DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: My boyfriend and I have been together several years and we’ve experimented in lots of things sexually as he was more experienced than I was.
I really want to do some of the things he has done, such as threesomes with guys and girls, but he doesn’t want to since we are in a committed relationship and have talked about one day getting married and having a family. He thinks it will tear us apart and we will lose love/respect for one another. I want to try out these different things before I settle down. I’m not sure what to do. I feel as though he got to experience all the fantasies he wanted before he met me, so why cant I experience my fantasies before we marry and start our family together?
He even gets turned on during sex if I talk about being with other guys and girls ….. why cant we actually do it?
– Frustrated Female
DEAR FRUSTRATED FEMALE: Before I get into the specifics of your situation, FF, there’s a point that needs to be stated: nobody gets everything they want in a relationship. Every relationship means compromise between what you want and what you get. Presumably what you get is so awesome that you’re willing to forgo what you don’t get as the price of entry into the relationship. It may well be that the price of entry into this relationship is that he’s not into opening things up or having threesomes if he’s just not into that. At that point, you have to decide whether the prospect of these thrills are more important to you than your relationship with him.
One of the things that may make a difference is in whether you’re looking to have some of these adventures with him or whether you’re looking to get a permission slip to sleep with other people.
It’s possible your boyfriend has done some of these things and while they’re the sort of thing guys are supposed to like (because all men are supposed to want threesomes, donchaknow) he had some bad experiences and doesn’t want to risk having something equally bad with you.
It may well be that he doesn’t want to open things up, if that’s what you’re asking for. Non-monogamy isn’t for everyone, even for people who’ve sowed their share of wild oats. Just because someone had a sexually adventurous past doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re up for an open relationship with a committed partner
It could also be that we’re dealing with your garden variety Madonna/Whore complex. It’s one thing for him to have all these wild crazy adventures; guys are “supposed” to be want crazy sex. Women – or so goes the dominant cultural narrative – are supposed to be more innocent, more pure. He – like many other men – may have a hang-up about the idea that women are sexual beings too.
I don’t know the guy, you do. You’ll have to make that call for yourself.
So what do you do? Well, you need to use your words and to advocate for your own pleasure. You need to sit him down and explain to him that you have these fantasies and desires – ones that you know excite him too – and that you want to explore them.You want him to realize that women in general and you in particular have just as much of an appetite for crazy wild sex as men do.
What may help seal the deal is your being interested in exploring them with him. What may be acceptable in fantasy – picturing you with other men or women – may not work in real life for him. Being part of that fantasy, however, could make all the difference. The more he gets used to the idea of the both of you having these sexy adventures together, the more likely he’ll be willing to consider making the fantasy a reality.
As it is: you’re already talking him through the fantasy while you’re having sex, so take it to the next level. Describe the imaginary scenario as though it were happening right then and there. Make that part of your sexplay. See whether making things more vivid helps – both for the sex you’re having with your boyfriend and opening him up to more possibilities.
But either way: you have to be willing to accept the possibility that he’s simply not up for any of these potential fantasies of yours and then you have to make a decision…
Now with that having been said, I want to point out two things. The first is the way you phrase things: have your fun before you marry and settle down. I think you’ve absorbed a little of the sex-negativity that says that marriage is the end of sexual adventure… and it really isn’t. There’s no reason why putting a ring on it should be the end of your wild sexy times – if anything you should have even greater trust and affection for one another, which makes trying out new things possible. Trying new things and keeping the sex exciting is part of how you keep the spark alive in a relationship, and sexual satisfaction is part of the secret to a successful long-term marriage.
The other is that I’m a cynic and your boyfriend’s attitude is making my Spidey-sense tingle. Frequently when a man says he’s worried that the two of you will lose love or respect for one another, he really means that he’s afraid he’ll lose love and respect for you. It may well be that he means that he couldn’t handle the jealousy side of non-monogamy… or it could very well mean that knowing about (or even participating in) your own sexual adventures will mean he won’t be able to see you as being as pure or good. Regardless, it may be worth talking to a sex-positive relationship counselor before moving forward towards marriage.
DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: As a junior in high-school I face a problem, I always seem to be tired. Most days I never truly wake up, instead I just become gradually less tired after getting up, until my fourth hour class where it goes back downhill. By the end of the school day talking is a chore, my eyes are heavy, and I’m exhausted. However most of that changes at night when I’m either with my friends or at some school event (currently quizbowl). It is almost like I’m a different person at night. During the day I’m almost stoic out of weariness, less than excitable, and a little slow with reaction. During night though I actually feel awake, conversation is much easier, emotion is less of a hassle, I feel fun, I am the person I want to be during the day.
