Friday, January 13, 2012

5 Sex Topics You and Your Partner Must Discuss

By Charli Penn

Is your relationship heading to the next level? Or, maybe things have just been a bit underwhelming between the sheets? When you and your partner become intimate, ultimately great sex is the goal -- we get that. But before you hit the lights there are a few topics the two of you should cover, together, if you want to minimize your chances of an awkward moment in bed. Knowing each other’s desires, preferences, and sexual past is key in starting things off on the right foot. Here’s some great advice from two of our favorite sexperts on how to get there.

Talk Fantasies, Fetishes, and Desires
Before you laugh, listen up. “Couples should definitely discuss fantasies and fetishes,” says Abiola Abrams, sex and relationships guru and creator of Abiola's Passionista Playbook. “When you’re in the bed it may be too surprising to spring your furry fetish on your partner at that moment. Things like oils and lotions and potions are pretty standard. Those don’t really require discussion. But if you are a bondage queen or secret dominatrix, give your partner a heads up.”

It’s not uncommon for many men and women to feel embarrassed when the topic of pleasure toys comes up, but Twanna A. Hines, sex educator, and founder of, says they can be the cure for a sex life that’s gone stale. "Toys aren't just for tots,” she tells us. “Especially in long-term relationships, sex can begin to feel routine. From simple lotions to furry handcuffs, fun accessories help turn the heat up."

Never underestimate your lover’s bedroom interests. "When people say 'sex,' they often think of vaginal intercourse,” says Hines. “Anal and oral sex also count. Are you game for all three? Is your partner? Discussing what's on the table when it comes to sex helps clarify boundaries."

Discuss Your Sexual History and Future Plans
Remember in high school sex ed class when your teacher warned that when you have sex with someone, you’re having sex with everyone they’ve ever had sex with? As disgusting as it sounded back then, the truth is, they were right. “You need to know a person’s sexual history upfront – diseases, genders of partners, and testing history,” says Abrams. “If someone has not clearedSTD testing within the past six months then their results are not current.”

Don’t leave it up to your partner to look out for your best interests. Hines reminds us that the job is yours and yours alone. Be proactive, always. "Your sexual health is your responsibility,” she cautions. “What you don't know might harm you.”

It’s okay to start fresh together. Abrams insists that the experience can be more beneficial than you might expect and “when you two go and get tested together it can be an awkwardly fun adventure.” It’s certainly one that ends with you both feeling great about having a clean slate and putting your health first – essentially a win-win situation.

Family planning is also an important part of any pre-sex discussion, and Hines suggests you also “talk to your partner about using birth control methods too.” Nothing is more uncomfortable than dealing with an unplanned pregnancy before either of you are truly ready to become parents.

Make Sure You’re Exclusive
Could your lover have another? Like it or not, not everyone’s definition of a committed relationship is the same. Hines cautions women to never assume exclusivity in a sexual relationship.  She suggests being upfront and asking your partner if they’re dating or married to someone else. "Having straight-forward conversations about whether or not you're sexually exclusive reduces confusion,” adds Hines.

Swap Calendars
You like it in the mornings, but they‘re more of a night owl. You’re comfortable having sex three times a week, but your partner’s more like a three-times-a-month guy. Abrams says knowing and sharing your sex schedules is the key to a successful and rewarding sex life you’ll both be proud of. “Your sexual calendars can be different. You can be on different sexual frequencies. This is good to know because a nighttime person can take a morning sex rejection personally, but he needs to know that at night you turn into a vixen.”

Be Open About Your Sexual Secrets
Sexual history is important and sometimes it includes more than test results and exposure to STDs. “Unfortunately a large percentage of African American woman and men have experienced different forms of sexual trauma and abuse,” says Abrams. “In order to have healthy sexual expression in the bedroom, it’s a good idea that partners are honest about what has happened to them. The good, the bad, and the ugly.” 

But how do you approach such a touchy subject, you’re wondering? “It’s best for partners to initiate this conversation one-on-one in private, out of the bedroom, in a safe space,” advises Abrams. “You can begin by letting your partner know that you have something serious to discuss with them and that you feel uncomfortable about the conversation but want to be honest. Acknowledging the discomfort is always helpful in any serious conversation.” 

Do your best to push past the awkwardness and get through your story. The conversation will bring you closer. Still unsure? “If you feel uncomfortable having sexual conversations or revealing your sexual past then you shouldn’t be having sex with them,” warns Abrams.

