All posts by Em & Lo

Happy MLK Day!

“Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.

Did you know that only about a third of employers in the U.S. observe Martin Luther King Day as a holiday? So we’re doing our bit by honoring this federal holiday. (Okay, so that’s not exactly a “bit.” Get inspired to do something actually meaningful here.) We’ll be back with our regularly scheduled program tomorrow. Happy Birthday, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.!

The Art of “Everything But” for Straight People

Many, many, many, many women don’t climax from intercourse, so why rush to get there when you can spend time on more rewarding acts? Here, the how-to tips for everything from soul-stirring kissing to mind-blowing oral sex, guaranteed to improve both partners’ non-intercourse sex life.

1. Talking

Whispering dirty nothings to each other is one of the best forms of foreplay out there — it can really get the mental side of things stirring, which is so important for gals. Now, if you’re cringing and blushing and thinking, “Oh no, please don’t make me talk dirty!” then think again. Bedroom banter doesn’t have to sound like a porno dialogue — in fact, anything you say while rubbing your half-naked bodies against each other sounds dirty, especially if you whisper it. Tell each other what you’re about to do, just before you do it. Sounds innocent enough, but just you wait… And once you’ve got that part down, you can start telling each other over dinner what you’d like to do later. Pro-Tip: Feeling tongue-tied? Then buy an erotica anthology, like something from editor Rachel Kramer Bussel, and read it aloud to each other in bed.

2. Kissing

Remember your first few kisses? The sensation was so novel it literally made you weak in the knees. Get that feeling back by making a make-out session an end in itself. Focus on every lick and pucker — in fact, perfect it — rather than rushing through the motions to get to “better” things. Remember: Two tongues at a time is overrated. Gentle lip-biting is hot; gentle tongue-biting is not. And macking on street corners is not just for teens and new couples. Pro-Tip: Just like any form of sex, kissing doesn’t always have to be romantic and lovey-dovey — try pulling your partner’s hair instead of stroking it during a kiss sometime.

3. Massage

We’ve all heard the statistic that 90% of back rubs lead to sex…well, a half-hearted squeeze of the shoulder blades during a commercial break of “So You Think You Can Dance” isn’t going to get anyone in the mood. But a full-body, well-oiled, dimly lit massage that lasts at least 20 minutes — with no immediate expectation of reciprocation — is the best damn thing you can do for your nerve endings. Plus it gives whoever is on the receiving end an excuse to start moaning. The giver should save the naughty bits for last: by then, they’ll be good and ready for any kind of attention. Pro-Tip: Both of you should be fully naked to amp up the teasing potential of the massage — just remember, the receiver can’t touch back until the full 20 minutes are up.

4. Handjobs

Hand work has been much maligned as a poor man’s (or poor woman’s) route to orgasm. This is probably because back when you were first experimenting with sex, you poked around with clumsy fingers, never thinking to add lube (for both of you), go slow, tease, and show each other how you like it. But there are things the hands can do that mouths and penises will never be able to accomplish (just try to imagine writing your name while holding a pen in your mouth…) — which is why for many women handwork is the only way they can climax. So stop fighting it, and start enjoying it! Pro-Tip: When you were teens, hand jobs weren’t all bad — recreate a bit of that puppy lust by putting your hands down each other’s pants next time you’re at the movies (though good manners would dictate that you make sure you’re at a drive-in).

5. Oral Sex

Okay, so maybe your tongue isn’t the most dexterous of organs, but it has a few other things in its favor (being naturally lubed, for one). Plus, getting up close and personal with your partner’s genitals like this is a pretty heady (heh) experience — one that can feel even more intimate than the old in-n-out. And like handwork, oral for many women is the key that unlocks the door to their orgasms (while intercourse just knocks on it). Pro-Tip: While we don’t necessarily think that a 69 is the Shangri-La some people claim it to be, we will say this: the head of your partner’s penis and the head of your clitoris (i.e. the bean) are homologous organs, which means that you can play do-as-I-do with your tongues to show each other exactly how you like to be pleasured down there.

Think about your genitals differently too:
Reconceptualizing Male & Female Anatomy

You As a Pin-Up

 

Artist & Dream Analyst Lauri Loewenberg

Our dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg is living a double life: not only does she interpret your dreams here and all over the world, she now also creates custom pin-up portraits for people at her site, YouAsAPinUp.com. We recently asked her about how these two career paths emerged (and if they overlap), what the process is for ordering your very own pin-up, and why her latest business is booming:

 

E&L: What is the appeal of the pin-up?

 

Lauri: The appeal of the pin-up, quite frankly, is the beauty of the female body: S shapes and curves are very aesthetically pleasing (that’s why we also love curvy cars), and no matter her size, the female body has tons of them: the curves from the heel of her foot to her ankle to her calf, the breasts, the hips, the the waist, the arch of the back. It’s all very beautiful. Add to it what the female body is capable of, and you’ve got a very impressive machine. 

