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Ajeet and Nico: From chance encounter to a life together

German Nicolas Mattes met Filipino Ajeet Panemanglor while studying in Los Baños. The two eventually fell for each other, despite the challenges of coming from different parts of the world. “If you meet someone you have a connection with, you still have to work to keep things working. But sometimes the person you meet is worth it, no? Sometimes he changes your life, and then you want to do your best to keep him in your life. I don’t know where the future will find us, but I know we’re happy now, and that’s what matters,” Ajeet says.

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In 2011, Nicolas Mattes traveled to the Philippines to work at a research center in Los Baños as a requirement for his masters degree. It was only planned as a three month trip, and after that, he was supposed to go back to his home country, Germany, to start his thesis.

“After two weeks of getting used to the new environment and traveling a bit around Laguna, I decided to do what most gay men do when they are in a new place: to hook up with a random stranger.  In my case, using a famous ‘blue’ Internet dating site,” Nico recalled.

Scrolling through the tons of faceless profiles, aggressively advertising diverse body parts, Nico decided for himself that anonymity isn’t sexy.

“So, when I stumbled upon a guy who actually cared to put, apart from (very cute) face pictures, a little information about himself, plus a link to his personal blog, I started to chat him up. After exchanging a few lines, we thought we would be ready for a tête-à-tête,” Nico said.

Nico’s first trip to Manila ended at a bus station in Cubao, where he and Ajeet Panemanglor planned to meet. It turned out that there were a bunch of bus stations in the Cubao area, so it took them half an hour and about P200 phone load to actually find each other.

“I hugged him as a greeting, which is quite common in Germany, but seems unusual in the Philippines.  So he was a bit surprised with the unannounced body contact,” Nico smiled.

Nico and Ajeet spent the afternoon chatting, walking around Manila, and ended up in the Nakpil-Orosa crossing at night. Back then, this quarter was quite lively and Nico remembered being impressed with the unexpected openness of the Philippine gay scene despite being in a very religious country.

Sitting outside the club, they talked about movies, politics and other stuff people talk about when a little drunk.

“At the end of the night, of course, we hooked up in a hotel near Malate, and the sex was pretty good.  Or so I remember. And I think that I might already have been in love at this point,” Nico laughed.

Nico and Ajeet saw each other again weekend after weekend, and never ran out of things to talk about, or stuff to do.

“After the first month, we even walked around Rizal Park holding hands, and I got my first ‘bakla’ shouted at me.  But we didn’t care,” Nico said.

Unfortunately, the three months ended fast, and Nico had to go back to Germany, just as he had originally planned. His internship supervisor, however, offered to extend his stay for another three months. This was actually the strike of fate that pushed their relationship from a kind of holiday liaison into something more.

“Three month is not enough time to call something serious, but six might be just enough. But at the end of the three months extension, I still had to go back and, this time, it was even harder since I didn’t know if I would ever be able to come back to the Philippines. My studies were a priority, and I had to spend the next eight months finishing my masters. But after that? We didn’t know, but we still decided to keep in touch daily over Skype,” Nico said.

Nico admits that a long distance relationship is one of the hardest things one can go through, but they were able to manage it since Ajeet visited him twice in Germany over the course of the eight months.

“Even then, it was still not sure how the future would look like.  But I had the feeling that this relationship was worth modifying the career plans I had envisioned before going to the Philippines for the first time. I managed to enroll myself in a Ph.D. program that allowed me to work again in Los Baños, this time over the course of three years. And that’s where we are right now,” Nico said.

Ajeet takes things day to day since, even now, nothing is sure with their future plans.

“He will eventually have to go back to Germany, even shortly, to finish the final requirements for his Ph.D. And after that, he will have to figure out what kind of work he wants to do,” Ajeet said.

Ajeet is currently in a job that will eventually require him to be posted to another country for several years.

“We plan potential scenarios, such as me maybe being posted to Europe or nearby, which would be easier for us to be together; or being posted to a country where he could follow and do research or work in line with his Ph.D. Of course, it’s complicated by the fact that my office cannot give any assistance or recognize a gay partner. But we have faced difficult situations before, and I feel that these are things we will be able to handle when we get to them,” Ajeet said.

For now, Nico and Ajeet are enjoying just being together.