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Girl's Best Friend: Where Have All the Gentleman Gone?

By Nathan Hale Williams

Last night, one of my sister-friends took my friends and I out to dinner. She was the only female at our table of five. Normally, I would feel very uncomfortable about this – a table full of guys and the woman pays – but thankfully, she owns the restaurant so it was no big deal. That said, you might call me old fashioned, but I it got me to thinking. I just don’t understand the whole concept of going “Dutch,” on dates, especially first dates.

Another one of my sister-friends called me this week flabbergasted. She’d gone out with a guy for dinner and he suggested that they “split the bill.” Granted, my sister-friend does very well for herself, but the guy she went out with has a good job too. More importantly, he asked her out on the date. I totally understood why she was upset – her date didn’t get it.

SOUND OFF: Why Should Men Pay for the First Date?

Yes, I know we’re in new age times when it comes to dating and sisters are doing it for themselves. But there are just certain things that shouldn’t change. In any man’s company, my mother will wait at a door until it is opened for her. She quietly demands it and I respect her for it. Often, I say to my sister-friends, “Don’t touch that door, I got it.” I was taught to be a gentleman and I don’t think that diminishes a woman’s independence.

My sister-friend’s date argued that since women were “liberated” in so many respects these days it was completely acceptable for him to ask her to split the check. “That’s some bull [crap],” I said. As she told me, this is the same guy that said, “[He] was looking for a woman who could cook as good as his momma.” And, he couldn’t pay for dinner. It was a hypocritical double standard to say the least.

I sincerely believe that you get the respect you demand. So, I applauded my sister-friend for refusing to go “Dutch” and insisting that he pay for the meal. After which, she not so politely told him to lose her number. Good for her! Yet, it got me to thinking, ‘How many women hadn’t been so resolute and pulled out their wallets to pay?’ I imagine that had happened before and there’d been some women that had continued to date this jerk.

DATING HORROR STORY: He Stole Our Dinner  

Yes, women have come a long way from bare foot, pregnant and in the kitchen. With that said, there should still be a level of chivalry in dating between a man and a woman. If a guy is not on his very best behavior from the outset then, it’s only going downhill from there. He should be bending over backwards trying to impress you – including wining and dining you. In my book, that is the bare minimum. And no, dinner is not an entitlement to sex, even if you did order the Surf & Turf.

Men will try to get away with whatever they can. I’m a man and I admit this! I do think too many women have let men get away with way too much. All the news reports and ‘studies’ have you lowering your expectations and standards. Stop it! Right now! You deserve better! You deserve to be treated like a lady regardless of your title at work. And so, the next time some guy suggests you ‘split it,’ tell him “Dutch is for Amsterdam,” and scram!

Wishing you love and ceaseless joy! 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

10 Things You Must Do After a Breakup Read more: How To Survive a Breakup - Things To Do After a Breakup - Cosmopolitan

Katy Perry seems to be moving on from her divorce from Russell Brand, but that doesn’t make the sting of their breakup hurt any less. While we were mourning the demise of our favorite rocker couple, we spoke with relationship therapist Rachel A. Sussman, author of The Breakup Bible, for her tips on how regular girls can survive a split like a, uh, rock star.


Strip Your Sheets.
Buying all new bedding gets rid of bad bedroom energy from your room and helps you start fresh, says Sussman.

Get sweaty.
Pump your mood with a Zumba or boot camp class at your gym, then switch to yoga or Pilates at night to help you relax. And consider the amazing body you'll have in a few short weeks.

Indulge at the makeup counter.
Updating your look helps you feel sexy and desirable again, says Sussman. While the perfect smoky eye may not heal a broken heart, it's bound to keep you from crying for a while.

Obsess over the breakup…for 15 minutes.
"Obsessing over something is actually the natural way our brains deal with change," says Sussman. So let yourself freak out for a little bit. Scheduling times when you're allowed to think about it in a healthy way will let you gain control over the situation.

Go on a 30-day cleanse.
No, we're not talking about a crazy juice diet. Instead of swearing off solid foods, vow to not have any contact with your ex for 30 days. "You'll get over it faster with zero contact," says Sussman. "And you're proving to yourself that you can survive without him."

Hit Delete.
Spying on him will only make things worse, so cover all of your tech bases. Unfriend him, unfollow him, and delete him from your chat list. You don't want a pop-up reminder of your relationship every time you sign on.

