6th Blog Anniversary

In 6th grade, my English teacher tasked the students in my class with writing their own autobiographies. I couldn’t think of a title for mine and asked my mom for help. She didn’t need more than a second to respond:

Doing It Stef’s Way.

Yes, I marched to the beat of my own drum even as a child. When I started this blog six years ago with a post about whether or not I could date a much younger man, I didn’t know where this online path would lead.

I rarely blog anymore, and yet, I don’t see shutting this site down anytime soon. These are my words…my journey…my successes…and my mistakes. I’m proud of the good and the bad experiences in my life since they led me to where I am today.

A recent comment from a reader noted how much my life and blog have changed since my earlier posts. Yes, it’s true that I no longer write about my sex life and the guys who wronged me. But, if I had never dated the guys I did, I would have never met The Man and Roya wouldn’t be here. And, if I had never had such an eventful dating life, my professional path might have been very different, too.

When I started blogging, I wrote only for me. One year later, I had received enough sexual health and relationship questions from readers that I decided to join the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists as a supporting member. I began to blend more advice posts with my own dating tales and write about sexual health for two websites.

Several students at American University were regularly reading my blog, and I was invited to speak at the Social Learning Summit in 2011. That led to my idea to teach a class on Sexuality and Social Media on that campus. In 2014, after three years as an adjunct professor, American University offered me a full-time contract as an instructor.

In many ways, my life is so different than it was six years ago. 3am texts from whomever I was seeing at the time have been replaced by 3am feedings. My club attire and fancy dresses are in a closet, collecting dust. Date nights now happen at cocktail parties organized by the parents in Roya’s playgroup.

Even though my daily routine has changed profoundly, I’m still the same. I continue to march to the beat of my own drum. My blog tagline is “Educate, Advocate, Titillate.” As a professor, I focus on the first two words in that phrase. I still talk a lot about feminism, branding, sexuality, relationships, health, and double standards in the work force. My discussions just occur in the classroom, rather than on this site.


Back when I blogged regularly, I didn’t write about my dating life in real time. I enjoyed crafting a story with the benefit of hindsight and doing things differently. As a teacher, I’m thankfully allowed the creativity to develop classes that find academic merit in popular culture. In three years, I’ve created the curriculum for seven courses from scratch. I proud of what I’ve accomplished and know how fortunate I am to love my job!

Shortly after I began blogging, I shared with my readers that I wanted to adopt a little girl. A few comments were highly critical of of that decision, stating that I wasn’t capable of being a mom and that I wouldn’t be able to prioritize motherhood in the midst of such an active social life. I didn’t know that my journey would lead me to have a biological daughter, rather than adopt. But, I knew then that I was ready to be a mom and how much my life would change. I was fully prepared to hang up my stilettos, and I have. I don’t have much of a social life or time to write for pleasure anymore, but that’s not atypical for moms of young toddlers.

Even as a mom, though, I’m still the same me. Roya is the most important and amazing thing in my life, but I know that she’s not perfect. I set boundaries, and I say, “No!” when I need to. I don’t coddle her when she isn’t hurt or sick. I don’t throw fancy parties for her or care if another child does something earlier or better than she does. And, I don’t feel guilty when I say that motherhood is both the best job and the most exhausting job there is.

When I started this blog six years ago, I didn’t know where the journey would lead me. I sit here today in front of my laptop with happy tears in my eyes. Because of my blog, I’m blessed to be where I am today — at American and with Roya. For those who have supported me along the way, thank you from the bottom of my heart. It warms my heart to know that the doors to my home in the blogosphere are always open. xoxo

My Chemo-versary v4.0

I tasked my students in my Body in American Culture course with examining their thoughts about the body, beauty ideals and body image. The basic guidelines for this Body Genogram are as follows:

Connect your early life experiences with your current understanding of your body and beauty in general. How do they or do they not impact you today? Throughout the paper, ask yourself, “How did my culture, religion, socioeconomic background, race, ethnicity, friends and family affect my own views? How do these factors impact my current attitudes about my body and beauty ideals? What role, if any, did television, magazines, advertisements and social media play in influencing my views?” Your genogram will be graded on a pass/fail basis.

It’s ironic that I’m reading my students’ genograms today of all days. On September 21, 2010, I walked into my oncologist’s office. I was scheduled to begin treatment for breast cancer with a “lighter” form of chemotherapy and only had a 15% of losing my hair.

