Block Your Ex + Phone Sex

And other helpful love advice

Hello again, I’m back with a choose your own adventure about how to celebrate, or not celebrate, Valentine’s Day. Like the Bear Grylls adventure game on Netflix where you can, yes, get him to eat poop!

If you want something beautiful, kind of sad, and mostly about my dog, read this love letter I wrote to Clementine last year. She’s the best thing my ex gave me, and reframing my relationship around that has been so freeing.

If you’re struggling to navigate an open relationship in these weird digital times, perhaps you want to read this piece I wrote a while back:

The Struggle of Setting Digital Boundaries in an Open Relationship

If you’re on the fence about said digital boundaries, or spending time lurking and projecting and marinating in someone else’s relationship, here’s a piece on unfollowing my ex and how blissful it was:

It’s one thing to know the obvious — that lurking in the shadows of my ex’s new relationship was not exactly picturesque self-care — and another to actually do something about it. Especially when doing something about it was just a finger tap of “unfollow,” something that felt so intangible, so meaningless, that I couldn’t fathom that it would actually change how I felt about our relationship, and how much I still thought about, in my life offline.

But following him was taking a toll on my digital and analog health. It was exhausting, eating away mental space in ways I didn’t even fully realize until he was (virtually) gone.

Ghosting

If you need a low stakes rabbit-hole to get lost in, I highly recommend the saved highlights on awardsforgoodboys. Linked some of my favorites below. 

I’m going to write more about ghosting for subs newsletter but TLDR: the past year has been chaos and go easy on yourself if you’ve been ghosted or you’ve done ghosting. It’s really hard to not take personally, but you’ll feel a lot better if you can separate it from anything to do with your worth.

I also think: time is really porous right now. I recently got back in touch with someone I’d been chatting to early last year. I thought we’d both kind of mutually ghosted each other, turns out? Strangers you want to flirt with / fuck in some nebulous future are probably not top of mind, right now. Which is to say, I personally am a huge believer in a double text, or a loop back months later. You never know!

How to make (phone) sex less awkward, with advice from Fancy Feast: 

A post shared by Fancy Feast (@fancyfeastburlesque)

“In order to satisfy my need for novelty, I started working as a phone sex operator in late December. So far it feels like my core competency, given that my background is in sex education, improv, performance, and mental health. So much of my work in that job is about deep listening with total strangers. It makes my job better, easier, more satisfying, when the caller is up front with me about what he is into. I don't enjoy the expectation that I will be a mind reader. When someone can say, "I would love for you to tie me to your bed and torture my nipples," or "I want you to be my fembot, slowly realizing that you are a machine and not a human," I'm more apt to have fun regardless of the dude's fetish. 

That doesn't apply just to phone sex work. I think most everyone is put at ease by clarity and specificity. And yet, most of us get cagey or awkward about providing that to other people. Of course, the conversations I am having are transactional in nature, and anonymous, so the interpersonal stakes are different, but I do think we could all practice modeling the kind of communication that we would want from sexual partners. Saying, "I think you're hot and I would love to make out with you" can feel vulnerable to say, but can be oh so lovely to hear from a special someone. I don't think reducing awkwardness needs to be the goal all of the time. What would be different if we focused on having the most fun possible, instead?

The roleplay I do can get baroque sometimes, because people are into some truly extraordinary things. I keep things grounded by focusing on sensory information: in the scene, what are we hearing, tasting, feeling, smelling, seeing? The human mind is fucking powerful, and I love transporting people into their fantasies. If you haven't had phone sex this pandemic, I highly recommend it. It's gentle escapism, a lost art, and a great way to unspool fantasies that feel unrealizable in person or too scary to talk about face to face.

She’s full of good advice, and writes about sex and dating in a really unique way. Follow her on Twitter! And go have some phone sex!

If you were wondering, my attempts have gone great.

ID: a screenshot of a text between Shelby and a suitor. He texts “I would like to hear you cum later if you’re going to” to which Shelby responds with a video of Diego Luna talking about Jabba the Hutt. She then says “bad time to send that.”

