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Archive for the ‘Health and Body’ Category

He Ignores My Safe Word

In Health and Body, Mental Health, Sex on February 22, 2010 at 8:56 pm

Dear Yenta,

If you really love your husband but he’s into S & M and it hurts (or you don’t enjoy it, especially since he doesn’t listen when you use your safe word) how to you address the issue sensitively?

Sincerely,

S. Monarch, Newport, RI

An effort towards ending sexual violence, the kind that isn't fun. TakeBackTheNight.org

Dear S,

Again, in the old adage of Take Back the Night marching chants, “Yes means yes, no means no, however we dress, wherever we go.” That “No” includes safe words.

For those unaware, lets define these terms. (Also, see “Doing it Rough, Safe”) UrbanDictionary.com defines S & M as:
“Sadomasochism. When sexual gratification is received by inflicting and/or enduring painful activities, this does not have to be exclusively during intercourse. Whips and chains are often considered S&M paraphernalia, as well as bondage collars, spiked jewelry, etc. May also stand for slave and master.”

In layman’s terms, S & M is rough CONSENSUAL sex that may involve role-playing, dominance, pain etc.

A “safe word” is another word for no. This is so that you can yell “No!” and be faux violated, whereas the safe word, agreed upon by both the dominant and the submissive, really means “desist.” The safe word is the emergency exit in a rough game, a way for the submissive party to assert their voice when the pain is no longer pleasurable.

For S & M to be healthy, this word must be respected. If your husband is ignoring you when you use a code word for no it means one of two things. A) You two did not carefully discuss and establish this word, its implications, and how and when and why it would be used before engaging in your sexual practice. Or B) Your husband is ignoring you when you say “no” and continuing to play rough, which at this point crosses the line from consensual BDSM to plain old abuse/rape.

Consent is the compliance in or approval of what is done or proposed by another. When intercourse is performed without consent, i.e., forcibly continuing to roughly screw your wife while ignoring her repeated attempt to say no, this is rape. So? So I only say this to name the beast and reiterate that it is not ok for anyone to physically push someone, especially when play violence is involved, beyond their stated verbal and/or physical limit. Assuming you set your safe word up together, you set a clear boundary for your husband and he actively violated it.

Where do we go from here? If you love dressing like a sea monkey and he enjoys dressing like a merman, so be it. But what if he loves whipping women and you love being softly caressed by the light of the moon? Here, we come to a sexual crossroads.

Again, the number one key to a healthy sex life is communication. Only you know if your husband is violently abusing you, or if you forgot somewhere along the lines to properly communicate the meaning of your safe word.

In general, S & M practices often require a contract, a conversation, a ground rules session before practice. Maybe go together to a BDSM introduction, like this one, to better understand how to play the game. Re-establish your Sadomasochist law and be sure your husband knows what pleasure does looks like to you. Or, try reading The Loving Dominant, which should help you find a way to make S & M safe and loving for you.

My inclination, though, is to say this man is bad news, whether you love him or not. I am not a fan of marital rape, no ma’am, not whatsoever. You might need to call into a hotline like RAINN 1-800-656-HOPE just to discuss this more, just to clarify what is happening in your bedroom. Also, sex therapy is a great option for a married couple with disparate sexual tastes.

Just be sure to look out for number one. If his pleasure implies your demise, and demolition is not your thing, than take a step back and be sure this is a bed you want to be lying in. As we said on our late night anti-rape marches, “No means no, it doesn’t mean maybe.”

Where is My “Home?” Right Here, Silly!

In Health and Body, Mental Health on February 15, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Poor little rugrat.

Yenta,

I have no address. I don’t know where home is. Sometimes it seems to be wherever I am not. Is there a solution please?

-Floating

Dear F,

This is a familiar tale, believe you me. Gerson literally means “stranger from a strange land.” I once had a boyfriend who said to me, “Oh, you haven’t found a home in yourself yet? I always know where home is because I found it inside of me.” This was particularly annoying to hear, and only a half-truth about said male at the time, but within these words is a nugget of wisdom.

Home is, as they say, where the heart is. And in the U.S. of A. we do a good job of swathing our hearts in things like denial, repression and avoidance. Solution to all problems: get in touch with your heart. This sounds cheesy and/or easy, but it is neither cheesy nor easy.

