Today, I’m super pumped to be hosting a Dreamspinner blog event called the Top 5. When the fab Poppy Dennison approached me with the idea, I was all in. Who doesn’t like taking part in a event that also allows authors to interact with their readers?
Of course, after I agreed to join the event, panic settled in. What the heck was I going to write about? I had to pick a topic that was fun, not too cheesy, but something the readers and I could sink our teeth into. That’s when it hit me: why not write about something that’s near and dear to the hearts of most romance readers and authors?
So here’s my list of the top 5 things to do on date night with your loved one that are guaranteed to be a blast!
Far too often couples get mired down in the every day hustle and bustle of life and its commitments, that we often forget to let our hair down and have fun. That’s why being silly together could be just what the love doctor ordered. Challenge each other to a game of pool or head to a Dave and Buster’s and have an arcade olympics. The two of you will be laughing the entire time you’re trying to outscore the other on a classic Pacman game or even in Skeeball. You can even spice things up by agreeing that whoever wins the most games gets to decide what they the couple eats for dessert. The possibilities are…endless.
#4–Walk Down Memory Lane
This is especially a great idea for couples who didn’t meet/date in high school or college. If you happen to live in the town where you went to school, or if your alma mater is within driving distance, you could take a short road trip, and relive your memories with your loved one. You can show your significant other your old dorm rooms or where you hung out in the quad with your college besties. Engaging in this sort of activity brings your loved one into your past and allows for some great communication.
#3–Go on a Picnic
While this certainly isn’t a novel idea, it doesn’t make it any less wonderful. There’s a reason picnics make fun dates. First of all, you get to either make a meal or find take out you both enjoy, then you get to eat it together–alone–in a place that both of you enjoy or find beautiful. There’s something special about sharing a romantic meal on the beach, in a park, or even in your living room. Our fast-paced lives slow down, and our only focus is the company of the person we love most in the world. There’s truly not much better than that.
#2–Enjoy a Spa Day
This is especially great for couples with stressful jobs/lives and who are constantly on the run. When you indulge in a spa day, the day truly becomes about the two of you pampering yourselves and each other. You get to talk to each other while getting a pedicure and then let go completely at your couple’s massage. Afterward, you’ll both feel refreshed, relaxed, and ready to return to the real world because you took time for yourselves while doing so together.
Sex is an important part of any healthy relationship, but sometimes even the healthiest of relationships could use a little spice. Why not head down to your local adult store and browse for a few toys? If your town doesn’t have an adult store, visit one of the many online retailers and browse their selections. Sometimes, even a game of strip poker could be just what is needed. Depending on your comfort level, you and your loved one could have quite the adventurous, explosive night of your lives.
So that’s my list of top 5 things to do on date night. What did you think about the list? Did any of your favorites make it? What are your top 5 ideas for a date night? I’d love to hear them because one of you just might give me an idea I’d love to try!
I’m sure many of you are wondering if the title of this post is true. Can gay sex make a straight man better in bed? The answer, in my most humble opinion, is
Now, I’m sure there are some straight men staring rather dubiously at the screen right now.
See. I told you!
They might be thinking that I’m just trying to get some poor, unsuspecting hetero into bed or that I’m just full of shit.
I can guarantee all readers that I have no ulterior motives and that I know what I’m talking about. In fact, I think many straight women might just agree with the points I’m going to make.
So for all you straight boys out there, grab a seat and take some notes because you’re on your way to getting a leg up on sex with a woman by reading about how two dudes get it on!
Foreplay is Required to Ride
You got that right, Betty!
Most straight men aren’t known for being lovers of foreplay. They want to skip the kissing and cuddling and head straight for Vag-land.
For many couples, it’s quite common. And why not? It’s the final destination after all, so straight men see anything before entering the land of milk and honey as a waste of time.
However, the journey is just as important as the destination. Would you rather fly cross country in coach or First Class? The destination is the same, but how you get there is vastly different.
Gay men understand that, and while we have no desire to visit Vag-land, we so love our frequent jaunts to Assvile.
Yay! We’re almost there!
I think the different destination is why gay men are better at foreplay than straight men.
We can’t just rush into Assville.
Yes, I know!
