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Love Trauma & Overflowing Inbox

Here’s a fun fact: did you know that the word April comes from the Latin verb “aperir,” which means “to open”? Many people like to believe the name of the month describes the flowers and trees opening in springtime. I’m preparing as I speak to see the Cherry Blossoms in DC for the first time. Swoon!

Springtime is a period of renewal and rebirth. So in the spirit of growth, we wanted to touch on self awareness and the idea of opening yourself up to love.

And that’s why we’ve got certified dating & relationship coach, Lauren Zoeller, here to talk about how you can become aligned in love, personally and in your relationships. 


Mr. Owl, how many swipes does it take to get to the love of my life?:

The team at Shane Co. Jewelry conducted a study asking online daters how much time they spend on dating apps, whether they’ve met a partner from an app, and how long it took them to do so. According to this study, the average American will spend about eight months on dating apps and swipe on just under 4,000 profiles before finding a partner. Damona breaks down the other specifics within the study – and tells us why decisive action will be your best bet in finding a match online.


Lauren Zoeller is a certified dating & relationship coach, an author, and the host of The Aligned Love podcast. She is also the Founder of The Aligned Love Experience™ and an expert practitioner in reparenting, generational healing and Somatic Experiencing.

Lauren’s insights have been featured on The Drew Barrymore Show (holla!), The NY Post, Business Insider, NBC News, SHAPE magazine and other international media outlets. 

(10:00) What makes Somatic Therapy different?

If you’ve never heard of “somatic therapy” before, Lauren’s got ya covered. “Somatic therapy is therapy of the nervous system, which is completely different from what most of us are conditioned to think about when we think about therapy. And that’s traditional talk therapy, going to a therapist and verbally processing your trauma.”

(19:35) Feeling safe inside of your body…

Damona asks for Lauren’s top first date tips for tapping into your nervous system awareness. She asserts that you first have to understand what safety feels like in your body, because only then will you have a sense if someone is safe when you meet them. “Your person should feel like home, they should feel safe – but you have to find home within yourself first.”

Lauren also shares her hot take on feeling butterflies, and what it means if you’re still getting them on the 3rd date.

(26:30) Bullsh*t and breadcrumbs.

One of the things both Lauren and Damona hear a lot is that women want to be pursued by their match – but Lauren points out a key difference between pursuing someone and chasing them. “I think that both people in a partnership need to pursue one another. It’s not a one way thing.”

Lauren continues that many women put up with what she calls “bullsh*t and breadcrumbs,” AKA a lack of clarity in whether someone wants to date you.

Be sure to follow Lauren on Instagram @LaurenZoeller and check out The Aligned Love Framework Course.



Submit your questions on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

Email from Snowed Under, Down Under – Hi Damona, I’ve been listening to your podcast here in Australia and I have a burning question. Without tooting my own horn; I get a lot of interest from guys on dating apps. The area in which I live and date is very skewed in the favor of women to men ratio. So I get inundated with messages and likes on dating apps. My question is how do I handle this influx of messages? I try to be respectful and answer every message, even if I am not interested – but it’s almost a full-time job!!! I get burnt out really quickly trying to siphon through the guys and trying to message them to give me and them a chance to determine if we should meet up. I don’t like to juggle conversations, but I can take on average 7 to 10 days getting to know someone via text/message, only to meet and the connection to be underwhelming in person! I wonder if my mindset of trying to cull the numbers and really focus on what it is I’m searching for is hindering me – or should I just wing it and just go and meet people without even really getting to know them in written communication first???

Relationshopping & Last First Date

Most of us have a relationship we wish had worked out differently. We think about the one who got away, we wonder how we got to a turning point in our relationships and we second guess everything. That is a normal part of the dating process.

But sometimes daters get caught up in patterns which consistently lead them to make choices that keep them single or unsatisfied in their relationships. If this is you, today’s show will remind you that you have the power to create the love life you want and deserve.

That’s why we have dating and relationship coach, Sandy Weiner, on today to talk about the hidden reasons why we sometimes choose wrong in love, and to share the skills that lead to our best choices and ultimately, our last first date.


How dating became like shopping – and what you can do to get a good haul:

Our friends at GQ magazine state that the suggestion of pre-date questionnaires and follow up surveys could push dating culture into shopping territory. But according to Damona, the “shopification” of dating has been around long before Tinder’s swipe technology. Damona continues to break down how reviewing our dates takes away our self-discovery in dating, and why we should simultaneously embrace the efficiency that dating technology offers us.


Sandy Weiner is an internationally known TEDx speaker, dating and relationship coach AND the host of two podcasts – Last First Date Radio and The Woman of Value Podcast.

But that’s not all! Sandy is also the Chief Love Officer at Last First Date, where her team provides group and individual coaching. And her new book, “Choice Points in Dating: Empowering Women to Make Healthier Decisions in Love”, is available now.

(14:40) The paradox of choice.

Sandy divulges the inspiration for her new book, which revolves around our relationship to choice. Sandy had a first date with a man who had been widowed 15 years prior, but kept repeating that he hadn’t been able to date because of all his responsibilities – he had no choice. Although this date didn’t go anywhere, Sandy reflected that we usually have many more choices than we know. 

A big culprit of this disillusionment is what both Damona and Sandy refer to as “the paradox of choice.” They explain the concept further, while Sandy describes how you can turn around your fear of rejection by asking for clarity.

(26:25) What makes you feel safe?

Sandy recalls her own proposal and divorce story, having gotten engaged six weeks after meeting her ex (it involves a puppet named Rocco and an in-flight PA system). In her book, Sandy references a list of compatibility criteria she had when she agreed to marry her ex. And over the years, that criteria has shifted to help her coach her clients. “Now, when I take a client through this process, it’s really about how do you want to feel? Let’s take safety, because that’s a big one. Safety – emotionally, physically, financially. So you go through all those categories, and then you ask who that person has to be for me to feel that way.”

(32:50) Don’t be afraid to interrupt!

Being the host of Last First Date Radio, Damona asks Sandy for her top tips on first date success. Sandy puts a big emphasis on how you’re preparing for your first date. “And a lot of people put very little time into asking, what am I going to talk about? How am I going to frame my stories? That’s something I love working with clients on because we often overshare, we share in a way that feels scary to the other person. And people just say things that are self sabotaging on first dates. So prepare your stories.”

Women are also more stereotypically great listeners, and thus don’t end up participating as equally in first date conversation. Sandy spells out why we should all learn to interrupt more, or offer information without it being asked for.

Be sure to follow Sandy on Instagram @LastFirstDate1 and grab a copy of her new book, “Choice Points in Dating: Empowering Women to Make Healthier Decisions in Love.”



Submit your questions on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

IG Message from Jean – Hi Damona, I met this guy on Facebook on December 3rd. We’ve exchanged numbers and have FaceTimed. I’m ready to meet but he wants to wait. Please see his message to me about why. Does he sound sincere? (Message from guy) “Good morning. I hope you made it safely to work this morning. A lot happened yesterday and I received a lot spiritually. I think we take getting to know each other very slowly. Let’s continue to chat and text & FaceTime to allow some more time and learning about our persons before we take any steps further. I am a very demanding and strong-willed, outspoken man that cares deeply and loves hard. The woman with me has to be able to understand and accept me as I do her without judgment, and not one second think I’d do her any harm or mean her any ill will. I LIKE YOU, and I do want to grow with you. BUT because of the man I am and things I’ve been through, it makes me a little more experienced and I don’t want that to ruin our opportunity. So I think it’s best we take more time learning and chatting before we start planning on anything sexual or having physical interaction.”

ChatGPT & Dating, Decoded

As Damona has been posting more dating advice on Instagram, we’ve been reading through the comments (as one does). And some folks are wondering, “Why should I take my dating advice from Damona? She’s a married lady, yet she’s offering online dating advice.” Which made us realize that many new listeners don’t know Damona’s background!

So here’s why Damona should be your go-to gal for dating advice:

  • Damona has over 15 years of experience in online dating and offline dating.
  • As a professional dating coach, she wrote her first online dating profile for a client in 2004 – so she’s been in the game for a minute.
  • Damona became certified as a dating coach in 2013, consequently the same year she launched the Dates & Mates Podcast.
  • She’s collaborated with all of the major dating apps, including Match.com, JDate, Tinder, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, and now OKCupid as their Official Dating Coach and spokesperson.
  • Damona loves staying on top of all of the latest trends and tips on dating, both offline and online.

If that doesn’t convince you to listen to the rest of the show, we don’t know what will. Maybe it’ll be our guest for today, Hannah Orenstein. She’s the deputy editor of lifestyle and wellness at Bustle, and she has her finger on the pulse of modern dating trends. So she is the perfect person to help us decode the new rules of dating.


Will ChatGPT take over online dating?

Our friends at CNET published a captivating article this week, asking what happens when ChatGPT gets a hold of your online dating profile. To get you up to speed, ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chat bot that can assist you with basic writing tasks. So Erin, the author of the article, decided to conduct an experiment in which she asked ChatGPT to write witty responses to classic dating profile prompts. For example, Erin gave the prompt “write a 500-character dating app bio for a woman who likes music, books and houseplants.” ChatGPT responded: “Music lover, bookworm, and proud plant parent… Seeking someone who shares my passions and is ready to join me on spontaneous adventures, cozy nights in, and trips to the local nursery… Bonus points if you have a green thumb!”

Damona dives into the ethics of using ChatGPT, the question of misrepresentation, and how ChatGPT is going to revolutionize online dating and communication.

(Funnily enough, ChatGPT’s response to Erin’s prompt above is almost the same as one of the prompts in Damona’s Free Profile Starter Kit. 😂)


Hannah Orenstein is the Deputy Editor of Lifestyle and Wellness at Bustle, where she covers dating, relationships, and sex, among other topics. 

Previously, she was the Senior Dating Editor at Elite Daily, where she still writes her advice column “Dating, Decoded.” She’s also the author of four novels; her most recent book, MEANT TO BE MINE, was praised by Vogue, Cosmo, BuzzFeed, USA Today, and more. 

(18:30) Am I normal?

After having written a dating and relationship advice column for so many years, Hannah says the most common theme within the questions she’s received is: am I normal? Although Hannah describes that one of the most scandalous messages she received was about a reader who had slept with her boyfriend’s best friend, and her struggle with what to do. Another reader had also messaged Hannah asking about how to feel comfortable in her own skin, after having gained weight and having her hair fall out.

Hannah shares a story on how she went about addressing such a layered question, while giving her thoughts on defining “self care.”

 (26:40) Dear Damona/Dear Hannah…

Hannah points out that many of the singles writing in to Dating Decoded are in college or in their early twenties. And when you’re trying to figure out dating for the first time, having an advice columnist to give it to you straight can be a really comforting thing. “I don’t know their lives. But I think sometimes you do need somebody from the outside to say, ‘hey, you seem okay, I think you could be doing better.’”

So if you’re in a relationship, what are the signs that it may be feeling like it’s stagnating? Number one, it’s a pretty clear sign if you write into an advice column for help. Number two? “Anytime you are dwelling on something or ruminating on it, and you just can’t get it off your mind, I think that’s a sign that maybe something is worth examining or worth being curious about there. Because if everything was totally hunky dory, you wouldn’t be obsessing about it all the time.”

Be sure to follow Hannah on Instagram @HannaHorens and check out her monthly advice column, “Dating, Decoded” featured in Elite Daily.



Submit your questions on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listener asked about this week:

  • Email from Heidi – Hi, I’m a widow and I’m new to dating sites. I made a friend recently and he is so complementary that it makes me nervous and a little uncomfortable. Is this a red flag?

Dating Up & Toxic Relationship Fix

Finding love is a journey and as you date, you are bound to encounter some people who are not good for you. But with the right mindset and approach, you can find and maintain a healthy, loving relationship.

It all starts with awareness and the ability to identify narcissism and toxic behavior in your matches. Don’t worry though, these behaviors are not as common as the TherapyTok trend might have you think. Even still, they exist and can cause you tremendous pain.

And that is why I have licensed psychotherapist, Sherry Gaba, and certified Life and Dating & Relationship Coach, Carla Romo, here today. They will be talking about how to avoid toxic relationships, trust your gut and find and keep healthy love. 


Is “dating up” really a bad thing?:

A recent article from Essence Magazine dove into the details of “dating up” when looking for a life partner – i.e. dating someone who has access to more resources than you. The article begins by calling back to a trend around getting your “MRS Degree” (AKA a woman going to college to pursue a man with the potential to be rich or successful in the future). The article continues by dropping some stats in support of dating up regarding the gender pay gap.

Well, you KNOW Damona has some thoughts to share – one being that “dating up” puts too much of a focus on dating someone above your status, versus someone who could be your equal. And what qualities really connote someone being at a higher level than you? If you are so fixated on dating someone above your level, at least be sure you’re asking yourself if it’s really something you want, or if this is a story that was told to you about what a secure partner should be.

THE LOVE FIX (10:32)

Sherry Gaba is a licensed psychotherapist, life coach, author and co-host of the podcast, The Love Fix. Sherry has appeared on Vh1’s Celebrity Rehab, CNN, Inside Edition, Access Live, and E! News. She has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Women’s World, the LA Times, the New York Post, Zoosk, Psychology Today and other leading publications.

Carla Romo is a certified Life and Dating & Relationship Coach, author of “Contagious Love” and co-hosts The Love Fix podcast with Sherry. She has been featured on or partnered with Simon Business School, Milwaukee Bucks, BRAVO, Bumble, Lifetime, and Bustle.

(12:25) Toxic red flags (and have we heard them all)?

Being a hot topic on their own podcast, The Love Fix, Damona asks Carla and Sherry for their take on the signs of toxic behavior. Carla states that oversharing can be a red flag (less in a vulnerable way, more in the let-me-dump-my-childhood-trauma-on-you kind of way). She also points out that it’s good to look for consistency in their behavior, AKA if they’re telling you one thing but their actions are communicating another.

But contrary to what a lot of people feel about dating culture and the individuals on dating apps, Carla doesn’t think the majority of people are toxic. Sherry then covers what she learned in her training about the cycle of abuse.

(24:00) Healthy doesn’t always feel like attraction…

Damona shares that in her dating journey (before meeting Seth, of course), she really has to deprogram what she defined as a healthy relationship – “I find that for a lot of people, when they’re used to that sort of chaotic relationship, a healthy relationship can feel like nothing’s happening.” Sherry continues that if you grew up with a certain amount of trauma, your nervous system experienced a lot of activation which can create a lack of regulation.

Carla adds how she advises her clients to go on a second date, even if the first date felt boring. “Go on that second date, go on the third date, just get to know people. And you don’t have to define if you’re going to marry this person. Like, the point of dating is that you need to go on multiple dates.” Sherry also gives us some of the indications of healthy conflict vs. toxic conflict

(32:35) Wholeness is in your body.

Damona mentions how employing our intuition can be a really useful tool in being able to suss out the signs of toxicity. But if we’ve been in abusive relationships in the past, we’ve often been taught not to trust our intuition, let alone ourselves. Sherry states that part of this is how trauma shows up in the body: “If you haven’t worked through your early trauma, and it’s still lodged in your body, you’re going to be responding from that place, instead of the place you need to be responding from – a wholeness.”

Sherry states that you can discharge that trauma using processes like EMDR or doing somatic work with a trauma therapist. And if being able to afford this kind of treatment feels like a financial stretch, Sherry and Carla share their tips on finding resources.

