Belly Aches, a.k.a. Fat-Shaming Has Made Me Afraid to Go to The Doctor

There is a sharp pain in my right side and I refuse to go to the doctor about it.

Here is why:

When I was 7, I went to my first fat doctor.

I remember sitting there naked with my father who had brought me in and having these two older men of power judge my young, female body in a way that felt like such a violation of my whole being.

The doctor talked to my father, around me, asking why one of my nipples was different than the other. I remember my father embarrassingly telling the doctor that I played with the bigger one constantly.

Then the doctor wrote down a diet plan, handed it to my father, and told me that if I ever wanted a boyfriend when I grew up, I needed to lose weight.

He then also told me I’d never be able to breast feed my future children if I didn’t stop playing with my nipple. After that, a nurse took my blood and gave me a lollipop for being good.

My mother never seemed to be in any photos, just taking them.

Me, at 7. I’m the chubby exhibitionist in the back.

When I was 13, I got an ovarian cyst.

It was my second time having one, so I knew what I was feeling. It hurt when I walked, it was halfway through my menstrual cycle and the pain was almost unbearable when I pressed against my side.

Still, the young male doctor who pushed his fingers far inside me without a warning and pressed firmly right on the spot where it hurt most of all, didn’t believe me. He made me out to be a hypochondriac, blamed the pain on period cramps (even though I was mid-cycle), and said one cyst was rare enough at my age, the chances are I didn’t have another one.

“I can’t feel one,” he said, “not that I could with your belly in the way.”

He then offered me a prescription for the diet pill Fen/Phen and pointing out my abnormal nipple and pubescent breast growth to a student nurse in the room.

GayKidFace

I was definitely chubby as a kid. And gay. Oh so gay.

When I was 18, I got another ovarian cyst.

And it felt like a repeat of the same nightmare. Again, the young male doctor couldn’t feel anything through my belly and his frustration was taken out by literally yelling at me to lose weight. I yelled back that I wanted an ultrasound and, sure enough, there it was, a massive inflamed cyst.

He still refused to do anything about it and I stayed in bed for two weeks in pain.

When I was 26, my mother got diagnosed with breast cancer and blamed it on her love of ice cream.

Because weight is a factor her doctor listed on reasons why women get breast cancer. She’s also blamed her hesitation to go out in the sun, because lack of Vitamin D is also one of the listed reasons.

When I was 28, I went into Planned Parenthood for an STI screening and got a lecture about my weight.

“You’re doing something about that whole weight thing, right?” the female doctor said, looking at my chart, not at me. “Getting exercise?”

“I ride my bike everywhere and walk for at least an hour a day,” I said, which was true. I had just found out my (thin, considered healthy until he got cancer) brother was going to have his jaw removed, so I was constantly moving my body to keep away the tears.

“Well, make sure you get some cardio in there,” she said, closing my file and dismissing me.

When I was 29, my brother died, and I lost weight, and everyone congratulated me on it.

When I gained it back months later, my aunt warned me about eating my feelings. Then handed me a dozen cupcakes she had brought by for my family.

Just last week, my perfectly healthy friend died of a heart attack.

She was thin and athletic her whole life, the daughter of two physical education teachers. Every doctor I go to warns me that I will die young if I don’t lose weight, but I’ve been to three funerals in two years of people under age 30, all of which were thin.

And yet here I am, still alive.

Photo from my daily walk along the beach, which I do to decompress and keep my body in motion.

Photo from my daily walk along the beach, which I do to decompress and keep my body in motion.

 

There has been a persistent pain in my side for 36-hours and yet because it is in my belly, in my fat, I am afraid to go to a doctor. I am afraid of the poking and prodding into my self-consciousness, afraid that I will waste my time only to hear my issue being blamed on my belly’s size.

At some point, if this pain doesn’t go away, I’ll have to brave a doctor, but for now, I’d rather deal with an unknown pain in my side than step into the nightmare of the doctor’s office.

Photo by J.Robert Williams.

Photo by J.Robert Williams.

 

P.S. Here’s the great conversation that happened when I tweeted out “I hate how much I hesitate to go to the doctor for my stomach issues because I know they’ll just fat shame me.”

 

Having a bad day? We’re giving out free hugs!

Also check out my past post on the #NotYourGoodFatty movement on Twitter.

