Thought Catalog


This Is What Really Happens When You Split A Viagra With Your Boyfriend

Posted: 08 Feb 2016 08:00 PM PST

Paolo Raeli
Paolo Raeli

When my boyfriend surprises me with a Viagra pill one night, all I can see are the four straight hours of pounding that will follow if he ingests a drug designed to increase blood flow to the genitals. It's not as if the guy suffers from erectile dysfunction.

Then an idea strikes: "Let's split it," I say.

Aware of the debate surrounding Viagra's effectiveness on females, I'm curious to try it. I'm also eager to limit the amount of erection enhancing medicine my virile boyfriend swallows.

The pill snaps in half easily, and sure enough, we have amazingly energetic, kinky sex.

The next morning, I walk to the bathroom in post-orgasmic haze, mentally reliving our rabid, pharmaceutically enriched lovemaking session. On my way back to bed, however, I'm stunned by the sight of that single Viagra still resting on the bedside table, in a tray containing stray vitamins and a few Aleve. The latter are also blue and diamond-shaped. In our haste to get things going in the dark, my boyfriend must have grabbed the wrong pill.

Could it be that one of my all-time best sexual performances resulted from popping half an over-the-counter headache remedy? The idea sounds absurd. It also leads me to research the placebo effect.

***

Most of us think of placebos as the harmless pills distributed to control groups during research studies. To earn approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today, an experimental drug has to outperform placebos in at least two authenticated trials. But the placebo effect encompasses more than just decoy sugar pills. It is a complex psychobiological phenomenon with far-reaching mind-body implications.

Consider the historical anecdote at the root of this science: During World War II, when a resourceful army nurse's supply of morphine ran dry, she began injecting soldiers with saline solution while reassuring them that her syringe contained a powerful painkiller. Dr. Henry Beecher, who witnessed this extraordinarily effective approach to curbing patients' agony, went on to pioneer the groundbreaking placebo research that remains central to modern pharmaceutical testing policies.

According to Dr. Fabrizio Benedetti, Professor of Neurophysiology at the University of Turin and one of the world's leading placebo experts, "Any situation whereby you have positive expectations can trigger the placebo response." In other words, all the symbols and rituals that elicit hope and trust—the process of injection, the act of taking a pill, acupuncture, and even prayer—thereby stimulating the body's self-healing processes, can be characterized as placebos. Countless studies involving conditions as varied as chronic pain, nausea, fatigue, depression, insomnia, and infertility have demonstrated the human body's remarkable capacity to repair itself in response to such placebogenic triggers.

Through acts as simple as kissing a child's boo-boo, many of us exploit the underlying biology of the placebo effect without realizing it.

Recently, scientists have discovered that the phenomenon can even have an impact when we're conscious of it. In a 2010 study led by Ted Kaptchuk, Director of Harvard's Program in Placebo Studies and the Therapeutic Encounter, patients suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome improved markedly when given a pill they were told was inert.

If toying with our psyches deliberately can lead to better health, it seems reasonable to postulate that doing so could lead to better sex. On the back of the Viagra incident, I'm eager to see if I can apply placebo science mindfully to improve my already robust sex life.

With the help of specialists, I decide to formulate a list of brain hacks designed for the average, healthy couple looking to ramp things up in the bedroom. Then I'll test each method out firsthand.

***

Dr. Laurie B. Mintz, a professor of psychology at the University of Florida known for testing the efficacy of a self-help book she authored, A Tired Woman's Guide To Passionate Sex, against a placebo, points out that by way of calling her, I've already taken a critical step.

"Once the mind believes it's on the course to improvement, it guides you there," she says. Since the very act of signing up for a study can lead participants to feel better, Mintz urges people to "do something, do anything, and believe in it." For initial inspiration, she recommends making a list.

A lot of us draft professional to-do lists because the potential satisfaction of whittling them down sparks productivity. Similarly, creating a list of sex goals should push us to try new positions and toys, or prompt us to meet minimum sensual quotas.

Mintz also emphasizes that expectations are critical to how we experience things. She cites a study in which people who were told that a milkshake was "indulgent" drank less of it than those who were told it was "sensible" because their levels of grehlin, the "hunger hormone," actually dropped more significantly.

In fact, there have been instances in which people develop nausea or vomiting simply because they're instructed to expect these phantom symptoms—a phenomenon dubbed the nocebo effect.

To finesse my sexpectations, Mintz suggests setting a daily alarm as a reminder to indulge a fantasy or to coach myself with sex-positive slogans.

Lastly, Mintz mentions a study she conducted that demonstrated the benefits of reading erotica. This seems like an offshoot of a placebo trigger we're all susceptible to: watching another person benefit from something. It also strikes me as cause to commit to consuming more pornographic content.

According to Dr. Andrea Bradford, the author of several placebo studies and founder of the Women's Integrated Sexual Health (WISH) program at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, every single behavioral adjustment results in biochemical changes that can have a ripple effect. "So any modification in the way you approach sex will have an impact," she says.

This gives me the idea to create a sex schedule. Since I can't even stomach the notion of a weekly date night, planning intimacy sounds totally unappealing, but at least it will be a departure from the norm, and a way to establish a ritual.

A lot of placebo scientists believe in the therapeutic power of rituals, which might explain why so many people continue to pop herbal supplements in spite of mounting evidence that many contain nothing but rice powder and crushed houseplants. (In a recent hit to the multibillion-dollar Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements industry, the New York State Attorney General's Office ordered GNC, Walgreens, Target, and Walmart to remove fraudulent "medicinal" products from their shelves.)

Dr. Bradford also advises keeping track of my progress in a sex diary. "There's value in focusing on what's working and what's not by elaborating your difficulties and accomplishments," she says.

My mission is clear:

1. Make a list of sex goals

2. Set a daily sex-is-good/fantasize alarm

3. Consume more porn

4. Create a sex schedule

5. Keep a sex diary

***

I'm immediately surprised by how rewarding it is to brainstorm erotic objectives. Minutes after completing my list, I browse luxury sex retailer Babeland's website and order the Clone-A-Willy kit, which lets you craft a custom silicone vibrator in the likeness of your favorite penis.

