I finally decided to take on Croagh Patrick. Boy was I delighted I did.

Going up was hard but I found climbing down quite difficult. My knees hurt. The weather was just glorious and the views on the way up and down were incredible. There is not much more I can say. The pictures speak for it self.

In my opinion I believe Porn can be blamed for a lot of pathologies and false ideas about sex: that women love anal; that we like to have our pussies spat upon and smacked; that men need to bone as if they’re literally filming a porn movie. But I believe one of the biggest myths it’s responsible for is that women expect a gentleman on the streets and a marathon runner in the sheets.

Believe it or not (I couldn’t), some guys don’t cum that easily. Shock! Maybe it’s from using condoms. Maybe it’s their medication. Maybe it’s too much masturbating and watching too much porn. Maybe their sperm has stage fright. Maybe their so emotionally unavailable that their dick can’t let its guard down. But for whatever reason, try as you both might, the jizz remains on lockdown, the orgasm elusive.

Back in my 20s(many years ago) I was dating a guy, I’m going to call him 5K – who had a severe case of delayed ejaculation or “rock cock” as its aptly called. No matter what I done I couldn’t seem to give him an orgasm. No matter how long I blew him, screwed him, or jerked him off. It didn’t matter, he could only achieve orgasm about one out of every ten sessions. Very frustrating.

He assured me it wasn’t for lack of desire, and so, we decided to bang our way through whatever the block was, which led to marathon sex sessions. But after 50 mins in- after doggy style; the lazy boy ( on the side, one leg thrown over his leg) ; bridge pose; and even slow intimate (read: creepy), missionary- I was dry, bored and hungry.

Him?

Still hard.

Most women would kill for this kind of lover, right? I started thinking what was wrong with me? Isn’t that why Viagra was a billion dollar industry? (Nope. It’s because old men can’t get it up.) It did get me thinking, though: how long is too long? ( the duration of sex, naturally, not dick size)

For my own unscientific study, a few months ago, (before summer)I put out a call on social media asking the ladies, “Not including foreplay, how long is too long for the duration of sex?”

One woman replied immediately and said “Any man who says ‘I’m gonna rock your world all night baby’ hasn’t had that much sex.

Over all there seemed to be a vast difference in the desired amount of time one has for sex depending on if the respondent was single or married. This was interesting! Two single women said their ideal trip to Pound Town was “three hours” but I feel like only people having sex occasionally would say that, because no one who’s having sex on the reg has time for daily three hour sexcapades. Do they?

That said, there did seem to be some unity among the women I surveyed (about 30 of them) some of my favorite replies:

“If I’m having sex longer than 35 minutes, I’m over it. And if I don’t cum in the first 5 minutes, I’m definitely over it.”

“The pleasing me part starts first. There’s no time duration for that. The intercourse part after should be under 10 minutes. I could be in and out from beginning to end in 11-15 minutes I’d say….. with 8 of those minutes solely focused on me.”

“I start thinking about tax returns at minute 12. Money keeps me enthusiastic.”

“Straight pounding? 23 minutes.”

“Anything more than 35 minutes starts to reach the ‘hurry the fuck up’ point for me”

“Five and half minutes of actual sex. Iv already long orgasmed by then, even 20 minutes would be too long, I’m tired and bored”

Most of the men who replied said something along the lines of “Please say three minutes! Please say three minutes! Please say three minutes!”

This struck me as brutally honest. In my experience, a majority of men exert a great amount of energy during coitus trying not to cum to quickly and trying to please her. And don’t get me wrong, on a scale of sexual conditions a man can experience, I’ll take rock cock over premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction. But 5k’s inability to climax fucked with my head more than I though it would. I had no idea how much of my sexual self-worth and identity was invested in my ability to readily and quickly make a man cum. It was an interesting time.

