The Wisdom of Wife-Swappers: 3 Things Swingers Can Teach You About Sex

Swinging is a fascinating and misunderstood lifestyle. It’s definitely not for everyone (and not for me), but I was curious about it so I did some research and I discovered some interesting things. I even found some valuable lessons that can improve anyone’s sex life. Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Learn to let go of jealousy. Swingers know that while sex and love go great together, they’re not quite the same thing. Just because your partner is sexually attracted to someone else, it doesn’t mean that they love you any less. It just means they’re a normal human being with normal desires. Whether or not you and your partner decide to actually fool around with other people, the desire is always going to be there, whether you like it or not. So, instead of letting it freak you out, let it turn you on to know that your partner is a sexual being who other people find desirable.
  2. Don’t put pressure on people. No one is ever required to do anything they don’t want to do at a swingers party, and this is stated clearly up-front. Why? Because swingers know that enthusiastic participation is way sexier than begrudging consent. You can apply this to your own life. When you invite a girl back to your place, make it clear that you don’t expect her to have sex with you, either by saying so explicitly or by saying “You can only come over for a little while, and don’t try to get into my pants.” This is a great line because it’s playful, which brings me to my next point.
  3. Learn to play. Swingers don’t call what they do swinging, fucking, or wife-swapping, they call it playing. This term is vague enough to encompass any sexual activity from kissing to intercourse, because swingers know how to enjoy all of these activities without focusing single-mindedly on the traditional end-goal of sex. Stop racing to the finish line and learn to slow down and enjoy everything that happens along the way. In fact, stop expecting to get to the finish line at all. Your partner will be much more willing to fool around with you if you don’t expect fooling around to always lead to sex. Just play, and focus on having fun.

Stay playful, my friends.

How to deepen your voice and talk like a manly man

I’ve noticed a lot of nerds, including myself sometimes, tend to talk in a pinched, nasal tone. This is something that women do not find attractive. Women like deep, manly voices. You don’t have to sound like Darth Vader, but you do need some depth and some bass in your voice.
If you have a high or nasal voice, don’t fret. It’s not something you’re born with, but a bad habit that you can change. All you have to do is stop using your nose so much and let the rest of your vocal apparatus do some of the work. Here’s what I’ve learned from celebrity vocal coach John Deaver:

Sound is produced by air from your diaphragm being pushed across the vocal chords, but there are three main places where sound can vibrate, and all of these play a role in shaping the sound:

  1. The nose and sinuses.
  2. The mouth.
  3. The chest and throat.

Your first instinct might be to say “Ok, I’ll push all the sound into my throat and talk with a really deep voice”, but that would either make you sound fake or stupid. This is because you can’t articulate the vowel sounds with the throat.

The trick is to find a balance between all three. The chest resonates and provides depth and fullness, the mouth provides clear articulation and a natural buzzing vibration, and the nose and sinuses provide the occasional high pitch or nasal consonant.
Here is an exercise that you can do every day to retrain your voice:

  1. Start with a low hum to get the feel of chest resonance. Do this for a couple of minutes to get warmed up.
  2. Pinch your nose and talk or read out loud. You’ll feel when the sound starts trying to go up into your nose, and you’ll be able to pull it back toward the throat.

Do this every day for a few minutes, ideally in the morning, since your voice is naturally lower at that time, and it’ll help you set the tone for the rest of the day. Then, throughout the day, listen to yourself talking, and try to subtly move the sound away from the nose and sinuses and more towards the chest and throat. Over time, this will become a habit, and it will sound completely natural without you having to think about it.

Last-minute Valentine’s Gift Ideas for the utterly clueless

It’s coming. That special day of the year that officially signifies romance but usually brings anxiety and disappointment. Yes, Valentine’s Day is coming up, and unless you want to spend it in the dog house, you’d better buy your significant other something nice. More than nice, it has to be special. Here’s what I’ve learned about buying gifts for women over the years.

The secret to buying amazing gifts

The best way to get someone a good gift is to pay attention. They drop hints, sometimes on purpose, sometimes without even realizing it. Here’s an example: Once or twice in the middle of the year, I mentioned to my wife that I thought about getting a Kindle, but that I didn’t feel like spending the money. She bought it for me for Christmas. Was I surprised? You bet I was.

What if your girl has made what she wants so obvious that you feel like if you get it for her, there’s no surprise or creativity involved? I would saying you’re probably better off getting points for your attentiveness than taking the risk of getting her something she doesn’t like because you were trying to be creative. Maybe compromise by getting her what you both know she wants, plus a little something extra that you thought of yourself.

Of course, if you’d been paying attention, you probably wouldn’t be reading articles like this one a couple of days before V-Day. So, as a favor to those who are clueless or have just run out of ideas, I’ve compiled some advice about each of the stereotypical categories of Valentine’s Day gifts for women, based entirely on my own experience. If I can’t save your Valentines Day, maybe I can at least make you laugh.

