7 Mistakes Not to Make After a Break-Up (And What to Do Instead)

Break-ups are hard, and if you’ve just been through one, you’re probably inundated with advice right now. I find a lot of break-up advice is garbage, but some of it is actually useful.

In my mind, there are 7 things you absolutely should not do in the weeks and months following a break-up. Avoiding these behaviors, while difficult and often painful, will help you move through the grieving process faster. And that’s what we all want, right?

Clinging to hope. You know how the first stage of grieving a lost loved one is denial? Yeah, that’s totally a thing for break-ups too. You may have a difficult period of time during which you worry the break-up was a bad idea, deeply regret initiating it or taking the actions that led the other person to initiate it, and/or sit by the phone hoping your beloved will have second thoughts.

It’s okay to feel these things. It’s natural, in fact. But at some point, you will have to pivot toward believing the break-up was a good idea and is final. In trying to speed up this process, I’ve found it helpful to journal exhaustively about all the worries, regrets, fears, and false hopes I have surrounding the break-up – and then make a list of all the reasons it was a bad relationship and the person was unsuitable for me. Once that list is made, I always feel so much better about the break-up, whether it was my idea or not – and I also feel more clear-headed about what types of warning signs and incompatibilities I’ll need to look out for in my future relationships.

Suppressing your feelings. As with any type of grieving process, bottling up your emotions will just make them pop back up later at unexpected times, and often in unhealthy ways. It’s better to work through ’em while they’re fresh, so you can actually move the fuck on.

This might mean crying for hours or days at a time. It might mean telling the same story to various different friends 8 or 9 times until it starts to lose its sting. It might mean journaling for hours about all the ways your lost love wronged you, all the ways you feel you failed them, all the fears you have for your future. It might mean being unable to get out of bed for a few days because you can’t stop crying.

This all sounds scary and unproductive, maybe, but it’s actually very productive, because the faster and more thoroughly you get these feelings out of your system, the faster and more thoroughly you’ll be able to move forward with your life. So rage and cry and scream if you have to. Express your thoughts in writing or art or out loud. Explore all the many avenues of your pain. You’ll feel better on the other side.

Self-isolating. Now, I am writing this from the privileged position of having lots of social supports in my life, so your mileage may unfortunately vary. But keeping to yourself during an emotionally difficult time is never a good idea.

Reach out to friends, family, and any kind of therapy professional(s) you see regularly, if applicable. Tell them what’s going on. If it feels like too much work to notify people individually, you could put a general message on your social media channel(s) saying you’re going through a tough time and would appreciate some support.

If you know specifically what types of support you tend to need when you’re sad, it’s helpful to note that, too. There will be some people who want to help but aren’t quite sure what to do. For example, when I’m sad, I find it helpful for friends to take me to comedy shows, since that distracts me from what I’m going through – and I also find it helpful for people to bring me healthy meals and remind me to eat enough food and drink enough water, since my capacity for those things diminishes significantly when I’m depressed. Whatever you need, try asking for it – you might be surprised by who offers to help.

Maintaining contact with your ex. Oh, the prospect of it feels so delicious. Whether the text you want to send is a tender olive branch (“Just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you and I hope you’re doing okay”) or a barbed thorn (“I’m fucking furious you would do this to me”), even the idea of reaching out to your ex can give you an evil little dopamine boost. There will be moments when it’ll seem like a very good idea – but it isn’t!

Do what you have to do to avoid breaking the cone of silence. Tell a friend what you wish you could tell your ex, just to get it off your chest. Write in a journal about it. Change their contact name in your phone to “DON’T DO IT” or block their number entirely. (I used a different messaging app to talk to my ex than I did for my other friends, so when we broke up, I put that app in its own far-away folder on my phone entitled “NOPE.”) Make a list of all the reasons it would be ill-advised to contact them, and refer to your list when the urge strikes. Ask yourself, “How will I feel after I send this text? If they answer? If they don’t answer?” Not great, probably.

