Thought Catalog


10 Signs You’re In An Open Relationship With Wine

Posted: 03 Nov 2015 08:00 PM PST

Twenty20 / kyle_tudor
Twenty20 / kyle_tudor

1. You have a go-to type.

Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay, or maybe you’re more of a Merlot girl, either way you know what you want, and you always get it.

2. You don’t mind the cheap stuff.

You don’t discriminate on price. That 7.99 dollar bottle of Australian Pinot Grigio tastes just as good as the overpriced bottle from some city in France you’ve never heard of. You drink it so often, you’ve become accustomed to purchasing from the sale rack.

3. Wine has seen you at your worst.

Wine has been there for you when you lose your job, your boyfriend, or are just lost in life in general. Wine doesn’t only sticks around for the good parts; it supports you through thick and thin.

4. You drink it in airports.

What better way to kill time waiting for a flight than to enjoy a buttery glass of Chardonnay? Wine takes the edge off for any anxious flyer, and makes the flight a little more comfortable. And if you’re not an anxious flyer you drink it because…you can.

5. When you travel you check for wineries.

Or you travel to a specific destination solely because of their wine. Who’s up for a wine tasting? You are!

6. You own more than one piece of clothing with a wine stain on it.

If there is a deep red colored spot on your clothing, you know exactly what it is. Wine.

7. Your wine glass is usually on your counter.

And rarely ever in your cabinet. It’s like making the bed, why put it away if you’re just going to use it again?

8. You own a wine rack.

You love it so much you need to give it a proper resting place.

9. You check out the wine list before you dine somewhere.

You’re not on Yelp looking at the appetizers and entrees, you’re scoping out their wine menu. You’ll decide on what to eat when you get there.

10. People buy you wine for holidays and birthdays.

When you see the majority of your wrapped Christmas presents shaped like bottles, you’re not surprised. And if it isn’t a bottle, it’s a magnet with a quote that explains your obsession. “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy wine.” TC mark

A Woman In Danger

Posted: 03 Nov 2015 07:15 PM PST

StockSnap / Creative Vix
StockSnap / Creative Vix

I had forgotten what it felt like to constantly look over both shoulders as I walk down the street. I had forgotten that I had to scrutinize my clothing to avoid "sending the wrong message." Soon after I returned to Washington D.C. from working a year in China, it didn't take long for me to remember.

It started with the staring. No permission is necessary as some men take it upon themselves to vigorously eye women up and then down. Those unwanted eyes seem to grow hands, and you can feel the waves of discomfort roll across your body.

Maybe it's me.

Something in the way I board the subway or in the way I pack my car with groceries communicates that I would like to be violated by a male's eyes. Sometimes I even forget to dismount the Baskin Robbins sign stapled on the back of my head. Of course any man would see my skin and loudly declare that he "loves to eat chocolate ice cream." (Excuse me while I take note of his preference).

It did’t end with the staring, but I really wish it did. When a couple of friends took me to a bar to celebrate my return, I tried to do everything right. We traveled in a group, we didn't wear anything too suggestive, and we parked as close to our destination as possible.

I'll admit I was already on edge. Throughout my transition back into American culture I have been showered with pity or comments like, "You should just get over it. This is the way it is." Something really may be wrong with me. Yet I can't believe that I have returned home, and can finally see an alarming societal ill that I had been conditioned to ignore.

We had almost made it through the night scot-free, but as I was exiting the bar, one man decided to rub his hand down my entire front body. He looked at me and said, "I know you like that." It was as if every word that I had ever known had taken a vacation from my memory. I stood there staring back at him, saying nothing and feeling small. He walked away. Very anti-climatic…I know. If you are asking what I wore to provoke him, I had on a loose-fitting white-buttoned collared shirt. (Of course you didn't ask, but now I feel the need to analyze my role in the interaction).

It went from bad to worse. We hurriedly tried to make it home, but trouble caught up to us yet again. Less than three minutes from the car, we were approached by two young men who were clearly intoxicated. They began to scream at us because we didn't speak to them. Obviously we didn't learn the 'speaking' lesson fast enough, because they began pouring beer cans and chanting R.I.P. We walked/ran the rest of the way to the car. As they threw their beer cans after us, I knew there was no need in saying anything then. On the silent ride home, all I could think about was that if a police officer gunned them down right at this moment – I would be marching for them.

My friend told me I should take it as a compliment. She assured me that I had just forgotten that some men act that way when they find women attractive. "It's not like we are women in danger," she continued. "Boko Haram is killing and raping women and girls in Nigeria. You just got a beer can."

She was right. I was raised in America understanding what it is like to feel sexually objectified when I walk outside. My brief respite in China must have made me ill-equipped to face it all again. Furthermore, a beer can is a far cry from rape or death. Still, I just…wonder.

I wonder whether our quiet acceptance of sexual harassment has caused the problem to balloon. I wonder what men say to their friends who physically harass women in bars and clubs. I wonder whether our silence on the home front is an indicator of why our silence is deafening when it comes to gender inequality worldwide.

Many people read articles and they demand for a great solution when they come to the end. I'm sorry to disappoint.

I do know some things that would make me feel as if my female organs did not relegate my humanity. Here are a few:

• No means no. Stop means stop.
• If you will not speak, then look away. There is a clear distinction between looking and violating. You may be shy or you may not want to talk. However, please don't forget that the mind comes before the body. If you have no intention to engage a woman further, do not violate her by taking in every inch of her body.
• There is no need to verbally or physically assault a woman to get her attention. Try conversation. A simple "Hello, how are you?" or "Have a good day" would suffice.
• Sexual innuendos are unnecessary. Whenever you see a woman who looks nice, just tell her. How about, "You look beautiful" (P.S. she'll likely say thanks).

