have soured and shriveled (zing!). She feels it can be a bit invasive to keep nudes from past baes around but might scroll through old conversations to peek back at old magic. In an interesting twist, though, she hangs onto her personal old nudes for a confidence boost—the way LeBron James might look back at a highlights reel to get back into a groove. Joe deletes nudes from girlfriends of his past, especially if the breakup was bad, but he does keep the “really good ones” in a camera roll. “They’re of random women who I’ve hooked up with a couple of times,” he explained. What if a potential partner has an ex’s nude. Dealbreaker? “If it’s loaded on their desktop or something, I’m out!” says Joe. The same sentiment was echoed by the ladies. The existence of the nudes was not the problem. It was what their current partners would be doing with said nudes. “It would be an issue if a potential future partner kept looking back at an ex's past nude pictures or videos,” says Kathleen. Devon also wouldn’t mind, but hoped her confidence boosting nudes would be getting the job done already.

Friday, June 1, 2018

14 Dating App Opening Lines That Aren’t “How’s your day going?

one of the greatest pains when it comes to online dating is how to start a conversation with someone you’ve never met. It's annoying, it's awkward, and when you've had to do it thousands of times, it becomes boring. Yet that initial first impression still speaks volumes about a connection—perhaps even whether or not you have one. Silly, right?

Dating apps like Sweet Pea are trying to solve this conundrum by helping users make more meaningful connections with their matches. There are a few ways to do this, but the new app is betting that icebreaker questions on your dating profiles are the key to making the whole swipe, match, repeat process feel much less aggravating. As users fill in their bios, they're directed to ask an icebreaker question, which is featured front and center on the profile, underneath the photo. Matches must answer it initiate a connection, but it's an easy, pressure-free way to begin a convo (and decidedly more interesting than "hey, what's up"). So to help put those good ol’ fashioned conversational skills to task, here's a list of tension-melting opening lines you haven't heard a million times.

1. Tell me your life story in five emojis.

This is a non-intimidating way for someone to tell you who they are and a chance for your match to show off their cleverness.
2. If it was your last day on earth, what would eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

Their answer gives you insight into their palate, as well as provides some potential dinner date ideas down the line.

3. If someone made a costume of you, what would they wear?

An opener like this one explores their sense of self and how they think the world sees them. If your interest is piqued, it's a great excuse to meet them quickly to see if their self-awareness measures up.
4. On my way to the grocery store—what can I pick up for you?

A shopping cart item is worth a thousand words.
5. What's your proudest moment?

If they respond that their proudest moment was getting out of bed that morning, you may not want to take this offline.
6. Fill in the blank: I can’t help but laugh when...

Humor can be very intimate. You’ll get a sense for your comedic chemistry—and potentially, a few inside jokes to share in real life.

7. Tell me about a time you were injured.

Whether it’s a bizarre tale of getting a straw lodged in their nose as a kid or spring break mishap in undergrad, everyone has a good “ouch!” story to tell. It’s a topic that’s guaranteed to get a dialogue going.
8. What’s the most embarrassing song you know all the lyrics to?

This is a step up from the typical “What kind of music do you listen to?” question because it’s not about taste, it’s about guilty pleasures. It offers a nice moment of vulnerability, and hopefully some laughs. Just don't forget it at karaoke.
9. What's the worst gift you ever got? (And did you return it?)

This is an easy way to find out about your match's likes and dislikes—and if they're politely sentimental.
10. What was your favorite TV show as a kid?

A little nostalgia is a guaranteed way to elicit a positive emotional response. If you both end up naming some of the same shows, then you may have just met a new binge-watching partner.
11. What was your favorite birthday?

Wondering if they’re lying about their age? This one might make the truth slip.
12. What's the first thing you do when you wake up?

Maybe they’ll suggest you stay over that night to find out. But maybe they start the day with a morning mile run—not unlike you, hey!
13. Which family member are most similar to?

This one kills two birds with one stone. In describing what they're like, you'll get some scoop on their family, which can reveal a lot about someone you've never met.
14. What’s the worst opening line you’ve ever used?

