Monthly Archives: February 2013

In Attendance: the first function where your ex brings his new love

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Jessica Chastain as Celia Foote in the film version of THE HELP

Jessica Chastain as Celia Foote in the film version of
THE HELP

I am about to experience one of the most challenging situations a single, divorced woman can face:

Attending the first event where the ex brings their new significant other.

When I fist got *H2’s email informing me that “Girlfriend” would be attending an event I would also be attending, (Yes, he delivered the information by email rather than in person or over the phone because that is the sort of person he is -which explains a lot.) I was astonished.  Firstly, because the last time we talked about Girlfriend they had broken up so I was broadsided by the mere mention of her presence in his life.  Although his relationship status is really none of my business, it does affect our daughter and how relationships are interpreted particularly if she will be associating with any significant others.  In other words, it is helpful for me to know what is going on so I can be the best support for out daughter I can be.  She may have questions that need answering and it is ideal to be prepared.

Secondly, this will be the first time Girlfriend and I have attended the same social function.

Following astonishment, I experienced anger, dismay, amusement and maybe, just maybe, a pinch of jealousy culminating in one giant, “Are you kidding me?” sort of reaction.  Naturally, I did some research to determine which of these feelings were normal in this situation and which were unique to me.  According to Cathy Meyer for About.com in an article titled, Tips to Help You Process Negative Emotions When Your Ex-Spouse Starts Dating, I learned that most of what I felt was normal. Jealousy and feelings of betrayal are described by Meyer as par for the course.  People with a long history of being together sort of get it stuck somewhere that this person belongs to them in a way.  Seeing them with someone else triggers those old perceptions which then need to be dealt with properly.  Dealing with them includes recognizing that the relationship you had cannot be duplicated because each couple is special because people bring different characteristics. Once you can remember what was special then you can remember why it didn’t work, focus on being your best self and living your life to its fullest potential.  Let it go.

I was able to process all of that fairly quickly (a matter of a few hours) then came the part that was a tad more challenging.  The event Girlfriend has chosen to attend is a charity function I am organizing for our daughter’s school (to clarify, the child of H2). H2, who lives in another city about 110 miles away is playing a key role in the production of this huge event and will be working long hours before, during and following the event.  Girlfriend will be coming from at least the same distance and a different city, I assume is expecting to spend time with H2.  H2 and I will be working many hours together in a manner in which we are accustomed which does not include Girlfriend.  We will be relating to each other in a way that might, on the surface, be threatening to Girlfriend who has let loose her insecurity of her status with H2 more than once in the form of verbal abuse towards me.

Personally, if I were going to be at a function with my date’s ex present for the first time, I would choose a different sort of occasion. Walking into a room full of strangers, far away from my support group, on the other woman’s turf when she is a focal point of attention and my date will be distracted by his job throughout the evening seems like the recipe for a rough emotional ride. Something smaller and more intimate representing more neutral turf would be a better choice in my opinion. Of course, if I were driving over 100 miles to visit with my sweetie after not seeing him for weeks I would want to know that we were spending the whole time together rather than a few short hours -but hey, that’s me.

Post astonishment and brief personal processing, my concern went to the quality of the event and H2’s commitment to supporting the school.  I responded to his email with my concern asking if he felt he could be focused and committed to the task at hand while Girlfriend, was chomping at the bit to spend time with him.  He failed to comment.

It then occurred to me (and here is where the amusement came in) that Girlfriend likes to drink (At least that is my impression after a string of FB messages she sent to me full of slanderous pot shots followed by a half- assed apology claiming she was drunk at the time which was then followed by another string of crazy rantings when I failed to immediately respond. I have since blocked her.) and H2 likes to spend money.  This is a charity event and the success of it hinges on people who like to spend money.  People are more likely to spend money when they are drunk so they are likely to be great contributors to the bottom line.

I emailed him again something to this effect:

Of course,Girlfriend is welcomed to come. Please make sure she has lots of cash for drinks and raffle tickets and access to your bidder number for the Silent and Live auctions.

I feel really good now.  Confident and easeful. I am moving on, making the best of my life by helping to make this fundraiser I am chairing a success, happy that he will be happy enjoying this event the way he likes without me bitching about how much he spent the next day because as long as he is paying support and his life insurance it is non of my business how he spends his money any longer.

Plus someone drinking under the kind of pressure that Girlfriend will be under at such a function may offer some priceless moments like the scene in The Help where Celia Foote gets trashed at the society event and barfs at a key moment.

I give myself permission to step back and enjoy the show without expectation or attachment.  It feels liberating.

