Wednesday, May 24, 2023

7 Reasons Why Breakups Suck So Damn Bad

Hey there, gorgeous. This ran in Salon a million years ago, but I thought you might like it delivered here to your virtual doorstep. I learned a ton of interesting stuff on this one, mainly that I have the emotional maturity/coping skills of a traumatized baby lab monkey.

There are plenty of good reasons why the death of a relationship is so unbearable. There's shame, failure, guilt, anger/incredulousness at the other person's inability to see how incredible you are and sadness over that very same thing, plus the personal rejection of your Very Being.

The Czechs have a lovely word for it: litost. "Litost is a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one's own misery," writes Milan Kundera in The Book of Laughter and Forgetting.

But this torment is more than just the nature of breakups, the need to experience darkness to appreciate the light, blah blah blah. Breakups also activate all kinds of neurochemical, physical and psychological fuckery that makes the whole business even more painful. Stupid biology.
To wit:
--Breakups turn you into a jonesing addict.
If the beginning of a love affair is a kind of chemical-fueled madness, so is the ending, but in reverse. In one of the crueler aspects of neurochemistry, just when you're hitting the personal low of a breakup is also when dopamine—the reward chemical that made you feel so damn good in the beginning-- decides to flee the scene, making you desperate for another hit. Dopamine acts in the same way as any drug of abuse, according to Helen Fisher in Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love: “If the beloved breaks off the relationship, the lover shows all the common signs of withdrawal, including depression, crying spells, anxiety,insomnia, loss of appetite (or binge eating), irritability, and chronic loneliness. Like all addicts, the lover then goes to unhealthy, humiliating, even physically dangerous lengths to procure their narcotic.” (Note: Having tried the “unhealthy, humiliating” Plan of Action, I can advise with some authority that it's not gonna go well for you.)

--Breakups actually hurt, physically.
In one study researchers had subjects “who recently experienced an unwanted breakup view a photograph of their ex-partner as they think about being rejected.” This was pretty cruel and probably not worth the 50 bucks or whatever the subjects got, but we learned that psychic trauma activates the same parts of the brain that process physical pain. Meaning, your brain experiences emotional pain as it would if you spilled hot coffee on yourself. Or, more accurately, kept spilling coffee on yourself every time you heard that one song on the radio, went on Instagram, etc...

--Breakups are depressing, officially.
In a study of poor sods who'd been rejected by a partner within the past 8 weeks, 40% experienced clinically measurable depression, with 12% of those having moderate to severe depression. All breakups involve an amount of grief (and indeed, in another of those “think about how much your break up sucked while we look at your brain with an MRI” studies, the parts of the brain associated with grief lit up.) but sometimes the grief becomes “complicated grief.” Complicated grief is an unwieldy beast of grief lasting 6 months or more (or, way too much virtual hot coffee spilling), featuring unpleasantries like over-rumination and mooning, bad dreams, and the excessive playing of Elliot Smith songs.

--Your stupid brain can actually start to get off on your suffering.
Anyone who has looked in the mirror to examine their tragic selves mid-cry knows there is a certain joy in one's own deep suffering. But sometimes that sort of self-schadenfreude can become addictive in itself. In some people, enduring grief triggers the reward center in their brains, making them seek the dark feelings so they can get a little happy chemical hit.

--You lose your sense of self.
Without the identity created within the relationship (i.e.“We like paddleboarding”), some emerge bleary-eyed from a breakup with a hazy sense of who they are. The sort of psychic rootlessness is compounded by the loss of the sense of having a secure base within the relationship and with that partner. “Wherever that person is, that's your emotional home,” writes Emily Nagoski, Ph.D. in Come As You Are. Without that, you're kind of homeless, emotionally.

--It's even worse for people with “anxious attachment styles.”
Only half of people in U.S. have a “secure attachment style,” that is, they have relationships easily and trust others like normal healthy people, while the rest of us flounder about, either clinging too much (attachment anxious) or preemptively cutting and running (attachment avoidant). Those with attachment anxious styles show “greater preoccupation with the lost partner, greater perseveration over the loss, more extreme physical and emotional distress, exaggerated attempts to reestablish the relationship, partner-related sexual motivation, angry and vengeful behavior, interference with exploratory activities, dysfunctional coping strategies, and disordered resolution.” Meanwhile, for the attachment avoidant—you know who you are—there was little such emotional fallout. Bastards.