Striking up a conversation about dating disasters can help nip any tension in the bud. After all, you’re just two strangers doing your best to connect, so acknowledging the situation—awkwardness, platitudes, and the possibility that both parties are perhaps just going through the motions—might have an outcome that surprises you. It might even be a spark.
More From
Modern Relationships
10 Resolutions for Modern Love Lives
Created by ELLE for
Sweet Pea
15 Gifts That Won't Freak Out Your New Boyfriend
I Let a Life Coach Re-Do My Dating Profile
Created by ELLE for
Sweet Pea

8 Women On What It's Like to Date in a Post-Weinstein World

Ever since the New York Times released its first report on Weinstein back in early October of 2017, the news has been flooded with high profile men who’ve been accused of sexual harassment. But the much-needed reckoning (or witch hunt, as some might call it) didn’t stop there. The conversation opened up. People began to grapple with whether you can love someone who’s been accused. They asked whether you can appreciate art created by someone who's harassed others. They bonded and obsessed over a fictional New Yorker story about bad sex (and the reactions to it), and they wrote countless think pieces about one woman’s questionably consensual but deeply upsetting experience going on a date with Aziz Ansari.

These stories have touched the lives of all women, including those far outside media, entertainments and politics, because they're so familiar, because we've been there too. #MeToo. And for women who are currently dating, or trying to date, the endless tales can be a reminder of the dangers that come with opening yourself up to a stranger—and the stark differences between how men and women approach consent, sex and assault.

Ahead, eight women reveal how they’re approaching dating in a new, post-Weinstein, #MeToo world (one that likely wouldn’t exist if we weren’t also in a post-Trump world) and what it means to open your relationship up to these difficult, necessary conversations.
Gabriela Riccardi, 25, Events Designer, The Atlantic

"What’s startling for me, post-Weinstein, is how little has changed in the way I date. If anything, it’s reinforced the reasons for why I date men the way I do. After I agree to meet up with a guy who I’ve connected with on an app or chatted up while out with friends, I find myself starting a specific, subliminal routine. I suggest the date spot, somewhere public and familiar and often in my neighborhood. I text a friend about it. I give my date’s name a quick Google to make sure nothing weird pops up in the first page or two of hits. I text a friend about it. I plan the night, line up when I’ll come and go. I text a friend about it. I text when I head out the door. I text when I come back in. It’s not because I want to leave a cell-tower scatterplot of my Friday night plans, but I fear what might happen if I don’t.

I’m not the only one who runs this drill: when going on a date with someone new, every woman I know has a network of friends on the other side of her phone screen. It’s how we’ve been taught to move in this world. When it’s late, walk with a group. When you can’t walk with a group, carry one in your purse. We acknowledge a truth in our quiet routines—that even if we aren’t heading into a hotel with a powerful man, we know better than to go alone.

It feels like we’re all pulling back the layers of that truth, the reasons why women feel so vulnerable with men known and unknown. We know that it doesn’t matter whether we’re in a boardroom or a bar: power is never in our hands equally. It never has been. I’m hopeful that the stories that women have revealed , and the consequences of those revelations, will help us see real change. But until then, I’ll keep my girlfriends with me in my group chat."
Danielle Prescod, 29, Style Director, BET.com

"I found myself unexpectedly single at the beginning of 2017. This meant that I was thrown back into the dating shark tank as Donald Trump was being sworn in as president. As if finding strangers to fall in love with on the internet wasn’t already a virtual minefield, now, misogyny and racism disguised as patriotism were new lenses through which I had to sort potential suitors.

As a Black woman who is open to dating any race or religion, I felt incredibly vulnerable. I would find myself sitting nearish men in a indistinguishable stream of dimly lit bars. The setting is romantic but all I feel is rage. I’m enraged when a new date (so, a stranger) finds unnecessary reasons to touch me. I’m enraged when they say something inadvertently sexist. I’m enraged when they slut shame other women as a means of complimenting me. And yet, I feel trapped because I have no alternative way to try to get to know someone to become a potential partner.

I don’t just march misogynists into my life. My screening process is intense. I ask a lot of questions and try my best to carefully analyze the photos of anyone I meet. A sampling of inquiries include: What do you do? Where do you live? Where are you from? Who did you vote for? Do you have tree nut allergies? Etc. Still, when I add up all the dates I’ve been on this year, including the good ones, what I remember is: The casual racism, the constant interruptions, the arrogance, the insistence that he knows best about literally anything and everything.

A date recently asked me 'where I was from' after telling me I had 'an exotic look.' When this kind of nonsense happens I cut it off right at the head. In response to this dude, I just went silent, too angry to even engage. I’ve blocked more guys from more means of communication than I can count over the last 12 months. As for whether I think about dating differently in the wake of #MeToo, I think I handle it the same as I always have, which is with a vague sense of paranoia that men are extremely dangerous.

