Trusting a Cheater

Let’s tackle another reader’s question!

Question: I love my boyfriend and mostly trust him. But he’s had a history of cheating. He’s about to leave on an extended business trip, and I’m worried the distance will lead him back to his old ways. How can I get rid of these fears? Can you trust a man who has cheated?

Answer: Cheating is typically a symptom and not the problem. Are both of you interested in working on your relationship and getting to the root of the problem? Is your boyfriend willing to figure out what led him to cheat in the first place? If so, a licensed therapist would be in the best position to help as you process your relationship problems and try to restore trust and intimacy.

There are counselors who see one or both of the individuals and the couple, but I recommend having two separate therapists. I appreciate how that might pose logistical or economic difficulties, but the counselor should either be an advocate for one of the parties or the couple as a unit. One therapist for both the individual and the couple could cause a conflict of interest to arise.

With respect to your boyfriend’s business trip, the distance might help facilitate his cheating, but if he’s going to cheat, he can do that anywhere. I hope that he stops for your sake, but the fact that you only “mostly trust him” concerns me. Your fears are legitimate. What is your boyfriend doing to show you and assure you that this will never happen again? Can your boyfriend articulate why he did what he did, why it was wrong, and why he wants to change his behavior? Is he fully committed to regaining your trust? Are your head and your heart telling you the same thing?

I also wonder if his business trip is mandatory. If so, would it be possible for you to join him for part of it? Have you asked him how he feels about the distance piece of it? Could Skype, text or Facetime help you feel connected while he’s away? Whatever you decide, I wish you the best, as I’m sure that none of this is easy.

What advice would YOU give this reader?

Sex during Pregnancy

It’s time to answer a reader’s question!

Question: I’m three months pregnant and ever since I told my boyfriend, he won’t have sex with me. He says he feels weird knowing our baby is in there and doesn’t want to hurt me. How can I convince him it’s fine?

Answer: Assuming that you have a healthy pregnancy without medical complications, sex is not only okay, but it’s encouraged! Many women report that their sex drive increases significantly during the second trimester and that they are able to orgasm with greater ease and intensity.

How much have you and your boyfriend communicated about his specific concerns? What exactly does he feel weird about? If he hears from your doctor or another reliable source that having sex with you won’t hurt the baby, will that assuage his fears? I would ask him to join you at your next doctor’s appointment or sonogram so that a medical professional can inform him that having sex during a healthy pregnancy is completely fine.

Before the baby arrives, talk to him about what you both are feeling. Pregnancy obviously affects men and women differently, and having a child will dramatically change the dynamics of your relationship. (Your life will go from all about each other to all about the baby like that *snap*, as well it should.) How will you try to make time for each other and be affectionate toward each other? How can he best support you during the pregnancy? How will you both prioritize the other person after the baby comes?

Despite the fact that many couples have to deal with the issue of sex during pregnancy, it’s not a common topic of conversation. Rest assured that both you and your boyfriend have perfectly normal and legitimate concerns. At an AASECT conference, I spoke with renowned sex educator Lou Paget about her book, Hot Mamas. Lou wrote this book “for moms-to-be who want to nurture their sex lives along with their growing bellies,” in recognition of the fact that many women don’t know what to expect.

Arm yourself with information through books like Hot Mamas, respected online sources and DVDs on Sex & Pregnancy to supplement your conversation with the doctor. Get ideas for comfortable positions to try during different stages of your pregnancy. Use the months before the baby arrives to try something new (a toy, perhaps?) or plan a romantic getaway. Spend a lazy day in bed, enjoying each other and the ability to sleep as often as you like!

To the Hot Mamas out there and the partners who love them, what recommendations do you have for this reader?

Roya’s New York

Roya rang in 2014 in her crib, but upon waking, we headed off to New York City. Grandpa and Nana were hosting a New Year’s Day party, and all of the guests understandably wanted to meet Roya!

