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 average adult women combined, she’s become uniquely up to the task of answering them. Every Friday 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 long and prosper, too.
I’ve been absolutely heartbroken over this guy for months now, and honestly, I’m sick of being in this headspace. Is there some kind of short-cut to recovering from heartbreak?
Look, I may not be a witch, but I do have some witch-like tendencies, and after having my heart broken more times than I can count by men who didn’t feel the same way about me as I did about them, I have actually started to feel like there is a way to “magically” speed things up. Part of that comes from having gone through this so many times (I’m very prolific at dating), but the other part feels like a formula I’ve cracked in the process. I can’t say whether it’ll work for you as well as it works for me, but here are some of my top tips for healing from heartbreak more quickly.
First, take some time off, if you can. It’s so much harder to recover from heartbreak while you’re working or in school, simply because you don’t actually have time to process it and sit with yourself. That’s why some countries have designated heartbreak days for people who are recovering — you really need some official “you” time to start working through your feelings and getting reacclimated with yourself as a single person. If you don’t give your feelings or yourself the time or energy you deserve, all that heartbreak will stick with you for longer. Even if you’ve been sad and forlorn about your breakup for a long time — which it sounds like you have — you can still give yourself a break like this.
During this time, reflect and process as much as you can — write in a journal, go to therapy, talk with friends, read books, listen to podcasts, whatever you need to do to address your feelings head-on. The point of taking a break is to allow yourself to focus on healing, so really do make time to do whatever you need to get there.
Next, focus an inordinate amount of time on making yourself look and feel good physically. I know that sounds shallow, but exercising, eating right, buying new clothes, getting your hair done and doing the living shit out of your makeup (if you wear it) can really give you that little boost of self-confidence you need to dig yourself out of the rut you’re in. Even if those positive feelings are fleeting and pale in comparison to the loss and grief I’m sure you’re grappling with, things like exercise still cause your body to release endorphins, which can help you numb the pain and feel better, if only for a moment. The more moments you have of feeling better about yourself, the more they will string together into a lasting sense of being kinda, sorta, mostly okay.
Also, give yourself some space to experience positive sensory inputs. Take a relaxing bath, get a massage, eat amazing food, drink great wine, put on your favorite music and masturbate endlessly. Heartbreak really deadens your senses and makes you feel like a zombified husk of a person, but leaning into the things that still feel good for all five of your senses can help remind you that it’s possible to feel pleasure in many different ways.
Next, fill your calendar. Make plans with friends and family, and plan ahead so you have something to do over the weekend, which is often when people feel the loneliest after a breakup. Make sure you have at least one important event to leave the house for during the week, too — you need something to look forward to, especially something that places you in new, exciting surroundings. Really go out of your way to be social — even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing — because I promise you, the busier and more engaged in other relationships you are, the more support and love you’ll feel from others, and the less time you’ll have to wallow. Similarly, if you’re ready for it, find a fun hookup or fuck buddy to get this other person out of your system with. The old adage, “The best way to get over a breakup is to get under someone new” is actually pretty true.
Also, I always recommend people see a therapist if they feel like their heartbreak is too much to bear. Ain’t no shame there — they’re trained and highly qualified to help you through times like these, and they can be great to talk to when your friends have gotten sick of your blabbing about what’s-his-face every time an ounce of alcohol gets in you.
Above all, realize this feeling is temporary. It sucks right now — believe me, I know — but at some point, you won’t feel like this anymore. Pretty soon, you’ll look back on this time and wonder why you were so upset, a liberating feeling that I’m sure will be enhanced when you stumble across your ex’s weird Facebook rants and dumpy-looking new family five years from now.
I’m seeing a guy who is super into feet. I’m fine with that and am game to try anything, but since I’m not really into feet myself, I have no idea how to explore this with him. When I try to, I can’t take it seriously because I don’t know what to do. How do you indulge a foot fetish?
I’m so glad that you brought this up! I’m not really into feet either, and for a long time, I was perplexed about why anyone would be. However, this was way back when I was 21 and had just joined the adult industry. I wasn’t experienced with fetishes, or anything other than vanilla stuff, so I had to really (and I mean really) push myself to get into these new things I was told to perform. But once I got past the initial learning curve, I learned to really appreciate fetishes, particularly of the foot varietal.
Why? Well, feet are special. They’re packed with pleasurable nerve endings, they’re smooth and delicate, and to some, they have a sensual, erotic shape. They’re also directly linked to sexual pleasure and orgasm — when you come, your feet move around and your toes bend and clench a little bit. And even though I can’t say I’m personally turned on by that, after 10 years of foot fetish work, I’ve learned how to tap into these things in order to cater to people’s desires.
The first rule of foot sex is this: It’s okay to laugh. Sex is funny. Foot sex can be particularly so — using a part of your body that has no sexual function as a sexual organ is inherently kind of silly, so it’s totally understandable why you might laugh a little. In fact, I think it’s healthy to — having fun during sex and intimacy is important, and giggling a little might take the edge off if you’re nervous about performing a new sex act you’re not used to. Remember: Good sex isn’t good because it’s super serious and deadpan; it’s good because of connection and intimacy, two things a little humor can really help with.