There are a few valid reasons to text your ex in the aftermath of the break-up – to arrange an exchange of material goods, for example (see below) – but pouring your heart out to them is not one such reason. Someone can’t effectively comfort you if they’re the one who broke your heart, nor will it make you feel less guilty to talk things out with someone whose heart you recently broke. It just doesn’t work that way. Don’t do it!

Keeping mementos. This, too, is awfully tempting. Whether you want to keep their stuff for sentimental reasons (“Oh, but he got me this teddy bear for our one-month anniversary, and it was so sweeeet!”) or for bitter, petty reasons (“If you wanted me to return the gold bracelet you left here, you should’ve thought of that before you cheated on me, Silvia!!!”), it’s probably a bad idea.

Gifts they gave you are okay to keep, if you genuinely like the objects themselves and not just the emotional meaning with which they’re imbued – but you might want to tuck them away in the back of a closet or give them to a friend for safekeeping for a while, just so they won’t constantly trigger difficult emotions while you’re trying to get over what happened.

As for stuff that isn’t actually yours to keep, you should arrange a time to exchange possessions with your ex as soon as possible. The sooner it’s off your hands, the sooner you can stop thinking about it – and about them.

Jumping back into dating. Break-ups can unleash an avalanche of feelings: inadequacy, undesirability, hopelessness. Like an alcoholic sleuthing out some “hair of the dog,” you might be tempted to hop on Tinder or OkCupid and hunt for your ex’s immediate replacement. There’s a reason “rebounding” is such a ubiquitous practice!

I’m not saying this is never a good idea. For example, I had a one-night stand with a stranger five days after my most recent break-up, and it kind of reminded me that sex isn’t always that great so it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I took some time off sex and dating. But for the most part, I think it’s usually best to abstain from these behaviors for some time while you recover.

During that self-instated celibate period, give some thought to what you’d like to get out of your next relationship, what kinds of sex do and don’t fulfill you, and how you can tune up your love-and-sex behaviors to make them overall healthier and better. When you do eventually tiptoe back into dating, you could try some experiments to see if doing things differently produces different results – for example, what happens if you write what you’re looking for very clearly in your online dating profile instead of hedging with “chill,” non-committal vagueries? What happens when you put off sex until the second or third date? Or, alternatively, what happens if you listen to the desires of your body instead of your brain for a while? You might be surprised what you learn.

Idealizing your ex. It’s oh-so-easy to do. The grass is always greener on the other side, and the lover is always perfect once you can’t have them anymore. Don’t succumb to this illusion!

One of the most devastating parts of any break-up, for me, is the period when I still think I’ll never find anyone better. “He was so smart, so funny, so charming,” I’ll groan. “I’ll never meet anyone else who’s that compatible with me, who understands my kinks that well, who ‘gets me’ that much!” It’s valid and normal to feel this way for a while, but eventually, you’ll realize – or you’ll have to force yourself to realize – that this just isn’t true.

I find it helpful to combat this line of thinking by reminiscing on the past. Before you met your ex, there was probably at least one other instance when you believed you’d never meet someone great again. And then you met your ex. So it stands to reason there are lots more wonderful people you’ll meet in your lifetime. Plus, as you evolve and grow, the type of person you’re looking for will change, too. Your ex may be an ideal match for the person you just were, but they won’t be as good a fit with the person you’ll become next!

Make a list of your ex’s flaws if you have to. Or ask your friends what they disliked about your ex. (They probably kept this stuff to themselves while you were dating, so they might be extra excited to unleash a torrent of salt about your former beau now that they’re allowed to.) Do what you have to do to remind yourself that your ex wasn’t perfect – they weren’t even perfect for you – and there will be even more fabulous cuties in the future!

What do you like to do to get over a break-up?

You’re invited to Our #BirthdayBruises Spanking Party!

