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To the first man who broke my heart

After more than a decade, John Ryan Mendoza re-discovers his first heartbreak – courtesy of his latest heartbreak, which he says hurts like the first time. And so he pens an – err – ultra-late break-up letter, as he looks forward to being able to already laugh about what was.




It was the fifth of the month again. I wore that red shirt I bought on saved lunch money. You didn’t seem to even notice.  I was walking behind you as you led me through that street of computer game cafes where we skipped classes to battle our prides over unending bragging rights. I thought we were going to that grilled chicken place where we usually go to. We ended up on that spot behind the cathedral that views the afternoon sun and that lazy river. And then, while there, you finally said: “It’s over.”

After more than a decade, why am I writing to you now? Because another man broke my heart; and yeah it sure hurts like the first time.

I just woke up from another vivid dream of him, and now I’m alternating pushing keys and drying my eyes.

A friend told to me that you asked her how I was because I am not on Facebook anymore. Remember way back then, I wasn’t even on Friendster? There were days when I didn’t want to see you smiling in a photo, else I started to waste away for not touching my food. I didn’t want to see myself captured in a photo and placed in an online profile with a grin that took so much effort to do. Then add the prying eyes and inventive tongues of the unwanted. It was just too tiring. Now it is the same thing all over again.

I was with my mother at the grocery today and saw a good old friend who asked me why I didn’t show up on our drinking sessions anymore. Seeing I haven’t really had my hair cut in a while, he just said he understood what this look means and enforced a session. I looked at my mother choosing fish, and I just felt how near yet so far I felt with her again. Two days after that afternoon at the cathedral, she asked me about you and why I was not eating much. There was so much that I wanted to say, but I knew how she would have cringed if I did. (She saw us in embrace in my room one morning when I forgot to lock the door, you know.) Now, I sometimes feel again that my chest is about to burst, but I just don’t know how to even start with a word.

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For days I couldn’t count, I used to skip the jeepney ride home to walk around this small city and sometimes passed by that gutter where you promised me those three stars. I walked and walked just to make sure that I would be too tired to have to endure another sleepless night. I can’t walk through all of Metro Manila now – that would just kill me! Well, that’s just too slow and excruciating as an option if I do choose that. There are days I still pass the street where I walked him to work and hoped it was a hundred kilometers longer so that my mind would become as weary as my feet and just shut down.

I numb myself with work again. Well, I guess I have to partly thank you for getting elected as student government president. Maybe this time, he will also get me some position somewhere.

It took me a couple of years to make peace with how we ended up. I was happy to see you again earlier this year and was ecstatic to realize that we can already laugh about what was. I have no idea how and when this grief will end. I keep on hoping that there is a pill I can take to make me stop imagining myself as a character in the Before Sunrise series. I just hope that maybe one day, I can see him again, smile, and just be grateful.

I continue to hope the best for you and your partner. I not only wish you happiness, but also meaning in what you do, as I have somehow found mine. Just think of the sketchbook I left in your locker. Never give up on that.





You will never ever beat me in StarCraft.

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).


Spicing up your relationship in 2020

Regardless of whether you have a partner or if you are single, there are many trends out there just waiting for you to try.



It’s normal to set some goals for ourselves at the start of a new year. These can range from quitting the job we no longer love doing, traveling the world and experiencing all sorts of new things and taking better care of our health and happiness. One area that we can always try to improve at, which allows us to both be happier and experiment a bit, is our sex lives.

Various studies have shown that sex is getting more and more experimental, and regardless of whether you have a partner or if you are single, there are many trends out there just waiting for you to try them.

Here are some ways how you can spice up your sex life in 2020.

A Bigger Accent Is Put on Female Pleasure

2020 will bring a greater focus on the study of the female body and all the ways how women can experience an orgasm. To help in this department, the sex industry is not only coming out with more and more gadgets and wellness products made for women but there are now plenty of books that can educate us about the female body as well. Luckily, all genders seem to be very open towards familiarizing themselves with how women can enjoy sex to the fullest and consent and respect have never been more important. Get in touch with your own and your partner’s body in order to learn what feels best.

