Making Out: How Far Should You Go?

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I remember I was almost thirty when I had to sheepishly ask someone about the system of measurement used in high school whereby guys, especially, evaluated “how far” they had gotten with a girl. 

For those not in the know:

1st base = “French” kissing (kissing that involves tongues in each others’ mouths, as opposed to the lips simply pressed together

2nd base = hand-to-(female) breast contact

3rd base = hand-down-the-pants: the vagina is touched

Homerun/scoring = sexual intercourse

Now, that was embarrassing to type out.

But it is a convenient, if childish, way to refer to the various levels of physical affection. (I will not use those terms here, though: I merely list the above as a public service!)

There are some women who may never feel the need to ask themselves the question of how much physical affection they are willing express while dating, and I respect that.

For me, though, waiting to have sex (um, again) before marriage is part of being a Christian. And part of the reason I created this blog is that I believe that no matter a woman’s religion (or lack thereof) it is spiritually – and emotionally – healthy to refrain from casual sex.

I have found it important to set limits for myself when it comes to, well, “making out” with a guy. I have been a Christian since high school, and before I had so much as kissed a guy, I had vowed to save sex until after I was married. Culturally, that had been the acceptable norm for my parents and their peers: which is to say, the older Baby Boomers.  Then, came the ’60s and the Sexual Revolution. Things got complicated.

And they got especially complicated for me when during my college years I finally met a handsome, sexy guy who was as enamored with me as I was with him: something that seemed miraculous. All of my hypothetical resolve melted once real lust was at stake and the real-life chance for sex was finally at hand. I didn’t last long.

I’m not proud to say that being young, I foolishly acquiesced to sex with this young man because he said that if we didn’t have sex we might as well break up.  I think this is common, though — and perhaps the more lonely a woman feels, the more likely she is to cave. I was just getting used to this uncommon privilege of having a boyfriend and I didn’t want to lose him. So I lost my virginity instead.

I was 22, and now I’m 37. Nowadays, of course, if a man dared to issue that sort of ultimatum to me, I would be out the door before he finished his sentence, laughing scornfully on my way out. But I was so very attracted to this young man, and wanted so much to please him, that my virginity seemed worth sacrificing.

I think two seconds after my now-infant niece finally turns twelve, I am going to warn her of the time-tested lines that no doubt young men still use with their girlfriends today to push them into having sex. If I believed them fifteen years ago, no doubt there are girls still believing these lies today:

We should have sex because…

“Once you start, you can’t stop.” (I think that eventually became the ad line for a popular potato chip brand)

“You can’t get me excited like this and then just stop things.”

“It hurts when I (get an erection) and I don’t have sex.”

And if the girl wants to wait until she’s married?

“I love you.”

“We’re going to get married anyway.”

The most ridiculous one is, “Now that we’ve gone this far, we have to go all the way.” The implication was that once the guy had an erection, my not having sex with him was some outrageous violation of his human rights. How cruel of me! What teases we women are! Oh, I have been called a tease, believe me.

I once asked a male friend of mine, a young Christian man whom I respected a lot (I still do) – about what the truth was when it came to a guy getting “stimulated” and what happens if he doesn’t get to have sex. Did it really hurt him? Did he simply have to take his pants off at this point?

He actually laughed at this (though not at me)! He said that of course that wasn’t true — that it didn’t even make sense that a man who had an erection “had” to have sex, or at least have to somehow ejaculate — as if he was a female cow who would suffer in pain unless she was milked before sundown.

After all, I’ve never had an erection, but I do know that it would not be convenient or socially acceptable to simply demand sex of whomever was around every time you had an erection. Neither could you probably masturbate conveniently every time this happened.

*

I remember in college a Christian girlfriend told me about a mutual friend – also a Christian – who had begun dating a fellow Christian man, and it was pretty serious. Right from the start, they decided they wouldn’t even kiss until and unless they got married!