Photo by Taylor J Mace

It’s that time again, folks! Just like last year, we’re celebrating Bex‘s birthday with a spanking party – and best of all, we’re livestreaming it over the internet!

Here’s what you need to know:

  • If you support our Dildorks Patreon at the $5/episode level or higher, you’ll get access automatically! The spanking party livestream will be our September #DildorksLive event, which your patronage gets you access to.
  • If you don’t support our Patreon at that level, you can still get access to the livestream by sending $10 USD to Bex via this Paypal link. In the “notes” field of the payment, make sure to specify the email address where you’d like us to send your invite!
  • During the livestream, you’ll also have the opportunity to buy extra hits. They cost $5 for 10 smacks or $10 for 26. You get to specify which partygoer provides the hits you purchased (if they consent, of course) and which implement they use. Fun!
  • If you’re wondering where your money’s going: it’s paying for Bex’s travel and accommodations expenses so they can come to Toronto and be with me for their birthday!

The livestream is happening on Monday, September 11th at 8PM Eastern, and will be broadcast via Google Hangouts to all attendees. Make sure to get your ticket if you’d like to watch!

Additionally, if you have any questions about #BirthdayBruises, feel free to ask them in the comments of this post or to tweet them at us (@BexTalksSex and @Girly_Juice).

Monthly Faves: Hearts, Wands, & Tears

It’s been a tough month, but I feel very loved. Here were some of my fave things in August…

Sex toys

• Swoooon: this month I was gifted a red glittery Doxy Die Cast wand vibrator. Beyond just being stunning to look at, it’s also a remarkable wand. The vibrations are rumbly and shockingly strong, and I just love the way this sexy aluminum wand feels in my hands. Full review to come!

• My other exciting acquisition this month was an Njoy Pure Plug 2.0. It’s massive, and I haven’t been able to get it inside me yet, but I’m holding out hope that someday I will!

Fantasy fodder

• I received a four-hand erotic massage from some local sexological bodywork pros this month and it was fucking divine. This type of massage pings a lot of my kinks about sexual service and partners having intimate knowledge of my preferences, so I found it super hot at the time and continued to find it super hot when I revisited it in subsequent fantasies. (Side note: a hookup asked me how the massage went, and when I said it was so good that I wished I could get one every week, he replied, “Play your cards right and you just might…”!)

• Since I went through a pretty traumatic break-up this month, I’ve had to recalibrate my fantasy life a bit so it doesn’t just constantly make me cry (*sad trombone*). This has meant seeking out new porn, dirty fanfiction, and erotica, as well as cultivating crushes on new people (both celebrities and IRL folks) to ponder in private moments. Masturbation is no longer an emotionally painful process for me, so that’s something!

Sexcetera

• Some of my work elsewhere this month: For Kinkly, I wrote about how an erotic massage helped me get over my break-up. I investigated the new at-home HPV test for Glamour. I wrote a Letter to the Editor about female orgasms for the Walrus. I identified some killer sex toy combinations and common “taboo” fantasies for Ignite. Peepshow asked me to chronicle some weird things people have put in their butts. I was interviewed by Coffee & Kink. I hosted Sex City Radio, interviewing sex toy reviewer Epiphora, break-up coach Natalia Juarez, and asexual sex blogger Taryn. On our podcast, Bex and I interviewed our friends Suz and Claire, and talked about conferences, Woodhull, and dominance.

• Orgasm stats: This month I had 27 orgasms, 7 of which (25.9%) were from partners. I’m surprised I still managed to have so many, despite terrible depression wracking me lately!

• Like I said, I went through a devastating break-up a few weeks ago, and while my heart is broken and life has felt very difficult this month, this experience has reminded me that I have lots of people in my corner and my friends are always there for me. I’m very, very lucky.

