Play Gentle with Aram Giragos

Play Gentle#3

Q:I had my first date with one of my matches on Tinder last night. The evening was magical everything was going great, the chemistry and attraction was so there. Suddenly, his tone changes and says he needs to tell me something before this goes any further. Im in suspense. He then tells me that he is a veteran and lost a leg in Afghanistan. I really like this guy and Id like to think that I open enough to look pass that, but Im a little weirded out. What should I do?

A: This seems like a no-brainer to me, but I’m willing to dig a little deeper here. First of all, I’m happy to hear that you met someone with whom you had a magical evening upon first in-person meeting! Words like “chemistry,” “attraction,” and “magic” are all good ones.  Let’s keep that in mind, but we’ll put a pin in it for now.
Moving on, he lost a leg in Afghanistan, and that weirded you out.  How did you react?  Because if you were quiet and weird about it, put yourself in this guy’s shoes: chances are he will not be interested in chasing a guy who can’t get passed something he is unable to change about himself.  If HE wrote in instead of you, and said “I had this awesome date, but when I told him about losing a leg in Afghanistan, he was kind of a dick about it,” my advice would not likely be in favor of pursuing you further.
This is a fact about this guy: he lost a leg. I understand that that is out of the ordinary, but the opportunity here is yours.  You like this guy? What if you asked him questions about how he lost his leg? Show him some compassion and curiosity, and maybe that will help you get over that hump you’re experiencing. Unless all you were looking for with this guy was a roll in the hay, there is an opportunity here for you to get to know someone who has gone through something you know nothing about – and I don’t only mean losing a leg, but HELLO, living through war. Learn about what he’s been through.  Be openminded to his experience.
Then remember the chemistry, the attraction, and the magic that the two of you were capable of before you learned about his leg. He might surprise you, and better yet, you might surprise yourself.

Q: Ive been in a long-term relationship and sex has become more of a chore than a hot encounter. I have tried to bring up this sex, on the to do list” issue with my boyfriend, but he never seems to want to discuss it. How do I get him to talk about it?

A: There are a lot of possibilities here to explore. Some people have trouble discussing sex in general, but do you know when they want to talk about it least? When they don’t want it anymore. I’m not saying that I believe that is what’s happening here, but it’s certainly possible. There are even many possibilities as to why. Another possibility… sex, on a to-do list? Do YOU think that’s sexy??
I’m sure there are a million details we are missing from the story here, so I’m going to share a few ideas.
1. Depending on how “long-term” we are talking here, maybe sex is just not on his mind anymore. That happens to many couples, and it’s okay. Intimacy evolves. We’ve conditioned ourselves to think that if sex fades in a relationship, that something must be wrong, and that’s just not the truth. And besides…
2. While sex may not be everything, it is something, and after years together your needs are likely to diverge. One may want it once a week, while the other is like hey, this episode of Lady Dynamite deserves a second watch, or what have you. You could, however…
3. See a counselor (like me) who can help guide your discussion and provide a safe space in which you can both open up to each other about where you each ARE with sex. That way you can come up with some new agreements and boundaries. Maybe you can date someone else with whom you match better sexually, but come home to your hubs for dinner and TV time.
Rather than see this as a problem you have with each other, you can discuss this in ways that treat the issue as something you two can overcome TOGETHER without pathologizing it.

Q: Ive just met a guy I really like, and we’re sort of in the honeymoon period of dating where there’s attraction and potential, but we don’t really “know” eachother. Long story short, how do I tell him that I’ve done porn and sex work in the past?

As someone who has dealt with this himself, I can tell you that some guys are just not going to be into it. I can also tell you, that that’s their problem, not yours.
Let me ask you something you can think about on your own… how do you feel about having done porn and sex work in the past? Is it something that makes you cringe when you think about it, or do you wear it like a badge of honor? Somewhere along that spectrum, maybe?
Think about a kid on a playground wearing glasses and playing with his friends. Some bully comes up and says “HEY, FOUR-EYES!” The kid looks down in shame, avoids eye contact, maybe even tells him to stop. What do you think the bully does here? He more than likely continues. However, if the kid looks up and says “Uh yeah, I wear glasses. That’s funny though, that you think calling me four-eyes is funny.” The bully will probably move right along.
If there’s anything that can feed a negative opinion, it’s shame. If you treat your past with any shame at all, people will likely follow suit. I understand there’s still a long road ahead in this department, but I work very hard to destigmatize things like porn and sex work. You can do your part by being honest with him – when the opportunity comes up and you guys are talking about things you have done in the past, speak about your sex work background with your head up and with a smile. He may giggle and ask questions, he may get nervous and ask you if you’re still doing it. Your only option is to be honest. And if he’s like “sorry, I’m just not into it,” then he’s not the one for you.
 Thanks everyone for writing in this week! If you live in LA and would like to sit down some time, email to get in touch!”

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