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Author Archives: Noah


I Still Hate-Stalk My Exes (And So Can You!)

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[Editor’s note: I do not advocate actual stalking.]

Nearly two years ago–okay, one year and eight months ago–my longest and strongest relationship ended. Actually, “ended” is a mild word for what happened. The relationship combusted.

Image: Footage of a nuclear bomb detonation.

Big boom.

The breakup started off fairly amicable. I was living in New Hampshire at the time (where I’d moved to be with him for his final year of college), and he was doing an internship in New York City. Our communication was faltering. Our dialogue was stilted. His “I love you” sounded like about as genuine as a three-year-old’s “I’m sorry.” So I asked if he wanted to break up–assuring him that I did not want to break up–and he said yes.

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Social Theory

Your Ugly Fantasy Does Not Make You Ugly

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[Content Warning: Discussion of rape, sexual violence, racism, misogyny, etc.]

Sorry about the long delay between posts. I’ve been trying to find the words for this one and they just weren’t coming.

Today I want to talk about fantasies, kinks, and fetishes. This is a hard topic for me to write about, because I wish I could simply tell you that your fantasies and preferences are 100% fine and good.

I can’t, though.

Don’t get me wrong; fantasies can be wonderful and healthy, and everyone has them. But they also tend to reflect the worst parts of society: violence, racism, sexism, ableism, and more. In this post, I want to talk about how to turn your ugly fantasy into something healthy for you and your partners.

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Good At Dating, Bad At Love

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My partner and I had an excellent first date. Perfect, in fact – so perfect that I almost declined a second one.

giphy why

Hear me out!

I’d been down that road before. First dates are my jam. My friends sometimes joke about the “Noah Effect,” wherein people whom I’ve barely met become deeply, passionately convinced that I am their perfect lover. Despite (or perhaps because of) my extreme awkwardness and propensity for over-sharing, people keep deciding that they really, really like me after one or two conversations.

“Boo hoo, you’re likable. How is that a problem?”

Being likable is not a problem. Everyone is likable; some of us just make better first impressions. What I’ve realized, however, is that I am compulsively likable. I care deeply about how people – especially romantic prospects – view me, and when I first meet people I cannot stop myself from turning into Fantasy Noah: the version of me that has all of the good stuff and none of the bad. I want so badly to make a good impression that I forget to make a real one.

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Mythbusting Sex Ed

Things You Should Know About STIs (But Probably Don’t)

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Last year was not a great year for me, health-wise. I got shingles, pneumonia, and the flu. I had to get an endoscopy because of stress-related indigestion. I twisted my knee while snowboarding and couldn’t run for a month.

Also, I got my first STI. And then I got my second.

For the uninitiated, STI stands for “sexually transmitted infection.” Most of us grew up calling them STDs. Most of us were also instilled with a deep fear of them – and not much else. We were taught that people who got STIs are morally decrepit, physically loathsome, and doomed to die, but we weren’t taught about how they are treated, how to talk to our partners about them, or how to test for them responsibly.

So when I got scabies, the first thought that ran through my head was, “This is the worst thing that has ever happened,” and the second was, “My partners are going to hate me.”

You’re saying I have a totally treatable infection that can be cured with a single pill? Goodbye, cruel world!

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Relationships Sex Ed Social Theory

Beyond “Yes Means Yes:” Navigating Differences in Desire

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Have you ever not known whether you’d like to have sex?

Try this scenario on for size: You’re at a party. You’re sober enough to give consent. You’ve been talking to (and dancing with!) someone who you’re very attracted to. They turn to you and ask, very respectfully, “Want to go back to my place?”

Or this one: You’ve just gotten home from work. You and your long-term partner are preparing dinner together. The two of you are laughing and having a great time. Your partner looks particularly good this evening, and apparently they think the same of you, because suddenly they turn and ask mischievously, “Can we go to the bedroom?”

Or even this one: You wake up in bed with your partner. You’re both obviously aroused. “Sex?” says your partner.

For many folks, those are pretty straightforward questions. If you’re anything like me, however, here are some things that might pop into your head when your partner pops the question:

  1. Yes! But no! But yes. But… no? But… !
  2. Sex sounds nice, but so does a long, intense conversation.
  3. That sounds like a whole lot of effort.
  4. I don’t know!!

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Dating Relationships

Is Honesty the Best Policy? (or: Sex Educators Have Feelings, Too)

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This will be a long, GIFless post. Please don’t kick me off of the internet.

Recently, a partner of mine texted me to let me know that although he was open to continuing to see me, he wasn’t feeling the level of physical attraction that he’d hoped for.

I didn’t react amazingly. I didn’t react horribly, either. I took a few cheap jabs and ultimately told him that perhaps we shouldn’t see each other anymore; being physical with someone who wasn’t attracted to me would not feel good.

Reflecting on the situation, I’m struck most by the fact that throughout the exchange, he operated under the assumption that the most important thing was to be honest with me, that I deserved to know how he felt about my body. When it became apparent that I was upset, he asked me to consider my role as a sex educator – was it right of me to be offended simply because he wasn’t attracted to me?

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Why Does Sex Turn Us Into Awkward Fools?

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Usually when people ask me about sex, they’re concerned with mechanics (how to make the tingly feelings happen) or communication (how to have good sex). The other day, however, I was asked a question that wasn’t as easily categorizable: “Why is it so awkward when you see someone you’ve had sex with?”

Truthfully, I have no clue. In an ideal world we wouldn’t feel awkward; we’d be able to acknowledge our sexual experiences, learn from them, and then move on. That’s certainly how I try to operate. But even so, seeing past partners often makes me feel weak-kneed, ill, and over-caffeinated. My stomach feels like it’s about to implode. My linguistic powers dissolve into a particularly unpalatable form of word soup and the most I can muster is usually a forced, “Hihellohowareyouokaynicegoodbye.”

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What is Good Sex?

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Happy New Year, folks. Now that the ~*holidaze*~ are past, I’ll be more diligent about posting here. Today, though, I want to talk to you about a little-known secret: good sex is simple.

It is!

Hey, I never said it was easy. Hear me out:

Good sex does not have to be great sex. Great sex leaves our bodies and minds fulfilled–fantasies are realized, parts fit together, the earth tremors, the gods smile. Good sex, on the other hand, doesn’t have to feel amazing. It just has to be fun for everybody involved.

I make this distinction because it’s impossible to have great sex every time you have sex. It’s especially hard to have great sex with a new partner, and (because bodies and minds are unpredictable) it can even be hard to have great sex with a long-term partner. Aspiring to great sex is fine and good, but expecting it–or needing it–sets us up to be disappointed in our bodies, our partner(s), and ourselves.

Realistically, it’s pretty hard to have good sex every time. But that’s why you’re here, right? The good news is that good sex is… yes, simple. Here a few tips:

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Good Sex, Bad Sex Ed, and the Virgin Mary

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It seems fitting to begin a sex advice blog just before Christmas.

See, I teach sex education to high school students. On my first day of class I pose a fairly standard question to my students: “Where do babies come from?” They blink back at me, unsure what sort of answer I’m looking for, so I finish the thought for them. “Sex,” I say. “Babies come from sex.”

One boy raises his hand. “What about the Virgin Mary?”

I scratch my head. I’m Jewish, so Mary and I don’t have much of a history. “Well,” I say finally, “I guess she skipped the fun part.”

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