Tag Archive: Dating

This piece is written by Angelica Temoche for the BW series “How Much Do You Love Me?” Normal postings resume in April.

I have found enthusiastic consent to be a litmus test of whether or not I’m going to have a great time in bed. Bad sex is definitely one of the most off putting, self-esteem damaging things that can happen in your day to day life. I have found that doing a quick personal inventory can steer you away from a lot of potentially negative sexual encounters and leave you with no regrets.

Comfort and Trust
This is paramount to having great sex. Sex is super anxiety-inducing; you are putting yourself in a physically and emotionally vulnerable position. Even if you enjoy those feelings of vulnerability it’s important to choose a partner that you trust won’t take advantage of you exposing your weak spots.

A big part of comfort is having self-confidence. If you’re not comfortable with yourself, you’re definitely going to experience discomfort with someone else. Get comfortable with your body, experiment, find out what you what you like and what you don’t. Know enough about yourself to know how to make sex good for you, regardless of the experience and skills of your partner(s).

Mental and Physical Attraction
Knowing what you are attracted to is a big part of finding what you need to get off. I don’t know about you, but I can’t really get enthusiastic about sex with a person I don’t find hot. Of course this can manifest in a lot of different ways. Physical attraction is the most obvious one, looking across the room and seeing the hottie with the rockin’ body. Visuals are usually the go-to for how we state our preferences, “I want someone with this eye color, this hair type, this height, etc.,” but other attributes can inform our attraction too. Smell is a big one for me, taste too, the taste of their mouth or their skin; strength, the way a person moves can also make up a person’s attractiveness to you.

However, on a completely different aspect I often find myself attracted to the way people think more than the way they look. I have definitely had a lot of sexual encounters that were extremely satisfying despite me not having a physical attraction to the person involved just because I was so enamored with their values or thought process. (This is more about whether I find a person interesting, rather than whether I think they are smart. A person who is really smart, but is a dull homebody with few interests isn’t going to wet my panties.) This type of encounter definitely takes more time though, especially if you are not a particularly open or candid speaker. If you are more interested in this type of attractiveness in a sexual partner you’ll have more luck among a group of people with the same niche interest or in the same subculture, rather than going to a local bar or club. For kinky people, sometimes being attracted to a person for their physical or mental attributes isn’t necessary. Sometimes all that is required is an appreciation of their dominance or submission; this goes to show how looking for partners within a more limited community can go in your favor. All types of attraction are legitimate and factor into whether or not you want to have sex with that person.

Playing Safe
O.K. we all know to wear condoms, or at least I hope you do, if not, here it is:


Also, learn your acceptable levels of risk:

Safest: Don’t touch anyone’s bare genitals, don’t kiss anyone
Next Safest: Wrap everything! Condoms are your best friends! Dental dams, toys in condoms, hands in doctor’s gloves when touching bare genitals/inserting into orifices.*
Risky: Do what you do, sometimes sh*t happens in the heat of the moment. If this is where you are at, have another forms of birth control (hormones or implant), know where to get a Plan B pill, and be prepared to get tested regularly for STDs.

Now lets talk other kinds of safety.

Mental and Emotional Safety
Sex involves emotional and physical intimacy (that’s one of the things that makes it so great), so during sex you are more open to getting emotionally or physically hurt. Sex also has a tendency to bring up subconscious trust, abandonment, and intimacy issues without warning. Getting triggered during sex happens to the best of us. For this reason, it’s a great idea to have a safe way out, thus safewords! Some people have fun making up new safewords for every occasion, some people use the same ones each time. For regular sex, mine used to be “stop,” if you’re not interested in having a conversation about safewords and you are playing with a vanilla person, “no” and “stop” might be all you need. However, a strongly stated, “When I say ‘stop’ you will stop,” never went amiss for more hardheaded people. For kinky people, the stock set of safewords are “yellow” and “red”. Yellow means “slow down, that particular action or sensation isn’t working for me, move onto something else”, or “back off” if you’ve just upped the intensity. Red means a full stop, something has gone wrong and we can’t continue. Sometimes after a red you can talk it over to evaluate what happened and attempt the scene again, but it’s just as valid to not attempt the scene again and walk away. I rather like those safewords, even for non-sexual situations; and the conversation is even shorter, “Red and Yellow, o.k.?” And an enthusiastic nod or yes is is the go ahead. For more extreme situations where your partner can’t see your face or you can’t speak, make sure to have an agreed upon set of hand signals.

Learn to use your safewords. Yes, having them is a step in the right direction, but if you aren’t comfortable saying them, they are no use to you. If you need to, practice using them. Set an arbitrary boundary and have your partner push or break it, then bring the safeword out. Your partner will stop immediately, you’ve learned to protect yourself, and you’ve built trust together. Remember that safewords are for both partners, so practice both ways.