Femme stuff

• As per usual, I’m experimenting with various perfume samples lately. Though I’ve mostly been sticking with my perennial favorite, John Varvatos, this month I’ve also been enjoying the Tom of Finland fragrance from Etat Libre d’Orange. It’s supposed to be masculine but on me it’s just femmey, warm and comforting. Good stuff!

• My new hot pink Tarina Tarantino heart necklace is giving me life. It’s HUGE and VERY SPARKLY. God bless Tarina and her magpie proclivities!

• I am looooving my new “Submissive” T-shirt from Pen & Kink. I ordered one in the tri-blend material, so it’s suuuper soft and comfy – truly the ideal garment for a lazy babygirl to lounge around in!

Little things

Bex sending me a selfie of them and their Sir. My new Seven-Year PenThe Bold Type. Emotionally cathartic kink with a trusted partner. Doing a live Dildorks recording in front of a crowd at Woodhull! Readers of my blog coming up to me to tell me how much they love my work. Spanking Suz with a bible. Hanging with my blogger babes. Deep sleeps in big comfy hotel beds. Cadence making me a gin and tonic and gently domming me into finishing my work when I was practically too depressed to move. Watching Friends on Netflix with Max for hours on end. Being comforted/supported by my FWB, who then attempted to fuck the sads out of me. A random guy offering me a no-strings-attached footrub at a sex club. Max bringing me Haagen Dazs. Swimming while stoned. Journaling on public transit. Crimson Wave Comedy. Pinegrove’s wonderful album Cardinal. Improv crushes. Making out in an alley with someone who makes me howl with laughter.

The 10 Commandments of Successful Friendships-with-Benefits

My first-ever sexual relationship was a friendship-with-benefits. So you would think I’d be better at that type of arrangement than the average person, since FWBs have been part of my sexual menu for literally my entire sexual career.

Nah, man. I wish. I have fucked up FWB situations in all manner of ways: I’ve fallen in love with fuckpals or turned the other cheek when they fell for me; I’ve undervalued them, or else heaped all my sexpectations onto them; I’ve ended things unceremoniously or not at all.

These are easy mistakes to make, because we don’t have clear social scripts for how FWB relationships (or, as I sometimes like to call them, “copulationships”) are supposed to go. However, these days, I have a rotating roster of occasional fuckbuddies, all of whom I adore – so I’m feeling much more motivated to do things right. Here are ten guidelines I think will serve you very well in copulationships of your own…

Only do it if you both want to. You’d think this would be obvious, but it isn’t always! Sometimes, people agree to a friendship-with-benefits because they think they have to. Maybe they want a romantic relationship with the other person, and think being their FWB is the closest thing they can get. Maybe they like their friend as a friend, and don’t quite know how to turn down the offer of sex without also severing the friendship. Maybe they’re just not a casual-sex type of person, but feel a social or societal obligation to pursue it anyway.

Before entering a FWB situation – or while the formation of a new one is still recent – give some thought to your reasons for wanting it, or not wanting it. Ask your pal how they feel about the situation as well. As in all things sexual, you cannot overprioritize clear, ongoing, informed, enthusiastic consent!

Set clear boundaries and expectations. You might think everyone shares your exact definition of “friend with benefits,” but they don’t! It’s important to hammer out what each of you expects from the other, and from the friendship in general. Emotional support? Seeing each other weekly or monthly? Are you seeing other people, and if so, are you going to tell each other when you do? Are certain sexual acts off the table, because they feel too intimate for a casual relationship, or for some other reason? If you run in the same social groups, are you okay with people knowing the two of you are sleeping together, or would you rather keep it on the down-low?

All of these factors can complicate a FWB sitch, so it’s best to figure them out before they become a problem. If there’s anything you’re not sure about, ask. Better to risk seeming a little uncool and find out what’s up, I say.

Ask for what you want – and encourage them to do the same. One of the best things about casual sexual relationships is that the stakes are lower, so you might find it easier to be frank about your desires. If they’re fucking you, presumably they want you to have fun and feel good – so ask for the specific things that would accomplish that! This could be anything from a small adjustment in technique to “Wanna put this huge dildo in my ass?”