Another hurdle overcome.

One more step in the direction of my own happiness.

 

 

*H2 = Ex-husband #2

 

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Do You Need A Reason For Buying Sex Toys?

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Dear Readers,

Today’s post is a contribution from Walker Thornton, a sister writer/blogger who writes about relationships also.  She has done a lot of research on the topic at hand and has graciously agreed to join in the fun for this series.  I met her while be photographed for The Eleanor Project (click here for more information), a blog dedicated to changing the perception of what is beautiful started by writer/blogger Jennifer McDonald and photographer/blogger, Terry Beigie.  To learn more about Walker and her blog, A Woman’s Page, click here.

Enjoy!

Do You Need a  Reason For Buying Sex Toys?

Sexual desire is a natural, healthy and delicious thing. Whether you’re in a relationship or single, 20 or 70—sexuality is still a vital part of who you are as a person. How you define sexuality and what you do to enhance your sex life is a personal matter.

Our culture is obsessed with sex. Yet we don’t talk about sex in a matter-of-fact, healthy way, leaving many people feeling confused or out of touch with their own feelings.

How do we learn? How do we communicate our sexual desires to a partner? And, how do we safely and comfortably incorporate a sexual practice in our lives?

This is where sex toys come in! What better way to kick start your sexual practice, solo or otherwise, into high gear than to buy a sex toy….or two.  Need a reason to buy one for yourself or a partner? I’ve got a few thoughts and justifications (as if we need a justification to feel good? ) for starting or adding to your toy collection:

  1. The experience of sexual pleasure makes us feel good. It energizes us.
  2. Sexual health is important for women of all ages, particularly women approaching menopause. As delicate vaginal tissues dry up women are more susceptible to tearing and painful intercourse.  Vaginal atrophy (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vaginal-atrophy/DS00770) is unpleasant and painful.  Sexual stimulation of any sort promotes lubrication and  helps keep vaginal tissues supple.
  3. Low sex drive? Don’t feel sexy? One of the best ways to enhance sexual responsiveness is by learning your body’s hot spots. Experiment with fingers and sex toys to discover what feels good to you. The very act of thinking about sex and expressing yourself sexually leads to heightened awareness and desire. Once you understand what turns you on, you can guide your partner to bring you both greater satisfaction.
  4. Single? A good vibrator or dildo, depending on your preference, is just as good and sometimes better than sex with a partner.  There’s no need to assume that sexual satisfaction must be tied to intimacy with another person.
  5. Both men and women benefit from bringing sex toys into the bedroom. They add a spark to your intimate moments, reviving a boring or dying sex life and are just…plain good fun.

As a woman you will enjoy better sex when you understand your body and how it responds to touch.  Many women get into the trap of assuming a man should know how to satisfy her. But, the truth is that men aren’t taught about the female anatomy. You need to know what arouses you in order to help him. Having an orgasm is not as easy and spontaneous as it looks on the movies. And, many women have never experienced one.  The key is to open yourself up to sexual pleasure—all alone—and with a partner. Using a vibrator is one way to increase your capacity for sexual satisfaction.

How Do I Know Which Sex Toy to Buy?

  • Do you want a toy for couples’ sex or for solo pleasuring? A dildo or a complex, vaginal/clitoral toy is a little cumbersome to use while you’re having sex. A small vibrator can be used in conjunction w/ fingers, tongue or penetration. Think about how you plan to use your new toy.
  • If you want to enhance your ability to have an orgasm, you might prefer one type of toy to another. Choose a toy designed to stimulate the clit.
  • If you’re new to sex toys start simple. I don’t recommend the rabbit-type toy, for example. The little rabbit ears are supposed to flutter around your clitoris, while the main shaft is inserted vaginally. Personally, this toy requires too much positioning to get the rabbit ears in the right spot—it’s distracting.

There are local sex shops and online sites where you find an array of toys. One of my favorites is Good Vibrations (link: www.goodvibes.com) . You can search their site for products, how-to articles and helpful tips. Babeland and EdenFantasys are other reputable, mainstream sites.

If you’re female, inviting your guy to shop with you for toys is pretty sexy! It can be a great way to start talking about your sex life. Guys, buying her a sexy toy would bring you both pleasure, just don’t go hardcore unless you know her preferences.

Sex toys add an exciting dimension to any sexual relationship. Use them to increase desire, as foreplay or incorporated into sex to focus on the clit, create fantasy play (think handcuffs, blindfolds), or to jazz up a lazy Sunday afternoon when you’re all alone and feeling sexy!