“Small things that perhaps other people take for granted have become very special, such as waking up next to each other, instead of one or the other of us staying up or waking up early so we can Skype across different time zones. We cook, we explore Los Baños, he shows me arthouse movies which I enjoy but pretend to be horrified about,” Ajeet smiled.

Ajeet does his best to convince Nico that his home city of Metro Manila is the best in the world, and not the insane, traffic-congested megalopolis everyone else seems to think it is. Ajeet and Nico got a “super-friendly” Doberman that still terrifies everyone around them.

“I’ve learned that you take the time you have and do your best with it, and that, if you really want a relationship like this to work, you will both find some way to sort things out when faced with a situation, as we have,” Ajeet said.

Ajeet admits that he is not the most sentimental person around, but it does make one think. He never imagined being with someone, and figured work would always be the most important thing to him.

“It’s funny how things work out. You make plans, expect things to turn out a certain way, or go somewhere thinking it’ll be nothing big, and suddenly, a chance encounter can change everything… I guess a person can come along and become bigger than everything else,” Ajeet said.

Ajeet and Nico work to keep things going and make decisions that change things in their lives.

Ajeet came out to his family. Nico decided to pack up and move half a world away from his home.

Even during their time dating long distance, it was a decision to open Skype every day, to make the time to chat regularly, for a whole year.

“I guess what I’m trying to say is that, if you meet someone you have a connection with, you still have to work to keep things working. But sometimes the person you meet is worth it, no? Sometimes he changes your life, and then you want to do your best to keep him in your life. I don’t know where the future will find us, but I know we’re happy now, and that’s what matters. We’ll worry about the future when we get there, and we’ll figure it out, just as we always have,” Ajeet ended.

Nico and Ajeet

A registered nurse, John Ryan (or call him "Rye") Mendoza hails from Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao (where, no, it isn't always as "bloody", as the mainstream media claims it to be, he noted). He first moved to Metro Manila in 2010 (supposedly just to finish a health social science degree), but fell in love not necessarily with the (err, smoggy) place, but it's hustle and bustle. He now divides his time in Mindanao (where he still serves under-represented Indigenous Peoples), and elsewhere (Metro Manila included) to help push for equal rights for LGBT Filipinos. And, yes, he parties, too (see, activists need not be boring! - Ed).

Love Affairs

LGBTQIA people think domestic violence is a cis-straight issue – study

A study found that domestic and family violence (DFV) and intimate partner violence (IPV) were perceived by community members and professional stakeholders to be a “heterosexual issue that did not easily apply to LGBTQIA relationships.”

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Members of the LGBTQIA community think domestic violence is a cis-straight issue. This is according to a study conducted by Relationships Australia New South Wales (RANSW) and ACON (formerly the AIDS Council of NSW), and was published by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety.

As stated in “Developing LGBTQ programs for perpetrators and victims/survivors of domestic and family violence”, many LGBTQIA people think domestic violence is an issue only faced by people who are both cisgender and straight.

The study found that domestic and family violence (DFV) and intimate partner violence (IPV) were perceived by community members and professional stakeholders to be a “heterosexual issue that did not easily apply to LGBTQIA relationships.”

“In particular, many community members held the view that relationships between (LGBTQIA) people could avoid the inherent sexism and patriarchal values of heterosexual, cisgender relationships, and, by implication, avoid DFV/IPV.”

In a way, this doesn’t come as a complete surprise, considering the language and framework used when discussing DFV and IPV.

The study noted that “although DFV and IPV have received increased attention in recent years, the focus has been on addressing intimate abuse between cisgender, heterosexual people with greater attention paid to male perpetrators.”

Also, “clients and potential clients did not have a full understanding of what constitutes domestic violence and felt this term related only to physical forms of abuse.”

And so “although (LGBTQIA) perpetrator interventions, and research around them, are emergent at best, the scant literature does provide a little information which can be used
to inform program developers and clinical practice.”

The researchers also noted particular kinds of abuse not seen among cis-straight people.

For instance, there are “identity-based tactics of abuse” where the fear of exposure or outing is used as a weapon within queer relationships.

After an individual has appraised that he/she may be experiencing abuse, seeking appropriate intervention may also be challenging because of non-inclusive services currently available.