Be sure to follow Sherry and Carla on Instagram @TheLoveFixPodcast and listen to their podcast, The Love Fix, wherever you listen to Dates & Mates.



Submit your questions on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

IG Message from R – What do you think about putting your HSV+ status on your dating profile to weed out anyone that isn’t in alignment with you???

Selfish Romantic & Audio Attraction

Do you struggle with setting boundaries in a relationship? Do you feel guilty for putting yourself first? Well, what if we told you that prioritizing yourself was actually a key to dating success?

Today we are going to redefine the word “selfish” and explore how being “selfish” is actually an essential part of self-love and self-care. We’ll explore practical ways to prioritize ourselves in romantic relationships, how to set healthy boundaries, and why it’s crucial to avoid losing ourselves in the pursuit of love.

And we will do it all with the help of five-board accredited body confidence coach, author, and speaker, Michelle Elman. She will be joining Damona today to talk about her latest book, “The Selfish Romantic: How to Date Without Feeling Bad About Yourself.” 


The dos and don’ts of Hinge audio notes:

If you’ve been in the dating app scene recently then you know about Hinge’s audio prompts, which the app introduced in November 2021. Although the option for audio prompts didn’t revolutionize the way we swipe, hearing someone’s voice on their profile can become a key piece to whether you’re attracted to someone or not. And it limits the amount of information you share which can be important in the early phases of dating when it doesn’t take much to flip from someone peaking your interest to giving you the total “ick” (which we talked about in a recent D&M ep).

That’s why we were so grateful to see this article from Mashable, featuring tips on how to make the most of your audio notes from Hinge’s Director of Relationship Science and friend of the pod, Logan Ury. In the article, Logan shares Hinge’s top 5 most popular voice prompts and some CRUCIAL do’s and don’ts. But all in all, Damona thinks you can never go wrong with the more creative route. The more you can showcase your character in your profile, the more you frame yourself as a real person instead of just a face to swipe on.


Michelle Elman is a five-board accredited life coach, broadcaster, and public speaker (but you may know her as the queen of boundaries). What you might not know is that she had 15 surgeries before the age of 20, and is a leading expert on body positivity.

Michelle has been featured by Stylist and Glamour, and has appeared on The Today Show, Teen Vogue, E! News and MTV. Lastly, she’s the author of two best-selling books and her most recent book, The Selfish Romantic, is out now! 

(9:24) What inspired The Selfish Romantic?

There seems to be a fine line that is walked between selfishness and self care or self love. But Michelle notes that in order to have self love, you are required to be selfish. “The practicality is you cannot be higher on your priority list unless you start saying no to other people around you. And it’s the same in your dating life. So if you’re putting someone else’s opinion above your own, you aren’t going to make decisions in your love life that are good for you. And so you do need to be more selfish.”

Michelle also talks about her surgery scars, self-consciousness, and how she reframed the relevancy of her scars in her own dating life.

(20:20) Is your focus on dating stunting your growth?

Michelle brings up a pretty life-changing session she had with her life coach. In this session, the coach called Michelle out for making a guy she was dating for 3 weeks her #1 priority (and Michelle was even writing her first book at the time). Michelle says this convo was the catalyst for deciding to reset her dating life by remaining “consciously single” for three years.

Michelle goes into why being consciously single is NOT halting your love life (at least not as much as you think it is) & how she went about her dating detox.

(26:45) The myths & lies about singlehood.

Speaking of Damona’s book and dating myths, Michelle has a lot to say about the myths around being single. “People seem to think that being single is something that accidentally happens to us. That it’s like this illness that gets thrust upon us, or it’s a waiting room until we get our next relationship… We all came into this world single. Being single is the default, being coupled is not the default.”

First of all, treat yourself and get this book The Selfish Romantic out NOW. Second of all, treat yourself again by watching Michelle’s inspiring content on IG @MichelleLElman.



Submit your questions on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

Email from Allison – How can I pursue a relationship rather than friends with benefits? My usual pattern has been to like a guy, sleep with him, then fall hard for him – only to find out that he doesn’t want a serious relationship.

Rachel Lindsay & Trending Globally

We have a big episode today, with a big name guest – so why not kick it off with a big announcement to match?

As many of you know, Damona has been working on her book for the last year or two. And now, we can OFFICIALLY announce the release date and the title!!!

In her 15+ years coaching singles, Damona has found that the biggest game changer for clients is the moment when they throw out the old scripts they’ve been living with – the soulmate myth, the chemistry myth, all the myths that keep us believing that there is one way to find love. As soon as you realize the power you have to live your OWN love story, your life begins to change.

Damona’s book will be the framework to help you do just that. So on January 2nd, 2024, you can buy your copy of F the Fairytale: Rewrite the Dating Myths and Live Your Own Love Story. In the meantime, you’ll be hearing excerpts from the book and much more throughout the year.

Now, on to the show! You know our guest today as The Bachelorette from Season 13 and a correspondent on EXTRA. She’s the one and only, Rachel Lindsay! And she has a brand new novel called “Real Love!” that asks what happens when you take the road less traveled.


Match Group served up the world’s first comprehensive survey of dating trends:

If you’ve never heard of Match Group, they’re the ones who own companies like Tinder, Match.com, OkCupid, Hinge, PlentyOfFish and OurTime. And recently, Match Group partnered with research firm Ipsos to dive deep into the current state of online dating. Nearly 20,000 people were surveyed from the US, Germany, Japan, India and Turkey – including people with and without online dating experience

The results were split into three sections covering LGBTQ+ dating, online safety, and how online dating seems to be the foremost venue for making connections. Damona goes over the hottest takes to come out of this data-fest.


Rachel Lindsay is currently a correspondent with ExtraTV and she is the host of The Ringer’s “Higher Learning with Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay” podcast, which was recently nominated for an NAACP. 

Rachel is best known for her role as the first Black lead in the franchise’s history on the 13th season of ABC’s The Bachelorette and as a contestant on the 21st season of ABC’s The Bachelor. 

And her newest book, “Real Love!”, is on shelves… TODAY! 

(17:00) How much of Rachel’s novel draws from IRL?

Rachel’s book “Real Love!” revolves around Maya, a young CEO who is offered the opportunity to join the nationally beloved reality dating show “Real Love.” But after turning down the show, she watches her friend Delilah say yes to the experience. 

Besides the obvious, Rachel says that the book is loosely based on her own journey but stands alone as its own story. On deciding to go on The Bachelor, Rachel says “once I said yes, it changed my life in the best way. But I always think about that girl who almost said no. And so I wanted to explore that.”

Rachel also notes some of the key themes in the book including how we keep ourselves from our own happiness (to quote Rachel, “fear is really the root of all evil.)

(23:30) Throw out the life plan!

Damona brings up an essay from Rachel’s previous book, where she described the 10-year life plan she used to have. And now? Rachel shares that she’s thrown the idea of a life plan out altogether. “Even now, when someone says to me, ‘what is it that you want to do, what’s the end goal?’ I don’t give them one… What I would say is hold true to those things that you don’t want to compromise on your morals, your values, your dreams, your goals. All that should stand through and through.”

(28:05) A fine line between your story and someone else’s…

Damona observes Rachel’s very deliberate choice to have the main character of “Real Love!” be black, and asks if this was a way for Rachel to explore how race factors into finding love today. Rachel says absolutely, noting that “as [Maya] comes to a certain crossroads and she’s open to new opportunities, you see that certain things don’t necessarily match up with her life plan. But is she going to act on them? Or is she not? And that’s a very real life situation.”

(31:02) Blackness and Bachelor Nation.

Rachel had never watched a show from The Bachelor franchise when she first went on as a contestant, later becoming the first black lead of not only The Bachelorette, but of a Bachelor show PERIOD. And although she didn’t have a full concept of how historical her position was, she describes anticipating judgment for every decision she would make by both The Bachelor audience AND the Black community alike. She continues, “I was going to be open to love. And if it came my way, I was going to accept it no matter what package it came in. And I needed to be okay with that. Because I knew the world that I was going to have to face once I made that decision.”

Rachel also describes the biggest advice she has for interracial couples.


Be sure to follow Rachel Lindsay on Instagram @TheRachLindsay AND go out and grab YOUR copy of Real Love! – on shelves today!




Submit your questions on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

Text Message from Anon – Hi Damona! I recently started listening to your podcast and really like it! You inspired me to get back online for dating after taking a couple of years off. My question is: How do I balance the matches and conversations? I’m not very good at, or comfortable with, talking to and meeting multiple guys at once. I don’t want to miss a good potential match due to ignoring messages but I don’t know that spreading myself thin over the matches allows me to really gauge a good connection. I don’t want to get overwhelmed and give up, but I’m not really sure what to do. Thank you!

Beyond Breakups & Therapy Tok

So a headline recently crossed Damona’s desk that there is a spike in breakups right after Valentine’s Day. It’s unfortunate when a relationship comes to an end, especially when it’s one you thought might last forever. But, sometimes, it’s necessary. 

Values change. Sometimes people grow apart or sometimes you realize it’s just not a fit. It’s a difficult part of the dating journey. But it’s also an opportunity, a chance to reset and realign with your needs and your values.

And that’s why we’ve got award-winning divorce attorney and founder of the family law firm Happy Even After, Renée Bauer, here to talk about new beginnings.


How therapy speak took over dating (and what to do about it):

At this point we’re all familiar that dating comes with its own dictionary and buzzwords (Damona’s made an entire TV segment about it on Access Daily with Mario and Kitt). But a recent New York Times article did a deep dive into the psychological terms that have wedged themselves into the dating lexicon – and phrases like love bombing, gaslighting and trauma bonding are only the start.

One of the takes from this article is how therapy lingo and even mentions of therapy can be used by daters to distinguish themselves to prospective matches, or even filter out matches. AKA saying that you go to therapy in your profile can indicate if you and a prospective match are aligned in cultural reference points and the way you see the world.

But the biggest lesson we can learn is the way in which using psychology terms like “toxic” and “narcissist” can go off the rails if we’re not careful. After all, not everyone ranting about their toxic ex on TikTok is a professional. Damona explains how we can avoid this trap.


Renée Bauer is an award-winning divorce attorney, published author, and founder of the family law firm Happy Even After. Her upcoming summit, She Who Wins, runs April 28-29th and focuses on both personal development and business strategy.

(8:07) How to know when a relationship is *over* over.

Damona asks Renée how we can know when a relationship is truly over? Well according to Renée, this straightforward question has a straightforward answer. “How do you know? Usually my answer is, you already do.”

Renée continues that “what happens is we start to listen to our head, we start to crowdsource from people we love who are so well intentioned and who want the best for us. But they don’t know what’s going on inside that house or inside that relationship.” At the end of the day, where you stand with your partner will become much clearer when you turn off your fears of being alone, financial burden, and the unknown. Choose to trust yourself.

Based on her experience as a renowned divorce attorney, Renée also names the signs of a truly healthy relationship (hint: it has to do with conflict).

(14:15) Doubt about debt…

Many of Damona’s clients and participants in The Dating Accelerator Program often mention debt as their number one worry surrounding a potential partner. Everyone seems to want to know – how can I even bring up the subject of debt when getting to know someone?

Renée proposes taking a practical approach – ask open ended questions like, “How do you feel about having debt? What’s your relationship with money like? Are you more of a spender or a saver?” Also keep an eye out for behaviors that suggest they’re uncomfortable talking about money (i.e. avoiding eye contact, fidgeting, changing the subject). 

But – try to refrain from judgment until you know the whole story. People make mistakes and having debt isn’t always a straightforward reason to assume someone is irresponsible with money.

(18:36) After dating & before marriage.

Damona brings up the moving-in-together stage of relationships, and how often couples decide to cohabitate before asking the necessary questions that would prep them for this shift. Renée hops in with the steps she recommends taking before moving in together, one of these steps being to draw up a contract (whether legal or nonprofessional).

The importance of establishing terms of cohabitation also increases when pets and/or kids are involved. “Whether it’s in writing or not, I think the important piece is having those conversations and having clarity around them. Not just in passing, not just over dinner.

(23:22) “Treat marriage like it’s a business.”

Treat your marriage like it’s a business… huh? Renée breaks down that looking at your marriage as a partnership to be protected, although somewhat unromantic, is one of the best ways to strengthen it. For instance, Renée suggests having “state of the union” meetings with your spouse every month. She mentions that “money is probably one of the most common reasons that people get divorced.” So sitting down, talking about whatever’s happening in the marriage, and looking at the numbers in your finances will help keep you and your partner on the same page, and keep tension from building over time.

Renée also details her own experience of dating while being twice-divorced, and how owning your divorce story will release you from any shame you think it carries.


Be sure to follow Renée on Instagram @MsReneeBauer and learn more about the She Who Wins Summit at SheWhoWins.com.





Submit your questions on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:


  • IG Message from Andrea – You mentioned keeping your profile active and engaging but with my experience most men are on these apps nowadays for hookups not relationships. In my experience it always turns into sexual comments and never anything of substance. and most have a wife or girlfriend they are living with. 

The Ick & Second Chance Scenario

Okay, we’ve all been there. The date is going well, you’re thinking there may be a future here, and then they do that thing – maybe it’s talking with their mouth full or revealing they don’t like dessert. Say what?! Whatever it is, it’s like a switch, an instant turnoff; it’s the ick!

It’s okay, it’s part of the dating journey. You are going to meet people who aren’t a great fit for you along the way. Hopefully you can learn from them, laugh and move on. 

And that’s why we have authors, Anna Burtt and Kitty Winks, here to talk about their new book, The Little Book of Ick. They’ll also be breaking down how you can actually use icks to your advantage.


Some daters say Instagram helps them date more ‘organically’:

NBC News recently covered a study by YPulse, a youth research firm, sharing that 40% of Gen Zers met their partners through social media while 29% met their partners through dating apps. 

According to the article, Gen Zers say they want to date more “organically” and that meeting through mutual followers or shared communities on social media platforms like Instagram allows them to do this. They add that it’s also easier to vet their matches because they get a deeper look into their lives.

More than half also “feel more comfortable being vulnerable online and over text than in person.” Damona brings up the Online Disinhibition Effect, meaning that we feel more comfortable to share personal info and vulnerable feelings when your dating app gives you that veil of anonymity. So that raises the question – is it better to be starting communication in a space where you have no inhibitions before you’ve even met the other person?

But if we ARE going to shoot our shot and slide into the DMs, Damona shares some of her top tips on how to do so in Nick Viall’s episode of Dates & Mates.


We want you to have a dating profile that magnetizes the right dates to you. And that’s why for a limited time only, you can get Damona’s Free Profile Starter Kit HERE – this includes prompts and profile templates to help you write a winning profile, & a short tutorial video on how to choose the best dating profile photos.



Anna Burt is the host of the podcast The Brighton Book Club, and Kitty Winks has been featured in Mashable and Stylist Magazine. Together they are now co-authors of “The Little Book of Ick.”

(16:10) First of all, what the heck is an ick?

Kitty jumps right into it, defining the “ick” as “when you’re dating someone and they do something completely inane and innocuous on the face of it. And then from that moment forward, they’re completely physically repulsive to you. You can’t get past it.” And although there are some obvious universal ones (like being rude to waitstaff), the ick doesn’t show up the same way for everyone. Kitty also adds her take that “the ick is a physical manifestation of something that is already subconsciously there.”

