Thought Catalog

This Is Your Brain On Porn

Posted: 22 Sep 2016 08:01 PM PDT

Anna Sastre
Anna Sastre

Pornography in relationships has been an issue for a long time.

Even today, professional recommendations on how to manage the use of pornography still vary widely. We attended one workshop in a couples therapy conference that recommended to merely accept porn use, especially by men, as natural and harmless. While this may be an extreme view, many clinicians have suggested that if a couple uses pornography as a stimulus for intimacy, or if they both agree to read or view pornographic materials together, then porn use is fine.

In fact, many professionals have thought it might increase relationship connection and intimacy. In the Bringing Baby Home new parents workshop, we initially took this view since our research had demonstrated that, after a baby arrives, relationship intimacy decreases and measures were needed to strengthen intimate sexual connection.

Recently, however, research on the effects of pornography use, especially one person frequently viewing pornographic images online, shows that pornography can hurt a couple's relationship. The effect may be true, in part, because pornography can be a "supernormal stimulus" (see Supernormal Stimuli by Deirdre Barrett). Nikko Tinbergen, a Nobel Prize winning ethologist, described a supernormal stimulus as a stimulus that evokes a much larger response than one that has evolutionary significance.

One effect of a supernormal stimulus is that interest wanes in normal stimuli. Tinbergen studied male stickleback fish who would naturally attack a rival male that entered their territory during mating season. He created an oval object with a very red belly, more intensely red than the natural fish. The fish fiercely attacked the mock up and subsequently lost interest in attacking its real male rival. Now the supernormal stimulus evoked a reaction, but not the normal stimulus.

Pornography may be just such a supernormal stimulus. With pornography use, much more of a normal stimulus may eventually be needed to achieve the response a supernormal stimulus evokes. In contrast, ordinary levels of the stimulus are no longer interesting. This may be how normal sex becomes much less interesting for porn users. The data supports this conclusion. In fact, use of pornography by one partner leads the couple to have far less sex and ultimately reduces relationship satisfaction.

There are many other factors about porn use that can threaten a relationship's intimacy.

First, intimacy for couples is a source of connection and communication between two people. But when one person becomes accustomed to masturbating to porn, they are actually turning away from intimate interaction.

Second, when watching pornography the user is in total control of the sexual experience, in contrast to normal sex in which people are sharing control with the partner. Thus a porn user may form the unrealistic expectation that sex will be under only one person's control.

Third, the porn user may expect that their partner will always be immediately ready for intercourse (see Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski). This is unrealistic as well. Research has revealed that genital engorgement leads to a desire for sex only 10% of the time in women and 59% of the time in men.

Fourth, some porn users rationalize that pornography is ok if it does not involve partnered sexual acts and instead relies only on masturbation. While this may accomplish orgasm the relationship goal of intimate connection is still confounded and ultimately lost.

Worse still, many porn sites include violence toward women, the antithesis of intimate connection. Porn use can become an actual addiction with the same brain mechanism activated in other behavioral addictions, like gambling (see Your Brain on Porn by Gary Wilson). Pornography can also lead to a decrease in relationship trust and a higher likelihood of affairs outside the relationship.

Many porn sites now offer an escalation of sexual activity beyond simply viewing porn that includes actually having sex with other individuals. Finally, the support of porn use is reinforcing an industry that abuses the actors employed to create the pornography (see The Empire of Illusion by Chris Hedges).

We applaud major media outlets like Time Magazine that have joined the anti-pornography movement. Their April cover story titled Porn and the Threat to Virility dives into how modern men who grew up watching porn as children and teenagers have started a movement against it, hoping to shed light on the sexual material's power to harm Americans.

In summary, we are led to unconditionally conclude that for many reasons, pornography poses a serious threat to couple intimacy and relationship harmony. This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our readers around the world to understand what is at stake. TC mark

Abusive Women: 43 Victimized Men Share Their Horrifying Tales Of Physical And Sexual Assault

Posted: 22 Sep 2016 07:00 PM PDT

(Wikimedia Commons)
(Wikimedia Commons)
Found on AskReddit.

1. The mother of my daughter beat the living shit out of me because I asked her what skirt she wanted me to iron for the morning.

"The mother of my daughter beat the living shit out of me because I asked her what skirt she wanted me to iron for the morning. She was six months pregnant at the time. She took at me with a phone, fists, nails, teeth and feet. I eventually threw her off me and called the police. She fled the house and stole my car in the process.

By the time the police arrived I was a sobbing mess with extensive facial bruising, bleeding and bite marks.

They listened to me, and then cautioned me. I’m the one who was bleeding. I’m the one who called the police. I’m the one who was fucking cautioned.

She had no physical marks at all, my car and most importantly, my child. She later absconded with my daughter—who was three weeks old when I last saw her. She’s fourteen now.

The mother is a dangerous psychopath and I really wanted to get the child away from her but the system let us down."


2. When I was a little kid, I was forced to have sex with my younger sister (about 9 months younger) by my two older sisters.