The researchers recommended the following:

  • Make LGBTQIA inclusivity training required learning for all DFV/IPV sector staff, particularly those employed in specialized DFV/IPV roles.
  • Advocate that inclusivity training be made mandatory within clinical organizations, and among police and legal professionals.
  • Develop referral pathways into LGBTQIA-friendly DFV/IPV programs for key professionals, such as court support workers and magistrates.
  • Increase representation of LGBTQIA people in promotional material about DFV/IPV.
  • Use social media platforms to increase DFV/IPV awareness in LGBTQIA communities and use these channels to engage clients for future programs.
  • Provide ongoing funding to develop, trial and implement tailored programs. Short funding cycles do not provide adequate time to populate groups within an underdeveloped community area.
  • Ensure programs respond to diverse needs within mixed LGBTQIA groups and manage transphobia and biphobia.

This isn’t the first time DFV and IPV within the LGBTQIA community was tackled – even if it remains to be under-researched, and not widely tackled within the LGBTQIA community. In 2018, for instance, a study found that nearly half of men in same-sex couples suffered some form of abuse at the hands of their partner, according to a study that surveyed 320 men (160 male couples) in Atlanta, Boston and Chicago in the US to measure emotional abuse, controlling behaviors, monitoring of partners, and HIV-related abuse.

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Training bystanders to intervene will help prevent domestic violence and abuse – study

Bystander intervention is about empowering all members of the community to speak up and challenge gender inequality and the drivers of domestic abuse in a safe and situation-appropriate way. It’s about helping people to find their own way to make an impact and make a difference.

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Empowering people to intervene when they witness unacceptable behavior can help to prevent domestic violence and abuse, a new study has found.

Specific training for bystanders makes them “significantly” more confident to take action when they see or hear wrongdoing related to domestic abuse in their community, according to the study, published in the journal BMC Public Health.

A total of 81% of participants reported being more likely to intervene when they saw wrongdoing after the training, this increased to 89% four months later.

Similar training has been used in universities in the UK and experts who developed the new program hope bystander training will now play a key role in domestic violence prevention work across the country. The training, called Active Bystander Communities, was led by Dr. Rachel Fenton at the University of Exeter and Alexa Gainsbury at Public Health England, and is a collaboration between University of Exeter Law School, Public Health England, Devon County Council, Bristol County Council, Splitz and the Hollie Gazzard Trust. It was piloted with 70 people in Exeter, Torquay and Gloucester.

Active Bystander Communities was designed to give people the knowledge and skills they need to be ‘active bystanders’ and intervene positively in potentially harmful situations. It was delivered in three two hour sessions by experienced facilitators. Participants learned how to notice harmful behavior alongside developing the skills to be able to intervene safely and effectively.

Surveys of participants immediately after the training showed a significant increase in confidence and intent to take action as well as a significant improvement in their ability to spot and reject myths about domestic abuse. A total of 87% of people who took part in the training were less likely to believe myths about domestic abuse afterwards. A total of 84% of participants said they felt more confident about intervening following the training.

Researchers found further improvement four months after training when participants had had the opportunity to take their learning out into their communities and take action.

Fenton said: “Bystander intervention is about empowering all members of the community to speak up and challenge gender inequality and the drivers of domestic abuse in a safe and situation-appropriate way. It’s about helping people to find their own way to make an impact and make a difference.”

For Fenton, “people in the community are ideally placed to respond to problematic behaviors and support individuals who are experiencing domestic violence and abuse because they have the relationships, insights and opportunities to make a real difference.”

Gainsbury at Public Health England said: “Preventing violence is everyone’s business and we are all aware of the devastating impact domestic abuse has on individuals, families and communities. Whilst we are clear that domestic violence and abuse should never happen, it is not always clear what we can do to stop it.”

She added that their follow-up research has found participants have been quick to put their training into action and have already carried out a wide range of bystander interventions from calling out sexist behavior to supporting victims of domestic abuse within their communities.

“From spreading the word that bystanders can make a difference to calling out harmful behaviours they see in everyday life and being a source of support to those experiencing abuse, the range of ways in which participants have enacted interventions since undertaking the training has been inspirational,” Gainsbury ended.

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When is reading your partner’s emotions beneficial, and when harmful?

Expressing and perceiving emotions is, of course, important for making connections and deriving satisfaction in a relationship. But in order to really propel your partner to change, you may need to use more direct communication about exactly what kind of change you are hoping for.