Damona mentions how many people ask her if something is a red flag or not. Anna goes on to explain the differences between red flags and icks.

(21:50) The pyramid of icks.

Damona, Kitty and Anna deliberate the different levels of icks, from frivolous to f**ked up. Some of the icks that come up in The Little Book of Ick are cutting up your food into small pieces, some calling themselves a producer, or ordering a mocha latte (Kitty says “order a coffee or a hot chocolate, just make a decision”). Anna and Kitty also reveal their biggest icks, and Kitty shares the ick she employs to help herself get over her exes.

Although writing The Little Book of Ick has caused Kitty and Anna to see potential icks everywhere they look, they tell us to keep in mind that “no one should take some sides of dating too seriously. It just goes to show how kind of vacuous we all are. And you know, anything can kind of trigger an ick. And there’s no shame in that. I don’t think there’s any shame in being picky.”


You can follow Anna Burtt on Instagram @btnbookclub and Kitty Winks on Instagram @KitWinks. And be sure to snag a copy of their book, The Little Book of Ick.




Submit your questions on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

IG Message from M – Dear Damona – Hi, love your show! I paid for a subscription on a dating app to see all the men who “like” me, and I was scrolling through and saw a man who ghosted me 5 years ago, in 2017. This man has stood out in my mind because it was genuinely the best first date I’ve ever had, we were both cracking up the whole time. We stayed at the restaurant until they closed, then went to a wine bar and stayed there until it closed too. He had plenty of opportunities to end the date earlier but we ended up spending 6 hours together that night. We kissed a little at the end of the night, and I never heard from him again. I messaged him on the app the next day to thank him for a lovely evening and to follow up on what he had suggested as our second date, but he never responded. I feel a little scorned but I really had a good time with him. Should I give him another chance?

Code-Switching Valentine & Smart Sex

It’s Valentine’s Day and whether you are single, coupled or throupled (check out my IG if you need an explainer on that), we are celebrating LOVEEEEEE today! That’s right, things are about to get steamy.

Here on Dates & Mates, we’re always talking about the first two of the four pillars of long-term compatibility – common goals and shared values. But today, it’s Valentine’s Day so we are going to talk about the other two: trust and communication. Whether you realize it or not, sex and intimacy can be gateways to unlocking those last two pillars.

That’s why we have Damona’s dear friend and Doctor of Human Sexuality, Emily Morse, joining us for a very special Valentine’s Day episode. She will be talking about her new book, “Smart Sex: How to Boost Your Sex IQ and Own Your Pleasure.”

Disclaimer: This episode is for ALL listeners, single or taken. Boosting your sex IQ will help you if you have a Valentine tonight or not.

And remember that while we put so much emphasis on Valentine’s Day, in the end, it’s just a day! You can choose to recognize it or not the way you wish.


Do you code-switch on dating apps?

The New York Times recently published a deep dive into how people present different variations of themselves across various dating apps. What this article mainly exposed is that with so many dating apps available, a lot of users modulate their personalities from one platform to the next. For example, Hinge encourages leading with details that suggest you’re serious about finding a relationship. But then there are apps like Feeld that are for the ethical non-monogamous community, people who want open relationships, and swingers. So between these apps, you might even use different photos and bios. The NYT even proposes that the likelihood of a match is affected by which app a potential partner discovers you on first.

Damona’s big takeaway? “As a dating coach for 15 years, I would say it is a good idea to have at least a different primary photo on the various apps. But this article talks about people having like whole folders of apps on their phone. I would be remiss if I didn’t say that we are on too many apps right now, folks, I have my clients really focus on one app at a time or kind of cycle into apps… Scale it down and date intentionally.”

Damona is a big fan of dating apps, and we want you to be a fan of dating apps too because they are a tremendous tool. But what is the key to a successful online dating experience? It all comes down to the profile. Check out the Free Profile Starter Kit HERE to revamp your profile today!


Doctor of Human Sexuality, Emily Morse, is on a mission to liberate the conversation about sex and pleasure. Emily is the best-selling author of Hot Sex: Over 200 Things You Can Try Tonight! and host of the #1 Sexuality podcast on iTunes Sex With Emily.

She has been profiled in The New York Times, Forbes, and The Times of London. And, her new book, “Smart Sex: How to Boost Your Sex IQ and Own Your Pleasure”, comes out June 13th!

(16:30) Did you know you have a sex IQ?

With her book “Smart Sex: How to Boost Your Sex IQ and Own Your Pleasure” coming out in June 2023, Emily shares with us what a Sex IQ is. “We think about our IQ, and then we came out with EQ – emotional intelligence – in the 90s. And then with this book, I really wanted people to feel empowered to be sexually intelligent as well… So in this book, I present the five pillars of becoming sexually intelligent.” In short, being sexually intelligent is more of a holistic approach to understanding your own sex questions.

Emily also covers the pillars of sexual intelligence (HINT: both your mental and physical health contribute to your sexual intelligence).

(21:12) What does great sex look like?

Emily and Damona piece apart what it actually means to have “great sex” – because great sex looks different for everyone. Damona also brings up a question often asked at Dates & Mates, about what to do when your partner and you have different sex drives and how to bridge that gap. Emily explains that in a usual relationship dynamic, there is a high desire partner and a low desire partner. And bridging the gap between your sex drives will involve scheduling your sexcapades ahead of time (which can be completely HOT). 

(29:52) Take control of your own arousal.

Trust and communication are some of the keys to having really awesome sex. But in order to have trust and communication in the bedroom, it’s important to know what turns you on and why. 

Emily explains that scientists “look at the brainwave patterns of people falling in lust or falling in love, and people on cocaine, and the brainwave patterns are very, very similar. It is a drug and that drug, like everything that comes up, it’s going to have to come down again. So that’s where the work happens.”

Once the honeymoon phase ends and a couple is no longer riding on the fumes of the newness, they will have to consider what they can do to continue to be attracted to each other.  “Part of becoming sexually intelligent is self knowledge, that’s another one of the pillars. How well do I know myself? How well do I know in the past? What worked for me and what didn’t? How well do I know what’s going to be a requirement for me to be turned on?


Be sure to follow Emily on Instagram @SexWithEmily and pre-order her upcoming book, “Smart Sex: How to Boost Your Sex IQ and Own Your Pleasure,” by visiting sexwithemily.com/book.




Submit your questions on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:


  • Email from Sabrina – Damona, I have never been in an adult romantic relationship and I’m currently in my mid-30’s. When I’m out I don’t meet a lot of men or the men I meet (platonically) are in relationships. Online dating has not proven successful and I rarely get matches. Men either fetishize over the fact that I am a black woman, or fetishize my weight (I’m plus size). If I do have a match that does neither of those things we usually don’t talk for long because they take forever to meet up, want to meet up and have sex or don’t fit with my values (my faith is a big part of my life). I would love to start dating and find companionship. Please help!
  • IG Message from Carlos – I met a girl that I’m really attracted to, but she is a bad kisser. What can I do?
  • Text from James – Would it be bad to tell my partner I love her for the first time during sex?

Intimacy & New Dating Norms


Almost every week, Dates & Mates Podcast listeners and clients ask the same question on intimacy: when should we go all the way?

Enter one of the top experts in dating and sex: Dr. Emily Morse of the Sex with Emily Podcast!! She joins Damona on this week’s episode to get clear ONCE AND FOR ALL on the intimacy timeline.

More on that later, first Damona covers headlines!



Will dating be forever changed by COVID-19?

Pandemic shutdowns have thrown a curve-ball at dating and relationships. What are the repercussions to this? To name a few: anxiety over a ticking biological clock, a change in the intimacy timeline, and better dating for introverts. It’s not all bad. Damona breaks it down.

Is Will and Jada’s relationship in trouble?

On a recent episode of Red Table Talk, Jada Pinkett Smith reveals that she doesn’t really even know Will Smith anymore. What does this mean for their relationship?

The safest places to get your freak on during the pandemic shutdown

You may have heard that Zoom is monitoring closely to shut down virtual sex. Bummer right? Well if you’re into it, Adult Friend Finder has released the very first virtual orgy platform: Virgy. Damona has thoughts.



One of the biggest issues in dating and relationships is intimacy.  Whether you are trying to find love virtually right now and you’re not getting enough of it, or you’re quarantined with your loved one and you’re getting too much of it, everyone’s kind of struggling. 

As always, but especially In this crazy COVID world, intimacy and sex are part of healthy relationships. But we’re not always clear on how to build and maintain intimacy in a healthy way.

So today, we get clear once and for all on the “intimacy timeline” with one of the top experts in the field: Dr. Emily Morse of the Sex with Emily Podcast.

We’ve listened to her show for years and now we’re delighted to welcome her to Dates & Mates. We talk:

  • The Four Stages of Intimacy
    • The Infatuation Phases and “Honeymoon Period”
    • Conflict and the power struggle
    • True Intimacy and Unconditional Support
  • Why there’s no such thing as “Love At First Sight”
  • When to take some time to reevaluate what the next step is
  • Therapy For Intimacy?
  • The timeline depends on how much you grow as a person independently
  • Only 5% of couples get to the final stage of unconditional support
  • And so much more!

If you want more Emily, check out her podcast and other content at SexWithEmily.Com


Submit your questions Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

  • Tweet from Katie: My husband needs a few days between sex sessions or he can’t get hard. Is this normal? She’s 31, he’s 37. She says she’s never noticed the refractory time before but with the quarantine, I’ve noticed that if I try to initiate again that day or days following it doesn’t lead anywhere and he’s not able to. Should I be concerned? A couple of days seems like quite a long time.
  • Ashlee from Twitter: My boyfriend can’t climax from a BJ. Trying to deal with my ego thinking it’s just me. Tips?
  • IG: What does it mean when your new boyfriend goes limp when you get on top of him? He says he had this problem in his last relationship too. He can function in other positions but he climaxes quickly.



Best of all, it’s super affordable – Dates & Mates listeners like you get 10% off your first month with discount code DATESANDMATES 


So why not get started today? We all need someone to talk to right now. Go to BetterHelp.com/datesandmates so you can fill out a questionnaire to help them assess your needs and get matched with a counselor you’ll love.





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Patreon is a platform that allows you to support creators like me to keep making helpful content that you want to hear and allow you to get amazing listener benefits by participating

Our page is Patreon.com/datesandmates

What will you get if you sign up?

There are three different tiers. One for our loyal listeners who want to connect with others and keep this show going strong for another 7 seasons.

Sign up at patreon.com/datesandmates for: 

  • an opportunity to work with Damona directly
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  • and to become part of a community that will help you find the healthiest, most loving relationships this year



Damona  0:12  

Hello lovers, welcome to Dates & Mates!


Damona  0:21  

one of the biggest issues in dating and relationships is intimacy. Whether you’re trying to find love virtually right now and you’re not getting enough of it, or you’re quarantine with your loved one, and maybe you’re getting too much of it. We are all struggling right now, as always, but especially in this crazy COVID world. intimacy and sex are a part of healthy relationships. But we’re not always clear on how to build and maintain intimacy in a healthy way.


Unknown Speaker  0:51  

So today,


Damona  0:52  

we are once and for all going to get clear on the intimacy timeline with one of the top experts in this field. Dr. Emily Morse of the sex with Emily podcast. I’ve listened to her show for years and now I’m delighted to welcome her finally to dates and mates. But before you get all hot and bothered, we have headlines including will dating be forever changed by COVID-19? And could jayda and Will’s relationship be in trouble plus the safest places to get your free guide on during the pandemic shutdown? And then in technically dating Emily and I will answer your questions like what to do if you and your partner have different sexual needs and how to deal with insecurities in the bedroom. All that and more on today’s very hot dates and maids This one is definitely not one to listen to in the room with the kiddos. Explicit warning, I’m saying it now it’s going to be hot but you’re going to want to hear everything that Emily and I talked about. You ready For the dates in mates,


Unknown Speaker  2:02  

let’s dish these dating dish.


Damona  2:07  

According to time dating will be permanently changed by COVID-19. A lot of people have been asking my opinion on this from NPR, you may have heard me do a couple of segments in the last few weeks. You may have read in my new column in the LA Times about this. There are a lot of people speculating about what this will mean for intimacy. So let me just take a snapshot of where I think we are right now. And I can make a guess about where I think it will go. And I’ll also tell you what some of the other experts that time interviewed said, and you can make your own determination about what you think will happen when quarantine opens up and people are able to return to some sense of normalcy. So now we’re in this place where just speaking of dating specifically, people are unable to meet face to face. So I’m hearing a couple of different things I’m hearing there are a lot of people that are really excited by the ability to make new connections without all that pressure. So many of my listeners have been timid about online dating. Well, you know, I’ve always been very bullish about it. But part of the reason is that, that awkwardness of moving offline and into the real world so it’s allowed a lot of new people to step into the space and play in the dating space and the chat space in the flirtation space and see if this could be a good avenue for them to date. So I think dating apps will continue to be on the rise. They’ve already all said that they are having a huge increase in new users and new chats, but we don’t we don’t know what that will look like when there are other avenues available for dating but I do believe it will consistently be up. Now people are having to do virtual dates, and be really clever with quarantine dates and what I love about This is that it’s causing people to be a little more mindful to slow down and also to be more creative and really get to know one another people have been obsessed we talked about love is blind on the show a few weeks ago, people have been obsessed with this idea of finding love without the confusion, I guess of what someone looks like and, and the visual seeing them face to face. But we all know like not every couple made it on love is blind. I’m not saying any spoilers or anything, but not every couple makes it. And so there’s this almost fantasy playing out where people are thinking that this is going to be the answer to unlock all of these problems in dating, that dating timelines are going to slow which you’ve heard me say on the show before and that people are going to become more mindful of who they’re having sex with the thought we talked about the other Netflix show too hot to handle recently. As well, what I think is really going to happen is that it’s, it’s we’re going to return to how it was before but we are going to have new filters in place. Like being able to do that video chat and having it not be weird. I that’s the biggest thing that I think will come away from COVID-19. With as far as dating is concerned, a lot of things that we once thought were weird, are no longer going to be weird video chat dating is not going to be weird. calling someone on the phone who you’ve never met is no longer going to be weird. It’s going to be normal again, like it once was. So I think this is a really great time, but we’re going to go through a little bit of an ebb and flow. They interviewed one of my favorite experts for this time magazine article, Helen Fisher, and she is a she’s a social scientist. She works at the Kinsey Institute. She’s studied the brain on love, and she says that thirst and hunger are not going to do And therefore, neither are the feelings of love and attachment that allow you to pass your DNA on to the next generation. So that’s what we have to remember. Like, I can get all intellectual about dating and dating plans and processes. But when it comes down to it, that drive for procreation and that drive for connection is the strongest thing in the world. That is, that is what drives everything, because we are wired to keep the human race going. And that is not going away just because of COVID-19. So there’s a lot of talk of people abstaining from sex, there was this government. I think it was a New York City slogan about you are your own safest sex partner right now, which is true and which has always been true, but people aren’t just going to forget about having sex or having connection because we had COVID-19. I think what we’re going to see if I can predict for a moment is that once the restrictions are lifted, There are going to be a couple of weird moments, like a first dance at prom, where people are like, I don’t want to be the first one to get out there and hit the dance floor like I don’t want to look weird or be the first one to make a fool of myself. So people are a little shy to enter the dance floor. And then a couple of brave people jump in, and everybody’s like, oh, there, you look cool, that looks fine. I want to do that too. And then everybody is on the dance floor, and then all of a sudden, the dance floor is gonna get really crowded. And people are going to realize that there is a risk right now in dating and making connections with people in holding hands kissing, touching other things that we’ll talk about later in the show. And I think there’s going to be a little bit of a balancing and a retraction where people are going to slow down again, and that’s where I hope we will land in this sweet spot of love and relationships. So check out this article. I’ll put it in the show notes. There was also a mention of really interesting experiment that they’re doing at you Pan. That’s sort of a love Love is blind inspired experiment where they’re trying to help people fall in love over email. During quarantine. I can’t wait to see what the results of that study are. I’m sure we will cover it on dates and mates but it is making me believe in love again. You know one couple that is love goals for life. Everybody has known of the romance between Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith. And we all look to them. We see red Table Talk and we see them out together and we’re like, they’re the perfect couple. They’ve got it all. They’ve got it all. But on read Table Talk recently jayda revealed that being in quarantine has made her realize that she and will don’t really know each other anymore. They’ve grown apart to some extent and they’ve been together over 20 years. And there is this lull in the relationship where you start to almost take your partner for granted and then you look at them and you think oh How could you take your partner for granted? This is Will Smith or how could you take jayda Pinkett Smith they’re both so amazing in their own right. But I love in the show how real jayda makes the issues that she’s going through and how grounded they are to make you realize that even though we idealize their relationship, and she is saying she was even idealizing, who her partner was, we can learn so much by hearing her honest take on what’s going on. And she’s saying that in this time, it’s also an opportunity. If you’re in a relationship right now, it’s an opportunity to get to know your partner again, on a deeper level. I’ve been doing like 20 questions and playing all these fun games with my husband, and really getting to see a different side of him. I don’t feel like it’s quite at the level of what Jayla said like I don’t know him at all. But I do feel like I have learned things that maybe if we hadn’t had that time to really slow down and really bond together that I may not have taken the time to stop and ask some of these questions that I’ve had answered. So this is a great reminder for us to not be complacent in marriage or in relationships and to always try to find that spark and that ability to be curious. You know, I’m always talking about that with dating, right. Be curious about your partner. And I think that is the silver lining on all of this, not just for jayda and will but for us as well.