Let your friends know what you need.
Whether you want to go out for a round of cocktails or are swearing off men until 2013, make sure your friends are clear on how they can help you deal. (Because if you really just want to chill solo, that Single Girls Night Out they're planning to revive your spirit is really gonna suck.)

Boost your ego.
Doing something a little scary that you've never done before—like speed dating, learning to snowboard, or following a recipe sans photos (not that that scares us or anything)—will give you a confidence kick like no other, says Sussman. Completing just one difficult task will help remind you that you're pretty damn awesome.

Have face time with a furry friend.
"Research shows that interacting with animals can help you heal emotionally," says Sussman. Since you don't want to make any huge commitments after a breakup, try volunteering at an animal shelter or walking a vacationing friend's dog for a weekend.

Take a fabulous trip.
"So many of my patients felt that they could finally travel after a big breakup," says Sussman. "But the key is not to go too soon. You need to give yourself time to feel like crap before you can truly enjoy a getaway."

The Dating Game: When's the Right Time for Sex?

Experts discuss the consequences of not playing by your own dating rules.
 By Elizabeth Heubeck

Whether you're new to the dating scene, a regular player, or jumping back into the game after a long hiatus, the same questions about dating rules apply: How soon do you lean over for that first kiss? Is it too early for a steamy make-out session? And last -- but by no means least -- how do you know when the time is right for sex?

 "There's really no formula that I've encountered," says 28-year-old Andrew Reymer, a single resident of Baltimore, Maryland. "It depends on how rapidly or slowly things progress."

Joan Allen, a relationship expert, finds that baby boomers are far more likely to wait to have sex than younger daters.

"Especially among older people who went through the sexual revolution, with maturity they realize there are emotional consequences for getting involved in a sexual relationship," says Allen, author of Celebrating Single and Getting Love Right: From Stalemate to Soulmate.

According to the singles whom Allen has encountered, boomers generally play by far different dating rules than young, 20-something daters.

"I spoke with a young man in his early to mid-20s who told me that if he didn't have sex on the first or second night, he'd move on to the next person," she recalls.

While you can't apply a one-size-fits-all response to sexual dating rules regardless of age or experience, professionals who have studied the topic say it is a good idea to develop a set of prudent dating rules - before the big date.

Dating Rules: Why Wait?

By and large, Allen and other relationship experts endorse a cautious approach to the dating rules of sex.

"My advice is this: wait as long as you can," Allen says.

Her rationale for these dating rules may seem obvious, but many people tend to forget in the heat of the moment. "You might find that you don't even like the person," Allen tells WebMD.

Other experts agree that sex too-soon can lead to undesirable consequences.

"It becomes much more difficult to objectively see each other's character traits" says Susanne Alexander, a relationship coach and author of Can We Dance? Learning the Steps for a Fulfilling Relationship. "Some couples then slide into engagement and marriage only to discover they have missed seeing major aspects of each other." 

Dating Rules: Talk First, Act Later

While not every dating scenario that involves sex leads to marriage or even a serious relationship, couples do owe it to themselves to talk about where they see their relationship going and how sex might change the relationship -- before they get in bed together.

"There needs to be a conversation up front. The woman may assume sex implies a commitment; the man may not see it that way," Allen tells WebMD.

Dating Rules: Talk It Over with Yourself First

Having an honest conversation with yourself about sex is just as important as discussing it with your partner, experts say.

"Every woman and man should know their boundaries before they start dating, and most of us don't," says Cheryl McClary, PhD, JD, professor of women's health at University of North Carolina-Asheville.

When McClary refers to boundaries, she's not talking just about the physical boundaries that come with sexual territory. She's also referring to emotional boundaries.

"Emotional wholeness is crucial to the decision process of whether or not to have sex," McClary tells WebMD.

To that end, McClary often tells women, "If you value a committed relationship, ask yourself, 'What do I need to do to stay emotionally whole?'"

When directing her advice on dating rules to a male audience, McClary puts things a little differently. "Make sure your brain, heart, and penis are in conjunction -- they should all be in a straight line before you have sex," she says.

McClary believes all daters should invest the same amount of time conducting these 'self' conversations about personal dating rules as they do primping before a big date. She also says the conversation, like the primping, should happen at the same time -- before that big date.

"Think about your sexual boundaries before you've had that first drink," McClary advises.

Dating Rules: Practical Matters

Once you've decided what you want out of a date, say experts, you should make it part of your regular dating rules to tell your partner.

