Today's Love Tip
Stalkers come in all shapes, sizes and sexes. They come from all walks of life. Unfortunately, what they don't come with is warning labels. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, more than 1 million women and more than 370,000... Read More
More Love Advice
4 Reasons to Dump Him

Having doubts about your man? How do you know when it's time to kick him to the curb? There are all kinds of deal breakers out there, but if you spot one or more of these four red flags, it's time for him to hit the road.

1. He isn't supportive. The modern woman expects a true life partner. Gone are the days of aspiring to take care of a man or putting your needs on the backburner for his. Non-supportive traits include:

  • Making fun of or belittling your goals and ambitions in career or life
  • Making you feel guilty for spending time at work
  • Not helping around the house{relatedarticles}
  • Ignoring you in times of need or distress
  • Pressuring you into making life decisions like quitting your job, moving or having children

If you bring it up and he still doesn't get it, dump him.

2. You can't be yourself around him. Are you playing a character of who you think he wants to be with? Not only does this perpetuate a relationship based on lies (even if it's just through omission), but it also can be detrimental to your emotional well-being.


Lying about your job or considering a breast enhancement just to impress someone or to fit into their "ideal" is a bad idea. The best partners are the ones who make you feel great in your own skin and who you can relax around. If you reveal your true self to someone you're dating, and he doesn't appreciate your true colors, dump him.

3. He's a user. We all know the type - the freeloading dude who spends his days in the coffee shop, nights playing in a band and lives with his parents. However, users aren't always this easy to spot. It may start slowly as he "forgets" his wallet or has his car "repaired," but if you notice that these situations are becoming more normal than exceptions, it's time to run.

You are not an ATM, a taxi driver, a cell phone provider, hotel or sex machine. A real relationship consists of contributions from both sides -- not just emotionally but also financially. If you think he's taking advantage of your generosity, dump him.

4. He doesn't get along with your friends and/or family. What would life be without your girlfriends? Any person you are seriously considering dating also will most likely spend time with the people in your life who you care about.


While variety is the spice of life, if you find that your new boo and your friends or family are getting into knock-down, drag-out fights, he speaks to them inappropriately or talks about them badly in public, despite your feelings, dump him.

Any relationship should end immediately, no matter what, if the following things occur:
  • He is physically abusive
  • He is verbally or emotionally abusive
  • He threatens you or your friends and family
  • He steals from you
  • He cheats on you
  • He habitually lies to you

{relatedarticles}Reach out for help from friends, family and law enforcement if you have serious concerns about your safety and well-being in any of these situations. If you break off a relationship and he begins to stalk or threaten you, don't be afraid to take action.

Every relationship will have its ups and downs, but if the thought of spending one more moment with this person makes you want to scream, it's over. When ending things, even if you are angry, stay calm.

  • Weigh the pros and cons. Are you really ready to end it or are you just caught up in the moment? Make sure the reason you are ending it is legitimate and that you are prepared to deal with the consequences.
  • Don't break up over a text message or email. Tweeting the bad news is tacky. Everyone deserves at least a phone call when ending a relationship to ask questions and get the closure they need.{relatedarticles}
  • Don't blindside him. How can you expect him to change or work on problems if you never told him about them? If you aren't happy, bring it up and discuss it first before jumping straight to the breakup.
  • Hold your ground. He may try to convince you that you need to be with him or that you'll never find another boyfriend if you break up with him. Don't be sucked into claims that he's "changed" or "will work harder." And don't look back after the deed is done.
  • Be Honest. Don't lie about why you are ending the relationship or say things like "maybe we can be together in the future" if you don't mean it.

If you've only been together a short time or it has been years, a breakup is never easy or enjoyable. {relatedarticles}Remember that you don't owe anyone anything, and you have the right to end a relationship for whatever reason you choose and whenever you feel is right. It will take time to get over the breakup, and it's normal to be sad and even angry.

Allow yourself to feel these emotions and give yourself time recover before diving into the dating scene again. Turn to your girlfriends and family for support, and you'll be back on your feet in no time.

