I agreed to, participated in, and endured this to keep him from getting angry. I convinced myself that our sexual life was normal and healthy. Buried in the tornado of thoughts, an occasional thought that something was wrong would rise to the surface and just as quickly, like a leaf floating in a whirlpool, it would be sucked back down into the depths of my brain. Prior to meeting my husband, I had several serious boyfriends. I had ended the relationship with my first serious boyfriend (the one everyone assumed I would marry) because he started drinking more than I was comfortable with. My father is an alcoholic, and at age nineteen I had already made a decision that I would not marry an alcoholic. I even made a point to look for someone who didn't drink much and who had a sense of responsibility around alcohol. I met my husband one year after I completed college. To remedy this, you could set a realistic goal, like spending one Saturday or Sunday a month in nature and/or taking a one-week tech-lite or tech-free vacation a year. In addition to setting goals, you could also establish some limits for tech use, particularly when you're outdoors. Maybe try to halve your amount of screen time each day, and use an app like Moment (which allows you to track device usage and set daily limits) to enforce your target if you struggle to stick to your plan. If you're a data geek, you might prefer a tool like BreakFree, which gives you an addiction score based on your gadget use. Need something a bit more hard-core? Flipd enables you to lock your phone at certain times so there's no chance to cheat. The article Barbell Buddha, by Chris Moore, has other ideas for progressions and, as he often puts it, getting change. The Gift of Solitude We're fine to sit at home alone and watch TV or read social-media posts for hours on end, but we're terrified of real solitude and typically avoid any chance of introspection because we're afraid of what we might find. Immersion in the outdoors encourages unfiltered reflection, plus the useful perspective that only comes when pondering something bigger than us. However, if you feel this practice will have the effect of singling out someone in the room, avoid it. Instead of the woman in the front, for example, you can refer to the person in the red shirt.

Nametags That Incorporate Respectful Pronoun Practices Consider including your name and personal gender pronouns when nametags are used. Why is it important to ask for and respect people's personal gender pronouns? Some people may consider this practice silly or oversensitive, perhaps too politically correct for their taste. If so, this is an opportunity to reflect on privilege. Odds are you are accustomed to being seen for your gender identity and don't have the concern that someone will wrongly project their ideas about gender onto you. It's common for people with privilege to believe that their experiences are universal and not be aware that others have very different experiences. Not everyone has the luxury of being seen or acknowledged accurately. He seemed nice enough and funny, but at the time I had decided I was not dating for a while because of several hurtful encounters. But one day, in a moment of weakness, I agreed to have dinner with him. After dinner, despite my request to go home, he took me to his house. To make a long story short, I liked him, he asked me to stay the night; I said yes but told him we would not be having sex, and he said that was fine with him. I trusted that this would be what happened. And of course I ignored myself when in the middle of the night he initiated sex. I gave in and started a pattern in our relationship that continued for several years. For years I have acquiesced to his requests and ignored my needs, wants, and desires. I did this for the sake of keeping peace. As Aristotle said, Whoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god. When I interviewed Leif Whittaker, the son of the first American to summit Mount Everest, he told me that even as a guide and alpinist, he rarely gets the chance to go off the grid, but when he does, he celebrates it.

We're so used to being connected that when we're in the wilderness, we feel uncomfortable when our cell phone won't work, Leif said. But that forces you to disconnect, and if you just go with it, you return refreshed and rejuvenated. It's fun to climb or hike with friends, but there's something about going out alone in nature that replenishes my spirit and heals me. Unless you're a mountain guide / alpinist / backcountry badass like Leif, you might not have the chance for multiple days of off-the-grid disconnection. So to scale things back to a more obtainable level, make a pledge to spend an hour a week in solitude in some kind of natural environment. If you can't do this in a single block, break it into ten- to twenty-minute daily blocks. You could meditate, read a article, or even listen to music for its own sake, rather just as background noise. Just make sure you're alone and outdoors. This contributes to a feeling that we don't belong and a sense of alienation and wrongness. Rather than being a meaningless exercise in identity politics, this is an acknowledgment of a person's innermost identity, conferring respect and dignity. It is your opportunity to help others feel seen, to know that who they are matters, and to widen the circle of belonging. It also helps remind all of us that gender is a social construct, which can help lighten the pressure we all feel to gender conform and measure up to gendered ideals like beauty standards. The benefit is far greater than merely showing kindness and respect.It's an ironic endeavor you've undertaken, trying to provoke passion into your openly dispassionate audience. I loved it a lot. I feel like there was a lot of revealing how the `average' lifestyle is so apathetic. I felt called out, but in a good way! I pick up three voices in your writing. The voice of research and its demonstration. One of the things that attracted me to my husband was his creativity and knowledge about sex. At first it was exciting to be with someone who seemed to know so much and who suggested so many fun and different things to do sexually.

But as our relationship continued to evolve, the fun and creative sex started to become more daring, more outrageous, and more frightening to me. I started to refuse. He would beg, cajole, and then get angry and I would give in. During sex he would want me to talk dirty to him or look at pornography or fantasize about sex with my female friends and later with male friends. The more I refused, the more he seemed to demand it. He said he had needs and a good wife should meet them. I would feel bad and give in. Early in our marriage he purchased pornographic stories so we could read them together. So you don't skip such breaks (and, even more so, longer trips), put them on your calendar to make sure they're a priority. Silence in the Storm Just as we struggle to come to grips with solitude, I believe we've also lost all ability to be comfortable in silence. That's why many people leave the TV running even when they're not watching it, and why some of us spend hours each day with music blaring from our car radios, at the gym, and through our headphones. As a society, we've made ourselves crave the stimulation of noise and, in doing so, have become allergic to quiet. Every world religion includes a spiritual discipline that combines quiet and mindfulness--a heightened awareness of ourselves in our environment. There are multiple reasons for this common ground. One is that being still, quiet, and alone offers a daily opportunity to re-center ourselves. If you carve out this time in the morning, it can help focus you on the day ahead. Should you choose nighttime instead, a few minutes of sensory deprivation can clear away hours of anxiety, stress, and worry before you go to bed. The voice of questioning it. Your internal voice tying loose ends.

I enjoy your writing! I think it's bold. It doesn't shy away from hard truths, but still has moments that bring you back with grace and patience that is needed for the process. I am really enjoying it! It's challenging some ideas and things I've been struggling with in my personal life so I think it will do that for others as well. It's a tell ya straight kind of article that challenges the reader to evaluate their actions and motives to become a non-apathetic, intentional and driven individual. This would be a article I could frequently come back to. Even though this topic could become heavy and depressing, it doesn't feel that way reading it because of the use of life examples, practical action plans and real-talk. He took me to a nude beach; I felt very uncomfortable, and again I chalked it up to me not being as worldly about sex as he was. I found myself drinking to lose inhibitions to do sexual things to please my husband. During this time, my husband started to engage in chat rooms on the internet. When I demanded he stop (because it was too expensive), he told me he wouldn't need to do these things if I would meet his needs and do the things he asked. I felt guilty and degraded. I believed I was worthless for not meeting his needs, but at the same time it seemed wrong. During our marriage, I often suspected things weren't normal. I had such fear of speaking my piece and displeasing my husband. After all, I grew up in a home where my dad raged, yelled, kicked the dog, slammed doors, and threatened violence when he was displeased. But it can be very difficult to find such seclusion in the midst of our hectic world. We're almost always connected and contactable and can usually find multiple excuses to avoid silence and serenity.