Expert Advice on Libidos, Clearing Your Mind, and Banging Your Ex's Best Friend (Thrillist)


Low libido. Sexual ADHD. Unrequited love. In this edition of Elle Oh Elle, we opened our inbox to a few of your questions. Have a pressing question you’d like to ask? Hit up the comments section.

How do you handle a relationship where your partner has a way higher sex drive than you?

Before I address the question, I’d like to state that "sex drives" are not set in stone, but rather, can vary widely throughout a person’s life. Stress, living conditions, age, and, health are just a few factors that will alter a person’s desire to be intimate or sexual.

That said, relationships tend to be shorter than life cycles, so let’s assume that your baseline is much lower or higher than your partner’s.

My question to you: have you two talked about it? You should probably leave the clothing on for this conversation. Sex educator JoEllen Notte of advises, "The partner with the lower sex drive should broach the topic with their partner in nonsexual moments -- everything is so much more charged when people are turned on -- and make sure to be clear that it is not a rejection of them specifically."

When you do talk, don’t point blame.

Do not aim to increase or decrease a person’s sex drive. Would you starve or force-feed someone in order to match your appetite for food? Of course not, and this is barely different.

If your sex drive is lower, do accept that there are other options: be supportive of their masturbation, buy them some toys or a website subscription to use solo, or, if you’re comfortable with it, consider opening up the relationship to include additional play partners. Or consider group therapy.

Regarding consent, the CDC recently published statistics indicating that as many as one in five women, and one in 71 men will experience sexual violence before the age of 25. The likelihood for sexual abuse in transgender populations was recently reported at 64%, although all of these numbers are impossible to exactly quantify. No matter what your gender, my message is clear: NEVER pressure any person for sex. And if you are a survivor, no person has the right to make you feel inadequate for your feelings about your right to give consent.

Notte also adds, "Stay communicative with your partner, and don’t let sex become a no-go topic. Find other ways to connect with your partner emotionally and sensually that are satisfying for both of you and can bridge the gap between you."

You two are together because you care about each other, right? So, show that you care.

How do I clear my mind for sex? It races all day, and it’s seriously hindering my ability to enjoy myself.

Deadlines. Cell notifications. Snapchats. Updates. These little intangibles sure can get in the way of a good time. What can you do to unplug?

Prior to playtime, put your phone away. It can wait 40 minutes, and probably won’t be getting you off in the near future. Personally, if it is 7:30 on a Saturday night, my ass is jogging, if only for the endorphins! Endorphins are natural stress-fighters, and your vascular system might thank you, too. If I’m feeling stressy before a booty call, exercise and a warm shower is the best way for me to feel clear-headed and prepped for action.

If you aren’t able-bodied for a jog or brisk walk, gently stretch on the floor. Masturbate! Engorgement of sex organs can increase a body’s sensitivity to subsequent play. Turn off the television or radio. There is no reason that Larry the Cable Guy’s antacid commercial should be within earshot of my coitus.

During foreplay and sex, breathe. More. Slowly. I’ve witnessed many folks who hold their breath when aroused. Are you one of them?

Don’t worry about having an orgasm. Focus on the now. See, doesn’t that feel good? And doesn’t it clear your mind?

I’m in love with my ex’s best friend. Is there any way to make this work without a sea of broken hearts?

So, it's absolutely wonderful that you and the person you are in love with are afraid to proceed because you don't want to hurt your ex's feelings.

However: your ex is probably never going to "like" the news, no matter how long you wait. And you shouldn't postpone the happiness of two people -- one of whom is you -- because of one person's jealousy regarding a relationship that is over.

Good news! You have the opportunity to speak with your ex in a very respectful, polite manner. Make a phone call (it’s an adult form of direct communication from the olden days, in case you’re unfamiliar). Unlike screen caps of text conversations, this one can’t be shared via social media. And it’s respectful.

It’s fair for your ex to be upset by the news, but you’re not asking for his or her blessing. He or she is allowed to be hurt or angry. But your relationship is over, and so there is no need to discuss old issues pertaining to it.

If you and ex mutually decide to maintain a platonic friendship, that’s wonderful, but you’ll both need to have plenty of space initially. And if you and your new squeeze truly want to build a future together, you both deserve to give it a chance. You'll regret not doing that, and sneaking around only implies that you are doing something wrong. You’re not.

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