Getting into your own personal chest and hearing and feeling the contents can be near torture, depending on what kind of things are stored there. Whether it be a giant grief unmourned or a complicated secret, or none of the above and just a simple lack of connection, it will take a hot minute to reach yourself.

That’s why, ladies and gentlemen, exercise, prayer, meditation, group support meetings, therapy, whatever your avenue of choice, these things are vital. In order to access the self we need love and we need community, and in order to find home, well, we need these things too.

A few starters? Try these heart-opening yoga poses, or this heart-opening breathing practice. Another beautiful way to begin to move towards an opening of the heart, wake up and read The Heart Sutra every morning. Things will shift within days, I promise.

A community can be online or worldwide or a small group of meditators, churchgoers, needlepointers. Either way, imagine your heart only beats with strings threaded through it and tethered to nearby perches. These strings, if not tied, will leave you feeling “homeless.”

Another issue many people have is never loving where they are, always wanting more, and therefore never feeling home. The grass is always greener syndrome. While it is good and important to have dreams and vision, it is a bad sign when wherever you go there you aren’t. Again, things like yoga, breathing, meditation and plain old exercise will help you be where you are, which is home, in your own body. Running, for the non-spiritual, is another fantastic remedy.

All in all, my ex was right. With or without an address, if you feel calm and at peace in your own physical body, mind and spirit, that feeling of “home” will follow you wherever you go.

My TV’s Got a Hold On Me

In Health and Body, Mental Health on February 9, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Turn your TV into a fishtank with help from Aquahobby.com, but keep your Hulu account.

Yenta,

I think I watch too much TV. This past month, I started watching an Australian rodeo soap opera from the eighties with alarming regularity (3-4 hours a day, give or take). It has reached the point that I occasionally lapse into an Australian accent in my mind and think of the main characters as close friends. I know I should be doing something more productive, but I lack self-control when it comes to remotes. It’s cold out and I’m not the only American planted in front of the tellie for long hours, but with seven more seasons to go, I’m a little worried for my sanity. How much television is too much? Should I pull the plug?

Sincerely,
Sweet Couch Potato

Dear Sweet Couch Potato,

When I taught creative writing to juvenile delinquents, everyone wanted to go outside and smoke during our break. Seeing that my students ranged in age from 12-18, it was highly unlikely that I would ever let them out. Instead, we played a little breathing game. I had everyone who was aching to smoke raise their hand. “How bad do you want it?” I would ask. “So bad” they would answer.

Then, we all sat and breathed for maybe three minutes. They surprisingly loved this, silent breathing. I told them to just listen to their breath, in and out, in and out. Five minutes later I asked of they still wanted to smoke and no one raised their hand. My point? Addictions seem like necessities until the moment passes and we forget what we wanted to begin with.

I.e., when Mondays come I ache for The Bachelor and sit there for two whole hours numbing out to some sadistic dating nosedives. It feels like I can’t live without it, but in truth, what would I do for those two hours without the TV? You know the answer. I would read a book, write a book, make art, exercise, cry…any number of things far more productive than sitting and watching these women crush themselves for a vapid aviator.

Too much TV is when a) you can’t control how much you watch b) when it is keeping you from doing the things you need to do c) it is used to avoid dealing with your own feelings. Remember, though, TV is not wholly the devil. There are merits here. It can be a source of mental relief, a source of connection (think Millionaire Matchmaker), and a source of education. But when the TV prevents you from facing your feelings or doing your work, then its time to shut that bad boy down. You know if this relationship has gone too far.

Pulling the plug seems impossible, but I promise, like my teenaged badass students, you will be surprised by how little you miss your crutch when it is gone.

Living without a television is empowering and permits opportunities to find deeper parts of yourself. Pull the plug! All in all a happy Hulu medium is great. Online television is the best because unlike a TV, accessing it is a bit more involved, which means you need to be more conscious about turning it on. Limit yourself to one show a day or week, if possible. Then, watching Gossip Girl or Aussie trash or Extreme Paranormal will feel like icing on your day’s cake. Some of us need TV, in moderation, to give our brains a rest from introspection.

Take this TV Addiction Quiz from TrashYourTV.com: Your Complete Guide to a TV-Free Lifestyle.

