Community: The Social

Sex and relationships chat - part three

Emily Dubberley's third visit to chat saw her answering questions about getting engaged, spicing up your sex life and first dates.


**helen**: Hi there, let's start with a question from Shyboy.

Shyboy:  How do you proceed when you reach a point in your relationship where the other person seems completely emotionally dependent on you, and you're wondering whether the reason they're with you is not because they want to be, but because they feel they need to be or they will break down?

Emily: The best thing to do is for both of you to agree to spend more time with friends because it discourages dependency and will encourage them to build their confidence and make them less needy. Also bear in mind that often when you see negatives it's because you are reflecting back a negative part of yourself. Be careful you're not encouraging the needy behaviour and also spend at least one day or evening a week on your own because having 'you' time is just as important as seeing friends or your partner.

Rachael: Why do I always pick the sodding gamers? If I stomp on his Xbox will he be mad? How do I win against an Xbox?

 Emily: The chances are you go for gamers because you like sarcastic, intelligent men and a lot of the time geeks tend to be like that. It could be worse he could be passionate about lap dancing, gambling or something else equally dubious. Smashing the Xbox won't work because you would be breaking part of his heart and that's mean.

What you could do is get yourself a controller and practise loads when he's not in the house so that every time he tries to have a go on the Xbox you pick up the controller and beat him. This is likely to encourage him to stop because, generally speaking, men don't like being beaten at computer games. But look on the bright side, gaming does improve hand eye co-ordination which is bound to help somewhere in the relationship.

Matt: I get intimidated by my girlfriend because basically, she's really, really good at dancing. I get told I'm not a bad dancer at all for a fella, but when she starts dancing properly, she can move so fluently and well that I end up standing there feeling like a melon while other men in the area start watching her. I'm not bothered about that though as I enjoy other men wanting her and knowing she's mine but I become intimidated when I can't match her dancing.

Emily: The easy option is to go and get dance lessons on the sly and then impress her with your moves. Alternatively just jig around as you normally do and no one will notice - everyone will be watching her anyway so no need to feel self-conscious. Bear in mind she might feel the same way about you and it could just be your imagination.

communicationbreakdown: Me and my boyfriend have been together just over a year, and we've been talking about getting engaged, but he's worried that people will think we're too young or that they'll look down on us for it.

Emily: How old are you?

communicationbreakdown: I'm 19 and he's 23.

Emily: Do bear in mind that people change an awful lot between late teens and even late 20s. That's not to say getting engaged would be destined to failure but there's nothing wrong with waiting. However if your boyfriend is expressing doubts based on what others are feeling he may be expressing his own subconscious doubts, too.

communicationbreakdown: I know, but it's something we both want to do, it's just that he's worried about what other people will think, mostly mine and his parents I think.

Emily: What other people think doesn't matter but remember that your parents and friends do have your best intentions at heart.

communicationbreakdown: My parents love him, as do all my friends, it's just that my Dad and my Step Mum are very protective so I think that's why he's worried. He has no reason to be though!

Emily: Why do you need to rush into an outward sign of commitment? Enjoy the romance of being with each other just because you love each other rather than looking for a ring.

communicationbreakdown: We are. It's just a kind of moving to the next step kind of thing.

Emily: It might be he's worrying unnecessarily. Have you sat down and had a chat with your parents?

communicationbreakdown: I'm going to talk to my Dad about it at some point but I don't live with either of them since my Dad's on another continent and I'm at uni. Thank you for your help.

Tom: I'm 25 years-old, a virgin and I've never kissed anyone. I think less about it these days and focus on other things, but sometimes it still bugs me. Is there anything I can do to feel better and have I missed my peak?

Emily: No, you definitely haven't missed your peak. You'd be surprised how many people out there are in the same situation. There's nothing to be ashamed about when it comes to waiting for the right person. However getting out there more and meeting women, not to lose your virginity but to become comfortable around women, will make it more likely for you to find the situation you want.

Many women like the idea of a man who hasn't spent his 20s with lots of other women; it's just a case of meeting the right one for you. Bear in mind the more female friends you have, the better you'll relate to women and the more confident you'll become. Confidence is one of the sexiest attributes around.

Tom: I'm very happy with women, perhaps they don't take me seriously.

Emily: It could be that your concern is coming through in your body language or you could find that you always end up in the friend zone because your female friends don't realise you're interested. A little bit of flirting can go a long way.

Tom: Thanks.

morris_minor: I've been with my girlfriend for about eight years now. Would you say it's possible to maintain a spicy sex life when you're so familiar?

Emily: It is, but you need to put more effort in. The wonderful chemicals that go through your body when you first meet someone will have started to fade by now. However there are great tricks you can use to bring the spice back. Make a point of kissing each other properly everyday. According to Relate, couples who kiss regularly but don't have sex are more likely to stay together than couples who have sex regularly but don't kiss. Kissing also has the added benefit of taking you back to those early days of a relationship before you had sex, which can help bring sexy memories flooding back. Vary what you do as well - most couples only have sex in three different positions.

morris_minor: That's good to know. We're close and cuddle a lot, but life always seems to get in the way of sex itself.