Once inside my doctor’s office, though, I learned that was no longer the plan. I needed a stronger chemotherapy cocktail because I had an aggressive strain of HER2 positive breast cancer. My hair would likely be all gone by mid-October.

I knew that losing my hair would change me, but I wasn’t prepared for just how much. I also had no way of knowing then how poorly my body would react to chemotherapy. Steroids caused me to gain 23 pounds and develop insomnia and an eye twitch. I forgot conversations and plans. My migraines increased to three times a week. And, after hemorrhaging following my second round of chemo, I was thrown into menopause.

Four years later, my hair has grown back, and although my weight isn’t what I would like, it’s in a healthy range. I’m also proud of all that my body has done from the minute (being able to walk three miles a day) to the miraculous (getting pregnant and giving birth to Roya despite being post-menopausal).

Nonetheless, I’m not the same woman that I was four years ago. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at a time in my life when my body looked its best. My metabolism was stable, and the age of 37, I was able to eat what I wanted, rarely exercise beyond walking and physical therapy, and not worry about the scale moving. (After suffering from an eating disorder in my late teens-early 20s, I was in a much-improved place emotionally and physically.) I looked in the mirror and felt attractive. My priorities at the time were my blog, increasing my experience as a sex educator, charity and social events, and boys. I also was considering taking a local modeling agent up on her offer to book me and had met with an adoption agency to begin the lengthy process to adopt a little girl.

patrick onofre, stef woods, city girl , city girl blogs

Shoot with Patrick Onofre February 2010

I had waited to submit my adoption application and to schedule the meeting with the agent until after I had my mammogram. The mammogram led to biopsies which in turn led to a diagnosis. My plans to adopt and my chance to do some local modeling were put on hold. Four years later, I doubt that I’ll adopt now and I objectively wouldn’t have a shot at modeling. I look at the photograph above, and I’m no longer that girl anymore.

Most days, I relish the roles I now play and the directions that my life took. I love being a professor, an advocate, and a partner. And, I don’t doubt for a second that God had a plan for me to be Roya’s mom. Cancer forced me to reprioritize my life, my views on women’s bodies in general and my body in particular, and my relationships. That was all meant to happen.

However, there are times like today when I can’t help but wonder, “What if?” Where would my life have taken me if I hadn’t gotten cancer? How would I feel about my body, if I had never gone through chemotherapy and a double mastectomy? What would it be like to watch a movie or read a magazine and not be so uncomfortable with how women are portrayed, and their bodies sexualized and commodified? Will there be a September 21st in the future when I don’t question these things?

I’m left with more questions than answers, but that’s my reality. I’m beyond thankful to be cancer free, but my life isn’t free of cancer.

What factor or experience has played an influential role in your views about your body and beauty ideals? 

Should You Follow The Three-Date Rule?

Friend’s Question: Does the three-date rule still apply? I’m not sure whether or not I should have sex with Mr. New Guy after our third date.

I texted my friend with my brief, initial thoughts, but her question seemed worthy of a more thorough answer. There’s no definitive relationship guidebook or treatise on dating that everyone reads and follows. As such, these informal rules – such as waiting until you’ve gone out on three dates before engaging in sexual activity – receive more credence than they should.


Most importantly, there is no right or wrong time to have sex. This is a personal and intimate choice to make. No rule and no other person, including the one with whom you’re considering having sex, should influence you to do anything that makes you uncomfortable.

There are other concerns with respect to the three-date rule:

