Ten (Okay, Eleven) Sex and Relationship Tips based on the Rules of Acquisition

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.
Image result for oo mox223. 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!
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Tell Me When it Hurts…

I have the tendency not to tell people when they’re hurting me; I just keep it in and accept it until I hit a breaking point or the pain stops.  Of course I know this isn’t healthy, but it’s so hard to break this habit once you’ve started.  I think: Maybe if I tell this person (s)he’s hurting me, (s)he will be defensive.  Maybe (s)he will blame it on me.  Maybe (s)he’ll apologize but won’t mean it.  Or even worse: Maybe (s)he won’t apologize.  Maybe (s)he doesn’t care. 

Maybe (s)he will say, “I’m sorry you felt hurt.”  Not, “I’m sorry I hurt you.”

If I’m hurting someone, I for sure want to know so that I can change my behavior / language or at least try to be more aware and more respectful of that person’s needs and feelings… so what stops me from thinking that other people feel the same way?

I’m reflecting on this because of a couple of incidents that happened this weekend, both of which are related to physical pain rather than emotional pain.  The gentleman I am currently (whatever with) was visiting; there was a point in the weekend where he physically hurt me more than I wanted to be hurt (Kink!  Look it up.), and I didn’t speak up.  The next day, I did something that caused him physical pain, and he didn’t say anything; I stopped when I noticed he was wincing. 

Why didn’t I say anything?  Why didn’t he say anything?   I can’t speak for him, but in my case, I didn’t want to ruin the moment.  It worked out well; the moment went un-ruined and carried on into a pretty spectacular night.  But it probably would have been just as spectacular had I said, “That feels good, but it would feel even better if it were a little lighter.”  Had he said something to me right away when he felt pain, it definitely would have resulted in a better night for both of us. 

This was just physical pain; remaining silent about emotional pain has far worse (often long-term) ramifications… it can be corrosive and psychologically damaging.  Two things I’m trying to learn from this relationship are a) how to be a better communicator and b) how to be more mindful; this might be a good place to start.  I’m trying to remind myself that often when we feel hurt, the person who is hurting us isn’t even aware they’re doing it. 

Tiny Buddha has a really wonderful article on how to confront people who hurt you; when I read the article, I realized that maybe I should be looking at expressing hurt feelings in a different way.  I shouldn’t focus on what I expect the other person’s reaction to be, or what I fear their reaction will be, but rather focus on honestly expressing myself with no expectations and no judgment.  A difficult endeavor, but worthwhile in the long run.    

Now to lighten the mood of this post: I was watching an episode of Star Trek: TNG last night in which Picard and Dr. Crusher are linked telepathically through a device attached to their brainstems (because science fiction!).  They discover through reading each others’ thoughts that they’ve been engaging in an activity together that neither one of them enjoys just because each one thinks that it makes the other happy (It’s just breakfast, you pervs.  Get your minds out of the gutter.).  Further evidence that we should speak up when something really bothers us.*  What I’m getting at here is that we can look to Star Trek to learn deep life lessons.   
 


[This episode, by the way, has the most gutting ending.  After seven years of flirting, Picard says to Crusher something along the lines of “Now that we know how we feel about each other, maybe we shouldn’t be afraid to explore those feelings.”  Bev replies, “Maybe we should be afraid,” and then walks out the door.  WHAT.  Bev Crusher, who twice before has started to tell Picard about her feelings before something cuts her off!  How can you do this to us, son of Carl Sagan? 

Ahem.  Sorry.  Sometimes Star Trek makes me emotional.] 

*However, there is something to be said for tact and careful consideration of what we choose to say / how we choose to say it.