As always, be prepared to accept a “No” if that’s their answer, and try not to take it personally. Likewise, you should encourage them to open up about what they’d like you to do – it’s important to be a good sexual partner, even if the situation is casual!

Talk about any feelings that come up. Learn from my mistakes: if you develop romantic feelings for your FWB, it feels like the best thing to do is hide that fact from them. But everything will just get worse over time, and then you’ll have massive emotional chaos on your hands instead of a small blip of a crush that could’ve been nipped in the bud.

Personally, I think that if either party begins to have romantic feelings for the other, it’s best to take a break from sex – and maybe even from seeing each other – until that situation is handled. That can feel difficult bordering on impossible, but trust me: it’s better than full-on falling for your fuckbuddy. You do not want that. It is a mess. Communicate and come up with a solution before you get to that stage, if at all possible.

(Pro tip: this was a chronic problem for me until I met my current main FWB, who is emotionally monogamous to his primary partner and who is also just not the type of person I’d want to date, personality-wise. It can be difficult to find someone who you find sexually attractive, enjoy spending time around, and have no romantic desire for whatsoever, but trust me, it is possible. If I, a severely crush-prone sap, could do it, I believe almost anyone can.)

Keep putting in the effort. It’s easy to feel like you don’t have to try to “impress” your FWB, because they’re not a romantic partner. But that’s a bullshit attitude. They’re your friend, and they’re sharing a sexual experience with you. They’re worthy of your respect and good treatment. If you don’t think so, why are you sleeping with them?

Make sure your sheets are clean when they come over. Shower and groom yourself appropriately. Don’t rush them out the door when you’re done. Treat them like a hot date you’re trying to impress, even if they’re the goofy pal you’ve seen laugh beer out their nose a dozen times. Be worthy of the experiences you’re sharing; they may be casual, but they’re not worthless.

Value their mind, not just their body. If you’re both cool with an “wham-bam-thank-you-fam” arrangement, that’s a different matter. But at that point, they become less a friend-with-benefits and more just a booty call. Keep up with their life, their hopes and dreams, their ups and downs, if they seem to want to share that stuff with you. A solid friendship will make the sex better, too!

Be respectful and polite. Don’t be late to your meetups if you can avoid it. Don’t cancel plans at the last minute unless you absolutely have to. Answer their texts in a timely manner when you can. You know, like… a good friend?

Be a friend, even when times are tough. I’ll never forget the time my FWB came over a week after I’d gotten dumped, and told me, “I’m sorry you’ve had such a rough week. You don’t deserve that. If you just wanna cuddle and talk tonight, I’d be totally fine with that. I don’t want to rush you or pressure you into anything you don’t feel like doing.” Admittedly, I wanted him to fuck me, too – but that was partly because he’d shown his true colors as a genuinely good guy! With this simple speech, he proved he viewed me as a person, not just a series of holes to fuck.

It can be awkward to try to emotionally support someone who you usually only see naked, sweaty, and grunting – but it’s nice to offer. They might not take you up on it, but they’ll probably feel better about the copulationship knowing it’s with someone who has their back.

Cultivate compersion. Incase you haven’t heard, compersion is the term the polyamorous community uses to describe the opposite of jealousy: it’s the feeling of being happy for a partner’s romantic and/or sexual happiness with other people.

Assuming your friendship-with-benefits isn’t monogamous (and most aren’t!), your fuckpal will probably date and/or bang other people while seeing you. They may even end things with you to pursue something with someone else. While this can be painful, it’s also an opportunity for you to hone your compersion skills. I have even found FWB situations to be excellent practice for navigating jealousy in my serious romantic relationships. It’s a win-win!