The following day, we met up with Auntie Ashley at our favorite restaurant in the City, Artisanal. (I’m a fan of any place that has its own fromagerie and serves fondue and truffle fries!) I love that Roya lasted for 3.5 hours there without crying, although I know that the days of leisurely lunches are numbered.

Artisanal with Auntie Ashley

January 3rd brought 8-10″ of snow into Manhattan. The city was a mess, but the weather couldn’t stop me from seeing my girlfriends! I trudged through the snow with Roya to meet up at Maison with one of my law school besties, her husband and her son, Ryan. Check out Roya flirting with him!

Lunch date with Ryan

Lunch date with Ryan

(Note for those of you who might be stroller shopping: we brought our Chicco Key Fit and Caddy up to NYC. That stroller is light and easy to maneuver, as long as there isn’t inclement weather. Roya was thankfully unharmed when the Chicco Key Fit Caddy tipped over in a pile of wet snow, but that experience was very scary! I so regretted not having our more durable Uppa Baby Vista with us.)

For the remainder of the trip, Roya and I enjoyed coffee dates and brunches with several other friends who live in the area. On our last night in NYC, we met up with Roya’s godmother for dinner at Rare.

Fun with my godmother

Fun with my godmother

We cut our trip short by a few days to make it back to DC before the next snowstorm. I look forward to bringing Roya back to NYC once spring is here! xoxo

Impatient Masturbation

The words, “A hot date with my vagina,” stood out to me like a beacon in my Facebook news feed. As I read more, I learned that a San Diego reporter had interviewed my friend, Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, about meditative or mindful masturbation.

For those who aren’t aware of the concept of mindfulness, Psychology Today defines it as:

A state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.

How does mindfulness relate to masturbation?

As Dr. Jenn explains on her website and in the interview, the goal of meditative masturbation is to treat yourself lovingly like your treat your partner. Women are encouraged to take their time and focus on pleasuring all five senses. The reporter, Alex Zaragoza, describes in the remainder of the article how she wined and dined herself – and her vagina – with the help of Dr. Jenn’s audio guide to meditative masturbation.

I had heard of mindfulness from another friend in California a few years ago. With respect to sex and masturbation, I think meditative masturbation is especially beneficial for those who are unaware of their bodies or view their sexuality in a negative light.

Since both of my friends who practice mindfulness live in California, I started to think about being present in terms of an East Coast/West Coast divide. (It’s like the hip-hop rivalry of the 90s, but with far less loss and great music.)

In DC, the pace is so fast that the majority of my circle is used to juggling several things at once effectively. Time is a commodity that many of us unfortunately don’t have. The recent study evidences that point. Research indicates that the average sex session in Washington, DC lasts slightly over two minutes.

The legal community measures an hour in six-minute increments. The news industry relays stories in a matter of seconds. A local sex boutique indicated that the small and quiet Lelo Nea was a popular pick for DC women in court and on the Hill. These women would use the toy during bathroom breaks to provide some stress relief to their twelve-hour days. If the typical DC woman knows her body so well that she can reach orgasm quickly, that shouldn’t be regarded as a bad thing!

One friend in media joked that DC women are focused on impatient masturbation, rather than meditative masturbation. We need to sleep, go back to work, head to an event, or tend to our children. The goal here is to maximize productivity in the allotted time, not engage in a lengthy sensory experience. Nonetheless, a woman must have a heightened sense of awareness about and comfort with her body to achieve this. Maybe mindfulness and a short masturbation session aren’t mutually exclusive?

Apparently, the need for time efficiency translates into other arenas beyond the masturbatory arts. In discussing the article with my hairdresser, he shared his experience from years at salons in both Orange County and DC. In DC, the average woman arrives at his salon after work and wants to be out with highlights, a cut and blow dry in less than two and a half hours. By contrast, his clients in Southern California made a day out of the experience and would let him know that he was rushing them if they were done in less than four hours. At the end of the visit, though, both the California woman and the DC woman are leaving his salons with what they want in the manner that they want it!