Lingerie

Buying lingerie for a woman is really really difficult. Beyond the simple fact that her tastes may differ from yours (you like crotchless panties, she likes Victorian lace), you also have the problem of size. Here are some lingerie mistakes I’ve made over the years:

  • Bought lingerie for a girl who wasn’t sleeping with me. The last time I saw it was when she tried it on at Victoria’s Secret. I hope she and someone else enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed learning a valuable lesson and telling this hilariously sad story.
  • Bought lingerie at the last minute at a little store inside Grand Central Station. “It looks cheap and nasty, like something a prostitute would wear” were my girlfriend’s words. Ouch. I don’t even remember what she said about the furry hand-cuffs after that.
  • Decide to hilariously subvert gender roles by buying sexy underwear for myself instead of for her (the gift would be the opportunity to see me in black briefs! Get it?). Somehow, this did not lead to sexy laughter followed by sexy Valentine’s Day sex. Oh well. At least I discovered that briefs are more comfortable than boxer-briefs.

The one mistake I’ve never made, that the sales-girls are always trying to get me to make, is to buy her a padded bra. Are they trying to get me killed? Why don’t I just give her a card that says “I love you, babe, but I wish your boobs were bigger”?

But padding is just the beginning. Buying bras is complicated stuff. Even women aren’t that good at picking the right size, according to experts. Furthermore, most bras are uncomfortable with all those wires and itchy straps (um, I imagine). Unless you find something really nice, and I mean way nicer than any of her ordinary bras (maybe something all lace), and you’re sure it’s going to fit, just skip it. Most women have one or two favorite bras that they wear all the time.

Panties, however, are a different story. She changes her panties every day (or at least she ought to), and they’re tiny so they get lost easily. This means that your average women can always use a new pair of panties. And panties are incredibly easy to buy because unlike bras, they only have one size variable. Find a pair of her panties that fits her well (i.e. don’t grab the one pair that’s always falling off of her), and check the size. You can usually find a 5 for $25 sale, so buy her five pairs and hopefully she’ll like at least one of them. I call this the shotgun approach to gift-giving — you can’t miss. Ask the girl behind the counter to gift-wrap ‘em for you and you’re good to go in the lingerie department. You may want to pick up something else though, like perfume or a box of chocolates, just to round things out so that when her girlfriends ask her what her man got her for Valentine’s Day she doesn’t have to say “Uh,…underwear”.

And one final thing: always err on the side of too small. You may be thinking, “I’m an L, and I’m pretty average, and she’s a little smaller than me, so I guess she’s an M”. Big mistake, buddy. Keep in mind that women’s sizes run a lot smaller than ours do, all the way to XXS, in fact. This shouldn’t be a problem if you checked her size before you left the house.

Perfume

A woman’s olfactory glands are more advanced than ours, so don’t go thinking you can get away with buying her cheap perfume. Spend the money on something nice, that you both like and that way it’ll be a gift that gives back. If you know what kind of perfume she already wears, get the same thing or something similar. If you don’t have a clue, go to the mall and sample a few by spraying them on cards. When you find one you like, take the card with you and sniff it at various intervals throughout the day. The character of the scent changes over time.

Another thing to keep in mind is that eau de parfum is much stronger than eau de cologne, so if your woman likes to put a lot of perfume on, get her the weaker one so you can both breathe.

Chocolate

Yes, girls like chocolate, it’s true. That doesn’t mean that a box of chocolates makes a great gift. It’s kind of cheap, and she might think “Do you think I’m such a fatty that I’ll eat a whole box of chocolates?” or “Are you trying to fatten me up?”.

Plus, I’m a total chocoholic, so for me to buy my wife a box of chocolates would be just like the episode of the Simpsons where Homer buys Marge a bowling ball with “Homer” engraved on it (“So you’d know who it was from!”).

This seems as good a place as any to tell the story about how I sent my ex-girlfriend a chocolate penis with a nasty note. Ok, I never actually did that. But I considered it.

Flowers

Flowers are kind of cheap, too. The best time to bring her flowers is when she’s not expecting them. They make a great “Just because I was thinking of you” gift, but if you send her flowers for a special occasion, you come across cheap and lazy-minded. Try a little harder, or get her flowers in addition to something else, like panties, perfume or chocolate.

I also read somewhere that the thing she likes most about flowers is not the flowers themselves, but showing off to her co-workers that she has a guy that sends her flowers, so if your girlfriend is really immature, maybe you should have them sent to the office/salon/boutique where she works.

Jewelry

Jewelry is actually a pretty safe bet provided you have two things: money and good taste. Trying to buy a woman inexpensive jewelry is very risky. I once bought my wife a bracelet that I thought was cool and quirky, but she thought was cheap and ugly (AND it was too big. Double fail).  But I have never gone wrong with diamonds. Every girl loves diamonds. Obviously, some like smaller, tasteful diamonds, and some like the bling. You should know which type your girl is.

If you have good taste but not a lot of money, try freshwater pearls. You can only do this a couple of times though until she figures out that they’re cheaper than regular pearls. Trust me.