Also check out Kill Your Television, especially this Television Addiction Identification and Self-Help Guide.

One more: The Center for Screen Time Awareness at www.TVTurnOff.org.

Ah! Mom, Don’t Get Plastic Surgery!

In Health and Body, Parents on February 7, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Dearest Yenta,

I was at my parent’s house looking for a book and came upon a surgical plan for facial plastic surgery for my mother. I’m not sure if she ever went through with it — they did a damn good job because I can’t tell. But I feel sad for her (I think she is beautiful naturally), angry (this is something that she should have at least run by her kids), and ashamed (I think cosmetic surgery is superficial). Should I just suck it up and not say anything? Or do I ask her about it?

Sincerely,

Aghast

You never know what she'll look like when she comes out!

Dear A,

What we think we know of our parents is generally the tip of an iceberg. This is a scary/nauseating realization: that we may not even know our own guardians. In this situation, the plastic surgery is first and foremost, your mother’s business. It is her face, her youth complex, her body afterall. I don’t know that she has any obligation to run the prospect of realigning her face by her children.

Ideally, yes, it would be nice to be informed if someone we love takes a knife to their affect. I used to cry hysterically when my father just shaved his beard: the shift in a face I knew terrified me. Your sadness is totally understandable. But remember, plastic surgery can mean a million things. It can indicate self-hatred, yes, but it can also be done for complex health reasons. Example: I know a woman whose eyes were drooping with age. Eventually her own eyelids were blocking her vision, so she had her eyes done. Click here for more on reasons for plastic surgery.

A pamphlet, is also, just a pamphlet. If you feel so close to your mother that you think she should share this information with you, why not approach her about it? “Mom, I found this. Is it yours?” But approach, if possible, without judgment or desire to change your mother. Ask her about her motives, try to understand where she is coming from before attempting to change or shun her decision. Some of her adult issues are hers and cannot be changed and altered.

The best you can do is say “I love you! I think you are gorgeous just as you are!” Maybe she will hear you, maybe not. Ultimately, your blanket view of plastic surgery as superficial will prevent you from hearing, seeing, or understanding your mom’s motives. Even though you like her the way she is, she might not like her, which can be an intense thing to learn about your parent. Work to just listen to her.

Just like you want to be seen as an autonomous adult without a judgmental eye, so do your parents. You never know what kind of skeletons people have in their closets, so be gentle as you approach her not as a baby, but as a mommy with a real history.

Maybe ask how she would feel if you wanted to do the same, it might, at the very least, push her to probe her moral assessment of the surgery. Show this video of Heidi Montag’s mother’s reaction to her daughter’s facial rearrangement for fodder.

For Positive Accounts of Plastic Surgery Experiences, click here and here.

On Plastic Surgery Gone Wrong, click here or here.

On Religious Perspectives on Plastic surgery, click here.

Finding Lube in the Kitchen

In Health and Body, Sex on February 5, 2010 at 2:55 am

Avocado Oil is great for a slick ride. But NOT with a condom.

Dear Yenta,

Even when I’m so turned on I’m begging for it, I’m still practically parched between my legs so sex can be uncomfortable. The thought of putting some synthetic product like KY jelly in my body makes me cringe. I try to stick to organics but really want sex to be more fun/comfortable/lubricated. Is there anything I can do naturally to give my sex life more glide?

Sincerely,

Dry As a Riverbed in the Grand Canyon

Dear DAARITGC,

Woohoo, there are many solutions to your problem! For one, start by drinking up. One way to replenish natural lube is to drink your 8 cups of water daily, if not twice that and/or lots of herbal tea. Maybe cut things like coffee, diet coke, etc out of your diet. These diaretics can squelch your liquid supply.

Also try taking a spoonful of oil in the morning. Literally ingesting oil, ie, a spoon of soybean, canola, olive or soybean oil can help. That, and ladies remember your kegels. Flexing the muscles and walls of the vagina can help produce more sexual fluid.

Next, check in with a doctor to be sure there isn’t anything fishy going on below. If you haven’t gone through menopause, then you should be pumping lube pretty easily. Also, one more preliminary trick: have your partner put a finger inside of you to draw out your fluids. Sometimes when you secrete during sex it doesn’t reach the outer lips, bring it forward. For those still working towards their first orgasm: this increases the pleasure involved in clitoral stimulation tenfold.