Assuming that a woman knows her body and how to please herself, there’s no right or wrong. Take your time. Get down to business. Or, find some balance between the two. The goal here is to explore and enjoy!

So, what are your thoughts on mindful masturbation? Have you knowingly or unknowingly tried it? How do you approach self-intimacy?

Roya’s November

During my four-month blogging hiatus, Roya has grown significantly and developed quite the personality! To recap our November following her baptism:

Roya at the playground

1st trip to the playground
She was a big fan of the swings and going down the slide with me! Can’t wait for the weather to get warmer so we can go back for more!

Roya from the Block

Roya from the Block

Roya and I are ladies who lunch! Here she is with one of our favorite aunties at Bourbon Steak. I call this ensemble her “Roya from the Block” look since it reminds me of an outfit that JLo would have worn in her “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” video. The faux fur chocolate brown vest in this photo and the Missoni cardigan above were never worn hand-me downs from a dear friend. And, Roya rocks her Gap skinny jeans and Zutano booties better than anyone I know!

1st selfie at Farmers Fishers Bakers

1st selfie at Farmers Fishers Bakers

Fun in the swing!

Silliness in the swing!

Yao, the dog, tried to photo bomb Roya. She was fine at first, but then, she was not amused! One friend joked that if Roya could talk, she would have been asking for her agent!

Yao, the dog, tried to photo bomb Roya. She was fine at first, but after 30 seconds, she was not amused! One friend joked that if Roya could talk, she would have been asking for her agent!

All smiles with the nanny!

All smiles with the nanny!

(For those of you who notice her rosy-red cheeks, Roya started teething over Labor Day weekend. Fast forward to February 14 and she still doesn’t have any teeth!)

Six months old!

Six months old!

There isn’t a word in the dictionary that could aptly describe just how much I love Roya. On this day of hearts and flowers, hope you’re with your loved ones, too! Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! xoxo


Landing Mr. Right Giveaway

A New Study by Landing Mr. Right Shows Women’s Preferences for Men, Dating and Love

Move over Adam Levine; Jonah Hill has you beat this Valentine’s Day. According to a survey by Landing Mr. Right, a hilarious new board game for single women in pursuit of “the One:”

  • 52% of females said they’d prefer to go on a date with a Regular Guy over a Rock Star, Blue Blood, CEO, Triathlete or Techno-Geek.  
  • 72% said they’d still go on a second date with a bad kisser, even if the first kiss wasn’t what they imagined.
  • Feelings triumph Sex and Money.  80% said they’d prefer to be taken care of emotionally over sexually or financially.
  • Changing a Facebook status to “In a Relationship” doesn’t warrant an introduction to his parents. 63% said it’s most appropriate to meet his parents after he says, “I love you.”
  • Contrary to what men think, women are not always talking about them. 59% said they spend less than one hour per week gabbing about their love lives with their girlfriends.

Research Now conducted the survey, which polled 750 single women aged 23-55 who said they still haven’t found “Mr. Right.” The survey questions were inspired by the NEW board game, Landing Mr. Right, which has just launched in time for Valentine’s Day. Created by Alys Daly and Victoria Brewer (both single), Landing Mr. Right has been dubbed “Therapy in a Box” as it helps build confidence and friendship among women.


Landing Mr. Right Board Game

“We came up with the idea for Landing Mr. Right after I went out on one of the worst dates of my life,” said Co-Founder Daly. “We realized what women were really looking for is a fun way to come together, share their stories and offer each other inspiration as they pursue ‘the One.’”

Landing Mr. Right leads women on a virtual dating journey to find their own “Mr. Right.” Along the way, they have the opportunity to date six stereotypical men including: Blue Blood, CEO, Rock Star, Regular Guy, Triathlete and Techno-GeekDate Cards take women on a worldwide adventure – from Paris to New York – while Your StoryCards tackle everything from online dating to meeting his family. Questions, such as “They’re making a Broadway show about your sex life. Is it a comedy, a romance or a one-woman show?” get women thinking, laughing and discovering new things about themselves, their girlfriends and the men they date.

