By Kit King, BA Languages and Cultures and Linguistics
Welcome to the SOAS Agony Aunt! You submit your burning questions, hot gossip, or darkest secrets to my little Google form and I respond via this column. If you want to see your issues addressed, please complete the form at https://tinyurl.com/SOASAgonyAunt or scan the QR code! Please note, this is only meant to be semi-serious, and I am not responsible for the consequences of your actions.
As Gwyneth Paltrow once said, ‘I have a very highly developed sense of denial,’ and I believe we should all be a bit more like Gwen.
Dear Agony Aunt,
I don’t know how to adjust to moving back home to a different country after uni.
– UG4 Korean studies and Development studies
Changing the setting in which you live is always stressful and confusing, which takes a lot of adjustment and mental reorganisation in order to adapt to your new surroundings. And then adding the extra pressure of switching cultures makes this all the more difficult. However, moving back home, whether that’s in the same country or internationally, allows you to show everyone around you how much you have grown and developed. This will be tough to begin with as those around you start to pick up on how you’ve changed, but with time it will make you the talk of the town, a microcelebrity if you will. It was said that Gwenyth Paltrow moved to New York at the age of 11. Though she was initially seen as a ‘California girl’ and didn’t feel very popular, she felt confident. As should you.
The other thing I would say is that you have to make sure that you restore the balance in your life as soon as possible. Moving will throw your balance off, but in order to start actually living, you have to recalibrate your mental scales so that you can prosper again. The three main things I would say to prioritise are: home, relationships, and finances.
Home – Make your living space (whether that’s moving back in with your parents or living on your own) all about you. It is essential to personalise your living space as soon as possible because once you start to see yourself and your personality reflected in the physical space around you, you will start to feel settled and comfortable.
Relationships – It can be difficult to have to interact with people from your childhood all over again, as they will have one idea of you from when you were younger, but you know that that person is now in the past. It is your job to present this new version of yourself; however, it is their job to embrace and accept these changes within you. If there are people that don’t love you for who you have become, then they are not worth your time because they should love you unconditionally, no matter how wildly you change.
Finances – This is probably the hardest one as the job market is tricky to navigate at the best of times, but don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t go your way straight away because nothing ever does. Open yourself up to accept financial help from those around you because they wouldn’t offer it if they didn’t mean it. Equally, avoid committing to financial deals that you are unsure you can live up to. For example, if a friend offers you a loan to get you started, but you think there’s a small possibility you won’t pay them back on time? Don’t do it. It can damage your relationship beyond repair!
In summary, when you get there, you must do two things:
1. Show off the new you, unapologetically.
2. Restore your life’s balance. To quote Gwyneth Paltrow, ‘You know, I use organic products, but I get lasers. It’s what makes life interesting, finding the balance between cigarettes and tofu.’
And to be fair, 99% of my diet is cigarettes and tofu, and I’m thriving, so she must be right!
Good luck with the move babe,
Love and Lust
Dear Agony Aunt,
My boyfriend only wants to have anal sex. What does this mean for our relationship?
– PG1 Gender Studies
First things first, if you don’t enjoy anal sex, do not compromise your comfort, as this can only lead to an imbalance in power. Unless you’ve discussed power play, this is not conducive to a healthy sex life.
Secondly, there is a stigma that if a man likes anal, then that makes him gay. However, this is not true. If he’s wanting to have sex – of any kind – with you, it is because he is attracted to you. If he wants to explore having sex with men, then that should be an honest and open conversation that he brings up with you, but until that happens, you shouldn’t worry about this.
Speaking of honest and open conversations, I sense some negative emotion in your question. It sounds to me like you and your boyfriend need to have a chat about this because it is something that you are worried about. Everybody has preferences as to what they like and dislike in bed, and I suppose it just so happens that he likes doing anal. But you must make sure that he is doing the things that you especially enjoy as well, and that can only happen if you ask. Mind readers don’t exist. Though he should be able to tell by your responses to what he’s doing as to what you’re enjoying, if it goes on too long, you must tell him.
Anal sex is difficult, can be painful, and is definitely not something that everyone enjoys. There are ways to make things easier, like using poppers or teasing it in order to relax, but at the end of the day, the only thing that can make you feel comfortable with doing anal is open and honest communication with your sexual partner about what does or doesn’t give you pleasure.
Gwyneth Paltrow aptly puts it, ‘I say what I think, and I stand behind what I say.’ Sounds like he’s already behind you, so you need to start the talking.
Wholeheartedly wish you the best of luck,