As for natural lube from outside sources, there are many options. Beware of a few things from the get go. (Click here for more on food in bed.)

1) NEVER USE OIL BASED LUBE WITH A CONDOM
Oil-based lubricants will basically rot your condom and get you unprotected in seconds. This means NO Vaseline, etc. Things that seem smart, but will kill the condom and get you sick or preggers.
2) Don’t use anything you or your partner is allergic to. Ie, if mayonnaise causes a rash, don’t go using it. Same goes for peanut oil and a peanut allergy. Be rational.
3) Avoid sugar-based substances. Sugar left in the vag will cause a yeast infection. No dice.

Natural Lube Options

Safe With a Latex Condom:

Yes Organic Natural Lubricant
FireFly Organics Lube with Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter
Sliquid Organics

Aloe-9
Saliva
Water
Egg Whites

Safe (But NOT Safe w/ a Latex Condom)

Olive Oil
Peanut Oil
Corn Oil
Sunflower Oil
Vegetable or Mineral Oil
Avocado Oil
Whipping Cream
Butter
Crisco

Beware, if applicable: there is no spermicide in natural lubricant.

Also, a note on the lubes we used…

According to Emma Pezzack in “How to Green Up Your Sex Life: Organic Personal Lubricant,”

“Most [standard lubricant] ingredients are various forms of petrochemicals such as propylene glycol (often used in car batteries as anti-freeze), synthetic preservatives (such as the family of parabens, which have been found in cancerous breast tissue and are known endocrine disruptors encouraging an over-abundance of estrogen), glycerine (which not only is drying over time causing skin to potentially become even more absorbent to harmful ingredients, but it’s also a sugar, therefore can feed candida, or thrush, bacteria), and sodium hydroxide (which is very harsh and irritating to skin).”

This means that potentially, the lube some of you use is ironically slowly killing your sexual organs. (Or something like that…)

Go organic, egg whites could be fun!

Med School Vs. Art School

In Career, Health and Body, Mental Health on February 4, 2010 at 3:11 am

Dear Yenta,

I’ve had seven internships over the course of eight years because I’m afraid of job commitment, and haven’t found anything that excites me. I finally chose a career path to become a physician because I wanted to make a difference.

Although I got accepted and will get a free ride, I’m not excited and am confused. I view myself as more of an artist than an intellect, and want to pursue my art, although I want to help others and know I am good with people. What should I do?

-Lost in Med Schol

Jenny Holzer does what she loves AND helps the world.

Dear LIMS,

Have you really not found anything that excites you? Or is it more a matter of not allowing yourself to do the things that turn you on? Honestly, honey, eight years is long enough to spend avoiding your dreams. Art school beckons your name.

Why on earth would you go to med school if it does not excite you? You want to do good in the world and help others, so do good and help others. This is not limited to physically saving lives in an ER, it extends to every moment of every day. You can do good to others by helping a friend, by lifting someone’s heavy load, by doing Tong Len meditation, by doing yoga, by volunteering your time.

And…you can help others by doing art. As Pipilotti Rist, my personal favorite artist said in “The World’s Most Colorful Video Artist,” a New York Times Magazine article: “The whole question of how to put art into regular life is what interests me the most. I treat art as a service. I think of myself as a service worker.”

Artists are healers. They speak to the unspeakable and allow for the repressed undercurrents of society to breathe and be spoken for. Without the artistic so many humans might shut down. Just think about how music, fashion, film and words affect your daily life. Shame on you for presuming art to be a selfish path, it is the ultimate act of giving and serving – of making a real difference.

Ah, and “selfish” is a myth. In seventh grade my girlfriends and I used to use “you are so selfish” as the ultimate insult. Later, after college, it was shown to me that selfish is selfless. What does this mean? By actually facing and addressing yourself, from your darkest corners and demons to the best and most beautiful parts of you, you are serving your community, your family and those you touch with your work.