Turns out, a lot of people may not be satisfied in their relationships right now because according to adult friend finder, they are seeing a big surge in new users. And this is a casual dating and camping site. So actually all of the so called cheating sites are seeing a big surge and That’s a lot of people trying to escape the reality like it’s intense in there. It’s intense when you are 24 seven with somebody that you, you maybe you really have strong feelings for them or maybe you have been growing apart for a while. And this intensity is just the thing to drive the wedge between you and where you’re seeking, seeking fulfillment from other sources. But here’s the thing on Adult friend finder, they also are helping people move into like virtual sec situations. And they had to launch a new platform called Virgie. I didn’t make it that name, y’all. It’s a platform that provides a safe environment for people looking to explore orgies during COVID-19. So some of these people may be in relationships. Some may be single, but a lot of these common video chat sites that We use like zoom, did you know this, like you cannot have relations on zoom, and not that they’re peeking in on everybody’s video chats, but there is an element of them monitoring what’s happening. And so these virtual sex parties could no longer happen on zoom, and they had to find another avenue for allowing the people that come to their site to be able to do the things that they want to do. So this is just to remind you that there’s something out there for everyone and whatever your need is right now, whether it’s an emotional or an intimate need or simply a sexual need. There’s no shame in the game y’all. You can find what you’re looking for. Online. The Google machine has made anything that you want possible and animation to you at the click of a button. So I encourage you to go out there and find what you’re looking for speaking of finding what you’re looking for getting your needs met, and let’s face it speaking of sex, we have a very hot guest for you today. As I mentioned at the top of the show, one of my inspirations Dr. Emily Morse will be joining me in just a moment, she’s going to tell us everything we need to know about building intimacy from first time sex and consent, all the way to reigniting the passion in a long term relationship. So if you’ve ever asked after what date Should I sleep with him? Does this sex mean the same thing to her as it means to me? am I even doing this right? Then this is the episode for you don’t go anywhere. Dr. Emily Morris is coming up in just


Unknown Speaker  13:49  

a moment.


Unknown Speaker  13:57  

We are back and I am here


Damona  13:59  

with the One and only Dr. Emily Morris. She has a PhD of human sexuality and she is the powerhouse behind one of my favorite podcasts sex with Emily. Please, please, please put your lips together give big smooches to Dr. Emily Morris. Hello.


Unknown Speaker  14:19  

Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.


Damona  14:22  

I am so glad to have you here. People have questions and like, I can only take them so far. But you can take them all the way. Emily, wave ready to go. And I will just talk first about your mission with sex with Emily. You talk about make wanting to make sex. Easy to talk about and yeah, so it’s so listable and like topics that a lot of people are sort of


Unknown Speaker  14:45  

sensitive about


Damona  14:47  

you make it just you just bring down the walls and make it so simple.


Unknown Speaker  14:51  

Exactly. I mean, that’s my main mission is because most of us are not comfortable talking about sex because we don’t have any great models for it. Our parents weren’t Talking about it most likely our friends weren’t talking about it. We have a lot of shame around it. We think love is good girls don’t talk about sex and and you know, then what is it? What What message Am I sending if I talk about sex, so there’s just, there’s just a way that I want people to feel more, you know,


Damona  15:18  

take away the shame and the and the stigma around it and just make it comfortable. Because really, when we’re sexually healthy, we’re healthy overall, it contributes to a healthy lifestyle overall. So I just try to get people to understand that that’s, it’s something that we need to do to have an overall healthy life get comfortable talking about sex, and then that actually improves our sex life. Absolutely. And so many of our listeners realize that it’s an important part of a relationship and many of them are single right now and wishing for that right relationship. So I want to talk a little bit about building intimacy through the different phases. Let’s begin at the beginning with the people that are just starting like let’s say COVID aside, quarantine aside, they are just beginning new relationships and beginning to be intimate one.


Unknown Speaker  16:04  

So this there are actually like for some say it’s five, there’s about four stages of intimacy that we talked about in relationships. And the first one is the infatuation phase. This is the honeymoon phase, the phase that we all crave. And we want to we always, are always trying to get back to this phase. And this is when we first meet someone and we just think, Wow, this person is so perfect for me. everything lines up. It’s like, like, we’re so alike. It’s sort of the infatuation stage and the kind of the diffusion stage. And it’s sort of like and there’s also a powerful like, neurochemical thing going on in our brains where we feel like a kind of altered state of consciousness going on. And it’s sort of like they look at the brainwave patterns of, of people like falling in love, and they’re like, God, it looks like either they’re in love or they do some kind of drugs because it’s very similar, right? It’s a very similar pairing, and there’s a good feeling of euphoria and connection. So that’s like the first stage that we just were like, wow, we are so fused. Everything is just this person is my everything.


Unknown Speaker  17:07  



Damona  17:08  

So then we move past that because I’ve had like, they’re my listeners are tired of me saying this so much, but there’s no such thing as love at first sight. Like there’s lust at first sight.


Unknown Speaker  17:18  

I say that too. I’m like you not love it is lost and that is totally fine. Lust happens, but you are not in love.


Unknown Speaker  17:27  

Okay, so how, how can we move on to love what’s the next stage they might Okay,


Unknown Speaker  17:32  

the next stage is the conflict and the power struggle.


Unknown Speaker  17:36  

This is when you have your first fight.


Unknown Speaker  17:39  

This is when you think, oh, like how do I differentiate myself from my partner? Like, maybe we’re not so much alike. You know, we struggle to exert like our individuality in a relationship. And there’s like conflict and you’re like, how can there be conflict in paradise? I didn’t realize, but that is the second stage. And that’s kind of where You know, people kind of last through this stage because some do. But the third stage, if you want me to skip to that that’s adjustment we call the adjustment and consolidation. And that’s where couples end up. This is where couples end the relationship. This is where divorce happens. This is where drugs addictions happen, people start drinking more. And a lot of people don’t get through these stages, it becomes a lot uglier. In this stage. We think Oh, wow. Like I remember the first stage. We’re like, Oh, my God, we are so perfect together. Everything’s amazing. And this is the stage where we’re like, there’s nothing we are nothing alike. And what am I going to do with each other?


Damona  18:34  

I’m sure a lot of people are feeling that right now.


Unknown Speaker  18:36  

Exactly, exactly. If this is the stage, we crave to get back to stage one. But I think a lot of people are in this stage right now. They might never have seen themselves going into this stage but because maybe we’re quarantined with somebody, and there’s so much strife and there’s we don’t have the conflict resolution skills to get us past the stages is is really where people are, are stuck right? And so I urge people to, you know, to kind of take a beat and realize that we’ve never been in this place before. And there’s like a, there’s an anxiety level that’s like in the ether in the universe right now we’re sort of all experiencing it from every angle, at work and at home and just the consciousness of everyone is sort of a heightened state of unknown anxiety, confusion. And then you put on top of that the person that has to be your most comfort in your joy. Now they’re giving you some strife, it feels like so I just, I mean, I recommend people reaching out and using their resources. I’m a huge fan of therapy. And I think that right now, there’s a lot of therapists I’d say the majority of them are offering online therapy and online coaching right now. And just know that it’s okay. You don’t have to solve it on your own because it’s this kind of language and dialogue that you have with your partner that’s gotten you here. So you’re going to need someone else you’re going to need some more tools from the outside to help you and it’s totally okay. Just like we hire a coach for work, a business coach, a trainer to get in shape a nutritionist, you might need one for your relationship right now. Absolutely. I totally believe in that if you’re single, like, same thing, we agree on the right therapy right now. Right?


Damona  20:14  

Right. So what’s on the other side of that Emily? solve the conflicts. Right.


Unknown Speaker  20:18  

Okay. So, um, the conflict, right? And, and when you get to this is the stage where this is the maturation stage where you mature, you have learned to differentiate, and this is true intimacy, like you’ve worked through your deepest wounds, you have really figured out, you know, who you are, you’ve gone to the dark places of intimacy as you shared it with your partner. And this is the stage where you say, Wow, we are nothing alike. And that’s beautiful. We are nothing alike. And that’s why we work because we support each other. We come together with these beautiful skills. And we’ve, we’ve, we’ve matured together, we’ve grown it and again, this doesn’t mean that you’ve been together 25 years. This could happen quickly. I mean, this can happen over a year this year. You know, it typically won’t happen in less than a year. But it depends how much work you’ve done individually coming together as well. The comments have you grown? How much have you looked at your past? wounds your childhood, your past relationships? have you dealt with abuse and trauma and anger? And, you know, there’s always work to do, but how much and how much are you both willing to work? Like, sometimes there’s one person who, who’s so into growth mindset and growing together and there’s someone’s like, no, we’re fine. I everything I’ve done is fine. I need to work and grow. I’m really good here. And that’s, that’s tough. Yeah,


Unknown Speaker  21:34  

one person wants to grow and another person does not.


Damona  21:37  

Yeah, absolutely. You both have to be on the same page. And it’s also I would, I would add into the mix, you have to also be able to trust one another. And that’s, and I know that’s an element of all the work that you do, like if you are going to be intimate with someone whether it’s emotionally intimate or sexually intimate. There’s a level of trust you have to build when you say


Unknown Speaker  21:57  

absolutely, I mean, that’s the other thing is that you’ve built trust. See, I just kind of ran through those like quickly, but it’s like you. Yes, I mean trust is. Trust is something that you when you have it you have in your relationship and you don’t really think about it because it’s there. But once trust is broken in a relationship, it can be really difficult to heal, especially on your own. And the couples who like I hear from couples all the time, who say or it’s one person who says, well, but partner cheated on me and it’s been rough ever since. But I should be over it already. Or then the or the person who did the cheating says to me, why isn’t my partner over? And it’s like, well, what work have you done? Just saying I’m sorry, doesn’t gonna do it, or just because years or has passed, those wounds are still there. So you have to sort of rebuild, but you have to do that together. And again, I believe that can best be done in therapy. And it’s very hard to rebuild trust on your own. But yeah, trust is huge. That’s a big part of intimacy is couples like, like having trust, having integrity in the relationship. You know, broke broke through. It’s messy. They broken things down. They’ve rebuilt them. And they’ve they’ve stayed together and, and only like they say like only 5% of couples get to that that last stage of intimacy that really get there and really do it. Yeah. I mean,


Unknown Speaker  23:11  

I’m hoping I’m their girl.


Damona  23:14  

Living the dream, living the dream, but like, I want to go back for the listeners that are still single. When you’re building trust with someone new, that’s really, really hard. And a lot of times I get the question about when to be intimate with someone when to have sex. And then how do you even talk like, should you talk about it before you have sex? What’s the a DA, being? Sexy?


Unknown Speaker  23:40  

It’s a great question. I mean, I do believe that. That in order for us to be in a sexually healthy relationship with to be if we’re going to be having sex with someone, we have to be comfortable talking about it. The problem is where we’re at today in 2020s, that most people no matter what their age are, their their their backgrounds, their everything. They will not come through with it. We don’t have models. We don’t have people have done it. But I do believe and I do know this, the couples who are the healthiest and have the best sex lives are able to talk about it. And so I think before you talk about your before you have sex somewhat with someone how great to just say like, how important is sex to you in the relationship? You know, what kind of things are you into? I actually you could say I, it’s something that I’ve been on a journey to figuring out or getting comfortable talking about sex. I don’t have a lot of experience with talking about sex, but I know that it’s important. So would you be willing to be a partner that could talk about it with me, we could talk about what we like and what we’re into and what we don’t like or if we’ve never done this a we can figure it out together. But I know that sex is a really important part of a relationship. And I think, yeah, I mean, I think the sooner we talk about it, the better especially after you start having sex with someone. I don’t believe in this. Let’s wait a few months while it’s still really great. Cuz that’s when you should talk about it. Maybe just talk about how great it is or the things that you really liked about it. But it’s fun. Because we’re in relationships, and we’ll talk about like, we go to a movie, and we’ll talk about how much we liked the movie will have gone to dinner and we’ll say like, wasn’t a delicious meal. Well, yeah. didn’t love the appetizers. But I really enjoyed the, the main course. Well, we I don’t know if I’d go back there again. But sex we just like, we have the sex, and then it’s over. And then we don’t ever talk about it. And then no one knows


Unknown Speaker  25:20  

how it went.


Unknown Speaker  25:23  



Unknown Speaker  25:25  

Like, were we in a different, like, read a different thing here. We read different movies where we had a different,


Damona  25:30  

but a lot of times people are in different movies when they’re there.


Unknown Speaker  25:33  



Unknown Speaker  25:35  

thought that’s great. And the other is like, this is terrible. I don’t want to do this again. We’re sex in


Unknown Speaker  25:39  

my life. Exactly. So how great to be able to talk about it and a lot of my show. It’s funny. People hear the name sex with me. They think Oh, God, I don’t know if I’m ready for that. And I have to tell you that most of what I talk about is getting people comfortable communicating about it. I always say communication is a lubrication. And the more that we talk about taxi, we get comfortable with sex the much better stuff We’re going to have but it’s just getting to that place of, of breaking down the walls together and saying, like, I know this is awkward, but I really think it’s I know that it’s going to help us. So yeah, kind of talking about what your greatest memories are together, like, give her if it’s new thing, like, let’s talk about what did you like about last night and you don’t have to get into what you didn’t like yet because I have a whole process for that. But maybe to start off by complimenting your parents, and God, I really enjoyed the way you kissed my neck. When you kissed my neck, I felt these things run through my body that I haven’t felt in forever. And just affirming. So they know because maybe there was other things that you didn’t like, the let’s lead with the positive. I think we all like to hear the things that you do well, so that’s kind of like for early stage of relationships. I’ve other practices for the stuff we don’t like but I think just really enforcing reinforcing things that went well is harmful.


