Q: I’ve had a crush on my friend for years. I’m a lesbian and she is bisexual, but I think her experience with women is limited. Every time I think about talking to her about how I feel, I either chicken out, or we aren’t single at the same time. I don’t know if she feels the same way, but we have snuggled before after nights out and it always felt like it might turn into more, but I didn’t want to pressure her, and she would change the subject. I think she felt awkward or not sure what to do, so I always just left it. I feel like, as we get back into dating after all the lockdowns, this might be my chance to see if she feels the same way, as she has been mostly single during lockdown and has spoken about looking forward to getting back into dating. I would really like to build a relationship with her as I think our life together would be incredible. How do I finally talk to her, and how do I manage if she says she isn’t interested in me? I can hardly bear to think about that.
Q: I’m 33 and have been with my partner for five years. We have a six-month-old baby. I’ve always struggled with my libido but, since my pregnancy, it’s been at rock bottom. I invest a lot of my energy in our baby and running a home, but I feel like I have very little outside of that — and I don’t feel terribly happy. The last thing I want to do of an evening is have sex, which I know is an awful thing to say. I love my partner and I feel really sorry for him. I’m desperate to find some ways of boosting my libido long-term, and I’d like to know why it gets so low.
At a young age, I dealt with many negative emotions, and my cousin’s wife contributed to this. She was utterly mean to me and deliberately made comments. She and her husband would constantly patronise me about my clothes and the way I looked.
Q: I have been in two really bad relationships. One lasted 10 years and ended quite dramatically. After being single for several years, I got very lonely and dated again but it was a waste of time. My confidence took a huge knock as I was dating men I wasn’t even attracted to because I thought there would be less chance of me being hurt. Then a man I knew from years ago got in touch and asked me out. We hit it off and I was delighted someone finally wanted me.
Q: I feel really embarrassed writing about this. I am on the verge of breaking up with my new partner but I don’t really know what to do. He is really nice, in so many ways, but the issue is his hygiene. Our sex life was good but I am used to partners who have taken better care of their hygiene. My new partner will come home from work all sweaty, as he has a manual job, and will often initiate sex, but his genitals will be also sweaty, and there is a smell. It turns me off and I make excuses but it keeps happening. I have tried to mention it but he changes the subject or just doesn’t take it seriously. From what I can tell, he showers about every second day, usually. If he was less active, I think that would probably be OK, but because he is on his feet all day, he often doesn’t smell very fresh. It’s starting to really bug me, and I’m not sure I want to carry on the relationship if he can’t even get the basics of personal care right. It’s been a few weeks now since we have had sex. Is this the end for us?
My wife started a new job over a year ago. During that time she has started to get overly close to her boss, constantly texting him in the evenings and at weekends. She said to me they just got on well, nothing more. Recently her boss was away on holidays and my wife was texting him — but his wife saw the texts and hit the roof and made him cease communication outside of work.
Q: I’ve realised lately that my husband and I only have sex after drinking wine or smoking a few joints. I didn’t even think about this until we spent a month without alcohol and weed as a health kick, and we didn’t even attempt to have sex, even though we were feeling healthier and better than ever. It was only a few glasses of wine, and I wouldn’t say we were drunk, just merry. I was thinking about why this was, and remembered that, for us, sex has usually been an evening activity, and always after drinking or smoking. I can’t even remember a time when we were sober, and we have been together for years. Does this mean that we don’t really like having sex with each other if we can’t do it sober? Is this a bad sign for our marriage? I’m not sure that we will stay off the booze or smoke, but I would like to be intimate with my husband again, and I don’t know how he feels about this.
I am having relationship problems as my man ogles other women. He turns his head to look at them and doesn’t comment. This hurts me a lot. He says I’m his queen but I don’t feel like I am. He denies it every time it happens.
Q: My partner and I are new to our relationship but we are also both relatively inexperienced. She is a little more experienced than me, and sometimes I don’t mind but, other times, it can make me feel insecure as I feel like I am playing catch-up to her. We were talking recently about ex-partners and she told me that her ex had given her herpes but she assured me that it was OK and I wouldn’t catch it from her. Is this true? Every time I look online, I see really scary images and I feel a bit panicked. I don’t judge her but, at the same time, I don’t know anything about this and how to go forward. Can I catch this, or do we need to take extra precautions?
I’m hoping you can help. I’ve got myself into a bad situation. I’ve been having an affair with a neighbour. He started it when he kissed me in the garden after we’d been chatting for a while.
Q: How do I figure out what to find sexy? I’d like to find some erotica to explore. I’ve looked at porn a little bit but I’m not too into it and it just seems very over the top. I was wondering if there is a good erotica book that I could read that would help me develop healthy fantasies during masturbation that I could take into potential role play. I enjoy reading sexy stories and can often feel inspired.
What’s harder than digital dating? Digital dating while millennial. At least that’s the overwhelming impression you get from Olivia Petter’s book, Millennial Love, about the pitfalls and peculiarities of dating while aged 25 to 40. Millennials, or Generation Y, are those born between 1981 and 1996; the avocado-on-toast generation, unfairly derided by oldies as snowflakes.
