Every day, porn star and University of Southern California journalism grad student Tasha Reign wakes up to a curious string of emails from her fans, a devoted group of men and women she lovingly refers to as “Reigndeer.” Said Reigndeer ask her questions — so many questions — about her perspectives on sex, love, relationships and life itself, and as someone who’s had more firsthand experience in these areas than four adult women combined, she’s become uniquely up to the task of answering them. Once a week then, Tasha will select a few of these questions and grace us with her insight, advice and expert wisdom in the hopes that she can help you fuck and love long, too.
Does taking a break in your relationship ever really work? I don’t see the point. Why not just break up and get it over with?
It might sound tempting — no annoying messes from your partner; a week of not having to share the remote; even just having the space and solitude of your own home for once can be an attractive enough reason to take a time out. But if you can’t get through a couple of weeks of turbulence with your partner, is this really the partner for you?
In high school, I had this boyfriend. He was my world. He told me some family lore about how his parents met when they were 15, just like he and I had. Apparently, they had the brilliant idea to take a six-month break when they were in college (at the same school that he and I planned to go to). It seemed to work pretty well for them, because after their break, they got back together and got married.
I was sold. Why not take a break to “find ourselves,” then get back together and get married when we were done with said break? I was sad, but excited. I’d have freedom for the first time in years, wouldn’t have to worry about checking in, and then, in a couple of months, I’d have my boyfriend back! “Woo hoo!” I thought to myself.
Little did I know I was in for the worst breakup of my life. I cheated on him for the first time ever — before we were even supposed to be on a “break.” I tried to get him back, but in retrospect, I think he knew what I’d done and no longer wanted to be with me.
Later, looking back on it, I realized our breakup was for the best. There were lots of red flags, like the time he said, “My dad told me never to marry a gorgeous woman because when you go away on business, they will cheat.” Healthy, right? So even though it ended in heartache, maybe a break was the best thing for us after all.
The moral of my story is this: In my experience, taking breaks in a relationship is nothing more than a smokescreen to hide your problems and does not work. Working through your issues face-to-face, on the other hand, does. It either resolves the problems you’re dealing with or it makes you come to the very real conclusion of separating. You can always get back together if the breakup was a mistake, but the weird, halfway phase between “together” and “apart” is full of unclear boundaries and weird expectations, and it’s precisely the kind of mindfuck no one should have to deal with.
Is it really true that your first love is your deepest love? I don’t feel like I get that same passionate, life-or-death feeling with my current significant other, and it seems the older I get, the less passionate I feel about partners in general. Why is that? And is it a good or bad thing?
It’s difficult to recreate that feeling of life-or-death passion you get with your first love when you’re 16 and you can’t control your emotions. That up-and-down roller coaster of feelings is so intoxicating, and I’d be lying if I told you that I don’t still fantasize about the obsessive feelings I had for my boyfriend as a teen (see above for even more evidence). So I can totally understand missing that, and it makes sense why you’d want it back.
I don’t think those elusive feelings mean your first love is the “deepest,” though. Rather, it’s because everything felt new and wild, and you hadn’t yet developed the skills to keep your head in balance with your heart. Plus, without the life experience to know better, your little teenage love affair seemed much larger and more intense than in probably was.
You’ve probably lost that feeling because as you’ve gotten older, you’ve begun to realize that relationships aren’t actually as life-or-death as they used to seem. There will always be someone new, and you will always move on. For you, it seems like knowing that has taken the edge off that passionate “I can’t live without you” feeling, but you know what? That’s okay. That’s a good thing. It’s not necessarily healthy to see your partner as your entire world, and if you feel like your reality would self-destruct without them, you may be clinging a little too tightly or your expectations might be a little too high. A healthier feeling to have about someone is this: “I’d be sad without them for a while, but eventually, I’d get over it.” And you would!