Emily: Trying something new can help make things feel fresher and don't let life get in the way. Make a point of booking a weekend away somewhere or even just having a night which is designated 'date night' where you go out, dress up as you would have done when you first met and then have a night of passion afterwards. Good sex doesn't just happen, particularly if you're busy, so you need to book in time for it just as you would anything else. However, do make sure it's not the same time every week otherwise you'll just get into a whole new rut.

Shopping for sex toys or underwear could help too. Sharing fantasies can also be a turn on and it's easier if you are intimate with each other.

"I don't believe in the concept of good girls and bad girls - there are just people."

morris_minor: Do you have any suggestions for getting around the problems of shift work?

Emily: Yes, if you set your alarm an hour earlier so you have time before your shift starts, look at the amount of time that overlaps and make sex a priority for at least one of those occasions. It takes more time management but can be done. Or you could just surprise her on her lunch break at work.

BritJamez: Hi Emily. We all know about safe sex, we're told about it every day. But how long into a new relationship would you suggest waiting until ditching the condoms? Or would you recommend always using them?

Emily: Always use condoms unless you've both been tested and come out clean. Love nor lust won't protect against STIs.

BritJamez: So if you've both have been tested and are clean, it's OK on a first date? I'm just thinking of younger folk and internet dating and what they have told each other. Do you trust the person or force them to be tested?

Emily: If it's a first date you don't know each other well enough to trust so it's best avoided. Also, you need to think about contraception issues because condoms aren't just to protect against STIs they are there to protect against pregnancy. Only you can decide when you're ready to have sex with someone and when you can trust them.

BritJamez: So you don't think internet dating is a good way to get to know someone, even though there's a high chance that most young people meet someone online these days?

Emily: Internet dating is a great way to meet people, but having sex the first time you meet in real life may be rushing it. The longer you wait the better it is. However, if you're just looking for casual sex then it makes sense to practice safe sex - otherwise you'll be getting checked before having sex with every partner.

I_m_With_Stupid: On this subject, how the hell do people flirt online? I thought flirting was 90% body language?

Emily: You're entirely right. However, words can also be used to flirt. The difference is you can't guarantee there will also be chemistry when you meet in the flesh. Being a cunning linguist will always help you get partners.

I_m_With_Stupid: Are there any specific issues with going out with someone who has a different culture/language?

Emily: Well if you can't speak the same language then the relationship will only go so far. As to cultural issues it depends if there are things that go against your own beliefs. While it may take more communication at first if you come from radically different cultures, it also offers a fantastic learning opportunity. Do bear in mind that without language it may be a purely physical attraction (unless you're prepared to learn it).

I_m_With_Stupid: I'm planning on going to Japan soon, so I guess most people will be foreign there.

Kate: I have a question. How can you persuade your partner to compromise more? His idea of compromise is for me to say what I would like and then he talks me out of it and gets his own way anyway.  

Emily: It takes two people to compromise and it sounds like you're backing down far too easily. Stick to your guns. Or you could ask him first so you're not in the position you describe.

BritJamez: Do you think that the best way to get a chick into bed is a) take her to a nice restaurant, pay, be perfect gent or b) cook, clean, do dishes at home with candlelight? What do you like for dessert?

Emily: Both could work if she fancies you, but then again neither would be necessary. The most important thing is treating a woman with trust, affection and respect and that she thinks you're hot. As for dessert, you can't go far wrong with Banana Banoffee Pie :-).

BritJamez: Noted, I'll call your office tomorrow to speak to the secretary ;-).

Kermit: Sex on a first date - yes or no?

Emily: It depends entirely what you're after, whether it feels right and how you would judge each other afterwards.

Kermit: Do you believe that good girls should wait?

Emily: I don't believe in the concept of good girls and bad girls - there are just people.

I_m_With_Stupid: Touché.

Craig: What would you say the best sex toy is? (Christmas is coming).

Emily: The Purple Thunder is great if you're after a toy for women. You can buy it from It looks like a Jessica Rabbit vibrator but is covered in very soft spikes for extra stimulation. If you want a toy for a guy you can't go far wrong with a fleshlight and a packet of lube. Have a happy Christmas ;-).

BritJamez: How strained is a relationship likely to get if one partner wants cosmetic surgery and the other doesn't want them to have it? (Not gender specific).

Emily: The relationship won't necessarily be strained. It's an issue that needn't damage your relationship as long as you talk openly about it. At the end of the day everyone has the right to do what they want with their own body.

**helen**: That was the last question, thanks guys.

Emily: Thanks everyone, bye

BritJamez: Bye Emily, thanks!

I_m_With_Stupid: Cheers.


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