Too much gets swept under the rug when it comes to sex and dating. It’s something we all share in common yet it’s also something many of us are too afraid, ashamed or embarrassed to talk about. That shouldn’t be the case, of course, as not talking about such intimate things can lead to further problems or insecurities.
If there’s a question you’ve always had on your mind about The Bedroom, whether it be relating to something that’s happened during your sex life or something you want to know more about before you try it with your partner, there’s a very good chance it has been asked and answered on Reddit’s r/Sex community.
The majority of questions put forward on this thread will have been answered with experiences, thoughts and opinions from other Reddit users, which, while sometimes beneficial, may not always take all factors into account (let alone be coming from an authority on the subject).
We here at DMARGE decided to trawl through the Reddit thread and pick out some of the most hard-hitting questions, which we then put forward to Samantha Jayne, Relationship Expert and Advisor to Channel 10’s The Bachelor, and Sydney based Relationship Therapist Heidi Gee, to get their professional opinions.
Forget ‘the birds and the bees’, this is real life.
1. Does Anyone Else Get Sad After Masturbation?
Jumping right in at the deep end, it’s the topic of self-love. Dating yourself, you could call it. On feeling sad afterwards Samantha said: “Know that it’s normal to feel lonely, especially if you haven’t been with someone for a long time.”
“Sex is only one component of a relationship and that alone is not enough to fulfil basic human needs. Humans are hard-wired to connect with other humans, from the moment we are born, humans need physical touch: the touch off a mother to a newborn releases oxytocin, which has an anti-stress effect.”
“What’s most important is that you give yourself a break. If you haven’t been with someone for a long time, it’s ok, you’re not the only one, there are lots of people in your shoes.”
“Remember today is a new day and you are in control. There are so many incredible ways to meet someone these days, with dating apps at your fingertips you can find someone in the comfort of your own home. You just need to be proactive and stay positive.”
“If you are feeling lonely then you can change that, focus on what you want and take baby steps to make it happen. Dating apps, getting out to singles events, smile and say hello to people that normally cross your path. You can even join groups or a gym so that it expands your circle.”
“Use your loneliness as a motivating factor to change things, write down an action plan and do something everyday that will get you close to what you want.”
Heidi adds, “I think it’s important to love ourselves and be comfortable in our own company. To be over and to give love is a human need but we need to be able to give love to ourselves first and foremost because the most important relationship you have is the relationship with yourself.”
“There is a saying that we look for our ‘other half’ or someone to ‘complete us’. I believe we should go into a relationship as a whole person, we don’t go into a relationship as half a person, and you deserve a whole person too.”
She continues, “Society has this expectation that we ‘have to be in a relationship by a certain age or there is something wrong with us’, so most people then seek happiness externally and not from within.”
“Work on yourself, heal, personal growth and do what makes you happy, not others. I think we project what’s in our thoughts. If we are desperate and lonely we won’t attract positive energy. If you want to attract someone who brings the best you of you then be mindful of your narrative.”
We did also ask Samantha if it was possible to give ourselves too much ‘self-love’.
“The reality is if you want someone in your life you need to make room for it. If you have too much ‘self-love’ it doesn’t make room for someone new in your life because it is fulfilling your needs to a level that is just enough not to do something, but not enough to feel fulfilled.”
“Sometimes filling the void is what inspires action and transformation.”
2. How To Handle Porn In A Relationship
Porn and relationships can so often be a touchy subject. Some couples welcome it into theirs, while others see it as complete taboo. This particular example from Reddit comes from a girl who doesn’t appreciate her boyfriend watching it.
“Porn is a tricky one. It can distort relationships in the long term. I think honesty is the best policy in relationships and being secretive promotes a lack of trust.”
“If a guy wants to continue watching porn in a relationship it really comes down to how it affects his partner. If she is ok with it then ok, but if she is totally against it and it goes against her values, then I think he needs to consider feelings.”
“When you are in a relationship you need to think about your partner and how your actions impact them. How would you feel if she continued to do things that she did when she was single?”
Heidi adds that porn can have its benefits, “Ethical porn is used for stimulation. I usually encourage my clients to watch porn when masturbating, but not to rely on it to avoid being conditioned and to also no compare. Porn is for fantasy and for stimulation.”
“Have an open discussion and see where you are at; a good relationship is about understanding each others needs and wanting to meet them.”
“If he can’t resist then he could suggest watching it together. Some will be up for it and others won’t. It all comes down to compatibility.”
“It may spice up some peoples’ sex lives but it could also potentially make sex about getting off rather than about the connection and building intimacy, so it’s important to do a bit of both.”
3. Feeling Bad About Promiscuous Past
A question many new couples can’t help but want to know about their new partner is what their “number” is.
As ‘woke’ as we might like to think we are about these things, some hang-ups, it would appear, die hard. And there is still most definitely a double standard in society: if a guy sleeps with multiple women, he’s viewed as a ‘player’, and generally receives positive comments from his friends.
However, if a girl sleeps with multiple guys, she’s given labels far more derogatory. It shouldn’t be the case, but it still often is.
On this note, Samantha relates, though you should feel free to do so if you wish, “Realistically before you can discuss your previous sex life or any touchy subject ask yourself, ‘will sharing this information benefit or potentially harm this relationship?'”
“Will there be judgement? Put yourself in their shoes, would you want to know everything about them and the details of when they’ve bumped uglies?”
Heidi shadows these comments, “You need to ask yourself ‘why would I want to know this information and what am I going to do with it?'”
“This can be brought up in an argument or there could be comparison which can cause problems in the relationship.”
Samantha continues, “Some couples love to share everything and know everything about each other, whereas others like to focus on the present moment and the future. It’s probably healthier to focus on the two of you right now to avoid any insecurities.”
“So in terms of is it healthy to discuss your previous sex life, every relationship is different. If you are opening up to gain trust and get closer it could work, but if you are talking to your partner about your previous sex life to make a comparison, then that is a problem.”
“If your partner feels inadequate in any way, then just like anything else, you can reassure them and highlight your relationship strengths and what you adore about them. If you feel inadequate, then it’s probably best not to shine the light on that and know that by simply discussing it, you need to take responsibility for potentially asking the question.”
“If you do feel insecure, don’t ruminate over it, the past is the past and if you partner is with you then clearly they want to be with you. If you are really struggling then speak to a therapist.”
“If someone feels guilty about their promiscuous past they have to realise that they can’t change it [and there is nothing to be ashamed of really in the first place], but they can change the future. They can make an effort to make everyday new and different and work towards the life they want to lead.”
“Ask what was the positive learning from your previous experience, how have you grown? What do you appreciate now that you didn’t before? Don’t beat yourself up, it won’t help.”
Heidi adds, “You can’t change the past but you can learn from it. If there is guilt then ask yourself what the guilt is about? What would you need to happen to move forward from this? Also, seeing a therapist could help work through this.”