This allows me to check off "buy new sex toy," and also promises the ability to "incorporate vibrators more frequently." Thanks to a simple exercise, I already feel good about being more attentive to my libido.

Next, I email my boyfriend the exact dates and times I expect to get laid over the course of the next two weeks. Hoping to offset the buzz kill of scheduling something that's supposed to be spontaneous, I attach a few diagrams depicting the positions

I'd like to tackle, including "the sphinx," "the deckchair," and "the plow."

His response: "Best email ever."

Apparently, "the guarantee" of sex is alluring, even at the cost of spur-of-the-
moment passion. As I skim my calendar, which, for the first time, features future events like "Jump your lover" and "Blowie time," I smile, beginning to grasp the potential upside of premeditated fornication. Big Pharma be damned, these placebo hacks might do the trick!

For three out of the first five days, I can't stop myself from masturbating soon after my daily 2 p.m. reminder to think sexy thoughts rings. My boyfriend loves coming home after a long day to the promise of sexual play, and I enjoy carnal journaling, which doubles as practice in writing erotic stories we can revisit as a couple.

Ten days in, I've built my very own boyfriend dildo, watched a couple hours of porn, climaxed 18 times (including five self-induced orgasms), learned how to clip a garter belt onto sheer thigh highs, and invented a sex position I like to call "the ice cream sandwich."

But as much as I appreciate our amplified sex life, I begin to feel bogged down by my own demands. I force myself to conjure provocative thoughts no matter where I am when my alarm goes off, which makes for some awkward subway rides during which I struggle to construct mental images of orgies starring fellow passengers.

Since not every day lends itself to activities like cooking dinner naked, I also scramble to add doable tasks to my list while others seem to take on permanent status, irksome evidence that I'm neglecting certain aspects of my sex life. Another problem is that the thought of deviating from our schedule gives me serious anxiety.

On Day 11 I awake sensing the onset of a urinary tract infection, but I pressure myself to meet my boyfriend at his office for our planned 7 p.m. sexcapade anyway.

Lying atop an unforgiving wooden conference table, my inability to get in the mood leaves me feeling guilty and inadequate. I'd imagined so much more for the workplace romp I knew my boyfriend had been looking forward to.

Later, after a few glasses of wine, I cry over the fact that I need a sex break to heal, which seems like a failure. This is when my boyfriend proposes that if I can't properly weigh the pain of my stinging genitals against the satisfaction of crossing off list items and sticking to an aggressive timetable, the placebo hacks may be doing more harm than good.

He's right. And if any strategy, natural or unnatural, proves counterproductive, it's worth reevaluating.

The next day I adjust our schedule so it's more manageable, with four weekly appointments. This way, rather than holding ourselves to unrealistic standards, my boyfriend and I are positioned to go above and beyond.

I also give myself permission to hit snooze at 2 p.m. if the moment calls for it, and I coach myself to view uncompleted tasks as teasers of what's to come.

Although my boyfriend is pretty much always horny, scaling things back works for both of us. We agree that focusing on coital quality is far more important than fixating on frequency.

Plus, certain acts, like waking your partner up with oral sex and taking Viagra—when we finally try the real thing, it works, but only in so far as the Aleve did—require an element of spontaneity to feel special.

That said, it's tough to imagine "going regular" after experiencing the high of an intensified sex life.

Sexual exploration of any kind promotes intimacy, which is a worthwhile end no matter a couple's chosen method. For those wary of prescription meds, tapping into placebo science to take things up a notch is an especially valuable option.

But even the non-chemical approach deserves a warning label. Pushing personal limits can cause symptoms of burnout to materialize. So capitalize on the interconnectedness of your mind and body all you want, but when you commit to a natural brain hack rooted in placebo science or pop a narcotic, you have to monitor the side effects, mental and physical, at all times. In a way, it's possible to overdose on anything—even mind-blowing sex. TC mark

A version of this article originally appeared in The Daily Beast.

True Love Is The Only Home You’ll Ever Need

Posted: 08 Feb 2016 07:00 PM PST

Twenty20, alexander.kikis
Twenty20, alexander.kikis

I know that I will never be and never fill and never equal the love you have for the ones that hold you there. I know I will never say the right words or know the right songs or understand the right ways to hold your heart to make anything resemble ok.

I know I am not enough, and now maybe now, I know that I have never been enough and just developed a keen and interesting ability to convince myself that I was. I have never been enough and I do not know why but this time, THIS time, that hurts worse than any other time. I see your mouth move to say the words it has nothing to do with Me and only has everything to do with Them but I cannot believe it and I look for the truth inside it but I am sorry to tell you it does not live there.

I am grieving the grief that comes when a loved one has fallen asleep for the last time in this body only I am haunted by the living and not the dead. I am grieving every single day I wake up and instead of convincing myself I see a ghost walking where a body once did, I am seeing a body living a life that the ghosts I wrote about, the ghosts I believed would fill their forms with bones and blood and memories and experiences that money could never buy and only time and love and the feeling of one cold hand and one warm one filling the spaces that has separated them for so long could gift to the ghosts that waited for.

* * *

I am haunted by you and the haunting is stealing the words from my heart and the clarity from my mind. I am losing the battle to hold tight to the strings of sanity that tie me to the soil and I feel them lifting towards the dark of the night sky like a balloon that just couldn’t stand the knots that tied its tail to the child's wrist.

I heard once that people living deeply have no fear of death and that all we are here to do is to love and that loving is living and it is only those that hold tight to the Home they have discovered know the feeling of pure bliss and fearless sleep. Where my mouth and my mind used to be a dictionary of words, an encyclopedia of thought and sentences leapt out of my mouth and now I have three, only three, the last of them all and they all belong to you. I am holding them until your hands are quiet and the shaking has passed and you can hold them without fear of dropping them and watching them shatter into fragments on the floor below you.

Know this: I would rather feel those words in your hands, shaking though they may be and be ready to catch them before they fall, if fall they do, than hold them safely inside mine for the rest of my days and never see your face light when you look down and breath in the realization that you’re finally holding them.

* * *

I do not know what to do with the fact that after all this time, and all this searching and all the writing of a thing I knew I would find, I have found it, and I am standing on the porch of the Home I have waited for, only to find the door locked and the curtains drawn and only the haunting and fragile image of a beautiful eye that mirrors mine, sunflowers on stormy skies, peeking through the crack in the window.