Covid Breakups

Level up your self love:

This newsletter from a few weeks ago is about friend breakups and sex toys, so highly recommend diving in if you haven’t. Here are some further thoughts about jerking off:

If you’re alone this Valentine’s day, or Face-timing with a lover, or don’t give a shit, I suggest being very intentional about self-love, if you’re feeling up to it. I’m serious, make this a ritual. This is not a business cum, where you’re getting it out of your system. No no, you are a god/goddess. Your body is incredible, no one knows it better than you. Set mood lighting or light a candle, put on some fun music or at least turn off the extremely not-applicable to orgasm show you’re watching. Put on something that makes you feel incredible, whether that’s nothing or a sexy something. Take a shower, moisturize, put some body oil on, obsess over yourself. Indulge! If you have someone in your life who wants to watch, consider letting them—or just letting them listen. If you want to do a sexy thing that requires them to do nothing (or vice versa) have them listen with strict rules that they aren’t allowed to say anything. (Except, perhaps, your name).

Related: straight dudes can send hot nudes. And should do so. Practice a bit. Give us something to work with here, guys! Some general suggestions include: lighting. Turn A SINGLE LIGHT ON. Making sure the background isn’t too chaotic, a shower pic often solves this problem. Get creative! Wear something cute! Be flirty! Get over yourself! Don’t take this so seriously, but do give us a thirst trap. It doesn’t even need to be dick focused, if you have a dick. Give us some good angles, give us a tantalizing tease. I don’t want the disembodied abs. Give me art. Thank you.

Related things to read: 

How to respectfully simp?

This is a question I was asked and I love it. I think that if you can 1) keep the boundaries of this being a stranger / parasocial internet person in mind, then 2) sending supportive messages or expressing interest can be really sweet and nice. Granted, not everyone is interested in that! And consent—exists! I.e., don’t slide in with a nude, and if you never get a response to your nice message, that’s fine. You’re not a loser, they are probably inundated with messages. No hard feelings!

Most people appreciate being told their work resonates. Some people really love to hear that they look really beautiful in that most recent picture. Some people don’t! I’d suggest following for a while / watching stories / reading things to get a general sense of what someone is into. But don’t assume anything, and also, don’t be a creep. I’ll keep thinking on this, feel free to drop me suggestions.

Opener for online dating?

“Hi INSERT NAME LOVE TO USE A NAME I love ________ [insert something specific about their profile]. How are you doing today?”

That’s usually mine, I know it’s boring. I try not to overthink it or push too hard right off the bat unless that feels really natural. Otherwise I like to just try and get the conversation going, and give the person on the other end something tangible to respond to. I have had phases of doing “comedy things” like asking people what sort of animal they’d ride into battle if they could make any animal, big or small, riding size…but honestly, it’s twee and cringe and boring. Humor also rarely translates on dating apps. Just talk to each other, lol.

What’s the importance of humor in a relationship?

Recently someone asked if they could stay in a long, committed relationship with someone who didn’t make them laugh, but who was super nice. I asked people what they thought about this, and thought the answers were really poignant. Here’s the main gist: 

  • Comedian and funny to you are very different. If they can laugh at themselves / share a general sense of humor, yes! 

  • Why don’t they make you laugh? That’s a question to probe 

  • As long as they laugh at my jokes, it’s fine

  • It’s so boring when they’re nice and not funny and you should be into it but aren’t - that’s okay! 

  • Not a dealbreaker. There’s joy in kindness and silences 

  • Laugh with is more important than laugh at. Again, the shared sense of humor seems key.  

  • I’d accept not witty but knows what to laugh at / isn’t uptight 

Tines for You:

Alright folks - we love you (me and Clem) and are sending good vibes in these hell times, just in time for Monetize Your Romance and Feel Ashamed If You’re Single Because Good Workers Produce Babies To Enter The Workforce day. Whatever you’re doing or not doing, be easy on yourself, okay? This whole world, social media, isolation—it’s hard right now, whether you’re with someone or not. Take a deep breath. Text a few friends that you love them, because we know romantic love (or the type of romantic love for fucking people, I personally feel romance in all my friendships) isn’t the only way.

xo,
shelby + clem