Male Self-Pleasure Is No Longer Taboo

For a long time, men were ashamed to admit that they, too, enjoy sex toys. While it is true that these devices were mostly marketed to women in the past, nowadays more and more gadgets are coming out that are made especially for men who want to try something fresh. For instance, for greater pleasure, prostate massagers and butt plugs are highly recommended for people who are single and looking for a new experience but also for those in relationships looking to switch things up. There should be no shame in getting pleasure during sex and those a bit more open to the idea can even consider pegging if they have a willing partner.


Toys for Couples Are More and More Popular

Many people still believe that sex toys are self-love gadgets that we use only when we are alone. However, while these devices might be the most reliable hook-up for some single people, a lot of couples opt for bringing toys into their sex life seeing as how it can make the whole experience much more memorable and enjoyable. We mentioned butt plugs and prostate massagers earlier but the selection of couples’ sex toys is truly amazing. From vibrating cock rings to insertable vibrators, many of these toys can be used on their own but also in combination with other products with the goal of providing all participants with amazing sensations and an enhanced sexual experience. Plus, gender-neutral and inclusive product design is gaining more popularity which means that people of all sexualities will feel welcome to try something new.

Virtual Reality and 3d Technology Are Making Long-Distance Relationships Easier

The tech advancements can be seen in all spheres of life, so why would sex be any different? Virtual reality technology makes it easier to have sex with anyone, in any place and at any time. Regardless of whether you are in a long-distance relationship and want some intimate time with your SO or are looking to fulfill your next fantasy, VR has it all. Plus, 3D printing now makes it easy to create fully customized vibrators or penetrative toys that resemble the genitals of your partner so it can feel like you’re really together. What is more, if you have an internet connection, you can even allow your other half to control your toy via an app regardless of how far they may be.

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Sexual Mindfulness is Practiced

As is with everything else these days, we often tend to rush through our ‘sexy times’ as well. Experts are encouraging us to implement mindful practices into our lives and that means slowing things down to really experience them to the fullest. Yoga and meditation techniques are recommended in order to achieve this. Furthermore, solo experimentation is encouraged as well as among partners.

Audio Porn Allows More Imagination

While mainstream porn is mainly male-centered, audio porn is oriented more towards women. It is becoming more and more popular and in 2020, it is bigger than ever before. Seeing as how regular porn often creates beauty norms and standards that are not true in real life, it is no wonder that women often cannot connect with this kind of content. By playing some audio erotica, listeners are able to rely on their imagination to really engage with their sexuality.

CBD and THC Products Heighten the Pleasure

Bearing in mind that cannabis products are often used to reduce stress levels, it should come as no surprise that CBD and THC products have also found their place in the sex industry. Products such as CBD lube not only heighten the pleasure that the individuals feel but they can also aid with pelvic and menstrual pain relief and relaxation.

Consensual Non-Monogamy Is Becoming Mainstream

People are becoming more open toward polygamy and polyamory and that is reflected in the sex trends for 2020. It is no longer uncommon to see consensual non-monogamous couples that love to attend sex parties and experiment with other people. It is believed that CNM relationships are far more common than we realize so further discussion and research on this topic needs to be conducted.

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The above mentioned trends are just some that people will be relying on to spice up their relationships in 2020. With more and more people being open about their sexuality and sexual preferences, few things are truly taboo or aren’t catered for. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, being more adventurous in the bedroom (or wherever your experiences might take you) and trying new things might just be the best decision you make this year. 

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Sex during the COVID-19 outbreak

What are the risks associated with intimacy in the time of coronavirus?



Photo by Cyrus Crossan from

The past days we’ve been introduced to the concept of “social distancing” (that is, maintaining at least a meter apart from one another). But the concept continues to escape many (e.g. there’s even a call to deal with the elitism of the terminology by using different languages, such as #LikayLuwas in the Visayas). Because truly, it’s nearly impossible to practice “social distancing” particularly when with people with whom we share homes with – e.g. and even our beds, in the case of partners.

Now… what are the risks associated with intimacy in the time of coronavirus?

Is COVID-19 transmissible during sexual intercourse?

To start, COVID-19 is not a sexually transmitted disease.

But – as stated by the Ministry of Health of Luxembourg on the European nation’s official website – “the virus being present in the respiratory secretions and being able to be transmitted by direct contact of person to person, sexual intercourse is favorable to a transmission of the virus, if one of the partners is infected.”

