Category: Blog

Who is inappropriate to date?

Dr. Timaree’s excellent article, “Who is inappropriate to date?” is especially good to read if you are considering becoming involved with a person out of your traditional dating sphere.

Should you date a co-worker? How about your best friend’s ex? What about someone 20 years younger?

There are a lot of strongly held beliefs about these things, sometimes argued with a simple “you just don’t.”

A thought exercise

Sometimes I challenge my graduate students to explain – specifically – why incest is wrong.

Being grossed out is a perfectly good reason not to do something, sure. But neither disgust nor the fact there is a law against a behavior actually explains why it’s bad. Though the incest taboo is nearly universal, very few of us can articulate the reason for being immovably opposed to intra-familial sexual experiences.

Why do I ask my students about this? Because we’re examining our beliefs about sex and relationships. Which values are rational, healthy and necessary? Which ones are based on superstitions and traditions that no longer make sense in the modern world?

Why question the rules about sex?

Many of our deeply held ideas about sex are entirely unscientific and illogical. Only when we’re brave enough to question our beliefs can we be assured that they make sense and are serving us.

One area that warrants a closer look is who is and who is not appropriate to have as a partner. What makes it not OK to have a romantic or sexual attachment to someone?

When talking with students about what is problematic about incest, we discuss a number of things. We look at variations from culture to culture: how marriage to a first cousin is not only legal in most US states but incredibly common in many countries. We affirm that birth defects are a potential result of inbreeding. But we also acknowledge that they are a risk with any pregnancy and also that not all sex can lead to conception. We consider how these types of relationships are prone to be abusive, due to power differentials. We look at what is gained by looking outside one’s community for mates.

Eventually we come to the conclusion incest violates important boundaries and that the potential fallout from a breakup with a family member is not worth the risk. And, after this exploration, we can be assured that the taboo has a useful purpose and that it’s worth upholding. It also gives us a minimum threshold for what we can accept in a sexual relationship.

What are boundries anyway?

Boundaries are lines that separate and create limits. They maintain roles, rights and responsibilities. They keep us from losing ourselves, being taken advantage of, and becoming dependent on others. They’re important to sense of self, respect for others, and equality of power.

Boundaries sustain relationships. It’s possible to have a healthy coupling with a major power differential between partners… but it’s a lot harder. When someone is already in our life in one capacity, we take a risk by connecting with them in another way, potentially ruining the initial connection if things go south. Sometimes a relationship develops between two people that changes the dynamics for others around them, making it harder to live or work together.

Mutual attraction can happen anywhere – whether we indulge in the interest isn’t just about desire. It’s also about consequences.

Whose business is it?

We have the freedom to take any risk for love or sex, to choose any partner we like (as long as they are able to consent), if we are willing to accept the outcome. Whether we weigh how other people are affected is really a matter of allegiances. If your social network objects to your partner choices, only you can decide if you care enough to make that a consideration.

In a business setting, romance has the potential to: disrupt the chain of command, lead to differential treatment and, when flirtations are allowed to fly freely, opens the company up to lawsuits. For these reasons, there are often rules about fraternization among co-workers. And these policies are generally fair and reasonable.

But in friendships and families, boundaries can only be set by the individuals. There are not – and cannot be- hard and fast rules about whom you can date. There’s no one-size-fits-all guide that works for every person and situation.

The fail proof formula

Other than the minimum requirement of informed, enthusiastic consent, there’s no equation to figure out if a partner is too young, different, close, etc. While it might destroy one person to see her best friend and ex hook up, others are happy to see such pairings. Some folks have an easy time transitioning from lover to friend and risk little by dating those in their professional or friend circles; others have post-breakup Scorched Earth policies and those people should stick to dating relative strangers.

It’s possible to have a perfectly healthy coupling between employee and manager, for instance, but it’s probably not a good idea for those who’ve never dated seriously before, who have difficulty compartmentalizing, or maintaining cordiality during personal conflict.

The takeaway

The key is being honest with yourself about the potential consequences and your ability to handle them. The more experience we have with relationships and the greater understanding we have of ourselves, the better we can handle complex, potentially risky partnering. Bravely assess yourself, your potential mate, and the risks and rewards of being together. And, perhaps most importantly: enjoy.


Dr. Timaree Schmit earned her Ph.D. in Human Sexuality from Widener University, where she now trains future sexologists and clinicians. Her passion is bringing rational, empirically-based, sex-positive information to the world, empowering others to celebrate their bodies, build intimacy and experience pleasure. 

She has an award-winning podcast, “Sex with Timaree“, and hosts a BYOB sex ed, comedy/game show “DTF: Darryl and Timaree Fun Hour” which can be seen every second Friday at the Franky Bradley’s (1320 Chancellor St.)

Dr. Timaree’s Facebook page:

Press Release – June 21 – The Erotic Literary Salon & Adult Sex-Ed Salon

Philadelphia’s Erotic Literary Salon and the Adult Sex-Ed Salon: Monthly Theme – “How to Negotiate Sexual Disparity in a relationship, Along with Attendee Readers,” Tuesday, June 21.