Posted in Body Positivity, Confessions, Essays, Gluttony, Headline, Health, Personal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Seven Sexy Things to Do With Your Tax Refund

Taxes are a pain in the ass, but like it or not, they’re due today for Americans. If you’re one of the lucky people who got tax refunds (I owe this year – being self-employed is not always sunshine and porn), here are some suggestions for what to do with that extra cash.

1. Save it.

Seriously. To me, one of the sexiest things anyone can do is plan for the future and be fiscally responsible. Here are things I try to have money set aside for (key word try, as a writer, it’s very difficult to have a money buffer):

    • Trips.
    • Retirement (it’s never too early to save for that).
    • A homestead with loads of goats and chickens.
    • A rainy day.

I also try to pay off my debt when possible. Check out Suze Orman’s tools for some tough love advice and help on financial planning. She has a great way of figuring out if you can actually afford to buy something.

2. Have a Staycation

If you’re going to spend that money, spend it on something amazing, like staying in and taking care of yourself. Here are some ideas:

    • Book a hotel room. Raid the mini-bar and watch cheesy in-room movies.
    • Get yourself some of GoodVibe’s body-safe, sex-initiating body rubs, bath bombs and massage bars. Whether used alone or with a special friend, they’re a great way to take your relaxation to a new level.
    • Grab yourself a massage or acupuncture treatment.
    • Visit a local place you’ve never seen. Travel your city like a tourist.

3. Buy Some Quality Porn

Most free stuff on the Internet is crap and steals its content (with the exception of WoodRocket), so you should avoid it. Instead, this tax season treat yourself to some quality porn. Here are some of my favorites:

Oral-Sex-Nikki-Hearts-Rizzo-Ford-CrashPadSeries-Queer-Lesbian-Porn

4. Get a New Book

I’m a sapiosexual, so I think reading is sexy and often spend extra cash on new books. If you’re looking for some ideas for must-read queer literature (or Qliterature as I call it), check out this post on the subject.

I’m also a big fan of audiobooks and recently really loved Elizabeth Gilbert’s Signature of All Things, which isn’t necessarily about sex but has some brilliant commentary on it. It’s long but worth it.

From NYTimes Book Review. Main character from Signature of All Things.

Also, the Harry Potter series on audiobook is the best thing that’s ever happened to my ears.

5. Grab Some Outdoor Gear

Ok, so my inner dyke is shining through with this one, but seriously, the weather is getting to be perfect for spending all day every day outside.

    • Buy a National Parks Pass. Two people can sign it so you can share it with a friend or your partner! The pass is good for one car and you can put as many people in that car as you want, so fill your Subaru to the brim and go explore.
    • Pretty much anything at REI is a justifiable purchase in my opinion. Choose a new sport to try this summer!
    • Buy a bike. I highly suggest adding some streamers to its handlebars. They make me feel like I’m going so fast.
    • Check out these outdoor adventure ideas on Pinterest. Also, I highly suggest the book Glamping by Mary Jane for those who, like me, like to femme it up while roughing it.
My kind of camping.

My kind of camping.

 6. Upgrade Your Sex Toy Collection

Give your bedside table a bit of an upgrade with some of my favorite toys:

7. Donate to Your Favorite Charity

Start your tax breaks for next year now while supporting important causes. If you need ideas of great places, here are some I love and support:

Also check out the massive giveaway JoEllen Notte (The Redhead Bedhead) is doing on her site as a fundraiser for her friend with cancer.

giveaway

Click on the image and you can go to the giveaway fundraiser.

Well those are all of my ideas. How are you planning on spending your refund?

Posted in Books, Featured, Gift Guides, Organizations/Companies, Sex Toys and Porn, Stuff We Love | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Missed My Panels at Catalyst Con East? These Storify Threads Will Fill You in on All the Great Info!

Catalyst Con East was March 14-16 and, true to the theme of the conference, many conversations about sexuality were sparked.

I spoke three times: once as a panelist on the opening keynote, once as a moderator presenter for the The Business of Blogging About Sex workshop and once as a moderator for the discussion Queering the Law: Important Issues Beyond Gay Marriage.

Very excited to be a keynote speaker at Catalyst Con East.

Very excited to be a keynote speaker at Catalyst Con East.

My energy level after speaking that many times dropped drastically (leading me to write this piece about staying in to cry Saturday night of the conference), and I didn’t get a chance to put together a round-up of the conversations. Luckily for all of us, Catalyst Con did it for me through Storify.