Actual Danger
In your sexual travels, people may ask you to engage in acts that are life or mental heath threatening. Some people can accept the level of risk involved in these acts. I don’t like being put in the position to hold someone’s life in my hands. For you, maybe the the act isn’t life-threatening, it just totally turns you off, squicks you out. In these instances, sometimes it’s nice to offer someone a simulation of that act. Dialing it back a few notches, verbally painting a picture of what they want done to them, rather than actually doing the risky act can satisfy both partners. Of course it’s always o.k. to say a definitive “no”, just be aware that if your partner is particularly attached to this act, they might seek it elsewhere. It’s important that sexual flexibility is there for both partners, so maybe you can each have a list of things that are, “hot to think about, but not necessarily to do.” Of course the thing that makes this simulation work is the idea that it’s hot to serve or please your partner, if you are not enthusiastic about that, don’t consent to simulating an act that scares or squicks you.

Communication: Asking for what you want
Know what you want. Ask for it. Fortune favors the bold. Know what you don’t want. Make your hard boundaries known before a sexual encounter. If you don’t have the ability to ask for what you want sexually, you probably shouldn’t be having sex. When I am sexually submissive, I get extremely quiet to the point where I can’t really make full sentences, so to me it’s very important to make my desires and limits known before a sexual encounter, and make sure that my partner will not deviate from a planned scene or try to negotiate for more during the scene. Just being in subspace (a kind of high on being treated submissively) can often make me willing to give an automatic yes, rather than actually thinking about it. This is where it’s important, if you are topping a person, to make them fully present when you are asking them something important. (If you don’t get quiet during sex, good on you. Your partner will know what feels good to you and what doesn’t from what you say and the sounds you make. Both ways are fine, but being vocal makes it much easier on your partner.) Make a joke, change the music, give them something to get out of their head if you need them to make a real decision. Likewise, don’t ask them important, consent-giving questions when they are coming down from a scene in aftercare. Be aware when you are getting automatic consent, rather than enthusiastic consent. You always have the ability to stop things and safeword out if you need to.

Inhibitions can be good
Don’t drink and screw. Inhibitions keep us from doing things we are going to feel bad about later. So if you want to escape future guilt, avoid having sex while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Just wait it out until the effects have passed. Make it a personal principle to say “no” when under the influence. Likewise, don’t screw drunk people, they are going to be uncoordinated and off their game. You deserve the best sex a partner can give you so wait until they are sober. If you can’t have sex unless you are on something, you should see a doctor. In a scenario where you are sober, and your inhibitions are in the way of you having great sex, make sure they are personal misgivings rather than cultural or social ones. Thinking, “I shouldn’t do this, my roommate might think I’m a slut tomorrow when she sees me in the same clothes” isn’t really a valid reason not to have sex while thinking, ”I’m not going to have respect for myself tomorrow if I do this” is a valid one.

Relax and Have Fun
Ok, so have you gone through the checklist?

  • Am I comfortable with this person/these people? Can I trust them?
  • Am attracted to the person/people involved?
  • Am I safe? Can I accept the level of risk involved? Have I taken actions/ precautions to make this safer? What is my safeword?
  • Have I made it clear what I want and don’t want? Do I know what my partner wants?
  • Am I sober?
  • All good? Let’s have sex!

If you know the answers to these questions, it’s way easier to make a good decision about having sex. When you feel good about that decision you can relax, have fun, and enjoy your orgasm. You can also use this a guideline to evaluate past encounters and learn how to make future ones more enthusiastically consensual.

Have Fun and Happy Screwing,


Angelica Temoche is a well rounded artist, graphic designer and printmaker that strongly believes in being sex-positive and promoting self love. Check out her website Spiralred.com

* Note from the Editor: As Angelica and I found out, some people have heard of using plastic cling wrap (Such as Saran Wrap) to serve as a dental dams but this is really outdated information that could cause more harm than good. It can prevent passage of herpes simplex but not other STDs and it’s only for non-microwavable cling wrap. Here’s a really good explaination of where the idea came from and why you shouldn’t do it today. What’s a good alternative to getting dental dams? Here’s this handy guide on how to make one out of a male condom. – BW

There are those who have relationships that are on life support or total corpses and these folks wanna use stones, herbs and/or candles to bring the relationship back to life. Boy, are these folks the depressive sort.

The thing about relationships and magick is that, although magick is boundless and there is no such thing as impossible, it shouldn’t be used to provide a dying relationship CPR. If mundane actions such as communicating or interacting with each other in an equal manner couldn’t save the relationship, I highly doubt rocks and candles would.

Think about it, magick is to provide help with life, not live it for you. If a person has to rely on stones that help fidelity, candles that increase passion or herbs that creates irresistibility to keep a relationship alive or going, it’s time to consider pulling the plug. A relationship should be of two people who actually care and enjoy each other’s friendship to the point they feel romantic emotions. The love should be from deep down inside, not based on anything superficial. To be looking towards magick does say that one person at least wants the relationship to go well but also telling that there are some deep cracks in the relationship that’s probably going to ultimately kill it if not actually identified. Instead of working on clearing up the symptoms, work on the illness. And this is to say nothing of the fact that these metaphysical works do have to be recharged to keep going, they’re not permanent.