I find it hard to convince myself that sexual harassment is just the way it is. Instead, I'd like to believe that when we stop telling victims of sexual harassment to "just calm down" our social landscape would look much different. I'd like to believe that we should confront or even report perpetrators of sexual harassment. Maybe it is just me, but I fervently pray that I'm not alone. TC mark

The Video You Didn’t Know You Needed To Watch: 15 Porn Stars Reveal Their Horror Stories While On Set

Posted: 03 Nov 2015 07:00 PM PST

From busted veins in the penis to accidentally shitting on someone, throwing up after a deep throat session, these 15 porn stars dish it out on the horror stories they’ve experienced (and heard about) on set.

solidLine

Cherry Torn

As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube
As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube

Amarna Miller

As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube
As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube

Veruca James

As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube
As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube

Tyler Knight

As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube
As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube

Mia Li

As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube
As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube

Nikki Darling

As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube
As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube

Nina Hartley

As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube
As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube

Shane Diesel

As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube
As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube

Gabriella Paltrova

As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube
As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube

Dava Foxx

As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube
As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube

Anna Bell Peaks

As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube
As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube

Anikka Albrite

As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube
As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube

Draven Star

As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube
As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube

Daisy Ducati

As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube
As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube

Dahlia Sky

As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube
As A Porn Star: Porn Set Horror Stories / Youtube

Watch the video below. TC mark

17 Men And Women Reveal Their Most Bizarre Experience At A Sex Party

Posted: 03 Nov 2015 06:00 PM PST

Flickr icanteachyouhowtodoit
Flickr icanteachyouhowtodoit

1. I COULDN'T GET IT UP

"It figures that the first time in my life that I failed to achieve an erection, I'd do it in front of a huge group of naked people while trying to show off with my girlfriend. Not only couldn't I get it up, I was so nervous that the whole thing pretty much shrunk up and hid inside me like a baby kangaroo inside its mother's pouch."

—Tony, 26

beetlejuice

2. SOMEONE TOOK A SHIT IN THE HOT TUB

"Someone took a shit in the hot tub. I saw it floating in the hot tub and I almost retched. One of the owners came and fished it out with this big saucepan. I left the party soon after. Wasn't in the mood for group sex after seeing a turd floating in the hot tub."

—Rhonda, 27

beetlejuice

3. UNWANTED BLOWJOB

"A squat little mushroom-faced woman started blowing me and kept blowing me even after I made it clear that I didn't want her to blow me. I pretty much had to push her off me. She looked dejected, but c'mon. Consent is a two-way street."

—Geoff, 29

beetlejuice

4. I THINK I BLEW A GUY

"I think I blew a guy. I'm not sure. I was drunker than I've ever been in my life. Who's going to refuse free champagne? And I'm not sure if I swallowed, either. It's all really fuzzy. But I'm pretty sure I blew a guy."

—Greg, 24

beetlejuice

5. DEALING WITH 'THE SMELLY PERSON'

"The smelly person. There's always one at these soirees. Good fucking GOD was this guy rancid-smelling. Like a wastewater treatment plant. He wilted every boner and dried up every vadge in his vicinity. Someone finally took him aside and suggested he take a shower."

—Melinda, 22

beetlejuice

6. PSSST—YOU HAVE HERPES

"After having sex with this woman, she whispered in my ear that now I have herpes and she hopes I enjoy it. What the fuck? It wasn't true. I got tested a hundred times and I don't have it. What kind of mindfuck is that? Who says that kind of thing?"

—Ted, 31

beetlejuice

7. WERE THE HORS D'OEUVRES REALLY VEGAN?

"This woman got in an argument over the hosts over whether the hors d'oeuvres were actually vegan. I think it had something to do with eggs, I don't know, I don't follow that stuff, I'm one of those people who'll eat a raw steak for breakfast and won't care if it kills me because it tastes so good, you know? But this little odd woman with a square head got into what was almost a shouting match, accusing them of being fake vegans who were providing party treats that weren't actually vegan. C'mon—I thought we all came to fuck, no?"

—Brad, 28

beetlejuice

8. MY BOYFRIEND BROKE HIS ANKLE

"My boyfriend broke his ankle. There was someone passed out on the floor and he tripped over them while he was carrying drinks back to us buck-ass naked. We had to get dressed and go to the emergency room. Talk about ruining the mood!"

—Danielle, 27

beetlejuice

9. A WOMAN HAD A SEIZURE

"This older woman who was there with her husband had a seizure. She was taken away in an ambulance. The events were somber after that. Not much fucking at all. Quiet talk, pleasant talk, but not really a ‘sex party’ anymore. That'd definitely be the most bizarre thing I've ever seen happen at a sex party—no sex."

—Bella, 24

beetlejuice

Flickr icanteachyouhowtodoit
Flickr icanteachyouhowtodoit

10. I NEARLY BLINDED MYSELF WITH MY OWN SEMEN

"Shot myself in the eye with my own cum. That means two things: 1) I had a very powerful orgasm to be able to shoot it that far; 2) I pretty much had to run naked and half-hard into the bathroom to wash it out of my eyes, because that shit stings!"