It shook the very foundation of my entire delusion that I was some kind of otherworldly sex goddess, and as a result, I started feeling uninspired to have sex because I felt like I had failed. No matter how much he reassured me it was nothing to do with what I was doing or not doing as the case may be. I realize that sex shouldn’t be goal-oriented, but it bothered me on a level far deeper than my brain or feelings. This was some gut-level frustration that was hard to shake. It really was something that struggled with. Turns out men aren’t the only ones who get insecure about leaving their partner sexually frustrated. Fancy that.

The moral of the story: We all think we want to have sex for the average length of a porn scene, but in reality, the average man is lucky to last 6-7 minutes and most women seem to be content to finish somewhere between 10-25 minutes of knockin’ boots. Happy Days!

Trust me the giant caveat been that you can really only get away with a five minute roll-in-the-hay if you take care of her first during foreplay. If not, you’re what we ladies refer to as a “lazy one pump chump.”

For me I’ll all for a robust sex sesh. The foreplay can last for as long as we’ve got but after around minute 22 of intercourse, i start thinking about what I want to eat for dinner (or breakfast- I’m one of those freaks who loves morning sex)

Take note, the jury might be hung in regards to how long is too long, but it’s case closed on how short is too short. And it’s when you climax before she does.

Have you ever had a crush on someone? Were you embarrassed? And do you think it was healthy?

We’ve all played the lead role in a drama ladened with angst, sweaty palms, racing heart and the inability to concentrate on anything or anyone else except the object of our desire. Crushes can be extremely embarrassing, and can be difficult to imagine that all this cringe worthy behavior has a purpose and is actually good for us – at least most of the time.

Crushes have more to do with fantasy than reality. We can be taken unaware when Cupid strikes, suddenly becoming self conscious around someone you find attractive. Why it happens is a bit of a mystery. It tells more about the admirer than the admired.

So in its purest sense, a crush is a form of parasocial relationship; a one sided relationship where you have feelings for someone else but these feelings are not reciprocated.

So what goes on in our heads? The feeling of infatuation or love that crushes feel is real. It’s said that when we are in love that the stress and reward system in our brain works over time. The same could possibly be true when we have a crush. The feel good chemical is released making us excitable, chatty and probably explains why we blurt out unimaginable embarrassing things. This is exemplified by the mortifying line “I carried a watermelon” in Dirty Dancing.

It’s thought that when you’re in love or lust the stress and rewards system in our brain are working overtime and the same is possibly true when having a crush .

When your brain is examined by an MRI someone in Love tents to have a high activity in the limbic area (I asked a brain consultant) so perhaps this is the area we refer to if we trust our head over our hearts when it comes to finding a partner! The limbic system is associated with addiction, this might explain how getting over a crush can be tough, and some of us hold a torch for years.

Why do we have crushes anyway?

Is there a higher purpose to having a crush other than it makes us feel good. Parasocial relationships in adolescents can be important. This can allow the adolescent to explore who they are, sexually and understand what attracts them in a safe way. Plus they are not going to get hurt like in a relationship.

However it’s very important to distinguish between imagining what a relationship would be like, and having a crush with the intention of exploring a relationship.

Most of us have dated the wrong type of person, and had our heard broken as a result. Crushes can ensure this doesn’t happen. This person (the crush) is the right person because you idolize them, there going to be who you want them to be, it’s kinda like a training ground for a proper relationship in the future. Adolescent crushes are healthy in my opinion and teenagers shouldn’t feel embarrassed.

In adulthood things are a little more difficult. Our evolutionary history suggests we are not a monogamous species. So crushes could be a way to identify a future or additional partner to meet our needs, or could be that the adult is stuck in adolescent mode or it could be a getaway behavior that leads to cheating.

To finalize, I think crushes are harmless. It can help reduce loneliness and boost confidence. Crushes could help reinvigorate a stale relationship.

I’d encourage people to recognize that they are idealizing their crush. You can’t control who you have a crush on, just enjoy it.

Italian Food is all about the ingredients, it’s not fussy it’s not fancy.

Last Tuesday I met my sister and my niece for lunch. They took me to Donatello’s. The room is nice and big, decorated simply but cosy. The service was welcoming and polite.