Believe it or not, I still feel hopeful though. There are tons of relationship examples that I can look to for inspiration. Woke bae is out there somewhere. Plus, I think that the more educated that people become, the more that they can change. I remember things that my own father would say years ago that he would never say now and that’s because he’s got two razor-tongued daughters that continually check him at any opportunity. So maybe it’s about working together. Who really knows what the answer is. I’m just trying not to have a rage blackout at a bar before I’ve gotten through my first cocktail. At the moment, I don’t have a concrete solution for this problem and I also don’t have a boyfriend either."

Elise, 24

"As our culture has shifted and become slightly less accepting of men who sexually assault people, I have found that I now have zero tolerance for any sort of perpetuation of rape culture. My standards are way higher. For example, I was talking on the phone with the guy I've been seeing for a few months. We were talking about Matt Lauer and he said something along the lines of 'that stuff's inexcusable, but why didn't the women come forward years ago when it happened?' A year ago, I might have let it slide or just made a small comment, especially since we haven't been seeing each other that long. I may have offered a very brief explanation of the challenges women face when reporting assault and harassment, but then let it go. Instead, he was subjected to a long rant about how such reports often fall on deaf ears, how reporting often creates more conflict in the woman's life than in the perpetrator's, how shame is dealt unfairly in such situations. I stopped short of delving into my own experiences—I wanted him to understand this on an intellectual level, not just out of care for me. He listened. I tried not to give him too much credit for simply listening (though in the end it mattered).

Honestly, if he had responded differently, it would have been hard to continue to date him. If he had responded in condescension or acted as if it didn't matter, that would have been an issue for me. It wouldn't have mattered so much a year ago. But I expect more now. I expect to be heard. I'm not so quiet now."
Bria, 40

"As the sexual harassment scandals expose society’s blind spots, in turn, my man’s blind spots are coming to light. It’s been sobering, plus an opportunity for deeper communication. It’s taken intense effort to stay with our conversations rather than bolt in fear, frustration, and sadness over feeling misunderstood. For me, these scandals conjure bitter personal memories of sexual harassment, plus painful memories of uncountable times men and society silenced me, explicitly or implicitly.

My frustration’s flip side? Empowerment. In solidarity, I’m finding my voice. As I speak up about these issues for the first time, my boyfriend, in turn, is seeing things in a new light.

When my boyfriend and I began dating over a year ago, and immediately had the most open, intuitive, authentic communication I’ve ever had with a man, we were thrilled. To him, I’m a whole person, my own universe, rather than simply a satellite in his universe—a first for me in a romantic relationship. But recently, I’ve often struggled to maintain composure and openness while explaining things to him that every woman I know understands intuitively: Why didn’t they just say no? Call the police? Alert the media? Why did they continue to engage with their harasser, professionally and personally, even after the awful things he did?

When a man literally holds your life, including your ability to put food on your table, in his hands, the dynamic changes. To me, that’s a given. To my boyfriend, that was debate-able idea.

I have felt deep frustration and yes, anger, perhaps even moreso because my man is one of the good guys. Apparently even good guys have blind spots. In making victims 'wrong' by questioning their choices and actions, we perpetrate the cycle of shame and silence. My initial impulse was to avoid making waves with him. To shrink and go silent to protect myself. Yet silence spoke hurtful volumes in my heart. I realized: stay silent, stay part of the problem. So I spoke up, and continue to.

Yes, we’ve had some uncomfortable arguments. Incrementally, we’re finding deeper respect, mutual vulnerability, and understanding. He may never 'get' what so many of us experience. But he’s opening to our stories. My speaking up plays a key role in this. I’ll take temporary discomfort over the pain of silencing myself any day."
Emily, 24

"I’d never told any of my past boyfriends—or dates—that I had been sexually assaulted in college. It had never come up and I had this sense of shame built around the ordeal. I wanted the guys I dated to like me—not to see me as a girl carrying around baggage. Looking back, that’s messed up, right? But, when the Harvey Weinstein news (and the whole slew of men that accusations that followed other men followed suit), things changed for me. I felt really empowered by women approaching the media with their own vulnerable stories, and I felt even more empowered by the women in my life sharing their own stories, particularly with the #MeToo hashtag on social media.

Something in me clicked one night, and I typed up my own personal story for my blog in hopes that it would help me process and move forward… years later. Well, the guy I was just starting to date happened upon the blog (girls aren’t the only ones to cyberstalk pre-date, I suppose)—and he asked me about it. He commended my strength and apologized for his gender. Everything was so sincere, and it no longer felt like baggage. It felt like a part of my life that made me… me (that I definitely could have lived without, for sure). Since that moment, our relationship has progressed and I can now say I’m falling in love with this date. And I attribute part of that to his patience and understanding and sadness around the situation. Who knows if things will work out, but for what its worth, dating in the post-Weinstein era has shown me that vulnerability is key and if a guy condones or diminishes any of your prior sexual assaults or harassments, he’s not worth your time."