—Tim, 24

beetlejuice

11. GUY ACCIDENTALLY JIZZED ON OTHER GUY

"Two guys got into an argument because one of them jizzed on the other accidentally. There were all these cushions and bean bags and throw pillows, and I guess things got a little complicated and it was this huge squirming ball of flesh and at one point one guy squirted his load on another guy's legs. The argument got pretty heated until everyone around them figured out what was going on and started laughing."

—Deb, 23

beetlejuice

12. UNCONTROLLABLE BOUT OF COUGHING

"Did you ever accidentally swallow some spit and it, you know, goes down the wrong pipe or whatever, and it leads to this embarrassing bout of coughing where it sounds like you might choke to death? Yeah. That happened to me. During a threesome. It quickly became a twosome, with me the odd man out."

—Kent, 27

beetlejuice

13. I STOLE ALL THE CONDOMS AND TISSUES

"I stole all the condoms and Kleenex out of every room. I had a big purse and it was easy. I was in a bad mood, had just gone through a really bad breakup, and to take out my aggressions I stole all the condoms and tissues I could find and left the party. If I wasn't going to have a good time, nobody was! I know it wasn't exactly mature, but I thought it was funny at the time."

—Brenda, 29

beetlejuice

14. ARGUMENT WITH NUDE PHOTOGRAPHER

"A bit of a spat broke out because this creeper guy was walking around taking pictures, which was completely forbidden and explained to everyone the minute they get to the party. Trust me, you haven't lived until you've seen nude people argue with a nude photographer about how they don't want to be photographed nude."

—Lexi, 30

beetlejuice

15. IT BROKE MY HEART

"Watching another guy fuck my girlfriend—and especially watching how much she enjoyed it—I got up out of the bedroom I was in, went into the apartment vestibule, got my clothes, got dressed, and went home and never talked to her again. She tried contacting me saying it was all a misunderstanding, but I think the problem is that I understood all too well. I guess I'm a lover, not a swinger."

—Clint, 25

beetlejuice

16. I WOKE UP AND REALIZED I WAS THE ONLY NAKED ONE

"I passed out and woke up to find out it was about 6AM and I was the only naked person in the place. For some reason I thought it'd be wise to pass out underneath the dinner table curled up in the fetal position. The party was long over. There was a maid cleaning up—she was fully dressed. I couldn't even find my clothes so I snuck into a guest room and got dressed wearing someone else's clothes. My clothes, cell phone, keys, wallet—all gone."

—Kenny, 29

beetlejuice

17. I STAYED DRESSED—JUST TO BE ANNOYING!

"I didn't get laid. Not once. I didn't even try! That was the whole point. I didn't take my clothes off the entire time. I just walked around nodding at people and sometimes giving disapproving glances. It was hilarious. I didn't understand any of the terminology. What's the difference between an orgy and a sex party and a swingers' get-together? Poly swingers, etc. Pansexual? The fucking 'lifestyle'? None of it. I just kept my clothes on and hoped I was embarrassing everyone. It was fun!"

—Milo, 30 TC mark

What It’s Like To Be A Young Woman With Asperger’s

Posted: 03 Nov 2015 05:45 PM PST

StockSnap / ijah Hail
StockSnap / ijah Hail

Hello, my name is Gwen Kansen and I have Asperger's Syndrome. I've known since I was thirteen. I'm twenty-eight now. I've spent my whole life trying to fit in. I feel like I've worked so hard trying to be somebody else that I don't really know who I am.

People with Asperger's are different. For a long time I didn't see that. Or rather, I didn't want to accept it. But it's true. We think differently, even if our feelings are mostly the same. Now I'm trying to figure out what that means.

beetlejuice

I moved to New York to be a fashion designer. I'm still a student. But it's exhausting. My classmates don't talk to me. I got canned from my internship. Some of my professors have told me that they don't think I'd make it in this field. They said it to be kind, but they also sounded kind of incredulous. Like how could I have ever thought I could do this? Two of them asked me point-blank if I have a learning disability. I said yes.

It hurts, that it's that obvious to people. And it really hurts that I'm not going to have the career that I wanted. Honestly though, I'm relieved. I guess I was waiting for someone to tell me that it's okay: I don't have to torture myself like this anymore.

I've always had trouble keeping jobs. And friends.

I've always had trouble keeping jobs. And friends. I feel like I used to relate to people better though. When I was younger we were all doing the same thing: college, dating, getting our first jobs. But I'm behind other people my age now. I don't really know what to say to them anymore.

beetlejuice

People with Asperger's want to connect. We do. That's the first misconception people have about us – that we're robots.
Another one is that you'd know immediately if someone has it. The truth is that we've spent our entire lives studying social interactions. Like a science. A lot of us have trouble sustaining things because it takes so much energy to come off as normal. The more overwhelmed we are, the more obvious it is. Still, the more high-functioning people among us can get through dinner and even a party without giving ourselves away. We have to learn things intellectually while you learn them intuitively. That's the main difference.

I don't always know what I'm feeling. That's common for people with Asperger's.

Something important to note: I don't always know what I'm feeling. That's common for people with Asperger's. It's called alexithymia. I know I come off with the wrong tone sometimes because of it. Tone is a good way to tell. We'll be getting along fine for a while and then we'll say something that sounds off. Like we're taking the situation too seriously. Or not seriously enough.

Humor is another tell. Sometimes our jokes are on-point. Other times though, they're just not. Some days we're more in-touch with our brains than others. On my "on" days, I'm deadpan. I give good advice. I like to think I'm almost charismatic. I see this as my true self. On my off-days I feel hazy and detached and it takes a lot longer for me to figure out what's going on.