Damona  26:52  

I want to get into how you talk about this stuff if you don’t like and you have some questions actually in the next segment about that.


Unknown Speaker  26:57  

But consent comes up A lot


Damona  27:00  

for my listeners that are dating and just beginning to have sex. You know, Emily, I’m just going to ask you, I had a conversation off air with another with a male dating coach. I know. And we were talking about consent, and he was talking about like sexy ways that guys can ask for consent. And then he said, I don’t believe in asking for consent for a kiss. And I was like, Well, now we’re like, separating the process of intimacy. I want to get your take on that.


Unknown Speaker  27:30  

Well, I believe that there’s a really I think that in this day and age, there’s that Yeah, ask for consent for case i think i think there’s ways that you could do it. That’s really consensual. That’s really like, consensually, it’s positive. Again, consensual comes off as consensual, not offensive and kind of sexy. So you could just say I


Unknown Speaker  27:52  

What about just like, I’d really like to kiss you right now. Yeah, I can’t stop thinking about kissing you. Would you Be open i mean i’m really thinking about I can’t stop thinking about kissing you Would that be okay? How would you feel about that? And like looking at someone in their eyes and saying like,


Unknown Speaker  28:10  

like that’s the way it’s not like


Unknown Speaker  28:11  

I would you mind if I kissed you right now like it’s all it’s all energy yeah I think saying like you know I would really like to kiss you right now how how does that feel to you it’s just a really honest Looking in their eyes you feel seen and maybe you don’t want to but I’ve had guys say that to me. And even though it was really sweet I’m like, oh God, thank you for letting me know that. I’m not feeling that right now but I so I let’s keep talking I’ll let you know if I if that if my position on that changes. You know,


Unknown Speaker  28:42  

I’m glad that you can be so honest about that moment. I think a lot of women feel bad saying no to a case or even saying no to sex.


Unknown Speaker  28:54  

You’re such a good point here. Yeah,


Damona  28:56  

I hate that. We we don’t even you know, we we’re kind of Meaning that we are supposed to be polite, like, how can we get that kind of


Unknown Speaker  29:04  

confidence? Right to Mona like, this is the thing is that people is that. So I’ve talked about this a lot on my show. My show as well is that so many women we just have like we just say yes, because it’s so much easier than saying no, like I always I did a speech once. I was like, how many of you have just had sex? Because it was easier than saying now like, how many of you like given that blow job because you’re like,


Unknown Speaker  29:27  

raising my hand.


Unknown Speaker  29:29  

Same thing, and it’s like, why is it so hard? And I think it’s because we don’t we’re pleasers. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. We don’t want to come off as prude. We don’t want to come off as we don’t want to deal with conflict. And so it’s like, and I love that we’re having this conversation because I think it’s like first off for some women. They’re like, Oh, I can say no, like literally they don’t know they can say no. Well, the person already came to my room. I’ve already invited him to my home or we’re already on a date and they bought me a nice dinner and donate. Oh, oh them. You don’t know what else You don’t owe anybody anything but your real truth and your real honesty said in the most, in the kindest way possible in the most like, me doesn’t have to be kind of someone’s being aggressive. But I would, I would, I’ve learned that there’s nuances that to it, and I think of how to say no. And so. So usually what’s happened perhaps, historically, is that and this is sort of a somatic practice. As a medic therapy practice, I’m a trained somatic sex therapist as well. And what I mean by somatic is, is it being in your body, so embodied and really paying attention to when someone comes towards you, or someone’s touching you? How does it make you feel? And so what happens is so So an example would be, let’s say, someone and we probably had this experience where perhaps they just escalated a little bit too quickly. Like maybe the kiss happened. Like, I’ll give you the example of the kiss I just use so maybe someone tried to kiss me. I just I’ve had guys say, like, should we just kiss right now and get over it? And I’m like, no. No, not right now. But just because I say no doesn’t mean that maybe we truly could revisit this later. Or maybe Okay, so no better example that’s maybe more relatable to people is say you start making out with someone, and it’s getting hot and heavy, and then they start to put their hand on your pants. And it’s not like you wouldn’t want that. Eventually, maybe in an hour, maybe next time I see you, maybe in a month from now. But sometimes the whole it shuts out. We just wanted to what we really wanted that moment was just keep making out. We loved making out with this person. And so so so my experience be getting in touch and feeling like, Oh, I felt me get tense right now I’m not ready for that. And then being able to have the word say, put your hand on their, you know, on their hand and say, I’m not feeling that right now. But I’m really enjoying making out with you. So let’s keep doing that. Or I need to take a beat for a moment. Can we just pause on that for a second? I’m so loved loving getting to know you right now. So that signals to them I’m not saying gay. Go home, get in your car leave my house. I’m saying this is escalating beyond where I want it to go right now. And I’m sort of enjoying the arousal process of getting to know you the kissing. And I think we will often either just think we got to shut it down or we got to keep going. And we don’t realize that there’s a nuance to the process of arousal because most men if we’re talking about heterosexual relationships, for example, men escalate quicker than women. Men get aroused and turned on they have more of a responsive desire they respond to things happening in the moment or women or women are more responsive like we need things to build where men are spontaneous, they get aroused a lot quicker. Women are slow cookers and men are frying pan. So literally in that same moment of making out there ready to go to third base to us little tournament. We’re like no, I love getting to know your lips. So sad. Yeah,


Unknown Speaker  32:53  

yeah. And I love how you keep


Damona  32:54  

reiterating what it is that you like and even when you are giving a credit direction or a reset of the energy. It’s still with a reminder that you like where you are what


Unknown Speaker  33:08  

if you just


Unknown Speaker  33:10  

don’t you’re not feeling it at all and you need to send a very Okay,


Unknown Speaker  33:13  

great distinction so I think if you’re not feeling it you just stop and you say and this happened to me very recently.


Unknown Speaker  33:20  

Tell us about it.


Unknown Speaker  33:21  

Oh god you guys I’m telling you this is this work is not it’s not like I’m a pro at it I just in the moment sometimes it’s still always a little bit uncomfortable because you feel bad and all those things come up. I’m just telling you ways to do it that are you know, that are a little more that feel good to everybody involved. So I had to say I we were going to make no for round and I thought I’m not feeling this guy anymore. It’s just it. I had already had some hesitations. And I just stopped and I looked him I said, you know, what, can we slow down for a second? And I said, I I gotta tell you, I so love spending time with you. But but but in this moment, right now, I’m feeling like we got to just kind of take a pause. And can we just get up and just kind of go back to my living room. Just kind of chat and then we move down he was it okay. Okay, I said Listen, I’ve just so I have a lot of things happening in my life right now. And this is all true. And I just said I I’m not feeling like I’m in a place to be really physical with you right now but I’ve so enjoyed our time and let’s just do need a glass of water and let’s talk and I was just, I was working through in the moment as well because I’ve learned that if I am not fully on board and my whole body’s out of hell, yes, I can it’s a violation to who I am as a woman as myself. I can’t keep going so I had to say it but I’m saying can be clunky and I feel bad but then I’m he got it though it is it okay. Like I understand you. Let’s talk. I wasn’t saying get the hell out. I wasn’t I was like, let me explain my process. So


Unknown Speaker  34:41  

yeah, the other thing that you did


Damona  34:42  

that’s really great is you really stayed in the moment like I’m always telling my listeners not to get ahead of themselves, like you weren’t, like, This guy has to get out right now because I don’t know where this is going. You just are like right now this doesn’t feel right to me. And so I’m just going to react to this moment. Exactly, yeah. And that’s a lot of pressure off yourself, right? Because when you’re when you start thinking about, like, what happened before what happened after I mean, that’s another thing like people that have had sex before that realize they don’t want to have sex with someone again, it’s kind of like you were saying earlier, there’s this feeling like, well, if we’ve already had sex, we might as well just have sex again. Now, right, you always have a chance to choose right?


Unknown Speaker  35:21  

Every you have a chance to choose in every moment and with every relationship and with every encounter, to be to, to to change your mind. And when we’re present. So what we’re talking about is when we go into an experience like that, where we’re like, I gotta get out, we go into fight or flight. And we go into the future in the past. We don’t make great decisions for ourselves. So to say, we’ll say like, go back to right now in this moment, I am not feeling it. We have totally we have agency over that and you don’t owe anybody anything. You don’t owe anybody another kiss, another sex another date, like really don’t and I think that is women. This is just like we’re breaking, you know, so many years of this stigma and this feeling that women just have to and we owe it to men, and we just don’t We don’t, and we could take care of ourselves and it’s our bodies, our choices, and all those things are really real. And I think the more that we do that in every situation, we’re going to be just so much, so much better set up for our relationship that we can teach our daughters or nieces or the women in our life. How to do that as well.


Unknown Speaker  36:17  

Yeah, paradigm. It is. Thank you for reiterating that. Okay, I want to go back, you said that you had some tips in case you you need to give someone some


Unknown Speaker  36:32  

constructive criticism. Yes. How do we do that?


Unknown Speaker  36:36  

Okay, I love the compliment sandwich. So, do you want to give me an example of something you might want to correct? It can be from your life damona or anywhere else? Like what would be something that you might want to give feedback or that you’ve heard from your listeners? Oh, I don’t like the way.


Damona  36:50  

Is there anything? Actually I did get a DM when I was asking for questions about a woman who said she has trouble climaxing during oral sex


Unknown Speaker  37:01  

with boyfriend. All right. So that is such a common a common thing. So I, so well that’s, that’s interesting because so what she might be saying is,


Unknown Speaker  37:12  

Okay, here we go. So she’d say babe, sweetie, okay, here’s my first step


Unknown Speaker  37:17  

outside the bedroom. Number one, you do not have the conversations about what you’d like to change, or giving feedback to your partner in the bedroom after a sex act. Because we’re in a heightened state of arousal. Maybe we’ve just we’re connected where I like the bedrooms. I like that for sleeping and for sex. But when we’re gonna have a conversation about our sex life, do it when you are in an environment where you’re kind of chilling, you keep it light, maybe you’ve just had a drink, you’re at dinner, you’re going for a walk. I love walking and having conversations on a road trip because these conversations can be so awkward and uncomfortable at first. You don’t have to make eye contact if you’re driving your car like okay, babe, I think we should talk about our sex like that. That concept


Unknown Speaker  38:01  

is the environment for any conflict IV.


Unknown Speaker  38:04  

any conflict, get in the car time to walk the dog with you again. So then so then you say okay, so I realized that I want to talk to you about I’ve been thinking about our sex life. This is the compliment sandwich. And, and you start with something you love. I think that it’s been lately the way you’ve been. The way it’s been a lot slower lately. And I love the way you’ve been like making out and that thing you did with your tongue and my on my neck or my ear felt so good. Like, I feel like we’ve really been, you know, connecting lately in that way. And I realized that when you go down on me it is so it’s like my favorite thing. It’s so hot. I get really aroused. And lately I haven’t been able to orgasm. I was thinking that perhaps if we took a little bit more time with it, and I could have a few more. You know, sometimes I feel guilty because I feel like I’m taking too much time. And I feel like if we He just kind of settle in, I knew that you were kind of into it as well that I would definitely have the most explosive orgasms, and then the last piece of the bread would be, and I know that when I’m really turned on and having orgasms, it just makes me want to have sex every day. He


Unknown Speaker  39:15  

want and that’s what he wants. He never wants


Unknown Speaker  39:18  

  1. So I mean, that was a lot. You know, that was. That was I was also answering the A common question that women have about why can I orgasm during oral sex? And typically, it’s because women are, well, we can sum up the compliment sandwich first and I’ll get into oral like, but typically you want to be very positive. You want to stay curious. You don’t want to be accusatory or blame I’ve told you so many times to go down. I mean more, why doesn’t this happen? Because the second you do that they’re just out the door. So really, it’s just here’s what I love. Here’s why this would be great in a suggestion and then ending with like, the reason why it’s great for both of you is my best tip.


Damona  39:53  

I love that. I love the compliment sandwich. I have so many questions Emily. I would love to just keep on talking You feel like questions, but so many people have submitted their questions. So I’m gonna roll on into our next segment. Do you have questions and Emily and I have answers. So now it’s time for your favorite segment. And I just want to remind everybody, these are going to be a little bit more R rated than usual. But Emily, I’m sure these are no biggie for you. You got it? Yeah, no questions like this all the time. Our first one comes to us from Katie from Canada. She says, My husband needs a few days between sex sessions, or he can’t get hard. Is this normal? And just to give you a little bit more background, because I followed up with her She said she’s 31 He’s 37. She’s never noticed the refractory time before, but since the quarantine she’s noticed that if she tries to initiate again that day or days following it doesn’t lead anywhere or he’s not able to and that feels like a long time.


Unknown Speaker  41:00  

Okay, got it? That’s that’s a great question. And I love that she gave me his age because when people email me their questions, it’s really important to people’s age and to know where they’re at So, so, if you’re 37 if he’s 37 so here’s what I think the refractory time for men meaning the time it takes for them to be able to have sex again after they ejaculate. You know, when you’re younger men can kind of keep going. And when they get a little bit older, it can be challenging, but 37 is still young, typically, men start to see challenges around erections. And around in their 40s is when there’s a drop in testosterone. And so what I would think what my first hit from this is that what the first thing is, it could be medical, it could be testosterone drop, it could be if he’s taking any medications, the first thing to look at is as you change anything at all, is he drinking more? Is he on a medication, there’s a lot of medications that actually impact our ability to get to have an erection to have an orgasm. So that’s what we got to look at a lot anything medical, and then we take away all of that. Listen We are in a time of tremendous stress and anxiety, which already before quarantine is the number one killer of our sex drive. When we are stressed, and we are anxious, especially men, I find this in men more than women, when men are concerned about money, their job, something happening, their ability to be in the masculine and take care of the family like that really has an impact on their desire. And so I don’t know that you should be concerned. But I think that maybe I would tell Katie to go a little bit deeper. And just like how I said, to have the conversation about sex in a neutral environment, the same thing goes for this kind of thing. Just say, I’ve been thinking about you. And I know you said it’s gonna take a few days is it you know, tell me about how you feel? Is there anything we could do? You’re doing in a way to help that like, I can’t believe it, you’re not getting turned on because a lot of times what women we do is we think oh, he’s not attracted to me anymore. Something’s wrong with me. Or, you know, and just being like, supportive and saying like, well, let’s take a look at it. Let’s take a look at like your medication, or do you think it could be something stressful Something I could do to help you more like relax right now because a couple days is a long time, like in the sense of like, I’m sure he could still get turned on but I feel like there he might just have other things on his mind right now is what is what I’m thinking. Yeah,


Damona  43:14  

I’ve been hearing that couples in quarantine together are actually having more sex right now. So I wonder also if she’s been like, does this


Unknown Speaker  43:23  

I don’t know that you’re hearing everything Okay, so I’m hearing that there’s some couples who are like, Oh my god, it’s so great. We’re both home now. I’m not traveling as much for work and we’re just having this time that we’ve always craved. other couples are like, I’m going to there’s nothing sexy about living in this one bedroom apartment and I’ll be doing and staring each other and that is not hot. Because something about you becoming one of candles eroticism when you don’t have the surprise and the mystery in the spotlight at all that is just washed away with this quarantine. So I actually, I don’t want to put any more pressure on everyone. Like I think it’s different across the board. But but maybe Yeah, maybe Katie’s feeling like she wants it more because maybe he’s been away a lot now. Homework. And maybe he’s trying to figure out how to work at home. And how do I make sense of this all. And he’s just really stressed and is more distracted right now. And so maybe creating a space for them and their relationship where they can separate from work and creating a time where they’re scheduling sex, which is one of my best tips for couples always and right now to say, I know that we’re having sex these three days this week, so you’re not one of you isn’t feeling like you’re always rejecting their partner, or someone wants it more than the other. But when you can plan it, and you know, like sex is happening eight o’clock on Saturday, you can kind of start to look forward to it. You can get ready, you can shower, you can shave what you can like, talk about the things you want to do. And then that becomes your activity that you’re both going to share and it works better for for both usually.