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Are you good at reading your partner’s emotions? Your perceptiveness may very well strengthen your relationship. Yet when anger or contempt enter the fray, little is to be gained and the quality of your relationship tanks, researchers find.

new study by a team of psychologists from the University of Rochester and the University of Toronto tried to figure out under what circumstances the ability to read another person’s emotions–what psychologists call “empathic accuracy”–is beneficial for a relationship and when it could be harmful. The study examined whether the accurate perception of a romantic partner’s emotions has any bearing on the quality of a relationship and a person’s motivation to change when a romantic partner asks for a change in behavior or attitude.

While prior research on empathic accuracy had yielded mixed findings, the new study shows that couples who accurately perceive appeasement emotions, such as embarrassment, have better relationships than those accurately perceiving dominance emotions, such as anger or contempt. The perception may be on the part of the person requesting the change, or the person receiving the request.

Lead author Bonnie Le, an assistant professor in the University of Rochester’s Department of Psychology, says the team zeroed in on how accurately deciphering different types of emotions affects relationship quality.

“If you accurately perceive threatening displays from your partner, it can shake your confidence in a relationship,” says Le, who conducted the research while a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

Key findings

  • Couples who accurately perceive appeasement emotions–either as the person requesting the change or the person receiving the request–have better relationships.
  • Couples where either partner feels negative emotions, regardless of whether those emotions are accurately perceived by the partner, have poorer relationships.
  • Accuracy in reading another person’s emotions does not increase the motivation to heed a partner’s request for change.

Why is the ability to change important for a partnership?

Even in the best relationships, partners invariably experience conflict. One way to tackle conflict, researchers argue, is to ask a partner to change by, for example, spending less money, losing weight, making changes to a couple’s sex life, or resetting life goals. Yet, requesting such personal (and sometimes threatening) change can elicit negative emotions and put a strain on a relationship. That’s why figuring out how best to navigate emotionally charged situations is crucial to maintaining a healthy relationship.

“If you are appeasing with your partner–or feel embarrassed or bashful–and your partner accurately picks up on this, it can signal to your partner that you care about their feelings and recognize a change request might be hurtful,” Le says. “Or if your partner is angry or contemptuous–what we call dominance emotions–that signals very different, negative information that may hurt a partner if they accurately perceive it.”

The team–besides Rochester’s Le–is made up of Stéphane Côté of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management; and Jennifer Stellar and Emily Impett, both from the University of Toronto Mississauga. They discovered that the type of negative emotion detected matters: if you read in your partner’s expression softer emotions–such as sadness, shame, or embarrassment–you generally enjoy a strong relationship. One possible reason is that these so-called “appeasement emotions” are read as signals of concern for the partner’s feelings.

In contrast, and contrary to the researchers’ original hypothesis, simply feeling anger or contempt–emotions that signal blame and defensiveness–rather than accurately reading those emotions in your partner, may be socially destructive for a relationship. The team found that if even just one partner felt angry, or displayed contempt, the quality of the relationship tanked, regardless of whether the other partner’s ability to read emotions was spot on, or completely missed the mark.

Coauthor Côté says the team doesn’t exactly know why anger functions in this way. “We think reading emotions allows partners to coordinate what they do and say to each other, and perhaps that is helpful when appeasement emotions are read, but not when anger emotions are read. Anger seems to overpower any effect of reading emotions, which is consistent with lots of research findings on how anger harms relationships.”

Yet, regardless of how well a person was able to decipher a partner’s emotions, accuracy did not increase motivation to heed the partner’s request for change.

Expressing and perceiving emotions is, of course, important for making connections and deriving satisfaction in a relationship. But in order to really propel your partner to change, you may need to use more direct communication about exactly what kind of change you are hoping for.
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Direct communication is key

For the study, the researchers asked 111 couples who had been dating for an average of three years to discuss in a lab setting an aspect that they wanted their partner to change, such as particular behaviors, personal characteristics, or how they controlled their temper. The research team then switched the roles of those making the request and those who were asked to change. Afterward, the participants rated their own emotions and perceptions of their partner’s emotions, their relationship quality, and their motivation to heed those change requests.

“Expressing and perceiving emotions is, of course, important for making connections and deriving satisfaction in a relationship,” says Le. “But in order to really propel your partner to change, you may need to use more direct communication about exactly what kind of change you are hoping for.”