Entering Assville takes careful planning and preparation. All hasty visitors are quickly denied entrance, and then everyone goes home sad. That’s why foreplay is integral for gay men. During the kissing, caressing, and massaging, relaxing occurs. While men lie in each other’s arms, gazing intently into each other’s eyes, the passageway to Assville is made ready.
Foreplay brings the couple together in spirit before the joining of the flesh, and learning that lesson is one step in the right direction.
Communicate or You Masturbate
Being verbal in bed is hot. No one wants to have sex in silence. That’s just weird.
But why is it that the noises most straight men make in the bedroom are so similar to the sounds they make while watching a televised sporting event? There is no crowd cheering you on in the bedroom, and the cheerleaders exist only in your fantasies.
Sure, groans, moans, and the occasional growl are appreciated, but the lips and the tongue should be used for more than just providing oral pleasure.
Keep calm and let me explain
Women are auditory, and men are visual. And guess what? Most gay men are tuned into that and as a result are typically sexually stimulated by what they see and what they hear.
Gay men have no problem communicating how hot their partner looks, and who wouldn’t want to hear that during sex? But more than just the endearing appraisals, gay men aren’t afraid to talk dirty. The combination of the nice and the naughty can be mind boggling.
So learning to open your mouth and communicate with your partner is vital to being better in bed. If you can’t do that, well, then just stick with your hand. You don’t have to talk to it or buy it dinner.
Switch It Up or Hang It Up
Now, you’re talking!
Variety is the spice of life, and variety in the bedroom just makes life that much better. However, some straight men can become complacent, especially in marriage. When they were single, it was all about the hunt, chase, and score, but once they are married, straight men lose that hunting instinct. Why hunt when they already have their prey at home waiting to be stuffed?
But women, especially married women, enjoy believing they are still worthy of being hunted. Gay men understand that. Even though we are married/partnered, gay men still go to clubs and enjoy when another man checks them out. It makes us feel as if we still got it going on. Who doesn’t like that?
That’s why gay men understand the importance of variety and try to avoid complacency at all cost. Who wants to do missionary every night?
Yeah, me neither
What’s wrong with dressing in leather and a harness?
I agree completely, Sponge Bob!
Why not sneak off into woods and see how much wood a woodchuck could chuck?
Because that woodchuck can definitely chuck wood
Learning to change up bedroom activities and keep it from becoming routine is the final important step to being better in bed. Don’t be afraid to try new things together. The both of you won’t like everything, but chances are you will find a handful of new activities both of you will enjoy.
That’s just a win-win for everyone, don’t you think?
I’ve noticed a rather disturbing trend at the gym these days: people are becoming increasingly inconsiderate of others. I don’t know about you, but it just bugs the hell out of me. Gone are the days of alternating sets with someone using a specific machine or bench or even appropriate decorum or behavior within the gym itself. Since these discourteous actions seem to be on the rise, I thought I’d write a post about appropriate gym behavior, so you can avoid someone taking a dumbbell to your head for breaking one of these simple rules.
Rule #1: If you sweat on it, wipe it off!
It’s a gym, and we all sweat and smell while we’re there. I know I get all manstanky by the time I’m done, but when did it become common place for people to walk away from the bench press leaving almost a full body print of sweat behind? That’s just disgusting! No one wants to walk up to a bench to find it dripping with your nastiness. Every single person walks around with a white towel courteously provided by the gym. Use that towel for what it’s meant for and wipe down the equipment. It’s not only good manners, but it’s also hygienic.
Rule #2: Don’t set up camp
It’s important that we all remember we are gym members not gym owners. I don’t own a single piece of equipment at the gym and I certainly don’t act like it. Therefore, don’t become some oversized Kindergartener and hog all the equipment. Do you really need ten sets of dumbbells, three benches, the Bosu ball, a work out mat, and the four machines you’re cycling through? I don’t think so! Only use the equipment for the muscle you’re currently working on. If you’re doing bicep curls, then select the appropriate dumbbells and bench (if you need one) and do that exercise. When you’re done, you can move on to the equipment you need next. Don’t worry, the toys will still be there for you to play with; you just might have to wait your turn like the rest of the adults at the gym.