I know you can hear me I know you feel the vibrations of the knocking and I know you hear me screaming into the night air those three words that I’ve held for so long. I am tired of holding them and I would rather sleep on the porch of the Home I have waited to find than in the biggest bed in the biggest home on the biggest lot in the biggest city in the biggest country on the biggest continent in this world.

You are home to me, you have always been and I will never stop sleeping on your porch until the day comes that you open the door and with tears fresh in your eyes kiss me and I taste the saltwater and the longing and the breath you’ve been holding for far too long. I will never be afraid to be ridiculous in my love for you and I will never stop, no matter how you choose to respond and how censored and held back and covered in fear yours may be.

My three words belong to you as they always have, so reach out your shaking hands and I will rest them gently upon them. Three words: I Love You. And 5, if I had 2 more to spare: I Will Always Love You. TC mark

How To Fall Half In Love With Someone

Posted: 08 Feb 2016 06:00 PM PST

twenty20.com/kaitlynzuverink
twenty20.com/kaitlynzuverink

To fall half in love with someone, be alone.

Be alone for so long that you forget how to properly fall; that you forget anything but sideways glances and chance encounters and whomever you're standing closest to when the bar lights come on at the end of the night.

To fall half in love, lose faith in people. Decide that everyone leaves and everyone screws up and that you are more than included in that pool. Tell yourself that there was a time and a place for love but it was long, long and not here. Decide that for a long time, half-hearted replications are all that you're going to get. Decide that nothing's going to feel like it once did and let that be okay. Let yourself accept that as a cold, inevitable truth.

To fall half in love, make a mistake. Linger one moment too long at a bar or café. Invite the wrong person into your bed. Listen too intently to somebody's story and fail to realize that we can fall in love entirely accidentally. Fail to realize the moment in which the chain-link barrier around your heart lowers and lets something in, because it has been up for so long that you forgot it was not entirely indestructible. For a long time, fail to realize that you can feel anything at all.

To fall half in love with someone, recognize it too late.

Realize in an offhanded moment that the lilt of their laugh makes you breathless, that the taste of their lips drives you mad. Find yourself transfixed with the movement of their hands as they're brewing a simple cup of coffee and realize that something has shifted deep inside of you; something it's too late to put back.

To fall half in love with someone, jump ship. Realize that you're not ready for full love, for real love, for the kind of love that nurtures and catches and heals. Realize that you've been alone for so damn long because you have a world of your own making and you like it there. That the touch of someone's hand shouldn't make you weak, that the sound of their voice shouldn't haunt you. To fall half in love, leave before you have the chance to fall fully, because you aren't ready to let that overtake you. You aren't prepared to wander through that wasteland again.

To fall half in love with someone, move on. Go confidently forward in the direction of whatever life you'd had planned, long before they ever came along.

But every now and then, let your mind wander back.

Every now and then, remain transfixed on the memory of their skin against yours, of their hands in your hair, of the quiet, patient moments where laughter unexpectedly escaped your lips lying beside them. Let your mind wander back until you realize that it's not them you're missing at all – it's the unfulfilled possibility they embodied.

Because the truth is, you never really did fall in love with them.

You fell in love with their potential. You fell in love with the maybes and the could-have-beens. You fell in love with all the trips you didn't take, the plans you didn't make, the hazy, unintelligible future that stretched out before you without any opportunity to build upon. You fell in love with the potential of what could have happened had you been the kind of person who’d stayed. Had you been the person who could fall in love fully, without pause.

You realize that you didn't fall in love with them at all, but that you could have. That you might have. That there may always be a small part of yourself that is going to wonder 'what if' and that maybe you like it that way.

That maybe you prefer only falling half in love because it allows you to write your own ending to the story.

And theirs is a story that you want to still have and hold onto, years down the line, when you need something to write on and on and on. TC mark

What Do Young Adults Think Of Donald Trump? A Dialogue Between A Supporter And A Critic

Posted: 08 Feb 2016 05:15 PM PST

Daniella Urdinlaiz
Daniella Urdinlaiz

Thought Catalog: Hi all. Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourselves? Secondly, in a few sentences can you sum up your views on Donald Trump?

Shaun Scott: I'm a Seattle-based writer and filmmaker. I wrote a book for Thought Catalog in 2015 called Something Better: Millennials and Late Capitalism at the Movies. I'm currently working on a book called Millennials and the Moments that Made US: A Cultural History of the U.S. from 1984-present. I think Donald Trump is a savvy marketer who is not above using racist demagoguery to exacerbate class divisions and bolster his (non-existent) credentials to be President of the United States.

Jeremy Ely: I live in Los Angeles and like to write short stories and have political conversations. I don't really align to the left or to the right, for example, I think Bernie Sanders is awesome, but I also think Donald Trump presents great ideas and that he'd be a great leader for the country. I think the tremendous hatred I see toward him is a little over the top, and his ideas are not as extreme as we make them out to be.

TC: Trump has been called a racist, sexist, and a whole host of other "ists." Do you believe this is true, and why or why not?

JE: I don't find the terms "racist," or "sexist," that powerful anymore, because of how loosely people in our generation will toss these labels on things they don't like. Prior to the Civil Rights Movement, we saw awful racism in this country. Before women could vote, we saw genuine sexism. Now we have a black president and incredible gender equality. Of course, it is not 100% equal, because men are not women, and women are not men. There will never be a pure absolute lack of racism, and an absolute lack of pure gender inequality. The things Trump says, meanwhile, are not actually racist. They're just opinions that are not considered politically correct because of the hypersensitive age we live in.

SS: Donald Trump's credentials as a racist, a classist, and a xenophobe extend far beyond what he says; we should also pay attention to his actions. He was sued by no less than the Department of Justice for discriminatory practices in real estate. His words have led directly to violence against immigrants and people of color. He has argued that the wages of members of the middle class are "too high." As loud as he is, his actions actually speak louder than his words.

beetlejuice

TC: What, in your own words, does it mean to support Donald Trump, given his positioning by different groups as different things? And as one of you is pro-Trump and the other is anti-Trump, what questions do you have of each other?

