Dear Bianca

DEAR BIANCA,

Is there a difference between dating and seeing someone?

Seeing someone specifically can be considered casual while dating someone specifically could imply more permanence. Seeing someone does not necessarily sound like it has any binding obligations. However, dating can also be used very loosely in expressing that you are single and going on dates and, under this same umbrella, seeing someone could denote that it is recurring. All in all, this is a semantic issue and will differ from person to person depending on what umbrella they fall under.

Should people put condoms on their dildos?

You should use condoms with your dildo if they are porous and/or you are sensitive to infections. Many sex toys, especially cheaply made ones, run the risk of infecting you and causing other minor complications since there is little research that investigates this risk. If you choose to wear a condom, however, you should ensure that you are using the one that is right for you.

When has neglect gone too far? My boyfriend and I have been in a long-distance relationship for over three years. Often, we get into fights about him not caring. In between fights, it’s just sweet nothings. When I see him, it’s sex and small talk. My mind is filled with him but maybe I’m being too needy. I’ve thought about breaking up with him, but I’ve been in love with him and it hurts to think about it. When does neglect point to break up?

Being in love with someone does not necessarily mean that you are meant to stay with him or her, even with such a long-term relationship. Being in a relationship for over three years is no excuse to allow neglect to damage a relationship; with time, your relationship should be growing stronger. If the opposite is happening, it may point to your relationship reaching its end. You should not be feeling like your partner does not care about you or your relationship. If you are feeling like that, you should not have to get into fights in order to remedy the situation.

Is it wrong to expect my partner to buy contraceptives even if they’re not the ones using it? (ex. Is it wrong as a man to ask my girlfriend to buy condoms?)

It is definitely a case-by-case issue; if you feel more comfortable buying your own contraceptives, go for it. If you feel as though the cost of it is adding up too much and is not covered by insurance or other resources, I do not think it is unreasonable to ask your partner to split costs as you are engaging in sexual activities together.

My boyfriend is usually on top and I’m comfortable with that. But now he wants me to ride him. I ’m not confident and it’s clear he is not reaching as much satisfaction (I’m not either because I’m so awkward). What should I do?

I think it is worth it to give it a try, especially if what is holding you back is your confidence. Focus on bolstering your confidence! Sex often becomes far more enjoyable when you are able to let go of your inhibitions and become more comfortable with your body, so it is an endeavor that is very much worthwhile. I think it is important, however, to communicate how you are feeling with your partner and work through it carefully with him. Confidence is a difficult thing to harness but, once you do, its rewards are plentiful.

My boyfriend is still friends with his ex, they have a bunch of classes together and are friendly. I am always worried he is going to leave me for her and I’m uncomfortable with them hanging out, but I don’t want to seem controlling by telling him who he should hang out with. What should I do?

This is definitely a complicated situation and I think the only way to approach this effectively is to have a clear line of communication with your partner. Let him know exactly what your concerns are. I think it is understandable to feel insecure in this situation but I also think it is important that you recognize that it is not healthy to be dictating who your partner should be hanging out with. Your partner should, however, acknowledge your concerns and find a way for the both of you to address this situation without taking drastic measures. Find a way to reassure your relationship from his previous one.

Period sex: why is it such a taboo?

Period sex likely became a taboo because of the taboo placed on periods and misogyny from earlier times. However, while this issue today may still exist in smaller forms, many people refrain from period sex because of messiness, though many still have misconceptions

about the hygiene of periods.

How do you handle a wealth gap in a relationship?

I would say this is one of the most difficult issues to approach and build off but, once you do, it can be immensely stress relieving for a couple. For the person who is less financially able, I know it can be stressful to plan fun or impressive dates while also considering restrictions that money imposes.  An important thing to do is be mindful of possible expenses when suggesting things to do as the person who is less financially able is likely already doing so.

Creating an environment where you and partner can both feel like you guys are bonding while not putting a financial strain is possible and should be kept in mind.

Does oral sex still count

as sex?

Yes.