Next tip: Take him shoe shopping! People with foot fetishes often also have shoe fetishes (though not always), and shopping can be like foreplay to them. Ask him what kind of shoes he’s into, then take him somewhere where you can try on a couple of pairs and walk around in them in front of him. If he’s not sure what he’s into, start with thigh-highs, boots or heels — those tend to be the most popular among people into feet and shoes. Have him buy you the pair that turns him on most, and take them home with you. What you do with them after that is up to you — I’d definitely recommend, though, asking him what scenario he’d like his fetish played out in so you’re not grasping at straws while you’re teetering around in six-inch heels.
If you need further inspiration, watching some foot fetish porn can help when it comes to showing you some ways you can incorporate your feet into sex. Also, the people performing in it usually know how to talk dirty in a foot fetish context, which can be a hot and easy way to indulge your boyfriend’s desires. I’d suggest you get a few key phrases down — e.g., “I love my feet around your cock,” or “Aren’t my toes so pretty when they move up and down your dick?” — and break them out at clutch moments to heighten the mood and get him going.
If you’re okay with it, let your partner massage your feet, bathe them and put them in his mouth. You can also use your feet to give him a foot-job (which is just what it sounds like). Wrap your feet around his shaft and move them up and down like they were your hands. Make eye contact with him while you do it, and he’ll absolutely melt.
Other than that, ask him to be a little more specific about what he wants from you, because foot fetishes are a vast and personal landscape of non-reproductive pleasure. The more he can communicate what he wants, the more equipped you will be to give it to him.
The other day, I was talking to my boyfriend and I brought up the fact that I’d love to go to a sex shop with him and see if there’d be any fun toys or games we could try. He got all weird and responded with, “I don’t need all that stuff, though.” I felt really shut down — I was just trying to be adventurous and fun, but he rejected the idea before I could even explain what I wanted to try. How can I get through to him?
I’ve seen tons of men react to the sex shop idea the way your boyfriend did, and to be honest, it’s really unfortunate. Oftentimes, it’s because they’re intimidated by gadgets and toys because they feel like they’ll replace them, or like having to use a “tool” somehow makes them less of a man (because everyone knows the moment you whip out a clit vibrator, a man’s dick falls off on the other side of the world).
Of course, that’s an inaccurate, insecure way of looking at the situation, because toys can — and do — improve sex, not just for women, but for everyone. That’s because they help close what’s called the orgasm gap, or the discrepancy between how often men and women come during heterosexual sex. According to recent estimates, those numbers are 91 and 64 percent of the time, respectively. If women are coming about a third less than men, isn’t it fair that they get a leg up where they need it?
That’s really where sex toys come in. As research from from Debby Herbenick, director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and a research fellow and sexual health educator at the Kinsey Institute found, only 18.4 percent of female respondents said penetrative sex was enough for an orgasm. That means over 80 percent of women need something more than just vaginal penetration to come. You might want to try explaining it to him that way — while he may not need a toy, you, like many other women, might.
In order to get through to him on a deeper level though, you need to tap into the insecurities and misconceptions he might have about sex toys, which, of course, necessitates a conversation. So, next time you get the chance, gently bring up the instance you outlined above and let him know his reaction made you feel rejected and unheard. Make sure he knows how important a healthy sex life is to you and that opening up the bedroom for some toys is nothing more than an interesting twist you think would help bring you closer together.
More importantly, ask him why he shut down your idea so fast. You might get a useful answer you weren’t expecting, but as is often the case, he might not really be able to tell you why he pooh-poohed your idea. That’s okay — if he can’t give you a good reason, it can open up the door for you to put forth some arguments about why he might want to reconsider his stance. If you need conversational ammo, this article has a ton of research and well-articulated arguments you can familiarize yourself with before you bring it up again with him.
One analogy I find resonates with men particularly well is this: “You wouldn’t build a house without a hammer, so why would you necessarily have sex without sex toys?” Both a hammer and a sex toy are nothing more than tools that improve — not replace — the natural capacities of the human body, and in some cases, it’s hard to do a good job without them. Essentially then, using a tool isn’t a weakness, it’s an enhancement.
Better yet, recommend some toys that will help get him off as well, like the Satisfyer or the Fleshlight Launchpad. Even a vibrating cock ring might help — it’ll keep him harder for longer, make him more sensitive and increase the strength of his orgasms (while also providing some stimulation for you). If he knows you’re envisioning more of a collaborative effort than some sort of technological singularity in which his penis is replaced by machines, there’s a good chance he might be more apt to try.
Also, keep in mind that “toy” doesn’t always mean “industrial-strength vibrator.” There are tons of products out there — from butt plugs to lube to BDSM accessories — so make sure he knows you’re open to looking at everything, not just the vibrator aisle. And hey, you don’t actually have to buy anything either. All you’re really asking for is for him to go with you — it’s okay to take that step first before you put money down on anything.
Hopefully, after you express how important this is to you, he’ll respond in a more positive way. If he doesn’t, you will have to weigh how important this aspect of dating and love is for you. Some women may be able to live without toys in the bedroom. I know I could not.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s column! Feel free to send me your sex, love and relationship questions at firstname.lastname@example.org!