  • What is the goal of having sex? Sometimes sex is just sex. If that’s the case, then there might not be the need to wait for three dates or to even go out on a traditional date. But, if you’re looking for a long-term relationship, focus less on the act of sex or timelines and more on getting to know the other person. Take however long you need to build a strong relationship foundation.
  • The three-date rule doesn’t take into consideration the timeline for these three dates. For one couple, three dates might happen in three consecutive days. For another, it might take two months to go on three dates. Likewise, what was the foundation between you two before you went out on your first date? If there’s a history of friendship, you may already have an emotional connection before you add sex into the mix. That might cause you to favor having sex sooner than a couple who is just getting to know each other.
  • Unfortunately, we live in a society in which double standards regarding female sexuality and slut shaming prevail. That can lead to women trying to justify to themselves or others that they are waiting to have sex. One reader wrote me wondering why her partner wasn’t taking her out on dates since she had waited to have sex with him until after three dates. She informed me that their first “date” entailed them meeting at a networking event. The second date was a coffee date, and for the third “date,” she went over his place to have sex. That’s fine if she only wanted sex. However, her questions indicated that she was open to the potential of a relationship that wasn’t just based on sex. In that case, it might have behooved her to wait until they knew each other better.
  • Dr. Susan Krauss Whitborne’s analysis of current research indicates that couples who wait more than a month before having sex have stronger and longer relationships. Age and stage may also impact how soon a new couple has sex. A recent Business Insider survey reveals that approximately one-third of male and female respondents believe that it’s appropriate to have sex sometime after the second-fifth dates. (Note that 37% of the survey’s respondents were between the ages of 18-29.) Over half of the responses favored sometime after the second-ninth dates.
  • The three-date rule doesn’t contain any component of verbal communication. Unless you’re using a condom and just interested in a quickie, there are important issues that should ideally be addressed before having sex. How do you define “sex?” Will you get tested for HIV/AIDS and STIs before engaging in sexual activity? What birth control will you use? Will you spend the night after having sex? What, if anything, does having sex mean? Will having sex create an expectation of exclusivity or regular interaction (via the phone, social media, dates or in the bedroom)? If you don’t feel comfortable talking about any of these things with the other person, then it might be a sign that it’s too soon to have sex.

The above list is merely for your consideration. When you have sex with a potential partner is a decision for you and you alone to make. Just do whatever feels right for you and appropriate for your relationship goals at this point in your life. xoxo

Did I miss anything, readers? What are your thoughts about the three-date rule? Have you ever ascribed to it?

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?

Lelo Ora Giveaway

In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8th, Lelo is offering one lucky City Girl Blogs’ reader the chance to win an Ora, one of its premier adult products!

What’s an Ora, and how can you enter for a chance to win one?

The Ora is a new addition to Lelo’s award-winning Insignia line of toys. It provides external (clitoral) stimulation and has been called “The World’s Most Sophisticated Oral Sex Simulator.” The Ora features 10(!) different vibrating modes to allow each user to find her perfect level of intensity. Are you a fan of fast flicks, long swirls, pulses, waves or a combination? The Ora allows you to customize the massage experience to your liking. The product is sleek with an easy, three-button interface. One button enables you to increase the strength of the vibrations by 35% — instantly! The Ora is also waterproof and completely rechargeable. As with all Lelo toys, it is made of FDA-approved materials and comes with a one-year warranty. You can learn more about the toy and watch a promotional video about it here.

Lelo Ora

Lelo Ora

The Ora clitoral vibrator retails for $169, but you have a chance to win one here!

Enter to win with a comment that includes the following words: “The Lelo Ora!”

This giveaway will run through Friday, March 14, 2014. The lucky winner can reside anywhere in the world. Please only one comment per person. The winner will be chosen randomly via

Want to increase your chances to win? Enter Lelo’s own massive Women’s Day Giveaway!

If you’re a user of Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook (or all three), then you’ve got a great chance of winning an amazing new LELO for yourself! Each social media platform gives you a chance to win a different LELO, with every 100 entries seeing Lelo giving away another prize!

Pinterest: Pin one – or all three – of these images, and for every one hundred pins Lelo will give away one set of HULA Beads™, the rotating and vibrating pleasure beads. Simply place your cursor over the image you want and click ‘Pin it’, and keep it hashtagged #LELOVEWOMEN so Lelo can find your Pin!

Twitter: Enter to win the amazing new ORA™ personal massager by retweeting the following: RT to enter @LELO_Sweden’s Giveaway, & win personal massager ORA!!

Facebook: Entries on Lelo’s Facebook page are eligible to win the revolutionary couples’ massager IDA™, which rotates and vibrates to make lovemaking even more fantastic for both him and her. Tell Lelo in the Facebook comments section: Who is the most inspiring woman that you look up to?

The Lelo Ora, Hulu Beads and Ida

The Lelo Ora, Hulu Beads and Ida

Can’t wait to win a new Lelo toy? Get 20% off now with the promo code: GIRL14!

