Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page

Lesbianism Ain’t Always Easy

In Breakups/Divorce, Dating, Drama, Mental Health on May 27, 2010 at 3:29 pm

It wasn't easy for Callie Torres to embrace this moment on Grey's.

Dear Yenta,

I’ve been in a relationship with someone who has been reckless with my heart.  I am in my first lesbian relationship. We began dating shortly after she was broken up with by her ex-gf.

After a few weeks of dating me, she dumped me for her ex then a week later asked me to be her gf again. I was really hurt but still had strong feelings and we got back together.  Should I stick it out knowing that she could possibly get back with the ex again?


Woman Burn

Dear WB,

What I read when you say someone has been reckless with your heart, is that you opened your heart to the reckless.  I spent many a year as a Women’s Studies major, and then many years to follow attempting to ditch the victim/oppressor mentality.  We choose our lives, and shape them accordingly.  This woman is abusing you because she can, because you said she could.

In this case, there are a number of things you can learn from this new relationship so as to guard your heart from suffering in the future.  For one, be aware of your emerging self.  If you are newly out, or newly consummating your gayness, this might leave you vulnerable to wicked edges.  If the women you are dating in this first phase aren’t solid, caring and together, you might be more susceptible to recklessness.

It is not easy, those first weeks, months or years of an emerging identity in a society that still debates the legitimacy of lesbianism to begin with.  There are a long list of issues that come to the surface ranging from homophobia to questions of scripts and behavioral norms.  Do you have a community supporting you?  Are you using this woman as your support network?  That could be disastrous, and also explain why you would put up with this type of cruel flip-flopping behavior.

One book that comes highly recommended is How To Be A Happy Lesbian: A Coming Out Guide by Tracey Stevens and  Katherine Wunder.  Look for GLBT events in your community, or find out if there are peer groups, support groups, or basic fun events where your community can expand beyond this mean woman.  Also, try calling the GLBT National Support Hotline at  1-888-843-4564 instead of funneling yourself into this woman and her split heart.  They also offer Online Peer-Support Chat.

Another thing to beware of with both women, men and in-between, is that anyone who is freshly out of another relationship may not be totally present for you.  No matter how much this woman may like you, and no matter how much you feel for her, her heart is still tied up with the past.  This means she can’t be the girlfriend you deserve because she is still busy being a girlfriend, or navigating the oddities of being an ex-girlfriend to her ex.

It’s as if this woman gave you an awesome new toy(her), and then realized suddenly that she wanted it back.  When we receive people into our hearts and bodies we want to be sure that they are as present, as unattached and as loving as we are.  This recklessness that you refer to is her problem, but more so, it is your problem that you engaged in a relationship with the reckless.

Thus, YOU have been reckless with your heart.  Be gentle and patient in seeking women to love.  The beginning of a lesbian dating life is not always easy, but the signs of a maladjusted lover run clear across the board.  Steer clear of women in love with other women.  You will find another person to love, one that is as loving as you are.  In the meantime, look for some solid queer friends to support you in your identity and weave your way out of this destructive relationship.  You deserve a love all your own.

Ask Yenta!  E-mail a question to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com directly, or using to ask anonymously.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta

Pursued by a Cheater

In Dating, Drama, Mental Health on May 25, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Dear Yenta,

I am a college student living in the dorms. Last week, I met one of my friend’s roommates at a campus celebration. A bunch of us were hanging out and this guy (I’ll call him B.) was talking to me a bit, etc. After the party, he added me on Facebook and started talking to me on Facebook chat right away, commenting on what I had been wearing and asking me a bunch of questions. (This guy, by the way, is SUPER attractive.)

Over the past week, we have talked a lot online and hung out once in person (but we were with his roommates as well), but he always tells me that I should come visit and is pretty blatant about hitting on me. Last night I was hanging out with some of his roommates and someone spilled that B. is moving out of their apartment and in with his girlfriend. (Apparently they had broken up and recently got back together.) WHOA–SHOCK.

He has never mentioned having a girlfriend to me. By chance, right after I found out, he messaged me on Facebook chat, and when he found out that I had been with his roommates, he asked why I didn’t come say hi. He doesn’t know that I know about his girlfriend and his move-out plans, so I carried on a short, polite, relatively banal conversation, even though I wanted to ask him point-blank about the girlfriend and us. Nothing has happened between us (thank goodness) except some flirting, because I wanted to take it slowly (I am a little bit weary of pretty boys), but I developed a pretty bad crush and the messages he was sending me made it seem like he was interested too. I don’t know if I should ask him about the girlfriend or let our little flirting game go on or cut him out of my life completely. I’m sure I can get over him quickly because I haven’t known him for that long, but I feel really hurt and betrayed and don’t know what to do. Please help!