I learn things by connecting one piece of information to another in a very systematic way.

We have a hard time filtering information. All information. Not just social. We fixate on details and ignore the big picture. I learn things by connecting one piece of information to another in a very systematic way. Here's an example: I went on a few dates with a guy who was an orderly in a mental hospital. He didn't seem that curious about the patients. I get that it might have been hard to have sympathy for them a lot of the time, especially since one of them tried to stab him. Still, I don't think he'd asked himself what it must be like to not know what's real and what isn't. I realized that if he didn't have the patience to do that, he certainly wouldn't have the patience to deal with me.

I also learn by comparing myself to others. A lot. It's how I know if what I'm thinking or feeling is appropriate. My therapist says I judge myself through my friends. I compare myself to stuff I see in the media too. I read stuff on Thought Catalog like 13 Things You Feel When You're The Slacker Friend. And then I ask myself wow, is that how I feel? (I do this more than I should.)

Many of us are like that. I have a friend with Asperger's who is obsessed with movies. He says it's because he appreciates a good vision and character development, but everything he knows about people he judges through the lens of movies. I'm not sure if he realizes this or not.

beetlejuice

Some studies show that autistic people have higher connectivity within brain regions and less connectivity between them. That might explain why so many of us have special interests: it doesn't require much switching of focus. It could also be why we're so good with details. Things stand out to us separately and we have to tie them together to figure out what's going on.

Having Asperger's is perpetual detective work. It makes sense that a lot of us are smart. We have to be.

Women experience Asperger's differently than men do. We're supposed to be more social. So instead of throwing ourselves into our special interests like the boys, many of us start to develop personas. In fact a lot of girls with high-functioning autism get misdiagnosed as borderline because we tend to have an underdeveloped sense of self.

When I was little I always wore the same purple polka-dotted dress. One dress, all the time. My mom had to wait until I was asleep to wash it. And I carried around an encyclopedia about dinosaurs. I'd tell the other kids about dinosaurs until they walked away from me. At which point I'd follow them into the hallway and they'd shut the door. It hurt my feelings, but my purpose was still clear. I was a dinosaur dictionary. No multitasking necessary. When I hit puberty though, things changed.

When I was in middle school I used to model myself on bitchy prime-time characters from the WB. I made friends with these two girls who were also trying to rule the school without the necessary social chops. (I don't think they had Asperger's. But they had something.) We used to insult people, like walk up to people and insult them, because that's what they did on the television show, Popular.

My mom sent me to a psychiatrist because I didn't want to leave the house. And I got a diagnosis.

But the two girls were closer to each other than they were to me. They kicked me out of their group and they made me believe that the other students were against me. I don't think that was true though. I think kids can see when someone's trying to be something they're not. But I got depressed. I dropped out of school. My mom sent me to a psychiatrist because I didn't want to leave the house. And I got a diagnosis.

beetlejuice

A lot of people with Asperger's feel like they're on the wrong planet. It's actually a website: wrongplanet.com. I don't think the divide is that big. It's hard to know how big it is, really. But most of my friends have Asperger's. Or something else like bipolar or borderline. I meet people with problems naturally. It's like we have radar. Since I moved to New York though, I started going to support groups. It's harder to make friends here. And I know we can't endure our bruised egos alone.

I have had a fair amount of "normal" friends who I don't have to contain myself around. And it's the best feeling ever. Most of my conventional social life: clubs, spring breaks, road trips – I can credit to them. A lot of the time it's been gay guys. They like girls with personas. Especially over-the-top ones like mine. Awkward + sexy = campy. And I'm cool with that. If I can make people laugh, that's great. Even if it isn't intentional. But I also get along with other brainy, introverted girls by default. One of my best friends, Caitie, is analytical and bookish like I am. But she's not on the spectrum.

I have some platonic guy friends too. They say they like me because I'm honest. Sometimes because I'm "logical." My best guy friend is nothing like me: he's conservative, military, and pretty much only has sex in serious relationships. He likes hanging out with me because he can get a female perspective without sex getting in the way.

Honesty is my strong point. It's most autistic people's strong point.

Honesty is my strong point. It's most autistic people's strong point. That part of the stereotype is true. Granted, a lot of the time we're blunt without trying to be. But people appreciate that. They like it when we cut through the bullshit. Even if it isn't a heroic act of insubordination on our part. Penelope Trunk put it best: people with Asperger's look outside the box because we don't see the box.

You've probably heard that we're loyal. That's also true. People with Asperger's want your approval. And like anyone else who's dealing with some rough shit, we're often kinder to others because of it. Another good thing about being different is that you meet more interesting people. Do you know a bisexual, alcoholic Communist in a wheelchair? A 350 pound chick with a country accent and an IQ of 85? A bipolar ex porn-producer whose mom died of AIDS? Probably not. Because you don't have Asperger's.

I did find another way to be social: I used to have sex with a lot of people. And I do mean a lot. I know that could come off as a sob story, like oh, I have Asperger's, I got used. But no, this bitch has agency. There's a thrill-seeking gene that's just as real as the genetic basis for autism. I wanted the thrill. And, mind you, it was pretty thrilling. But it was also the easiest way to talk to regular people. I had my weird friends. That was the perspective I got about life. It was insular. But normal guys wanted me. I got to learn things I wouldn't have learned from being stuck in a bubble with other people like me.

You were with or against me for something I could control.