"If you just want a one-night stand, you owe it to your partner to tell them 'it's just sex I'm after,'" McClary tells WebMD. While a dating partner may not welcome this news, it at least can minimize later disappointments.

So, too, does an up-front conversation about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

"The risks of STDS have got to be discussed and prevented from spreading," Allen tells WebMD. "I say definitely use condoms, even if you're in a committed relationship," she adds.

Concern about STDs and unwanted pregnancies can help create sexual boundaries, believes McClary. If, for instance, you're on the fence about whether or not to take sexual activity to the next level, a healthy dose of fear may cause you to pause, particularly if you're not prepared to take the necessary precautions. Plus, not having adequately prepared for these practical aspects of sex may signal an overall non-readiness to engage in it.

At some point during their courtship, many dating couples decide its time to break down initial boundaries -- be they emotional, physical, or both -- and engage in a sexual relationship. If both people are playing by the same dating rules, sex can serve as the gateway to a consensual, committed relationship.

"I thought there were differences between men and women and how they felt about relationships. But overall, I have found that very often they want the same thing," Allen says.


Wishing On A Star

Atlantic Starr - Wishing On A St...

I'm wishing on a starTo follow where you areI'm wishing on a dreamTo follow what it meansI'm wishing on a starTo follow where you areI'm wishing on a dreamTo follow what it meansAnd I wish on all the rainbows that I seeI wish on all the people who really dreamAnd I'm wishing on tomorrow, praying it'll comesAnd I'm wishing on all the lovin' we've ever doneI never thought I'd seeA time when you would beSo far away from homeSo far away from meJust think of all the moments that we'd spentI just can't let you go, for me you were meantAnd I didn't mean to hurt you, but I knowThat in the game of love you reap what you sowI feel it's time we should make up, babyI feel it's time for us to get back togetherAnd make the best of things, oh, babyWhen we're together, whether or neverI feel it's time we should make up, babyI feel it's time for us to get back togetherAnd make the best of things, oh, babyWhen we're together, whether or neverI'm wishing on a starTo follow where you areI'm wishing on a dreamTo follow what it meansAnd I wish on all the rainbows that I seeI wish on all the people we've ever beenAnd I'm hopin' on all the days to come and days to goAnd I'm hopin' on days of lovin' you soI'm wishing on a starTo follow where you areI'm wishing on a starOh...oh...oh...And I wish on all the rainbows that I seeI'm wishing on a starTo follow where you areI'm wishing on a starAnd I wish on all the rainbows that I seeI'm wishing on a starTo follow where you areI'm wishing on a starOh...oh...ah...ah...I'm wishing on a star, oh...oh...To follow where you areI'm wishing on a star, babyTo follow wherever you might beWishing in a star, oh...oh...To follow where you are, oh...oh...ah...ah

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Player's Top 5 Conquests

By The Player

  • What You Need To Know
  • You have to use a different approach for every type of girl.
  • Every girl can be a conquest if you use the Player's technique.
  • The Player's conquests are enviable, but every man can have similar success.

  • She was a living, breathing minefield. I had to tread carefully.
    In most any discipline, track records dictate a person’s overall level of success. And when I look back at a career of memorable conquests, humiliating rejections (any secure, mature Player will admit to these) and countless experiences, I try to focus on the positives. I try to look back on my best moments with a wistful grin and a tingling of the spine. Though one must always attempt to reach higher and strive for even more fulfilling accomplishments, this list will be tough to beat. Ranging from the surprisingly unforgettable to the torrid, mind-blowing encounters that brand you forever, the Player’s Top 5 Conquests is indeed enviable. And if you wish to make similar conquests, read up on how to score some of the most difficult  yet most fulfilling targets.

    The Moody Woman

    The Conquered
    After watching her for several weekends at one of the less-frequented caf├ęs in the downtown area, I settled on her type: It was the don’t-anybody-talk-to-me type. Jet black hair, a slim, taut frame, piercing green eyes, and a peculiar look etched in her sharp, boldly attractive features. That look would be intimidating to anyone, even the Player. The challenge would lie in breaking through that barrier. She was a living, breathing minefield. I had to tread carefully.