"My story is simple. When I was a little kid, I was forced to have sex with my younger sister (about 9 months younger) by my two older sisters. (Oldest is 4 years older, other one is 2 years older). All because they wanted to know what it looked like and gain info on how it felt. I was 5 or 6 at the time and don’t remember too much. I didn’t refuse because I was a kid, and my sisters were allowed to “Discipline” me if I didn’t listen to them, which amounted to them beating me up.

I know now as an adult what they had us do was wrong, even if you exclude the fact that we were both underage. So what’s my story behind it? Nothing really that I want to share, other than I don’t talk to ANY member of my blood related family anymore. What do I remember from it? I actually remember being lead into the room, the action of stripping down, and the events after until I put back on my clothing.

How do I feel? Well I have a deep hatred for them all regardless, and as for the event itself, it’s just ONE MORE nail in the coffin as I’m concerned.

Will I ever talk to them again? Well let’s just say this… if I saw them dying of thirst and I owned any source of water, I’d walk away and let them die.

So yeah, you could say I’m still affected by it. But I do just try to take things one day at a time and not think of unpleasant things."


3. When I ended it she knocked me out with my guitar.

"Been dating for a year, was 18 when it started & 20 when I ended it a few weeks ago.

She was always being physically abusive as she was a gym rat & 1.9m tall. When I ended it she knocked me out with my guitar. I woke up a few hours later in the hospital with just a minor concussion, my neighbor heard it all and called the cops. He also vouched for me when I got a restraining order for my ex."


4. My female boss made me have a sexual relationship under threat of being fired and sabotaging my career if I didn’t go along with it.

"My female boss made me have a sexual relationship under threat of being fired and sabotaging my career if I didn’t go along with it. Didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer, never took ‘stop’ seriously, didn’t care that I was never into it and obviously wanted none of it, didn’t care if I was physically resisting, either. She did everything from sexual coercion (getting super upset if I didn’t give in, insults, wouldn’t stop asking until I gave in, etc.) to blackmail to physically pinning me down (long story). It happened on a daily basis and went on for a year before I found a new job in another state. A few months after it started she also told me her husband would kill me if he ever found out, which in hindsight was probably just to scare me into hiding evidence/not reporting her, but I didn’t want to take chances. There was also a lot of emotional abuse going along with it."


5. I remember till this day the smells of cigars and mustiness as she sat on my face and fondled me.

"I was between 5-8 y.o.

I was molested by a 25+ y.o. woman. My parents were out of the country and no adults were around since it was in the countryside.

I remember till this day the smells of cigars and mustiness as she sat on my face and fondled me.

I felt like this was an achievement because ‘I wanted a girlfriend’ so I kept it quite from my parents.

This led to me being a sexual explorer at a very young age, both homosexual and hetero and was insatiable. Even with family I made 0 distinction.

When I finally got married it was to a woman that resembled her actually…Never really gave it much though until after the wedding.

I still haven’t told my parents, only my wife in fact. Figured at this point what’s the point."


6. Started off with a kick to the balls. Ended up with me being choked and punched in front of our small child.

"We started dating when I was 16 or so, fast forward of years of me trying to break up with her and not being successful. Started off with a kick to the balls. Ended up with me being choked and punched in front of our small child. I have been pretty broken since.

Telling a person that you want to leave and them punching themselves and scratching their arms and face. Forcing you to calm them down, because you are afraid they are going to blame it on you or kill their self. Watching as my son thinks it is okay because daddy was bad and he deserved it. Having bruises and scratches while going to work. No one ever takes it seriously if you are a man. It is always “you deserve it” but no one ever does."


7. I was 4 or 5 and my babysitter sexually assaulted me.

"I was 4 or 5 and my babysitter sexually assaulted me. I didn’t even really realize what happened until years later…. I saw a therapist and talked through it, I still do. But oddly enough, it doesn’t really affect and my relationship with my wife/other women I dated in the past. I think it mainly makes me want to protect my future kids. Still messed up on her part regardless."


8. The next thing I knew she grabbed my hand and forced it down her pants and at the same time forced her way down mine.

"I was still a virgin until it happened. I was 23 and had gotten drunk with my roommate and his girlfriend and his coworker. I had enough and decided to go to sleep. I woke up to his coworker in my room asking if she could lay down with me because the couch was uncomfortable. I was still pretty drunk and also so shy an uncomfortable that I just kind of agreed. The next thing I knew she grabbed my hand and forced it down her pants and at the same time forced her way down mine. She was 7 years older than me at the time and I was intimidated and just plain freaked out since I’d never even gone that far with anyone. After a minute or two of that she started mounting me and I didn’t know what to do so I went along with it. I felt really weird about it for the net few days. I went along with it out of fear and also fear that it might never happen again. Haven’t even kissed a girl since. I’m 31 now."


9. The last night my ex-wife (19) and I (22) were together she beat the living shit out of me.

"The last night my ex-wife (19) and I (22) were together she beat the living shit out of me.