It was an identity thing too. I wanted to be something other than the weird smart girl. I got a bad reputation in college, but I didn’t hate that either. I kind of liked it actually. I wasn't the hapless freak that people avoided. I was empowered. You were with or against me for something I could control.

I've had plenty of relationships despite all that. Guys like being around me because they can say pretty much anything and I won't be offended or stunned. I'll just look at them with my impassive stare and discreet awe and let them teach me about their world. They think I'm just the laid-back chick they've been waiting for. But that doesn't last long.

An ex of mine laid it out for me: I was confident and funny. I liked things like anthropology and hiking. People at the bar we went to thought I was cool. He didn't expect me to be a depressive. He was really good with people – a lot of guys I've dated have been really good with people. People with Asperger's gravitate towards people who are socially gifted because we want them to teach us things.

I kept asking him questions about people we knew because I wanted to get his perspective. And I repeat myself a lot. I've always repeated myself: it's called perseveration and many of us do it. He said he had to hold himself back from yelling at me because I annoyed the shit out of him. I'm sure other guys dumped me for similar reasons. Which doesn't make them bad people. Most of my non-crazy exes would be great for someone else. I don't want to have to hold myself back in a relationship, anyway.

beetlejuice

I have a boyfriend now. I met him in my support group. We've been together for a year and a half. And it's the longest, and best, relationship I've ever had. I feel more comfortable around him than I have around any other human in my entire life. And he feels the same way. We act the same around each other as we do when we're alone. That's a big deal.

I guess I have mixed feelings about men. On the one hand, I love them because they don't judge me as much. Men don't care if someone's aloof as long as they have something interesting to say. On the other hand, I resent them because I have a hard time believing they'll be this supportive of me once I'm no longer attractive.

My boyfriend told me I have a social advantage because men want to talk to me, therefore I've had more opportunities to develop social skills. However, I think he has the advantage. He's content with being good at video games. He's designing an indie game now. He got respect by being good at what he does. Not by being charming or hot. (Which, by the way, he is.)

Autistic men learn to emphasize their strengths. They know they have no way to be valued besides performance and knowledge. The men in my support group are loud and bold. They say whatever comes to mind no matter how fucking weird it is. They demand to be heard.

And many of these women have had to be pushed to speak because they're terrified of being thought of as weird. We still aren't used to it. Even though people have been treating us that way for our whole lives.

The women's support group is much sadder to watch. We know we're judged for things we just can't win at. We're a group of very smart women who know about history, astronomy: all kinds of obscure shit just like the men. One girl loves to draw blueprints of bridges. And many of these women have had to be pushed to speak because they're terrified of being thought of as weird. We still aren't used to it. Even though people have been treating us that way for our whole lives.

I'd rather be a freak or a slut or a bombastic, arrogant loser a million times over than be like those girls. Terrified to offend; apologetic for existing. We teach women to spend their lives appeasing others and it's done tremendous psychological damage to women on the spectrum.

beetlejuice

If I were a man, I think I'd have come to terms with who I am much quicker. I'd have actually read all those George Bernard Shaw and Dostoyevsky books on my shelf to distract myself. Maybe I'd be a paleontologist by now. Instead, I'm stuck de-programming everything I've internalized about how a woman is supposed to act. It's okay to not be charming.

It's okay to be standoffish and obsessed with yourself and your interests even if it doesn't make people like you. And we shouldn't worry so fucking much about whether people like us anyway. Men are happy with being competent. Sometimes they're even happy if they're not competent. They just do what they want. Why shouldn't we?

I'm scared of getting older because I know people will see me as that weird old lady instead of the quirky ingenue that I've tried so hard to be.

I'm scared of getting older because I know people will see me as that weird old lady instead of the quirky ingenue that I've tried so hard to be. I'm just going to have to make peace with that though. And take my own advice.Part of maturity is not worrying so much what other people think of you. Which is very hard when comparing yourself to others is the only way you've been able to develop awareness of what's going on around you. But it's a balancing act. I hope one day I'm able to enjoy being part of the world instead of trying to figure out ways to force myself into it. It's manipulative, really, even though I don't mean it that way.

People with Asperger's are scared. But we don't have to be. There's something out there for all of us. We just have to change our expectations a little. But that's okay. Everyone does. TC mark

12 Women Reveal What It Takes To Nudge A Commitment Phobic Man Into A Relationship

Posted: 03 Nov 2015 05:33 PM PST

Twenty20, megrah
Twenty20, megrah

1. Let him miss the fuck out of you.

“The trick to locking a guy down is simple: Prove how awesome you are, and then disappear suddenly. I threw the guy I was quasi-dating for months an amazing birthday party with all his friends. It was a special night. The next weekend, I left town without any warning so he could realize just how much less fun life was without me around. By the time I got back mid week, he was thirsting for me hardcore. He brought up the whole 'what are we?' thing my first night back and said he wanted to date me officially. And that was that.”

— Marissa, 27

beetlejuice

2. Prove how adventurous you are in bed (even if you aren’t).

“Three months into casually hooking up with the guy I wanted to boyfriend, I suggested a threesome. I didn’t want to have a threesome, but I knew that this guy’s main relationship fear was being exclusive to one woman sexually. By introducing the fact that I was willing to invite other women into bed with us (even though I wasn’t, really), I nipped that fear right in the butt. We've been together for two years now and he hasn't even mentioned another third party sexcapade. Mission accomplished!”