Damona  44:43  

Yeah, and what else do we have to do right now? Exactly right. I’m all about the date night so I had to make a date night appointment with my husband like after the kids go to bed. Saturday night, your mind. Now he knows this. He knows what’s coming. Okay. We talked about women and oral sex but from the other side This question comes to us from Ashley on Instagram. She says, My boyfriend can’t climax from a blow job trying to deal with my ego thinking it’s just me any tips?


Unknown Speaker  45:17  

Great question, Ashley. I hear this all the time. First off, it is not you I wish I could just talk to the collective conscious of women and be like most of the things that are happening with your boyfriend’s your partner’s penis has nothing to do with you. It’s very common that men cannot orgasm from blowjob and and so it could be a lot of reasons it could be the way he masturbates. It could be the way he’s holding his penis. It could be because he’s watching a lot of porn. And it is harder for him to masturbate with with a mouse there is. Now also I want to say yeah, maybe there’s something else that he wants sexually. And you’re allowed to say to him God, I really love performing oral on you. I’d love to know your best tips of how I can make it the best blow job ever. But I wouldn’t ask him in the moment, I would say I’m going to or I would say I want to start asking your next time when you show me what you love because I want to be your best ever. You could do that as well, Ashley but there are I’m hearing this more and more lately that there’s just a lot of men who just aren’t orgasming from blowjobs and I just I’ve always heard it but something lately and I have a hunch it has to do with porn. Because I believe that men are watching so much that’s a whole nother show. We could do more and watching But yeah, I do believe that I’m not like anti porn by any means I get that it serves its purpose. But when we have one way of holding ourselves and one way of generating pleasing ourselves, it can be challenging to bring anyone else into the mix even if she’s like a you know, expert porn star, whatever like doesn’t for a living, it can still be challenging. So best take your ego out of it and just get some healthy communication with your partner.


Unknown Speaker  46:53  

That’s great advice, Emily.


Damona  46:55  

Okay, this one is another Instagram question from Shannon. She says, what does it mean when your new boyfriend goes limp when you get on top of them? He says he’s had this problem in his last relationships, too. He can function in other positions, but he climaxes quickly.


Unknown Speaker  47:15  

Okay, Shannon, this is a great question too. It’s like, I wish we knew her age, but I’m telling you, it sounds like she might be a little bit. I don’t know, younger. I don’t know why I have this sense. But I feel that men have penis challenges, trust him that he has that trust that it’s happened in his past relationship.


Unknown Speaker  47:33  



Unknown Speaker  47:36  

when you get on top of him,


Unknown Speaker  47:40  

I mean, okay, so most of the challenges that men face with their penis have to do with anxiety and has to do with things that have happened in a situation that’s happened in the past. And all men want to do is perform. They want to be great lovers. They want to stay at heart and they want to keep going. But sometimes if things have happened in the past, it even only takes one time. We’re like, Oh, no, I’m going to get soft and this isn’t, you know, this, this, this keeps happening over and over again. And then they are they’re reinforcing it and their behavior. It’s a what it means is I think again, you have to kind of understand what kind of like what positions, he functions in other positions, but he climaxes quickly does he climax. So what I’m hearing then is that in every position, he climax quickly, but then when you get on top, he gets soft. So it’s just it’s almost like you’re having, these are challenges that you’re having. And


Unknown Speaker  48:33  

yeah, and that’s her favorite position. She was saying that’s the that’s the position that she can come in most easily. But he can’t perform in that can perform that


Unknown Speaker  48:44  

way. Well, here’s the other thing I want to say is what I believe that if he gets limp, he can probably he can get harder again. So what we have to do when our partners get limp is not freaked out and not ended just because they’re like, Oh my god, I can’t believe it. You could be like it’s okay baby and then you could go down And again, you can start to touch him, you can use some lube, you can like, get him hard again, because just because he got soft, doesn’t mean that it can’t come back and again in a moment, but it’s the both of you that collective, he’s going, I didn’t say that often you’re like, he’s not hard, and then it becomes a thing, but just be like, it’s okay, babe. And then you could kind of work around, make out again, do some other things. And I guarantee you, he’s going to get hard again. I mean, I’ll come back. And that’s a training thing, and then you get back on top of them. And then if it happens, again, you go back down again. And I think once you both realize that he can get hard again, it’s gonna be able to come back. This is what I’ve experienced with with people, it’s just a matter of retraining, what what means sex is over what means you know what I mean? So I think baby does have experience with that position. And he really think the reason why he’s getting soft is because I think he probably really wants to be there and deliver and he just can’t. So it’s kind of retraining. It’s almost like creating new neural pathways in the brain. That’s what it’s about.


Damona  49:56  

Knowing Yes, well, and it sounds like this relationship is knew, but I often hear from people in long term relationships that they want to try new things or they get to this Roadblock, and they don’t really know how to take things in a different direction. What do you say to that?


Unknown Speaker  50:15  

Oh, it’s it’s a great question because that is so common that couples are like, what what do we do? What where do we go? We’ve got


Damona  50:19  

our friend Emily.


Unknown Speaker  50:21  

Exactly. I was gonna say, Come on, girl. It’s okay. But the first thing is, is communicating about it and saying what? I think we can both agree that we want to be the greatest lovers to each other ever. And I love all these things about relationship but there’s I feel like there’s so much more that we don’t even know we’ve been together so long would you can we can we make this our thing right now? Can we figure out what would be super hot for both of us? And a great place to start is you each talk about maybe you will share the most memorable time you’ve had sex like what is the top three moments for you? Like it could be like something that happened or position or glance or a look? And then just by you explaining that And then your partner coming back to you and saying his times, there’s so much detail. There’s so much information just in those moments like, like, the most memorable time could be, you know, when you guys were on vacation, and oftentimes on vacation because there’s no distractions, and maybe you were in a hotel room, and then all of a sudden, like someone else walked in and saw you. And then you’re like, Okay, well, there was no distractions, the window was open, and then someone else walked in. So there was like, the element of surprise, or maybe voyeurism. Or maybe it was it was going really slow. And he was slowly it was the way that he slowly addressed you. Or maybe you had a blindfold on. I mean, there’s intelligence in these in these moments. So I think once we find out these are the things that that worked, and why you like them, and then your partner would share the same things and you can say, Okay, well, let’s do more of that. So that’s a great place to start. Another thing is just to get smart together and a lot of couples Listen, I’ve found over the years I’ve been doing this for 15 years. The podcasts a lot of couples listen together to my show. And they’re like, Oh, well Emily says this and, you know, use me like, I don’t care if people blame me and they’re like, well, like you can stop and be like, what do you think about us trying watching porn together or buying some sex toys together? That is mostly what we’re missing. It’s not that we don’t love our partner, but we’re missing novelty. We’re missing something new and different. So it’s like toys, getting ideas, research, reading a book together, listening to my show, just finding new ways to connect. You know, it could just be even outside the bedroom, like our same bedroom over day over day can get boring. Everything does after a while,


Damona  52:36  

especially sex. Thank you for those tips. I’ll be sure to pass them on to my friend. This was awesome. Thank you so much for joining me Emily. I’m so glad to have you on dates and maybe


Unknown Speaker  52:47  

you for having me. I’m so honored. And


Damona  52:52  

y’all you got to get listening to the sex with Emily podcast or check her out on Sirius XM stars channel 109. She’s on every day. You can find her on your favorite podcast platform. And hey, like she said, you can use the podcast as a jumping off point for your next sex talk. Thanks so much for being here.


Unknown Speaker  53:11  

Thank you for having me.


Damona  53:13  

We have made it through Episode 308 of dates and mates. I actually did an interview on Emily’s podcast too, and I’ll put a link in the show notes or you can join Patreon, where I’m adding the cliffsnotes versions of all of my media interviews and podcasts that I’ve appeared on. I’ll bullet out everything you need to know so you can follow along and soak up the most important info. But that’s not everything you would get from being in my patreon Friends with Benefits Program. I also have a step by step video training on how to start online dating today. Plus in a few days on Wednesday, the sixth of May, I’ll be dropping a new video training on how to tell if someone is good match for you on Tinder. Just using Facial analysis techniques work. Yes, watch the mind of some of our listeners being blown as they experience the brilliance of a live facial analysis by Susan. I bet, y’all Honestly, this is like a game changer info. It’s all going down in the Patreon. You can get all of these resources for you starting at just five bucks a month@patreon.com, slash dates and mates. I’d love to have you join the community. In the meantime, please, let’s let’s connect. I’m on all the socials at damona Hoffman. And I love hearing from you all all of these questions that we’ve been getting are so rich and layered. And I know that there are a lot of you nodding your head to these questions going, Oh, that’s a problem for me too. And if you’re thinking that then I want to hear what your question is, because I guarantee you it’s going to help somebody else who is listening to the show. Don’t forget to share, share what you’ve learned, share this episode and Please join me again next week all my subscribers get the episodes the minute that they post until next week.


Unknown Speaker  55:06  

I wish you comfortable face masks and happy dating

Love Story & Dangerous Dating Apps


We’re all trying to navigate our own love story, but the question on everyone’s lips right now seems to be: Are dating apps dangerous?

This week, Rene Lynch, LA Times writer and editor for the LA Affairs column, talk about the best love stories that teach us the best lessons. Also we break down all of the recent bad press surrounding dangerous dating apps.

More on that later, first we have headlines!


Why aren’t people having sex?

According to Financial Times, there is a huge decline in the amount of sex young people are having- especially men. Damona and Rene break down what this means for you.

Are free dating apps dangerous?

A recent investigation showed that predators are free to use free dating apps. Should all dating apps use a dating app registry

Is cheating the norm?

Recently Anna Ferris and Kat Von D talk about their history with cheating exes. Is this the new normal?

LOVE STORY (14:60)

Rene Lynch, lifestyle writer and editor at the LA Times, proves that we learn a lot from other people’s love stories. We talk about:

  • Compelling love stories
  • Big Takeaways from love stories
  • Our stories make up who we are, whether good for bad
  • Write your won happy ending

Make sure to find Rene Lynch at the LA Times or on Twitter (@ReneLynch).


Submit your questions Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

  • Email Question: Hi Damona. I recently started internet dating & I have met some nice guys but no one that really blows me away. I have been asked by one of the men to stop seeing the other men to see if this relationship can work. I am in my 40’s & the endless dating cycle is tiring, but I do not want to settle for the man that is giving me the most attention and who is the most demanding. Any advice?
  • Lately I’ve been really struggling in my relationship. He’s a great guy and we share a lot of the same values. The thing is I was never really attracted to him and never felt the spark, I thought I could get passed it bc we do share similar values for the future and in life but I’ve been nit picking and criticizing him for a few months now. I’ve tried changing but biting my tongue feels impossible. Do you think I should stay and work it out even tho I’m not exited bc he is so nice and loves me so much? Hanging out with him feels more like an obligation than something I enjoy and it’s so hard bc he’s everything I want on paper and loves me so much.
  • How can I understand if a guy has serious intentions without asking directly?




Damona  0:17  

Hello lovers, welcome to Dates & Mates. I’m your host certified Dating Coach damona Hoffman. And I want to thank you for making this show your source for modern dating and relationship advice. Whether you’ve been listening to Dates & Mates for all seven years, or if you’re new to the show, you know, you can learn a lot about dating from hearing other people’s stories. And today we’re going to take a deeper look at how love stories and our quest for a happy ending can change a romantic future. In studio with me today is Renee Lynch. She is a writer and editor for the LA Times Saturday section and features. She works across a variety of coverage areas including wellness, design and food and lucky for us She’s also the editor of the weekly la affairs column, please Give big smooches to Renee Lynch.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  1:02  

Thank you very much. I’m happy to be here.


Damona  1:04  

I’m so happy that you’re here. I’m a big fan of the column. And you know, I love a good love story. I love a bad love story. I love all love stories, because I think you can really learn something from hearing other people’s stories. So I’m excited to get into the details of what you’ve learned from your years of editing the LA affairs column. All right. But we also have headlines and we’ll be talking about why young people really aren’t having sex anymore. And what you can learn about cheaters from Kat Von D and Ana Faris, plus, our free dating apps dangerous, huh. We’ll cover those headlines and we’ll be answering your questions, including What if he’s ready to be exclusive? And you’re not? And should you break up with a guy who has everything on paper, but just doesn’t excite you? All that and more on today’s date and mates? Renee Are you ready to do this then? I am ready. I’m so excited. Let’s dish Financial Times published a new study on how dating apps are changing relationships. And there was a lot of interesting data in this study that some of which we’ve covered before, like the marrying age is going up and people are waiting longer to actually tie the knot or deciding not to tie the knot at all. But all but what I thought was really interesting was the research on sex. It I know I have. Yes, men apparently are reporting they’re having the least amount of sex. This is a major decrease in recent years. 28% of men have not had sex in the past year versus 18% of women. And the article posits that one of the reasons is that women are the younger men are really struggling in the dating market. They’re not having sex. much because women are looking for older men. So like there’s this gap in the market where they have a high sex drive, but they’re not getting any. What did you think of this article? Renee?


Rene Lynch, LA Times  3:10  

Well, I find it very surprising because the media image is that we are kind of bombarded with daily seem to suggest that everyone is having sex all the time, which makes a lot of people wonder whether there’s something wrong with them, right. I mean, we’re, you can’t drive down the freeway without seeing some kind of sexually charged image. But when you dig deeper to it, I think it, it’s not all that surprising. And it does reflect that I think it is harder for men to kind of like, meet and connect with women. I think there are variety of reasons behind that. I also think there’s an interesting parallel to this Instagram world that we see that we think everything is so perfect out there, and everybody is having so much fun, and we’ve got this fear of missing out. And yet, there’s also this incredible loneliness that’s going on in the world. And I think some of those statistics really reflect that, that there’s an emotional disconnect in a variety of ways. It’s weird as the world gets a little smaller through technology, we can reach and connect with people more than ever before. There’s still a sense of, we’re not connecting.