My friend reacted with a kind of awe and admiration: wonder, even. But to me: no kissing? Why date, right? I pretty much saw dating as a way to get kissed, and a convenient thing to do if you ran out of things to talk about.

Then, of course, came that gem of a guy who said have-sex-or-we-break-up. But since that time, I have managed to avoid intercourse. Sadly, I have not been celibate, however: I have not managed to refrain from sex altogether. And I didn’t always want to refrain, either.

But it took me years to get over the heartbreak of that first boyfriend. And I knew it was because of our sexual relationship. Knowing that helped build my resolve to wait until marriage.

But I believe that remaining celibate has to do with regarding your body as a sacred thing: not just anyone can touch it.  In other words, keeping yourself healthy emotionally and spiritually while dating means setting stricter limits (beyond swearing off sex) when it comes to physical affection.

For instance, I remember the heartbreak I felt when things ended with a man I had only known for a few weeks, but whom I felt pretty close to: an artificial closeness based, in part, on the fact that we had made out to the point where we were both naked, although we never did have sex.

In contrast, a few months later I dated a man with whom things actually became serious. We even planned (prematurely) to get married, and yet this time I decided to put on the brakes. Kissing only. That’s it. Nothing more. And however sad I was that we broke up, I never felt that almost physical sensation of my heart being wrung out like a wet towel. And I believe that the lack of long-term pain was due to our commitment to holding off on short-term pleasure.

In my experience, once you get comfortable kissing and feel confidence in your own desirability, it’s all-too-easy to go from kissing to having sex. In fact, as soon as your is in his mouth, you’re on the way to sex and it’s up to you to put on the brakes. If you let the part of your brain take over that demands instant and easy gratification – consequences be damned — well, you’re going to have to plan ahead if you don’t want to get pregnant.

Once I found out how easy it was to slide into sex, I understood the reasoning of the weird-sounding Christian couple who decided to  avoiding even kissing.

That is not to say that I am ready and able to take on that policy: I just recognize its wisdom.

PS: It would not be fair to avoid answering the question I posed in the title to this post. Thus, I will say from personal experience that you should stop at French kissing. It’s worked for me.

Image: The Kiss, by Italian artist Francesco Hayez, 1859; available via public domain, thanks to Wikimedia

 

 

 

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(Less) Fun with Feminine Hygiene

The following might read like a joke, but believe me, it’s not funny: how long do you need to try to inserting a Diva Cup before realizing it’s time to give up?

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The short answer, unfortunately, is: FOREVER. At least, that is, if you heed the instructional insert which tells a girl something it would be helpful (though deadly from a selling standpoint) to print on the box: this device is non-returnable.

Luckily, your ability to get your money back is not necessarily up to DivaCup: it’s up to the store where you might need to return the thing. And so if you think you can work up your nerve to bring in a used (albeit, cleaned up) menstrual cup back into the store, check in advance with the store in question in advance.

And of course, being a completely kick-ass kind of place, Good Earth Foods in Fairfax, California did that for me!  (Sorry guys: I really did plan to keep it.)

And believe me, you’re going to want to return it, unless you’re Oprah Winfrey, whose menstruating days are probably a thing of the past anyway. The DivaCup, in all of it’s non-disposable goodness, costs around $35-$40. It might be a bit cheaper to buy online, but with postage and handling, I don’t know that you’ll make out any better.Paying $40 for a single toiletry item is a big commitment.

That is why I was DETERMINED to make the DivaCup thing work: dammit!

But ladies? Remember what a pain in the you-know-where it was to get your first tampon up in thar?

Picture having to shove a much larger, rubber/plastic-type device up your vagina, all the while thinking, “If I don’t make this work, I’ll have just wasted 40 bucks!”

Now this brings up an interesting point, re: celibacy.  I began to wonder: if I was sexually active, or had given birth, would it be easier to insert something like the DivaCup? I don’t know: it’s not worth doing either to find out! But I do know I bought the smallest size, and it still wasn’t small enough.

