Q: My partner and I have agreed to open communication, including having pass codes to each other's phones and emails. He doesn't understand the texts I send to my best friend about him or other things going on in my life. Is this something that can actually work?
A: I'm of the opinion that if you're in a monogamous relationship, all your passwords to all your accounts should be an open book. But that does not mean you check them constantly or check them at all. It's like a nanny-cam—even if you have an amazing babysitter, if you watch the nanny-cam long enough, you're going to see something you're not happy about. The problem is not that you're sharing each other's passwords, it's that there's a level of suspicion or uncertainty that's making him check too much. That's a larger trust issue in the relationship.
Q: I'm a 50-year-old empty nester, and I'm also single. What advice do you have for me?
A: What you're talking about is an opportunity to totally redefine your life. You have an empty nest, so you don't have to worry about kids at home. You have an empty bed that you can fill with whomever you want. You have a chance to redefine who you are as a sexual being—and we all have that chance. We don't have to believe the story of our lives that we've been told. You're not the same person you were when you first had sex and not the same person today that you're going to be five years down the line. There's always the opportunity to reinvent yourself, rediscover yourself and redefine who you want to be as a sexual person. All it requires is the bravery to be fearless, to open your heart, to let go of the judgments you've internalized.
Q: How do we raise sexually healthy daughters?
A: From a very early age, you want to teach both boys and girls to feel comfortable about their bodies. Show them: "This is your elbow. This is your nose. This is your vulva." It's not a va-jay-jay. You have to use the correct terminology. It's an ongoing conversation. Find teachable moments: Use the media, watch their favorite television shows with them and ask them questions and get their opinions. What you have to do as a parent is think, "I don't want my kid to have sex any time soon, but if I could design the ideal first sexual experience for them, who would it be with and what would it be like?" Then that can become the context for all of your conversations with them. Whatever your opinions for what that experience looks like, you can teach them that sex is a beautiful, magical, fulfilling gift—the first time and every time—and it's about deciding who deserves that gift.
More Advice from Laura Berman
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