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The V-Spot: I’m So Excited and…

Hey Yana,

I just read a list of codependent behaviors on the internet and realized a ton of them describe the ways I have navigated/still navigate my relationships. Particularly: getting upset/stressed about other people’s problems and trauma, abandoning my needs to cater to others, and getting strong dips in my self-worth/self-confidence when the people in my life aren’t totally happy/excited about me.

I realize these issues can’t be fixed without tons of work but do you have any “in the moment” solutions that can at least stave off these responses/emotions when I feel overwhelmed by them?

I ask because I’m seeing someone new and I really like them, like they are so dang cute and the time I spend with them feels great so I’d really like to keep that going and I’m starting to worry that these behaviors could really get in the way!

With excitement,

I Just Can’t Hide It

 

Dear I Just Can’t,

Oftentimes the ways we relate to people we are romantically and/or sexually attracted to run along tracks that are deeply grooved in our minds, emotions, and bodies so it can be tough to change those patterns by just saying “Hey! Cut it out, self!”

The ways we learned to get our emotional and physical needs met as small infants (professionally dubbed our “attachment style” by the likes of psychologists Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby) carry over into our adult relationships in ways that can be both beneficial and/or problematic. Your tendency to abandon your own needs in order to cater to others, for example, may have been a great efficient strategy to get what you needed as a child in relation to your caregivers but in your present adulthood, it’s no longer serving you as well.

This doesn’t mean that this tendency is bad or wrong, but it does mean it’s maladaptive and is now causing you more harm than good, more unhealthy relationships than healthy, and so might be due for a tune-up. Working with a therapist might help this exploration and shift.

Meanwhile, if you want to learn more about attachment styles and how they factor into adult relationships, check out Stan Tatkin’s easy-to-digest book Wired for Love (though I don’t agree with ALL he says in that book, overall it’s an interesting read and breaks down attachment theory well).

As for quicker-to-apply strategies, I’m noticing that many of the things you’ve listed above as “codependent behaviors” are actually primarily feelings or thoughts that might be leading you to codependency…continue reading…

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Hey baby, what’s your number?

Hi Yana,

  • What are your thoughts on how much/what of your sexual history you should divulge to your current partner(s)? I always ask about most recent STD/STI tests, but is your current partners’ number of present (and past) sex partners important to know?

    I recently watched Dan Savage’s “Savage U” (because I saw Tristan Taormino on your website and started listening to her podcast and he was on it) and the gender stereotypes and standards regarding this issue were nauseating — ie. women saying that if you’ve had less than 10 partners it’s fine to tell, but if you’ve had more than 10 you should keep it a secret.

    I’ve always told my partners my number, just because I’m not very sexually experienced and my number isn’t that important to me. But what do you do with this information once/if you have it? In addition, some people don’t keep a number and this also brings up the conversation of what constitutes “sex” — fingering? any/all of the “jobs?”

    Allow me to be blunt: Asking what somebody’s number is some outdated, slut-shaming, rigid boundary drawing, sexual claustrophobia-inducing bullshit.

    When you ask for someone’s number, you’re not just asking for a digit; you’re quantifying that person’s multifaceted, personal sexual experiences into an arbitrary numeral and applying all kinds of value-based judgments on that number…continue reading…