-Crush Has a Girlfriend

Bacon, Egg and Cheese = Un-Kosher. Seek love elsewhere. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II,

Dear CHAG,

There is nothing worse than feeling amorous towards a seductive man and then suddenly learning he is taken.  This sucks on so many levels, but the worst level is that you liked him, he jump-started your heart, and then it turns out his integrity is down the tubes.  That is a sad dating moment.

According to Esquire’s article, “Why Men Cheat: One man’s unfiltered, unadulterated explanation. Well, maybe a little adulterated,” by Anonymous, “If you cheat, you must believe this much: that fated love is a lie, and monogamous love a deception. If you cheat, these two sentiments are your guiding light.”

A really intuitive woman knows that a man who cheats is hurting.  There is something achey on his part, involved in hurting those he loves.  A lottta women love pained men, because they get to potentially swoop in and save them. Or, get cheated on or cheated with.

So there are like six hurts here, your hurt at losing out on a crush, your hurt in learning your crush was a douche, your hurt that is really his hurt passed through action, your own hurt that would lead you to a man like this, and so on and so forth.  Even monsters garner our love when they suffer.

Blah.  With all that hurt maybe spend a day at Spa World and stop Facebook chatting with the mofo.  He can hit you up all he wants, but you really need to guard your own and not worry about him.  Maybe he would one day be a friend, but I doubt it.  Cultivating a community of friends is a deliberate and important act, not one built on a foundation of deception, lies, and manipulative behavior.

This guy sounds like the dumps.  The sooner you cut him loose, the sooner you have space in your heart to welcome new, pretty, kind AND truthful suitors into your court.

According to How to Spot a Cheater Within 15 Minutes of Meeting by Paul Dobransky, you fell into the following traps.  Please avoid them in the future.

1) “They are VERY controlling, or VERY easily “controllable” (overagreeable)”

When a man spittles up compliments like a baby and his breast milk, you know you are barking up the wrong tree.  Love matures with time, not incrementally based on your hot outfits.

2) “They use the word “SHOULD” a great deal as in “You should sit down over here,” “You should get a different haircut,” or “You should treat me like a king/queen.” This person is likely to CHEAT.”

Yes, your little friend pulled this one on you repeatedly.

3) “They are “oversensitive.” Try a little sarcasm and see what they do.”

4) “Neediness. (Whether an attention hound, or a passive, shy type) Alongside “oversensitive” is any other similar word: “high maintenance,” “prima donna,””entitled,” or otherwise one with low self esteem, they are more likely to cheat. You will have an intuition about this, a feeling like they are pulling on you too much, leaning in on you. Scan your emotions for this, and also notice whether their body language actually physically is too close to you, leaning toward you all the time, or too much attention placed on you. This person is likely to CHEAT.”

5) “Trouble with the word NO. They either can’t say NO to you or others, or can’t HEAR NO gracefully from you and still be interested in continuing conversation.”

Ah yes, you say bubbye, he says hello.  Ugly.

And the clincher:

6) “Outright abuse or lying.”

Homeslice lied in his pursuit of you.  Period.

Ask Yenta! E-mail a question to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com directly, or using to ask anonymously.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta

Letting Go of Ugly Voices

In Breakups/Divorce, Mental Health, Parents on May 24, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Change the script! "I am $10 Princess." Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II,

Hi Yenta,

I recently separated from my husband of four years, who emotionally abused and financially used me. While I am trying to get my life back on track, I am living in my parents’ house for emotional and financial support. As I move forward, I don’t want to keep reliving all the negative things he did or said to me.

However, my parents repeatedly bring up all the ways in which he was a terrible husband and son-in-law. I understand that they also feel manipulated and betrayed (he used them financially as well), but every time they begin on these tirades, I feel guilty for bringing him into their lives. I’ve expressed this to my parents & asked that they not talk about him for the time being, but they can’t seem to stop themselves. What can I do to make this easier on my parents and myself?

-Homeward Bound

Dear HB,

Ugh, this sounds completely awful. Good for you for wanting to let the voices of the past go.  In the meantime, let’s map a plan for dealing with your present.

The rule about Mom and Dad is that they will always be them.  You cannot fix or change their behavioral patterns, you can only alter your own approach to both engagement and the subsequent emotions.