Lelo Discount Code

Disclaimer: Pursuant to FTC Guidelines, no monetary or in-kind compensation was offered in exchange for sponsoring this giveaway or promoting Lelo’s giveaway.

Good luck!

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?

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.

Welcome to My New Site!

When I first began blogging in December 2008, I had a basic WordPress platform. The pale mint green and grey template was neither busy nor fancy. Since I blogged anonymously back then, there were no images embedded in my posts. I appreciate that a strong blog is about the written word, but I also acknowledge that my posts were very text heavy.

In September 2010, I obtained my City Girl Blogs™ logo via crowdsourcing and had my site professionally redesigned. I loved the new look of my brand and my blog!

The same month that my site launched, I started chemotherapy. I honestly didn’t know where my blog – or my life – was headed. Getting through treatment was my main priority, and blogging about my relationships was a fun diversion.

Back in 2010, I thought that I would finish treatment and put the whole cancer journey behind me. In retrospect, that approach seems blissfully ignorant! I’m thankfully in remission, but the experience still impacts me on a daily basis in both positive and negative ways. I know that one of my life’s missions is to write, speak and advocate about cancer and cancer prevention.

My blog led me to teach at American University. Three years later, I feel blessed at how much joy my job continues to bring me.

The most significant change in my life is that I’m the mom of an eight-month-old miracle baby named Roya! Every decision is made with her in mind.

This new site reflects who I am now and the many hats I wear. In addition to my blog posts, the site also includes information about:

My blog will continue to feature content that’s as varied as my life. From Roya to health advocacy to sex advice to giveaways to cancer, you’ll never know what topic you’ll find when you click on the latest post! For those who’ve missed my Sex and the City-esque adventures, fear not! Quite a few of my old dating tales are still accessible.

I’ve genuinely missed writing and being a part of the blogging community.  It’s nice to get back to both.

I hope that you enjoy my new site as much as I do!

Many thanks and much appreciation to Earl Wyatt of for all of his help with the site transfer, design and updates!

xoxo, Stef

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?

Swingin’ in the City

It’s time for a reader’s question!

My long-time boyfriend suggested that we go to a swingers’ event. He said that we could just go to “check it out” and that I don’t need to do anything if I don’t feel comfortable. I’ve never done anything like this before. Should I go?

Answer: Thanks for your question! As with all private sexual matters, there’s no right or wrong answer here. But, I do recommend that you obtain more information before you make your decision.

With respect to your relationship, have you and your boyfriend talked about going to a sex club, engaging in sexual voyeurism, or bringing in a third party before? Did his request catch you by surprise, or was it something you expected? Has he attended a swingers' party before? Do you know his motivation or the impetus for his suggestion?

Watching other people engage in sex, having others watch you, or having sex with another person outside of your primary relationship can all be healthy under the right circumstances. It's important, though, that you and your boyfriend are clear and open about why you would be attending the event and what you expect from doing so. (It would be incredibly uncomfortable and potentially hurtful if he expects to engage in sexual activity with another person at one of these events or to have sex with you in front of others if those acts aren’t of any interest to you.)

I would also do some reconnaissance on the event itself. Will there be rooms at the club for just drinking, talking and/or dancing? What are the rules for attendees? Is there any information that provides a newcomer with an idea of what to expect?

If you decide to go, discuss some ground rules with your boyfriend beforehand. Make sure that you won’t be stuck there longer than you want to be and that he will be okay not participating in any activity or going inside any room that is not of interest to you. If you are open to trying something new, what is the safe word or phrase that you can use if you'd like your boyfriend to stop? There also should be an understanding that if either of you wants to leave at any time, you both leave immediately no questions asked. With all those disclaimers, if you choose to attend, I hope that you both enjoy the evening!

If you decide not to go, remember that your boyfriend should respect your decision and not pressure you into doing anything that you don't want to. It's also worth figuring out what your boyfriend’s motivation was for suggesting a swingers' club in the first place. If he’s interested in spicing up your relationship and you’re open to that on some level, are they other ways that could be achieved? You might wish to check out my post with ideas for mixing up your bedroom routine with new positions, toys, techniques, and sexy games.

Whatever you decide, trust that it’s the right decision for you. Good luck!

Have you gone or would you go to a swingers' event? Do you have any other advice for this reader?

Have a question for me? Email me at citygirlblogs (at) gmail or ask me anonymously via Formspring