To view all of the conference threads, check out Catalyst Con’s Storify page.

My name was on the banner for the keynote!

My name was on the banner for the keynote!

Oh, and also! I hosted a sexual educators Google Hangout, which you can watch on my YouTube channel, and which sparked the Sex Ed Hangout series. Click here to see the series lineup and ask your questions of our sex educators.

Chatting with the world about sex.

Chatting with the world about sex.

Posted in Bloggers, Conversation Starters, Featured, Interviews of Queerie Bradshaw, Other Sites/Blogs, Speaking Gigs/Workshops | Tagged , | Leave a comment

HuffPost Live: What America Gets Wrong About Sex, featuring Joan Price, Margot Harris and Me

Yesterday, I was invited onto HufPost Live to discuss what America gets wrong about sex. Twenty minutes weren’t nearly enough to cover the topic, but I think we did a pretty good job considering our time restraint.

Cheers to my co-panelists Joan Price and Margot Harris for a great conversation.

For more on the article and the interview, check out HuffPost Live.

Posted in Featured, Interviews of Queerie Bradshaw, My Writing Elsewhere, Politics, Video | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Stuff We Love: We-Vibe Tango – Including a Giveaway!

I love the Tango by We-Vibe so much that I’m giving one away! So scroll down to enter to win.

Nope that's not a new lipstick color, it's a new vibrator!

Nope that’s not a new lipstick color, it’s a new vibrator!

OVERVIEW: My new favorite travel companion, the We-Vibe Tango is pure power built into a sleek, compact, waterproof, rechargeable body.

  • Overall Bang for the Buck: 5/5
  • Aesthetics: 5/5
  • Durability: 5/5
  • Kinkiness: 1/5
  • Comfort/Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Realism: N/A
  • Care/Cleanliness: 5/5
  • Partner Play: 3/5
  • Self Love: 5/5
  • The Big “O”: 5/5

Extra added bonus video review!:

These past few weeks have been both exhilarating and exhausting. My career has launched forward while my grief has pulled me back down, and the juxtaposition of the two has me on a roller coaster of emotional tension.

A tension I happily got to release thanks to the We-Vibe Tango.

Everything that comes with your Tango.

Everything that comes with your Tango.

I’m not usually much of a vibrator person, and when I had a Magic Wand, I used it mostly for sore muscles. But sometimes, you just need to get off without having to do much more than hold something against your clit.

It looked so small, I assumed it wouldn't have much power. I was wrong!

It looked so small, I assumed it wouldn’t have much power. I was wrong!

I judged a book by its cover when it came to the Tango. While I don’t like the jack-hammering of harder-core plug-in vibrators like the Magic Wand, I also need something more than the subtle buzz I usually get from smaller bullet vibes.

Tango is not subtle.

Oh god, is Tango not subtle.

You can't quite tell, but it's vibrating my whole hand it's so strong!

You can’t quite tell, but it’s vibrating my whole hand it’s so strong!

This tiny little thing, that fits in my tiny little hands, built me up in a way some toys three times its size haven’t been able to do. I loved the multi-speed settings and the variations in vibrations, as you can see in the video review above.

My only issue with the Tango is how much packaging and waste is thrown out. I understand that companies need to have good marketable boxes for their toys, but the Tango doesn’t need to overcompensate with such a big box. At least it’s all recyclable, though, I’ll give We-Vibe that.

Too much waste.

Too much waste.

The We-Vibe is so subtle and so sleek, I plan on taking it everywhere with me now, including into the tub because I just found out that it is completely waterproof! It also can fit into the base of dildos (tried it on a few Tantus ones, fit like a charm) for people who like to have vibration during penetration.

It comes in pink (check out Epiphora’s rant on why the hell all sex toys for women have to be pink) and blue, and can be bought at SheVibe.com, Babeland.com, GoodVibes.com, or your local sex-positive retailer (check out How to Spot a Great Sex Shop – And Survive a Bad One by JoEllen Notte (The Redhead Bedhead).

Oh and last added bonus! It comes fully charged, so you don’t have to wait. AND that charge last a long time. Mine only just today started flashing on the bottom to let me know it was time to plug in.

All you gotta do is open the box and you're good to go!

All you gotta do is open the box and you’re good to go!

 

Want to win a Tango from We-Vibe to be your very own?

