The Ick. That loaded three letter word regarding to the horrendous feeling you get when you’re suddenly repulsed by a love interest. Usually a cis heterosexual male (just saying)….

Not to be confused with red flags, icks are usually innocuous and irrational turn-offs but also, ya know, perfectly valid – a biological response you can’t shake once you’ve ‘caught’ it.

In Urban Dictionary terms, the ick is when ‘You THINK you like them but then you suddenly catch ‘The Ick’. From then on you can’t look at the person in the same way, you just progressively get more and more turned off by them, weirdly & maybe for no reason in particular grossed out by them. You’ll cringeeeeee at the thought of you and them together. Nothing will be the same, you won’t be able to do it any longer and eventually have to cut it off.’

Maybe he uses too many emojis where words would suffice. Or he has the fingernails of an unruly wizard. Or maybe, you feel violently ill at the way his arms swing wildly when he’s walking up a hill… put them by your side at once, sir. Let your legs get to work, for crying out loud.

Turkish veneers, can’t parallel park for shit, no Spotify Premium > new icks unlocked. Another honorable mention: meal prep. It’s all fairly surface-level stuff but what happens when you catch the proverbial ick in a long-term relationship? Does it have the gravitas to put you off them for life and prompt a breakup? Team Zoella are getting stuck into this very dilemma in this month’s BYAM, where we’ve also got a case of never have I ever… had an orgasm, to which we say let us introduce you to the entire contents of our sex and health section! It’s a pleasure to be of service.

For the team’s take on all of the above and more, keep reading August’s Between You and Me!

Darcey says…

Hey Anon! If I’m being totally honest, I don’t think anyone really shows their true self on a first date, a mix of nerves and wanting to make a good impression means we are all a bit different to say how we’d act with an old friend. Of course, it’s best to be as much yourself as poss on a first date, but actually, if your bubbly personality started to show more by date 2 or 3 that’s probably something that would be quite endearing to the other person, it would show you are coming out of your shell and people like that! I don’t think you should put yourself down about this, to me it sounds totally normal. I’m definitely not 100% me on a first date so I really do relate to you, some people are just naturally more confident and can be more themselves, but that’s just not the case for everyone (and I’d say for more people than you think!).

Liv says…

Firstly, you should always be proud to be who you are! It’s definitely easier said than done and I think most of us have done this at some point in our lives. The first date feels a little bit like a first interview, they’ve seen your CV (dating profile) and want to get to know you a little better off paper (or phone screen) and you feel like you want to be what they are Looking for so it’s easy to slip into putting on a facade. If you feel more confident and comfortable putting out this version of yourself that’s absolutely fine. Most people come out of their shell more on the second date anyway. But if you are wanting to get more of your bubbly personality out there don’t be afraid to do that either! At the end of the day, you want to be going on a second date with someone who likes you for who you really are.

Danielle says…

Don’t feel sad! Your body works! My best advice is to get REALLY good at cumming on your own first, before worrying about it during sex. Get to know your body and what you like and don’t like and then try and replicate that when you’re with someone else. A huge percentage of women don’t cum during penetrative sex and only get there through clitoral stimulation, so you may need to face the fact that you’re one of many, which is nothing to be ashamed of! Do whatever you can to relax and feel comfortable, and as hard as it is to do, try not to worry about it. Godspeed!

Lareese says…

Oh babes, please don’t be sad. This is SO common and nothing you should feel bad, sad or ashamed about. I don’t know the details of what kind of sex you’re having and with whom but I just want you to know, you’re not on your own. Women put so much pressure on themselves to cum during sex when actually, if you’re enjoying it then why should orgasm always be the measure of a great sexual experience? In an ideal world, we’d all be cumming together like the movies would have us believe but real life simply won’t allow for a cinematic shag like that.

As someone who doesn’t orgasm from penetrative sex alone (which is presumably what we’re talking about here), I would say never skip foreplay and introduce toys into the mix. You can then enjoy longer sessions that are equally satisfying for both partners, and hey if you don’t orgasm then so be it. Enjoy the pleasure for what it is and the intimacy of being with a partner or yourself! If you’ve never experienced orgasm during self-sex aka self-pleasure, can I be so bold to give you the task of experimenting with what feels good for you? I feel like you owe it to yourself to find out what makes you tick and hopefully, then you’ll be more comfortable with communicating your wants and needs during partnered sex, or pleasuring yourself and involving a partner (always fun). In the meantime, have a read of these articles – How to Close the Pleasure Gap and Get the Finish You Deserve & Let’s Talk About Clitoral Orgasms!