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The Pros and Cons of One-Night Stands

Maybe you just got dumped, haven't had sex in longer than you'd like to admit or are just really horny. Whatever the reason, a one-night stand could be the cure. However, if you're new to sex with strangers, you might be a little leery. Before you hit the clubs on the prowl, check out these pros and cons to make sure the experience is really what you want.


Let's start with the pros of a one-night stand. The benefits of a tryst with a sexy stranger can include:

  • Mind-blowing Sex - One-night stands are often the result of body shots and beer buckets, which can lower shyness and increase experimentation. You're never going to see him again, so go ahead and try that pretzel-twist or fake British accent if that's what gets you going.
  • Ego Boost - Feeling like you've lost your mojo? Making eyes from across the room and closing the deal with ease can make you feel like the world's sexiest woman.{relatedarticles}
  • Feeling Liberated - Been shackled to the missionary position and polite kissing with boring dudes? Use this as a way to break out of the mold of the "good girl" and enjoy sex like a man.
  • "No really, baby, I did it for you." - A recent study published in the Journal of Human Sexuality showed that friends with benefits, one-night stands and booty calls can actually help people make better decisions when they finally decide to enter long-term relationships.

On the other hand, exploring the sexual playground could leave you getting sand kicked in your face. The cons could come along with a quickie.

  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases - You don't know this person very well and therefore are in the dark about his or her sexual health and history. You may also be inebriated, which can cause you to do things, like have sex without protection, that you normally would not.{relatedarticles}
  • You Could Become Depressed - Making one-night stands a regular thing could mean you're seeking something you can't get from regular relationships. Beware of these interactions if you start feeling used or guilty.

  • Becoming Attached - Sorry, ladies, but some of us have a hard time separating sex and emotions. If the thought of a guy sneaking out in the night or not taking you to brunch after you've spent the night doing the nasty makes you upset, you should skip the one-night stand.

Got the good and bad and you're still ready to go? When trolling for a one-time night of passion, you can put these tactics to the test to get what you are looking for.


  • Put yourself in the right situation - Places like weddings, holiday parties, dance clubs and hotels are breeding grounds for one-night stands. People are in high spirits, drinking and ready to have a good time.
  • Look Like You're Having Fun - No one is going to hit on you if you look like your dog just died. Get out on the dance floor, tell jokes, do a shot - show guys that up for anything and looking to have fun.
  • Protect Yourself - Keep an eye on your drink, and if you leave with a guy, let your friends know where you are going and when you expect to be back. Pop a few condoms in your clutch - nothing makes a temporary experience more permanent than a baby or disease.{relatedarticles}
  • Play it Cool - Even if you are new to one-night stands, don't tell your potential hookup, and don't expect a relationship. By keeping your expectations in check you can prevent possible disappointment.

  • Be Mysterious - The point of this exercise is to be anonymous and fleeting. Don't even use your real name if you can help it, and refrain from contacting him on social media post-coitus.

  • Don't Feel Guilty - Society has programmed women to feel bad about exploring and embracing their sexuality. You won't feel sexy or be able to enjoy the experience if you're worried about looking like a "slut" the whole time.
  • Stick with a Stranger - Hooking up with a friend, coworker or a relative of a friend can cause awkwardness in the light of day. Keeping it strictly-stranger can help you avoid problems and embarrassing run-ins.{relatedarticles}

In the end, you should do what you feel comfortable with and not feel pressured. If you find yourself in a situation that scares you or makes you feel uncomfortable, get out of there. Just because you started something with a guy doesn't mean you have to finish it. On the other hand, it can be a great exercise in pushing your personal boundaries and creating new life experiences to do something out of the ordinary and challenge yourself.

By thinking through the options beforehand you can ensure that you are making the right decision - even if you feel bad about it later, don't beat yourself up for too long. After all, you will never see that person again and you don't even need to tell your friends about the one-night stand if you don't want to. Keeping it to yourself can be a great little secret that adds to your mystery and relationship wisdom.

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50 Shades: The Good, The Bad & The Downright Dirty

By Kim Droze

While there's no denying that the majority of men have a voracious appetite for most things sex-related, it's always been a gray area for energy-sapped women who seem to search for any excuse they can find to avoid intercourse. But thanks to "the book," there's a hot new remedy for those "headaches."

