To end what has been a pretty harrowing eight weeks – truly a term like no other – I have taken the time to answer some more of your burning questions. From messy relationships with ex’s to the ethics of porn watching, there’s been a sufficient range of predicaments to keep me busy post-coursework. I hope at least some of what I have to say sheds a little light on these issues!

How can I successfully navigate having a FWB relationship with an ex? When do you have to cut things off?

Now, I often recommend a bit of post break-up sex to friends as a means of getting over an ex. But post break-up sex with an ex does trigger alarm bells. However, I can’t be too quick to judge; every relationship is nuanced and so every break up comes with its own intricate web of aftermath. Sometimes the aftermath is simply never speaking to them again – wiping the slate clean, deleting all traces of them from social media, and blocking them for good measure. Sometimes there’s friendship – although I’m sceptical that anyone can really be friends with someone they’ve been romantically involved with for an extensive period of time. And sometimes there’s sex. Many people have fallen into the trap of sex with an ex. It’s familiar! It’s convenient! It’s ‘closure‘!

Whilst I don’t think there’s much harm in the odd shag for – I don’t know – ‘old time’s sake’, I think a FWB relationship which entails fairly regular sexual contact can be a recipe for disaster. Feelings could resurface, the sex haze could make you forget why you even broke up in the first place, and people could definitely get hurt. Approach with caution, be ready to get vulnerable in some honest conversations, and be prepared to cut things off as soon as either party starts to feel like fires of romance rekindling.

Is it wrong to watch porn if you’re in a relationship?

Fundamentally, no – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with watching porn while you’re in a relationship. That is, provided it’s ethical porn*, and provided your private viewing doesn’t interfere with the relationship. I also understand that there are some people who wouldn’t be comfortable with their partner watching porn (sometimes it can lead to them feeling insecure, or as though they’re not providing enough sexually). It’s important to bear this in mind and maybe have a conversation with your partner about porn, assessing where you both sit with it. Some couples watch porn together, and this could be a good way to enjoy porn without it being to the detriment of your relationship.

*porn that’s legal, doesn’t exploit sex workers, or perpetuate harmful sexual practices.

I really like the guy and I’m pretty sure he really likes me, but the sex is bad. I always thought sex would be better when I really liked the person, but now I don’t know what to think.

This is tricky. On the one hand, the lack of sexual chemistry could indicate that it’s more platonic than either of you realise. Sometimes the boundaries between friendship and romance can be surprisingly blurred and sex can often end up as the determining factor. Sadly, it’s impossible to make fire without sparks – and for sparks to occur, there needs to be chemistry. It could just be one of those things you have to gently let go of.

OR this could be solved by some good-old-fashioned communication. Everyone has different methods and preferences; we can’t expect to get it 100% right with a sexual partner every time. It might be useful for the both of you to have a chat – each taking it in turns to outline what turns you and on and what turns you off. If you two really get on then it shouldn’t be awkward at all (and actually could be quite fun). Once you’ve had this chat you can go from there, exploring one another’s preferred sexual avenues.

How do you become a slut? I have been trying to get some male attention, but haven’t been able to! Any tips?

One becomes a slut simply through reclaiming sexual autonomy, by making demands, putting your own pleasure first and – most importantly – not apologising for it. The attention we get – or don’t get – from men has no bearing on our sluttiness. One crucial thing that lockdown taught me is that you don’t have to be sexually active to be a slut. I actually have written a piece on what it really means to be a slut in 2020, in the 21st century context of post-feminism, but also in the more specific context of Covid; most of us sluts haven’t been getting any, but that doesn’t detract from our sexuality. You can embrace your sexuality without male attention. In fact, I’d even argue that it’s easier to become a slut beyond the pressures of the male gaze; it’s much easier to get comfortable in your sexuality when it’s just you, right? For me, ‘becoming a slut’ translates into ‘not giving a fuck anymore’. Wear what you want, get your tits out, text them, be thirsty, wank LOTS, create your own private collection of nudes, talk about sex, allow yourself to feel sexual without the shame. Releasing yourself from the patriarchal condemnation of female sexuality means becoming a slut from the privacy of your own room before you go public. It’s like you have to say ‘fuck men’ before you fuck men.


With illustration by Emily Perkins: @emp3_art

Alice Garnett

Alice is our resident sex columnist whose interests include pints, pink, and all things love-related. When she's not evangelising Singledom she's busy hyping up her East Midlands home town, demystifying...