By repressing your dreams and living an empty life, you are dragging people down with you. Lift yourself, and those you love, by actually addressing your heart and your spirit. If you need help, so be it. Find a life coach or career coach or therapist; or, sit down and force the good out of you. If you really can’t, you might have some internal dragons to slay. Brave moments of truth are never regretted in time, only those decisions guided by fear and doubt.

A lot of people feel worthless unless they can outwardly be seen as a do-gooder. Learn to love yourself on your own because you will die. I promise. And so, before that death, why not bother beginning to live? This means really sitting and remembering what feels good and attempting to build it into your life. And be patient, it might take a hot minute to manifest. But I guarantee, when you are true to what makes your heart thump and your eyes widen, it always comes to you in ways you least expect it.

A numb doctor saving lives who can’t see herself is no good to nobody. She’ll trip and fall. Save yourself, baby doll, and then save the world. Give that full ride to someone who dreams of being a doctor and can’t afford it, someone who will love their job and bring that love and glow to their patients. Last thing you want to end up as is a fifty year-old doctor resenting her daily life. Going to art school could mean you become the doctor to the social subconscious.

Other artists that use their talent for the greater good:

Jenny Holzer, Installation Artist
Guillermo Gomez-Pena and Roberto Sifuentes
, Performance Poets
Davis Guggenheim, Filmmaker
Joshua Cogan, Photographer
Kara Walker, Visual Artist
Guerrilla Girls, All of the Above

Add every other person who dared to depict their interior, the interior of another, or the gruesome many sides to issues the rest of us are to afraid to venture near. For you to become this amazing artist that you are, step one is unlocking your own pent up inner world.

She Says She’s Too Fat For Love

In Dating, Health and Body, Sex on February 3, 2010 at 3:38 am

The Body Shop's Love Your Body Campaign

Dear Yenta,

Every time I want to have sex with my boyfriend, the second he touches me, I feel terrified that he’ll touch my stomach. I am so scared that he’ll think that I’m too fat to love and he’ll change his mind and just leave me there, naked and alone.

He says that he loves me just the way that I am, and would love me no matter what, but I can’t escape the voices in my head telling me that he’s delusional and it’s only a matter of time until he sees me from a certain angle and it will be all over. Generally, people think that I’m pretty skinny.

I know that there are people out there that feel bad about themselves, but I just feel lost and alone. I know that deep down inside I’m just not pretty enough, and if I was skinnier my life would be better.

Signed,

Fat Head

Dear FH,

Chances are, if he says he loves your body, he loves your body. It isn’t, however, him or his love for you that I am worried about. My guess is that this has very little to do with fat and very little to do with your actual boyfriend, at least not in the obvious ways. There are a number of issues here, mainly revolving around a) your actual stomach and b) your body image, and they all fall on you to solve.

I am no doctor, but I like solving puzzles. With this, I want to start with the choice that your stomach is your feared location. In certain Acupuncture modalities the stomach region often relates to issues with power. If you fear your boyfriend’s rejection of your belly, could it also relate to issues with accepting your own powerful nature? Or, could you fear your femininity, pointing to your uterus more than your stomach?

You can play that game too, it is called, “name that subconscious cause” and often, once discovered, relieves a great deal of suffering. This is a fun game to play with a psychotherapist. Yup, find one by clicking here.

Then, the body image question. What does your size have to do with how loved you are? Unless, of course, you are severely overweight and using weight to hurt yourself and harm your health; but this sounds like something else. Body image issues to this degree are not acceptable, however normal they are. They need to be addressed and evaluated, overcome and discarded. We tend to project our fears and issues onto our bodies, rather than coping with them separately.

You need help. Not in a harsh or judgmental way, but in a “I want you to be happy and love your body and boyfriend and sex life kind of way.” There is something beneath the surface provoking your fears. It could be as simple as someone called you fat in 5th grade and you never forgot it, or as complex as being sexually abused as a child. These issues, however seemingly large or small, need to be addressed with a trained professional who can help guide you towards self-acceptance rather than starvation.

Another option, try Emily Stern’s Food Body Connection. A former fat activist turned health food fanatic and community educator, she uses the exploration of eating habits and mindsets about the body to probe larger life themes. She offers a free consultation and then a 6 session phone package that includes bi-weekly checking in. A lot of people seek this kind of directed support without a long term commitment and she comes highly recommended.