— Cathryn, 25

beetlejuice

3. Pretend you're the one who's afraid to commit.

“So many dudes are terrified of commitment on the surface. They think they know what they want, but they obviously don't. When I met a guy I could see myself dating long-term, I used a little reverse psychology to prove my theory. From the beginning, I told him just how hesitant I was to be exclusive. I played the commitment phobe—and it worked. He had a history of humping and dumping, but within three months he was giving me a speech about how great it would be to do the relationship thing. It's been three years since.”

— Nola, 31

beetlejuice

4. Position yourself as America's most wanted woman.

“The best way to establish that you're worth dating is to make it clear that there are other people out there who desperately want you. A few weeks into having sex with a self proclaimed ‘relationship challenged’ man, I pretended that I was dating someone else too. I created the illusion that there was another guy really interested in a serious relationship with me. All I had to do was edit my best friend's name in my phone to ‘Gary’ and instruct her to send some carefully timed texts. It worked out even better than I thought it would, probably because we all want what everyone else wants.”

— Philippa, 33

beetlejuice

5. Go 1950s on his ass and clean up after him.

“Listen, I fully realize that a woman's role isn't being a man’s maid. But guess what? Everyone likes a clean house. If you're sleeping with a man who's clueless about how to keep his place neat, trust me that he's going to want you around if you start cleaning shit up, no matter how commitment-phobic he is. It's a fact that I tidied my way to my man's heart, and I'm proud of it.”

— Flynn, 30

beetlejuice

6. Pray that he gets sick so you can nurse him back to health.

“I got lucky because the guy I wanted to couple up with got massively ill three weeks after the first night we hooked up. We were in college at the time, and being sick in a dorm room is the worst. I took the opportunity to nurse him back to health, staying by his bedside instead of going out, bringing him tea and soup and all that. By the time his nose goo went from green to clear, he was practically begging me to be his girlfriend.”

— Lauren, 23

beetlejuice

7. Exploit the mom loophole to his heart.

“Every guy I've ever met is a sucker for his mother. So when I started hooking up with a guy I wanted to be in a serious relationship with who seemed set in his playboy ways, I decided to go through his mom. In a moment of genius, I ‘accidentally’ mistook his phone for mine and picked it up when I saw his mom calling (he was in the bathroom). We ended up talking for twenty straight minutes. From then on she started asking him about me regularly, and a few weeks later, he asked me out properly.”

— Ginny, 26

beetlejuice

8. Stage a few "random" encounters.

“When you're trying to take a casual sex thing to the next level, it's important to force a man to interact with you like a real human being during the daytime. If you want to be part of a man's life for real, the first thing you should do is commit his entire schedule to memory. Then you can make sure to bump into him a few times within a few weeks or so. I've been dating the guy whose schedule I carefully manipulated for five years now.”

— Mary, 32

beetlejuice

9. Weasel your way in by impressing his friends.

“I could tell right away that the guy I met on Tinder was obsessed with his ‘bros,’ so the first night we met up at a bar and not his apartment I made sure to impress them. I was my awesomest, wittiest self. Sure enough, they told him to text me the next time they were all hanging out and I joined. Two weeks later, I earned the girlfriend label I was aiming for. I became part of his crew because his friends approved. It’s funny how impressionable grown men are.”

— Willow, 29

beetlejuice

10. Demonstrate the upsides of a real relationship firsthand.

“Men are trained to think of relationships as a trap, so you have to show them the benefits of being a couple proactively. I did really thoughtful things like buy him milk and eggs and other necessities right before he ran out of them. I also did a few loads of laundry and cooked him breakfast in bed a few times. Nothing drastic. Just the stuff people do for each other when they're together to prove how nice life can be as a team.”

— Emma, 23

beetlejuice

11. Tap into the power of suggestion.

“People tend to believe what they're told. Since society tells men that relationships are hard work and that they suck and that monogamy is a bore, of course they avoid them like syphilis. When I decided I wanted to date the man I was seeing casually, I started pointing out the nice schmoopy couples on the street, and I started saying really positive things about relationships in general. I also sent him relationship positive articles to read. It sounds crazy manipulative, but experience taught me that commitment wary dudes need a big push.”

— Daphne, 30

beetlejuice

12. Fake it til you make it.

“My approach was to start acting like a girlfriend would before I was technically his girlfriend. When we were out at the bar, for instance, I'd stay by his side and put him in the position of having to introduce me to his friends. I didn't linger too much so that it was annoying, but I definitely didn't shy away, either. It's a delicate balance, but it works if you keep at it.”

— Quinn, 25 TC mark

 

13 Women Reveal Their Biggest Pet Peeves In The Bedroom

Posted: 03 Nov 2015 05:28 PM PST

Twenty20 / santiago__cervantes
Twenty20 / santiago__cervantes

1. “I hate it when he constantly asks if I’m enjoying myself. Just because I’m not screaming and moaning every second doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong, just keep going, and don’t stop!” —Vanessa, 26

beetlejuice

2. “When I’m on my period and he makes me give him head. Like really? Not only am I extremely horny and can’t have sex with you, but you’re going to make me go down on you because of it? And he clearly isn’t about to give me some in return.” —Heather, 25

beetlejuice

3. “He always wants me to be on top. Give me a break every once in a while.” —Kayla, 26

beetlejuice

4. “When he complains about using a condom. I’m not on birth control, so it’s either this or a mini me that you’ll have to pay me for in nine months.” —Tonya, 23

beetlejuice

5. “I’ll tell him I’m tired, and that I just want to cuddle, and he won’t stop trying until I give in. I never get off when I’m tired, and I try telling him that and he clearly doesn’t care.” —Emily, 25