Rule #3: Socialize/chat away from the equipment
While I have been known to stop a set to chat briefly with someone I know or take an important call, I don’t stand at a machine/bench for fifteen plus minutes getting all the town gossip or stand idle at the equipment while I talk on the phone. If you see someone you know and the conversation is going to last awhile or you get an important phone call, move away from the machine. There’s no reason for everyone to stop their sets because you’ve decided to get all chatty with your BFF. I have no interest in your life and neither do most people, but I am interested in the bench press you’re preventing me from using, so proceed elsewhere. This allows you to get your much-needed dose of chit chat and allows me to move through my routine.
Rule #4: Do I look like I want to talk to you?
I’m at the gym to work out. I’m not there for your entertainment. But some people think it perfectly acceptable to strike up a conversation while I’m obviously trying to work through my set. I have my iPod ear buds in my ears for a reason. I don’t mind the “good morning” or “how are you?” I don’t even mind stopping for a minute to chat with a friend or acquaintance, but if I don’t know you outside the gym, there’s really very little reason for you to think I want to hear about your life or the fact that you like my shoes, even if they are fabulous! So while it’s perfectly acceptable to be polite and cordial, there’s also no reason to become overly familiar. That’s just creepy!
Rule #5: Save the grunting and screaming for the bedroom
I know that men have been doing this in the gym for ages, and I admit that I grunt occasionally when my muscles are tired and I need just a bit more than my body is willing to give. I get that. The grunt is our way of pushing the body passed its limit, but is it really necessary to grunt and scream through every rep for every set?!?!?! The answer is no! Moderation in all things is good, and this applies to those people who turn into apes while lifting weights. We all know you’re really trying to get attention. You’re grunting and screaming is saying, “Look at me! Look at how much I can lift!” But when the woman next to you is quietly lifting weights almost equal to yours, I think it’s safe for you to just shut the heck up.
Rule #6: Put equipment back where you got it
It seems that most people never learned to put away their toys when they were done playing with them. Need proof? Look at the gym floor. It is often littered with abandoned dumbbells, mats, and weights or machines are left with six 45 pound weights still resting on the bars. I mean, really? I have kids I pick up after at home. Do I have to also pick up after lazy, inconsiderate adults at the gym too? It’s really very simple to put everything back where you got it. I know I do it every time, and I still get out of the gym in about an hour.
Rule #7: Wear gym shorts over your bicycle shorts
This has become quite the problem lately mostly for older women at the gym. They wear skin tight bicycle shorts and a T-shirt, thinking all is good. Well, it’s not! I can see your panties through the bicycle shorts not to mention your camel toe. It’s really quite disturbing, so don’t do it!
Rule #8: Give me a break, not advice
While I’m always willing to learn something new, unless I ask your opinion, I’m not really looking for it. I’m not interested in your gym supplement that’s doing wonders for your body or how tightly you squeeze your glutes. Take your supplement and your clenched butt elsewhere, I’m busy.
Rule #9: Limit your gym buddy to 1
While women are typically the worse offenders at this, I have also noticed men to be slowly catching up to them. Having a gym buddy is great. It helps keep you motivated, but do you really need 4 people standing around you while you work out? I mean, come on! Don’t you realize how much time it takes for all four of you to go through three sets of 12 reps? Not only are you delaying the routines of others, but you’re really not contributing much to your own work out. If you have to wait 5 to 10 minutes between each rep, you’re basically just wasting your time–and mine.
Rule #10: Don’t confuse the mirrors at the gym for the ones at home
Now, we all look at ourselves in the mirrors at the gym. It’s how we can tell progress made during the day’s exercise, but is it really necessary for you to stand there and pose like you were competing in a bodybuilding competition? Must you flex your bicep and smile at yourself or take countless pics of your body with your phone? That can wait till you get home. All you’re accomplishing is looking like a complete douche and making us all laugh at you.
Have you seen people break these rules at your gym too? Does it make you as angry as it does me or am I alone on this? Also, let me know if I’ve missed a rule or two.
The clip above is from a documentary called “The Adonis Factor” by Christopher Hines I recently watched, and it got me thinking about the typical gay male quest for physical perfection. Why do we as gay men put such an emphasis on body image and how healthy is this pursuit on the individual as well as the community at large?
