6 Signs You’re in a Bad Relationship

You hate the sound of him chewing and are a little bummed he still doesn’t know your favorite flower (peonies!), but are those deal breakers or just signs of being with someone for a bajillion years? According to Marina Voron, licensed marriage and family therapist, relationship red flags have less to do with actual behavior and more to do with the feelings and intentions behind them. Here, Voron shares six reasons it may be time to cue Adele and call it quits.

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There is a decline in intimacy

It’s normal to be hot and heavy in the beginning, and then find a more mellowed-out groove — every long-term relationship will have its ups and downs in the bedroom. I’m talking about going three months without sex or consistently facing rejection when you initiate. It could also be a decline in the quality of sex. For example, it feels mechanical, like neither one of you is really present, and not just because you can’t stop thinking about a work or personal problem. This is happening every time.

You relationship is lacking fun

Your relationship is lacking fun

The healthiest relationships are brimming with positivity and lightheartedness. After all, playfulness helps you to de-stress, connect, and turn to each other in times of need. You should be able to turn off the world and just enjoy yourself when you’re together. If you start to feel anxious or stressed when you’re with your partner, you might be treading into problem territory.

Your S.O. becomes disrespectful

When you start being spiteful, critical, or belittling of one another, it’s no bueno. Contempt is the no. 1 predictor of relationship combustion, Voron says, and it’s something that couples may not notice if it happens gradually over time. Look for mean-spirited sarcasm — that’s a huge red flag.

You or your partner pays more attention to your phone than to each other

You’d be amazed by the number of couples who sit across from Voron in therapy and get right on their phones, she says. When you’re together, be together. If your partner is always on the phone, that’s a sign of rejection, and it can hurt.

You or your partner pays more attention to your phone than to each other

Every other relationship takes priority

Of course, everyone needs time apart, but if your partner is constantly choosing to hang with friends and coworkers instead of you, that’s an issue, Voron says. If you are supposed to have a date night on Fridays, then date night on Fridays is a sacred night.

Your partner keeps you at arm’s length

This can be about sex, emotional support, availability, and even seemingly small things like cuddling. What’s the point of being together if you’re slowly becoming strangers in your own relationship?

Ultimately, ditching a toxic relationship, as hard as it may be, will leave you feeling much happier and more fulfilled in the long run. You’re awesome so don’t waste your time with people who don’t deserve it.

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6 Answers to Your Most Important Penis Questions

The following article addresses some of the most common questions that boys have about their penis and the answers.

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Is Jon Hamm walking around like that on purpose? Basically, do guys know when they’re showing?

Maybe, and maybe not. It could be that in his particular case, he’s just wearing a very thin fabric. I’d say that if the guy is wearing pants so tight you can see the head of his penis, he probably knows. If your pants are so close to your skin that your penis can’t even move, you feel that. You’re aware. If he’s wearing some mesh shorts and he’s just letting it flop around while he walks down the street, he probably doesn’t know.

How long does it take to get an erection?

Answers to Your Most Important Penis Questions

It depends on the guy, the penis, and the situation. Erections can sneak up on us slowly or happen pretty immediately. Typically, if we’re hooking up, those erections will come on fast and strong. If we’re just hanging around watching TV, it could be a few minutes between the erection “starting” and us getting fully erect.

Do guys check out another guy’s junk while peeing at a urinal?

This answer will vary from guy to guy. Personally, I think it’s rude and invasive to look unless something is going on over there. If you see steam rising up from behind the other guy’s urinal partition or he’s screaming, then it’s OK to look. If he says, “Hey, look!” you’re also allowed to look, but you probably shouldn’t in that case. I can’t imagine you’re going to see anything that compelling when a man shouts, “Hey, look!” at you in a public bathroom. I’ve never personally been in a scenario where I saw a guy and thought, Well, I should try and see what his dick looks like. I guess to answer the question, some guys never look, some probably sneak a peek every so often, and other guys look all the time.

Can your penis actually feel a difference in vaginas?