I ordered there rustic lunch board meal at €13. I had the mussels, 6inch pizza and rosemary potatoes. I couldn’t fault anything. I asked for the pizza to be spicy and it was perfect. Since il primo closed in Dublin I have struggled to find a nice Italian restaurant and Donatello’s matched it. I’m really looking forward to going back.

If a marriage license had an expiration date do you think couples would treat each other different?

There are so many licenses that need to be renewed, dog license, TV license, fishing license, driving license. But not a marriage license. I believe this is the one license that should be renewed.

Do you think that after a few years that a couple should prove that they are successful in their marriage and have to renew their license?

Now I agree this is written with a little tongue-in-cheek, but think of the possibility’s. I’m also aware that a brand new batch of legal issues would have to be addressed, but I also think its an interesting subject to ponder with regards to the quality of the marriage. Would the marriage years lived together be different? What behavioral changes would the couples make if they knew their marriage had a chance of not been renewed? Would they treat their partner as they did before marriage ? (You know “the honeymoon period” “the golden time”) where everything is sweetness and light and romance fills the air and the couple know that their marriage is going to be the best marriage EVER!

So let’s entertain me and say that the license is a renewable one. How long should it be valid before its renewed? Every year? Every two years? Everyone will have their own personal opinion on this time frame. But I think it should be every 5 years. The first couple of years couples are just getting use to been married. They would need time to settle into this. If after 5 years they decide to renew the license they could have another wedding ceremony, a party, another honeymoon or simply just renew their marriage license.

Lawyers could see this as a loss of potential income. Bare with me! If a couple did decide to divorce before their marriage license expired then the divorce proceedings would go on as before and divorce lawyers still make their bank trying to unite the angry couple. Of course if the couple decide after 5 years not to renew their license then the marriage legally dissolves and the couple divide all the goodies that they acquired in their marriage. Yes of course lawyers could still be needed for this part so the advent of a marriage license renewal should not put them off. Would this result in a better marriage between the two if they can resolve their issues? Would this make a better “end of marriage” scenario if they decide not to renew?

But I’m much more interested in what happens in the marriage between renewals . How will the marriage proceed during the interim? Would the couple act differently towards each other? Would they treat each other with more reverence? Would it feel more like they are dating rather than they are “stuck” with each other? How would it effect their behavior? Would it be better?

Could the fact that they must renew their license make for a better more rewarding , happy marriage? That’s the question for me because I’ve seen so many people living in misery while been married and I know so many people that have been divorced. It just seems clear to me that something needs to done to jumpstart the change. The status quo does not seem to be working at all.

So for whatever it’s worth, I certainly think it’s worth pondering. Let’s face it unhappy marriages are rampant these days and the fallout affects us all. Unhappy marriages make for unhappy people and unhappy homes. Unhappy marriages are unhealthy. If having a marriage license that had to be renewed would someone make happier people, wouldn’t it be worth it?

Nothing lasts forever and if people must get married (and in my next blog I’ll tell you why I don’t think people should get married at all) shouldn’t it be a renewable contract.

We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness yet, but if we did, I would say that’s what I want in my life!

There really are only two profound tragedies of the human condition: Impermanence is one and Loneliness is the other. Impermanence is a tragedy of time, loneliness is a tragedy of space. Today I’m going to concentrate on Loneliness, and attempt to find its “opposite”.

We really must define the word “loneliness” before we can attempt to find the opposite. Loneliness is commonly articulated as the sensational byproduct of been physically, emotionally or mentally alone, or a mix of the above. So let’s take an example….you start a new job, you know nobody, you feel like a curious interloper from another planet thrown into a foreign culture. That’s close to Loneliness but still not quite right. You see real loneliness runs a lot deeper than that. It’s when you feel alone even when you aren’t actually alone. Let me explain.

Loneliness is about feeling like you don’t know anybody but more of a feeling like nobody knows you. So how does this manifest itself?

Do you describe your relationship with the world as a car in second gear? Loneliness is an unfulfilled desire for a connection with other humans. A loathing and resignation that directed inward…… kinda like an electrical voltage that sparks a connection but reversed and turned upon itself , paralyzing you the way a taser would.