Other sex options may also include: sexting, video-calls, reading erotica and masturbation (not necessarily mutual when touching each other needs to be avoided).
Photo by Ava Sol from

How is COVID-19 transmitted?

Canada’s B.C. Centre for Disease Control stated that the novel coronavirus is “transmitted via larger liquid droplets when a person coughs or sneezes” and that “the virus can enter through these droplets through the eyes, nose or throat if you are in close contact.”

There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted via either vaginal or anal intercourse.

So what are (some of) the modes of transmission (particularly related to sex)?

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Touching can spread COVID-19 – e.g. it can be spread by touch if a person used his/her hands to cover the mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing.

Kissing is a very common practice during sexual intercourse, and the virus can be transmitted via saliva. Meaning the virus can be transmitted by kissing.

There is evidence of oral-fecal transmission of COVID-19, implying that analingus may represent a risk for infection.

“If you live with a regular sexual partner and you don’t have any symptoms, or likely exposure, sex might actually be a really great way to have fun.”
Photo by Dainis Graveris on SexualAlpha

So what now?

Interviewed by The Guardian, Dr. Jessica Justman – a professor and attending physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center – stated: “If you or your partner is a COVID-19 case, the advice is to steer clear of each other as much as possible… If you’re a possible or confirmed case you should isolate yourself, ideally in a private residence until seven days after the illness began. You need to have had no fever for 72 hours, without using ibuprofen or anything that would mask your fever, and your respiratory symptoms should be improving.”

Added in the same article by Dr. Julia Marcus – an infectious disease epidemiologist and professor in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School: “For people who don’t have symptoms and don’t have any recent likely exposure and have been staying close to home, I think that, if it’s within your own household, it’s a different story. If you live with a regular sexual partner and you don’t have any symptoms, or likely exposure, sex might actually be a really great way to have fun, stay connected and relieve anxiety during this potentially stressful time.”

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Other sex options may also include: sexting, video-calls, reading erotica and masturbation (not necessarily mutual when touching each other needs to be avoided).

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‘Financial infidelity’ can be as harmful as sexual infidelity

Consumers more prone to financial infidelity exhibited a stronger preference for secretive purchase options, such as using a personal credit card versus a jointly held card, and cash over credit.



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Romantic partners aren’t always honest about money in their relationships, but when does hiding purchases, debt and savings constitute “financial infidelity”? Research by professors at four universities, including Indiana University, defines the concept and provides a means for predicting its occurrence within relationships.

“Love, Lies and Money: Financial Infidelity in Romantic Relationships,” forthcoming in the Journal of Consumer Research, is the first systematic investigation of financial infidelity in committed romantic relationships.

The professors define financial infidelity as “engaging in any financial behavior that is expected to be disapproved of by one’s romantic partner and intentionally failing to disclose this behavior to them.” It involves both the financial “act” and the subsequent concealment.

It differs from secret consumption and merely hiding spending because it involves a broader set of financial behaviors, including seemingly “positive” actions such as saving extra income in a personal bank account.

“Financial infidelity has the potential to be as harmful for relationship health and longevity as sexual infidelity, as conflicts over money are also a primary reason for divorce,” said co-author Jenny Olson, assistant professor of marketing at the IU Kelley School of Business. “Given the role that finances play in the health of relationships, consumers benefit from being aware of financial infidelity and its consequences.”

Growing in popularity is financial therapy, which combines finance with emotional support to help individuals and couples think, feel and behave with money to improve their overall well-being, make logical spending decisions and face financial challenges.

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“An understanding of financial infidelity can benefit financial services companies and advisors, clinical therapists and relationship counselors, all of whom play a role in promoting consumer well-being,” Olson said. “If couples seek professional financial advice, they must be willing to openly discuss their spending and savings habits, debts and financial goals. It is clear that financial infidelity is a barrier to effective planning, as well as to a healthy relationship.”

The researchers developed a “financial infidelity scale (FI-Scale)” using a dozen lab and field tests. Key findings included:

  • Whether the financial act is expected to elicit any level of disapproval was more important than the degree of disapproval.
  • Consumers more prone to financial infidelity exhibited a stronger preference for secretive purchase options, such as using a personal credit card versus a jointly held card, and cash over credit.
  • A preference for ambiguous packaging and shopping at inconspicuous stores.
  • A greater likelihood of concealing financial information from their partner in a mobile banking app.