In this case, it sucks that your parents can’t put a lid on it.  When it comes down to it, you tried to express your need for a change in topic, and they couldn’t seem to respect that need.  That means you need to act outside the box in order to protect yourself, most specifically, your heart.

How to make this easier on yourself and your parents?  At this point you have no other choice than to move on.  Moving on means continuing to do what you have done to let go of this man and asserting your autonomy.  It is hard work, and work that needs to be continued daily.  Like an alcoholic attending regular AA meetings, you need to fully commit to letting go.  In moving on, and in moving out, you will eradicate those tirades from your life, but more importantly, you will give your parents hope and something new to focus on.

I am a weathered respiter.  Ie, I often return home after long arduous travel to reboot before refiring into the world.  There is, however, an important time limit to living at home.  When you are no longer resting, but choking on the confined role of “daughter,” run.

Going home is good until going home destroys you, then going home is bad.  This is a fine line because being in the den of your childhood can be destructive without warning and in ways you didn’t expect.  There is the normal drag of memory and regression, and then there are things like tirades relating to the past.  You get to choose to release yourself from this dull pang.  Only you know your threshold for parental drama.  Find that threshold and when it is crossed, make a change.

Tunnel vision is the number one side-effect of living with parents.  Make an effort to speak to people, go to places, and cultivate practices that expand your vision so that your girlhood is not the full scope of your perspective.

Make a plan and stick to it.  You want to move out?  Figure out what that will take and then do it.  Do what you can, even from your high school bedroom, to affirm your trajectory towards womanhood and autonomy and slowly those voices and tirades will shift.  You have to do the work, though.  You have to move on so they can move on.

Little things that maintain drive:

Write out your goals and tack them to your mirror.

excercise, Yoga, Dance – anything to keep your connection to your body.

Nutrition.  Good food feeds good thoughts.

Meditation. This will help you focus on the present and release the past.

For those who believe: Prayer works wonders.

Anything else to keep you inside of yourself and connected to your intention.

For help, try reading:

Self-Reliance:The Wisdom of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Inspiration for Daily Living Edited by Richard Whelan.

The Little Book of Letting Go:  A Revolutionary 30Day Program to Cleanse Your Mind, Lift Your Spirit and Replenish Your Soul by Hugh Prather.

Ask Yenta!  E-mail a question to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com directly, or using to ask anonymously.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta

Surviving A High School Reunion

In Drama on May 21, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Dear Yenta,

I am also 28 and go to my reunion this weekend from high school.  I feel fat and ugly and unaccomplished, even nervous and excited.  I feel a million things and like I could burst at the seams.  Do you have any ideas on keeping my cool come Saturday night?


Ten Years and Still Eighteen

Do it up, or wear it down. Either way, they will see what they want to. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II,

Dear TYSE,

Lucky for you, I just survived a long weekend of ten-year high school reunion madness.  It was all those things you feel before, and then during it was just, yes, high school.  It was high school at lunch, high school at dinner, high school at a bar only better outfits and less drama.

If I could have had a few notecards to hand out they would have addressed the following:  1) My body.  2) My mood.  3) My career.  4) Where I live and why.  These are four repeated points of contact.  One card might read: “Dear high school once-friend now quasi-stranger: Do I look tired?  Well, let me tell you…” Or “Do I look fatter to you?  Well, let me explain the origin of these flesh pockets.  This little handle is from a bakery in Provincetown, this one from the burritos in New Mexico, and this one from the cookies in Vermont.”  I would have written all about the nuances of body shifting and why, from car accidents to surgeries, over and out.

But no one says, “tell me the story of your body.”  What I took from this inner knowing of my own business, and the surface reality of saying hi to 100 people from my past: do not judge lest ye be judged.

Some people have their shit figured out, some people don’t.  Some people got fat, some people got hot, some people got sick, some people got svelte.  Some people drink too much, some people became yogis and so on and so forth.  In the end, who cares?  Remember that your body, your heart, your career and all other elements of your being were formed by a real life full of real experiences, same with everyone else.  Anyone judging you is denying their own complexity.

If I were to go to my reunion all over again I would have gone with a beer taped to my hand and no expectation of any depth.  This is a HIGH SCHOOL reunion.  Expect hugs and expect smiles and just ride the party wave, go home, and resume living as you did before.  Placing any clout on the scenario is useless. They aren’t really judging you.  And the ones that are suddenly fall off like barnacles because we aren’t in high school anymore.  We are old now, like 28-years-old, and we have dreams.  Dreams and high school drama don’t mix.  So drink up, hug hard, and remember this is one night of your long and amazing life, a night all about remembering a yesterday that has already passed.