Enter my giveaway below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Big thanks to We-Vibe for providing the Tango for the giveaway!

Don’t want to wait for the giveaway to end? Order one today from onemy favorite sex toy retailers.

Babeland's Best!  Shop our 20th Anniversary collection of game-changing sex toys that make getting off sexier, sweeter and completely satisfying.Good-Vibrations-Logo

 

 

Posted in Featured, Headline, Sex, Sex Toys and Porn, Stuff We Love | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Responding to Fat Shaming, a.k.a. #NotYourGoodFatty Takes Over Twitter, Makes My Day

When I was a kid,  I was literally told I would never find love because I was fat.

Well dad, I found it; on Twitter.

This is Jenn. Jenn taught me a lot about the body-positive movement. And went with me to get milkshakes before she rudely moved to Korea.

This is Jenn. Jenn taught me a lot about the body-positive movement. And went with me to get milkshakes before she rudely moved to Korea.

The body-positive movement that I connected to via fellow bloggers and tweeters has changed the way I hate myself. That is to say, I stopped.* (*Well, try to at least. Keep trying. Always keep trying! Always keep putting posit images in your brain to outdo the negative ones.)

With Jenn showing off our post-cheesefries belly pride.

With Jenn showing off our post-cheesefries belly pride.

Today, I’m especially loving what’s going on on the hashtag #NotYourGoodFatty, which started with this tweet.

Fat people are constantly told they take up too much space, they’re worth less than thin people and that they’re something to be scorned, ridiculed and judged. This all under the premise of saving us from ourselves, from our unhealthy bodies that will kill us prematurely. I could sit here and tell you all about how thin doesn’t equal healthy and the health at every size (HAES) movement, but really, what’s it to you? Don’t I have the right to be unhealthy? Why is it that thin people deserve to eat ice cream but fat people have to justify it to society’s staring gaze.

My friend Jenn Leyva always says “unless you’re close enough to me to care if I floss my teeth, you don’t have a right to talk to me about your issues with my weight and what it might mean for my health.” Agreed. Except I’d like to add that no one in my life gets to ask me about my weight. People close to me can ask me if I’ve moved my body away from the computer to give it a rest today, if I’ve made sure to eat something that gives my body fuel, if I’ve meditated, if I’ve stretched and if I’ve made my word count on my novel for the day – all things I’ve asked them to make sure I do daily. If you ask me what I weigh, if you tell me I need to lose weight, if you mention a scale or a number that scale is “supposed” to be at in my presence, I will not be a good fatty. I will not shamefully mumble something, explain away my fat, feel ashamed that my number is higher than your arbitrary standards. I will be like these people:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to these people, and so many others like them on and offline, I’ve been able to get to a point where I don’t eat milkshakes in shame, cover my body in public and hate my body needlessly.

Double fisting in public.

Double fisting in public.

And I’ve been able to help others do the same.

So thanks Twitter. I owe you a milkshake.

2013-05-20 21.48.14

 

Posted in Bloggers, Body Positivity, Featured, Politics, Stuff We Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Queens Watching Queens, a.k.a. My Nights Hanging with Bianca Del Rio in NYC

Bianca del Rio is a bitch, and I fucking love her for it.

Bianca del Rio

Years ago, while I was interning with Curve Magazine, I met this guy named Matt at a gay ski week in Tahoe.

Matt has the best smile ever.

Matt has the best smile ever.

Matt worked as a cameraman for Logo TV and was there to record the super gay shit that went down that weekend. Even though I was there with The Wind (my ex), I still spent the weekend trying to befriend Matt to get to his super hot (possibly) lesbian friend.

The friend ended up being interested in everything but me, and Matt ended up becoming one of my best friends.

Matt and I getting pedicures in NYC, June 2009.

Matt and I getting pedicures in NYC, June 2009.

A year and a half after Tahoe, I made my first trip to NYC to visit Matt, and on that trip he took me to a bar where a friend of his named Bianca something-or-other was doing some kind of show.

“Whatever you do, don’t go on stage!” he warned as we walked in.
“But I like being on stage!” I said, always the attention whore.
“Not on Bianca’s stage you won’t!” he said, finding us seats.

When the show started, I got why Matt had forced my hand down when Bianca asked for volunteers. She was vicious, in quite an ingenious way. She tore people apart while smiling at them, making even her victims laugh uncontrollably and forgive her hilarious, yet about as far from politically correct as possible, jokes.

