#JustLikeYou: Butt plugs, swinger clubs, and 14 years of interracial relationships

✨ Our #JustLikeYou is a bi-weekly episode where we interview different types of third culture kids who are #JustLikeYou on sex, intimacy, and their tips on how to navigate your romantic and sexual lives.

Today's episode is a very, very special one as we have brought on our own partners (of course they come on willingly):  Edgar and Greg.  We share insights about interracial relationships, how to make long-term relationships (10.5 and 3.5 years) work and keep the excitement. Watch till the end to hear what the men's tips are for friends out there looking for their next relationship.

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Let's get started. Simona and Edgar, how did you meet?

Edgar: We met ten and a half years ago, back in Berlin. We were working for a start-up and Simona led a team there. I came in as an intern and that's where we met. We hung out a lot with a Dutch crew and during some beer pong sessions and bringing Simona back home, totally drunk, the magic happened for us.

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You guys live together, do you still masturbate? When and where? 

Edgar: I do. I think there's not much of a taboo there. Same for women: they should also masturbate whenever they want and where they want. When I do it, normally Simona's not around or she's still asleep. Location-wise, it's the showers.  

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Do you guys use sex toys? 

Greg: Of course,  we do, we have done right from the start. They're really fun. Why not?

Eden:  I also got him some male toys too. Random things to play with, just to see how it feels. And I think it is also exploration.  For my first birthday that we spent together, he also got me a butt plug.

Greg: That was pretty early on. 

Simona: I got him (Edgar) a Kindle. You got her a butt plug ?!

Greg: Kindles can be sexy.

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How often do you guys have sex now? And how many times do you wish to have it?

Edgar: On a good week, twice a week. Normally once a week. Simona's like a night owl and she loves to go to bed really, really late. I like to go to bed really early. I like it to be natural, not planned out.  It normally happens during the weekend where we just spend more time, more time in bed, no morning calls, more time for each other. How often I wish to do it (Simona mouths "every day(!!)"). I'm not sure about every day. I don't have that high of a sex drive. Three times a week, that'd be a good count.

How has it been, being together for a third of your lifetime?

Simona: It's been good. We've experienced a lot. We've met in Berlin. We moved together to Amsterdam. Then we moved together to Asia, and then we moved to Amsterdam again. So I think it was quite exciting for us because we lived in different places. 

We experienced different cultures together. That also makes the relationship more exciting. It wasn't only us. It's also us discovering new places, new friends, new experiences. It honestly hasn't felt like 10 years. 

Edgar: I'm never really conscious of the fact that it's 10 years. You live in the moment and if it is good, you're still happy together, then it's fine. It doesn't feel like a drag.

Nice. Do you guys still hold hands?

Simona: We hold hands when we fall asleep.

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We've heard that you guys can be pretty exciting in bed, anything to share on that front? 

Greg: We both feel quite comfortable.  I certainly feel more able to openly share and just be myself. And if that's a little bit weird or a little bit kinky that's perfectly good. And she's also very, very up for that. I don't think that's always been the case, like at least in my past relationships that wasn't always the case. 

Eden: I personally went into it, just doing whatever I felt comfortable with. I was comfortable with my body. I was comfortable showing him what I was comfortable with. And I think he reciprocated with things he liked and didn't like, or weren't afraid to share before. I think that vulnerability that we shared with each other of what we'd like, and don't like in bed, in the bedroom physically and mentally. I think that's something that we have been really just been exploring the last three years.
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We still do that every week, just trying something new, experiencing new things. It doesn't always have to be physical. It's not like "Oh, I'm going to wear sexy lingerie". It's nothing like that. You may think "Oh, it's the same person", but we were able to stimulate each other mentally in a way that still makes it exciting. 

So it is just continuously exploring and also just understanding more about the BDSM community. What BDSM  is. That also has been quite eye-opening for the both of us. 

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Greg: In relation to therapy you'll be vulnerable, but you're vulnerable in front of a professional.  That's why I think so many people find it easy to share their minds and share what they're feeling because it is with that professional person. I think being vulnerable with your partner is harder because there's more at stake, they're not being paid to listen to what you say.  If you get to that stage, that's so great, and that's been really important to us, sexually also. Vulnerability is the keyword here.

Do you guys have any fun kinky stories? 