SS: Jeremy will have to answer how he feels about supporting a candidate who thinks his wages are too high, and who makes inflammatory statements about immigrants in public while hiring them in private.

JE: I think it's refreshing to have a presidential candidate who fearlessly states his beliefs, and doesn't buy in to the generic "mumbo jumbo" that most politicians preach. Again, I don't think his comments against illegal immigrants classify as racist. Part of the reason American Health Care is such a mess, for example, is because so many people are pouring into this country and it's difficult to classify who is a citizen. And, even if he were racist, he employs thousands of them, and gives them a living, and that's very valuable.

SS: Jeremy, what is your evidence for the claim that "health care is a mess" because of immigrants? Concrete data points in the exact opposite direction of what you say; if it weren't for the labor of immigrant communities, many in this country would go without care. And, once and for all, fearlessly stating one's belief does not, in and of itself, make one an eligible candidate to be president; if that were the case, we could elect Beavis or Butthead.

JE: European countries provide health care to all. I think people of all classes should be able to receive health care to keep living; we need to become like Europe. Poor people facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in health bills is not just or American – all people have the right to a doctor. But if thousands of undocumented people are coming in to a country per day, it'll be impossible to institute that policy because who is an American? "The Wall" would solve that.

SS: If you want American healthcare to resemble European welfare states, I believe you should be backing Bernie Sanders. The "thousands of undocumented people" you talk about are being employed by the candidate you support; he does not have an interest in actually keeping them out, so you shouldn't either. I agree with what you say about access to healthcare being a universal right.

beetlejuice

TC: Moving away from immigration, how do you think Trump does on the world stage? How do you think the international community perceives Trump, and how would they perceive the United States were he to be elected? Would America be viewed as courageous or crazy, and does it matter?

JE: Firstly, I think it does not matter very much. In life at any level, I think it's valuable to state your beliefs and not be overly concerned with other peoples' perceptions of them. Not to compare Trump to either guy, but Galileo was hated, and Hitler was loved. I'm sure people would think he's crazy, as many do in America, but that's irrelevant because I think he's right: someone needs to be courageous in the face of growing Islamic terrorism and anti-Americanism.

SS: We already know the answer to this question. Several world leaders have denounced Donald Trump, including the Prime Minister of Britain. A petition to ban Trump from traveling to England garnered 600,000 signatures. Recently, a Russian photojournalist traveling in Iowa during the caucus said that Trump reminds him of the megalomania of Putin, who is not looked on favorably in the global community. On top of that, several Pentagon staffers (and other government officials) have said they will retire if Trump wins. Trump cannot "make America great again" if his election is seen as a national embarrassment. He can't "be courageous in the face of Islamic terrorism" if he's been denounced by Benjamin Netanyahu.

JE: European countries not supporting our president aren't going to have a real effect, I don't think. They hardly do anything for us anyway. If England wants to ban him, that's not our problem, and let's be cognizant of how Putin, the leader of another superpower, actually endorsed him, a potential American leader, which hasn't happened for decades. So I think he can get along with leaders when it matters. Trump has repeatedly said that he will make the military a priority: "I will make our military so strong, we'll never have to use it." I think that's a good state of mind.

TC: It's a pretty big statement to say, "[European countries] do hardly anything for us anyway." Economic partnerships, political agreements, and support from the international community is important in today's increasingly globalized world, as they always have been since the emergence of the nation-state. With that said, would the election of Trump see a new age of isolationism in the United States? And with trying to fight terrorism, which is a global problem, how does this affect American national security?

SS: Here's the thing about national security interests; there are no do-overs. Trump is used to filing for bankruptcy when a business venture goes under. Businesses he's owned have done it four times. But four similar errors in judgment will result in the loss of lives. That's not a risk we can afford to take.

JE: As a man who has amassed billions of dollars of wealth working with people, I have confidence that the guy knows how to get along with people when it matters. By "poor judgment" – pissing off the British leader, or Megyn Kelly, when he's just a candidate – isn't going to result in lost lives. Out of the many businesses he's launched, it's only natural that some of them fail. Let's keep in mind that unlike Hillary Clinton, Trump spoke out against the war in Iraq in 2004, which has proven to be a disaster and a tragic loss of American and Iraqi lives and money.

SS: Actually, his lapses in judgment have resulted in violence. There was a beating of a Hispanic man in Boston that was tied to his rhetoric. The claim that he will "get along with people when it matters" implies that he has not done so thus far. If it "does not matter" during his bid to be president, it will never matter. He's unfit to lead.

JE: I think his judgment internationally trumps other candidates. In fighting ISIS, for example, Trump has repeatedly called for "taking the oil." That oil now funds ISIS. Other leaders don't have the courage to pitch an idea like this.

SS: Even a broken clock is right two times a day.

beetlejuice

TC: Wrapping this up, all signs point to the likelihood that Trump will not become the next president of the United States. But what, if anything, does it say about the country in 2016, that Trump has managed to galvanize the support he has?

JE: I hope people focus less on the occasional crazy things he says, and keep in mind his rational ideas. He has called for reducing taxes for the lower and middle class, while also taxing people like himself more. I also respect his plan to help the homeless – American homelessness is shameful. I think the support he's got speaks amazingly well to the idea that people will resonate with a person who speaks their language. I think it's his unique, conversational, often humorous tone at speeches that get people to truly support him.

SS: All of Trump's (few) progressive ideas are available in other candidates. These other candidates do not come with the added baggage of hate speech that further divides the country and alienates world leaders. Trump represents the cultural triumph of reality television; fortunately, he will not be representing the country as an elected official. TC mark

Why Each Myers-Briggs Personality Type Is Good In Bed

Posted: 08 Feb 2016 05:00 PM PST

Woman in bed giving thumbs up

ESTP: They have an intuitive knowledge of what feels good combined with the skill and stamina to win an olympic sex event. Bang at your own risk.

ISFP: Their intense focus on making you feel comfortable, appreciated and desired will cause you to lose absolutely all your inhibitions – which always makes for the best sex.

ISTP: They have an intuitive understanding of what feels incredible to both parties, combined with an ongoing desire to analyze, improve upon and one-up their own skills.

ENFP: They are always down to try something new, unconventional and exciting – particularly if they know that it will please you.