Other things to do on your own? Get educated on The Fat Acceptance Movement. You can find information on the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance website, or by reading this Time Magazine article. Also check out AdiPositivity.com, recommended by Bitch Magazine.

You might just need a support group for learning how to love those handles. Take The Full Body Project’s lead.

Also: try reading: The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls to look at how society may have shaped your self-hatred.

Think it could be more than disordered eating, but an actual eating disorder? Go to NationalEatingDisorders.org.

Think your partner has body issues? Discuss this post with them and offer these many resources as real viable options.

The Body Shop's Love Your Body Campaign used corporate advertising to combat social ills.

He Is Nesting In My Vag

In Health and Body, Sex on January 26, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Dear Yenta,

This large husband of mine cannot shake the notion that the actual intercourse part of sex should be as long as possible. There’s so much emphasis in pop culture about men “lasting” and men who orgasm too soon being less of a man or something. I’ve told him many, many times that in general I actually prefer it to be shorter. After awhile, it just starts getting painful down there, and I’m usually sore for a couple hours afterwards if it goes more than say, 5 minutes. He listens and understands when I talk to him about it, and he’s a sensitive modern type of guy, but I can see how this might be burned into his brain by the media, as it is a very popular joke/gripe. Do you have any way I could assure him yes, it is possible that I truly don’t agree with the popular portrayal of women wanting intercourse to go on forever? Other ideas?

-Lady With a Problem

Photo courtesy of Dwyer Kilcollin, http://www.NestGirl.com

Dear LWAP,

We all want to go back to the womb. That is what life and sex and a whole lot of in-betweens come down to. It was toasty in there, full of love and free food and no worries. For a man, cradled inside your warm vagina, there might be a moment where it feels like he’s returned to the source.

One friend told me once about how her boyfriend, even after he comes, loves just hanging out in there. This makes complete sense to me, in fact, if I had a penis I would probably want it to constantly be resting or playing inside a vagina. But I don’t. Not everyone likes being their man’s nest. This moment of dwelling in the canal can feel like robbery, afterall it is not always about you, or sharing you, but instead about them nestling in some warm pseudo-mom-like zone.

My guess is, then, that your man is slightly affected by what you see as social expectation to last long, but probably moreso influenced by simply enjoying and wanting to be inside of you for as long as possible. Read “Ay AY AY He’s Huge!” for more on methods to increase your enjoyment, as well as possible STD’s or Vaginal infections that could be causing your pain.

That you don’t like housing his sword can mean a million things. The basic answer: simple, it hurts. But he could also be bad in bed, he could be insensitive, maybe you weren’t properly warmed up or prepared for entry. Perhaps you aren’t communicating enough in the throes of lovemaking. You might not actually like him, he could be an energy vampire, sucking your strength out your vag which is annoying for any woman and would be a good reason to want him to get out of there.

What it sounds like to me is that you and your lover need to start from scratch. I might even recommend stopping the sex altogether for a few weeks, and getting to know one another all over again. Re-acquaint yourself with this man, his spirit, and then his body and see if maybe your communication skills improve.

I only say this because it sounds like if sex causes you pain and him pleasure, there might need to be a new method of entry. Not a different pathway, but a different approach. He might need to learn to better bond with you, and you with him, so sex is a deep connection with no room for misinterpretation. It sounds like you are being pummeled, and you are sympathizing with him as if he were a teenaged boy needing to be de-socialized, when, I am assuming, he is a man.

My guess is that it will hurt less if you feel heard, turned on, soothed, and if your man respects that his pleasure causes you pain.

Get in touch with yourself by reading:

Why Women Have Sex: Understanding Sexual Motivations from Adventure to Revenge (and Everything in Between) by Cindy M. Meston and David M. Buss
and/or
How to Have an Orgasm…As Often As You Want by Rachel Swift

And send him to Lesbian Sex Secrets for Men: What Every Man Wants to Know About Making Love to a Woman and Never Asks for a sexual bootcamp.

Both of you could benefit from reading this article on mutual pleasuring from WhiteLotusEast.com.

For more on healthy happy sex, try listening to Susie Bright podcasts, or reading her blog and books.

Have a question? Ask Yenta anonymously via http://www.send-email.org attn. merissas[at]gmail[dot]com.