Damona  4:16  

Yeah, I definitely see that with dating apps. And you all know, I’m a huge fan of dating apps. I think it has opened up a lot of possibilities for connection. But there’s a lot there are a lot of people that are on dating apps that aren’t actually connecting. They’re either doing it just just to waste time, or there are the people that are on the dating apps, specifically out for sex. And I feel like there’s been a pushback to people, especially women rejecting the idea that they’re on a Tinder or a hinge because they are looking to hook up. They’re like people and we actually you’ll see this in the questions from this week to people are really craving a deeper level of connection and We’re not getting it on the dating apps. But I think that has to do with the way that we’re using the apps and the mindset that you, you show up with when you’re there.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  5:08  

I think that’s totally accurate. I think the dating apps kind of give us this idea of like, dial up a date, and you can just, you know, get on and in five minutes have a date. And in some cases, true, that’s probably true. But if that’s all you’re looking for, your you may find it. But if you’re looking for anything more, it’s far more complicated than that. That’s just a simplistic view, you’re not going to dial up a husband or a wife or partner, it’s just not going to happen. And so you’re you’re you we kind of have that we live in a society where we kind of get whatever we want whenever we want it. And yet, of course, there’s this huge hurdle between dialing up you know, whoever on a dating app and actually meeting and connecting so I used to call it man shopping, right?


Damona  5:52  

But I did it with a clear intention. But I know a lot of people out there are getting more than they bargained for when they’re using dating apps there was a an article that hit people calm and a number of other outlets, criticizing match the parent company of many dating apps, including Tinder, and OkCupid. And plenty of fish for not doing thorough background checks on their free sites. Actually, they don’t do any background checks at all. Match itself does scrub their roles, and it kicks off anyone that does have a match to the sex offender registry. But they don’t do it for OK Cupid and plenty of fish. And there was a new investigation that revealed that sexual offenders are looking for potential victims on these free apps. Here’s my take, Renee, I think that the dating apps are not we’re making them too responsible for our choices. Like if you went to a bar and you met a sex offender, you wouldn’t go and sue the bar because you met them there and You might, you might, you probably wouldn’t win. But I, I feel like it’s unfair to put this kind of pressure and burden on dating apps, especially the free dating apps, like you didn’t pay anything to be there. And now you’re expecting all of these, all of these resources to be provided for you, but you don’t want to actually pay for them to be to be given to you. Now, I’m a little bit biased. I do work with match on content, and I’ve worked with them for many years. But I’m saying this more as a dating coach, and someone that has done this for over I’m almost embarrassed to say, for nearly 15 years, I’ve been coaching people on dating apps, and I’ve always said you have to do your own research.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  7:41  

What do you I think that you make a great point. And I think in a lot of ways, you’re you’re totally right. But there’s also a reality that situation. Most people have no idea you’re sophisticated you are working in this area, you understand what it means to try to track somebody down and get some background information on them. A lot of people Just don’t have that I think about, you know, I’m a journalist. So my first reaction is if I’m going to date you, I’m probably going to look you up in our database. And but a lot of people don’t have access to that. And they might do an easy Facebook search, but they’re not going to go beyond that. I think a lot of these dating apps are in a tough situation, because they did not go into this business to be investigators. But I think on the other hand, there’s an argument to be made that just as we’re demanding more accountability from Facebook and from Twitter, we, these, these businesses realize that they are potentially putting people in the path of the sex offender, and they’re certainly not advertising that, but at some point, we do expect them to take some responsibility for it. So I think if I’m coming at this from a we are all responsible for our own actions, position. I agree with you. But I mean, at some point Do they really not have any accountability or responsibility in some ways by knowing that you You have this problem and you’re not doing anything about it. They’re there. They’re acknowledging their role and trying to step away from it. Yeah, I need to do more.


Damona  9:07  

They certainly could do more. And I think they have in recent years done a lot to shore up. Just general dating data. Potential faults in their in their data sharing like it used to be when you would go search for ok key, but you could you could search the profiles were actually indexed by Google. And you could find them you could find anybody and search by their photo and it would come up as associated with Ok, Cupid. So they have since they’ve since shored that up, and it gave a lot of my clients more, more of a sense of security, that their information wasn’t all out there. But I think we also have we have to accept responsibility. Like you said, you brought up Facebook and Instagram. We have to accept responsibility that when we put our image out there and when we put our information out there that it could be used in many different ways. But you’re absolutely right that a lot of people don’t have these resources. And that’s why I’m glad that people are listening to this podcast right now. Because I’ve said for a long time you have to do you have to do your research, like do a google check, do a phone call before the day and see if anything doesn’t match up with what what they’ve said. And if if they’re, if they’re a registered sex offender, or if they have a criminal record, you might be able to find some of that information just from a basic Google search. So that at the very least you should be doing if you have any concerns about this, or go to match and pay for it. Like maybe what they should be doing is adding an like an app an add on service that you can pay to have background checks. I know, Bumble lets you verify your account. But maybe there’s an added level of security they can give to people that aren’t willing to pay for the service because not free.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  10:56  

Right. Right. That’s a very good point. I mean, we shouldn’t expect that this is all going to be handed to us for free. I think this also speaks a bit to a generational divide. Millennials, they know their way around all this stuff. They’re much more savvy. But I think if somebody like my mom who is widowed, if she were to go on a dating app, she would fall for every anything because she doesn’t use a computer she doesn’t know. You know, it would be it would be a hard asset to just get her on a dating app. But some people are just not that sophisticated there. And I shouldn’t say sophisticated because sometimes people are just not interested in living their life connected to the internet and a computer. And should those people be more susceptible to, you know, a bad actor? I would say no, but I do think that we have, we can’t expect that this is all going to be handed to us for free. I do think that a pay option. That’s something that seems fairly reasonable.


Damona  11:49  

Well, we’ve given them all the all the information they need. Hopefully they’ll pick it up and run with anyone credit for it. But one thing that’s a little bit harder to tell when you’re on a dating app is whether someone is in a relationship or not. I’ve read in some of the LA affairs stories people find out later on that the person they thought they were madly in love with was already madly in love with someone else and in a relationship with them. And Kat Von D and Ana Faris, normal normalize to the the phenomenon of cheating on the unqualified podcast and you look at these two ladies and you think who’s gonna cheat on Kat Von D. First of all, she’s gorgeous. Second of all, I feel like she like she she would cut you your life. But she says she’s dated nothing but jerks and has never been on a real date. She claims a past boyfriend cheated on her Renee 18 times while they were together she she looked in she saw in his email and messages that there were 18 different women that he had she verified He had had sex with while they were together. What is going on? You’ve been editing this column for a long time. Is there an increase that you see in submissions? of Cheaters or do you think it’s just like now we’re talking about it more before it was just so taboo that people wouldn’t discuss if it happened to them?


Rene Lynch, LA Times  13:21  

I don’t I can’t say that I see an increase in it I can tell you that a lot of the submissions we get have to do with cheating. But before I get to some examples, on a Ferris we had I had the pleasure of meeting her once in studio she came into the LA Times. so incredibly nice, incredibly, you can always tell them Sure, you can bet your shares celebrities, you can always tell how they treat everyone else. She was so pleasant and when I heard that story, I thought who would cheat on Anna you be getting me It’s horrible. What What luck to the rest of us have? But we we you know, it’s not.


Damona  13:55  

It’s not about that it’s not about even reading this week, Justin Timberlake I was holding hands I was like Justin and like you like you’re not going to do better than Jessica he’ll it’s not going to happen john What is going on?


Rene Lynch, LA Times  14:11  

But it’s it’s really shocking how often that happens and I am sure there’s you could do a whole show on the psychology of cheating but people I think go into relationships expecting that the person is if they are in a monogamous relationship they’re expecting that the person is going to be honest with them. And my god the LA affair submissions just show time and time again that that is not the case. And and it sometimes just seems so, so surprising that the person didn’t catch on one of our more popular columns had to do with a woman who was I can’t exactly remember all the details of this, but she found out that her boyfriend had her phone number in his phone, but under a guy’s name and she did not Real that’s how she found out red flag right? Somehow his phone rang or she would she called the phone Oh, they were looking for his phone or something. And the phone rang and she’s like, why do you have me in here as Tony? Take it all fell apart. It was funny about that, as so many people did not understand who were read the column that that is a common practice that people do. They’ll hide the person’s name and their phone under another name so that if the phone rings and their partner says, Oh, it’s Tony from work or Joe from work, it’s not another woman calling.


Damona  15:29  

So in that situation, she was the other woman.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  15:32  

Yes. She found that’s how she found out that she was the other woman. I know.


Damona  15:36  

That is just the worst. What are some other other other red flags that you’ve seen? Or, or patterns that you’ve seen that cheaters will do? Because I know people are listening like, I gotta take some notes here from Renee because I need to know because I think a lot of people have suspicions like, what if my partner is cheating on me or has cheated on me? But are there any things that You should really be on the lookout for like, like, is only being able to see you on the weekends like, Is that an automatic red flag? Are there any other things you’ve seen? Well,


Rene Lynch, LA Times  16:10  

I think it particularly in LA some of those rules that might apply elsewhere are difficult in LA because when I was dating my husband, I, we lived about 40 miles apart. We only saw each other on weekends. So he could have had an entire other family and told her that he was going on business trips for the weekend, and I wouldn’t have known it. So those rules do not always apply. I would say, to step back a little bit further before you try to figure out if somebody is cheating. Have you had the conversation? Are we in this together? And it’s just us too? Are we monogamous? Are we? You know, is it just as to we published a story not too long ago by a woman and I have to tell you, I had a hard time editing the column a little bit because I was struggling to understand her point of view, she met a guy, they hit it off, they go on their first date, and then after their First Date she does her due diligence and starts googling him and finds out I believe through Facebook, that he’s in these photos with another woman and kids and she’s trying to figure out what this is. And she calls him in a fury. And he says, we’ll wait a second. I’m Yes, I’m married. However, I am in the process of getting divorced. I have a great relationship with my wife. She knows I’m dating, and we’re separated and we’re in the process of getting a divorce. I don’t know is that is that a problem? This woman went through the roof over that, but I don’t know.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  17:32  

I don’t know about disclosing all that on your first date. I feel like I kind of felt for him.


Damona  17:38  

I feel like he should say before the date, just so you know I am. I mean, you have to say that you’re separated, not divorced. And that’s a really common. That’s a really common cheater move. Right right to say, oh, we’re in the process. I mean, how many times we heard that I’m leaving my way. But tomorrow,


Rene Lynch, LA Times  17:59  

but It’s true. It’s true. I mean, I guess I


Damona  18:03  

was like, so, so jaded.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  18:05  

Should you have to reveal everything on the first day? I don’t know. I personally would have appreciated that being revealed on the first day. But I think sometimes people find out that their quote unquote being cheated on, and maybe they haven’t had the conversation about are we monogamous?


Damona  18:20  

No one else such a good point. I also read a recent la affairs column where a woman was talking about her dating patterns. And she said that in all of the, the, the relationships or the date she she had the intuition, she had the gut early on, that they were not a good guy or they weren’t, weren’t right for her. And so many times, we just squash that and we put our intuition aside. And those of you who’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, know that I’m really big into using that intuition and trusting your gut. Because we could we can do all the steps but ultimately, we can do background checks, but I think the best background check is it starts with how do you feel when you’re with them? And what are the signals that you’re getting? Yeah,


Rene Lynch, LA Times  19:07  

you’re totally right. I i in particular loved that column because I worked with her on that for quite a bit. It had a very different tone to it. In the very beginning, she was very down on herself that this was never going to work out. And, you know, this is all horrible. And then as we work through it, ice center will it actually seems like you’re, we need to play up that idea that you have listened to your intuition and it ended up being a much more I think inspirational column because, you know, think about how many dates you’ve gone on in your life. You’ve had far more dates that did not end up in you being married then the date that got you married, right, so are you a dating failure? If you look at the statistics, you are right, you are more bad dates that didn’t go anywhere today. True. And so I think we have to not take the bad date as like a sign of that. Some thing is horrible. It just didn’t work out. It didn’t work out if you went shopping, and you didn’t find the black pair pants that you were looking for you and be like, I’m a failure to shop another day, right? Like you would just be like, I’m ready to get back in the hunt and look for those pants. I think we need to approach dating a little more like that. It’s not the end all be all, you know, referendum on who you are as a person. You’re just trying to find your match, trying to find your person. And that takes time. And it’s not a big deal. It’s like calm down. It’s all going to be okay. didn’t work out the Saturday, maybe next Saturday is your day. So uplifting


Damona  20:34  

and I totally agree with you. Speaking of time, it’s time for us to take a little break. And first I wanted to just acknowledge our listeners that have told their friends about the podcast and that have told other podcast listeners about the podcast through reviews. Special thanks to Nicole who just left us this review. She said I enjoy listening to this podcast on my way to work every Monday. Not to sound arrogant or anything But she’s the host is funny and engaging. And she always has a wide variety of love and dating themes to themes to address you won’t be disappointed. Thank you so much, Nicole for listening. And thanks to all of you who are dedicated to listening to this podcast. Please take a moment to review the show on the podcast platform that is bringing it to your ears right now. So the more people can get the help and love that they need and we can keep making Dates & Mates a free resource for you for seven more seasons. We will have more with Renee Lynch of the la times in just a moment.


We are back with Renee Lynch of the LA Times. She is the editor of the LA affairs column which I’ve been a fan of for a long time. Renee, people love a love story. They love a good love story. And we’re sometimes really addicted to happy endings. I’m curious because you read a lot of love stories What’s your favorite kind of love story?


Rene Lynch, LA Times  22:12  

I you know, I love a good love story where there’s a lot of drama and obstacles before you get to the to the wonderful payoff. I just think that I love the story where it slowly revealed itself kind of like When Harry Met Sally story the way we knew it slowly revealed itself that Wait a second, the person I’ve wanted all along, or the perfect person for me is right here.


Damona  22:39  

So much more like people are like, how did you know your husband was the one and I’m like, I don’t know cuz I just wanted to keep seeing him and not seeing anybody else. It wasn’t like, all of a sudden whiz bang like the music change and I swept off my


Rene Lynch, LA Times  22:55  

feet and we danced off into the sunset.


Damona  22:58  

I don’t know. Did you hear you’re married. Did you know when you first met your husband? He was the one No,


Rene Lynch, LA Times  23:05  

my husband, I’m a very silly person. And my husband for is also very silly person, which that’s why I love him. I always say he’s the goof to my ball. Our first few dates, he was so serious, and just so kind of like this kind of commanding and control very serious personality. And I was like, No, like, No, no, no, no, no. And we actually went on a date we went golfing and I told a friend I go he doesn’t know this but he’s got one shot like this date. This is about to be over


Damona  23:38  

way this was your this is your first


Rene Lynch, LA Times  23:41  

No, this is like your this is the person I’m married to now


Damona  23:43  

but how many dates and more dates Okay, so this is like the date it and


Rene Lynch, LA Times  23:47  

I was like, This guy is just too serious. And it because I felt like I couldn’t be my ridiculous silly self because I felt like he was like disapproving and like why are you being loud or silly or whatever. And so we go coughing and we are in the parking lot at the end of the night and we’re about it we were two different cars are about to go our second way and somebody starts playing Britney Spears hit me Baby One More Time started doing the dancer, Brittany’s my god parking lot and I was like, will you marry me?


Rene Lynch, LA Times  24:20  

That is a bold move or a guy


Rene Lynch, LA Times  24:22  

I couldn’t like I wish I had a camera on my face because the shock of like, is this guy really doing this right now? And he had the whole like he was doing the whole thing. And I thought okay, well you just one date number five.


Damona  24:35  

But it’s I like hearing that story because it shows how people really reveal themselves over time and I talk on the show a lot about slow love and how people are not usually themselves right away and true. Like people get so caught up in chemistry and what am I feeling on the first date, but it’s really the second, the third, the fourth and the fifth date. Yeah, that really tells you who that person is? I’m curious what made you stick with it beyond the first or second day because there are a lot of people that after a soso or a bad first date might just be like,


Rene Lynch, LA Times  25:13  

you know, there was enough there. He’s very handsome. There was no is there? Yes, that always helps. And we we kept finding weird things in common. Like we were reading the same book at the time. And you know, just like an odd little thing. And it wasn’t a new book. It was an old it was Lance Armstrong’s book. It’s not about the bike. Before Lance. Yeah, youngsters, Grace. And he knew, you know, so he was able to talk about that. And then we would just find these like weird little things in common. And I just found this he is he’s Puerto Rican, he’s very close to his family. And that’s something that I really admired. And there were just little things that I thought this is a really a stand up guy. I was just really worried that I that I wasn’t I was like, maybe not measuring up, it was really this kind of like weird thing where I thought, I’m kind of like, you know, I’ll say silly stuff, I’ll just I’m kind of a very relaxed person. And he just seemed like a little too uptight. And I thought, Oh, this is not gonna work out


Damona  26:13  

the best behavior with you. Right?


Rene Lynch, LA Times  26:14  

Well, that said he was really nervous. And so it took us a while to I think, I think a slow burn is such a great way to describe it, that it took a while for it to unfold and reveal itself. And that was the relationship that really made me understand that I would say if you have two things that you need in a relationship, it’s compatibility. And also attraction. I mean, you need to have some attraction to the person that you’re with. But if you are not compatible, I think that the media image that we often get is that you need to have a fiery tempestuous Lake relationship. And I’m like, Girl run on and run late. I do not want that. Like, maybe that’s great for a hot summer romance, but that is not what you want when the roof is leaking. Getting in the kid is crying and the bills need to be paid. You want slow, steady compatible somebody who who your spending habits are similar. Somebody that you know that you can rely on, you don’t mean that that you know exactly.


Damona  27:16  

What’s interesting about the LA affaires column and the work that you do with it, you get submissions, you get like hundreds of submissions every month. And I’m guessing


Rene Lynch, LA Times  27:28  

No, it’s true. I tell people, I could run the column if I stopped accepting submissions today, I could run it like through 2015. I mean, I have it literally in my quote unquote short stack. I have probably 150 columns in the short stack.


Damona  27:41  

Wow. So this is anyone in LA that has a love story that wants to tell something about about their journey. And I’m curious when you have all of these stories, I’m sure everyone feels like their story is the most important one to be told. But what is it that makes you pick one out over the other and then talking about A little bit about your process of how you take this core idea. Like we all tell the story from our point of view, like this happened, and he did this to me, but like, like the example you were telling about before the break, how you shape it to almost give them new perspective on the story that they’ve lived.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  28:16  

I feel like doing this job is kind of being a little bit of a therapist for people, always, because I’ll see something in their story. And they don’t see it because they’ve lived it, right. It’s, it’s staring them in the face, and I’ll start to ask them about it. And then it’ll slowly fall away that this the story isn’t over here. It’s actually on the other side of the room. It’s over here. And part of that is the editing process. When columns come in, first and foremost, I’m looking for a really great story. I tell people do not worry about filing a perfectly polished, edited manuscript. That’s not what I want or need, because I’m the editor. I can guarantee you that whatever you file, no matter what shape it’s in, I’m going to find some changes because the style changes for the paper. Like for example, we don’t use profanity. So just like maybe that makes us old school but you know, changes will be major columns. So first and foremost, I’m just looking for a good story. Tell me a good story. Pretend you are you and I just met, we’re sitting next to each other having coffee and they say so you know, tell me about your last date or your partner, whatever. Start typing. That’s what I want. Just tell me a good story. And then from there, I’m looking for something original. I’m, you know, if you if you read the column, I’m just looking for something perhaps offbeat. I love a story that ends up happening an inspirational aspect to it like that woman who I think is like so many of us, we think, Oh, I went on another bad date. There’s something wrong with me. And we were able to finally get to the point where she already understood but she wasn’t fully embracing it. That when you walk away from a bad day, you’re walking towards yourself. You’re that is a victory. You put that in the win column sister You do not walk away from that feeling bad. about that. And so I loved that I’m working on a column with a man right now, it’s probably going to take a while it’ll run early next year, and he and his partner broke up because of his drinking. And when they get back together, you know, it’s it’s very difficult challenge for them to recover their relationship. But he, he really comes to the idea that so many people do who struggle with substance abuse that he had to say no to that in order to say yes to the relationship. And it’s just a really beautiful inspirational story. And I’m fully convinced that somebody will read that column. And he was very upset with his partner because he felt like his partner was rejecting Him and not accepting him. But the partner was saying, I cannot have this alcoholism in my life. And so I’ve seen enough of right


Damona  30:47  

intervention to know that line.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  30:50  

And so I’m sure that people will read that column and somebody somewhere will read that column and say, You know what, I’m going to stop drinking today. And so that to me, I want to Love that I get to do something like that it’s an honor and a privilege.


Damona  31:04  

You just gave me chills honestly to know that you’re impacting people that are reading this on on such a deep level and even just the people that you’re writing that you’re editing the column with, to know that they can get new perspective because our stories really sometimes trap us in a pattern. Like all the time when I’m working with clients, I, I help figure out what is that story that’s playing in your head about why you’re still single, maybe it’s you’re telling yourself every day there are no good men in LA or I can’t trust my gut or they’re all cheaters whatever that story is. Sometimes you have to take a step back from it and maybe even in writing it out. Like not everyone listening to this podcast is going to have their their story published in LA affairs, but maybe they can get started by just writing down their story on paper, getting the story out of them. And then almost distancing it Yes, it’s yourself from it to just read it and say Okay, where How have I grown from this? What can I learn from this? How can I become a better person myself through this experience, and then maybe that will lead me to?


Rene Lynch, LA Times  32:12  

Well, I think you have just hit right on it that I sometimes think that we think like life is just supposed to be perfect and unfold. But we all know we come with so much baggage, and then you’re meeting somebody else who has baggage. And we’re both trying to see if our baggage will fit within it, each other’s baggage. And if you’re coming from the perspective of like, I can’t find, you know, there are no good women in LA or I can’t find a date or there’s something wrong with me. In some ways, I would encourage people to do exactly what you said, which is, instead of using this as a negative use it as an opportunity for personal growth. We are in the land of of personal growth, right? There’s no place in the world that encouraged us to look within like LA, we should take advantage of that. And maybe it’s seeing somebody maybe it’s talking to somebody maybe it’s trying to journal or Right about it there are plenty of free online resources. But why not delve into? Why am I finding it hard to meet a woman in LA? Do I really believe that all women are bad look, let’s push back on that belief and see what happens when I start digging into it is what happened in my background that has led me to believe that and then what am I going to move past that? I mean, be the hero of your own story right? Every good hero needs an obstacle. You gotta like go around it or through it or under it or whatever just in


Damona  33:28  

the third act


Rene Lynch, LA Times  33:31  

it’s not the end but but I think we can often give up right we can often give up just before the breakthrough so I think we the way you put it is just perfect. We just need to push through that and sometimes for some people writing it down and submitting it to a column like Ella fares or or someplace else or maybe even writing it down and burning it in the backyard and being like I’m now done with that. I’m ready to move on.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  33:51  

Oh, yeah,


Damona  33:52  

right. I did that. Actually. I had a I had a group of girlfriends over in in the I guess it was in the summer, spring or summer, and we got a fire pit and we all we burned our stories. And this woman had this relationship that she was still holding on to a lot of negativity around it. And she was still processing it, even though she was in a healthy, positive relationship. Now she still had unfinished business. And so she took all of these photos, all of these letters, all of these things that were tying her to the past and she burned them. She burned them in my backyard. And it was just so cathartic.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  34:36  

Okay, now you’re


Damona  34:38  

just to see, I mean, y’all like fire safety, like don’t like make sure you are doing this in a way which I didn’t do that but you know, like, have a professional or water or something, I don’t know. But just just seeing her go through that and, and be able to, to release that. Like we carry around all these feelings that we attend. To the stories that we’ve had,


Rene Lynch, LA Times  35:01  

right, and you know what it’s okay to have a wonderful relationship that for whatever reason, didn’t work out, it’s totally fine. And it’s fine to reflect on that and maybe remember that person and think about him or her fondly. But that it’s think sometimes things just don’t work out. And that’s just the way it is. And it’s okay. It’s not a reflection on who you are. It’s just a reflection on that moment in time. And that can actually be a beautiful thing, right that you had a, you know, a summer boyfriend or summer girlfriend, and it was great, and then it didn’t work out. But that’s a wonderful memory to have not baggage to kind of like drag into like your next 17 relationships. Exactly.


Damona  35:39  

You are so wise, Renee. I’m like, I’m getting all of the chills and all the fields here. And all of our listeners have submitted questions to all of our listeners. Some of our listeners have submitted questions that I think our listeners would really want to hear your insights to the questions that they’ve submitted. So we’re going to roll right into our next segment. Alright, Renee, we have questions from our listeners that people have submitted all kinds of ways. We get questions through email, through Instagram, through Facebook, through Twitter. And today I have a question that came to my inbox. That said, Hi damona I recently started internet dating and I’ve met some nice guys, but none that really blow me away. I’ve been asked by one of them to stop seeing the other men to see if this relationship can work. I’m in my 40s and the endless dating cycle is tiring, but I do not want to settle for the man that is giving me the most attention and who’s the most demanding? Any advice? Ooh, that is a hard one. That is a hard one is a burden hand.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  36:45  

Yeah, she has a burden. And I guess I I would wonder, first of all, I’d love to know a little more about her dating history. How she got to this point, what is your story? What is your story? But I mean, what about Giving it a certain amount of time so that you’re not putting too much into it but maybe four or five more dates or say, I mean, I can kind of understand somebody saying like, can we make this monogamous or at least make it about us? For now, I think I would be so anxious if I knew my boyfriend were leaving me and dating somebody. Like, I just think that would just ratchet up my anxiety.


Damona  37:24  

But in the beginning, you were you were online. Right? Right. And you knew in the beginning the chances chances were he was dating other people.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  37:32  

But once we started dating a few more dates, and once he did his little bit,


Rene Lynch, LA Times  37:39  

you know, we never actually had the conversation of are we is this are we exclusive, but we just kind of knew we were exclusive. But Had I known that he were out dating other women. I think that would have been, I think I would have at some point said can we make this just about us? I think that would have been a little hurtful, so I can understand somebody’s asking for that. I mean, if he says I need you to never date another man again for the next 10 years, I think you say you got to get out of here. But saying if let’s put our emphasis on this and see if we can work six, eight weeks. I don’t know that doesn’t seem that doesn’t seem unreasonable.


Damona  38:15  

You’re giving me food for thought running because my initial reaction was if she’s not excited about him, and he’s already at the point where he’s saying, Let’s be exclusive, that maybe they’ve given it enough time to see if it’s working or not. And for her, it’s just not working. And


Rene Lynch, LA Times  38:32  

well, that’s why I wondered about her background because I wonder if she I wondered if she is a little bit like me who was like, Wait, you’re not bringing fireworks and like 3000 roses on our first date? She this isn’t very exciting. Yeah. I


Damona  38:48  

Well, there’s a clue in here. She says the endless dating cycle is tiring. And I know a lot of our listeners struggle with that. Especially she says she’s in her 40s we have a lot of listeners in their 30s and Does it feel like I’ve been doing this, I’ve been like, on this in this rat race of dating, and it’s like wash, rinse repeat of I’m going on this date, I’m not really connecting with a guy I’m this far in, I don’t really want to break up with him because I don’t want to start over. Right? Like that fear of starting over can keep people in the wrong relationships. But by the same token, I totally hear what you’re saying, like you have to be looking at the bigger picture of what, what you need out of the relationship. And maybe if it’s not, you’re not checking all the boxes. But if you’re checking enough of the boxes, you know, maybe it is worth just just focusing


Rene Lynch, LA Times  39:39  

and committing for a little bit and saying like, if you are invested in this relationship, what would that look like? I can guarantee you that if you and I are in a relationship, and we’re totally committed to each other, it’s going to look very different than if I’m dating five other people. And so I’m not giving you my all I’m not giving you all my attention. That person is going to feel that but again, I’m a little curious as to what it what are her expectations about a relationship? I guarantee you that I do not check all of my husband’s boxes, I’m sure. He would be like, I would like somebody who’s maybe a little more organized. There’s there are definitely things that he will be like, I wish I could change about her. But if you’re, you know, checking most of them. He’s the person who, if he is my desert island person, I want him on that desert island. Is he perfect? No, he’s not perfect. But at some point, you just get to that point where you think this person is very, very special to me, and I want them in my life more than I don’t want them in my life.


Damona  40:41  

Okay, that’s a good segue into our second question, which is similar but different. This one came to me from Instagram. She says I’m a 20 year old female. She said I just listened to a podcast you were on. I’m not sure which one but thank you for listening. Maybe horrible decisions or maybe kind of dating but thank you for Much. Lately I’ve been really struggling in my relationship. He’s a great guy and we share a lot of the same values. The thing is I was never really attracted to him and never felt the spark. Never felt the spark, Renee. I thought I could get past it because we do share similar values for the future and in life, but I have been nitpicking and criticizing him for a few months.


Gold Digger & The Sexuality Secret


Do you ever wish you could be a little sexier? More free with your sexuality – the way you see people in media?

What could you learn if you could go behind the scenes a Playboy? Well today we have Wendy Miller with us to give us the inside scoop on all those dirty little secrets.

Wendy Miller, Host of Sex Ed The Musical, Former Playboy TV Head of Programming, and self-proclaimed “Sex Sherpa”, gives secrets on how to get comfortable with your sexuality and achieve fulfillment in all types of relationships


Is Kanye Wrong?

Kanye has requested that Kim stop dressing so sexy because it is “hurting his soul.” Wendy and Damona have THOUGHTS. 

Everything you need to know before you start your sugar career

Have you ever wondered if a sugar mama or sugar daddy situation is right for you? Damona and Wendy break it down.

How to find a unicorn on dating apps

Actually, “unicorn hunting” is a term for finding a third party to join your threesome. This article brought up a lot of extra questions. Damona asks and Wendy answers.

Sexy Secrets (19:30)

Everything Wendy learned at Playboy

Wendy worked at Playboy so you don’t have to. She gives us the GREATEST insights on everything about sexuality and self love.

We go in-depth on:

  • Why most women don’t really know what they want out of their sex life
  • How to figure out what turns you on
  • Does the G-spot really exist? (Asking for a friend)
  • And so much more!

Wendy’s podcast, Sex Ed The Musical, gives us LIFE. Don’t miss it. 


Submit your questions Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

  • What do you do if you can’t be intimate with your wife, but you still have needs?
  • How to navigate dating as a young professional who doesn’t want kids?



Don’t forget to send us your Halloween Dating Horror Story! You can submit any of these ways:
  • DM Damona a voice memo on Social Media (@DamonaHoffman)
  • Send Damona an email (damona@damonahoffman.com)
  • Leave us a message! (424-246-6255)