INFP: They have imaginations so sensual and wild that they can probably make you get off using only their words.

INTJ: They see their partner’s pleasure as a challenge to rise to, and are constantly looking for new ways to improve their technique.

INFJ: They are willing to try anything and everything that may please their partner – no matter how outside-the-box.

ENTP: They are extremely sexually adventurous and never want to do it the same way twice.

INTP: They are open to any and all strange fantasies and are completely non-judgmental of their partners desires.

ENFJ: They put their partner’s needs first in the bedroom and refuse to rest until both parties have been thoroughly taken care of.

ENTJ: They are unexpectedly kinky and creative lovers, who aren’t afraid to take charge in the bedroom.

ISFJ: They are constantly picking up on little things you like in the bedroom and will work hard to perfect their approach to them.

ESFJ: They are only happy if you are and will place 110% of the focus in the bedroom on you.

ISTJ: They are diligent about perfecting their sex game and will deliver consistent quality in the bedroom.

ESTJ: This type must be the best at everything – including sex – so they will work diligently to up their game and ensure that they're delivering a high-quality experience.

ESFP: They are highly in tune with both your body’s needs and desires and your emotional needs and desires. They are essentially sex wizards, who will ruin all future lovers for you. TC mark

There are a few limited edition and signed copies of Heidi Priebe’s latest book “How You’ll Do Everything Based On Your Personality Type” available here.

howyoulldoeverythingbook1_1024howyoulldoeverythingbook2

Click here for more information. (You can also download a digital copy for free on iBooks here.)

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Be Honest: Do You Define Yourself By Your Looks?

Posted: 08 Feb 2016 04:45 PM PST

lookcatalog
lookcatalog

I just turned 29 and I'm flipping shit about it. I'm paranoid about losing my looks. I'm not gorgeous or anything: I got rated a 7.5 on Plenty of Fish. (Which is a deliciously trash website by the way.) But I don't really know how to talk to people. So I've formed an identity around being a hot babe. I am terrified of losing it, because I don't know what I'm going to focus on after it's gone.

I think there are a lot of us out there who are worried about the transition. I'm getting more into current events and autism advocacy so I'll have something to focus on in five years. But none of it gives me that same visceral thrill as some guy thinking I'm hot.

Remember that dirty little thrill you got when guys started looking at you? You were about thirteen, right? It was like someone just dropped this rare, undeserved gift on you. You had to cultivate it. You might have been smart before. I know I was. But then I started devouring those magazines that talked about how to get Angelina's bee-stung pout with that fawning, almost religious tone. Fuck climate change: this was important stuff.

It's a terrible thing to get your power before you know what to do with it.

I remember the first time a guy told me I was beautiful. I was twelve. I was at our town pool at teen night with my best friend and this mildly intellectually challenged looking high-schooler ranked us. He put me at the top. It was crack for me. And death for Heloise.

I kept reading beauty stuff with more fervor. And then I started reading about how to flirt so some higher-value guys would tell me good things about myself. And this was in middle school. Which is a bad age to begin with. You think you're the only relevant person in the world, but you're still terrified of what everyone else thinks of you. I was hypersensitive and keenly aware of my competition. If people weren't paying attention to me, I was ugly. I was minus ten compliments away from becoming Salacious Crumb.

beetlejuice

I remember how disappointed I was when, at fifteen, my dad told me that every guy hits on every girl. He also said that a lot of girls think they have to act stupid to get a guy. But that it's not how you get a guy worth having. "You used to have interests," he told me. "What happened?"

Well, puberty happened. It took me about ten years to accept that there's millions of women who have nice hair, a shy charm, and can write informative but irreverent Internet think pieces about relationships.

All of this is forgivable of course. Most people get by with the least amount of effort they can get away with. I wish men had held me to a higher standard. I wish they'd required me to bring some sort of competence to the table, like they expected from each other. And I wish more women had talked to me about Big Ideas so I'd know that they were ultimately more valuable than having a pretty face.

Five years from now I'll look out-of-place at a lot of bars. And if I still want to fit in at the intellectual dive bars I like, I'll have to be able to talk on par with the men about Russian politics. Otherwise they'll have nothing to say to me. I won't be able to just sit there looking coy, occasionally interjecting a comment that I think is so smart while they fall all over themselves trying to explain things to me. I'll have to know something to be relevant.

It's tough to come to some far-reaching suggestion to solve the problem. Men want hot women. That's a given. Just like women have the inherent need to help other people, men have the inherent need to conquer the biggest, best thing they can in one way or another. That bearded hipster reading Hegel on the L train so everyone can see is doing essentially the same thing as Donald Trump.

But men also want the same thing we do: a companion.

Your looks are what they are. I'm sure you look presentable to most people if you're reasonably health-conscious. A good man (and there's enough of them) would be delighted to be with a woman who's good to him and can converse on his level. He'll be loyal to her and proud to call her his wife. He won't dump her when she's old because she's his best friend as well as his partner. If the guys you date don't see you as a multifaceted individual, then they're primitive dirtbags and you shouldn't be going out with them anyway.

Sometimes I wish I was born ugly. That way I'd be smarter. And have a better personality. It's better to be the girl who writes science fiction or can grow her own food than to be the hot chick. Because that way you'll never be replaceable. TC mark

We Were Driving Back From The Super Bowl Last Night And Now I’m Not Sure We’ll Ever See Home Again

Posted: 08 Feb 2016 04:00 PM PST

Flickr, jeronimo sanz
Flickr, jeronimo sanz

"Wake up, we're almost home.”

I stir in my seat, disoriented. My mouth has that moldy-laundry taste it gets when I nap during the day except it's not day, it’s dark. Very dark.

It falls together quickly, pieces fitting into place as if drawn together by magnets: I’m in the car with Oliver, we're driving home from Heather's Super Bowl party, and my mouth tastes like moldy laundry.

"I didn't even know I was tired, babe." I run my tongue over my teeth and grimace. Yuck.

"Maybe you shouldn't have had so much to drink. Babe.

He emphasizes the last word in an ugly way, a way that makes me look at him in mild alarm.

"What? I didn't—” But then I stop because I don’t remember, I can’t remember, how much I'd had to drink. I can’t remember hardly any of the party, really. Which is not a good sign.