Research has shown that direct communication, whether positive or negative, is more likely to lead to change in the long run. That said, the emotional tone you take when you ask your partner for a change is important, notes Le:

“It’s not bad to feel a little bashful or embarrassed when raising these issues because it signals to the partner that you care and it’s valuable for your partner to see that. You acknowledge that what you raise may hurt their feelings. It shows that you are invested, that you are committed to having this conversation, and committed to not hurting them. And the extent to which this is noted by your partner may foster a more positive relationship.”

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Non-sexual intimate touches build stronger relationship

Go ahead: Give your partner a hug or cuddle while you catch some Netflix. According to a research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, it just might build a stronger relationship.

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Not all about sex.

Go ahead: Give your partner a hug or cuddle while you catch some Netflix. According to a research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, it just might build a stronger relationship.

The study, led by Binghamton University doctoral student in psychology Samantha Wagner, particularly looks at the effects of non-sexual intimate touch – for example, hugging, holding hands or cuddling on the couch, rather than actions intended to lead to sex. Attachment style refers to human social bonds and exists on a spectrum; avoidant individuals prefer more interpersonal distance, while anxious individuals seek greater closeness. This style develops in childhood, but can change over time and vary with the individual in question.

“It all depends on how open, close and secure you feel with that person, which is impacted by many, many factors,” Wagner said.

To determine the connection of attachment style, touch satisfaction and marital satisfaction, researchers used a sample of 184 couples over the age of 18, consisting of husbands and wives; same-sex couples were excluded. Because the study protocol included hormonal sampling, individuals on hormonal therapy were also excluded, as well as postmenopausal, pregnant or breastfeeding women. They were interviewed separately on their attachment tendencies, the amount of touch and routine affection in their relationships, and their relationship satisfaction.

Researchers expected to find that avoidant individuals preferred less touch, while anxious people prefer more. What they found was more nuanced.

The more routine affection that couples experienced, the more they felt satisfied with their partners’ touch, even if they had avoidant attachment styles. With low levels of physical affection, anxious husbands were less satisfied with the touch they received, but not anxious wives, who may instead choose to solicit the missing affection.

For men, higher levels of routine affection are associated with relationship satisfaction; in other words, touch is a positive, the icing on the marriage cake. For women, lower levels of routine affection correlated with relationship dissatisfaction, meaning that touch is an essential ingredient and its absence is a negative. It’s a subtle distinction.

“There’s something specific about touch satisfaction that interplays with relationship satisfaction but not dissatisfaction for wives,” said Wagner, who noted that further research studies may be able to clarify the distinction.

Whatever a couple’s attachment insecurities, the perception of how their partner touches them has the greatest association with “touch satisfaction.” In other words, more is better because they can more easily see that their partner is trying to engage with them.

Overall, the study shows an association between non-sexual physical affection and solid marriages, although the current data can’t establish cause and effect.

“Interestingly, there’s some evidence that holding your partner’s hand while you’re arguing de-escalates the argument and makes it more productive,” said Wagner, who has used the technique with clients.

However, Wagner emphasized that the study focused only on healthy, consensual touch — not manipulation or abuse. Touch holds different meanings for people, she pointed out; someone with autism spectrum disorder may be overwhelmed by tactile sensitivity, and someone with a history of trauma may experience touch as averse.

Wagner is, by her own admission, a hugger and has long been fascinated by the healing possibilities of touch; she wrote her senior thesis as a qualitative review of the uses and benefit of touch across the lifespan. But questions continued to arise: Why do some people enjoy touch more than others? And do they benefit more as a result?

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, couples may want to consider adding more affection to decrease stress — as long as their partners are receptive and willing.

“Feel free to give some extra snugs on the couch. There’s plenty of evidence that suggests touch as a way to decrease stress,” she said.

But she notes that the coronavirus pandemic also may lead to touch deprivation, as social distancing keeps us physically apart from one another. Consider, for example, healthcare workers who are quarantining themselves from their own families when they return home, to keep the virus from spreading to their loved ones.

“I think we should all hold the loved ones we can a little closer and be thoughtful of the struggles that others might be having because they can’t do just that,” she said. “If anything is true for me, a hug has become even more precious than it was before.”