It started as a normal night out with some friends, family get together stuff. We had our infant son with u, and I let her cut loose and drink. Problem was she had no limits, so pretty quickly she was just drunk. The arguing started in the car on the way back to our apartment, at one point in time she grabbed my cell phone, and threw it out of the car at 70mph(Nokia, she didn’t even scratch that thing)

When we got home, I figured she would go sleep it off, but it just escalated. Yelling and screaming, he throwing things at me, shoving and hitting me. Finally I grabbed the house phone to call the cops. That ended up ripped from my hands, thrown at my head, and the beating began. Now I’m not little, 6’3 & 205 pounds, and she’s 5’9 & 135 lbs. Because 911 had been dialed, they responded, me trying to get out of the house, pinned against the door, bloody lip, black eye. Her with bloody fists. Thankfully my son slept through the entire thing.

It ended with me getting a ride to the hospital, I had a fractured orbital bone, she had a boxers fracture, then jail. I was charged with holding her hostage, aggravated family assault, and interference with an emergency phone call. All on her story to the cops…."


10. Emotional, mental, financial, physical abuse.

"Met a girl in college, smart, sexy, funny, everything I ever dreamed of. My friends were envious of my successful relationship with this bombshell, to the point of telling me such. Misplaced, all of it. She drops out of college, having only attended the film course she paid for a handful of times. She wants to move home, a little town in the middle of nowhere, about four hours drive from the city. Asking me to leave the city and everything I’d been working for.

Like an idiot, I drop everything. She had some issues, so I figured starting a new life around her family was something we should do. I leave my job, apartment, friends and family, and move. Wasn’t even two days before the abuse started. Being 300km from any support network I had was brutal, I had nowhere to go, and nobody to turn to, and she knew it. Basically hell on earth for the 8 months it took me to leave. Emotional, mental, financial, physical abuse. I got a job the second day there, didn’t see any money I made for 7 months. Constantly berated, told I was worth nothing, a stupid fuck that can just “walk home” if I didn’t like it. It was winter, and a particularly brutal one. -60 C with that arctic front coming down. Soon the beatings started, getting punched in the face, clawed and screamed at, transitioning to defending myself from the knives she would attack me with.

Beaten and broken, I packed a small bag of clothing and supplies after yet another fight where I narrowly avoided getting stabbed, walked into work and quit, asked my boss to use her computer for Facebook, contacted a friend who was generous enough to drop his evening plans and drive 8 hours to come get me and return me home.

It’s been…a year and a half? I dunno. I escape reality a lot through the shitty video games I have access to and the booze my city friends freely feed me. Been trying to pull myself together, make something of myself, but honestly there isn’t a day that goes by where my mind doesn’t wander to her… What could have been? Would I have been able to pull something out of the ruins of that relationship, or would I have just hung myself in the middle of nowhere, where nobody would have cared? I think it would have been the latter, so I suppose being a washed-up drunk is slightly better than dead."


11. She started beating me with a flat hairbrush. When my arms and legs bruised, she would target them for the next bus ride.

"On the school bus, because we were too noisy, in Middle School we were assigned a high-schooler to sit with us. I got Kelly (not her real name). Kelly’s younger sister was my senior by one year, and she had it out for me…more or less because I’m weird.

Kelly started off stuffing me against the window and telling me to be quiet while I was sitting with her. After a few months of realizing I wouldn’t be responsive to verbal threats, she started beating me with a flat hairbrush. When my arms and legs bruised, she would target them for the next bus ride. Then she added slapping me for opening my mouth, breathing too loudly, or when she heard my headphones. My cheeks started to chafe and crack. The response from the people I told was that it was just the dry air and I needed to moisturize, that being slapped a couple of times wouldn’t cause that…but that doesn’t make sense to me. The guidance counselor that I told said that she talked to Kelly and that it was because I was howling like a wolf at the bus stop. That didn’t happen.

When I reported that Kelly was hitting me to the bus driver, the bus driver said she’d talk to Kelly. Kelly’s response was that I’m annoying in a number of different ways. She said I butt into conversations where I’m not invited, I listen to music that makes her afraid of me, etc. The bus driver gave me a lecture in front of the rest of the bus, that annoying people is going to elicit that kind of reaction. In response to my tattling, Kelly started punching and kicking me “below the belt” on a daily basis, and as a kind of greeting. This is where we plateaued in 7th grade. She was going to graduate before I got into high school, and as she approached graduation, she ramped up. In the spring of my 8th grade/Kelly’s senior year, Kelly’s sister and her bus-friends physically restrained me while Kelly and her sister hit me with that fucking flat hair brush—arms, legs, head, and a full-force nut slap—and scratching me and pulling my hair. The driver didn’t care or notice until I screamed, which got me another lecture about being annoying on the bus. When I hit high school, Kelly’s sister would tell her boyfriends that I threatened to beat her up. This came as news to me, usually in the always-machismo environment of the locker room, when the coaches happened to be in their office. Hell of a way to defend herself from facing me."


12. I have never been so afraid of a woman.

"When I was in my mid-thirties, I dated a woman ten years my junior. I had some sexual abuse growing up, and had difficulty with people touching me, especially when I was asleep. Almost on a daily basis, she would stroke my face while I was asleep, and I would wake up screaming. She would belittle me for it and do her best to dismiss the reasons why I had that issue.