Answers to Your Most Important Penis Questions

Like if someone made a cast of all your ex-girlfriend’s vaginas and had you try all of them, would you be able to differentiate which was which? Vaginas are more like hands in that regard. You could spend all day holding your girlfriend’s hand and you might still be hard-pressed to pick her hand out of 100 other hands. You could probably tell the difference between your girlfriend holding your hand and a jacked dude with an iron grip handshake, but you’re not going to be able to pick out some of the more subtle differences. Yes, all vaginas are different. But it’d take a very discerning penis to pass the Pepsi Challenge of vaginas.

Blow job with braces: Can you actually feel a difference or is everyone a liar?

I’m not sure about this question. Typically, the fear of a braces blow job is that if your teeth catch on the penis, it can really cut it up, which is a real fear. But other than that, the blow job shouldn’t be that different. It’s not like a blow job is supposed to involve the teeth, anyway.

Why are guys so proud of their dicks?

Because everything we do in life is about our penises. We wouldn’t bother working, making money, going outside, working out, or talking to people if it didn’t benefit our penises in some way. Everything. Especially this, right now. Kidding. Mostly.

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7 Tips for Revealing Your Sexual History

Have you had the talk yet about former lovers with your partner? Are you wondering just how honest you should be? While there’s no need to crack open the little black book and recount your history in cringe-worthy detail, some disclosure is important. “Conversation about your sexual past is important for what it reveals about what you want out of this relationship, and who you are as a person,” says New York City–based sex therapist Joy Davidson, PhD. Ultimately, it’s not as much about the details of your past as about your level of honesty. Here’s what you need to know:

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Early on, transparency is key

Is your relationship still new? Before you hit the sack—especially if you’re considering having sex without a condom—basic honesty is crucial. “If there’s something in your past such as having unprotected sex with partners whose own history you’re hazy about, or if you have a sexually transmitted disease such as herpes, you must share that news,” says Megan Norris, MS, LMFT, founder and director of Relationship Resolutions in Pittsburgh.

Tips for Revealing Your Sexual History

Honesty is the best policy…mostly

Here’s the inescapable fact about honesty: If you lie, you’re not showing your partner who you really are, which means that the basis of your relationship is shaky. If you dodge the truth, whether it’s by inventing a more varied history if you’re inexperienced or playing down an active past, you’re pretending to be someone you’re not. Dr. Davidson cautions that this is dangerous for any relationship. However, a detailed account is not necessary. “Be honest about the essence of your sexual past, not necessarily the details,” she advises.

Don’t get hung up on numbers

How many people you’ve slept with is one of those numbers (like your weight) that’s fraught with meaning. “Both low and high numbers come with judgments depending on your value system,” Dr. Davidson says. Test yourself: If you found out that his number was significantly smaller than yours, how would you feel? What if it were way, way higher? Be aware of what a discussion about partners can reveal. “What you ideally want to discuss is not the numbers themselves, but what it means to you,” Dr. Davidson says. “How do you feel about your own number? What might you do differently? What did you learn about yourself in those years?”

Tips for Revealing Your Sexual History

Remember, some details can be left out

“Men may get hung up on comparing themselves to your former lovers,” Dr. Davidson says. Put simply: They want to know that they are better, which is why waxing on about the amazing skills of some past love is never wise. “Women, on the other hand, are more likely to be hung up on that woman from their partner’s past with whom he was sexually obsessed,” adds Dr. Davidson. “Even if he says that the relationship was terrible, if he just had to have her, it can make even the most confident woman feel less-than.” Keep these hang-ups in mind when you’re weighing how much honesty is too much.

Don’t brag

You’d think this would be obvious; surely, you don’t want to tell your current lover that you had it so much better with that guy you broke up with years ago. “If your past lover was fabulous, what canbe helpful is letting your current partner know what works for you so he can be a better lover for you,” Norris says. Find ways to share what knocks your socks off without listing names, dates and places.

Set ground rules for sharing

Tips for Revealing Your Sexual History

If the two of you are going to discuss your sexual past, it’s smart to agree beforehand how it’ll go down. “Ground rules are important simply because sex is such a hot-button topic,” Norris says. For example, ask each other: “How much do you really want to know? Is it just the broad outlines, or do you need to know more?”