Thus began my love for Bianca del Rio.

Bianca and me in NYC, March 2014.

Bianca and me in NYC, March 2014.

Every time I visited Matt in New York – which is luckily quite often – we’d head over to a Bianca show and dance then laugh then dance again, all the while taking shots of vodka that Bianca would just show up with and hand us. Bianca is as generous with her booze as she is with her insults.

I blame many a painful morning on that bitch.

St. Patrick's Day celebrating at the Bianca show, 2014

St. Patrick’s Day celebrating at the Bianca show with green drinks, 2014

I’ve seen Bianca perform dozens of times, but I’ve only once gone on stage after some jealous blonde at a lesbian bar stole my wallet. Bianca dragged me up there and insisted the crowd prove to me that fags in New York are nicer than dykes and buy me drinks all night.

Then she made some random guy and I have a dance off and she let me win. Then I made out with two sisters and Bianca and Matt saved me from being thrashed in a fight between the two of them.

It was so great, there’s a whole chapter in my memoir dedicated to that night.

Bianca, Matt and I in NYC, July 2012.

Bianca, Matt and I in NYC, July 2012.

My love for Matt and Bianca swelled even more when I read the at once hilarious and touching screenplay to Hurricane Bianca, a film they’re fundraising to make.

The movie – a comedy about a New York teacher who moves to small Texas town, is fired for being gay, and returns disguised as a mean lady to get revenge on the nasty town – is going to be amazing, and you all should go sponsor it so you can get a personalized moment of hate from Bianca like I did.

Need more convincing? Check out this post I wrote on why you should support queer film, and specifically this film. Wondering why you, as a lesbian, should support a gay male film? Well, Bianca has the answers for you here:

She drove a UHaul across country. What more can you ask for?

Go donate now!

Go donate now!

If you can’t make it to see Bianca in person in NYC or on tour, you can fall in love with  her on Season 6 of Drag Race, airing now on Logo.

But, if you’re lucky enough to be in the NYC area, I highly suggest getting your ass off the couch and heading down to The Ritz where she hosts a viewing of Drag Race followed by a show every Monday night.

On St. Patrick's Day 2014 she had Gia Gunn and Vivacious as guests.

On St. Patrick’s Day 2014 she had Gia Gunn and Vivacious as guests.

Whatever you do, don’t go on stage.

 

Posted in Drinks, Featured, Film, People, Sinful Misadventures, Stuff We Love, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

New Strip Club Opening in Portland, a.k.a. The Most Hipster Place You’ll Ever Visit

There’s a new strip club opening this weekend in Portland, Oregon that will officially be the most hipster strip club that has ever existed.

The new club, named Loof Lirpa and located in SE Portland, will:

  • Be dog friendly, with discounts for people who bring in a rescued pit-bull
  • Serve vegan, gluten-free food
  • Feature strippers who will also be barristers serving cold-brewed or Chemex coffee from small organically farmed beans they roasted in house
  • Offer local craft beers and cocktails
  • Be ran by an anarchist cooperative full of intersectional feminists
  • Offer a discount if you bring your own Mason jar
  • Play all of the music on vinyl
  • Have only bike paths to get there, no roads
  • If you walk there, you have to do so on stilts
  • Offer eggs from chickens in the backyard behind the club
  • Provide lube in the nudey booths made from the milk of the goats that share the backyard with the chickens
  • Have a giant disco ball, made from recycled glass
The Most Hipster Strip Club Ever

My Mock-Up of The Most Hipster Strip Club Ever

We can’t wait to visit the place!

(P.S. Happy April Fools Day!)

 

Posted in Stuff We Love | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Hang Out Online With Sex Educators, a.k.a. A Series of Online Chats with Sex Educators and YOU!

I want to have lots and lots of conversations about sex, and I want to have them with experts in the field and, most importantly, with you my readers!

So, I’ve decided to do a series of LIVE interviews with some of the top people in the field of sex and sexuality.

During an OnAir Hangout (a Google feature that anyone can use for free), you can anonymously or publicly ask questions of sex educators and have them answered live. You can also email your questions ahead of time to info@queeriebradshaw.com.

Our first chat was a success, and is available to watch on YouTube, as will be all our chats after they’re done.