She would get sexually aggressive. She would climb onto me and pin me down (she was a big girl) and kiss me. I would turn my head, and she’d pull it back to continue, and ignore my protests. Even though I wouldn’t want sex, I would do it in order to get her off of me. I would fake my orgasms to get it over with more quickly. She would often ask why I had no ejaculate, and bought the excuse that since I got off every day, I hadn’t had much built up.

I had no alone time when I wasn’t at work. I couldn’t even shower alone. She was with me at every waking moment, and as I said, at me even when I was sleeping. I had tried to break up with her a couple of times, and she would either slap me, or go into another room and have a manic chat with herself that I couldn’t understand. I can still hear the maniacal laughter that would turn to tears, and back again. I would eventually tell her that I was wrong, and that we didn’t have to split. I would be so afraid to sleep those nights.

She eventually had to go back home to visit her parents for the holidays. I told her not to come back. I had to block her on all of my social media, video game accounts, etc. I changed my number. She got a message through to me a couple of times to threaten me to return the items she’d left behind. Things like toothpaste. She told me the brand and size of the toothpaste, and how much was left. The mouthwash. The soap. She threatened to call the police and have them come and get it. She finally left me alone. I held onto that stuff for eight years, afraid to think of what might happen if she came to get it, and I didn’t have it. Finally threw it out last year.

I have never been so afraid of a woman, and I’m glad that’s over with. Thankfully, I am now able to be comfortable with someone touching my face, and little things like that."


13. She ended up beating the hell out of me and I ended up with a very swollen jaw, deep scratches all around my neck, and a bite mark where she’d broken the skin on my face.

"I started to go out with the ‘girl of my dreams’ when I was just about 17 she was my first girlfriend so I didn’t really have any idea of what a relationship should be at the time. I lost my virginity to her and loved our relationship for the first year and then I’d start to realize how one-sided our relationship was, she didn’t care about whether I was happy or not. Then one day she started to hit and push me, I knew better than to hit her back and continued to take her beatings about once every other month. The most recent time I was on a hike with her and she failed to mention that she took Klonopin and had been drinking that night before meeting up with me. She ended up beating the hell out of me and I ended up with a very swollen jaw, deep scratches all around my neck, and a bite mark where she’d broken the skin on my face. I learned my lesson after that night and haven’t seen her since, but she still somehow managed to convince all of my best friends that I had beaten her up that night, most of my friends had enough knowledge about who I am and how crazy she is they didn’t believe her but I lost my best friend because he took every word she said to him as a truth."


14. I said ‘no’ and ‘stop’ over and over again.

"I was in the military years ago (since I keep getting PMs, I was in the U.S. Army from ’93 until ’04. This incident by proxy ended my career. I didn’t get chaptered, I just refused to reenlist once my stop-loss lifted since everyone in my chain of command started treating me like a pariah) and while I was deployed my wife cheated on me. I found out and started divorce proceedings. In the mean time, there was no room for me in the barracks and I had to stay in my housing unit with her until a spot opened up.

My soon-to-be ex made the decision for both of us that we were going to stay married no matter how many times I told her it was over and it was only a matter of time until we went to court.

One night I came home from my unit and she insisted we have sex. I told her there was no way in hell that was happening. She then physically made it happen. She literally chased me around our living room pulling my uniform off, piece by piece. She ripped my shirt off my torso.

I didn’t want it. I struggled against it. I said ‘no’ and ‘stop’ over and over again. She practically held me down but I knew if I fought her off she could scream abuse and I’d hang for it. The military does NOT play around when it comes to domestic violence. She knew that and used it to get what she wanted.

Later that night I tried to leave the house once and for all and she physically attacked me. I had to stand there and take it because I knew if I laid a hand on her, I would go to jail and my career would be over. She hit me multiple times and scratched me and drew blood and smashed my nose enough that I had breathing problems for months afterwards.

The MPs (military police) show up and she starts screaming how I attacked her and she had to fight me off. I ask the MPs how that is possible as she doesn’t have a mark on her and I am bleeding everywhere. The MPs are sympathetic.

I get told that despite the evidence, since I’m the male and the soldier, I have to leave the house and they have to take me into custody. I get arrested for domestic violence. She gets arrested as well, but the charge is simply assault.

Later during my interview with the MP’s I told them what she did to force me to have sex, holding me down, ignoring me telling her to stop, etc. The sergeant shook his head and asked me “Did you get an erection?” “Yeah, of course, she kept playing with my dick and sucking on it, I couldn’t stop her.” “Well, you can’t rape the willing.” And that was that.

I still don’t really know how to deal with it.

I have since remarried and one time I told my wife about it and she said almost the same thing. “Guys can’t get raped. Your dick wouldn’t get hard if you didn’t want it.” This is a woman who is A+ in pre-law and who is someone I consider very intelligent. shrug A lot of women (and men) don’t believe you can rape a man."


15. I now have the involuntary muscle spasm anywhere around my groin if someone is getting intimate with me.

"When I was 7 I went on vacation with my family and some family friends. It was a 3-week vacation, and most nights all the parents went out to big dinner and shows and us kids all stayed at the house with a local babysitter.