Tuesday, May 23, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – contact: Susana Mayer, Ph.D., Salonnière,

PCSalons@gmail.comreserve a time slot to read at Salon (5 min max) – guidelines for reading. – blog: events, Salon notices, erotica, and guidelines.




The Erotic Literary Salon will be held Tuesday, June 21. The Adult Sex-Ed Salon is a one hour program held prior to the Erotic Literary Salon. This month’s theme will be “How to negotiate sexual disparity in a relationship.” Attendees will have the opportunity to pose their questions anonymously. ‘Walter’ along with Sexologist Susana Mayer, Ph.D. will answer them and attendees interested in sharing their knowledge and experiences will join in the discussion.


Approximately fifteen attendees will also entertain with their 5-minute erotica, sex memoirs, rants, short stories and poetry.


PHILADELPHIA: The Erotic Literary Salon, unique in the English-speaking world has launched a growing movement mainstreaming erotica. Salons attract a supportive audience of 65 or more individuals. Approximately 15 participate as writers, readers, storytellers, spoken word performers of original works/words of others, the rest just come to listen, enjoy and applaud. Frances, our resident nonagenarian (98 years young) occasionally recites her original erotica.


Salons gather the 3rd Tuesday of every month at TIME (The Bohemian Absinthe Lounge), 1315 Sansom Street, Center City, Philadelphia. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., for cocktails, food and conversation. Adult Sex-Ed between 7:00-8:00, readings begin at 8:30. Admission is $12, discounted for students and seniors to $10. Salon attendees must be 21.


Creator of this event, Dr. Susana, is Philadelphia’s best-known sexologist. She lends her voice to the Salon by offering relevant information to support the discussions that arise in the Salon and blog.

…surprisingly comfortable….Salon devotees praise her for the space she has created….”

“I think Susana is doing a very brave thing.”

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 10, 2010


“There are laughter and tears along with the hot rush of blood – to the face.

Daily News, March 15, 2010


“I never knew such a life of honesty could exist. I finally found a home I can be comfortable in…this event changed my life.

First-time attendee and reader 2013



Tonight-The Erotic Literary Salon + The Adult Sex-Ed Salon – Live, May Masturbation Month-Ejaculation & Orgasm

To honor masturbation month the Adult Sex-Ed Salon will focus on self-pleasure. How it benefits sexual health and informs our sexual pleasure with partner/s. Come with lots of questions regarding the act of masturbation, orgasm and ejaculation.


Titian, Venus of Urbino

For more details regarding the live Salons:

Did you know: …ejaculation and orgasm don’t actually need to happen at the same time. Why? Ejaculation and orgasm are two separate responses to stimulation. Ejaculation refers to the physical reflex that releases semen, and orgasm refers to the feeling of climax or pleasure as a result of physical and/or psychological stimulation.

For some men, orgasm and ejaculation both happen…but not at the same time. Some men may ejaculate after orgasm or before orgasm. Some men may not ejaculate at all. Other men might ejaculate but fail to orgasm.

If a man experiences early, late or no ejaculation, it’s time to see a doctor or urologist. Several different health conditions may influence the way a man’s body responds to stimulation. One example isretrograde ejaculation which occurs when, instead of exiting out of the penis, semen flows into the bladder. While this usually isn’t harmful to a man’s health, he may notice that he doesn’t ejaculate when he orgasms…and, in some cases, retrograde ejaculation can signal a complication with diabetes or medications. David Sobel, M.D., J.D.

Is Female Ejaculation the Same as Orgasm?

By Dr. Debby Herbenick


When women squirt, is it the same thing as them having an orgasm? Or are they different?

My response: 

Female ejaculation (aka “squirting”) involves women releasing fluids through their urethra during sexual excitement or orgasm. It was described in some detail in the 1980s book The G Spot and has since gained all sorts of attention in various porn films. In reality, we don’t understand a whole lot about female ejaculation. Some studies have found that the fluids released are distinctly different from urine; in other research, it seems that some women are emitting a urine-like fluid. Generally, though, women who release fluids during sex are NOT peeing accidentally—just as men are not either. But because both men’s and women’s ejaculations occur through the urethra, there may be some urine-like residue still in the tube.

How common is it for women to squirt? We don’t know as there has been no good population based studies on the subject. Is it the same as orgasm? Well, it happens at the same time as orgasm for some women. Other women, however, squirt but do not orgasm. And even more commonly, women orgasm but do not squirt. In this way, it seems similar to men’s orgasm. Though men usually ejaculate when they orgasm, ejaculation and orgasm are actually two different processes.

Free Video “Go the FOK to Sleep”, Next Tuesday May 17 Adult Sex-Ed/Erotic Literary Salons

Tuesday May 17 doors open 6:30 and an evening of edutainment begins. 2 Salons in one for only $12 – The Adult-Sex Ed Salon and the Erotic Literary Salon.


Frances is back from Florida. At 99 she is still sharing her winter adventures with Vladimir. The following short video recorded in 2013 has Frances reading, Go the FOK to Sleep – a children’s bedtime tale for adults. I promise you will not stop laughing, as the live Salon audience did at the recording.