Sex in New Mexico

In Health and Body, Mental Health, Sex on January 26, 2010 at 5:00 am

Southwest Burlesque Showcase: Myspace - NMBurlesqueShowcase

I met two women on a Saturday morning. Over coffee and bagels and lox at a hippie synagogue where they referenced Freud as often as God, they offered to take me to Albuquerque to a benefit for Self Serve (SelfServeToys.com), a Sexuality Resource Center. It was between a sex toy party and going to The Ark, a spiritual bookstore, to learn about healing by numbers.

I went to Albuquerque to the sex toy party and was not disappointed in the least. Think giant warehouse gallery, tarot card readers and burlesque dancers; fetish outfit sales, an old lady making pornographic greeting cards, a giant penis doll and crafts, free massage and m and m’s to go around. There was even a clean-cut awkward older dude sitting alone coloring in a coloring book of a naked woman and a stick.

Lollies for the kiddies.

For those of you in search of new toys, rape crisis resources, handbags, earrings and/or a poster of hot women posing with their bulldogs, please see below.

Pitbulls and Pinups: TheBabesandBullies.com

Fetish Outfitting: FreeRadicalShq.com

Body Centered Talk Therapy: FoodBodyConnection.com

BDSM Coloring Books, thanks to http://www.UnseenGallery.com

Fantasy Art Prints: UnseenGallery.com

Or, for more of this lady's work, http://www.KinkySpot.com

Anie Lazuli, Passionate Empowerment and Entertainment
Including: Gypsy Dance, Tarot Readings, Past Life Regressions and
Cleansings. Find her by name on Tribe.net

Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski: Badass Earring Maker
Find her at AmmoArt.Etsy.com
FYI, her card reads: “Youth Worker, Poet, Performer, Muralist, Artist, Playwrite, Earrings, Paintings, Workshops, Shows.” No small feat.

Sex Questions and Discussion: KinkySpot.com

Handbags With Portraits of Serial Killers: WarningLabelCreations.com

Rape Crisis: RapeCrisisCNM.org
They have an anonymous 24/hr hotline at 505.266.7711
Or…go to Ask An Advocate on their website for online anonymous support.

And at the end of a long day I went to a hotel to poach internet. There was a dude in the hall searching for an escort for his friend. He wanted to use my computer and I said no. Fyi: SouthwestCompanions


Have a question? Or a resource to share? E-mail me anonymously at merissag[at]gmail[dot]com via www.send-email.org.

Top 10 Ways to Meet Singles

In Dating, Health and Body, Mental Health on January 22, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Dear Yenta,

Cliched as it may be, I’m reaching the age where my friends are
starting to couple off and have kids. I’m happy for them, really,
but it gets old to constantly be the one single person at dinner
parties. My remaining single friends have mostly moved away, and I
live in one of those cities where people are obsessed with their
careers. I want to make new single friends, but am not sure how to go
about it. Any suggestions?

-Single and Stuck

This guy made friends body painting in the woods.

Dear SAS,

Hoowah, meeting single people is EASY. There is a simple process then tackle approach. Basicamente, you need to figure out what you love and what you love to do. This makes it way easier to make new friends. Three step plan: 1) Determine strongest interests 2) Find like-minded humans 3) Party hard.

Once you make single friends they usually have single friends and a new universe forms around you. It is way simple, you just have to be brave and you have to put yourself out there. One good resource: MeetUp.com.

Ten ways to meet new single friends:

1) Religious Epicenters. Think church mixers, Shabbat dinners, Buddhist Sanghas. Choose your poison. The religious singles scene provides instant community, frequent meals, and a bunch of events to lace your social life. Check out local Jewish and Christian community centers, if that’s your leaning. Chabad is an amazing resource for young Jewish people no matter where in the world you are. Shambhala centers nationwide offer a community for the Buddhist in you. And there is a church on every other street corner, so get to praying. Obviously, if you are Muslim, Sikh, Hari Krishna, Sufi, Agnostic, whatevs, there is a community for you.

2) Coffeeshops and Bookstores. This sounds cliché but if you want to make single friends, go to a coffeeshop or bookstore regularly and start talking to strangers. Just beware, though, that you pick your strangers wisely. Depending on the coffeeshop they house the wandering drug addict philosophers of our world, and while these people are intriguing, they may not be the singles crowd you seek.