"You think just because you graze on snacks all night you can drink like a fish but Jesus, Rachel, it was a Super Bowl party. Not a kegger." Oliver is gripping the wheel tightly, his lips set in a thin line that say oh boy am I in trouble.

I don’t think I'd had that much to drink. Maybe it was the migraine medicine I'd taken before we left? Maybe it mixed wrong with the few beers I'd had? Because I’m pretty sure that's all it was, just a few beers. Only I can’t remember.

Before I say anything else Oliver goes on.

"I mean, there were kids there. Grayson brought their 6-month-old, for god's sake." He glances away from the road briefly to give me a look of utter disgust. "It was embarrassing. You embarrassed me.”

Oliver has quite the ego. Well-deserved, but a big ego nonetheless. I'm far from a perfect trophy wife, I slip up from time to time but really? Did I get that drunk?

I've been under a lot of stress lately, so, you know. Maybe this was one of those times. A slip-up.

I straighten in my seat and try to surreptitiously check my breath. Yuck. I don't think it's booze, though, it smells more like the buffalo chicken dip Heather made that was so good. It just doesn't smell good anymore.

Oliver embarrasses so easily these days.

"I'm sorry," I say, but it's hard to be sorry for something you're not sure of, something you can't remember. It's just easier this way. Better to back down and apologize than cause an argument. Why does my mouth taste so bad?

"Yeah, you're sorry all right," Oliver snaps, and I just don't get it, I don't get the animosity, the dislike-bordering-on-hate all because I had a few too many drinks at some dumb Super Bowl party.

I'm about to tell him to just drop it already when he stiffens even more in his seat. He leans forward, a tightly-wound wire about to snap.

"What?" I ask, sure it's something else I've done wrong, another tic-mark on the list of mistakes I've made for the evening. I open the glovebox to see if I have any gum but there's nothing, just long-expired insurance cards, an ancient dead GPS, yellow napkins that smell of past Wendy's meals.

"This guy ahead of us," he says in a low voice, eyes locked on the road. "I thought he just wasn't using his blinker but he's swerving. A lot.”

"Maybe he had too much to drink at the party," I snap irritably, and that earns me a fresh hateful look.

"Yeah, that'd probably be you if you didn't have me to cart your ass home." My husband glances back at the green SUV in the center lane a few car lengths away. "Watch him, he's all over the place.”

I close the glove box with an unnecessarily loud bang and watch as I'm told. Indeed, the green SUV is all over the place. It lists for a moment in the center lane before drifting lazily to the right, then back to the center again.

"I've got to get past him," Oliver says. He guns it.

I lean back in my seat, guts suddenly rolling. I feel like I'm going to be sick. He's going too fast.

"You're going too fast," I manage without losing the buffalo chicken dip from my stomach into my lap. Maybe I'd had more than a few beers after all.

Oliver ignores me and cuts across one lane, but the green SUV is going faster now too. Maybe he thinks we're racing?

Oh god, I'm going to be sick.

"Please slow down, Oliver," I beg, gripping the door handle for dear life. "Please!”

He's pushing 80, the speed limit is 60 last time I checked but the green SUV now has us boxed in behind another car. In trying to pass him, Oliver has trapped us.

"You don't get to tell me what to do," Oliver snaps, but I can tell he's scared too, he's trying to figure out how to slow down or change lanes or do anything but he's trapped us and the green SUV is drifting to the right again.

"Just pull over or something!" I cry yet I can see there's nowhere to pull over, the shoulder here is incredibly narrow and besides he couldn't stop in time — why won't the car ahead of us go faster? Why won't the car behind us go slower?

"I can’t!" Oliver's frantic now, his hands clenching the wheel so hard his knuckles are white. "I can't, I can't—”

I look pleadingly at my husband only to see the green SUV edging in closer and closer, the passenger's rearview mirror is about to touch our driver's side window, there's metal crunching and glass shattering and someone's screaming then —

"Wake up, we're almost home."

I'm startled awake, my body tense and panicked like when you jerk out of a dream of falling. It's still dark, we're still driving. My mouth tastes worse.

"Oliver," I gasp, and he gives me a look that says he's been mad at me for a while but I've caught him off guard.

"You okay?" He's trying not to keep his eyes on me too long, darting back between the highway and his disheveled wife.

The taste that had been just a few minutes ago merely unpleasant is now pretty disgusting. I sit all the way up, scanning the dark road ahead, the red and white taillights blinking cheerily in the night. No sign of the green SUV anywhere.

"Did I drink too much?" I ask him, alarmed, convinced that the crash had been a bad dream. I mean, truth be told, sometimes when I'm hammered I have pretty vivid dreams.

"You might have," Oliver admits, his voice much softer this time. Like he's happy that I caught my slip-up and I'm owning it. "You grazed on snacks all night but you still drank like a fish.”

"I'm sorry." My heart is hammering in my chest and this time I mean it, that dream — or nightmare, more like — had been awful, our last few moments together saturated in anger like a rag soaked in gasoline just waiting for a match.

"It was embarrassing," he says in a voice just a little poutier than I would've cared for, but I let it slide. “You embarrassed me.”

"I'm sorry," I say again. I smack my tongue off the roof of my mouth, trying to get rid of this awful taste. I check the glovebox for gum but no dice, just long-expired insurance cards, an ancient dead GPS, yellow napkins that smell of past Wendy's meals.

Something passes through me, not quite a chill.

I check my breath and it's not booze, but it's not Heather's buffalo chicken dip, either. It smells like something… rotten.

"This guy ahead of us," Oliver says, and that's when I see it, the green SUV.

"He's not using his blinker." I state the obvious as it slides lazily over to the right from the center lane without a turn signal.

"He's all over the place." My husband checks his left mirror, ready to make his move, but I put my hand on the wheel in an almost uncontrollable instinct.

"Don't!" Oliver jumps in his seat; the car jerks left, then right, but we stay in the center lane.

"Jesus, Rachel, what's your problem?!" he demands, but I barely hear him, I'm watching the green SUV.

"You're going to try to get past him," I whisper, and Oliver nods his head hard.

"Yeah, of course I am." He says this the way you'd speak to an exceptionally stupid child — or a particularly stubborn drunk. "I can't wait back here and have him hit us, what's the matter with you? Don't ever grab the wheel when I'm driving, I mean for god's sake!”