Each choice is relevant to marketers. The prevalence of financial infidelity among consumers and variations along the FI-Scale affect purchasing decisions. It is important that companies be aware of certain consumer segments that may be prone to financial infidelity and thus affect their bottom lines.

For example, the trend of businesses going “cash-free” may affect retailers such as beauty salons and gift shops because of the use of cash to disguise purchases. Consumers strategically using cash may be less willing to make purchases only for their pleasure or personal wants.

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Other authors on the study are Emily Garbinsky, assistant professor of marketing at the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame; Joe J. Gladstone, assistant professor of consumer behavior at the School of Management at University College London; and Hristina Nikolova, the Diane Harkins Coughlin and Christopher J. Coughlin Sesquicentennial assistant professor at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College.

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Sex facts nobody tells you about

If you don’t go to the right sources, you’ll find that there’s a lot about sex that you still don’t know. Sex is beautiful, but it’s also one topic that requires anyone to become educated.



Sex. This word is possibly one of the most controversial in the English Language and for good reason. Sex sells, sex is racy, and sex is also amazing. But sex is also one topic that is still considered taboo in many cultures, which births so many ignorant theories that leave many people baffled. From basic quips to advanced theories, here are some facts about sex nobody tells you about.

The Myth Surrounding Sex Toys 

Many people think that only kinky or sex-crazed couples get to use sex toys, or that only middle-aged single women use vibrators. On the contrary, sex toys have been growing increasingly popular among many couples of all ages. For starters, sex toys have proven to spice up the bedroom and bring you closer to your partner. It does not remove intimacy, but rather enhances it. 

Sex toys like vibrators or even assistive devices like penis pumps can aid pleasure more than you know. Penis pumps creators at claim that it’s a revolutionary device set to help you keep your erection in an effortless manner, thus making you focus on one thing: getting the deed done pleasurably. These devices aid erectile dysfunction as well. Many vibrators also help women orgasm faster to enhance their sexual experience. Needless to say, some of these toys and devices might actually help elevate your sexual journey. 

Sex is Messy 

Remember those sex scenes in a movie where they’ve just had sex and lie in bed or get up effortlessly as if there was no romp in the sheets? In the real world, sex is quite messy and isn’t followed by an immediate cuddle session each time. Many people have failed to mention that after sex, you’re required to clean up your business. Whether you keep a towel next to you or you shower immediately, cleaning yourself up is the most sanitary thing to do. 

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Speaking of messes, one thing many ladies should know is that what comes up, must come down. If your partner ejaculated inside of you without a condom, then eventually his semen will come out a few minutes after; your body doesn’t magically absorb it. 

All About the Big O 

There’s still looming mystery surrounding the female orgasm. Believe it or not, studies have shown that orgasms get better as you age. There isn’t the kind of pressure to perform as you once had in your 20s; you’re more confident, you understand your body more, and you know exactly what you want. With women, their sexual prime lasts well beyond their 30s and 40s. 

One of the many misconceptions is that women orgasm from penetration. Believe it or not, that isn’t always the case. Many men (and women) believe that women can only orgasm with penetration, and if they don’t, then they’re super disappointed and claim sex isn’t that enjoyable. When, in fact, all that woman needs is a good old clitoral stimulation doing the trick. Around 80% of women in a study have claimed to the only orgasm from clitoris stimulation as opposed to 18% percent who claimed penetration does the trick. 

Sexual Drive Differs

While other studies also claim that sexual desire and drives change over the years, it can still depend on a number of factors. For starters, sexual drive differs from one person to the other. The supposed frequency of sex that many studies claim a mature couple goes through doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen to you.

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Yes, you might find that physical changes are inevitable such as vaginal dryness or problems with erections, but that doesn’t mean your drive is lost. There are many ways to keep the pleasure going and keep the intimacy alive. 

Your First Time Isn’t Always Magical 

Thanks to pop culture, they have always portrayed the first time someone loses their V card as a magical experience. While there’s no doubt that the first time you have sex is magical, that’s not always the case with every single person on earth.

Sex is different from one person to the other, and the first time can be a very painful and joyless experience, especially if you don’t really know what you’re doing. Another misconception is that if it hurts, then it’s working. Sadly, no, if it hurts too much then something is clearly wrong and you should stop what you’re doing to avoid any damage to your genitals. Over time, sex becomes an enjoyable experience and soon enough you’ll forget about how awkward your first time was and see fireworks.