You might enjoy my article, A Vibrator Primer (http://www.awomanspage.com/day-22-awaken-embrace-ignite-a-vibrator-primer/ )

Inspired by The Rocky Horror Show, Again

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Dear Readers,

I started writing this story over the summer and got busy and forgot about it.  Now that I have past the anniversary of my celibacy, I decided that this topic warranted further  exploration.  I enjoyed what I wrote for the original release so I decided rather than trashing it or waiting until next summer, I would go ahead and write this little preamble and go with what I had already written.  The research is current work, however – “wink”.

Below is the story I started last summer and plan to report on in the coming weeks.

Enjoy.

 

The Cast of last summer's Rocky Horror Show at the Firehouse Theatre Project in Richmond, Va.

The Cast of last summer’s Rocky Horror Show at the Firehouse Theatre Project in Richmond, Va.

I may choose to regale you with further summer romance stories later because my history with boys of summer is a hot one.  Well, at least they were all HOT (the summers and the boys).  But for now I am going to explore a topic inspired by Jase Smith’s production of THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW which opens this Thursday at The Firehouse Theatre Project in Richmond, Virginia.

I was fortunate enough to be enlisted by STYLE WEEKLY to write a pre-story on the show and spend some time with Jase and Terence Sullivan (who plays Frank N. Furter in the show) and watch a rehearsal a few weeks back.  Over a delectable brunch at The Mill in Richmond’s Northside, Jase shared his vision for updating the show.  He thinks that RHS has lost some of its message as it has become more campy than shocking over the years.  So to shoot some life back into the story, he has decided to set the action in a sex club rather than a castle.  The cast costumed in S&M garb and there is a lot of bondage action going on.

The film version, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, is one of the most influential films of my life. (I know, it is such an odd choice compared to loftier pics like 8 1/2 or CITIZEN KANE  but stay with me here.)  I was a tender 15 when my RHPS cherry was popped, a place in my life where I was in great emotional conflict over my sexuality.  I attended a very uptight conservative school where the girls and boys were separated.  The big social  message in the girl’s school was “You remain a virgin until you are married or you are a slut.” and it was a battle to keep your reputation spotless in order to remain accepted by the group.

BUT…

My hormones were coursing through me like a herd of wild mustangs spooked by a coyote and I just didn’t know what to do with these intensely mixed messages.

Then

This guy I was sweet on took me to see the film.  I was instantly drawn in by the interaction of the crowd.  The theatre ran the fire sprinklers during “There’s A Light” the scene where it rains on Brad and Janet baptizing them before entering Frank’s castle.  The guy playing Eddie in the live re-enacting cast rode through the theatre on a real Harley Davidson.  And of course there was rice and toast and hotdogs and cards thrown at the appropriate times.  But the film changed my life when Brad, Janet, Rocky, Columbia and Frank end up in the pool in a pleasurable group grope all dolled up in their bustiers and fishnets and sang “Don’t Dream It, Be It”.  Those words echoed through my head and somehow sent me the message that it is OK to want sex but most importantly, it is OK to enjoy sex.

I did NOT run out and loose my virginity at that time but a switch was flipped and when the time came I was excited and guiltless about it.

The good news is that I still enjoy sex.  The bad news is that I currently lack a suitable sexual partner.  (Note: this is a statement of fact, not an invitation.)

So Jase and the Richmond RHS cast in addition to some readers have encouraged me to do a little research and learn more about what toys are available for people who are taking their sex life into their own hands so to speak.

Please know that I will be interviewing some people on this topic and reporting back what I learn – after I check with wordpress to make sure it is OK to talk about this stuff on a blog.

This could take a little time as I am working on a formidable project right now so please be patient.  In the mean time if you have any specific questions or topics you would like to suggest for research, feel free to suggest away.

Men to Avoid: Guys who go to strip clubs

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Burlesque celebrates feminin sexuality.

Burlesque celebrates feminin sexuality.

A good friend gave me a fun read recently, Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman. I must admit that I fail to agree with all of Moran’s musings on a definition for modern feminism but I did get some good laughs.  Moran earned my nod of approval in her chapter titled, I Go Lap Dancing. Via a witty recount of a night she went to a high end strip club, Spearmint Rhino, in the mid-90’s with another female journalist to conduct research for a story and gulp down free champagne.