MacKenzie, 22

"My reckoning began with the 'Shitty Media Men' list. While I never saw the actual list myself, as a woman in the media, I knew of men at all levels who were harassers/assaulters/rapists. I met a man a few months ago who works in the media. I loved that we could relate on work matters, but I knew all too well about the industry's thinly-veiled secret culture of misogyny. I was quite wary that he, too, would be a 'shitty media man.'

My litmus test was simple: casually mention scandals in the media and gauge his reaction. Immediately, each time, he condemned each man. He believed the survivors. That made me feel a type of comfort I'd never felt before; I felt safe confiding in him about my own assault when I was 19. While it should've been the bare minimum for him to react how he did, it's become so rare to find a man willing to listen to my story and not ask invasive questions I wasn't ready to answer or offer refutations about what they would've done in that moment.

While it didn't work out with that person, it was heartening to know that there are men—albeit few and far between, I'm afraid—who are fighting back against the 'boys' club' culture that's so pervasive within the media.

Straight-up asking a man on a first date what he thinks about Matt Lauer (Charlie Rose, Bill O'Reilly, et al) is weird and awkward, and I don't necessarily endorse it. But it's imperative to me to find out his stance on sexual assaults that happen within his orbit. Does he hold these men beyond reproach because he respects their work? Or does he condemn them because he's a decent human being?

I was naive enough to believe that I'd never have to vet men on such a basic rubric. A man's proximity to a sexual assault shouldn't dictate his response. If a man who works in the next cubicle over assaults someone, he should believe the survivor just as much as he would were it a man outside his immediate world.

Because if a man doesn't believe the assault accusations against men he idolizes whom he's probably never met, how the hell is he going to believe me and my story?"
Madison Feller, 24, Assistant Editor, ELLE.com

"I tried to avoid talking about all of the sexual assault news with my partner. It’s been difficult enough to navigate the horrifying, and all too familiar details on my own, and I was worried about where that kind of conversation might go.

But when Louis C.K. made his statement, I got a text. My partner asked me if I had read it. No, I said, not in full. (To be honest, I started it, got exhausted, and exed out of the window.) I finished reading the entire statement when I got another text: 'Weird to see an actual apology.' I replied saying that, actually, Louis didn’t apologize. I grew more exhausted. He told me that at least Louis’ actions had never escalated to rape, but he probably wouldn’t be a fan anymore.

I was annoyed. Why didn’t he see this situation the same way I did? Why wasn’t he as angry?

I went pretty silent for the next few days. I wondered if there was a perfect thing to say in light of this kind of news? Was it right to expect it? Am I settling by not having someone who would’ve simply texted me, saying, 'FUCK THIS'?

I mulled over these questions. I talked to my best friend. She was kind and helpful and reminded me that no one can be a perfect ally. I thought of my dad. The guy who played me Ani DiFranco as a kid and taught me to be financially independent. I thought about the time I asked him why he gives so much money to the NFL when they hire men with records of domestic violence, and he said that he loves to watch the games for the strategy. It wasn’t a good enough reason for me. I could understand why he'd be hesitant to dismiss something that he's loved for such a long time, but it's a privilege for people to ignore things like that if it means they get to keep doing what's comfortable. Of course, I haven’t cast my dad aside as not being good enough to women.

Even through my annoyance, I could see my partner did some of the right things when it mattered. He mentioned that the apology doesn’t change Louis’ actions from being unacceptable. He was willing to listen to what I had to say about it.

No one is a perfect ally. Does it mean we should accept the men in our lives who perpetuate rape culture and degrade women? No. But I can appreciate the men out there who are willing to hear the opinions and the perspectives of women, and then consider their own thoughts and actions. I don’t think any man deserves an award for simply listening, but during a time when it seems so rare, it turns out that it really does make a difference."
Alyssa Bailey, 27, Associate News Editor, ELLE.com

"Before the Harvey Weinstein allegations broke—and opened the floodgates about the systemic sexual assault and harassment plaguing so many industries—dating in New York City taught me that this was how the world works.

To be safe, you must follow the rules: Don’t leave your drink unattended or accept a drink from man, because he may roofie it. Don’t make eye contact with the guy who catcalls you on the street—he’ll just see it as an invitation to talk to you. Remember that creepy old doorman who tried to ask you out after seeing you pass his building on your way to the gym each morning? You haven’t forgotten how uncomfortable that made you feel, and it’s been months.