Conclusion

I hope that I have pointed out some of the land mines in these cliched gift categories so you can avoid a Valentine’s Day disaster. But seriously, if you can do something special and original that you know will make her happy, do that instead. If not, you can fall back on the ideas above. Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

7 easy ways to boost your confidence and feel like a sexy, manly man.

Nothing’s sexier than confidence. A good-looking person hiding in the corner will only accomplish a fraction of what an average person with confidence can accomplish. And that applies to so many aspects of life, from business to dating. You can’t fake confidence, but you can pump it up from the inside using the following tips:

  1. Do something that scares you. The first time I sang in the New York City subway, I was nervous, but afterward, I wasn’t afraid of anything. I was walking down the street singing, smiling and making conversation with people. Can you imagine how cocky you’d feel if you went skydiving? It doesn’t have to be that intense though. Try singing karaoke or playing at an open-mic, talking to a complete stranger, joining Toastmasters to practice public speaking, anything that gets you out of your comfort zone.
  2. Lift weights. Heavy weight lifting produces a surge in testosterone and growth hormone, both of which we could all use more of. To maximize the benefit, do compound exercises and use free weights so you can work more muscles per exercise and spend less time in the gym grunting. (I talked more about weight-training here).
  3. Stop looking at porn so much. I’m not a prude. I think looking at porn once in a while is probably fine, but chronically overstimulating yourself will result in abnormally low dopamine levels, leaving you depressed and anxious. Not sexy. Read more about it here.
  4. Stand up straight.  Good posture not only makes you look more confident, it makes you feel more confident, too. Instead of getting all stiff and awkward, just relax your shoulders and neck and picture a string attached to your breastbone pulling you upward. So, chest up and out, shoulders down and relaxed. And tilt your head up slightly, like you’re relaxing and taking in the air on a beautiful summer day.
  5. Smile. Sure, we smile when we’re happy, but did you know it actually works both ways? Smiling makes you happy, and happy people are more confident. And since smiles are contagious, people will smile back at you, which will make you feel even more happy and confident, and so on and so on in a positive feedback loop. I find that this works best when I smile from the inside. In other words, don’t just flash a smile, think it. Let it start from your eyes and then slowly wash over your face. Read more about the power of smilling here.
  6. Put on a nice shirt. If you look better, you’ll feel better about yourself. There is a difference, however, between a shirt that’s “nice” and a shirt that makes you look good, and it all comes down to fit. Fit matters more than price, fabric, color, or designer. Get a perfect fit by making sure of two things: 1) The shoulder seam aligns with your actual shoulder (this makes your shoulders look square and manly) and 2) Avoid excess fabric around the mid-section (this just makes you look fatter).
  7. Get a haircut.  There is probably no cheaper and quicker way to dramatically improve your appearance than with a good haircut. If you’ve been going to some lazy barber who’s been hacking at you with a clipper, take the time and money to find a real hair-stylist who can suggest an improvement.

Any other suggestions?

 

Only boring people get bored

The other day I was complaining to my wife about how bored I was. I’ve been working from home for the last six months, first for Adobe and now for myself, and it can get kind of lonely. I also don’t have a car, which impedes my sense of mobility and autonomy. I’d gotten quite used to not having a car, because in New York, you don’t need one and can get around perfectly fine without one.

I had also gotten so wrapped in my work and in my music that I had forgotten how to let loose. It used to be that drinking and music were my only hobbies. Then I gave up drinking and started working on music almost full-time. Just like that, I had no leisure time. This single-minded focus on the things I considered important was, I admit, somewhat satisfying for a while. But everyone needs a break now and then.

After several months of this, I got so bored, I seriously considered drinking again. Not that alcohol itself actually appealed to me, it just seemed like drinkers always have somewhere to go and something to do. And alcohol is definitely a social lubricant, in that it reduces inhibition, and gives people something to bond over (drinking). But if you take away the alcohol, you quickly realize some interesting things: bars are boring, drunk people are annoying, and you have to turn off your brain with alcohol to make them seem interesting.

Finally, I realized “I live in Los Angeles, the second largest city in the country. If I’m bored here, it’s my own damn fault!”  I’m a smart guy, surely I can figure out a way to entertain myself. So, I made a resolution to go out every night for the next 30 days.

Can going out every night be a healthy, positive thing, and not a symptom of alcoholism or sex addiction? I would say yes. Here are just some of the many benefits I can foresee from this adventure:

  • Meeting new people — I am not naturally a sociable person, so it’s important for me to practice meeting strangers every day. And it would be nice to have a broader network of friends and acquaintances here in LA.
  • Experiencing new things — What better way is there to become a more interesting person?
  • Increased productivity — Since I know I’ll be busy in the evenings, I’ll be forced to get all my work done during the day. No more screwing around.
  • Networking — I’ll never meet anyone who can help my career if I’m sitting on my ass at home.
  • Finding new ways to entertain myself and to socialize without drinking — There’s a big world outside of the bar and I intend to discover it and claim it in the name of The Sexy Geek.

I’ll let you know how it goes.