For inspiration, watch this clip from Oprah, “The High School Quarterback Who Became a Lesbian,” about Kimberly Reed, who twenty years ago was Paul McKerrow, the star of the local football team, returning with a new body, a new name, and a new life.

“All these places have their moments, with lovers and friends, I still can recall, some are dead and some are living, in my life, I’ve loved them all.”

Ask Yenta!  E-mail a question to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com directly, or using to ask anonymously.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta

When To Say “I Love You”

In Dating, Drama on May 17, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Dear Yenta,

When is too soon to say “I Love You?”


Mr. Lover Man

Love is about nudity. Make sure they can handle seeing you bare your naked heart. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II,

Dear Mr. L,

First, a disclaimer.  Only you know yourself and your lover.  No Yenta can tell you what’s best.  But here are some ways to derive a system of gauging love and its profession.

As one woman once said, recoiling at the words “I Love You,” “That’s the nicest thing you can say to anyone, isn’t it?  Thank you.”  This coupled with a severe look in the eyes and rigid body language is the reaction, I am guessing, you are seeking to avoid.  The question is less about when, and moreso, about how, to whom, where, etc.

Say it too soon, some people run.  Why?  For a number of reasons.  Here are some rational explanations as to why those three words can be terrifying, followed by a list of ways to safely profess your undying love to anyone, anywhere, anyhow.

1)  Commitment Phobia

Early declaration forces decision into the relationship.  Ie, commitment.  It is an ultimatum in some ways, like saying, “this is where I am, up here on the love platform, and if you can’t join me here yet then we are through.”

2) Self-Hatred

Saying “I Love You” is also a big witnessing of another.  To be seen in our entirety and then loved, as sweet as it sounds, is hard.  We are programmed to doubt ourselves, so when someone says, “I don’t doubt you, I adore you,” our fears come shooting out.  Ie, “Am I worthy?”  “Will you still like me in a week?”  “You don’t know that I killed my cat when I was five, when that comes out you will regret those three words.”  Things like that.

3) Falsity

The Sakyong , Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche once spoke of how the act of declaring your love is a moment once-removed.  “I Love You” is really a redundant expression.  When love is real and alive and vibrant it lives between two people in their eyes, their touch and in their actions.  To then state it is an afterthought to the reality of the love that was already alive between you to begin with.

One way to cope with the fear that it is too soon, is to express your love rather than declare it.  A declaration without the backup actions will scare anyone away.  That, and the human heart and mind can only handle so much adoration in one dose.

4) Vulnerability

Saying “I Love You” is making yourself extremely vulnerable, exposing all of yourself.  We build trust and intimacy so it is strong enough to hold the intensity of really loving and seeing each other.  If the web isn’t strong enough, we lose that foundation and find a closed-door in our face.

I once fell in love and professed my feelings so emphatically and intensely that the boy ran away for weeks before secretly admitting his mutual adoration.  It was too much, like love vomited all over him, like a basket overflowing and his arms couldn’t hold it.  Give the person you love enough love that they can hold it, see it, feel it, touch it and know it.  If love is somehow palpable, held, breathing and doled out in digestible doses then your loved one will better be able to meet you.

Ways to Gauge the Moment and Properly Profess

1)  Evaluate Intention

The questions you want to ask yourself before surrendering your heart in the name of a four letter word include: What do you lose if you say I love you?  Would it compromise anything, the sex, the honesty?  Do I love this person, or lust and hunger for them?  Am I professing to pin them down, or lift them up?  Can your relationship stomach this admission, even if it is true? Make sure this is love, not just hunger for sex and security, etc.

2) Actions Speak Louder Than Words

So say I love you when you feel like it, but be sure your actions back up your words, and that your words aren’t some way of cornering someone into commitment.  That isn’t love, that is ownership.  Because you want it to be true, that simple truth needs to resonate with your behavior.  If you give your partner a cold shoulder most of the time and suddenly spout loving words, they might coil in fear.  Don’t just say it, do it.  Saying I love you without action, is a lie.

For help, click here for 60 ways to say I love you.

3)  Time Will Tell

When in doubt, wait.  Generally if it is torture to hold it in, you need to start expressing yourself, stat.  But it is a hard and thin line between doubt and fear.  Doubt can be guided by intelligence and intuition, whereas fear is laced with cowardice.

