I’m Zachary Zane, a sex writer and ethical manwhore (a fancy way of saying I sleep with a lot of people, and I’m very, very open about it). Over the years, I’ve had my fair share of sexual experiences, dating and sleeping with hundreds of people of all genders and orientations. In doing so, I’ve learned a thing or two about navigating issues in the bedroom (and a bunch of other places, TBH). I’m here to answer your most pressing sex questions with thorough, actionable advice that isn’t just “communicate with your partner,” because you know that already. Ask me anything—literally, anything—and I will gladly Sexplain It. To submit a question for a future column, fill out this form.
This is the transcription from last week’s “Sexplain It Live,” which was recorded on Men’s Health‘s Instagram. I was joined by NYT-bestselling author and podcaster Allison Raskin—to answer a bunch of your sex and relationship questions.
How do you move on from a breakup that didn’t give you any closure?
AR: For me, it’s recognizing that some questions just don’t have answers, and that’s okay. You can really do yourself a big disservice by trying to find an answer because I will never really know exactly what happened [with my ex-fiance who left me unexpectedly]. I have my theories of what happened. I have my ideas of what led him to make the decisions he made in the way that he did. But ultimately, I have to find closure within myself. And I think I am able to do that because I know that I tried. I had committed fully to that relationship and to what I thought was going to be a marriage. And at the end of the day, that’s all that I can do. Knowing that I have the ability to do that has been really helpful—that I am capable of making that commitment. That [a relationship] is something that I want in my life, and I’ll continue to pursue it, and [end up with] someone who ultimately feels the same way.
ZZ: Yeah. I think closure is such a weird thing, but honestly, my opinion on closure is that it’s bullshit. Or getting closure from someone else is. I was gonna say you have to get closure from yourself. But I think of the number of times I’ve had friends be like, “I’m going to talk to my ex-girlfriend to get closure.” Then they go—and either they get back together and it’s terrible for three months and they break up—or they use closure as this excuse to then reconnect with someone that they should not be reconnecting with. It’s closure because this chapter of your life is closed. Period.
I’ve been seeing this new guy, and things are going well. He’s easy to talk to and I don’t feel nervous around him like I do sometimes with guys I’m dating. The only thing is he seems eerily similar to my last boyfriend—same profession, same OCD tendencies. Since we first hooked up, his penis has been out of action because of some sensitivity issues, so whenever we’re doing other stuff in bed, I start thinking about my ex. I don’t know if this is a situation I should be running away from, or if I’m just being paranoid and self-sabotaging myself.
AR: Every relationship that you have, you’re gathering information. You’re figuring out what works for you. You’re figuring out what doesn’t. I think that it’s really helpful to make a list of things that are deal-breakers and things that are requirements. And I’m not talking about makes this amount of money. Well, that could be on your list, but it’s things like, respectful of my family and shares political values. Things that are really important to you. Sometimes you are going to be drawn to someone similar to a past relationship, but hopefully, you’ve done the work to figure out why that past relationship didn’t work. So if some of the similarities are the reasons why that past relationship didn’t work, then you kind of have to make some tough decisions and say, “You know, maybe I am repeating something that I already know doesn’t serve me.”
ZZ: That’s similar to what I was going to say. I’d ask, “What were the reasons things didn’t work with your ex?” And if those are the similarities, then you have a problem. But if you’re just like, “Oh, I only date guys who are kind, sweet, and a little nerdy.” It’s like, okay, that’s a good type to have. They can remind you of your ex in that way. Those are positive characteristics. But if you’re having the same compatibility issues or he’s too needy—and that’s why you broke up with your ex—[then that’s a problem]