If it’s over, say so. Don’t ghost or fade away; it’s weak and rude. If you’ve been fucking someone consistently for a while, you owe them an explanation if that has to stop. End it like you’d endeavor to end a romantic relationship: politely, compassionately, and definitively. Don’t leave them wondering why you keep canceling plans or won’t answer their texts; you’re better than that.

Have you had successful friendships-with-benefits? To what did you owe their success?

10 Reasons the We-Vibe Tango is (Still) My Favorite Clit Vibe

I’m moving to a new home next week, and while I’ve packed up almost all the sex toys I’m planning on bringing, there were a few items I just had to leave out incase I needed them sometime before leaving. Among this group of exceptional outliers is my duo of We-Vibe Tango vibrators.

I got my first Tango just over five years ago, and it was love at first orgasm. I’ve owned a total of four Tangos in my masturbatory career – due to, it must be said, these toys’ one major flaw, their less-than-stellar battery that tends to give out after 2-3 years. But the Tango is one of those rare toys that I’m happy to keep re-buying every few years if I have to. The orgasms it provides are so deep, delicious, and consistent that they’re worth shelling out for.

Here are the 10 biggest reasons the Tango remains a bedside staple of mine, all these years later…

It’s strong. Like, shockingly strong for such a small vibe. There are only a few other bullet-sized vibes this strong that I can think of: the Jopen Lust L2, Swan Wand Mini, ScreamingO Charged Vooom and VeDO Bam. There’s also We-Vibe’s other mini-vibe offering, the Touch, though it’s made of soft silicone instead of hard plastic so it doesn’t conduct vibration as well as the Tango. Suffice it to say, the Tango is easily one of the strongest vibrators you can get at this price point or this size.

It’s rumbly. This is a different consideration from vibration strength; it’s the quality of the vibrations. The Tango rumbles, thrums, pounds against your body; it does not cause near-instant numbness like buzzier vibes do. What’s remarkable about the Tango is that it remains rumbly even at its higher speeds. This is ultimately what makes the Tango indispensable to me: almost nothing else is this strong and this rumbly, and certainly nothing else of this size.

It’s small. The Tango is my most-used toy during partnered sex. This is partly because it’s one of my most-used toys overall, but also, it’s particularly well-suited to partner play because of its size. It slots easily between bodies during intercourse, can be tucked into a pocket or purse at a moment’s notice for a sex-date, and doesn’t get in the way if I’m pairing it with a dildo or a partner’s fingers.

It’s waterproof. As a diehard fan of the bathtime wank, this is an important consideration for me. What’s more, being underwater doesn’t seem to dampen the Tango’s vibrations much, if at all.

It’s rechargeable. This is pretty much a requirement for me; I don’t fuck with battery-powered vibes anymore if I can help it. The Tango’s finicky charger used to bug me, but a We-Vibe rep taught me a trick to make it easier to use, and now I have zero issues with it. Yay!

It has a versatile shape. I most often press the Tango’s flat tip against the right side of my clit, but there are tons of other ways to use it. You can play with the pointed tip or the broad rounded side; you can lay it against the whole length of your clit or just one specific spot. So many options!

It’s quiet. Particularly for a vibe this strong, the Tango is uncommonly quiet. It’s still audible, yeah, but it’s certainly no Le Wand.

It can be used in other toys: anything that has a hole/slot/sleeve for a bullet vibe. This includes, for example, some vibrating cock rings, butt plugs, harnesses, and dildos. Throw out the shitty, buzzy bullet that comes with these toys, and grab a Tango instead. It’s strong enough that you’ll be able to actually feel the vibrations through the toy.

It can be used hands-free. We-Vibe’s own Dusk attachment allows for hands-free orgasms, as Epiphora first chronicled in her review. Depending on your anatomy, you may also be able to pull off this neat trick I do sometimes: I can tuck the Tango between my outer and inner labia, and it’ll more-or-less stay put while I scroll through dirty fanfiction, click around porn sites, and so on. Magic!

Are you a fan of the We-Vibe Tango? Why or why not?