Be sensitive to feelings

OK, so he says he wants the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But what if you’re sure that learning every dirty secret would make him uncomfortable? “Question him carefully about what he wants to know, then tell him what you think is best and what you’re comfortable sharing,” Dr. Davidson says. Try to divine whether he wants to know all about you in order to please you, or if he wants to know for his ego’s sake (hoping, for example, that you’ll say you’ve never had anyone better than him). Your goal is to be delicate and diplomatic while maintaining honesty. “Remember, when it comes to sex and our sexual performance, we’re all vulnerable to being hurt,” Dr. Davidson adds.

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10 Ways Being in an Open Relationship Changes Your Sex Life

If you’re under the impression that being in an open relationship is just “cheating with permission,” get that out of your head, stat. Ask anyone who’s been in an open or polyamorous relationship, and they’ll say it’s about much more than just sex — it’s a lot of communication, a lot of trust, and a lot of checking in with your own personal boundaries. And just like monogamous relationships, no two open relationships are exactly the same.

All that said, yes, being in an open relationship can mean more sex, and it can also mean changing the way you have and think about sex. To learn more, four people who’ve been in open relationships shared how their sex lives changed after ditching monogamy.

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Your partner might introduce you to something you realize you love

One of the great things about having multiple partners is you’re regularly adding new things to your sex life with your primary partner. Lily, 26, was introduced to the idea of kink through her girlfriend, who she’s in a polyamorous relationship with. “Other things that have been integrated are role-play and inclusion of toys,” Lily said. Being open has kept a constant flow of new things coming into their relationship.

You can be more openly sexual

You can be more openly sexual

One of the things Matthew really enjoys about being open is that he can explore sexual scenarios he’d have to avoid if he were in a monogamous relationship. “I’d never had an experience with a guy before and there was an opportunity to hook up with a guy,” he said. “It allowed me to explore that side of my sexuality.”

Jealousy can be less of a thing

With good communication and a clear definition of boundaries, there’s way less room for accidentally crushing someone’s feelings or inciting jealousy in an open relationship. Matthew said he’s seen threesomes cause jealousy issues in monogamous relationships, but in his open, poly relationship, he and his partners have been able to explore such things more easily.

It can be pretty damn liberating and empowering

Both of 25-year-old Emi’s open relationships were with long-distance partners, and she said being able to flirt with guys in her town while having Skype sex with her boyfriend made her feel “empowered and very desired.”

Open relationship changes your sex life

But it can also make the line between “sex” and “sex with feelings” blurry

The big problem Emi said she encountered was that she started having feelings for other people, which wasn’t within the terms of her open relationship. “My feelings lessened for the guy I was in a relationship with,” she said. When this partner came back from being abroad, their relationship ended and she started dating another partner she’d had while he was gone.

Sharing an apartment can get pretty awk pretty fast

If you thought living together with a monogamous partner was tricky, it can be even trickier if you’re open. “Sharing a bedroom with someone who’s also poly can be a bit of a challenge,” Matthew said. Like, just in pure, logistical, “who’s going to be using the bedroom?” terms.

You get better at talking about sex

Noah, 25, said deciding to go open with his boyfriend helped him have more frank conversations about sex, which led to learning new things about each other. “We’re more open about what we want and don’t want. [My boyfriend], for example, likes to be choked, which I’m pretty sure I didn’t know before,” Noah said. “[We’re] more comfortable admitting when we are or aren’t in the mood, and more comfortable talking about people we have crushes on [or] are attracted to.”

You get better at talking about sex

Your risk of an STI is a bit higher

This isn’t to say everyone in an open relationship is having loads of sex all the time. But Lily, 26, pointed out that, from a purely mathematical stance, if two people are having sex with X number of other people, the likelihood of coming into contact with an STI is higher.

It can take the ~pressure~ off sex

Noah said this could just be chalked up to age and experience, but he’s seen a difference in the way he engages with sex since going open with his boyfriend. “Sex has become an activity I can enjoy more freely,” Noah said. “I place a lot less significance on it, in and out of my relationship, and as a result, it’s just easier.”

It can make your sex life with your partner seriously better

All that communication about boundaries and sex and your relationship can be really good for fostering intimacy. Noah said he and his partner saw an improvement in their sex life once they decided to go open. “Nothing is really taboo, and we’re very frank about our likes and dislikes,” he said. “We tried to be before but it comes a lot more naturally now.”

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