Sex has gone from gray to grey thanks to "the book" that has launched a thousand orgasms. We're talking about 50 Shades of Grey (Vintage, 2012), an erotic novel penned by British author E.L. James that's on the lips of women everywhere -- from CEOs to soccer moms. Released in 2011, the trilogy centers around plain Jane college graduate Anastasia Steele and the enigmatic Christian Grey, a rich, powerful, handsome businessman who entices her to become a submissive in his wild world of bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism.


At its inception, the Twilight-inspired book was entitled Master of the Universe and published on fan fiction websites. But because of its racy nature, it soon found a home on the author's own website The book was distributed as an e-book but due to its overwhelming success, it was marketed as a print-on-demand paperback by The Writers' Coffee Shop.

Today, the little book that could has sold more than 20 million copies with book rights sold in 37 countries. Adding to its accolades, 50 Shades of Grey has also earned the title for being the fastest-selling paperback of all time, even surpassing the Harry Potter books. Oh, and It's single-handedly responsible for the rise of "mommy porn." It's even been credited with reviving sex lives, giving women a newfound fervor for frisky behavior.

It's far-reaching effects haven't gone unnoticed. New York Times bestselling author and Today show contributor Ian Kerner points out that 50 Shades of Grey has been a game changer. Although erotic fiction is hardly a novel concept, 50 Shades of Grey is the first of its kind to become so openly embraced by society, says the co-author of the Big, Fun Sexy Sex Book (Gallery Books, 2012) and founder of

"Although 50 Shades isn't the first erotica book, it's the first to go mainstream and get mainstream PR," Kerner tells "Women don't feel embarrassed or judged or shamed in reading it. Whenever something sexy is mainstream, people for more comfortable using it. It's the same thing with the rabbit vibrator on Sex in the City. That made it okay to talk about the vibrator and buy the vibrator. This is also an extremely sexualized moment in culture. From Games of Thrones on HBO to all the porn that's out there on the internet, most of it is catering to men and a male approach to sexuality.


"This is catering to women. It shows that when you successfully create sexy content that's aimed at women by women, it can be extremely popular. Women can be just as sexual as men in that way. That is why it's being called "mommy porn.'"

While it might seem that most women would shy away from a book that glorifies whips and chains, it's actually had the opposite effect on the ladies. Even women who don't typically find the time to read can't peel their eyes away from the pages of this groundbreaking literary work. Perhaps the biggest push for 50 Shades of Grey has been the virility as it spreads via word of mouth. Like anything, the reviews of the most-talked about book in the world are a mixed bag.

According to Jenny Colgan of The Guardian, 50 Shades is "jolly, eminently readable and as sweet and safe as BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism) erotica can be without contravening the trade descriptions act." The British tabloid also deemed the book "more enjoyable" than other "literary erotic books." However, the Chicago Tribune wasn't so kind when it wrote than the book is "depressing" and "sprinkled liberally and repeatedly with asinine phrases."

Of course, even readers differ on their opinions of 50 Shades. Some may love it. Some may hate it. But they all know it, which is ironic considering that much of the X-rated content is beyond most women's wildest dreams.

Kim J. of Coral Springs, Florida was one of millions who was encouraged by friends to get her copy of the books. Although she's typically a fan of comedic romances or mystery fiction, the avid reader kept an open mind about the genre that was relatively new to her. And it goes without saying that 50 Shades proved to be an eye-opening experience for the mother of three.


"When I got to the revealing part, I was flabbergasted," the 41-year-old corporate secretary tells "As I read on, I liked the book. I found books two and three to be much better reads than the other one. They had more of a storyline. Book one was all about the sex, and while books two and three had plenty of it, they had a real storyline."

Although many women maintain that the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy has given their libidos an extra boost, Kim J. says it's really had no effect on her sex life at all. While it hasn't changed her preferences in the bedroom, it has opened the door up for more erotic fiction. She admits she'd definitely be inclined to read more books like it.

One person who definitely had her fair share of 50 is public relations guru Jenn K. After taking the recommendation of a closest friend, the 54-year-old divorcee had high expectations for the erotic thriller. However, she had problems reading between the lines. A professional writer, Jenn K. admits she was turned off by the language in the book... and she's not talking about those four-letter words.