Looking at relationships more rationally doesn’t mean they have to be passionless, however. It’s just that passion — and deep love — are things you and your partner have to work to maintain. Even if you and your first big love had stayed together, it’s likely your passion would have fizzled eventually and you’d have to figure out a way to get it back, just like you’re doing now.
That said, while passion may fade, love lasts, so instead of just expecting it to be there and judging your relationship for lacking the irrationally life-or-death feelings you had for your first love, take responsibility for keeping the passion alive yourself and see if that keeps the spark alive. Take trips together, try new things, get creative in the bedroom and push each other to grow, because that — not feeling like you’re going to die every time they don’t call you — is what makes a great relationship.
I’m 30, and I really want kids. But I’m not in a relationship, and I don’t have anyone to have them with right now. Should I freeze my sperm?
Unless you’re about to hit 50 or you’re going to undergo chemotherapy, you don’t really need to freeze your sperm (however, doctors do recommend that women consider freezing their eggs at the ripe old age of 25). Men are fertile until pretty late in life, and unless you want to pay a $1,000 freezer fee for no real reason, you can probably move that one down the to-do list for the next 20 years or so.
The only cases in which freezing your sperm might be a good idea for someone your age would be if you were undergoing a medical procedure that would impact your fertility or if you were going to be away from your partner — or potential partner — for a very long time. Maybe you’re headed into the armed forces and want to ensure that your sperm live on without you in case you don’t make it back, or maybe you’re undergoing a vasectomy next week and want to make sure you’ve got some quality semen in store in case your fertile soulmate comes around. But if neither of those things apply to you, don’t sweat it. Instead, concentrate on finding a partner to have children with and making yourself the best possible candidate.
Also, why not look into a quicker option like adoption, fostering or co-parenting with a platonic friend? There are many options for child-rearing other than being involved in a traditional relationship structure. And while I know raising a child with someone you love is ideal, there’s no reason to deprive yourself of parenthood just because the right person hasn’t come along yet.
Or, you know, you could always donate sperm. I know, I know, you might never get to meet your child and the whole reason you’re writing me is because you’re craving that traditional family structure, but hear me out: It’s possible for you to have a relationship with your sperm bank child as they grow. I should know. It happened to me.
A little backstory: Once upon a time when I was 17, I found out through a drunken cousin that I was the product of a sperm donor. My father had had a vasectomy in the 1960s when the procedure was still irreversible, but since my mother desperately wanted children, they went down to the sperm bank to sort things out. She got pregnant from the donated sperm, and baby Tasha was born. I was never supposed to find out, but I did.
At first, I was furious. I couldn’t believe I’d been kept in the dark for so long, and I felt like I’d been living a lie. It was hard to conceptualize that the man who’d raised me wasn’t my biological father, and it took me a while to acclimate to that new reality.
Five years later, he passed away. I was devastated, but the loss sparked a new interest in finding my biological dad. I sent my DNA to ancestrydna.com and waited for years before I ever heard a peep. Then, one day, a man slid into my Facebook Messenger DMs claiming to be my half-brother. I followed up with him and the genealogist he’d been working with and learned that I had not one, not two, but 22 half-siblings. They were all from the same anonymous donor (i.e., my dad). Thanks, though, to new websites and technologies that help you track your sperm donor, he’s not so anonymous anymore.
I was able to track him down through my half-siblings. We know his name, where he lives, where he works, his Facebook info and everything else. He doesn’t want us to contact him because he’s married with two children and clearly regrets giving his sperm over for money. Even worse, he wants to hide his 22 children from his current wife. This last weekend, most of the siblings had a “reunion” in New York City. I didn’t go, I was feeling too emotional about it. But my point is that even though there’s no option for a relationship with my biological father, you might feel differently and be able to have one with your sperm-bank kids.
Also, always remember: If you decide to make an extra buck donating sperm, or you like the idea of donating DNA to upwards of 22 people, little Tasha Reigns will be born, and they will find you.
Feel free to send me your sex, love and relationship questions at firstname.lastname@example.org!