In my experience, when asking the inquirers about their relationships and why they are looking for whatever it is that they are, it really does seems like there are deeper problems that no bell, book or candle could solve on its own. If there’s no solving the problem that is starting all the issues, there’s no point. Assuming there is an issue and not a bad case of paranoia.

There are folks who are simply not cut out for relationships because they have so many issues with themselves that bleed into their interactions. They don’t trust others, they believe every negative stereotype about the gender they date, haven’t truly healed from past hurts, there’s a variety of reasons why these folks should take a break from relationships but they don’t. Instead they rather buy all these things that won’t help the relationship because it can’t help the person having the messed up ideas. If a person is forever suspicious of their significant other cheating despite the significant other not doing anything suspicious nor has a background in being unfaithful, there’s no magick in the world that could help the relationship and keep it afloat because the problem is not the relationship but one of the people in the relationship. It may seem easier to buy a candle and ask it to provide emotional security in the relationship but, trust, it’s a lot better to talk to the significant other and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Then there’s the fact that some do not understand – or want to understand – that the problem could be with them or the type of people they prefer to date. If a person consistently dates the cheating type, the problem isn’t necessarily the person they date (although, anyone who is a cheating type is certainly problematic), it’s them themselves because it’s their choice to get involved with such a person. This person, instead of looking within themselves and going “Hm, why do I keep going for these types?” would rather be stalking around a metaphysical shop trying to find black salt, various stones, candles, whatever to thwart any possible sneaking about their lover could be doing. And it’s a real doozy if they finally found one who actually is faithful because this person will have it so deep in their head that all wo/men cheat and thus that significant other will be treated the same. This person (and note I never called them a “witch” or anything that signifies dedicated metaphysical practice because usually it’s not a Witch but a dabbler) will probably never get it through their head that magick will not solve the problem. If anything, it may even exacerbate the drama and ultimate death of it.

As I have mentioned earlier, I have had the experience of talking to these folks as they stood there sifting through whatever 7 day candle looks most ominous and as I tried to be the voice of reason. If it’s for suspicions of cheating, I would ask, “Are you sure?”, “If you’re sure that this is a constant problem, why stay?”, “Have you guys had a sit-down discussion, do you really think magick is needed?” If it’s for lack of communication, I would ask “Does s/he know how you feel about this?”, “Have you guys actually talked? As in, you both are being totally honest, being blunt and all?”, “You are aware that this is a bag of rocks and not an automatic truth serum you’re buying, right?” When it’s dealing with a person who has a money drain lover, it’s “Okay, have you thought about separate accounts so they can drain themselves and you don’t bail them out? They can’t play Wall St. forever”, “If this person is bad with money, have you told them?”, “These money spells you wanna cast won’t work if there’s a hole in the cup of fortune and it’s going to take more than magick to make someone decent with finances. Have you thought of dragging them to a finance seminar? The library has free programs.” No matter what, they are pretty much never deterred. They believe that magick is the silver bullet to their relationship when it really isn’t. Instead, these are problems where the person should think if it’s worth keeping their significant other around or not.

Now, all this is different from mutual rituals that are declarations and confirmations of love. Those can also involve herbs, stones and candles that symbolizes strengthened love, increased passion and things of that nature but they’re used as a supplement instead of as the defibrillator. There’s nothing wrong to have stones, herbs or candles that symbolize happiness and good fortune on the relationship, that’s what marriages are essentially, but the issue here is that these materials are not often used in this fashion.

The most outstanding problem of all this, once everything else is stripped away, is that it impinges on controlling others through magick, always a bad idea. These folks are not trying to really help the relationship through magick but fix it to their liking. It should be simple, if you don’t like the person you’re dating or they’re doing a deal-breaker, the relationship should come to a halt. No one is perfect, that’s fact, but no one should put up with dating people they don’t like either. Of course, it’s never that easy in every relationship but things shouldn’t get so bad that magick is sought out to help the problem. This is a spot where magick should not be needed because it’s a mundane issue. Everyone has relationship hiccups and no one has to practice the occult to remedy them, anyone who thinks that clearly should stay away from dating (and the occult) as a whole.

It’s important to use as little magick (to none at all) in the basic runnings of a relationship. A relationship should have intrinsic value, it should mean something sincere to the people in it. That can’t be faked through magick and if magick was used to make love happen where there isn’t, it could definitely produce a lot of problems from creating an obsessive love to a forever tumultuous relationship that’s hard to leave. It’s just too easy to complicate things with magick, especially a relationship.

Besides, if the significant other is this much of a problem, don’t use magick to change them, just dump the fool already.

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