Our family friends had two daughters aged 12 and 14 at the time, and once it started, every night the parents took off, those girls would take me to their room and have their way with me, telling me it’s what adults did and we weren’t supposed to talk about it. I just remember feeling so uncomfortable I felt physically ill.

I lost my virginity on the 3rd night. The younger sister on top of me while the older one forced my limp little child’s Johnson with her fingers into her sister…so fucked up.

Never told a soul until I finally sought therapy at 23. I now have the involuntary muscle spasm anywhere around my groin if someone is getting intimate with me, to the point where my abdominals and hip flexors cramp in excruciating pain.

These things really affect people."



Here’s Why You’re Still Single, Based On Your Birth Order

Posted: 22 Sep 2016 06:01 PM PDT

First Born

As an oldest child you have a tendency to be incredibly type A, love routines, and have an extremely high level of expectation that you put onto other people. You like things to be done how you want them to be done. You want to do things when and how you want to do them. You want people to behave the way you expect them to. Quite simply, you can have a very “my way or the highway” mentality and that’s not only intimidating and off-putting, it’s unrealistic and unfair.

You’ll find a relationship when you start figuring out how to balance your need for everything to be done the “right way” with making sure your partner is also happy with the process. When you learn to compromise, have discussions rather than just telling them what to do, and learn to lighten up a little bit – that’s when you’ll find yourself in a healthy, happy relationship.

Somewhere In The Middle

It’s been heavily instilled in you as a middle child to be compliant and non-confrontational. While this can be a great asset (you’re calm and not easily shaken) it can also be your fatal flaw. Rather than say what bothers you you’ll stay quiet and bottle it up which can lead to all out explosions when you reach your breaking point. Plus that passivity can lead to a “whatever” sort of attitude, causing you to not chase and pursue the things that you want or make it known how you feel about others.

In order to find a healthy relationship that lasts, you have to find your voice. You have to learn how to have productive conversations, not balk when things are tense, and make sure that the person you’re with knows how important they are to you. You can’t keep things to yourself, you have to open up. And once you do, you’ll find yourself in your best relationship yet.


You are all go go go and you have been called “a lot to handle” more times than you can count. You are single because, quite frankly, you’re too distracted to be in a relationship. You want to try everything, do everything, go absolutely everywhere. That flightiness and impulsivity doesn’t make you a good partner, and so you are in a perpetual state of “sort of dating” or “just talking to” people because the second they require too much from you, you’re out the door.

You will be in a relationship when you figure out how to hit the pause button and sit still with someone. You have to learn that consistency isn’t a death sentence, and a little routine never hurt anyone. Once you grow up a little is when you’ll finally be ready to really be with someone.


You’re used to having someone who automatically and always gets you and is connected to you. You have a tendency to think of people as mind readers, and they’re not. No one is ever going to be as instinctually connected to you as your twin, and putting the same level of expectation on them is, frankly, ridiculous. By doing this, you are also closing yourself off to people and making yourself seem unobtainable and unapproachable — neither of which are qualities people want in a partner.

You’ll get into a relationship that lasts when you find the ability to speak up for yourself and ask for what you want and need. When you stop assuming that people will just know what to do and know what you’re thinking. When you get real with people, that’s when you’ll find real love.

Only Child

You are difficult and stubborn, and have a hard time looking outside of yourself and seeing your own faults. You have a tendency to place blame rather than look at yourself as the possible perpetrator.  People have a hard time getting to know you because you keep them at an arm’s length, and because you don’t often admit when you’re wrong making you slightly short sighted. It’s not that you’re vindictive or spiteful, you just need to remember to check yourself.

You will end up in a relationship when you learn to put other’s needs before yourself and your own, and gain a healthy amount of self-awareness. When you stop deflecting your problems through either complete denial or shifting the blame is when you’ll become a much better partner. And in turn, you’ll be ready for a love that is actually whole and complete. TC mark

If Your Overly Attached Girlfriend Wrote Your Password Security Questions

Posted: 22 Sep 2016 05:45 PM PDT

Tim Gouw
Tim Gouw

1. Do your friends like me?

2. Who is your most recent search on Instagram?

3. What was that name of that friend you said you were with the night of the 10th—the one you said you definitely couldn't cancel on so we could go to the couple’s yoga class I signed us up for?

4. Did you ever hook up with Jenny?

5. Are you mad at me?

6. Don’t you agree you’re acting kinda weird?

7. Who were you texting that night two weeks ago when I asked you if you knew what song was playing in our uber and you said you got distracted and didn't hear it because you were on your phone?