Everyone loves wit, a compliment or good news. Bring enough of it to enough people and you’ll make them feel warm and fuzzy all over. (Its a great feeling) These are nearly a bullet proof way to be likable. Humans love to be made feel good. It’s a natural thing. Have you done this? Iv done this often…. in fact it is my default setting making people smile and laugh and then vanish into the ether.

I suspect you will believe me that this makes me a hit at parties and social gatherings, and also surprisingly awkward. Here’s the thing….A lot of likable people are completely lonely.

Now let’s talk social media. We craft these social networks and (supposedly) gleefully overshare in the hopes that somebody, anybody will relate to us. We need the connection. Your network could be one, two or three thousand people that you consider friends, or sought out an avalanche of hearts and likes on a professionally candid photo, or a status that doubles as an epic description of your success. Occasionally you will receive the validation and it momentarily makes you feel less lonely. But when all reaction is current, and all reaction is superficial , self loathing and self doubt and the other two horse men of the self- apocalypse ride into our virtual town. Is this a precursor for becoming less lonely?

Your so vulnerable and brave my friends say to me. It takes a lot of courage to bleed onto the keyboard for all to see.

Ahh….. but the masses have been dubbed. What I choose to share with people isn’t an expression of any sort of emotional vulnerability. I am broadcasting, a far less emotional or risky endeavor than conversation. Broadcasting things probably makes you worth listing to, but only a conversation can confirm to people that your worth knowing. So to become someone worth knowing this requires reciprocity and vulnerability. It also requires actual investment of emotional capital into people you wish to know. And there’s only a fixed amount allotted for distribution, in a deeper way than taking 15 seconds to “like” and comment .

To keep up actual friendship it requires resources. To be someone worth knowing requires “real” human interaction. You have to have conversations beyond social media. Expressing your differences, changing peoples minds, passionately defending the points that defend our character. Asking for and offering favors. This is what makes this life worth living. Agree?

When we’re lonely what are we craving ? We are craving more connecting NOT more connections!

The opposite of loneliness is intimacy

the act of revealing your whole true self to someone else and having them reciprocate It is something you can only do one-on-one, face-to-face, soul-to-soul. Intimacy is lots of things, an act of love, an act of self-love, an act of defiance all in one. It’s gritty, emotional, raw, unfiltered, unabashed, unpretentious and even unguarded. It’s like talking about things together. It’s also about being and about becoming things together.

What are we in this world if not connectable interlocking parts? What is-the point in having joy, suffering, talent and wisdom if not to be shared and imparted? A sole is not a silo, a mind is not a mine. We worship, learn, aid, sing, dance, watch, call, visit, fuck, create, talk, run, love, try, read, write to bring ourselves closer. To make whole what we lack in the emptiness of loneliness. I believe a heart unbroken is a life unwatered, and I believe a dream undashed is a life unlived. I also believe….To play safe,to play solo is to play a fools game. We may very well find success in rising above the rest, but we can only win by lifting up others. That requires intimacy. Intimacy requires the courage to make enemies, equally as easily as we make friends.

And this is how we beat back the gray twilight of loneliness and we find ourselves in the company of those we’ve challenged to truly see and accept us for who we are. Its like a game of emotional and intellectual catch where neither drops the ball. It is transcendent, and it is the momentary defeat of our uniquely human tragedy.

Embracing Your Physical Self

It was only in my mid 30’s when I first realised how much my sexuality influences my sense of self. Sex it turns out, was a form of expression I was rather interested in. Oddly enough, that’s when my then partner accused me: “all you care about is sex” He said this because he did not want a sexual component in our relationship at all. A perfectly fine thing, if partners agree. However not an option for me.

The confusion he had over his own feelings about sex in relationships unfortunately triggered a lot of confusion for me. The shame I felt over this was immense- I internalised his words about how valuing sex as highly as an emotion or mental connection was primitive, stupid. I began to deny that I was physical person at all, and a part of me was squared away in a box with a label attached to it saying “do not touch” A far cry from liberation!