According to some secret sources, before the two month mark is too soon, at the four-month mark is perfect.  According to a sage, wise at the art of love and poker, “It’s never too soon to say I love you, Merissa.  I’m not one for rules and regulations when it comes to these things.”  Advance day by day, step by step, with your own heart thumping loudly and leading the way.

Click here for a list of 100 languages in which to say “I Love You.”

Click here for a CNN article on why women should wait to say it.

Click here for an article on The Different Ways Men Say “I Love You.”

Ask Yenta!  E-mail a question to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com directly, or using to ask anonymously.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta

Grabs Her Boobs In Public

In Dating, Drama, Sex on May 15, 2010 at 6:49 am

Keep those filthy paws off her silky drawers. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II,

Dear Yenta,

When I am with my girlfriend at parties, I like to sometimes grab her breasts in public and she seems to like it too.  Some woman came up to me tonight and told me this was wrong.  What?  Who is she to tell me what to do with my girlfriend?  Is it wrong, really?


Copping a Feel and Liking it


Well, I guess there are different standards for each woman.  Some women don’t mind if you grab them in public, and others do.  Some men don’t mind having people witness their sexual affection for their woman’s parts, and others do.  It comes down to a matter of personal preference.

Is it “wrong” to grab her boobs in public?  That is really for her to determine.  My only caution is this: some women have a hard time saying no, even when it feels wrong.  Some women like pleasing men and will let go of their own dignity to do so.  Some women don’t know that they can expect a man not to grab her breasts in public.

And then, some women get off on it.  I personally abhor witnessing people grope on each other in ways that provoke the imaginings of what happens behind closed doors, but that is just me.  I prefer a PG display of PDA, and am generally irritated when I see things, like, for example, tonight when I watched a woman loop her hand tightly in the inner part of her man’s groin, rubbing one hand brusquely across his penis.  No.  When I reached for another potato chip on the BBQ buffet, I didn’t expect to see that.

But my discomfort is my problem.  Grope away if you really think your woman friend feels respected, despite you being inside of her shirt in front of strangers.  The only way, though, to really know if she is down for some staged feeling up is to ask her when you aren’t already mid-act.  Talk about this in private, perhaps sober and in daylight, to be sure you aren’t accidentally pushing your lover into a space of shame and discomfort.

Ask Yenta!  E-mail a question to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com directly, or using to ask anonymously.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta

Is It A Date?

In Career, Dating, Drama on May 12, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Dear Yenta,

How can I tell if my next meeting is a date?  We got drinks to talk business and then we got dinner again to talk business.  And then, we got dinner again to talk business and I paid.  Then in an e-mail we talked a little business, she said, “Going out of town, when I get back, let’s hang out.”  Which is different from business, but our business is kindof a business of hanging out. Is it, or is it not, a date?


Whatever you do, try not to be creepy/skeazy or sleazy. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II,

Dear Confused Cornelius,

A few things…

1) It is not a formal date. A date is obvious, and not veiled in business.  A better question, Is it romantic?  This only you and this woman know, and to test these waters all you need to do is dip a toe in and check the temperature.  If it is freezing, retreat and continue business chatter, if it is warm, proceed.  You know this.

2) When you paid for a meal you tilted the power dynamic which is often, oddly, a tilt towards romance.  Whenever it is not split evenly, you are making a statement about something, somehow.

3) Don’t mix business with pleasure.  This is simple and sane wisdom of the sages and is a good rule of thumb to follow…depending on the type of business.  If advancing sexually towards this person could potentially complicate your job and threaten your professional relationship, then heel, boy, heel.  If your business is one that can handle a bending of boundaries, OR, if you really think this is for real, then proceed.

The semantics of dating are irrelevant.  All that matters is whether you really want this person, and if so, then fearlessly pursue them and deal with the consequences, for good or for evil.

Or, when it doubt, said a rogue therapist of mine, do without.

Ask Yenta!  E-mail a question to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com directly, or using to ask anonymously.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta

Advice From Your Moms

In Dating, Marriage, Sex on May 9, 2010 at 7:08 pm

We love our mothers because, among other things, they made us cool. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II,

In honor of Mother’s Day I anonymously interviewed a handful of America’s finest matriarchs. Before we begin, a humble shout out to the mothers we have lost whose advice on these topics would have no doubt assisted women everywhere in living on their wilder side, including but not limited to the fabulous Kathy Blane, Sherry Millard, and the many others who shaped the better of our generation. You are missed. 