8. What's wrong?!

9. Is it me?

10. Did you have fun out on your “Guys’ Night”?

11. Why did this girl just follow you?

12. But, like, were you ever "dating" Jenny?

13. What would you do if I told you I stopped taking birth control?

14. If you had to pick: me or your mom?

15. Did you get my texts?

16. How long would we have to be dating before I can move in?

17. Are you thinking about me right now?

18. Are you listening to me?

19. Is there someone else?

20. Who is she?

21. Why did it take you 22 minutes to get home? When I looked on Google Maps, it says it’s only supposed to take you 13.

22. Do you think my sister is prettier than me?

23. No, but seriously, did you sleep with Jenny?

24. What was your childhood pet’s name? TC mark

Here’s What Could Happen If We Gave ‘Us’ A Chance

Posted: 22 Sep 2016 05:00 PM PDT


I love our chase. I get swept up in you when you tease me. When we tease each other. But whenever we get close to something real — something that isn’t just for fun, something that isn’t just on the down low, something that stands a chance of lasting – we shy away from it. And it’s not just you who hesitates. It’s me, too. Admitting that what we have is as special as it is terrifies me. I love the lightness that comes with me and you. I love that we can adapt what we have to make it whatever we need on that given day. I love that we are never not friends, even when it feels like we are more. And for some reason, I worry that if we called it “us” instead of “me” and “you,” maybe it would change irreparably. That’s what scares me the most.

But then, just for a minute, I think about what it would be if we gave “us” a chance. What if we threw caution to the wind, and ignored the “what ifs” and the “buts” and the fear, and just tried to be more than we are?

If we could be “us,” maybe we could be honest about what we’re feeling. Maybe we would get a chance to try honesty, instead of biting back feelings that we assume are better left unsaid. The truth is, I don’t want to bite back feelings anymore. I know they are there, and I know they are real. And I know you feel what I feel.

If we gave “us” a chance, we could build each other up, and depend on each other instead of just hoping the other person would make time for us. We would allow ourselves to explore the feelings we have for each other together, instead of just thinking about them when we’re walking away from each other, wishing we could’ve just stayed side-by-side.

We wouldn’t have to feel uncomfortable about wrapping our arms around each other whenever we felt like it. We could show each other the affection we’re trying to limit right now. We could hold each other’s gaze and never have to stop staring, never have to look down because we were too embarrassed. We could stay in bed all day together and have sex in the afternoon and then go out to dinner without a care for what anyone else in the world is doing. We wouldn’t have to find excuses to see each other, or make up reasons that our friends couldn’t hang out with the two of us on a given night.

We could make plans for the months coming up, and introduce each other as more than just another friend. We wouldn’t have to hide that we mean more to each other than that. We could care for each other without worrying about whether that’s “too much” or whether the other person will read something into it. We could cook and drink and stay in, instead of having to arrange encounters that seem like chance just to be able to spend the night – and next day -together. We could express ourselves fully and openly and know the other person is unconditionally there for us, through our darkest moments and weirdest moments and happiest moments. That’s what we could have, if we just gave “us” a chance. TC mark

14 Things He Should Know About You Before He Tries To Take Off Your Pants

Posted: 22 Sep 2016 04:00 PM PDT / Eva Katalin Kondoros / Eva Katalin Kondoros

1. Your name. No brainer — he should know your name, he should know who you are.

2. Your favorite something. He doesn’t necessarily need to know your entire life story, or be able to rattle off lists of facts about you. But he should remember something that you’ve said. A favorite color, a favorite song on the radio, a favorite season.

3. What places you like to eat at. He should have a basic idea of where he could take you to dinner or lunch.

4. Your opinion on the Kimye vs. Taylor drama, or other related current event. He should’ve taken the time to talk to you about something deeper than just the weather. Maybe that’s celebrity news, current events, or whatever — but he needs to have taken the time.

5. Your hometown. Rarely do conversations last very long or go very deep without talking about where we are from. It isn’t that hard to remember this!

6. What you do for a living. Are you in school? Are you working full-time? Where do you work? Do you like it? These are things that should come up in an in-depth conversation with someone you have a connection with.

7. A short term goal. What do you hope to accomplish in the next year or so? Are you angling for a promotion at work, or do you want to travel somewhere new?

8. A long term goal. What is your kinda crazy, super big goal for life? Do you want to open your own cafe? Do you want to spend a year traveling the world? These come up in conversation all the time, all it takes is remembering it.

9. Something that always makes you laugh. Is is an inside joke between the two of you or just something funny you’ve experienced together? If he knows how to make you laugh, he knows something very important about you.

10. A skill that you’re proud of. He should know SOMETHING that you are proud of being able to do. Make you are a great writer, or dancer, or a great chef — whatever.

11. Favorite music or movie. What do you like to watch or listen to? He should know what to put on the radio when you guys are cruising.

12. Hottest Instagram filters for you. They have to be able to get that perfect pic of you, of course!

13. Favorite cuddling position. For after the sex, of course.

14. Your expectations. Last, but certainly not least, before sleeping with you any man should know your expectations. Are you looking for a one night thing, or do you want something more? Making sure your expectations line up is vital to making sure you both are happy. TC mark

10 Little-Known Signs That Your Partner Is Becoming Emotionally Detached (So You Can Stop Them From Breaking Up With You)

Posted: 22 Sep 2016 03:00 PM PDT

Arnel Hasanovic
Arnel Hasanovic

These are some little known psychological warning signs that show your partner might be starting to become emotionally distant from you. If you answer yes to 3 or more, you will probably need to take action now:

1. Does he look to his left a lot when speaking to you? Research has shown that an individual who looks upwards and to his left a lot during a conversation is not being honest with you about something. Looking to his left hand side is an indicator he's using the creative side of his brain and may be lying. (Yes/No)