"Please don't do this, Oliver. Just let him go, just watch him, don't try anything crazy.”

He lets out an incredulous laugh.

"Oh, I'm crazy?" My husband takes his eyes off the road to glare at me. "It was a Super Bowl party, Rachel, not a —”

And that's when the green SUV cuts us off, slams on the brakes, and sends us hurtling into the back of his vehicle. The crunch of metal, shatter of glass, screams —

"Wake up, we're almost home.”

I am, I'm awake, I'm shaking and my mouth feels like it's full of blood but no, it's just an unbearable coppery foulness that makes me heave almost instantly.

I don't even have to look at Oliver to know he's angry with me for drinking too much at the Super Bowl party.

My eyes wildly scan the highway for the deadly green SUV but I don't see it, I can't see it, I don't think we'll ever see it until it's too late.

"Please," I beg him, hot tears streaming down my cheeks. "Please be careful, he's drunk and he's going to kill us.”

"Look who's talking," Oliver scoffs. "Just because you graze on snacks all night doesn't mean you can drink like a fish—”

"Oliver, please!" I don't know how to tell him, I don't know how to get through to him, why doesn't he remember the crash? The green SUV?

Why does this keep happening?

For the first time I look out my window at a black Mustang as it passes us. There's no one inside. The car is an empty metal shell, gliding smooth and silent down the highway. I watch it until it disappears into the darkness.

The other cars, they're the same. No driver, no passengers. They're all empty.

I want to scream but it's like my blood has been turned to icewater; I don't know what to do with this new information. How can they be empty?

"Oliver, watch out for him," I whisper, because even though I can't see the green SUV yet I know it's nearby. I know it's coming soon.

"Watch out for who?" He turns to me, sounding more confused than angry now. Then he says, "Wait — who are those people?”

"What people?" I look past the impossibly empty cars to the side of the road where Oliver is staring.

"There are people out there, lined up along the highway, like they're all holding hands or something — a really long line of them — god, they go on forever!”

I can't see what he's talking about. All I see is blackness.

And then I remember, it's soon, we should be paying attention to the road —

Ahead, the green SUV has sideswiped the black Mustang. They're spinning out of control in the center lane and here we come barreling through, going full speed, Oliver still staring at the people that don't exist.

Crunch, metal. Glass, shatter. Scream. Scream. Scream —

"Wake up, we're almost home.”

I'm already awake. My mouth tastes like utter reeking death. I can't remember how much I had to drink at the Super Bowl party but I know one thing: we're not almost home, and we never will be. TC mark

20 Simple Reminders To Keep You Going When You Don’t Know What To Do With Your Life

Posted: 08 Feb 2016 03:00 PM PST

 Twenty20 hiccausland
Twenty20 hiccausland

1. Believe that your calling is closer than you think. We spend so much time thinking about what our calling is and how we will fulfill it instead of trying to follow our curiosity or the excitement we feel towards something over the other.

2. Our calling may not be life-changing, but it guides our steps in the right direction. A lot of people think their calling has to be something extraordinary or magical, but sometimes our calling may be very real and ordinary but it has the potential to make our lives extraordinary.

3. Stop thinking that your life should be dramatic. We are all waiting for that big shot, that big moment where we turn our lives around, be filthy rich, and travel the world. This false belief is what leads us to be disappointed with our lives, thus we force ourselves to consider making big changes that doesn’t make sense to us thinking that this is the true definition of happiness.

4. The best way to figure out what we want to do with our lives is to keep making tiny strides toward a better life, making small changes one step at a time.

5. Once we find our calling, we shouldn't let failure stop us. We have to keep trying over and over again. There is no such thing as beginner's luck when it comes to our life's purpose. The more we try, the wiser and smarter we will be and we will finally get it right one day.

6. Don't romanticize the future or blame the past. When we feel lost, we have a tendency to blame our past for getting us to where we are now, so we romanticize a better future without really changing ourselves which only adds to our discomfort.

7.  Although it is easier to play the blame game when we are not happy and we don't want to hold ourselves accountable for our fate, but we have to remember romanticizing the future without actively finding ways to make it better will not change our lives.

8. The best thing we can do when we feel this way is to get real with ourselves about what went wrong in the past and how we can fix it so we can avoid falling for the same trap in the future.

9. It's also good to remember that life is a bundle of contradictions and it will not always be the one we pictured or go exactly the way we wanted.

10. Read enriching books and turn off the TV. Reading invites us to a new world of lessons and guidance, the quiet moments we spend with our books can have a better effect than any show we watch on TV. Books cultivate & feed our minds and offer valuable lessons we wouldn't learn anywhere else.

11. Success is subjective and doesn't have a universal definition. There is no one right way to live or one definition to success. It is easy to get influenced by the fantasies, stories and movies around us but at the end of the day everyone will end up paving their own way to success.

12. Taking the time to discover our strengths will help us learn how to hone them in our current life roles, and give us more confidence in moving forward with our lives.

13. The first ingredient to deal with the uncertainty of life is learning how to be patient with yourself and everything around you, and the patience to wait for the life you truly desire.

14. The second ingredient is to practice letting go of all the unrealistic expectations we had, the old patterns that keep holding us back, and the resentment that consumes our heart and blurs our clarity.

15. Friends and family are here to support us; we should go to them when we feel lost, they can provide us with their help and wisdom and give us the pep talk we need to get back on our feet again.

16. Change is the only constant in life so we should do our best to embrace the changes that come our way and the changes within ourselves.

17. There is no deadline to our lives. Sometimes, we think we want to do something and then once we try it, we realize it might not be what we want after all. It’s not the end of the world – it’s how we know what doesn’t work so we can figure out what will work no matter how old we are.

18. Learning to be grateful for the small things will make a huge difference in our day to day. Adopting this outlook may help prevent us from over-emphasizing the importance of the bad things in our lives and give us a healthier attitude to deal with the discomfort of our current situation.

