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.
I just got engaged, which I’m really happy about, but I’m not really a “traditional wedding” person. I want to shake things up a bit; I’m just not sure how much. Should I take my fiancée’s last name? Can I pitch in on the engagement ring? Where do I draw the line between “millennial modern” and just plain crazy?
I’m not sold at all on wedding traditions. Here’s why: originally, marriage was designed to be transaction between a woman’s father and her necessarily male suitor. It was a way to make money via the bestowal of a dowery, or to increase one’s social status by combining property or material goods. We don’t usually marry for these reasons anymore, so why hang on to the traditions that accompanied them?
For that reason, I love mixing traditions with modern elements, and it’s perfectly okay for you to do the same. Where you draw the line between the two is up to you, but one easy way to make your marriage your own is to keep your last names. Doing so implies independence from your partner and acknowledges your marriage is more than just a merger, two things marriages didn’t always prioritize. It also lets you carry on your family name, a major reason why I’ll be keeping mine. My last name helps me keep my father’s memory alive — he passed away recently — so it’s important to me that it stays with me no matter what relationship I’m in.
If that doesn’t appeal to you, you can always hyphenate your last names, make up a new one entirely, or if the marriage is a heterosexual one, flip the script by having the man take the woman’s last name (I love the sound of that, but I’m guessing most men wouldn’t do it).
Next order of business: wedding rings. Lately, I’ve been pondering what my dream wedding ring (and wedding) would look like. A lot of Pinterest and Instagram-inspired fantasies come to mind — I’m a real slut for princess cuts, apparently — but those ring dreams just aren’t realistic. I work a job that has a substantial income while my partner, although extremely creative and successful, is still in school. Why would I expect him to bankrupt himself on a fantasy ring for me? It doesn’t make financial or logistical sense.
What does make sense is this: If I really want something and I’m able to afford it, I should purchase it for myself. So, unless he feels financially responsible and stable enough to purchase my dream ring, then I will happily offer to pay for it. Does this go against tradition? Most certainly. Do I care? Most certainly not. The most important part of marriage to me is the commitment you make to one another and the idea of love that fuels it in the first place. Where the ring came from — or having a ring at all — is beside the point.
That said, I still have so-called “traditional” ideations about my perfect ceremony and how I want to be proposed to. I want an intimate beach wedding, and I want my partner, not me, to pop the question. But that’s the beauty of marriage — you can make it your own. So don’t be afraid to switch things up and do whatever makes you happy!
I’m a straight guy and I usually give everyone hugs, but someone recently commented that they felt like it was just an excuse to touch them. I was upset because it was a genuine expression of friendliness and I don’t want to cross anyone’s boundaries. How should I navigate hugging these days?
I think this is something that #MeToo has made many men aware of, and I can understand how it could be confusing for some of you to go from a world where you think your hugs are friendly to one in which they’re treated as threatening. Thing is, the feelings you’re being made aware of are feelings many people have had long before #MeToo; it’s just that the movement has made it easier for people to speak up about it.
Just today, I had a conversation with my boyfriend about not wanting people to touch me unless I know them and I want them to. I explained to him that it’s not that I think all men are hugging me in order to cop a feel (I don’t). It’s that I’m triggered by the action.
Why? Hugs are intimate. They’re a full-body contact sport. For a few seconds, you’re completely enveloped in someone else’s body, going skin-to-skin or and cheek-to-cheek, smelling their shampoo and aftershave and getting a really quick lesson on what their body feels like. That kind of intimacy and touch with someone you don’t know or trust isn’t really appropriate. Whether you meant to enforce that on someone or not is irrelevant — a person can feel violated by it either way.
Minutes after my conversation with my boyfriend, I was hugged by a man even after I extended my hand for a shake. Don’t be that guy. Ask first instead. I want to live in a world where my future children have the option of opting out of hugs if they please, and I think we can all agree that we should have a choice in being touched, even if it’s meant to be friendly.
So, here’s my rule: Extend your hand the first time you meet someone new. If you see them again, ask for permission to hug them. If you already know them and they’ve been enthusiastically hugging you back for years, you’re probably good.
That’s it, plain and simple.
I’ve been with my wife for a long time, but we never kiss anymore. In fact, she always pulls away when I try. Why do you think that is, and what should I do?
To be honest, I love kissing, but as a sex worker, I have a weird relationship with it. It’s a really intimate act, but intimacy isn’t exactly what I’m going for with the significant amount of partners I have in my line of work. Part of not getting attached to them is avoiding kissing, and so, much like the stereotype of a man, I often just launch right into sex — straight from talking to cunnilingus. Not very romantic, I know.
Recently, I realized that old habit has bled over into my personal relationships. Just like with my work partners, I neglect make-out sessions with my real partners. I don’t do this on purpose — it’s totally subconscious — but I believe it could be a barrier to intimacy between us. When I brought this up to my boyfriend, he said that in his previous relationship, kissing was always more of a priority and that he feels like I don’t like kissing him.
My heart dropped when I heard that. I felt like I’d been living with a serious intimacy issue that I’d never recognized. I want to be closer to my boyfriend, so from this point forward, I’m making an effort to kiss and make out with him whenever possible. There are so many benefits to doing so — kissing helps you suss out chemistry, releases happy hormones and creates feelings of trust and attachment between you and your partner(s).
Why am I telling you all this? Because it might be possible that, like me, your wife is simply unaware of how her lack of interest in kissing is affecting you. Like my boyfriend, you need to explain to her how the way she ignores it makes you feel and what you need from her to feel more connected and intimate. It might also be possible that your wife is purposefully avoiding being intimate and vulnerable with you. In that case, you might want to talk to a professional who can help you understand why and what to do about it.
In the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt to make sure your hygiene is up to snuff. There’s nothing worse than bad breath or weird body smells, so make sure your teeth are brushed, your face is clean and that your beard is free of pizza crumbs and beer froth.
Feel free to send me your sex, love and relationship questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.