“Landing Mr. Right gives women the opportunity to date outside their comfort zone,” says Co-Founder Brewer. “If they’ve always gone for romantic, yet unreliable Rock Stars, why not roll the die with a loyal and predictable Regular Guy?”

Landing Mr. Right retails for $34.95 and can be purchased on and at select retailers.


Do you agree with the survey results? 

For those of you who have found Mr. Right, how did you land your man in this game called love?

E! Online just featured Landing Mr. Right in its Valentine’s Day Gift Guide, and Essence Magazine said that the game is the perfect way to celebrate!

Want to win the Landing Mr. Right board game for you or a friend?

Tweet the following to enter:

RT @citygirlblogs: Want to win the great board game for singles, @LandingMrRight? #giveaway

Rules: Only one entry per person. The giveaway will run through Wednesday, February 19th at 11:59pm EST. The winner will be chosen randomly by and must reside in the United States.

Good luck in winning the game and Landing Mr. Right!

Disclaimer: Pursuant to FTC guidelines, there was no financial or in-kind compensation in exchange for this post or the hosting of this giveaway.

Roya’s Baptism

Roya’s baptism was held at Western Presbyterian Church on November 3rd.

DSCF2103 (1)

Western Presbyterian Church

Western has a special place in my heart. I first set foot on the church grounds when I volunteered at Miriam’s Kitchen in 1994. Western is also the place where I met my dear friend and Roya’s godmother, Amy, across a crowded pew.

thumb 3

Love how Roya is sucking her thumb here!

During the baptism, Roya clearly enjoyed being the center of attention. She didn’t make a peep during her part of the service, and even leaned her head back on her own as the baptism commenced. Not surprisingly, I teared up as the minister baptized Roya, thinking about what a miracle she is!

Once our portion of the service was over, the church apparently became too quiet for Roya’s liking. She thus decided that she needed to interject her own babbling commentary during the sermon.


With Pastor Beverly as Roya literally puts her food in her mouth

Once the service was over, we headed to Ris for a delicious brunch.

DSCF2137 (1)

At brunch at Ris

I found Roya’s baptismal gown at Neiman Marcus. The dress had an antique feel (or enough of one that we were asked if it was a family heirloom) without being too long or frilly. Roya rolled around and napped in the dress after the service, and the material still looked fresh.


At the end of a long, wonderful day!

We’re thankful for Western’s warmth in welcoming our daughter and sharing such a memorable day with our loved ones!


Roya’s Announcement & Cards

My Mom was known for sending cards and notes to friends and family. She loved doing so and passed that on to me. She also instilled in me (or was it drilled in me?) the notion that every gift required a handwritten thank you card. Even before Roya was born, I knew that I wanted to have birth announcements and personalized note cards made. And, I knew just who I wanted to design them: Michelle Nguyen from Hey Love Designs

She had designed my business cards after my blog redesign, and I love her eye! Michelle is creative, but in a way that still manages to be classic. She also has a gift for making sure that the finished product is exactly what her customer wants without a lot of back and forth.

I gave her a few ideas for an announcement using this beautiful photograph of Roya that Moshe Zusman took.

Not surprisingly, Michelle used the photograph to make the perfect birth announcement for Roya! (And, yes, I have shaded out The Man's info!)

I also love what Michelle came up with for Roya's note cards. I had seen something similar online, but Michelle's use of bamboo paper and the two different shades of lavender made these cards distinctive!

Check out Hey Love Designs' project gallery, including her free downloads. And, for those of you who are wondering, this is not a sponsored post. I did not receive any financial or in-kind compensation or discounts. (In fact, Michelle won't know about this until I include her handle in the Tweet!) Hey Love Designs does unique work for a reasonable price. Period. The fact that she's a good friend is a wonderful added bonus!