Without further ado, The Wisdom of Your Moms

Advice to a virgin: 

It might not be great the first time. 

Lubricate yourself. 

Go for it! 

Hold on to it, it’s not going anywhere. 

Get birth control – you never know when children will happen. 

Advice to a woman who can’t come: 

This is if there isn’t some medical or other serious reason she can’t: 


Have a drink.

Get a sex toy online so you don’t have to deal with any hassle. And then just teach yourself how to do it. 

Bedroom advice for men: 

Slow down, take your time, listen.  

This is not a race to the finish. 

Secret sexual knowledge: 

Be sexy. 

Be open to try new things. 

Know what your guy wants. 

How do you know what he wants? 

Men don’t verbalize normally, but they do try to lead the way and you just have to trust and go for it. 

How do you know if there is more to him as a lover than what he says he wants? 

Show him.  

Push his limits. 

Be totally open. 

Follow the moment. 

Advice to a woman with many lovers: 


Get rid of most of them. Pare it down and simplify your life. 

Advice to a woman with a cheating partner: 

Get rid of him – unless you have a child. And even then, I don’t think I could deal with it, but some people can. 

Advice for finding a husband: 

Don’t try to find it – they will come to you.I was asked by four men for their hand in marriage but it wasn’t something that I wanted to do. The fifth was the man I married. Sometimes women scare men away because they so need to get married. 

There’s a difference between declarative intention, ie, I will find a good man, and needy desperation to transform a lover into a husband. 

Guys take their own time. The more you push, the more they move away from you. 

Demand to be treated with respect. 

No man is going to want you if you don’t have self-respect. If you expect respect, you will get respect. 

Don’t give it away for free. 

Pursue your interests and have a good time. 

Advice to a newlywed: 

You have to stop thinking about yourself. Even in this age of equality, it’s compromise. You have to go 60/40 in a marriage to make it work. 

The real thing is, you have to compromise, but you also have to be yourself. Deal with who you are and the other things will fall into place. 

Be sure that before you get married, you know who you are marrying. People don’t change. A lot of women expect that marriage will transform their husband into a new and better person. What you got dating him, you will get after the wedding. After marriage he will still be him, so be sure you like that person. 

The party is over. The work is here. 

There is always a downside after the performance of a wedding, relax, you will get through it. 

Sometimes women are so focused on the wedding that they forget there is a marriage that happens after it. Marriage does happen. 

Talk to your spouse.Enjoy it now, it’s never going to be as simple as it is at that moment. It will get better, richer and more complex, but never as simple and wonderful as those first few months. 

Advice on good living: 

Just be happy.  

Don’t have crazy expectations and don’t push people. 

Don’t wear yourself out.   

Shore some of the responsibility, let others be there for you. 

Don’t try to do everything. 

Do everything. 

And finally, to my own mom, the invincible: I love you. 

Happy Mother’s Day from Your 28-Year-Old Yenta!!! 

Ask Yenta!  E-mail a question to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com directly, or using to ask anonymously.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta

Sexual Surrogate to Treat Premature Ejaculation

In Health and Body, Mental Health, Sex on May 8, 2010 at 2:03 am

To Ms. Yenta,

I have a sexual question and it has taken me time to even consider asking this question but here it goes.  I have had a long term sexual problem (Premature Ejaculation) which I have not been able to cure.  I have tried the silly Kegel exercises and they cause me pain and frustration.  I recently have heard about sexual surrogates.  Surrogates being sex therapists who actually engage in sex with the patient in order to help their patients with their problems.  I’m wondering if you know anything about surrogates and if they are a good choice or just new age hookers?

*Thank you*

-from Stephen J

Honey, you'll be removing those goggles and uncrossing those legs soon enough. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II,

Dear Stephen,

Thank you for your brave honesty!  For you, I learned about sex surrogates.  I am now a HUGE fan of this concept.  For those of you not aware of sexual surrogacy, it is a medical route to sexual assistance.  Ie, you go see a doctor who then helps you with your sexual self in a “triad” with a third person, the sexual surrogate.  This person actually assists you manually in learning how to be more intimate and sexually adept.

Prostitutes far and near often speak of their job as a sex worker as one of a sex therapist.  Depending on the hooker and depending on the John, this is a place for acting things out emotionally via sex, off the grid.  This work, for the happy hooker, can be really transformative.