To this day, sex can remain a mystery; there are many things that no one tells you about sex growing up, and sex education could possibly use some revamping to provide anyone with the necessary knowledge. If you don’t go to the right sources, you’ll find that there’s a lot about sex that you still don’t know. Sex is beautiful, but it’s also one topic that requires anyone to become educated. 

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Scent of a romantic partner can improve your quality of sleep

New research accepted for publication in the journal Psychological Science suggests that the scent of a romantic partner can improve your quality of sleep. This is true regardless of whether or not you are consciously aware that the scent is even present.



Photo by Thiago Barletta from

Forget counting sheep. If you really want a good night’s sleep, all you may need is your romantic partner’s favorite T-shirt wrapped around your pillow.

New research accepted for publication in the journal Psychological Science suggests that the scent of a romantic partner can improve your quality of sleep. This is true regardless of whether or not you are consciously aware that the scent is even present.

“A growing body of evidence has shown that close relationships are essential to our health and well being,” said Frances Chen, a researcher at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and co-author on the paper. “But far less is known about the role of scent in relationships and social support processes. The current study provides new evidence that the mere scent of a romantic partner improves sleep efficiency.”

Previous research has shown that romantic relationships and close physical contact can provide many physical and mental benefits, including aiding in a good night’s sleep. Other research has shown that scents can have profound and evocative effects on the brain. What has not yet been clearly demonstrated is a direct connection between the two.

Chen and graduate student Marlise Hofer set out to investigate this intersection and to understand how romance, scent, and sleep interact.

Chen and Hofer began their research by asking one member of a heterosexual couple in a long-term (three or more months) relationship to wear a plain cotton T-shirt for 24 hours. During this time, the wearer was to avoid typical scent-producing behaviors, like eating spicy food or doing vigorous exercise. They were also told to avoid perfume, cologne, and antiperspirants. The T-shirt was then hermetically sealed and frozen.

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Afterward, the second member of the couple was given two identical shirts, one previously worn by their partner and another that either had been previously worn by a stranger or was scent free.

When a participant used their partner’s worn, scent-bearing T-shirt as a pillowcase, they experienced an average of over nine additional minutes of sleep per night. This equates to more than one hour of additional sleep per week, achieved without spending any more time in bed. The increase was due to participants sleeping more efficiently, meaning they spent less time tossing and turning. Sleep efficiency was measured using a wrist-worn sleep monitor that tracked movement throughout the night.

Participants also gave self-reported measures of sleep quality each morning, which increased on nights they thought they were sleeping with their partner’s scent.

“The effect we observed in our study was similar in magnitude to that reported for melatonin supplements–a commonly used sleep aid. The findings suggest that the scent of our loved ones can affect our health in powerful ways,” noted Hofer.

This research suggests that simple strategies such as taking a partner’s scarf or shirt along when traveling may have measurable effects on our sleep. Future research might determine if the scent of a romantic partner has additional health benefits beyond the domains of stress and sleep.

“These findings reveal that–whether or not we are aware of it–a fascinating world of communication is happening right under our noses,” concludes Hofer.

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Same-sex wedding held in British Embassy Manila

British Ambassador Daniel Pruce officiated a same-sex wedding in the British embassy in Manila, marking not only Valentine’s Day but the 87th same-sex marriage conducted in the premises.



Screencap from the British Embassy Manila FB page


British Ambassador Daniel Pruce officiated a same-sex wedding in the British embassy in Manila, marking not only Valentine’s Day but the 87th same-sex marriage conducted in the premises.

In a Facebook post, British Embassy Manila claimed: “Love is in the air! Congratulations to Mark and Richard who were married by Ambassador Daniel Pruce on #ValentinesDay. We wish you a lifetime of love and happiness.”

It is worth noting that while same-sex marriage is not outright banned by the Philippine Constitution, the country’s Family Code limits marriage as a sacrament between one man and one woman.

However, foreign embassies are given extraterritorial privileges under the Geneva Convention. These include immunity from intrusion, damage and disturbance by the host countries.

Same-sex marriage was legalized in Great Britain in 2014; and so the embassy said the UK “continues to champion the rights and equal treatment of all regardless of gender.”

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