    Veni, Vidi, Vici
    If you ever come across women like this, quickly become the most patient, sensitive human alive. She might be lonely and the aforementioned wall is keeping her from experiencing life to the fullest, so you should subtly take this angle. It’s not a bad idea to use a mirroring technique as well: She isn’t likely to respond to a familiar, easy grin and a forward style. Even risk appearing a little shy, as it might show her that such an off-putting personality is a little uncomfortable. Girls don’t like to be off-putting, regardless of their type, and this particular girl will likely become a tigress if you can expose her soft core. I managed to do just that, and “satisfying” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

    The Gold Digger

    The Conquered
    Oh, we all know the type in question. “No Ferrari? Why are you still talking to me?” You will usually find these girls on the West Coast, and when I spotted one such platinum blonde gold digger at a club in L.A. a few months ago, it wasn’t hard to peg her as one of the “unapproachables.” I do well for myself, but my rented car wouldn’t suffice and neither would the rest of my bank account. The problem with these girls is obvious: They’ve made money the acme of a happy existence, and unless they have the jewelry and the pool, they feel incomplete. The guy has become secondary -- merely a means to an end. Hence, it’s tough to overcome with attraction skills alone.

    Read on for the Player's techniques for conquering gold diggers, older women and more...

    She wants the guy who can make her squeal for hours on end.

    Veni, Vidi, Vici
    There’s good news for all you pick-up artists out there who aren’t seeking anything permanent. Those looking for commitments need to view the gold digger as an unattainable trophy wife -- one who won’t accept any ring on her finger that can’t choke a lion. But, hey, you know what? When such a possibility is null and void, the woman lurking beneath the money-seeking party girl makes an appearance, and she doesn’t want the saggy, shapeless rich guy for only one night. She wants the guy who can make her squeal for hours on end. Just make this plain right up front, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly she might respond.

    The Older Woman

    The Conquered
    There are seemingly ageless women out there who can compete with ladies half their age. I remember one in particular: A 32-year-old bombshell that became the center of attention at a club. See, I was only 23 at the time -- a mere Player in training -- and the intimidation factor was high. The reason why older women can prove challenging is simply because of their experience, maturity and self-confidence. They also tend to believe younger guys don’t deserve their attention, simply because they don’t have much on the ball. The one I'm speaking of dismissed most every 20-something around her with that “you can’t handle me” demeanor. It’s not an easy approach.

    Veni, Vidi, Vici
    There’s only one thing you need to battle the age gap: Confidence with a capital “C.” It’s the one trait mature ladies will almost always respond to, provided you don’t trip over the fine line into cockiness. Cockiness is a huge turnoff for most women over the age of 30, but if you can master a simple confidence that conveys the correct message, some of the best sex in history is nigh. It will take some time, though, so prepare for a marathon rather than a sprint. The older woman requires more proof of a man’s quality and you just can’t rush that decision. Keep at her throughout the night and keep maintaining that outward calm but clear interest and indicate you’ve bagged your fair share of such quality.
    Read on to learn how to conquer the shy girl...

    It’s always sweeter when you have to work for it.

    The Shy Girl

    The Conquered
    Although it isn’t normal for the hottest chick in a group to be the shyest and most soft-spoken, that situation does occur. The problem is that you never find such girls alone, and their friends are extra protective due to their vulnerability. That gaggle of hens can give you fits; they can erect an impassable wall between you and your luscious target, and you will never pass with posturing, cockiness or any other standard pick-up tricks. In fact, such behavior will only cause those hens to clamp down tighter, and their beautiful shy friend won’t even get a chance to see your face. But when I saw her daintily sipping her drink in the middle of her friends, I just knew I needed her.

    Veni, Vidi, Vici
    First step: Deal with those friends. They can’t be bypassed, so just accept it. Don’t make any overt moves in the direction of their adopted daughter; embrace the whole group, and prove you’re a decent human being. Let them see you harbor no ill intentions and would never dream of infringing upon her precious purity. You’re not “that guy.” You’re interested in getting to know the shy girl, of course, but you respect the protection and are willing to take the necessary steps to gain entrance. Then, once you’re in, just be careful and err on the side of friendship at first. A bit of gentle prodding, and you might just unleash the wild woman within.

    Speaking of the aforementioned "conquered," I’ve seen her recently with that same group of friends. She has moved up in the ranks and is far more receptive and open. Guess I did that.

    It Takes Technique

    It’s always sweeter when you have to work for it. Some girls are easily taken and easily discarded, but in truth, they don’t mean very much. They’ve never meant much to the Player, which is why he always embraces significant challenges. He does this because he knows the payoff will be a great deal more satisfying, so don’t shy away from the types of women you see here. They’re gettable, I promise.

    Read more:

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