2. Do his shoes point to you? When you’re out with friends, see what way his shoes are pointing most of the time. If they consistently point away from you, it might be his subconscious saying he’s not interested anymore. (Yes/No)

3. They’re not as into sex anymore as they used be? A change in a persons sexual behavior can be a sign they don’t want to express emotions for you anymore. It could also be a sign they’re getting sex somewhere else. (Yes/No)

4. Do they treat you like an unwanted telemarketer? If they don’t want to stay on the phone long with you or their texting conversations have become short recently, it may be a sign he’s about to dump you. (Yes/No)

5. Has be patted your back recently while hugging you? This can be a sign that he sees you more as a friend rather than a romantic partner. The pat shows he is uneasy about expressing emotion for you. (Yes/No)

6. Have you noticed you don’t mirror each other any more? If one partner is becoming emotionally distant from the relationship they will stop the automatic mirroring of their partner that they did in the early part of the relationship. If you’re not in sync anymore, it will show in your body language together. (Yes/No)

7. Have they tried to pick fights with you recently over unimportant things? If they’re trying to pick fights with you over silly things, it might be that they want to ignite an argument so they can breakup with you. He can use the argument as the excuse for initiating the breakup. This way he can divert some of the heat away from himself and onto you. (Yes/No)

8. Have you seen a change in their writing? Get out your last birthday or valentines card from your lover. Some experts have suggested that if they finish the word love with a small “e” it can be a sign their struggling to write the word love to you because they know their love has gone. Likewise if they write your name smaller than usual, it can be a subconscious response to your diminished importance in their lives. (Yes/No)

9. Have they taken a renewed interest in their appearance lately? A partner, who is cheating or thinking of leaving you, will often show this sign. There maybe someone new in their lives that they feel warrants making the extra effort for. New cologne, new hairstyle or new wardrobe could spell trouble. (Yes/No)

10. If you bring up the future, do they change the conversation? I’m not talking about settling down and having children. If your boyfriend seems unsure about that weekend away next month or even going to see that new movie in the cinema next week, it may be that they don’t expect to be still going out with you by then. (Yes/No)

Did you know?

Research has shown that the period most people get dumped in is in the first 3 to 5 months. If you’re in this time period you should take care in watching out for the above signs of emotional detachment in relationships. But of course break-ups can happen at any stage in a relationship.

If you suspect that your partner might break up with you in the near future, there are things you can do to stop it. In my book, “The Lovemap Code: How To Make Someone Fall In Love With You Using Psychology” I expand on this relationship quiz and show you how you can prevent a breakup before it happens or even while it’s happening. It is possible to reverse a breakup, but prevention is a lot better (and easier) than cure. TC mark

This Is For The Girls Who Love Someone Who Will Never Love Them Back

Posted: 22 Sep 2016 02:00 PM PDT

Many of us have gone through it – falling for a boy who already has a girlfriend and riskily continuing to indulge him, catching feelings for a girl emotionally unavailable, or beginning to date someone who for some reason wants to keeps your relationship a secret.

Here are two poems for anyone who has ever felt as though the person they’re with pretends their relationship isn’t real or official when there are other people around.


I do not want you if you only want me
with the lights off.

Too many people have loved me like a secret;
like porn magazines stashed under the bed;
like a period stain or childhood trauma
or a monster they're fucking scared of.
Love me like a line from your favorite song;
like a swear word; a nasty habit;
like the tattoos on your right arm.
Love me like a funny story
you can't wait to share with family and friends.
Love, will you want me? Will you love me that way?

Turn the lights on, baby.
I want to be the secret
you don't know how to keep.



We were cheating death
when we decided to fly faster than the
city lights high up the
skyscrapers where we thought no one
could see us, like we were gods
waiting to be carved out by the
Byzantine. They told us we couldn't be gods,
we were mortal. And we were cheating when
we laughed as we spilled the moon
on our laps and showed them
we could bleed without bleeding.

We were cheating life when we
cut the night short and stepped off our
pedestals, when we decided we would be
myths behind the door of my apartment.

We were cheating ourselves when we opened
Pandora's box without thinking, when we thought
we could kiss without our teeth breaking.

We were cheating love
when we left the room with our clothes on,
when we left my room that morning with
ambrosia on our skin. TC mark

This Is How I Feel About Being Black Or Brown Or Tan Or Whatever I Am

Posted: 22 Sep 2016 01:30 PM PDT

I guess it’s time that I talk about being black, brown, tan, whatever I am.

There isn’t much to say from my point of view. I could rave about the struggle and the history of oppression the black community has faced for decades. But it would only be repeating what I’ve read and heard in some words I’ve arranged together. However, my story isn’t so overwhelming.

So far, I haven’t experienced many quarrels about being black. At least they haven’t gotten to me, because I know that some people are mind-icapped when it comes to forms of beauty, and frankly, I don’t care. I’ve always had a decent self-image.

I was around 6 or 7 when I got a glimpse of what it meant to be me, a person, who happens to be a black girl.