Says Jenn K., "What a complete waste of time. I wasn't shocked at the sex or the storyline, I was shocked at how terribly written it was. The author actually managed to makewild sex seem tedious. And every single description of food or wine was 'delicious.' Are you kidding me? There's not another adjective she could have come up with?"

She adds, "After the first one ended with a total thud, my friend convinced me to read the second book. Reluctantly, I did, but I have to say I forced myself to finish it. I would not let this dumb book defeat me.I couldn't stand Ana or Christian by the end of it. And please don't tell me Kristin Stewart will be cast in the movie version - although maybe she's the right choice, so the movie can be as dreary and uninspired as the book."


But erotic fiction aficionado Janet B. points out that anyone looking for perfectly-executed prose in 50 Shades of Grey is guaranteed to come away feeling disappointed. It's the equivalent to looking for love in all the wrong places.

"The writing in general wasn't anything spectacular if you're looking at it from a writer's view," says Janet B. "It kept my interest, but I don't read those books because the grammar or punctuation is good. That's not why anyone reads those kinds of books.

"When people say it's grammatically horrible, they're reading it for the wrong reasons. It cracks me up when people comment on the writing."

While erotic fiction isn't for the faint of heart, Janet B. says that after reading more than 100 books in the genre James' book is far from the raciest she's encountered. Despite the ben wa balls and bondage, she says that 50 Shades is a far cry from the real BDSM deal. In fact, she says it's just enough to whet the palate.

"They didn't go into the erotica as much. They talked about the playroom and such but they didn't get into the entire lifestyle the way other erotica books do. She just touched on it, which is why mainstream housewives like it so much. She touched on it, but it wasn't really that intense."


She points out that the read looking for a true BDSM experience should look to authors such as Lora Leigh and Maya Banks who have been writing this genre for years and years.

Regardless of how women feel about the book, it's hard to deny its role as an aphrodisiac. Vivica H., a 30-year-old New York sales director, says that before she turned to 50 her bedroom activities had become tiresome. In an effort to spice up her sex life, she began reading excerpts of the book to her fiancÚ. It wasn't long before they were role-playing Ana and Christian.

Vivica admits she's also become more open minded about experimenting with some of the sexual play in the book such as using ben waballs, getting bound by something other than handcuffs and using riding crops, whips made of braided leather. All in all, she says she has the book to thank for a more lively sex life.

"I was hungry sexually the entire time I was reading the book. You can't hide that sort of thing when you live together. I was always so damn horny. I had to let him know why. We definitely have sex more frequently now," Vivica says.

She adds, "I didn't really have any preconceived notions about BDSM, expect that I found it, kinky I guess. I still think it's kinky, but would like to be tied up by a man that knows what he's doing any day of the week."


Vivica is in good company. There has been plenty of buzz about this startling sexual reawakening that's occurred. According to Kerner, it's a very, very good thing for couples. While they might not go to the great lengths that the characters in 50 Shades of Grey do, it's obviously serving as some serious inspiration.

Kerner explains: "You hear about 50 Shades pregnancies. I've spoken to a lot of women who have gotten their husbands reading it or they're reading it together. It's safe to say it's heating upaction in the bedroom. I don't know that couples are going out to enact thescenarios in the submission and domination aspect. But it's turning couples on and they're having more sex. I think some of them as a result are interested in exploring and dipping their toes into the shallow waters of kinkier sex."

So why does it take a book to transform women from cold fish to naughty nymphs? Kerner points out that many women begin seeking sexual adventure. The other aspect is that people get stuck in low-libido or sexless marriages where there is no time for intimacy. Unlike grocery shopping, laundry and other responsibilities, sex isn't something that's at the top of their to-do lists.


"50 Shades of Grey makes it top of mind for many women who were somewhat shut down sexually. They had kids. Sex is no longer a priority and they don't think about it. 50 Shades of Great gets them in the habit of thinking, imagining and fantasizing about sex and that's really healthy."

For the reader looking for erotica lite, it's all there in black and white... and grey of course.

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