Dating in our modern world is certainly not a simple task. From dodging red flags to spotting green ones, finding the perfect match is no easy task. The last few years have not only seen a rise in awareness around toxic traits, but also the terminology used to describe them. But from Loveboming to negging, what do these traits actually mean?
Our desire for toxic TV characters
Although we are taught to recognise and avoid those who display toxic traits, toxic relationships shown on screen can often be idolised or romanticised. Whether that be Chuck and Blair from Gossip Girl, or Ross and Rachel from Friends, these couples and their storylines make up some of our most loved episodes.
Dating and relationship expert Callisto Adams explains our love for toxic TV and film relationships and characters, stating: ‘Essentially, it’s a combination of something relatable as a part of our reality, combined with our fantasies of what could go right. This creates a mixture of what happened to us and what we wished to have happened instead.
‘The toxic traits minus the long-term consequences, plus the romanticising and the charm of the character make a deadly combination to which a lot can’t help but find themselves highly attracted.’
Toxic terminology explained by an expert
Lovehoney has partnered with relationship expert, Callisto Adams, to provide an explanation of each toxic trait to ensure you know what to watch out for when it comes to toxic behaviour.
Intentionally trying to disrupt one’s reality to make them feel vulnerable and incapable, and as an objective (of the gaslighter).
Showering one with compliments with the intention of pleasing them to win their trust, or to seem likeable.
Manipulating another person through comments about them to make them feel inferior.
Leading at least one person to believe that your connection will eventually lead to a relationship, knowing it’s not likely to. In addition, this person can be seen as a ‘backup’ in case you end up alone.
Keeping a partner a secret or hidden from your social circle.
Manipulating an ex-partner through “kind” gestures to get them back into a toxic or abusive relationship they’re no longer in.
How to find pleasure without a partner
Solo pleasure is a really important part of self-care, as there are a lot of other benefits to be had from sexual pleasure, such as relieving stress and improving your self-esteem.
Sex expert, Ness Cooper, has shared her top four tips on how you can find pleasure alone:
- Take your time and don’t rush things. Incorporate foreplay in the form of lubrication and massage; this will allow you to let yourself relax into the stages of pleasure.
- Penetration isn’t the only method of masturbation. Sometimes individuals can leave a toxic relationship, and the form of sex they have gotten used to isn’t the type they currently need. Taking a moment to explore other erogenous zones and new ways of sexual pleasure is important.
- Start adding in sexual aftercare after masturbation. Even when we play solo, aftercare can help us process feelings and physical sensations. It can also help ground you and help you feel ready to get back to day-to-day life afterward.
- Invest in sex toys. Investing in some new sex toys can help you experience new sensations. Whether that be a clitoral vibrator or a male masturbation toy, sex toys can offer a much more intense experience.
Please see the full study including a first-hand perspective on how empowering leaving a toxic relationship can be here: https://www.lovehoney.co.uk/
Established in 2002 in Bath, Lovehoney Group Ltd designs, manufactures and distributes its own branded and third party pleasure products globally with over 150 products developed in house each year. It is the UK’s biggest online adult retailer with 8 other websites globally including; France, Germany, Spain, EU, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Its 300 strong team is based across the UK, US, and Australia and serves its 2.2m global customer base. Over the last six years overseas sales have grown from £12m to £56m, an overall growth of 365%. In addition, the percentage of sales exported has risen from 27% to 45%. The company’s top five overseas markets are USA, Australia, EU, Canada, and New Zealand. In April, the company won the Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Continuous Growth in overseas sales over the last six years.