Moran points out in her story that strip clubs are depressing places and she is right.  As part of a social experiment when I was in college, I went with my male friend JB to a small strip club in the afternoon.  He wanted to see if the men in the club would behave differently with a “regular” woman in the club. They did, according to him, tone it down a bit but it was sad.  So impersonal.  The women all looked so bored, distracted, as if they were going through the motions and not enjoying performing at all.  The men also looked bored and some downright despondent. It must be sad if you have to pay someone money to stick their twat in your face rather than being someone has someone do it because they like you.

This is not my only strip club experience.  Back in the late ’80’s I lived at 20th and Park Ave South in New York City, a then rather dull neighborhood just at the very beginning of becoming someplace anyone would want to be.  There was a high end strip club right around the corner from my apartment and sometimes when I was coming home from a night out and I looked respectable or at least dressed up, the bouncers would invite me and my posse in for a drink as a way of being neighborly. It was pretty much the same depressing dynamic as the tiny little titty bar I visited with JB but in a posh setting with a lot more money being exchanged.  The girls were gorgeous but they all had fake boobs- beautiful boobs but fake all the same.  I know because they would tell us all about it while seated at the bar after their shifts. And they were all “just doing this go pay for graduate/medical/law school”- which made me laugh just imagining the reaction of some guy getting rolled into the ER having a heart attack and recognizing his doctor from her days in the club or a judge recalling that very special lap dance the defense attorney performed for him on his Birthday a few years back while she is giving closing arguments.

Anyway…

These girls were making loads of cash.  $500 to $1,000.00 a night and sometimes more (which in todays dollars would be about $1,500 to $3,000 on a regular night).  They would tell me if I got my boobs done I could make that kind of money too but alas, I chose working in retail over a career as a stripper possibly proving once again that I am a financial moron. But really I declined because I think, as Moran does, that women should be in control of their sexual energy and that objectification of women is sexist and fundamentally wrong.

As Moran so eloquently puts it, “No man who ever cared for or wanted to impress a woman made her stand in front of him and take her knickers off to earn her cab fare home.”

But …

Moran does support Burlesque Dancing (and I agree with her on this) because in Burlesque, unlike stripping, the woman is in control.  She is celebrating her creativity, her sexuality. She is enjoying herself as she performs for an entire audience of men and women.  Burlesque is empowering and feels communal and comfortable to women in the audience.

She writes:

“Perhaps as a direct consequence, burlesque artists treat their own sexuality as something fabulous and enjoyable- rather than soothing bordering on a weapon, to be ground, unsmilingly, into the face of the sweaty idiot punter below.

…burlesque clubs fell like a place for girls.  Strip clubs- despite the occasional presence of a Spice-Girl, ten years ago – do not. Watching good burlesque in action, you can see female sexuality;a performance constructed with the values system of a woman: beautiful lighting, glossy hair, absurd accessories (giant cocktail glasses; huge feather fans), velvet corsets, fashionable shoes, Ava Gardner eyeliner, pale skin, classy manicures, humor, and a huge round of applause at the end- instead of an uncomfortable, half-hidden erection and silence.

Burlesque artists have names- Dita von Teese, Gypsy Rose Lee, Immodesty Blaize, Tempst Storm, Miss Dirty Martini- that make them sound liek sexual superheroes,  They explore a culture that allows them to do, creatively, as they please,  They are dames, broads, and women- rather than the slightly cold-looking girls you see in strip clubs,  Their personas embrace the entire spectrum of sexuality- fun, wit, warmth, inventiveness, innocence, power, darkness- rather than the bloodless aerobics of the podium.”

The difference is the attitude. Stripping is objectification while Burlesque is empowering.  Men who enjoy the objectification of women are bad news.  They may seem perfectly wonderful on the surface. They are usually very charming and flirty.  Objectifiers give nice presents- usually something that makes them look equally good in an egotistical way and decorate the object – like nice jewelry or fur coats. They like beautiful well dressed women – arm candy. They equate expenditures on dinners out, trips and gifts as payment for sexual favors and may get cross if you fail to agree with that concept. They will be the first to express dismay if you gain a pound or two.

It is as satisfying to have a relationship with a person who thinks of you as an object as it is for you to have a relationship with a rock.

One woman told me her story of going out with a man she met online.  She had only ever dated one man in her life, her former husband of 30 + years and had little idea of what dating would be like.  She met the man at a restaurant.  He talked mostly about himself at dinner then as they were leaving the restaurant asked her if she would like to sit in his car and chat for a few more minutes.  Seeing nothing wrong with that she complied. Once she was in the car he ambushed kissed her and began groping her breasts.  When she pulled back in horror his response was, “Well, I bought you dinner didn’t I?”

Charming.