Yes, the Rules of Acquisition from Star Trek. You may be thinking: Why would I want to read relationship tips based on a fictional, misogynistic alien race? Because the INTERNET, that’s why! What else do you have to do for the next five minutes – work? Bah. Right, then: Crack open a lukewarm bottle of Eelwasser, and let’s dig into some Ferengi wisdom.
7. Always keep your ears open. The importance of deep, intentional listening cannot be overstated in a relationship. Take the time once in a while to ask your partner(s) if they feel understood and if their needs are being met. Then sit with them and really listen to their answers, asking follow-up questions. When your ears are open, your heart is open.
19. Satisfaction is not guaranteed. Some people can make amazing friends, but terrible partners. If you’ve tried everything in a relationship and still find that it’s not working for you, then perhaps you and that partner just aren’t compatible – and that’s okay. If your relationship ends, it doesn’t mean that it was a failure, especially if you can end it amicably and have good memories together.
34. War is good for business. There are sex therapists who actually recommend scheduling fights with your partner(s). Fighting with your partner(s) at a scheduled time gives you a chance to get things off your chest in a constructive way (by thoughtfully choosing your words shortly after you feel bad feelings instead of letting them build up, along with resentment, over time); fighting also fills you with adrenaline, which can make for some really intense sex and bonding. I find it important to touch my partner(s) when we’re fighting so that they know I’m not going anywhere – just taking the time to communicate my feelings and listen to theirs.
AND 35. Peace is good for business. Those who have a peaceful inner sanctum (as it were) and can find their own path to joy without needing someone else to create joy for them draw people toward them. Be that person.
45 / 95.* Expand or die. Always see your partner as a mystery and your love as a tree that has infinite space around it to grow, and let it grow where it will. Love is a living thing that needs to grow – or it withers. Don’t assume you know everything about your partner(s), even if you’ve been with them for years; seeing them as mysterious will intrigue you and make the relationship stronger.
57. Good customers are almost as rare as latinum; treasure them. Often, when people are with someone for a long time, they start to take that person for granted. Don’t. Your partners are a valuable part of your life; they enrich it, so treasure them and embody a sense of gratitude for everything they share with you. No one owes you their time or their love, so say or show (whichever your partner prefers) your appreciation often!
62. The riskier the road, the greater the profit. In More Than Two, Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert say that life rewards people who move in the direction of greatest courage. Make your relationship choices based on what’s right for you instead of what society expects of you (and if those two things happen to align, that’s great!). You will find community if you look for it – no matter what road you choose, you’re not alone. There are great rewards in seeking the kind of relationship and the kind of partner(s) you actually want.
168. Whisper your way to success. Whisper something dirty in your partner’s ear right now. Go on – do it. Then whisper something else in another language. Then nibble their ear lobe ever so gently. Yeah, just like that. That’s nice. Where was I?
208. Sometimes, the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer. If you ask your partner(s) a question, be prepared to hear the truth. If your partner is brave enough to communicate something with you that’s difficult to say, then be brave enough to really hear them.
223. Beware the man who doesn’t take time for oo-mox. I mean… sex is fucking important. MAKE time for it. If you’re busy, schedule time for it. If you need to get away from the house in order to decrease your stress level enough for you to feel desire, then go to a hotel (or a dark alley… you do you)! Do what you need to do to stay physically connected to your partner, because a good bang can help assuage negative feelings. Sex fills your brain with all kinds of hormones and neurotransmitters that will make you feel more bonded with (and empathetic with) your partner(s).
240. Time, like latinum, is a highly limited commodity. Love may be abundant, but time is finite. There are only so many hours in the day – consider this when starting a potential new relationship. Don’t promise time to people if you don’t have it, and make sure you save some time for yourself. (I’m an introvert who has a hard time saying no; when I feel stressed about giving away all my time, I write a big X in my planner with the words “DON’T MAKE PLANS.”) Remember that you choose how to prioritize your time. Be grateful for the time your partners choose to share with you, and make time for your partners.
*Stated as 45 in Enterprise but 95 in Voyager. Shut up, I’m super cool.
P.S. Dear Anticipated Comment Troll: Yes, I do know that relationships aren’t transactions and love isn’t something that can be acquired, but thank you so much for pointing that out!