Bear in mind, too, that a tampon seems to be shaped specially with insertion in mind. But the menstrual cup almost seems like they had someone design the thing, and only later mentioned to her that it would actually need to be put inside a vagina. “Oh,” the inventor of the DivaCup would respond, hesitantly. “I suppose if the woman kind of folded it up first? 
The DivaCup revealed:

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Maybe she could get it up there?”

Maybe. If the darn thing stayed folded up. But. Good luck with that.

And I am so sorry to say that!  Gotta love the convenience and minimum-spot-on-white-pants risk that a tampon gives me, but the prospect of all of that non-biodegradable flushable stuff is really depressing. I doubt the DivaCup itself is biodegradable. But since the thing is meant for long-term reuse, that helps ease one’s guilt.

Thus, I have yet to find a “sustainable” tampon.
Which reminds me, I should probably test-drive more than one option before giving up entirely.

F*ck Yeah! Chocolate Cake

F*ck Yeah! Chocolate Cake

My Least Favorite Cookbook

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Nothing against Jessica Seinfeld, and certainly not against the adorable cover of this book. Kudos, graphic designers: you got me to pick the thing up. The adorable retro look of the book and the enticing promise of being able to eat bad-for-you crap and somehow make it healthy was a too-good-be-true package that I wish I had recognized as such. (Of course, it helped that it was being sold by a now-defunct independent bookstore I was trying to support. It was called The Next Chapter and it was in the charming downtown of Woodland, California.)

Here is a review I wrote of the volume, and had posted on www.goodreads.com some time ago.  Consider yourself forewarned, but if you do find the need to buy the book, please please please buy it from your local independent bookstore.  Or if you love you some online shopping, try www.powells.com, where you can even get it used! http://www.powells.com/biblio/17-9780061251344-0

I don’t have kids and am not particularly interested (necessarily) in having them, so that might in part explain my bad attitude. Maybe if you’re doing something for someone else (like a kid) you’re more motivated.

Anyway, here’s the review:

I hate this book. Obviously, I’m not trying to be objective, and I’m kind of in a bad mood as I’m writing this 😦

I feel like this BOOK is deceptive!

The deal is, if you want to “sneak” healthy stuff into kids’ foods (or, into your own food, as I was hoping to do)you have to make an actual major lifestyle change: prepare to spend hours at a time to boiling up vegetables and and  liquefying them in a blender, then freezing them for a future date when you can trick your kids into eating them by saying, “Hey, kid, how about some banana cream pie, partly filled with liquid squash?”

Who would do all of this, unless they were actually, certifiably crazy? I don’t know how this book got published!  About 1% (or less) of the people who purchase this book are going to follow the strange plan of this loony lady…

Actually, to answer my own question as to how it got published, it’s because it has an appealing cover and title, and when you flip through the thing it’s filled with colorful photographs of delicious-looking recipes.  It’s only when you sit down and give it a good read that you see that this mom is insane.

I guess my biggest question is, are this lady’s cooking tactics really of nutritional value?  She (probably) can’t hurt the kids with her soupy concoctions, but isn’t it true that once you boil the heck out of vegetables and liquefy them, the vitamins and other good stuff go completely down the… well… toilet?

Speaking of which, maybe the sneaking-in-the-vegetables thing is purely for roughage purposes.  So why puree them?  Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

My alternative title would be, “How to Give Your Kids Diarrhea”.

I’m bitter because this book was kind of expensive and I felt duped. 

Therefore, I consider this review a sort of public service message: use it well.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/30428503

 

The Worst Thing About Online Dating is Everything

computerlove2

Perhaps saying “everything” about online dating is bad is going a bit far. I mean, online dating has its virtues, right? Absolutely not.

In fact, I have a new theory. The reason that anyone ever tries online dating is that they know of heard of “someone” who has meet “someone” online.

I submit to you the following: WE ARE ALL TALKING ABOUT THE SAME COUPLE (who just happen to have a wide circle of friends).

If it sounds like I have just had a bad experience on lonely.people.are.suckers.com*, then you’re right. (*fictional website: so far. millions can no doubt be made.)

The sad truth is, it wasn’t even the worst experience I have ever had using my computer to find a future… whatever.
It’s just that when I recently gave online dating another try, enough time had passed that I forgotten what a stinking cesspool it can be.

But to be serious, I realized that the key problem that haunts all but the Kens and Barbies amongst us are the photos which accompany a person’s online profile.And it’s not even that most people are not photogenic, though that’s a given.

But if any guy happens to be reading this, I gotta tell you: I never, ever open a profile where the photo features a guy taking a picture of himself in the bathroom, and you can see his reflection in the mirror, holding the camera. So cheesy. Even worse: the webcam shot.

Please show me that you:
1) Have enough social skills and/or friends that you can convince someone to take your picture
-and-
2) You occasionally get up from your computer and leave the house.
And if you haven’t posted a profile photo? Oh, come on. At least wait until after I meet you to find out you’re a Neanderthal.

The real problem, however, with conducting an online search on these dating sites and receiving a list of profile photos is this: the worst possible way to judge someone that is by his or her appearance*, and that’s exactly what we’re doing by selecting someone through an online dating site. (*Unless, that is, a person’s appearance reveals a lack of attention to basic hygiene. In that case, judge away!)

Okay, I’m going to get specific here, and just trust that the benefit of having an obscure blog means that I can talk about people I know (except my boss: never a good idea) and they’ll be none the wiser.

Anyway, my most recent delve into the online dating universe was with christiancafe.com. It took me a while to find a legitimate Christian dating website. I hadn’t been impressed with christianmingle, although it has been some years since I’ve tried it. Ironically, the most disturbing dating sites I have encountered have been “Christian.” But perhaps I’ll post about that another time.

But feeling how I do about celibacy before marriage, sites like match.com, where you can select something meaningless such as “Spiritual, But Not Religious,” as your “religion” had become out of the question.

The only problem with christiancafe – and it’s a big one – is that those folks must have an advertising budget of zero. Thus, few have heard of it, and therefore there simply aren’t enough users.

However, despite the user shortage, I actually had better luck finding potential matches that lived, say, 50 miles or so away from me than I ever did with eharm_your_ego_ny_dot_com, which sent me mostly matches from Arizona and Oregon. I’m in San Francisco, and I rarely even received matches from within California!

EDIT: I just deleted an anecdote from my experience at christiancafe that would no doubt hurt the feelings of the guy who is the subject of the tale. However unlikely it is that he would find and read my blog, it was uncool of me to be so specific.

I can complain all I want about the male fixation on good lucks — for instance, why one earth would an overweight guy in his 50s admit that he is “looking” for a woman in her 20s with a hot bod? And yet. I have certainly selected people to write based on their profile photos.

If this makes me sound like the most shallow person in the world, well, I’m aware of that. And maybe until I look like (insert name of current hot female celebrity in her late thirties: hopefully, that’s not a paradox!) — well, who am I to criticize?

But if you simply aren’t attracted to someone, well, there’s not much you can do right?

And therein lies the real problem: when you meet someone in real life, you may find them initially unattractive. But we all have known someone, surely, who objectively speaking is not at all pleasing to the eye, but his or her personality is such where they are actually really sexy.
And that dude that looks like Daniel Craig? Start talking to him, and you may begin to long for the attention of one of the creepier Bond villains, as their company would be preferable.

To be honest, I don’t think anything would induce me to long for the company of “Fat Bastard” of Austin Powers fame, but honestly, that mostly had to do with his vulgur behavior.

Mostly.

Single Women, Unite!!

I’m not ultra-conservative. I’m a Christian, and a Democrat, and I’m pro-Choice. But I hate how sex has become this “assumed” part of dating.  Why is waiting for marriage such an outdated thing?

I don’t think you need to be a Christian to wait until marriage to have sex.  More on that later, but I think it’s the healthy thing to do: not only physically, but emotionally.