Only more recently have I admitted the truth to myself: I am not an idiot for been a physical, sexual human-being. My physicality is an active part of my identity. Now I am rediscovering my body in all new ways. It’s exciting. I am finally paying attention to it, rather than dismissing it out of hand for the “superiority” of my mind. The mind is a powerful thing but living entirely in ones own head is also dangerous. Our true self is something that I think can only really be understood and explored if we are balanced in mind, body and spirit.

It is in this vein that I began to reflect on what “liberation” really means. Its something that gets bandied about quite a lot. We all know someone who after a few beers think they are super woke and sexually free and “get it”. But what does liberation really mean? I guess it might mean so many different things for so many people but here is what I think it means.

Its about Openness

Been open Minded doesn’t come naturally to everyone and fear around the physical realm (the vulnerability required and pressure of “performing” to exceptions) can be daunting. I have friends who can not even say the word “sex” when its not a word we should have a fear of. If you are afraid of the word then how can you be open in the act? People are contradictions, in the end. There are many factors that overlap with sex- culture, sexual orientation, religion, media, just to name a few. We absorb all these things, alongside information about gender roles, along side ageism and ableism and everything else that aims to hold some bodies above others for particular kinds of pleasure. Untangling these things to figure where true desire and pleasure starts and finishes is really rather tricky. However not impossible. But without a sense of been open and ready to explore, real pleasure is very hard to achieve. Almost impossible.

I have done my best to eliminate assumptions about what my body is here to do on this earth. However its here to do many things, not all to do with my sexuality, nor all to do with my thoughts.

Liberation requires openness to begin down the road of discovery.

Its about self awareness

Self-awareness is a challenge in a lot of aspects of life. Let alone in the sexual sphere, where internalised shame can do so much damage. Its not news, that women understand even less about their own pleasure than men often do, what with masturbation being something utterly undiscussed. Shame! And at the same time there is an unreasonable expectation that men are meant to understand it all perfectly (when of course they don’t) which makes it hard for them to ask questions as well. Its the blind leading the blind. Or rather, nobody leading anyone- everyone pretending everything/anything is fine ( and I know all about pretending, but thats another blog) a system that benefits no-one.

We have to explore, we have to ask questions, we have to experiment. A sense of trust is important, (this can be difficult for some people) and becomes very important if others are involved.

Its about communication

A straight friend of mine told me that he considered sex to be worthwhile even without helping his partner achieve an orgasm. Now I don’t think sex is about orgasm-but orgasm is a fairly important part of it for a lot of people. It is for me. It speaks to the age-old assumptions that female pleasure isn’t quite so important. The partner he imagines as sufficiently pleased by a lack of orgasm is a partner who hasn’t ever spoken for herself. I’d love to know her point of view on this matter. In essence it felt as though there was an assumption about male versus female “needs”. But the reality is what ever gender you are, the needs of your partner are something you must discuss together. And given the huge assumption that exists about male orgasm (that it is “final”-it signals the end point of a heterosexual sexual encounters) its even more important that this is discussed. Orgasm is important, and female orgasm is not so much mysterious as it is undervalued, but the emphasis on male ejacualion is problematic also. The pressure for one partner to dole out pleasure, take pleasure, initiate and finalise the encounter, is far too great a task. However much of this is been dismantled with time. Again, it comes back to peoples expectations and the pressure applied to achieve absolutes that are grounded in stereotype and assumptions, in an arena where absolutes does not exist.

Sensuality is often fluid. The things we like will probably change. Our bodies are not machines, and they don’t always act as we expect them to. We have to learn how to communicate our needs to our partner and give our partner an opportunity to express theirs, in order to experience liberation- completely, and to ensure we don’t suppress our partners, either.

Its about choice

In an excellent episode of the Sexually Liberate Woman podcast, Ev’Yan Whitney Jaliessa Sipress, who at one point in her podcast says:

If you are been fulfilled by vanilla sex, then you should do that. You know what I mean? just because you are a sex educator does not mean that you have to try every flavour in the ice cream shop…..