Of course, it revolved around my hair. Hair is a big deal in the black community, literally and figuratively. It seems now that the grade of hair means more for your "status" than the shade of your skin. I wanted my hair to be as straight as the white girls, and my hair was like, “Uhm… lol nah girl.” I told my mom this and she tried her best to help me to understand that different hair types are, well, different. She straightened it and I still wasn’t satisfied, I wanted what I wanted. Years later, I got that in a white creamy chemical paste that I had spread on my scalp every 6-12 weeks. But we’ll get to that later.

The best way to describe my black experience is feeling very neutral. Very in the middle of things, with occasional shoots of “stereotypical black.” I don’t like this, because who are we to say what is black and what is white? It’s all very dumb and limiting. But I’ve always felt in the middle. You know, too black for the white kids but too white for the black kids blah blah blah. Tan. Neutral.

But when I’m in the mood, I do love watermelon and don’t even get me started on how at home I feel when I listen to Motown. But who am I to assume that I’m the only person who feels this way? Color has little to do with this. Exposure, though, makes a difference. Think not of color, but of exposure, the amount of light, ideas that you let in. This is what has put me in the middle. But I would say the middle is a beautiful place to be. Because you get the best of everything, and somehow, after being an outcast for a while, you earn the right to call it your own.

There are struggles though. But I don’t attribute these to my blackness entirely.

Sometimes I wish I looked more “effortless, dainty, ethereal,” and when I think of these words I think of girls who don’t really look like me. And the media is to blame for that of course. Because we’re all fed images that make up our ideas, especially in this age where everything is so accessible. A blessing and a curse curse curse. Black girls get words like “strong, sexy, curvy, sassy.” But to be honest, I rarely ever feel any of those words ever. I literally have the build of a tall 6-year-old boy (with a little bit of a booty). So after while, I’ve learned, you just gotta make your own words. And everyone has theirs.

So back to the hair thing…after conforming to the standard of beauty I was used to (and I really did enjoy it so I’m not even bitter), I decided I was just bored of straight hair. I wanted to see what my hair wanted to do, because honestly I didn’t remember. So I stopped with the chemical straighteners and decided to embrace my hair. I went natural because I wanted to be all of me. Like, the entire me, I was born this way type thing. And I don’t regret it. Yeah I go through phases when I’m like “ugh I just want to wear a sleek ponytail right now and flip my hair” but when I wear my big hair and it looks really good, it feels realllllly good. Because I know this is what I look like. This is one of the best versions of me completely.

Basically it would be great if our mental images were all our own and people were still blue and yellow in our drawings and words belonged to everyone. It can cause frustration sometimes. But all I have to do is step back, look at myself, and remember that I have my own thing going, just like the next person. And they can't make my thing go and I can’t make theirs. Imitation isn’t as beautiful as embracing. And I try to remind myself that I have everything I admire already in me, in my own form. Being black/brown/tan/in the middle isn’t hard, just like having a name that starts with C isn’t. Being prejudged and mistyped, or typed at all, is. And everyone has to face that if they are a person at all. But one of my favorite things about being tan, is the look on people’s face when they have no clue what box to put me in. TC mark

I’m Still Learning How To Accept Your Love

Posted: 22 Sep 2016 01:00 PM PDT


I'm still learning how to receive. Without being surprised that someone cares, without feeling the need to give back ten times more, without feeling that you're doing me a favor and I'm still learning how to receive without worrying that one day you'll take it all back.

I'm still learning how to believe. Believe your compliments, believe your words and believe your intentions without questioning or overanalyzing or doubting your feelings for me. I'm still learning how to believe your love without thinking it's one big fat lie.

I'm still learning how to differentiate. How to stop comparing you to the one before, how to stop my mind from thinking it's only a matter of time before you show your true colors, it's only a matter of time before you leave and it's only a matter of time before you stop loving me. I'm still learning that you don't have to be like the rest, that I shouldn't compare you to someone who broke my heart.

I'm still learning how to give. Without being scared of giving too much, without worrying that it might scare you off, without feeling like I said too much or done too much. I'm still learning that you don't see it as bad thing, I'm still trying to understand how you appreciate it instead of taking it for granted.

I'm still learning how to heal. Heal from the past heartbreaks, from the rejections, from the broken promises, from the tears and from the pain of loving the wrong person. I'm still learning how to heal myself without hurting you. I'm still learning how to pull you closer without pushing you away.

I'm still learning how to respond to you. To your daily texts, to your wonderful declarations of love, to your small and grand romantic gestures and I'm still learning how to believe that these are real. That this is not a game — that you're not trying to play me.

It's taking me time to see the truth in your words and your actions because I'm used to lies.

And it's taking me time to comprehend that maybe God has finally answered my prayers, that now is the time where God grants me my favorite wish.

The problem with being the person who loves more is that you don't know what it's like to be loved back, so you tend to see it as a dream, something unreal, something you're not used to.

The problem with being the person who loves more is that you don't think you'll ever meet someone who loves as much as you do, better yet, that someone is in love with you.

But if you exist then I can't let you go, but bear with me as I learn how to accept something I never had. As I learn how to accept something that I've only dreamt of but never touched. TC mark