Maddie says…

Sorry to hear you’re going through a tough time with your friend. If it gives you any comfort, I will say that this is incredibly common, especially when a really good friend gets into a new relationship it’s natural to feel a bit jealous. They go from talking to you and seeing you all the time to wanting to spend all of their time with this new person. They’re likely experiencing what is known as the “honeymoon period” and the good news for you is it won’t last forever. Unfortunately, you’ve got to let your friend go a little bit during this time. It doesn’t mean they don’t like you anymore, they’ve just gone a bit tunnel vision for their boyfriend. Soon enough you’ll probably be the person she’s moaning to about said boyfriend and things will feel back to normal again. Try not to take it too personally and instead spend lots of time doing fun things with your other friends, she’ll soon realise that the best of both worlds is much more fun in the long run.

Liv says…

This is such a tricky situation to be in and so many people find themselves in it. It’s amazing that you have a friend so close to you that you miss them being in your life so much, she obviously means a lot to you. When people get in relationships it’s so easy to get swept up in the whirlwind of it and focus a lot of your attention on it as it’s so new and exciting. But sadly this means that you sometimes stop spending as much time with the people you did before, it doesn’t mean that they mean any less to you. I know you say that you keep on arguing over it and that isn’t a nice situation to be in and I can imagine it’s making it more difficult. If I was you, I’d get some friend dates in the diary, find out their availability and book in to do some things that you love doing together. Also, try and fill the time that you feel like you’re missing with things for yourself, do things for yourself and spend time with other people that are in your life. I’m sure you both mean a lot to each other and it’s just a change that you can make work for both of you.

Darcey says…

On the surface, I don’t think this is particularly bad as you are both consenting adults and I don’t see why you couldn’t sleep together, however, I do question why you think your friend would be annoyed and why he doesn’t ‘t want her to know either, do they have some sort of history? Or is it because he thinks it could make things awkward? I’m sure secretly sleeping with him is probably quite exciting, but maybe if you think it would upset your friend if she found out it’s best to stop. I think if you were all open and honest about the situation it would be okay, because if they have no history why can’t you sleep together if it’s not hurting anyone else, but the secrecy is making it seem to me like you both know you shouldn’t be doing this and there must be a reason for that. I’d say either stop completely or be honest with your friend about what’s going on but speak to the flatmate first, I really don’t think you two sleeping together is a big deal but the secrecy could make it a big deal!

Lily says…

Hello! Uh Ohhh, not the ick!! We have ALL been there :/

First things first though, what’s the ick that you have with your partner?? I ask because it might be something that you could get past over time… is it something that’s bugged you for the entire relationship or only recently? Although, I will point out, that by what you’ve said (and for raising this) it sounds like you’ve made up your mind already. But either way, speak to your s/o about how you’re feeling, as after 5 years you owe it to one another to speak about how you’re truly feeling – however, awkward or sad it feels. It’s the uncomfortable conversations that are the ones to be had. Sending you lots of support, its a tricky situation but you have to trust your gut and go with how you truly feel!!

Lareese says…

Oh no, not the dreaded ick! The team were talking the other day about ‘the ick’ and how it seems to be dominating conversations at the moment. It’s an unexplainable phenomenon that plagues millions and it seems the general consensus is there’s no coming back from it once you’ve caught it. Five years deep, is tough though and I can totally understand the feelings of guilt you might have around that, especially as it seemingly came out of nowhere for you. If we forget that the ick even exists for a second and strip it back, I think it’s just a sign that there’s a disconnect between you and your bf and only you will know if that’s a temporary or long-term thing, and if your relationship can move past it.

Is it surface-level stuff or is it deeper than that? Is it something minor that’s irritating you right now but will likely fade or is it a total deal-breaker you can’t recover from? Take stock of where this ick came from and why you’re feeling this way at this point in your relationship. It might be that your relationship has just run its course and you’re different people, but if you feel physically repulsed or cringed out by your partner, I think it’s fair to say they’re not the one for you, as hurtful as it is after 5 years of loving him. Ultimately, it is a gut reaction by another name and that’s pretty hard to shake! I’ve gotta s/o my pal Anna’s book here, The Little Book of Ick – it might be the laugh-out-loud read you need at a time like this. Sending you love and hoping that whatever happens from here, you both enjoy a happy, ick-less life, whether that’s together or apart <3

Danielle says…

It sounds like your partner has some pretty extreme views when it comes to climate change, and there’s nothing wrong with that but I think to be in a relationship with someone like that, you have to be on the same page. If getting married and trying to have a biological child are non-negotiables for you (which you are absolutely entitled to have them be) and the opposite is true for him, then it sounds like you’re just not compatible. There’s only so much compromise a couple can do without totally giving up to much of their wants or needs. If I was in your position I’d bite the bullet and find someone whose life goals align with yours. Sending love and strength x

Maddie says…

This is a really tough one and I think it comes down to what both of you are and what you aren’t willing to compromise on. If getting married and having your own biological child are non-negotiables for you, and by the way that is completely fine and justifiable if that’s the case. Then it sounds like your partner may not be the one for you. I think you need to be really honest with your partner and let them know how serious these things are to you and work out whether or not you both see your futures the same way. I really hope you can work through these things but try and be really honest with yourself and be strong when it comes to the things that really matter to you.

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