When Porn Threatens

Dear Harlan: Please help me. My girlfriend caught me using online porn. She found some videos on my phone. We have talked about porn in the past, and I know she is against it. She believes it’s degrading to women and it is no different than cheating. We have a healthy sex life and an honest relationship, but she is talking about breaking up with me. I betrayed her trust and I feel awful about it, but I don’t understand why she can’t forgive me. I’m faithful and will do anything for her. She knows it, but the porn has made her doubt our three years of dating. Is there anything I can do to convince her that she can trust me? I don’t want to lose her over something so insignificant in my life.

— Messed Up Again

Dear Man:  STAY AWAY FROM PORN. When porn is costing you your relationship, it’s significant. If you want to stay together, you’ll have to figure out how to stay away from porn. You can start by apologizing and explaining to her how you view porn – not to change her mind, but to reassure her that you are loving, committed and working to fix this problem. One solution can be to install a program that will monitor your online activity. Covenant Eyes (www.covenanteyes.com) is a place to start. This program monitors the websites you visit, the search terms used and the YouTube videos watched, and lists them in a report. This monitoring tool is used by people who need another layer of accountability. In addition to Covenant Eyes, you can start going to Sex Addicts Anonymous (saa-recovery.org) meetings, and find a therapist to help guide you. When you are lying, sneaking around and hurting someone you love, it’s time to address the problem and get help. If you don’t think it’s a problem, find a partner who is more tolerant of porn.

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Never Regret Telling the Truth About Sex

Dear Harlan: I’m having relationship regrets. I told my boyfriend that I wanted to wait to have sex. That is what you suggested. He said he was OK with this and would go at my pace. The next week, he broke up with me. He’s already dating someone else. I asked him if it was about not having sex with him. He said it had nothing to do with it. I’m having regrets. Did I make a mistake?

— Regrets

Dear Regrets:  He’s a loser. You are lucky he’s not your boyfriend. The only regret you should have is wasting time thinking about him. He gave you the greatest gift in the world. He removed himself from your life. Your boyfriend wasn’t interested in dating you. He was only interested in having sex with you. And let me tell you one more thing that makes me feel disgusted: If breaking up with you had NOTHING to do with sex (and I don’t believe it for one second), clearly he was having doubts. Be grateful you didn’t sleep with someone who was already planning to end the relationship. Clearly, there were problems. You must have sensed it. The best way to avoid getting used by a jerk is time. Be proud of yourself. You did everything right. You set a clear boundary and discovered the truth. Yes, it’s painful to break up, but it’s more painful to have someone break up with you after using you. You have nothing to regret – be grateful

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The Only Expectations Are The Ones You Create

Dear Harlan:  In high school, I never really talked to boys or dated them, and I know in college guys have a lot of expectations for girls. How can I keep away from those expectations without being a prude about it? — Uneasy Expectations

Dear Uneasy:  The only expectations are the ones you create. Guys will either meet you where you’re comfortable, or not.  But give them a chance. You’ll be surprised to learn that a lot of men respect women who set clear boundaries and share what they want.  You just need to tell them.  The biggest problem is that everyone is so busy assuming that very few people are actually communicating.   It’s just easier to assume. Making sweeping generalizations is an easy excuse to avoid dating. If you assume all men want something that you can’t give them, you can avoid all men. It’s easier to blame and assume than to share the truth.  Practice.  Then get back to me.

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Having Sex Too Soon Complicates Relationship Too Soon

Upset young couple having problems with sex.

Dear Harlan: I’m in a relationship that has become physical too fast. I don’t want to turn him away, but I’m not comfortable with sex being so important so soon in the relationship. How do I transition my relationship away from just having sex all the time? – Slow Down

Dear Slow Down: You’re having sex; this means you should be able to talk about anything. I mean anything… religion, politics, bad breathe, body odor, birth control, pants that are too tight, and sex that happens too fast.  If it makes you uncomfortable, talk about it. Have this conversation while sober, during daylight hours (or before it gets too late). Do it face-to-face (no texting). Make this about you and your feelings, not him or what he’s doing wrong. Remind him that you’re incredibly attracted to him (if you are) and absolutely love spending time with him (if you do), and then explain why you need to slow down the sex. Help him understand why (this means you need to understand it yourself and put it into words). If he listens to you and respects your boundaries, you’ll grow closer. If putting the brakes on sex ends the relationship, he’s not the right guy for you, which probably is what you fear and are afraid to figure out.