To find the answers, I started by looking at myself. I’m just as guilty at propagating this quest, and most who know me well are at this moment nodding their heads vigorously in response. It’s not like I can deny it. I watch my caloric intake–no more than 1,600 calories per day. For breakfast, I eat a protein shake with a banana and flax seed. I have a whole wheat chicken sandwich, another banana, and a protein bar for lunch, and for dinner a nice meal lovingly prepared by my husband, who knows my caloric and dietary restrictions. I drink water all day. No carbonated drinks cross these lips unless I’m having a vodka and sprite on those rare nights out. I go to the gym six days a week religiously, and I can be quite the bear if my workout schedule is interrupted.
Why do I do this?
Well, I do it to stay healthy. As the fat kid for most of my life, I have no desire to once again weigh 195 pounds, which is what I weighed at my heaviest, and since I stand only 5’6″, we all have to admit I was quite chunky.
But is health the only reason I do this? Of course not!
Looking good means being appreciated by others, and who doesn’t enjoy that? I certainly do, and I’m married with children! So to say that the quest for physical perfection is merely what we do to snag a mate is not true. The strive for physical perfection doesn’t stop once we’ve reached the happily ever after. And it’s not just me. I know many gay men who continue to hit the gym and watch their calories way after they are in a fully committed relationship.
“The Adonis Factor” claims that gay men are “visually programmed” and that “attractiveness is key to a man’s self esteem.” I can’t argue with those points. Like women, gay men are inundated with models of physical perfection in the media daily. The hunky models and the shirtless actors affect us as much as supermodels sometimes spur women to reach for physical perfection. We want to be desired like those hard bodies we see on the screen or in the magazines too. Also, to catch someone’s eye or cause that shirtless muscle man across the bar to stop mid sentence and stare at you with his mouth open just feels damn good.
Sample Ad depicting gay life
But I think the gay male’s quest for physical perfection goes beyond being visually programmed or self esteem. I think it appeals to a more base instinct–competition. Men are competitive by nature, and most don’t like to lose. I know I don’t. So while the promise of sex and the boost to our self-esteem are definitely contributing factors, I think so is competition.
Think about it. We work harder, so we can be the best, or as close to it as we are going to get. When gay men see someone with a hot body, do they want to be with that person sexually? Well, yeah. That’s usually a no-brainer. But most also secretly want to have that body longer than just for the night. They want their pecs to be as sculpted, their biceps to be as bulging, and their abs to be just as flat.
You can see it happening at any gym or gay bar. Gay men dress to impress, but their eyes are constantly scanning the crowd in search of a body they not only want sexually but one they wish they could have. The guys with the best bodies are usually either shirtless or wearing the tightest shirts possible, and they typically get the most guys coming on to them. They put what they have on display, and it motivates gay men who fall just shy of them to increase their reps at the gym or the number of sit ups the next day. When the inevitable craving for a chocolate bar or a pizza hits, those striving for physical perfection think about the hot guys at the club or on television, and they pass on the empty calories for the delayed gratification of a flatter stomach and more muscle mass.
And while this makes for a more healthy conscious community, what effect does the pursuit for physical perfection have on the individual and on the community?
There are certainly positive effects. Gay men maintain their bodies for far longer than straight men do, and as a result, typically suffer from less health problems. A study conducted by American Journal of Public Health and reported on in South Florida Gay News states that “… gay men are 50 percent less likely to be obese compared to their heterosexual counterparts.” Since we watch our weight, we suffer less from diabetes, heart disease, or other illnesses related to lack of physical fitness. The study also quotes Dr. Greg Pizzi, a psychologist, who states that “men or women, who are in relationships with men would generally take better care of their bodies, since men tend to be more visual in their attractions and make it pretty clear that they are looking for a partner who looks good.” So while gay men take care of themselves better than their straight brothers, there is no true altruism behind the gesture. They do it to remain sexually attractive and competitive with other gay men.
But this craving to remain as sexually attractive and competitive for as long as possible also comes with a price. I found an article titled “Men are Dying for Sex: Mating Competition Explains Excess Male Mortality” on Phys.org, a popular science, technology, and research news website that focuses on biology, among other subjects. The article states that “men compete with other men for mating partners and trying to make themselves attractive…. This competition leads to strategies that are riskier for men both behaviorally and physiologically, and these result in higher levels of mortality.” While the article focuses on male/female relationships, the information found within it can definitely be applied to gay men.