Co-authors include Binghamton University Associate Professor Richard Mattson, Stony Brook University Professor Joanne Davila, Binghamton University Psychology Chair and Professor Matthew Johnson and Binghamton University Associate Professor Nicole Cameron.

The paper, “Touch me just enough: The intersection of adult attachment, intimate touch and marital satisfaction,” was published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

“I think we should all hold the loved ones we can a little closer and be thoughtful of the struggles that others might be having because they can’t do just that.”

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How to speak with your partner about your sexual fantasies

The strangest thing is that, in most cases, two people who feel absolutely free to take off their clothes in front of each other are afraid to talk about their feelings and fantasies.

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At the moments when love and desire mix into one boiling substance, we rarely feel uncomfortable to undress in front of our partners. We feel as if we were the closest people on earth. The strangest thing is that, in most cases, two people who feel absolutely free to take off their clothes in front of each other are afraid to talk about their feelings and fantasies.

What is the reason for this? Why is it much easier to denude one’s body but not the soul? There might be many reasons that prevent us from speaking up about sexual fantasies with our partners. In this article, you will learn how to start doing it.

First and foremost, why?

Indeed, why should you talk about your fantasies? Many sexologists and psychologists (including father Freud, of course) say how important it is not only to talk but to make the fantasies real. Sex is a very important part of human life. But no partners are born 100% sexually compatible with each other.

Both of you build compatibility step-by-step. Talking is one of the most important building materials for it. Telepathy does not exist, and your partner will never guess what you want unless you tell them. Be honest about every fantasy you have. What do you want: to get some toys, to buy sex dolls, or maybe to try a new place? You are the only person who knows it. Talk about it.

Maybe if you start talking about your fantasies, the partner you have will feel that they can speak up to? Make sure you not only talk but also listen. And never judge.

With the topic of judging, we are moving forward to one of the reasons why most people are so afraid to tell about what they truly want in sex. For many years the society has told us how bad and shameful sexual relationships are. Then, while becoming adults, we started to think that the desires we have are also bad, and they should be kept uncovered.

If you really think so, you are mistaken. The fact that your friends or family members don’t talk about sex doesn’t mean that they don’t have it. Many people are doing things in bed that would seem unusual for you, but not so many of them talk about it in public.

The fantasies you have are normal. Once you admit it, it will be much easier to share them with your partner. Also, you might have the thoughts that the person you love can judge you for what you want to do in bed. You might think that they will stop loving you after you share your secrets.

Most likely, they will only appreciate that you are opening up and telling them about the very intimate thoughts you have. It will also help your partner feel comfortable with sharing their fantasies. You’re not the only one who has them, right?

Once you learn to talk about what you want in sex, your relationships will be brought on a completely new level. It might take some time and even courage, but it’s worth your while.

Another very important step is to make the person you love to understand the fact that you want to try something more in sex doesn’t mean that you don’t like it the way you have. Make them be confident that your wishes for the experiments in bed don’t stem from the fact that you are bored with your sexual life.

If the person you love wants to try something new, don’t take it as an offense too. You should also understand that he or she having fantasies doesn’t mean that you don’t give them enough pleasure in bed. 

If, in the beginning, it’s challenging to start talking about new things you want to try in bed, there are still many ways to share your fantasies. For instance, you can play a couple of games such as writing the things you desire on the pieces of paper and then reading what your partner has written can be very interesting.

Also, there are many apps created for couples who want to open up for each other and talk about the most intimate thoughts they have. Indeed, sometimes you need someone or something to help you start talking about sex.

The most important and, probably, difficult is the beginning. Once you start talking about your sexual fantasies, it will become easier and easier to speak up. Both you and your partner should understand the importance of being honest about your desires and not keep them secret.

So, it always takes some courage to start talking about your sexual fantasies with a partner. What if he/she will not understand it? What if they will not like it? What if my fantasies are wrong and shameful? These thoughts probably come to anyone who has a dichotomy whether to share their intimate thoughts or not.

But telling the partner about what you want is very important for your happiness as a couple. Just remember to abandon the idea that you will be judged and never judge your beloved one, be willing to open up, and never assume that what if the person you love wants something new in bed is the sign that you don’t satisfy them anymore.

