Advice

Miss Information

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Have a question? Email erin@nerve.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.


Dear Miss Information,
My girlfriend and I have been together for about a year. We’re talking about moving in together. Last night, we started talking about our sexual histories, which we’d only discussed in broad terms before. It turns out that she’s had way more partners than me. I’ve been with eleven women, and she’s been with thirty-eight men. I took it in stride, but this morning, I’m freaking out about it. I appreciate her honesty, but I feel like what we have has been cheapened. It also makes me wonder whether she’ll eventually get bored in a monogamous relationship. This is all very fresh, and I’m trying to sort out my feelings. Am I being a baby? Does thirty-eight seem like a crazily high number to you, too? — Just Another Number
P.S. I don’t feel like I can talk to my girlfriend about this. She was reluctant to disclose this information and did so only when I encouraged her to. (I know, I know.) I don’t want her to know that I’ve lost my mind over this.


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Dear Just Another Number,
Q: What’s the difference between a pregnant woman and a light bulb?
A: You can unscrew a light bulb.
Q: What’s the difference between Just Another Number and a stupid guy who doesn’t know when to stop asking questions?
A: Apparently, very little.
So you found out Pandora’s Box is full of cocks, and now you can’t close the lid. You got yourself into this mess, and if you don’t want to involve your girlfriend, you’re going to have to exercise some serious self-discipline. I know it’s hard to turn off the jealousy switch, but you’ve got to stop concentrating on the number of people she’s screwed and take a look at what really matters: Is the relationship moving along at a healthy rate? If you’re thinking about sharing closet space, sounds like it. Is the sex satisfying? I’m assuming yes, otherwise you wouldn’t worry about it being "cheapened." Is this woman capable of sustaining a monogamous relationship? A year-long commitment is a pretty good sign.
    The interesting thing about sluttiness is that it’s all relative. Thirty-eight may sound like a lot to you, but trust me, I’ve heard far higher stats. You might think eleven partners make you an altar boy, but there are plenty of chicks who’d label you a man-whore to the nth degree. Think about how you’d want to be treated in that situation, then show your lady the same consideration.

Dear Miss Information,
Once a guy is at your place and you’ve done whatever deeds you plan to do, how do you get him out of your bed? I reserve shacking privileges for guys I plan to date. I have roommates and prefer not to treat them to a different breakfast companion each week. I don’t want to ruin the post-sex-with-me afterglow, but I do think I have to make it clear that there will be no post-coital napping in my boudoir. Guys will say things like, “I’m awfully tired, I could just stay . . . " and I find myself lying about having “stuff” I have to do in the morning. Is there a better way? — Not Running a Sleep-Easy

Dear Sleep-Easy,
The world needs more roommates like you. While you’re worrying about whether a guy’s serious enough to warrant an overnight stay, the rest of us are waking up to strangers scarfing Cookie Crisp and cutting their toenails in our breakfast nook. The key to a graceful exit lies in the set-up. You want to make it clear that there are no overnight privileges before you move from Point A (where the date takes place) to Point B (your place). No surprises = better credibility for you.
    Tell your man-friend that although you can’t wait to take him on a trip to Makeout City, you and your roommates have a strict code of conduct that you simply cannot violate. While this may be a bit of an exaggeration, it sounds a lot more romantic than "Gee hon, I don’t know if you’re a keeper," and you can always scale back on the good-behavior stuff if things get more serious. A lot of guys will appreciate the escape hatch, and if they don’t, you can always offer to move the party to their place or hang out at a later time.
    I won’t lie: this method takes a little verbal finesse, but it’s a lot less migraine-inducing than sending ESP signals saying GET OUT over and over until your brain is leaking out your ears.

Dear Miss Information,
Is it ever possible to go from dating one guy to dating his best friend — without breaking up a friendship, that is? My soon-to-be-ex-husband’s best friend and I are crazy about each other. My husband and I were married three years. They’ve been friends for twenty. I really don’t see how things can ever work out for us, but I’d be very happy if you told me they could! — Scarlett Letter

Dear Scarlett Letter,
I don’t know nothin’ bout birthin’ no babies, but I do know it’s damn near impossible to hook up with someone your ex used to play G.I. Joes with and keep the friendship in one piece. True, in one out of a hundred cases, it does work out. But so do relationships with, say, a fifty-year age gap. If you have one or more of the following odds-improving factors in your favor — your ex is in a new relationship, you guys had an open marriage, he and his best friend have dated the same woman in the past — then feel free to come clean with your ex. But bring along a parasol, my pretty. The shit will undoubtedly be hitting the fan.


Dear Miss Information,
My girlfriend of a relatively short time is into light bondage and pain. We haven’t started having sex yet, and from the outset this has been a “different” type of relationship for her. Sex usually defines her relationships, but we have a connection that’s not about sex. The problem is twofold, and admittedly both parts are mostly my fault.
    1. I’m not going to tie her up, ever. Call me close-minded or a prude, but I can’t bring myself to restrain someone during intimacy. It makes me feel like I’m forcing things.
    2. I can’t stand listening to her talk about it. We had our first fight because she mentioned having a rope stashed away somewhere. I can’t help but imagine some other dude banging my girlfriend while she’s tied to a bed. This, I think, is due to my lack of self-esteem. I think I’m always doing something wrong and that she’s going to go someplace else to find what she needs.
    So what do I do? How do I make sure that I keep her satisfied (which she tells me I do at this point) while not compromising my fairly strong feelings. I’m falling in love with this girl, and I don’t want our relationship to end because I won’t do these things. — Knot-Tied

Dear Knot-Tied,
This relationship isn’t going to end over a length of rope. It’s going to end if you don’t get a grip on your insecurities, which are as rich and varied as a roomful of Woody Allen impersonators.
    While you have every right not to listen to her whorish war stories, you don’t have the right to judge her for them. The next time she starts going into too much detail, stop her, and politely but firmly tell her to shut it. As one-half of a couple who hasn’t even had sex yet, it seems like you’re doing a lot of worrying in advance. Not only is it unproductive, it’s unnecessary. If she tells you she’s satisfied, believe her.
    I know you feel strongly about the bondage thing, but I’m just going to throw this one out there: Never say never. Contrary to popular belief, the most creative, kinky sex doesn’t happen the first few times you fuck. It happens when a couple has been together a while and they trust each other enough to let loose their inner deviant.
    You two haven’t been together long, so it’s natural that you’re hesitant about exploring something outside your comfort zone. The longer you’re with her, the more you might find yourself open to indulging her fetish or some milder form of it (holding her down with your hands only, dominant dirty talk, etc.). Take it slow, take it easy, and try to relax for once in your life.
 

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©2005 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com