--Breakups kick in our survival biology.
Attachment is a survival mechanism. A baby needs secure attachment or it will die. “When (our relationships) are threatened, we do whatever it takes to hold on to them, because there are no higher stakes than our connection with our attachment objects,” writes Nagoski, citing Harry Harlow's “monster mother” studies. Harlow bonded infant monkeys with mechanical “mothers,” then rigged the mothers to shake the babies, spike them or jet cold air on them to force them away. The babies responded to this rather shabby treatment by running right back into the arms of those unpredictably cruel, rejecting mothers. Not only that, they became desperate to fix the relationship and tried to win back the mother by flirting with her, grooming and stroking her. That is, behavior some among us may recognize quite well.

So yeah, it's bad. With the combination of biological, chemical and emotional havoc a breakup causes, it's a wonder any of us ever get over it. But we do. If you can just accept you're going to be fucked for a while--and not in the way you'd like—the appeal of spending car rides furtively weeping to Joni Mitchell's “All I Want” will eventually fade and you will indeed get over it. At some point. You might have to listen to a whole lot of “All I Want.”

In the meantime, take solace in the words of Nietzche, a dude not exactly known for being consoling. “Ultimately, it is the desire, not the desired, that we love,” wrote Nietzche. That is, that passion is still in you regardless of who its recipient is. And hell, the next person might be even better at appreciating it.

In other words, you're probably better off without 'em. Sorta. 


Thursday, March 23, 2023

Sex Toy Socialism

Not the actual Bernie Sanders
I recently saw Bernie Sanders speak in Glendale, California, and damn, that man is sharp as a tack. Not only could he spout off all manner of really quite disturbing Actual Facts about income inequality, but could answer long-ass two-part questions without going back and asking what second part of the question was.  

I realized, among other things that, as the top 1% holds nearly as much wealth as the bottom 90% (for realz), I am hording way more than my share of sex toys. So in the spirit of righting the wrongs of sex toy capitalism, I am quite happy to send you some (or a whole boxful) of brand spanking new sex toys for the price of postage and a decentish tip to pay for gas, my time and a secret black budget that I will use for nefarious purposes. 

Here's what you could be fucking in approximately 3-5 business days.

Penis toys for the gents (or however be-penised)!
Plus One Personal Stroker, a high-quality masturbator with two openings 
Manta, a vibrator that can be used solo or with a partner
Toys for the vulva-ed!
Muah Mini Vibrator, a vibrator shaped like lips 
Shegasm Silicone Clit Stimulator, clit stim in apple form
Romp Switch, a suction kind of toy 
Magic Wand Mini, not actually that mini 
Rechargeable Dual Entry Vibe, for two holes at once

A surprisingly high number of clitoral suctiony/vibey toys with a floral theme!
Bloomgasm Royalty Rose, 3 levels, 7 patterns of air stimulation
Ravishing Rose Clit Pleaser, another slutty slutty rose 
Toys that are green!
Eve's Petite Private Pleasure Wand it's like a mini Magic Wand
Heat Me Up Warming Rabbit Thruster, description pretty much sums it up
Real Rock Chrystal Clear Dildo, 8 inch, like what's linked but green.  
BFit Classic Love Balls, 2 ben-wa balls/kegel trainers
Small butt plug, with a shamrock on it because why not

Remote control toys!
Blue Motion, Nex 3, super fancy penis ring/couples' toy 
Esca 2, remote control g-spotish massager
Butt stuff!
Vibrating Anal Bead Stick, looks fancy plus it's waterproof
Mood Pride Anal Trainer Set, three sizes of butt plugs 
A small silicone plug with ridges that I can't find online
Rear Rocker Vibrating Glass Anal Plug, "endless anal fun," it says. (Tricky Genie:  You get anal fun. You: Yay! Genie: But it's ENDLESS. You: Aw, man!)
Bondage Tape
Seven Nights of Temptation Gift set (plus sized!), an advent calendar of lingerie and other stuff

Purple Rose (again with florals!) Nubby Glass Dildo (like this but 9 inches)
Balldo, you might not actually want to know
A bunch of condoms
Adam's 3" Extension, goes over a dick or dick substitute for 3 extra inches. I have SO MANY of these! Get one or get many! A new look for spring? Everything Everywhere All At Once cosplay? You decide!
And/or any of these various and sundry lubes, elixirs and random things that haunt my drawer! 

Rules:  Email your address and what items or items you want to Shipping alone for a USPS priority medium box is $17.10, large is $22.80. Tip is what the Universe says is right. My PayPal is and my Venmo is @jill-hamilton-123. First come, first served. I will cross out stuff as it's claimed. And if you want to skip me entirely and just buy something via the links, the blog gets a little cut which I will use to refill the office coffee machine.

P.S. Don't be greedy and grab all the really expensive toys (and leave a crap tip--these traits seem to go together). If you do, in the next life karma will give you no sex toys and you'll have to use your hand like a goddamed monkey.