Be honest with your partner and yourself. Don’t be afraid to talk about things you want in sex and make the person you love to feel comfortable while speaking up. Build compatibility by yourself, and don’t expect the miracle to happen.

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Unique gifts for the man in your life that you can both enjoy

Ultimately, the most important thing to remember when shopping for a gift for your partner is to be thoughtful. Try to find a gift that is personal and unique, so that they feel supported and valued.

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Finding the perfect gift can be hard, particularly when you’re buying for a man who already has a lot of gadgetry and an independent income.

Often, they tend to buy themselves the gadgets and garments they want, leaving you with limited options when it comes to finding them a present they’ll love. 

Don’t despair, because there are still loads of ways to surprise them and give them an unforgettable treat. If you’re trying to find a gift, be it for a birthday, holiday or special occasion, then read on to find a selection of ideas that you can share with them. 

An Experience Voucher

One of the best ways to give a unique, unforgettable gift to the man in your life is to buy him an experience voucher. There are many options to choose from, ranging from supercar track days and hot air balloon rides through to cooking lessons and cocktail masterclasses, meaning there’s something for everyone. You can choose an experience that you will both love and book it for them so that they have something to look forward to in the future. 

You can choose an experience that you will both love and book it for them.

A Sex Toy

If the love of your life is a fan of spicing things up in the bedroom, then there are these options here for sex toys that will entice and engage them. You can use them on your partner, or allow them to use them on you, to create intimate experiences that neither of you will forget. A sex toy is also a great way to start experimenting in the bedroom, so buying one as a gift way to start your journey towards a fulfilling and exciting sex life. Just make sure he doesn’t open it in front of his family! 

A sex toy is a great way to start experimenting in the bedroom.

Designer Underwear

Many men wear the same old underwear for years, but this can be uncomfortable for them, as well as unappealing for you. Try to find them some new underwear made by a designer brand, so that they can look good and you can feel even better. Try to buy them in a style that suits their body and a color that will set off their skin tone, so that their underwear will look good and well as keeping your partner snug and comfortable. 

Try to find them some new underwear made by a designer brand, so that they can look good and you can feel even better.

A High-End Electric Guitar 

If your partner is an avid guitar player, but you want to enjoy some respite from the sound of their favorite songs coming through the walls during their late-night jam sessions, then consider buying them a luxury electric guitar. When played without an amp, they are almost entirely silent, meaning that they can practice to their heart’s content while you sleep soundly in another room. Check out the high-end electric guitars on offer from some of the world’s most respected instrument makers to find one that your man will love. 

When played without an amp, they are almost entirely silent, meaning that they can practice to their heart’s content while you sleep soundly in another room.

A Couple’s Massage

Massages are a relaxing spa treatment that almost everyone enjoys, so if your partner is a fan of being pampered, then consider getting them a voucher for a couple’s massage or spa day. You can both indulge in a relaxing massage and spend a relaxing day together. Many spas also offer you the chance to try out other treatments with your partner, so check out the menu and see if there’s anything that you will both enjoy. Afterwards, you can cool off in the pool or the hot tub, bringing your relaxing, rejuvenating day to a close and leaving you both refreshed and ready to face whatever the future brings.

You can both indulge in a relaxing massage and spend a relaxing day together.

A Pet

Buying a pet as a surprise gift is not advisable, but if you and your partner have been considering taking the leap and becoming a pet parent for some time, then paying for it could be a great gift. Make sure that you both choose the animal together so that you find one that fits perfectly into your little family. You might not be able to surprise them, but you will be able to buy a gift that you will both love and which will be a major part of your lives for many years to come. 

If you and your partner have been considering taking the leap and becoming a pet parent for some time, then paying for it could be a great gift.

A Trendy Kitchen Accessory 

Gourmet cooking has become fashionable over recent years, thanks to celebrity chefs. As a result, many men love to spend their time in the kitchen, whipping up their favorite dishes. Search for a quality kitchen accessory that will enhance their cooking experience and help them to create even more tasty treats, which you, of course, will be more than happy to sample to check that they taste as good as they look.

Gourmet cooking has become fashionable over recent years, thanks to celebrity chefs.

Ultimately, the most important thing to remember when shopping for a gift for your partner is to be thoughtful. Try to find a gift that is personal and unique, so that they feel supported and valued. Use this list to find inspiration and share the joy with your loved one. 

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