Here’s the sex educator chat line-up for April:

Ask a Dominatrix Mommy Blogger, a chat with Mona Darling
April 2, 3:30-4pm Pacific

Chat About Sex-Positivity, Sex Education and SexGeekdom with Kate McCombs
April 8, 3-3:30pm Pacific

Superhero Sex Shops and Choosing a Safe Sex Toy, a Chat with JoEllen Notte (Redhead Bedhead)
April 17, 6-6:30pm Pacific

Talking Phone Sex with Ashley Manta
April 18, 3-3:30pm Pacific

Put This In You, Not That!, a chat about sex toys with Epiphora
April 18, 6-6:30pm Pacific

 

Can’t make it to a chat?

Don’t worry, you can send your questions to info[at]queeriebradshaw[dot]com beforehand and watch the chat on YouTube.com/QueerieBradshaw any time after.

Posted in Bloggers, Conversation Starters, Dating, Featured, Guides, Headline, Queerie Bradshaw, Queerie Me (Advice Column), Relationships, Sex, Stuff We Love | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Ten Tips for a Successful Long-Distance Relationship (Including Friendships!)

Between my frequent travels and my tendency to fall in love with people from other cities, I’ve become an expert on making long distance relationships work. So, I thought I’d combine the knowledge I’ve learned through my experiences here for you in this useful list.

These tips don’t have to just be limited to romantic relationships, they’re also helpful ways to stay connected with friends who live far away!

10 Tips for

1. Share a Calendar

My best friend and I have a “Befri Bonzanza” calendar where we put in all the plans we have to hang out, or big events in the other person’s life that we should know about. For example, I’m visiting her in San Francisco right now and staying for a week. So, we marked all of our get togethers and important events I shouldn’t miss in a calendar. That helped me remember when I had plans to hang out with her and when I could make plans to have business meetings or hang with other friends.

We marked all our important get togethers for the week (hmm, they're all happy hours... we are lushes) and an important event I shouldn't miss (her husband's talk).

We marked all our important get togethers for the week (hmm, they’re all happy hours… we are lushes) and an important event I shouldn’t miss (her husband’s talk).

I should say, however, that my partner is against a shared calendar. It makes her feel like we are business associates in an office, not lovers in a relationship. She wants flexibility, hates the formality of a set time on a calendar, and in general gets frustrated when I want to (over) plan things, especially because it’s usually my schedule that changes at the last minute, not hers.

I, however, am a total planner, so calendars help me find a path in a busy day and make me less nervous that I’ll miss something important. Along with the usual work stuff, my calendar is chock full of reminders like “M’s brother died a week from today – send her a card” and “Alex is hiking today, give her space but check in around 5pm to make sure she wasn’t eaten by a Mountain Lion.”

Your brain may be able to remember it all, but when you’re juggling work and travel like I am, it’s hard to keep all the balls in the air. Sharing a calendar with a friend or lover, or inviting them to an event which puts it on their calendar, is an easy way to make sure you don’t forget something and hurt someone’s feelings.

Google calendars are my favorite because they are free and an easy way to set up a shared calendar. It also syncs with any smart phone, computer or similar device. But you can definitely have a shared physical calendar as well, just make sure to update it regularly.

2. Read a Book Together

My partner and I are both sapiosexuals (are you one? check out my seven signs you’re a sapiosexual post), so the idea of sharing a book is highly exciting (and slightly erotic) to both of us.

The hardest part is choosing a book that piques both of your interest. Alex is very much into literary fiction, sociological non-fiction and heavier reads. While I enjoy the intellectual expansion those books give me when I make it through them, I tend to lean more towards the kind of books I can escape into, which includes young adult fiction, the latest book that’s being turned into a movie, or memoir.

Alex and I sat together and started this book, and then finished it separately together.

Alex and I sat together and started this book, and then finished it separately.

Our first book together was Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior, and she finished it in two weeks while I took two months (I finished two YA novels before it). For our next round, we decided to gift each other books we had loved, and then read them together. She gave me Alice Munro’s Dear Life, I gave her Harry Potter. Both of us were shocked the other hadn’t read our suggestion, both of us have yet to read either book.

We obviously haven’t found the perfect balance of how to read a book together, but we keep trying! And so should you, because once we finished Flight Behavior it was really great to talk with her about it.

3. Phone Sex

I love a good phone sex session. I love hearing my partner’s breath quicken, hearing moans and she comes. I love being loud and raspy and boisterous as I come. I love it all.