The difference, however, between a prostitute and a sexual surrogate is the medicalization and legalization of the practice.  One woman touching you and teaching you is usually illegal, whereas the other is sanctioned by a doctor with whom she works in conjunction.  For more on legit sexual surrogates, see IPSA, The International Professional Surrogates Association.

In his pulp novel, Counsel For The Damned, author Neil Montefiore Fleishman writes about how the first five hours of marriage make or break every union.  He has a theory stating that men are either born lovers, or aren’t, and that this shows in those few hours past the threshold.  Sexual surrogacy is a fabulous challenge to the notion that a man can’t learn to be a phenomenal lover.  Think about Footloose. If Kevin Bacon can teach that chump to dance, then anyone can learn to make love like a pro.

Sexual assistance is a practice we have often lost in our sexually repressed society.  We too easily forget how much is tied into a sexual release, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and so on.  More often than not, men are left without education surrounding the complexity of their own sexuality.  (For a granola take on healing male sexuality, click here.)  Free porn and abundant Victoria’s Secret catalogs have nothing to do with teaching people how to connect with other bodies subjectively.  Sex can be transcendent, uniting, complex, incredible, and so on and so forth, and many other cultures recognize this fact and train their young.

The brilliant Zora Neale Hurston wrote about this in Tell My Horse, how young women in one town were schooled by an elder on the art and importance of love making.  Shamanic healers have often been summoned for this work, to manually teach about how to sexually express oneself.  I don’t think there is anything shameful about sexual surrogates. If anything, I think using them is a wise choice.

Once at a classic Naropa party in Boulder, a man told me that the best way to overcome issues with sex is to masturbate in front of a close friend while they watch.  He also told me about doctors and schools where spiritual leaders manually bring people to orgasm to help release the energy, as well as to teach its redirection.  There are retreats all over (like this one), and gurus across the globe (like this guy) who can help teach you about sex from new angles, ie, tantra, kundalini, etc.  YouTube alone has tons of teaching videos on sex and healing.

For you, Stephen, I think sexual surrogacy is a medically sound way to treat your problem because it addresses both the physical and the emotional components of premature ejaculation.  With the “triad” of a doctor and a surrogate, you should, at the very least, learn a lot about your own body, which is great.  At best, you will learn to control your timing and attain new skills to better give and receive pleasure in the bedroom.  Not a bad bargain.

For a better idea of what it’s like, read this great article from  Follow the dude’s cue, and perhaps use the International Professional Surrogates Association to be sure your helper isn’t scamming you for cash.  Good Luck!

Book ideas:

The Illustrated Manual Of Sex Therapy Second Edition by Helen Singer Kaplan

Sacred Sexual Healing: The Shaman Method of Sex Magic by Baba Dez Nichols and Kamala Devi, or these manuals from

Ask Yenta!  E-mail a question to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com directly, or using to ask anonymously.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta

Do All Women Just Want To Be Ravaged?

In Health and Body, Mental Health, Sex on May 5, 2010 at 7:38 pm

There is a devil inside every woman. The question is, how to engage it without traumatizing her.

Help me Yenta!!!

This is a fairly general question but, WHAT DO WOMEN WANT IN BED!!!!!!!!!!!

I was reading about a book online called “Just f*#% her!”  Its basic concept is that women, even the sweet ones, just want to be ravaged, and screwed silly till they’re

Lifeless next to you.

IS IT TRUE?  I NEED TO KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!


Dear K,

Lifeless = dead.  So no, chances are women do not want you to kill them.   I am assuming you are referring to this document, “Just F*&#ing F*#$ me, already,” from The Best of Craigslist.

To answer your question I gathered four experienced women who happen to be farmers.  Farmers are in touch with themselves, the earth and as a solid byproduct, their sexuality.  We read the manifesto you are referring to and then discussed it.  Here, for the answer to your questions, are their replies:

Farmer 1: Men think they should know everything.

Farmer 2: Like how to please a woman.

Farmer 1: And they don’t think they should ask because that makes them seem inexperienced.

Farmer 3: And that’s the thing that makes them inexperienced.

Farmer 2: An experienced man knows to ask.

A mechanic told me that women get their cars fixed better than men.  Why?  Because most women walk in and say, “There was a clicking and humming on the left side of the car.”  Most men, however, come in saying something like, “My carborator is broken,” when really it is the exhaust or the brake pads.  The difference: the man wanted to fake like he knew, and ended up with a bad result.

Farmer 1: It’s not even a question, women want all different things.  It is going to change every day, you just have to talk to her.

Farmer 2: Yeah, ask.  Ask her.