Q: Recently I was in a relationship for a few months. During our time together exploring sex (he was aware I don’t have much experience), he made me feel comfortable about my body and I thought everything was going fine until, after two months, he said he had doubts. He really wanted me to orgasm during sex and I just couldn’t get there. He said it was because I was so used to masturbating with a vibrator, I had desensitised myself and to stop using it.
Q: I’ve been with my partner for almost 16 years, since we were both teenagers. It has usually been smooth sailing, and I have really liked that we essentially grew into ourselves together and shared milestones together. We have had some time apart, as he worked abroad for a few months each year for about five years, but otherwise we’ve been together all the time. We don’t have children, but we do have a mortgage together. The problem is, I’m not sure that I really love him anymore. Nothing happened, no rows or arguments, so I’m not really sure why I feel this way. We barely have sex anymore, but it doesn’t come up in conversation a lot — it just sort of petered out. I’m not even sure I miss sex, but I do often miss the closeness. I don’t know if my marriage is over, or if this is just a phase.
Q: I’ve read your column before, and I know you talk about the importance of communication around sex and sexual needs. I agree, but I don’t know how to do this. I’ve always struggled to communicate my needs and I feel like I’ve just gone along with what the other person really wanted, rather than speak up for myself. I’ve faked orgasms in the past and told people things were fine when I didn’t think they were. I used to feel worried about people judging me or not really listening to what I wanted. I also didn’t come from a family that were open about sex, and like most people my sex education in school wasn’t very extensive. I think I have a good attitude to sex but it’s just putting that into practice that I struggle with. I want to make up for lost time during the pandemic, but I don’t want to fall into old habits. I want to go forward with my dating life in a much more conscious and empowered way. I just have to figure out what that looks like.
Q: I met a wonderful guy a month ago on a night out, and we clicked so much. It feels really good to spend time with him. We have a great time together in bed and it feels like there’s a real spark there. The problem is, he’s moving abroad next month. It’s for a job that he really wanted, so I can’t see him returning to Ireland any time soon. I don’t want to move as I love my job here and feel quite settled. I’m really not sure about a long-distance relationship as I’ve only heard negative stories about how stressful it is. I can sense that I am catching feelings and I don’t want to get hurt. I’m starting to get anxious about this, and even writing this makes me stressed. It’s been a fun fling, but is that all it is if he is moving? Do I end things when he moves to save future heartbreak, or will I give it a shot? I don’t even know how to say this to him.
Back in late 2018, I was engaged to be married when I went on a dating app and started chatting with a woman who was in a similar situation to mine, although she wanted to leave what was a toxic relationship.
Even for June, this Saturday morning is unseasonably warm, but that hasn’t stopped more than 500 women — including myself — joining Jenny Keane’s online orgasm workshop. Though the majority of us are Irish, there are many others logging in from across the globe — New Zealand, Peru, Sydney, Germany, the UAE — eager to hear what wisdom Keane can impart on having orgasms, or possibly, having better, or different, orgasms. We join the almost 9,000 women who have benefited from Keane’s workshops, both online and in-studio. A professionally trained, trauma-informed tantra yoga teacher, Keane focuses on a more holistic approach to self-pleasure. But how does an online orgasm workshop even work? For a start, male partners/lovers are politely told to not attend, as this will be a safe space for women to explore themselves.
Q: I broke up with my last partner almost a year ago. It was a friendly break-up so there were no bitter arguments or fights over belongings. He initiated it and I didn’t want to, but I agreed to break up as he said he wasn’t in love with me anymore. I’m not going to lie, I was devastated and couldn’t believe it. He seemed OK and I didn’t think there was anything really wrong with our relationship. We were stressed and did fight a bit, but that seemed normal during the stresses of lockdown and life. We were together for two years, and we didn’t chat much about the future, but I had hoped that this would be the one that worked out. I haven’t met anyone else since, but I heard through friends that he had started a new relationship last month. This brought up lots of feelings — I feel really upset and think about him a lot. Part of me wants to reach out to him to see if there is any chance for us, but the other part of me needs to accept it is over. I don’t know how to move on and get over him — how do I do this?
I am a married man in my late 30s married to a great mother of our kids, but in the last few years our relationship has lost its spark. Our sex life is almost non-existent and even the simplest of things, like asking for a kiss or a cuddle at night, leads to an argument. I can’t understand why. I’ve asked my wife if there is something wrong and she says no, it’s not all about sex. I’m very loyal to my wife and kids.
Q: My wife and I can’t stop arguing at the moment. It’s every little thing and it feels like we are also snapping at each other constantly. I can do nothing right and everything she does seems to annoy me. Part of me feels that I’m sick to my back teeth of living like this and I just feel done. I’m so tempted to go to a lawyer to see about a divorce, but I just can’t make a firm decision. Most of the time, I don’t want to be near her, and I’ve started running in order to get time away from her and the constant fighting. Another part of me wonders if I’m just bored and maybe an affair might relieve some of my tension and might save my marriage. We don’t have any kids yet so I don’t feel it would be too late for either of us to start over if that’s what we decided. We’ve been married for five years, and it wasn’t always like this, but now I don’t even know if I want to try to get back to where we used to be in the early days of our marriage. Is this the end for us?
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