Simona: I've always thought that sex farms or swingers clubs are kinky, but apparently it's not a kinky thing at all. I talk about it now regularly with friends and I also hear it on podcasts. Apparently, it's just a normal thing where people just go out and have sex with other people or just watch other people have sex. 

Is Simona the first Asian girl you've dated? What attracted you to her?

Edgar: Yes, she was the first Asian that I had a relationship with. It doesn't make sense for me to make it rational. It's just a feeling that you have with someone. I thought Simona was, and is, intriguing, challenges me and, she's a boss, but she's also naive (a little bit). That made me fall for Simona and it doesn't have anything to do with being Asian. I think she's beautiful, obviously, but I also think other girls from other races are beautiful. So beauty is only one part. Being Asian was not a trigger, I don't have yellow fever or a fetish.

Greg, there is this belief that men fall for their mom's personalities. Do you see any similarities between your mom and Eden?

Greg: They're both great. Apart from that, I do not see that many similarities.  I'm not sure I buy it. 

Eden: So we just debunked two myths of what girls think guys are into - 1) Some white guys with Asian fevers. Nah, the ones that date Asians don't always have Asian fever. 2) Not all guys date their moms. 

Greg: I think so. Maybe as you grow up through life you meet a lot of people. You're influenced by a lot of people, it could be your mom, it could be your sister, it could be your friends when you're young.  Maybe there's some influence of all people together, but I don't think it's just your mom. I think that's just too simplistic. 

Do guys usually have a list of traits or checklists before dating a girl? 

Greg: Not really. Of course like the overall physical as a whole plays a part. But definitely not individual things. What is important to me is the feeling of respect towards her. I've realized from past relationships that I really need to feel myself. How I felt about Eden was a good sign. It's like a tick. But it wasn't a trait that I was looking for. 

Have you dated any other women from other ethnic backgrounds? Are there any differences? 

Edgar: I dated Caucasian Dutch girls. The only comparison that I have is girls with the same backgrounds cultural-wise, then I dated Simona.

Differences are not a deal-breaker for me, but they are definitely there. Especially the family part where family is everything. That was new to me.  I think she really goes that extra mile for the family.

For me, I have boundaries. I will go this far for my family, but then it stops. You guys go all the way. I think that's a big difference compared to a standard Dutch upbringing. 

Do you find it hard to communicate with each other?

Edgar: Yes, Simona is more like a typical Asian, who avoids talking too much about feelings and I am just an introverted guy, so that doesn't make it easy.  From her part it's more cultural from my part it's more character.

Simona: I'm very Asian, you don't talk about emotions. And I think in the beginning, that was okay. We talk more nowadays though. I never learnt from my parents how to talk about emotions. But luckily you have friends, you talk to others, you have the media, and then you see that it actually benefits a relationship. Not only your love relationship but also relationships with friends or your colleagues: if you communicate you actually make things better, rather than not talk and just internalize everything. You might get frustrated, but the other party doesn't know. 

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Eden: You can get through a lot of the turmoils with age and with therapy becoming more popular, and us being more aware of how important communication is.

 

Greg, how do you balance your priorities and values as a couple and as an individual?

Greg: I feel our values are similar despite being from different parts of the world: How we envision our life playing out and what we think is important. It all morally aligns.

We know what our priorities are. We're engaged, for me this year, that was a big priority.  Now it's moving into a new house.  I think the most important one is that we know what we're doing to support each other in our own endeavours.

I'm still doing my work and my music and she's on The Oh Collective. What we're both doing supports each other, we're less of two independents and more like a partnership.

How do you guys make it exciting after so long?

Edgar: I don't really feel that urge to make it exciting. You will end up in a rat race: every time it needs to be more extreme or more exciting.  I think there's beauty in just a normal day doing regular stuff together, but do it with purpose and with intention. 

Eden: That's really cute. I thought you were going to answer "It's always exciting because I have to wake up to 10 different Simona personalities that are gonna show up".

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What is the one thing you'd tell your younger self before dating?

Edgar: Date a lot of girls and keep it light, be honest of course. At a certain moment, you are ready to get really serious about a relationship. Just make sure that the other person is aware of your intentions. Be honest and be ready, don't be an asshole and don't cheat on her. 

Any advice for anyone out there looking for their life partners? 

Greg: Everything Edgar just said, applies.  They work both ways. You just have to just put yourself out. Go to places where you're going to meet interesting nice people. Be honest with them, but also with yourself, thát is really important.  It's such cliché advice, but that is just the way it is.  

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