Farmer 3: Yeah, that’s the best sex advice ever, just talk.

Farmer 2: You have to be a little bit ballsy, and if you ask, it pays off.

Farmer 1: If you don’t ask then it is either bad, or you don’t ever see that person again because they weren’t satisfied.

Farmer 4: I would say that women are the same way.  We wonder, “I wonder if he likes it with teeth,” but are often too afraid to ask.

Farmer 3: And that’s what makes a bad blow job, not seeing what he likes.

So nugget number one: ASK.  Always. If she likes it rough, so be it, but the only way to not ride the line of raping and murdering your lover is to communicate with her so that you understand the nuance and difference between “it hurts so good” and “you just mauled the woman you love to death.”

Farmer 2: Yeah, rough sex requires a high level of trust because usually the man is physically more powerful than you… and then suddenly you are like, oh shit.

Farmer 1: It depends on the woman and how long you have been dating her.

Farmer 2: It turns from fun to scary pretty quick.  And you can’t always communicate that in the moment.

Farmer 4: Just ask, even if you are in the middle of it.

Aha.  Yes, communication and rules can be set up before the act so that freedom reigns.  For more read “When Is Rough Too Rough?.”   On setting safe rules for rough play in the bedroom read “Doing It Rough, Safe,” or “He Ignores My Safe Word.”

I once had a friend who was annoyed about catering to women, “What am I supposed to do,” he asked, “treat every woman I sleep with like she is the survivor of rape and incest?”  The answer: Yes.  How do you treat a survivor?  With respect, listening to her cues.  That shouldn’t be so hard.  Every woman you sleep with is a potential survivor of abuse.  Does that mean she wants to be cuddled and coddled?  Maybe.  And maybe not.

One man I knew in college was so sensitive that he treated his girlfriend with extreme care. Years later she took me aside and complained, angrily, about how he was so tender all the time, that he wouldn’t listen to her actual wants and needs.  She liked it rough and he liked treating her like a fragile delicate flower.

Farmer 1: An ideal lover is someone capable of both being able to communicate and ask, while still being masculine, being a leader.

Farmer 3: I am really turned on when a man takes control.

Farmer 4: Take charge can mean, “does this feel good?”  It can be as simple as taking charge through questions.

We concurred that a good lover is like a good dance partner.  He takes charge, but it is a symbiotic relationship.  Ie, for him to take charge, you have to give the reigns.  It is mythical power, a structure in place for the sake of leading towards a goal.

Farmer Yenta: They are leading you, but you are still fueling that dance.

Farmer 1: It is about creating a safe space for expression.

A few other things that came up: a real loathing of obligatory sexual exchange.  Ie, when a man gives to receive.  Penises are charged with meaning for women everywhere, and depending on the nature of the sexual exchange, to want to service that body part needs to come about organically.  If there is any sense of force or obligation, a woman often begrudgingly and sadly delivers.

Farmer 1: Give because you want to give, never expect anything in return.  If you go down, do it because you love it, not because you want more of it.  Giving to receive ends in resentment.

Farmer 3: Yeah, just don’t give at all if you don’t enjoy it.

And a word on expression.  The craigslist article reads: “It’s OK for you to make noise. Otherwise, we feel like we are f*#$ing a ninja.”

Farmer 4: I looooove when men make noise.

Farmer 3: It’s men’s excitement that drives to much of it.  Their passion for you – that has to come out.  If they are excited to rip my clothes off, then I get turned on.

Top farmer sex read:  The Guide To Getting It On! by Paul Joannides

Finally, our favorite nugget from this “book” you read online:

“Ohmyf*#!ingg-d, please learn to respect the clit. It’s different for every woman, so ask what she likes. Do not, I repeat, do not just wiggle your fingers around her pussy like you’re trying to tickle her. Do not drum your fingertips against her vulva like you are impatiently waiting at the Sears Tire Center for your receipt. Do not push the clit like it is a doorbell at some house that you need to get inside of. Start by using all four fingers with firm yet gentle pressure against the outside of her pussy. Do not charge in with a single finger and start jabbing at things. And if you really don’t know what to do, ask her. Just ask. “How do you like it?”. It’s a simple question, and most women will answer straight out. If she’s being all coy, ask “Do you like pressure? Is it sensitive?” The clitoris is a varied item, indeed. Treat each one as though you have never encountered one before. Forget everything that your last partner liked.”


Ask Yenta!  E-mail a question to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com directly, or using to ask anonymously.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta