It’s not like sex and dating is getting any easier. And we’ve all got questions about how to be the best for our relationships. Every month, Health readers ask, and  Health resident columnist, Naomi Piercey, a real woman with a real job and a real point of view, answers.

Why does my wife love such bad, trashy television?

Let’s make one thing clear: Her television choices do not speak to her mental capacity, but simply to her proclivity when it comes to unwinding. Some of us dive into a period drama to escape the spreadsheets. Others prefer a glittery drag-queen walk-off to make a beige day a little brighter. Also, blame marketing. The algorithms know what we watch and what we want more of, so they’ve gotten pretty good at selling trash—even to your smart spouse.

What feels best when stimulating the clitoris? Do I go for direct contact or cover a larger area?

The famously mysterious clit is kind of misunderstood. Yes, she can be particular, but when you get down to it, she’s just there for a good time. The clitoris isn’t merely a pea-sized piece of sensitive skin above the vaginal opening; it has nerves, or “legs,” that extend inside the body (like your penis does!), so any skin you touch in that area can be stimulating. Your best bet: Start by exploring the perimeter before zooming in on the launch button. Try gently tracing around it with your fingers, and then apply light pressure with your palm to cover a wider area. Direct contact can feel good, too, but some women need to warm up with a little foreplay before it’s the right kind of comfortable.

Can men still buy drinks for women at bars? Or are we over that as a pickup tactic?

“Buy me a drink, sing me a song / Take me as I come ’cause I can’t stay long.” That’s a yes, courtesy of Tom Petty. Just don’t lead with the drink-buying. If you’ve been chatting with her for a few minutes and you can see that (a) she’s drinking and (b) it seems like she wants to keep drinking, then offer to buy the next round. That means a drink for her and one for you, so you can keep the conversation going (not so you can get her drunk).

Are there better first-date questions than “What do you do?” I don’t want to bore him.

Some people do like to talk about their jobs. But in case that seems like a buzzkill, I prefer to ask specific questions about mundane things. Things like “What did you have for breakfast this morning?” and “What’s the last book you refused to finish?” and “Who’s your favorite Batman?” are less boring to answer but still fall into the “safe for a first date” category.

I met a woman while abroad and we dated for a month. Now I have to return to the U. S. Are we doomed?

It’s 2019; anything’s possible with the Internet (especially long-distance phone sex)! Are you both willing to make sacrifices to be in each other’s life? Then you—and FaceTime (and Snapchat for disappearing dirty pics)—can make this work. We’ve heard the stories of bygone times when couples built relationships on years of handwritten letters. If they can do it, then you can. Make a point of planning your next trip to see her, or choose a destination rendezvous so you both put in the travel effort. Add it to the calendar and spend all the days leading up to it texting and talking and video-chatting and hoping for the best. It’s a smaller planet now, Max. Don’t let her go.

 

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