3) Stitch N’ Bitch. Do you like knitting? There is a wave of stitch N’ bitch circles across the nation. These are basically amped up knitting circles for cutting edge humans. Not only will you make cool stuff, you will develop a community, stat.

This goes for all crafts. Look for sewing, quilting, model building circles. Take art classes, pottery classes, collage your old Cosmo, do whatever it takes to get those creative juices flowing in the company of others. Another good thing to do: work towards a goal like selling at a craft market, for example, Crafty Bastards in DC or, start selling online at Etsy. So easy. SO fun. Instant creative community. Other arts options: volunteer at a museum.

4) Volunteer. Doing volunteer work on a regular basis is a fantastic way to meet new single people while doing good for the world. Click here to find a place to put your skills. Even if you work a rigorous 9-5 you can make this happen on the weekend, regularly.

5) Work at your local Farmer’s Market. This might be the very best way to see a smattering of all the local singles, the health-conscious rosy-cheeked ones. Many markets let you volunteer on the weekends in exchange for produce. This way, you meet pretty healthy people and get prettier and healthier in the process.

6) Move Your Body. This is probably the easiest option. Join a kick-ball or softball or soccer league. I know in DC this is a crazy and active single’s scene, including a social life after the games. Check your city for its sports leagues. Also look for Hiking clubs and skiing, snowboarding, yoga, any type of recreational physical activity. Depending on your region, there should be a whole slue of options. Just go online and look for a local community.

Or, Dance class! Take tango or salsa or merengue or line dancing or contra dancing or samba dancing or hip hop or whatever. Dance class is the best way to make new friends. You are in a positive self-expressive environment where you meet people intimately, and if it’s a regular class, you see them all the time. Also try cooking classes.

7) The Bar Scene. Disclaimer: Alcohol can yield odd choices when seeking new people in life. Be cautious. If you choose this route, choose Karaoke. Karaoke can be awkward, but so can life. My friend’s dad goes alone and makes friends. Rock on. Sometimes singing in public like a fool is a friend magnet. Try this.

Hand-in-hand with karaoke is Happy-Hour. I am personally grossed out by happy hours everywhere. Don’t ask why, it is just a visceral reaction. But…these are good to go to, so I hear, with your work friends. Lots of drunk 9-5ers enjoying being single, or drunk and married, should yield some results. Alcohol, however, isn’t the ideal road to community building.

8/ Sexual Interest Groups. If you are looking for naughty singles, go to a BDSM meeting and meet your mate. Whatever tickles your fancy, search for a group of people with similar sexual prowess. Try a group like Black Rose or search for furries, fetishists, whatever it is that makes you tick. Again, though, beware. This scene might require some extra emotional self-protection. Not a vanilla avenue.

9) Music. Music is a good way to find friends. Join a band, go to concerts, find other people that like going to concerts. Start singing, attend open mic nights.

Open mic nights are fantastic for meeting new people, especially if you attend and perform, or witness the performances on a regular basis. Check your local arts section or alternative weekly for a long listing of Open Mic nights in every city. Again, this scene can be awkward, but awkward brings some sense of human truth which brings true friends.

10) Start Your Own Group. Whether it be a Spanish language lunch hour or a writing workshop at your kitchen table, put yourself out there and recruit a small group to pursue interests with. Masters of Warcraft fanatic? Start a competition. Join or start a book club.

Again, Craigslist or a local alternative weekly are great places to publicize your new group. Just be careful: some strangers are sketchy and always use precautions when bringing internet nobodies into your somebody life.

All in all, search for activities or locations that you can frequent on a consistent basis. Familiarity breaks the ice and builds groups and communities faster. Your interests are probably way broader than what I have listed. Every type of interest is represented in most cities, just use Google and Craigslist to find some buddies.

Be careful, though. Depending on what you love, your cohorts could be dangerous. Use your intuition when making new single friends: ie, if they give you a stomach ache when they talk, politely excuse yourself and exit. New friends should make you feel light, happy and smiley: not brooding, angsty, etc. Anything you enjoy doing will bring out the best in you, which, in turn, will attract a flock of bright new friends. Good Luck!


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