19. Even if we get what we want, we will be faced with new challenges and responsibilities to maintain it.

20. “Good things take time” and “no one has it all figured out” are two powerful reminders we should repeat to ourselves whenever we feel like we don't know what to do with our lives. TC mark

6 Fresh Date Ideas For Couples Who Can’t Agree On How To Spend Valentine’s Day

Posted: 08 Feb 2016 02:00 PM PST

Twenty20 / karly.valencia
Twenty20 / karly.valencia

There is no "right" or "wrong" way to feel about Valentine’s Day. If you and your significant other just can't agree on how to celebrate Valentine's Day, here are some alternative ideas to try out:

1. You Know That Random Thing You've Been Dying To Do Together? Go Do It.

You don't have to book fancy dinner reservations and destroy your bank account just because Valentine's Day.

Instead, think of that one thing you've been anxious to do for a while. Maybe you've been talking about taking a dance class together, but never got around to it. Maybe you've wanted to check out a local vineyard or brewery for a tasting.

Or, if you're extra competitive, maybe you've wanted to destroy each other in a game of paintball. Stop procrastinating! Use Valentine's Day as an excuse to do something new, even if it's not considered "romantic."

2. Learn Something New About Each Other.

You probably think you know every last detail about your significant other, but odds are, you probably don't. (And that's okay.) How about staying in this Valentine's Day, saving a little money, and having a meaningful conversation with your partner?

This may sound cheesy, but here me out: Search for a list of "date night questions" to ask each other. You'll find a ton on Google or Pinterest, and be sure to pick a list that requires you to be especially honest with each other. You'll cover topics from your relationship, to your childhood, to your biggest fears.

So, crack open a bottle of wine, cuddle up on the couch, and see where the questions lead (Personally, I tried this out with my boyfriend at the bar one night, and it actually went pretty well, just FYI.)

This is even better for newer couples who are still in the "test phase" of a relationship. Just be prepared to learn a lot about each other.

3. Recreate A Past Date.

If you're stuck on finding something fresh this Valentine's Day, how about recreating a moment that led to the two of you falling in love?

Re-watch the first movie you ever saw together, grab a beer at that little hole-in-the-wall bar you found during a night out, or go see a comedy show at the same place you went to on your anniversary last year.

Or, if your first date was over a game of beer pong (like mine), throw yourselves a little house party, just the two of you.

Everyone loves a little nostalgia, right? Who knows, it may even rekindle those "just started dating" feelings. (You know, when you still showered every day and made out with each other in public.)

4. Make It About Your Friends Instead.

If you'd rather skip the whole romance thing, then how about calling up some friends?

Plan for each of you to spend time with some close pals that might need a little company. Your single girlfriends could probably use a night out, and there's no doubt the guys would be up for a trip to the bar.

To some, Valentine's Day carries a lot of mixed emotions, and the most selfless gesture as a friend is to make sure they don't spend it alone.

5. Plan A "Staycation."

Here's an idea: Drive an hour outside of your city, find a hotel, and map out new places to explore.

You really don't need to leave the state (or the country) to experience romance. It's incredible what you'll find so close to home!

As simple as it may be, getting out of the house, taking a drive, checking out new bars, and vegging out on hotel room service is always a good time.

6. If All Else Fails, Netflix.

Ah, the "Netflix and chill" for long-term couples: Where it literally means to watch Netflix and chill. (And by "chill," I mean sit on the couch.) If you're just not feeling up for anything this Valentine's Day, then screw it: grab a 12-pack, order a pizza and binge watch Parks and Recreation for the third time.

Being completely lazy together on a day dedicated to being the total opposite is irony (and love) at its finest. (And who knows, maybe the "chill" part won't end up being so chill, if you catch my drift.)

At the end of the day, all that matters is finding a middle ground that works for both of you.

Compromising on Valentine's Day can be tough, but hey, that's part of being in a relationship, right? TC mark

13 Things To Remember When You Realize He’s Not Right For You

Posted: 08 Feb 2016 01:00 PM PST

Twenty20 / kellywood
Twenty20 / kellywood

I've always believed that it's easier to be hurt, than it is to hurt someone else. I have told myself so many times – he's the right guy for someone, just not the right guy for me. As long as I can remember, I thought that being in a relationship for a few years means you are destined to be lifelong partners. It's only recently that I discovered this isn't true. I know that I can't be the only one in this situation, so for those who need it – cheers to the following lessons learned.

1. I've learned that no matter how long you've been together – when you know, you know. It's entirely possible to be with someone for five years, yet still not be right for each other permanently.

2. You don't meet people by accident,
and that each person who crosses your path brings life lessons to you that God knew you needed. Everyone you meet makes you stronger, and makes you look at life just a little different than you did before.

3. Count on your family
. For years I've considered my significant other my constant, which is true to an extent…but, I've learned that your true constant throughout life is the family that God blessed you with. Never forget who you are, and where you come from.

4. Don't lose who you are,
even if you don't know yourself yet. In life, we are constantly reinventing ourselves, but don't give up things you once loved and sacrifice your independence.

5. It's hard to let go, but it's harder to be unhappy. Some happiness is only temporary and sometimes making a hard decision requires you to find happiness that isn't.

6. A relationship should bring out the best in you. A relationship should be eternally supportive, and you should lift each other up in your worst moments.

7. Mistakes help us find the right person in the long run. Mistakes help you grow, and be better for the next person that you share your heart with.

8. Read quotes, and listen to LOTS of music. I can't tell you how many times reading endless quotes on the internet lifted my spirits and gave me clarity. Music has been my savior through so many challenging times.

9. You have to truly love yourself,
inside and out, before you can be in a successful relationship. We learn to love ourselves more and more each day through growth. Making our own independent decisions without seeing them through someone else's eyes, helps us to find out who we truly are.

10. Life. Gets. Better.
Sometimes it's hard to see past tomorrow or next week. It's easy to get caught up in this moment, and think about how bad it is without realizing that with time, things will start to look up for you again.

11. Open your eyes to every opportunity.
You never know what could change your life next. Sometimes being in a relationship can fog your choices, but it's important to take opportunities that will help you grow.

12. Be brave, and be bold. I learned that no matter how hard it is, it's so important to say what you mean, and mean what you say. Not only are you being honest with others, but being honest with yourself.

13. Follow your heart, and your brain alike.
One isn't more important than the other, they both matter equally. It's important to make smart decisions, that back up your emotional feelings. TC mark