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Going limp is soft excuse to avoid condoms

bigstock-Prevention-With-Condom-30663404Dear Harlan, I’m in my early 20s and have had an issue wearing condoms. For some reason, I physically can’t have sex with a condom without going limp from it. How do I bring that up to a girl without sounding like I’m just trying to avoid using a condom? – Limp or Bareback

Dear Limp,  You’re way more worried about telling a girl you can’t wear a condom than telling a doctor you go limp when wearing one. Wear a condom. It’s not just about birth control. Sexually transmitted infections are running wild among college-age people. According to the CDC, roughly one in five people have herpes or genital warts. Then you’ve got 50,000 new cases of HIV each year – a quarter of these infections are among youth ages 13-24. If you don’t have a doctor, get one. Your condom collapse might be medical, emotional or psychological. The condom might be a trigger that causes you to go limp, but the solution could be simple. You need a doctor to talk to about this. The answer might be as easy as finding new erotic, exciting and titillating ways to incorporate condoms into sex.

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Sex Before Marriage is Ruining Women, According to Reader

Man With Condom Before Making LoveDear Harlan, I read your column every week. You have a heart for people who write to you. I don’t doubt your sincerity. But your advice to those dating in today’s world lacks credibility, and it is even dangerous because you embrace the cultural norm that sex outside marriage is not wrong and harms no one. All the evidence is contrary. STDs are at an all-time high. Thousands upon thousands of single women in our country are having abortions every year. The mothers who choose life for their unborn children are in for a very hard time. More than 40 percent of all children born in the country are born to mothers out of wedlock. Assistance at the federal and state levels barely makes a dent in providing them with the basic necessities of life. The sexual revolution has not freed women, but has made us even more objectified by men. Prior to the 1960s, society frowned upon premarital sex. This was great protection for women. Pressure was put upon men to respect women while dating, to get married, to grow up and be responsible members of society. The research proves that marriage makes men out of boys. Promiscuity ruins women’s lives. You are in a position to give good advice or keep perpetuating the lie that sex outside of marriage is not wrong and harms no one. – Jan

Dear Jan, You setting me up? I can’t tell women what to do.  Women do NOT like it when a man tells them what to do, especially when it has to do with their bodies.  The minute you tell people to stop having sex is the moment they go out and have it. It works the same when you pressure people to get married. In fact, your letter actually is going to cause people to have sex more and stay single longer. Please don’t target me. I advocate responsible, honest, clear-minded, smart, safe choices in alignment with people’s values. If it’s sex before marriage, then people should use birth control, get tested for STDs and do it for the right reasons. Consent is always a must. As for most of your facts, they fall short. Teen pregnancy is at a record low, abortion rates are the lowest since 1973 and divorce rates are down. Yes, fewer people are getting married and more are choosing to have children out of wedlock, but we can’t assume it’s going to lead to the downfall of women. A lot of single women make a conscious choice to be single parents. These women have a support system in place other than relying on the government. I’m betting a lot of these unwed parents don’t want to get married because they fear becoming the dysfunctional parents they knew as children – their own parents who married too young, stayed married too long or should have never gotten married at all. I don’t want to live in the ’50s. I don’t want my daughter living in a culture with a ’50s mindset. I want her to grow up to become a woman who demands respect, commands respect, loves herself, respects others and makes strong choices. Whatever my daughter chooses to do with her body when she’s a legal adult will be her decision – not yours or mine. We can’t control what people do inside the bedroom. We can only help them feel loved, supported and encouraged outside of it. I appreciate your note. I’m sure a lot of people will agree with you. I’m just not one of them.

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How long should sex wait to avoid getting used?

birth-control-pill-with-condom-clockDear Harlan: I’m tired of being disappointed and hurt. Will waiting to have sex during the beginning of a relationship really keep him interested? Or has he already decided if he wants to date me before we get to the bedroom? Help me understand men! – Withholding

Dear Withholding: Waiting will reveal the truth. That’s why it’s so hard for so many people to wait. They hate the truth.  Some men want to love you, some men to use you and some don’t know what they want. Make this about you. How long do you think you should wait to know what a man wants? Why has it been so hard for you to wait? Clearly, you need to wait longer. And really, you don’t have to wait to be sensual, sexual and physical. You can be intimate without having sex. You can start with kissing. You can move onto touching. Then you can move on to whatever is comfortable (you don’t have to get naked). Telling a man “no” and setting boundaries tells you everything you need to know. If he doesn’t listen, pressures you, threatens you, gives you an ultimatum or sleeps with your best friend, he cares more about sex than getting to know you.

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She wants to know one-night stand etiquette

Girl With Condom Before SexDear Harlan: I had my first one-night stand the other night. I’m not sure what’s supposed to happen next. What is the proper etiquette after a one-night stand? (Hug goodbye, leave when sleeping, text him first later?) What should happen the next day? – Polite and Proper

Dear Polite and Proper: Rookie mistake. The next day expect questions (Huh? Whah? Did that just happen?), shock (I can’t believe I did that!), and fear (Wait, why does it burn when I pee?).  There is no proper etiquette after a one night stand.  The only rules are clear consent before and during the sex (“Can we have sex?” “Do you have a condom?” “Yes! More! For the love uvvvvv…”) and empty promises after the sex (“Text you later” — yeah, right). If you want to know what’s going to happen the next day, DON’T HAVE A ONE-NIGHT STAND.  But, if you do want another, create your own rules.  Think about all of the questions you’re asking and get answers before getting naked. Ask what will happen after the sex (hug, fast exit, text)?  Tell her what you want to happen.  If you want a goodbye hug, make your partner commit to a hug before leaving  (you might want to get that hug before the sex, just in case he forgets in his urgency to run back home to his real girlfriend).  No matter what you do, make sure your sex partner has a working cell phone number and legal name (first and last). This way you can call if your fears turn into a sexually transmitted infection or pregnancy scare.

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Roommate’s nonstop sex with different men is cry for help

Rear view of a couple having sex in bedDear Harlan: My roommate is having sex with a different guy every other night in our room. What can I do to make this stop?- Disgusted Roomie

Dear Disgusted: Being disgusted won’t stop the sex.  This is about craving attention and connection.  It happens. She thinks sex will give her an instant connection. She’s right — for a minute (or less, depending on the guy). But it won’t last as long as the reputation, regret, and possible itching and burning. Come at this from a place of compassion. She is desperately in need of a relationship that won’t end in judgment, guilt, and shame.  Find out what’s happening in her life.  Ask her how she’s feeling.  Attempt to be friendly. See if being kind will help her show you the side she doesn’t let anyone see.  And if having all these men in your room makes you uncomfortable, explain that being sexiled seven days a week is too much.  Ask her to move her sex outside your room (but hopefully, not right in front of the door).

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Asking for sex on a second date is not moving slowly

Sex ComedyDear Harlan: I went on a date with a friend I’ve known for a while. We had a great time. He told me he wanted to move slowly because he’s been hurt in the past. The next night, we went on another date. He asked me if I wanted to have sex. I told him no. I explained that I didn’t want to make the mistake of moving too fast. Now he’s not talking to me. I’m so confused. One day he tells me he wants to move slowly, but the next day he wants to have sex with me. Can you help me out? – Mixed Messages

Dear Mixed Messages:  Sex on a second date is moving slowly for this dude.  Or he just got turned on, turned down, and embarrassed.  If he can’t handle NO, he’s not ready for YES. If you’re still interested in dating him, help him fix his horny mistake. Approach him face to face (no texting). Tell him something like, “I really enjoyed our date, but going slow is important to me.” Ask him if he’s honestly OK slowing down. Feel free to ask him to clarify the mixed messages. See how he responds. If he listens to you, respects you and slows it down, there could be a future here. Otherwise, friendzone it or end it.

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