Hooked on Masturbation?

It’s time to answer a reader’s question!

Question: So, I have a small issue with my boyfriend, and I’m hoping you could help me. Well, we’re in college, and we've been together for about six months now. Every time we have sex, he can’t get off unless he jerks off while watching me play with myself. I can’t help but think it’s me, but he constantly says it isn’t and that it has nothing to do with me. I don’t know if it really is me or if he just has a problem. He’s been to the doctor, and they’ve said it’s nothing. Help me!

Answer: I have several thoughts. First, it’s not uncommon for women to assume that they’re the cause of relationship problems, especially those that occur in the bedroom. Try if you can to not fall into that pattern. Remind yourself that whatever your boyfriend is processing likely has nothing to do with you. That doesn’t mean that you can’t help him try to get to the root of the problem or find solutions for it, though, as you’re currently doing.

Secondly, I’m wondering what type of doctor he visited and if it was really about this problem. Knowing how doctors and patients are often reluctant to talk about sex, I have a hard time imagining a college-aged male either going to a doctor about this issue or bringing it up in an unrelated appointment. 

Since he's able to get off, I don't think the problem is hormonal, although I'm not a licensed health care professional. My initial thought when I read your question was that your boyfriend might be so used to masturbating that he has trouble reaching orgasm without doing so. I would recommend that he stop masturbating for a month. If he enjoys watching porn, I also advise that he stop doing so. That might make it easier for him to come when he is having sex with you.

Another idea is that 75% of women can’t orgasm during vaginal sex without clitoral stimulation. It’s possible that your boyfriend feels as though mutual masturbation is more likely to please both of you or that he doesn’t feel entirely comfortable having sex or pleasing you. That’s normal for people of any age, but especially those in college. How much have you talked about what turns you on, fantasies and what you enjoy the most sexually? Opening the lines of communication might improve your relationship emotionally and physically.

Finally, is there anything that would cause him to view sex in a negative way? Is he or his family very religious or conservative? Is it possible that he’s been a victim of sexual abuse? If the other suggestions don’t work, it might be worth asking him generally if he feels guilty or shameful about sex. If there are deeper issues that he's processing, he might need to speak with a therapist or trusted love one.

I hope that this is just a phase and that the situation improves in short order. Good luck!

Okay, readers, what did I miss?

Have you or your partner ever dealt with something like this?

Roya’s 1st Shoot with Uncle Moshe

I first heard about Moshe Zusman in 2010 from friends who were amateur photographers in DC.  They espoused the virtues of his talents, which are easily apparent when you see his work.

I met Moshe several weeks later at Fashion for Paws. I was surprised at how amiable he was. That was reaffirmed when he casually and humbly gave one of my friends advice while she took a photograph at the event. (He didn’t even tell her who he was or that he did this professionally!)

After I was diagnosed with breast cancer, Moshe and I went to lunch. We had an instant rapport with each other, but I have a feeling that I’m not the only one of his friends to say that! He offered to take photographs of me during chemo, which he did later that month. (If you haven’t seen those photographs, click here.)

Moshe managed to make me feel beautiful in the chemotherapy room, which was no easy feat! More importantly, he brought joy into my life at a time when I truly needed that. I fondly remember laughing so hard with Moshe and two of my best girlfriends during one round of chemo that we almost got in trouble with the nurses!

Even after Moshe put his camera down, he continued to be there for me…on my last day of chemo…after my double mastectomy…when I told him that I was expecting…and many days in between. There are those moments after giving birth that I’ll never forget and tearing up with Moshe when he saw me with Roya is among them. We've come a long way since the chemotherapy room!

Moshe took our first formal photographs of Roya when she was six weeks old. I hope that you love them as much as we do!

Thank you, Moshe, for these beautiful photographs! Far more importantly, though, thank you for treating me like I’m one of your family and for being Roya’s Uncle. We love you!