My diet is average, I eat breakfast, I’m not specifically unhealthy, and my grades are great. However I do not exercise regularly (I weigh about 130 pounds at five feet eight inches) and my sleep schedule is a little iffy. At usually six or seven hours of sleep I get what I can, however it is hard to reach eight. Medically wise I’ve taken Adderall since the age of eight, however this problem only really started during my freshmen year. There is also a history of disorders like depression and insomnia in my family, however I have neither.
With all of this in mind do you have any advice? Could it just be a mix of my introverted qualities and a lack of sleep? Or do you think I should probably make some life style changes?
Either way I know I need help, I want to be able to go through the day without it being a chore, I want to fully experience life.
DEAR TIRED EYES: Basically, TE, you’re not getting enough sleep. Most teenagers aren’t, frankly. And this isn’t necessarily your fault. The National Sleep Foundation recommend that teenagers get somewhere around nine to nine and a half hours of sleep per night. However, more than 58% are getting around six or seven. The culprit are the schools themselves. With the median school starting time of 8 AM, most students are having to get up far earlier than they should be… and going to bed early isn’t necessarily an option. Because of the way that the human brain develops, you and other adolescents don’t process melatonin at the same rate as adults, which affects when you actually get tired.
For all intents and purposes, you’ve been undergoing serious sleep-deprivation for 9 months out of the year and if you’re an introvert, it’s sapping your already limited social energy at an increased rate. Small wonder you feel like ten pounds of ass in a five pound sack during the day.
The question then becomes: so what do you do about this? Unfortunately, unless your school is especially progressive, it’s not likely that they’re going to move classes back an hour to let the students get the sleep they need. You’re going to have to work to adapt yourself to your circumstances unfortunately.
So here’re some suggestions to help even things out.
First: be careful with your caffeine intake. I know it’s tempting to get something to wake your ass up in the morning – God knows I’m inhuman until I’ve had my morning coffee – but excess caffeine consumption can completely throw off your sleep schedule. Try to keep any caffeinated beverages to the morning and noon and avoid drinking any after 3 PM.
Second: get regular exercise. Exercising helps increase your energy levels over time and improves your cardiovascular health, which in turn will help you sleep at night. It’s also just a damn good habit to get into while you’re young; trust me, it’ll pay off immensely over your lifetime.
Third: eat as clean as possible – meaning avoid processed foods, especially junk food and candy. Most processed foods have artificially high levels of sugar, salt and fat in order to get you literally addicted to them and the excess crap will cause your blood sugar levels to crash, leaving you feeling sluggish, fatigued and irritable. The best foods you can eat are complex carbs (leafy green vegetables, fibrous fruits like oranges and apples, sprouted grain breads etc) and lean proteins. This is especially important in the morning; the sugar in most cereals will give you a sugar crash before 2nd period is over. This is also a good habit to get into while you’re young.
Fourth: Cut off the electronics at night. In this increasingly connected world, we tend to bring our tablets, smartphones, even our laptops into bed with us. This is a mistake that’s utterly screwing our ability to get a good night’s sleep; the blue light from electronic screens (including your television, by the way) disrupts melatonin production which you need for healthy sleep cycles. Ideally, you want to shut off anything with a light-projecting screen at least two to three hours before bedtime. During the day, however, you want as much direct exposure to bright sunlight as possible; it’s part of how your body creates vitamin D and encourages melatonin production.
Fifth: Keep as regular a sleeping schedule as possible. Going to bed at 10 one night, midnight the next, and 11 the night after screws up your circadian rhythms and makes it harder for you to actually get to sleep. Keeping to a specific bedtime helps keep you on an even keel.
Now there’re a couple tips and tricks that may help when it comes to getting to sleep and waking up. You’ll want to talk to your doctor first (Dr. NerdLove is not any sort of medical professional), but Benadryl makes an excellent sleep-aid. It’s non-habit forming, it’s virtually impossible to OD on and it’s available over the counter. I’ve found melatonin supplements also help with sleep, although once again: talk to your doctor.
For an early boost, you may want to consider a blue-light lamp; that same blue light which disrupts your sleep patterns at night can give you a much-needed energy surge in the morning. 15 minutes can help you feel much more awake and ready to… if not attack the day, not sleep-walk through it.
Also, if you have a study period or other point during the day when you can get some time to yourself, try a caffeine nap. Chug down a cup of coffee or soda, then take a 20 minute (no longer) nap. Not only will that 20 minutes ensure that you get a full sleep-cycle – waking up mid-cycle disrupts your circadian rhythms and leaves you groggy and tired – but you’ll be waking up just as the caffeine hits your brain.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org)