Any tips I’d give you about phone sex would come from Ashley Manta’s A Feminist’s Guide to Phone Sex, so go download that. It’s free!

Go download it for free at FriskyFeminist.com.

Go download it for free at FriskyFeminist.com.

4. Trinkets

When days are rough, it’s nice to cuddle into your partner’s arms and get comfort. But what do you do when those arms are far away?

Having trinkets, doodads, tidbits, or other such memorabilia around to help you feel loved is important when your friend or partner isn’t there to comfort you in person. Last month, I was battling a particularly rough bout of depression in which it was impossible for me to understand why someone would love me. My partner was miles away at the time and phone calls just weren’t really working.

Being the crafty person she is, my partner presented me with a clear jar with a bright yellow lid the next time I saw her. In that jar, dozens of colorful papers hearts sat folded in half, each one containing a hand-written reason she loves me. “Anytime you feel unlovable,” she said, holding me tightly, “just open this jar and read all the ways you are wonderful. You can take one at a time, or dump them all out and bathe in them, it’s up to you.”

Three of the cards Alex gave me.

Three of the cards Alex gave me.

I brought five of these hearts on my tour to DC, NYC and SF and had a bit of her love with me to keep me sane when things got rough.

If you’re looking for crafty relationship ideas like this one, check out this relationship craft board on Pinterest.

 

5. Skype/Facetime/Hangouts

Sometimes, I just need to see my baby’s face. Sure, we tend to spend the whole time staring at each other, but there’s something comforting in seeing her smile. It’s an especially good way to deal with times when texts have led to a miscommunication and we just need to calm and comfort each other.

 

6. Postcards and Love Letters

Yes, I am a writer, so yes, I am going to preach the importance of writing letters. Always. Forever. I teach a whole class on how to use writing to enhance your sex life, that’s how much I think writing is important to a relationship.

Texts come and go. I send about 1000 a week. Emails get buried in my box and never see the light of day again. But I have almost every single love letter a partner has handed me.

Letters give us something concrete, a way to know that someone took the time to find a piece of paper and a pen, put a stamp on it, and put it in the mail.

Love letter I wrote to Alex while teaching in Seattle.

Love letter I wrote to Alex while teaching in Seattle.

When I’m traveling, I like to send postcards from places to people I miss while I’m there. My nieces and nephews especially love this touch, it makes them feel like they’re traveling with me.

Everyone loves getting mail, and a letter is a great way to show your affection and connect with someone.

7. Movie Dates

One of my favorite things to do is go to a movie, and I miss the ability to do that with partners or friends that are long-distance. Years ago, my ex The Wind suggested that we watch the same movie over the phone. This was long before Netflix and we both had to go to the movie store and call each other to see what they mutually had in stock. In VHS.

These days, with streaming video and the ability to share each other’s screens,

8. Listen to Your Partner

I asked Alex what advice she would recommend.

Be open minded. Understand your partner’s needs and understand that you may not always be the one who can satisfy those needs.

We learned a lot about what does and doesn’t work for our relationship simply through writing and talking about this post. For example, I now know that she does not want to schedule phone conversations but is open to scheduling longer dates. And she now knows that I am so old I picked out VHS movies with my ex.

9. Share Photo Albums

For Christmas last year, I made Alex a photo album chronicling our adventures together throughout the year. I love flipping through it and seeing where we’ve been.

If you’re less of the craft type, or you’d like something more immediately tangible, there are lots of ways to share photos online, including a build in shared album feature on iPhone that I use with Alex. My buddy Mona Darling and I use shared folders a lot when we’re at events with each other. It’s an easy way to reminisce about an event later.

Alex and my shared folder.

Alex and my shared folder on my phone.

I know some couples that use private Tumblrs with passwords as a way to share erotic photos, sweet messages and other tidbits with each other. It also can be a great way to show each other’s sexual interests. For example, if you both reblog a photo of rope bondage, you might want to talk about incorporating that into your sex life.

For advice on how to do that, check out Queeraschino Cherry’s Love Hurts: A Consent-Based Guide to Kink.

10. Ask Others For Advice

I find some of my best solutions come from others who have been there as well. Here’s what Twitter had to say about long-distance relationships:

 

 

 

 

 Are you in an LDR? How do you keep it healthy and happy?

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