beetlejuice

6. “I hate it when he asks me to masturbate in front of him. Masturbation is my ‘me time,’ I’m not doing it to turn you on, I’m doing it to turn myself on.” —Nadia, 24

beetlejuice

7. “Well this doesn’t have to do with sex, but he is a complete sheet hog. It’s fine in the summer, but when it starts getting cold I start sleeping with my own personal blanket.” —Shannon, 28

beetlejuice

8. “When he asks me to do anal. Absolutely not. No, no, NO.” —Ally, 25

beetlejuice

9. “We’ve been dating for 4 years, yes that’s a long time, but when you talk about work while we’re having sex, that’s so not romantic. If this is what happens after 4 years, I don’t even want to think about marriage.” —Kelsey, 25

beetlejuice

10. “My boyfriend loves to use toys. I’d much rather it be just me and him. Toys should be for when he’s not around. What’s the point of using toys when you have the real thing right in front of you?” —Meghan, 26

beetlejuice

11. “Absolutely cannot stand it if he compares our sex to porn. Whether its me, the position, my body, my sound effects, no just don’t do it. I am not a porn star, and I won’t fuck like one, so there is no comparison.” —Lisa, 24

beetlejuice

12. “He smells his fingers after they’re inside me. It grosses me out!” —Hailey, 23

beetlejuice

13. “If he comes on my pillow. Seriously?! My face has to rest there when I sleep!” —Gia, 24 TC mark

Ohio Might Legalize Weed But Ireland Wants To Decriminalize Weed, Heroin And Cocaine

Posted: 03 Nov 2015 03:22 PM PST

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

In a speech Monday, November 2 at the London School of Economics Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, chief of Ireland's National Drugs Strategy and the Labour Minister of Equality, New Communities and Culture, announced that in 2016 Dublin would move towards decriminalizing small amounts of drugs for personal use — including cocaine, heroin and canabis. Ó Ríordáin told the room that the best way to combat drug addiction is to be compassionate and to remove the punitive, negative cultural stigma away from drug users.

“I am firmly of the view that there needs to be a cultural shift in how we regard substance misuse,” Ó Ríordáin said, “if we are to break this cycle and make a serious attempt to tackle drug and alcohol addiction.”

Beyond decriminalizing small amounts of drugs for personal use the new policy will also offer medically controlled “injection rooms” to create a safe space for users while significantly minimizing external risks.

In Ireland the shift in policy is great news for combatting the stigma around drug use and will hopefully reverberate to other countries. Even today Ohio could become the fifth state to legalize marijuana. But, in general, we are told drugs are bad. There are all kinds of efforts to control and prevent drug use, like those “This Is Your Brain On Drugs” commercials from back when you were in 5th grade. In the UK the Tory government plans to introduce a “blanket ban” on all substances that create a “psychoactive effect,” except caffeine, alcohol and tobacco.

Lol wut?

(Notice that the three exceptions are already huge industries, despite alcholism and the fact that smoking causes cancer.)

There’s a cultural fantasy that governments can singlehandedly prevent drug use by making it a criminal offense or by mounting anti-drug use campaigns. This is why festivals of electronic dance music as well as nightclubs are targeted as hotbeds of drug activity and might be why there has lately been a crackdown on nightlife in the UK.

But the reality is that people are going to use drugs. No matter how many drug dogs you install in a nightclub, how vigorously you search people at the door or whatever other stupid systems you can impose, people are going to use drugs. Knowing this, and climbing down from the moral high horse, the best preventative measures would be to ditch the fantasy and accept the reality, decriminalizing drug use and taking away the cultural stigma.

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

A few weeks ago I went to the Amsterdam Dance Event, a really cool music conference about the global clubbing industry, and I was amazed by how progressive the festival’s drug stance was. Lots of blogs sensationalized Amsterdam’s liberal, year-round five-pill policy. If you had up to five pills you’d be cool. Any more than that and you’re no longer a user but a dealer. Amsterdam city council member Jan Paternotte told Thump that the policy was in place before ADE and is “specifically for Amsterdam and this policy does not apply outside of Amsterdam. There are some major festivals, the most famous festival in the Netherlands is Lowlands, but it’s outside of Amsterdam and the policy there is much different. The policy there is if you carry around more than just one ecstasy pill you will get a criminal record.”

During the day there were tech and software demos and talks by all your favorite DJs, and at night were the parties. Lots and lots of parties. And the official word from the festival itself, as we were reminded by little brochures time and again, was to be responsible when you take your drugs. Don’t take them from someone you don’t know. Don’t over-do it. If you see someone reacting badly, get help.

This is the kind of progressive language we need around drug use. You don’t have to drink or take drugs, but you should be able to if that’s what you want to do. Substance abuse is a real issue, but not all people who take drugs abuse them and, really, no matter why you take drugs you should be able to do so and feel safe. Not prosecuted. Why can people talk openly about how black out drunk they were on the weekend and that’s all fine culturally, but if you carry a pill suddenly you’re a criminal? It just doesn’t make sense. TC mark

5 Beautiful Reasons We Can’t Help But Fall In Love While Traveling

Posted: 03 Nov 2015 03:00 PM PST

Twenty20 / ElkinsEye
Twenty20 / ElkinsEye

You catch his eye across the room, looking down shyly at your drink. Will he take the bait? As if reading your mind, he's suddenly at your side, introducing himself. And just like that, you hit it off. Countless people without names or faces trickle in and out of the bar, but you are the only two that matter in the whole place–lit on fire by the palpable attraction and the night's endless possibilities.