The Texan and I got home from the bar late at night, both a little bit tipsy, and hastily stripped off our clothes, leaving most of them in a pile near the door. Making our way to my stairs through the dark while trying to kiss each other, we bumped into counters and furniture, laughing at ourselves while groping each other with fumbling hands. On the way up the stairs, he whispered, “Get out your blindfolds.” Yesssssss.
|If only Delta knew…|
I have two blindfolds – both meant for long plane trips. One of them has little green and white airplanes on it – not very sexy, but it gets the job done. The other looks as though it came straight from an adult toy shop, all black and silky, but I actually took it from a plane. Thanks, Delta!
I grabbed my blindfolds and a couple of pairs of earplugs (hilariously, one of the pairs is actually meant for keeping water out of your ears while swimming – let’s hear it for DIY BDSM) and brought them into bed. We put the earplugs in first, looking hungrily at each other, then slipped the blindfolds over our heads. Suddenly, both of us were plunged into total darkness and muffled sound.
We felt our way around each other with our hands and mouths at first, just wanting to become familiar with the landscapes of each other’s bodies. I remember riding him, lacing my fingers through his, and feeling wonder at the synchronicity of our movement and how connected I felt having only touch to guide us. I remember how warm his body felt as he pressed me against him and tumbled me over so he could fuck me; how he moved my right leg up so it rested against his shoulder. How right before coming, he told me he was taking off the blindfold so he could see me. We threw our blindfolds to the side, looking at each other in the darkness, and I felt his cock throbbing inside of me, filling me with hot spurts of cum.
I remember lying on my back on the bed afterward, feeling not quite finished. Sweating and aching for more, I asked him to put all of his fingers inside of me. He laughed. “All of them?” he asked. Yes, I insisted. “You only get one at a time,” he said. He slid his index finger into my cunt up toward my engorged g-spot, pressed into it for a moment, swirled his finger around it, and then took it out and told me to open my mouth. I eagerly took his finger into my mouth, sucking off a mixture of his spunk and my own juices. “Now two,” he said, sliding his index and middle fingers into me before once again putting them into my mouth. Three, then four. He told me that he loves the way I feel; I told him that I love the way he tastes. He moved his four fingers into me slowly, pushing against an initial tightness to get them all inside. I groaned with satisfaction, moving my cunt against his hand. Once inside the tent (as it were), he was free to make a bit of a come hither motion, filling me with waves of pleasure. I can’t remember if I told him to stop or his hand got tired, but I do remember it feeling damn good.
When we woke in the morning light to see blindfolds and ear plugs tossed haphazardly about, we smiled and kissed each other and snuggled up; I felt very grateful in that moment to have someone both suggestive and open to suggestion in my life.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been slowly making my way through a book of passages by Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh called How to Love; slowly, because that’s the only way to take it in. Instead of reading it like I would a book, I read two or three passages a week – one at a time – and think about how that passage applies to my past and present and how I can incorporate its teachings into my future.
There are a few passages I keep coming back to – passages that have profoundly changed the way I perceive myself and my loved ones, the ways in which I interact with others, and the way I see the world around me. I wanted to share one of these because it’s had a personal impact on my current relationship:
Rediscovering Appreciation (p. 55)
When a loved one is suffering a lot, she or he doesn’t have enough energy to embrace you and help you suffer less. So it’s natural that you become disappointed… If you’re patient and you practice taking care of yourself and the other person, you may have a chance to discover that the elements of goodness and beauty in the person you love are still there. Taking care of yourself, you can support your loved one and re-establish the joy in your relationship.
I love this passage because it emphasizes the importance of compassion – putting yourself in your loved one’s place and feeling their suffering – and patience (which I’d argue people have less and less of in an age of overstimulation and rapid access to everything).
How to Love talks a lot about finding joy in your life outside of your relationships in order to share that joy with your partners (to nourish their hearts and minds); this passage reinforces that idea. When we’re hurting, we often react out of anger or fear; we blame our partners rather than considering their suffering and looking at the bigger picture; however, as Franklin Veaux says, just because we feel bad doesn’t mean that someone did something wrong. Through self-care, compassion, mindfulness, having an active, joyful, and full life outside of our romantic partners, and having a supportive community of friends, we can take better care of ourselves and help our partners when they need it.
My sweetheart is going through a stressful and extremely busy time right now; he feels overwhelmed, working three jobs and doing an online master’s degree. This means that he has less time to spend with me; when that hurts me (and it does), I go to this passage and focus on how I can support him emotionally. I ask him what he needs, and that’s been a really big deal to him. I tell him that when he’s done with all the things he needs to get done, I’ll be here, loving him, full of funny stories to share with him, and waiting with a healing touch. Practicing loving kindness and compassion can be transformative; if not for the other person you are being kind to, then for yourself.