In the gay community, where gay man battles gay man for physical perfection and mating rights, the results can be dire, as stated in the Phys.org article. A recent survey reported on in PinkNews, a large European gay news site, states that:
48% of gay men would sacrifice a year or more of their lives in exchange for a perfect body.
The research also said 10% of gay men would agree to die more than 11 years earlier if they could have their ideal body now.
Nine in ten gay men admit they enforce ‘unrealistic’ images of lean and muscular men in conversation.
In comparison, only a third of straight men said they would give a year or more for an ideal body shape, and 77% admitted buying into the body image ideal.”
As you can see from the survey, the quest for physical perfection is problematic, when half of our community would die early just to have the perfect body. And if they are willing to die early, then logically this means that many gay men are falling into unhealthy body image issues, such as bulimia/anorexia, steroid usage, and cosmetic surgery. According to the survey, “record numbers” of men are seeking these alternatives. Another study conducted by psychiatrist D. Blake Woodside, a faculty member with the University of Toronto, states that gay men make up a significant portion of the 1 million men suffering from eating disorders.
So not only are gay men willing to die for physical perfection, but many are also killing themselves to accomplish it. Apparently, many gay men will do whatever it takes to be as competitive as possible in the meat market.
This has to stop. Perfection isn’t possible. We are human–gay or straight. As such, we are inherently flawed. The pursuit of perfection is unattainable and if we measure ourselves by our BMI, we may find ourselves alone but with a flat stomach. In our drive to reach perfection and the competitive sexual games played as a result, we focus on the exterior instead of what is on the inside. This is why dating sites like Manhunt or apps like Grindr and Scruff can be problematic. They reduce gay men to profile pictures that other gay men window shop through in order to find the picture that is most appealing, the perfect man with the perfect body. They also add fuel to the fire of left wing rhetoric that gay men are superficial and incapable of maintaining long term relationships.
We need to remember that what’s on the outside doesn’t reveal anything that is lasting. Our bodies will grow old, and they will get flabby and saggy. That’s simple biology.
Instead of striving for physical perfection and being competitive about that, let’s get competitive about being compassionate, loving, caring, industrious, intelligent human beings. If we commit to that with the same verve we pursue physical perfection, there are no limits to what the gay community can do. We could call this the Franklin Factor, after Benjamin Franklin. He was a flawed man, who tried his best to become the best man and citizen he could be. He even kept a journal on his progress toward becoming a better man.
If we as a community strove for the Franklin Factor, something far more lasting than physical perfection, we could bring about societal change that would not only benefit us but future generations, and if we eat healthy and exercise instead of strive for physical perfection, we will also look damn good while we do it.
So instead of trying to be an Adonis, as a community we should grab the occasional slice of pizza, see others for more than just their bodies, and enjoy the lives and bodies we have.
That certainly sounds like a better deal than killing ourselves for the perfect body. What about you?
I came across this video while surfing my usual blogsites of interest, and it was too good not to share.
Sixteen year old, Marcella Fruehan wrote this song because, as reported on Towleroad, she wanted “to express [her] feelings in support of anti-bullying. As a 16 year old I see a lot going on around me; especially with bullying and the effects that it has on those who are bullied and what lengths teens will go to to ‘get away from it all. I want you to know suicide is never the answer. Truth is…you are loved, you are not alone…you are never alone.”
It’s a good song and video. Take a look for yourself.
I’m sure many of you are wondering about the topic of this blog post today? Is he referring to being allergic to couple’s counseling or something else? It couldn’t possibly be what I think it is. Could it?
Well, it is!
Recently, thanks to a light-hearted and quite comical conversation with a dear sweet friend who shall forever remain anonymous (so don’t ask!), I stumbled upon a topic that I just had to write about. With his consent (and with a thousand promises guaranteeing the safety of his identity), I decided to do just that.
What do you do when you realize, at probably one of the most inopportune moments imaginable, that you have suddenly developed an allergy to latex?