But above all, don’t, absolutely don’t go back with a guy to his apartment unless you want to engage in some sort of sexual activity—especially with the guy you only went on two dates with who said you would just watch a movie. It wasn’t just a movie, and he didn’t respect “No” when you gently, but firmly, said it.

I didn’t know it was sexual assault. I was in my early twenties and thought it was just another twentysomething guy acting like a twentysomething guy, trying to get laid. He didn’t rape me, so I didn’t think it was serious or that anyone else would. I left his place feeling numb and like some life had been drained out of me. But I took the subway home, went jogging the next morning, and life went on. I didn’t talk about it and continued going on dates with different guys. No real damage done, I figured. I’ll just never put myself in that situation again.

Two years later, I was at home around Christmas, telling a longtime guy friend about a friend whose boyfriend had done a similar thing. It was disturbing and seemed wrong, I said. "Alyssa, that’s because it is. He sexually assaulted her," he said matter of factly.

"Sexual assault? Do we have to use that term? It seems so heavy," I replied, not wanting think about my own experience.

"Yeah," he replied firmly. "Because that’s what it is. I’m going to call it what it is."

"Oh," I had the sinking feeling he was right. "Then I’ve been sexually assaulted too…"

A little more than a year later, it would finally sink in this wasn’t just happening to me or my friend. I opened my Facebook, saw the "#metoo" hashtag all over my newsfeed, and saw everyone I knew.

"What are the consequences for straight twentysomething guys who assault girls on dates?" I’d ask my friends in the weeks to come. They don’t have power. They don’t have influence yet. They can’t lose their job like Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, or Weinstein. They aren’t likely to be publicly shamed or even privately. And it isn’t like the court system makes it easy to prove even rape. This is how the world works, "and how the fuck am I supposed to date earnestly when this is what we’re dealing with?" I’d ask my friends and myself.

I’m still trying. And it’s a strange place to be in, gutted and disgusted reading every sexual assault headline. With every new story, I feel a little bit of what I felt that night, and rage burns in me that anything worse happened to anyone else. That it has so many times. (And I'm not alone in having that kind of reaction. News like that is psychologically triggering.)

Then I turn off my computer, turn around, and go on a seventh date with one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met off an app. We’re just walking around Brooklyn, and I like him! my heart says. But can I trust him or anyone? He’s a good guy, but aren’t all men monsters?

The guys I’ve been dating recently—the only kind I will date now—are the ones who will do what you’re supposed to: ask for consent always, with anything, each time. I demand it or I won’t see them again. Easy come, easy go; that’s dating app world.

I’ve told all the guys I’ve gone on dates with recently about my assault—how that makes me much more hesitant to do anything physical too fast. They’ve actually been really nice about it. One kissed my hand. Another called me brave. None of them shamed me or accused me of provoking the guy; all acted appalled by it, the way anyone should."

Friday, May 25, 2018

Coping With Side Effects of Depression Treatment

If you are being treated for moderate to severe depression, a doctor or psychiatrist has probably prescribed an antidepressant medication for you. When they work properly, they help to relieve symptoms and, along with other approaches such as talk therapy, are an important part of treatment.

One way antidepressants work is by altering the balance of certain chemicals in your brain. And, as with all medicines, this change can cause side effects. Some, like jitteriness, weird dreams, dry mouth, and diarrhea typically go away after a week or two -- if they don’t, it’s probably best to switch to another drug. Others, like decreased sexual desire, may last longer.

Not everyone has the same side effects. And a particular antidepressant doesn’t cause the same side effects in all people. Many things, including your genetic makeup or existing health conditions, can affect the way you respond to taking an antidepressant.

It’s important to keep track of side effects and discuss them with your doctor. Together, you and your doctor can safely manage your antidepressants so they work with minimal side effects.
Continue Reading Below
you might like
Common Side Effects of Antidepressants

Antidepressants can sometimes cause a wide range of unpleasant side effects, including:

    increased appetite and weight gain
    loss of sexual desire and other sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction and decreased orgasm
    fatigue and drowsiness
    dry mouth
    blurred vision

Antidepressants and Sexual Problems

One of the more common “though not frequently talked about” side effects is decreased interest in sex or decreased ability to have an orgasm. As many as half the patients who get SSRIs report a sex-related symptom, says Bradley N. Gaynes, MD, MPH, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina.

One way to address such symptoms is to add a different type of antidepressant or even a medication for erectile dysfunction, Gaynes says. But it’s also possible that switching to another antidepressant will make these symptoms go away. Never stop taking the antidepressant without discussing it with your doctor. Stopping abruptly could cause serious withdrawal-like problems.