The following is another installment of my sex advice article series. I always welcome more questions, so don’t be afraid to send them my way (firstname.lastname@example.org), nothing is too taboo, and everything is completely confidential.
I have gained weight recently and I feel fat. I know I’m not, but I just feel fat because this is the most I’ve weighed. So what do I do to feel better and not let it affect how I interact with guys or am in bed?
I feel like this is an issue that plagues a lot of people (women and men) in general, and I’m sorry to say I don’t have a catch-all solution to your problem. Separating your self-esteem from your weight is hard. I’m not going to lie, it’s very hard. I’ve been trying to do it all of my life, and only have gotten close in the last couple of years. There are a couple of things in play here, and I will attempt to address one at a time.
So, the two issues we are looking at are the way you feel, and the way you project how you feel in you social and sexual interactions. I believe that solving the first will solve the second.
So, one thing you should do, is get some new clothes. I’m not talking about a wardrobe overhaul, just items that fit you well and make you feel effortlessly confident in. If you’re between sizes, splurge on tailoring some of your favorite pieces to make sure they fit just right. Make sure they aren’t outfits that you will be constantly pulling and adjusting all day to make sure they stay on your body correctly. I also recommend some pieces that accentuate your best assets, even if some of them have gotten bigger lately. You don’t mention how much weight you’ve actually gained, but I would recommend a new bra-measuring if your cup size has changed. Nothing flatters better than a well-supported rack! Also, pretty, sexy underwear does wonders for your confidence.
On that note, toss the clothes that don’t fit you anymore. This is really hard because you want to tell yourself, “but if I just lose x lbs I’ll fit into that again!” However, if you don’t lose that weight, it will make you feel like shit on a daily basis, seeing that pair of jeans that doesn’t fit anymore lying in your closet, taunting you. Also, even if the weight does come off, it’s always more fun to treat yourself to something new, instead of dusting off some sweater from 2 years ago.
When you say you “feel fat”, what I’m hearing is “I don’t feel good inside my own skin.” There is a disconnect between how your body looks and how it makes you feel. I want you to pick one physical activity that makes you feel good. It doesn’t have to make you lose the weight. In fact, I want you to enjoy this activity so much that you completely forget about what your body looks like when you are doing it. It doesn’t have to be strenuous. The only two requirements for this activity are that it makes you use your body and that you have fun doing it.
The next part is going to sound a bit hokey, but trust me on this — it works. I want you to do this activity for 15 minutes every day, or to your best ability. This will help you associate your body with something that you enjoy and love, rather than something that makes you feel sad and crappy. As soon as that happens, you’ll start to feel more confident when you are interacting with men and in the bedroom as well.
I just want to add one piece of sex advice, since that’s what this bit is all about in the end. This is something that I’ve figured out a long time ago, and it has greatly improved how I feel about myself in bed:
If a person (man, woman, or other) is having sex with you, then they already find you sexy, or else they wouldn’t be doing it.
Always keep that in mind when you are in bed with someone. They find your body absolutely tantalizing and want to touch and kiss you everywhere. You have nothing to prove anymore, so just enjoy the ride. Also, try to remember that not everybody finds the same things attractive. How you look is in itself a passive filter that will keep out anyone that isn’t attracted to you. Keeping that in mind will also help color some of your interactions with potential suitors. Like my grandmother always says, “nobody notices your sense of humor from across the room!”
I’ve been infatuated with this person for months, and it has recently come to light that they reciprocate. The bad news is that their previous significant other has given them herpes. What do I do?
First of all, let me congratulate you on being the star in your own personal rom-com! I find it fairly uncommon to experience that type of mutual crush realization. But let’s move on to the pressing issue at hand!
So, the decision here is whether you pursue this relationship and potentially expose yourself to herpes, or play it safe and walk away. On one hand, if this is the love of your life, and you think that the two of you are going to merrily skip into the sunset together, then herpes might not be a high price to pay for happily ever after. After all, it might be permanent, and occasionally unpleasant, but it is actually not all that dangerous. It doesn’t cause death like HIV, or infertility like some of the bacterial infections (chlamydia, gonorrhea) , so there may be a future for the three of you: you, your crush, and your herpes.
On the other hand, you might not be so convinced that this is the person for you. Sure, they are attractive and have a great personality, but who’s to say that they don’t have some serious dealbreakers lying under that surface. The good news is that you don’t have to decide right now. Nobody is making you have sex with this person right away. Take your time, get to know them really well. See their place, and take note of how they live. Figure out if you have long-term compatibility. Date, for goodness sake!
Now, if you do decide to have sex with this person, here’s a bit of information about herpes and prevention measures you might want to keep in mind:
- Herpes is contracted through skin-to-skin contact. Condoms reduce your risk of infection, but they do not prevent it. Herpes are most infectious during an outbreak, but there is still some risk between outbreaks.
- Know when your partner has an outbreak and how they control outbreaks. Find out if they are taking any medications that prevent outbreaks (such as Valtrex). If they aren’t, that should be something you can (very) strongly suggest they do to protect your health.
- The same anti-virals that are used to suppress outbreaks can also be taken by you to help reduce the risk of infection. So, if you decide to become sexually active with your crush, you should think about getting a prescription from your doctor.
Lastly, herpes has not always been as stigmatized as it is today. Many people are more afraid of getting herpes than they are of getting HIV, which is just plain dumb. Herpes, while kind of ugly and unpleasant occasionally, is virtually harmless. Show of hands: who gets cold sores on their mouth? Congratulations, you have herpes! I think it’s ridiculous that people with herpes have to suffer such stigma, and fear of rejection. Did you know there are support groups for people with herpes? Did you know that people with herpes often suffer from depression and consider self-harm? This is what our culture has done to these poor people! And for what? For a couple of sores on their balls? I firmly believe it needs to stop. People with herpes deserve to be loved too.