If you’re like my friend, at first you wonder just what hell is going on and then, well, you panic!
You see, my friend had no idea he had such an allergy. He’s gone pretty much his entire life using latex products (quite extensively) without such a reaction as what happened recently. For academic purposes only (and for a bit o’ humor), I will provide you with some of the details (in very G-rated form), so you will know the signs in case it happens to you.
He was in the middle of a “situation” where the use of latex was sanctioned and agreed upon. At first, the use of the object involving latex progressed swimmingly as it had before. Then, not so usual events started to occur. His nose became twitchy and he started to sneeze, almost uncontrollably. A few minutes later, after trying to work past the breathing issues, some discomfort and itching started to occur in some rather private places. Like a trooper, he tried to forage ahead, determined not to let a runny nose or some slight irritation interrupt the progress made so far.
After awhile, though, the irritation turned to a burning sensation, and the runny nose became serious tracheal problems with his throat closing shut.
Now, imagine, as I did, finding yourself in this predicament. You’re in a rather intimate posture. You can’t breath because you’re throat is swelling shut, and your secret garden has suddenly been set upon by an out-of-control wildfire. (I was in stitches by this point, too!)
Eventually, the pain became too much for my chum to bear, so he politely excused himself from the situation and sprinted to the restroom. After a quick inspection, he realized the area in question was splotchy red and swollen, and he fought the need to scoot around the room like a dog trying to dislodge something from his bum. At first, he thought he caught some particularly virulent STD that infected upon contact, but then realized quite astutely that the culprit was the latex. Prior to the admission of the latex into the party, the shindig had been a blast. After the latex, BAM, party over! Not many people I know wish to continue such festivities with red, splotchy skin, painful irritation, and uncontrollably sneezing.
His latex allergy brought the entire soiree to a screeching halt!
So, that begs the question: if this happens to me, what do I do?
Well, first you need to fix your breathing. Take an antihistamine. If you’re home, this should be easy to find. If you’re at a friend’s house, (as embarrassing as it might be) ask for one. It will be more embarrassing to pass out from constricted air ways than to admit you need an allergy pill. If no antihistamines are to be found, skip to step 2. (You will hit step 2 anyway).
Jump in the shower. Scrub to make sure all parts of your skin that may have come into contact with the latex are washed clean. Make sure you do a thorough job too.
Put out the fire. Find a steroid cream (such as Cortaid or any other Corticosteroid) and apply generously to the area. Never use the creams internally; they are for external use only. Once again, most houses (and friend’s houses) have this readily available in the medicine cabinet. If not, skip to step 4.
Head to your local pharmacy retailer. Purchase a steroid cream and antihistamine and use them immediately (either in the bathroom of said pharmacy or in the privacy of your own home.)
Laugh about the experience with your party partner (if he or she is still around) or vow never to see said individual again.
What should we learn from this?
Obviously, allergic reactions are serious offenses and can be dangerous. They could lead to a full body reaction called anaphylaxis, which might prove fatal and is most definitely not a laughing matter.
It’s also important to know that allergic reaction to latex (or other substances and/or foods) is possible even if you have never been allergic to it before. Many adults develop new allergies over their lifetimes, so it’s a good idea to get an allergy test every few years to see if you’re body has suddenly decided it no longer likes something it never had a problem with. (Similar to your current reaction to your ex!)
So I’m allergic to latex. What now?
Many marital aids exist that are not made from latex, such as those comprised of 100% silicone, hard plastic, acrylic, stainless steel, or glass. From the research I’ve done (on the web, not through actual sampling), those products work just as well (if not better according to some comments I’ve found). You can find a veritable cornucopia of said devices by clicking here. (Site called The Pleasure Chest, so definitely NSFW). Be wary of anything with the word “blend” in it as it may have latex as part of the composition or as part of the assembly or packing. If you decide to purchase such a product like a “silicone blend,” keep some steroid cream and an antihistamine handy just in case!
Additionally, various latex free condoms are also for sale by many popular and trustworthy brands. Those can also be found by clicking on the link above.
As you can see, if you find you have a latex allergy, the party is not necessarily over (as my friend learned). You just have to switch up the party favors and then invite a new or special friend to the get-together. Then, let the good times roll!