The above scenario happens to everyone, not just to travelers and the restless at heart. But my fellow backpackers, thrill-seekers, and study abroad participants know that there is something particularly conducive to falling in love while traveling. Why is that? What is it about being in a foreign place that seems to summon that fat little baby, Cupid, and his entire quiver of arrows?

While traveling…

1. We are looking for an escape.

A bad relationship, the death of a loved one, trouble at work. We need to get out, we need to get away and flee to the furthest corners of the world where no one knows us. Falling in love can be a welcome distraction from the crushing pressure of whatever our "reality" is back home.

2. We are less afraid.

Travel mode is switched on and we are up for anything; we're looking for adventure. Surfing? Skiing? Sampling strange and tasty new cuisines? You got it. Falling into the arms of a mysterious and attractive stranger? Sure, why not?

3. We are lonely.

We're alone. And while we're fierce, and brave, and don't need anyone thank you very much, it's nice to have someone that has your back. It's nice to be held and have someone to hold. It's nice to feel like part of a team. Maybe it's instinctual, something biological. Two heads are better than one, and that's something that has been proven through the ages. While one caveman slept, the other kept the fire roaring and the saber-toothed tigers at bay. So while we're traveling on our own and struggling with feeling a tad bit lonely and more than a little vulnerable, we are quick to seek out companionship.

4. We have our guard down.

We've been hurt before and we learned our lesson, damnit. So now we're skeptical, overly cautious, and push people away. But when you're in a faraway land, all alone, sometimes you don't have the luxury of doubting everything and everyone. You're always lost; always asking for help and directions and suggestions and recommendations. You are pushed to be more trusting and more open; relying on strangers like you never thought you would. Maybe the world isn't such a horrible place after all, you start to think.

5. We are anonymous.

Friends and acquaintances, though they usually mean well, are constantly up in our business like white on rice. But while traveling, if things go badly, we never have to see that person again. No running into one another awkwardly in the grocery store, or seeing facebook photos of them kissing someone else. They only know what we want them to know; we are protected by our anonymity and the certainty of leaving.

So whether you are traveling to get away from a difficult break-up, or just looking for a little bit more adventure in your life–embrace any romance that comes your way. Even if it doesn't turn into true love or marriage like it did for me, you're bound to have the whirlwind romance of a lifetime… or at least an incredible story. TC mark

Things You Are Allowed To Forget

Posted: 03 Nov 2015 02:00 PM PST

Marta Diarra
Marta Diarra

You're allowed to forget about heartbreak – about the nights you spent crying on the bathroom floor and the days you spent not feeling like enough. It does not grow or expand you to hold onto such painful thoughts – so let them go. Your heart has healed now, in so many ways, and it beats to a completely new tune.

You are allowed to forget about your traumas. The injustices done to you by others – the wounds that you are warned not to forget. You are allowed to throw away each label that has been placed on you by the world around you – making you feel weak and stigmatized, rather than replenished and strong. You have shed so many skin cells, so many old lives, in all of the days that have passed. You are a new person and you're allowed to be. You're allowed to leave behind who you were.

You are allowed to forget about failure. You're allowed to move forward with confidence, leaving self-doubt and letdowns in the past. You don't learn any new lessons from agonizing over what has gone wrong, so let it fall by the wayside with your downfalls. You are moving forward and you don't have to take the painful memories. Not if they aren't going to grow you.

You're allowed to forget about betrayal. About the people who let you down, the knives that stabbed you swiftly in the back, the broken promises and shattered trust. You're allowed to place your faith in new people – to give them a chance when you know better and to love them with ferocity and strength. You aren't obligated to let those past betrayals make you bitter. You aren't required to carry them on.

You're allowed to forget about fear. About the things you are told you shouldn't do and the people you are not meant to be. You're allowed to ignore the thrum of caution, of deliberation, of doubt that lingers inside the chambers of your mind when you feel paralyzed about moving forward. You're allowed to lean into the fear with open arms. Forget what the world tells you about always playing it safe.

You are allowed to forget about all of it – all the pain, all the rejection, all the anger and despair of your past. You don't have to keep carrying your wounds because you are scared of who you'll become without them. You're allowed to let yourself start all over. You're allowed to let the past wither and die.

You can forget about so much about what’s happened. But here is what you need to remember:

Remember your strength.

Remember the ways you pulled yourself back together when everything came tumbling apart. Remember the nights you spent wiping your own tears and the mornings when you forced yourself out of bed. Remember the battles you fought through and won and the lessons you learned along the way. Remember your power. Remember your ability to prevail.

Remember the people who caught you when you fell. Remember the kind words, the happy memories, the times when you were breaking apart and someone else's heart held you together. Remember the people who never left, when everyone else was walking out, and appreciate them for all they're worth. Remember the people who stayed.

Remember every time when things went right. When you were barreling down the wrong path, headed towards fear and destruction – and something stopped you along the way. Remember that it takes but a moment for everything to change for the better – for your stars to align and for your path to reroute itself. Remember that the best things can happen when you're expecting them to the least and let that be your motivation to hang on for one more day and always one more day.

Remember love. The love that you had for yourself, for those around you, for the future – when everything else was falling apart. Remember strength – the resilience you showed in the face of every challenge that tried to pull you down. Remember the beauty, the integrity, the amazement of every moment that took your breath away, in the years after you thought that you'd never be happy again.

Forget all of the pain of the past, and remember that life goes on.

Because when all the stakes are down, it’s the only thing worth hanging onto. TC mark