The female body has been a favorite subject of artists since the beginning of time, but the “Pin Up girl” became popular in the 40’s because she represented the girl waiting for the soldier when he got home, the girl worth fighting for. During World War II they were painted on the noses of bombers (hence the term “bombshell”) and posters were pinned up in the barracks (hence the term Pin-Up) to boost morale and detract from the horrors of war. Again, another example of the power of the female form.

How did you go from dream analysis to pin-up painting?

I’ve always been an artist. I came out of the womb drawing! I was actually just starting my career as an artist, designing T shirts and painting murals in people’s homes, when I took a course in Dream Psychology back in ’96. I was so impressed with what I learned about the subconscious mind and the practical application of Dream Analysis that I put my art aside to build a career in dream work. The funny thing is, during all those years of working as a professional dream analyst, my dreams kept nagging me to go back to my art! 

I would have recurring dreams of going back to my childhood bedroom and discovering several fish tanks of dead and dying fish that I had neglected for years. I would wake up as I was frantically trying to save what fish were still alive. I knew those fish represented my art, my ideas that used to thrive in my creative juices, the part of me that I had neglected… but I never did anything about. I was too busy with clients and writing books and doing radio and TV interviews.

But I would see some of my artist friends display their creations on Facebook, one old high school friend in particular – folk artist Kimberly Dawn Clayton – and I would get jealous! One night I had a lucid dream (a dream where you realize you are dreaming). In the dream I was again back in my childhood home and there was a short square-shaped woman standing there. Her facial features were nondescript, just indentions where here eyes, nose and mouth should be. Knowing this was a dream I did what I advise everyone to do while in a lucid dream… I asked her a question. “What do I need to know?” She answered (your lucid dreams will always give you an answer when you ask, btw) “You need to paint and I need to sew.”

I woke up immediately and knew exactly what my dream was telling me. I need to paint and that will “sow” the seeds for a productive future. So I did.

My first art piece after 18 years was a Marilyn Monroe painting. She had been my favorite thing to draw since I was 10 years old. And for having retired my paint brushes for so long, it actually wasn’t so bad… and it felt great! I began painting more celebrity portraits, Heisenberg from Breaking Bad, Katniss from Hunger Games. I then did a series of pin-up fairies. At this point, I was painting for me. I was enjoying reacquainting myself with my old friend. And I would post my creations on Facebook.

Within only a few months of painting again, a friend asked me to paint her as a pin-up girl for a wine label she and her husband made. It was my first commissioned piece. I was excited. I painted the hell out of her and shared it on Facebook. And so did she. Her friends saw it and I got more commissions… to the point I had a waiting list! So I started my new business, YouAsAPinUp.com.  This was over two years ago and to this day I still have a waiting list of clients. Thank you subconscious!!

Do you find that your work as an artist and your work as a dream analyst overlap, especially when dealing with people’s fantasies?

You could say they do in that both help us to become what we wish to be. Our dreams guide us, every night, towards being who we are meant to be and a pin-up portrait gives us a fun visual of who we wish to be. 

How does the process work? (Is it all done via emailed photos? Are you ever in person? Do they tell you the costume, theme, level of nudity, pose, etc that they want — or do you take some artistic liberties and they get what they get and they don’t get upset?)

All I need to work from is a couple good, high-res photos of your face and then I create the body for you. Before I begin, I will ask you what you have in mind. Most of my clients already have an idea of what they want, “I want you to put me in short shorts on top of my boyfriend’s favorite car,” for example. Some clients have no idea at all. So I help them come up with the perfect, customized pin-up portrait. I ask if they want a vintage look or modern. Do you want to be fun and flirty or sultry? How naughty do you want the pin-up? What body part do you want me to accentuate. Do you want the typical pin-up body or do you want me to celebrate your body as it is? What aspects of your personality do you want me to include? 

Once we’ve got all the details nailed down, I draw up a sketch, which you can approve or make changes to. You get to keep the sketch, by the way. Once the sketch is approved, I begin. I email or Facebook you the progress so you get to watch your pin-up come to life! The whole process is a really fun experience and in the end, you have a great piece of art that you or your loved one will treasure always.

How much does it cost?

They start at just $150. That’s for an 8″ x 10″ black and white. Prices go up from there depending on size, if you want color pencil or oil,  if you want something additional in your pin-up like a car or motorcycle.

How long is the turn around from someone ordering to the time it’s delivered? And how is it delivered?

Turn around time depends on the length of my waiting list. Once you put down the 50% deposit, which holds your place in line, the turn around can be anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months. So if you want this for a Valentine’s gift we need to get you on the waiting list immediately. Once I begin, a pencil pin-up can be completed in 2 – 4 days and an oil pin-up can be completed in 4 – 8 days. I ship via USPS Priority. You receive a tracking number once your pin-up ships. Pencils come in a tube, oils come in a flat box. 

Are they all cool with being featured on your site? Is that part of the deal, or can people get a pin-up without you showing it off (like if they really want to keep it private?)

Most of my clients are totally cool with being featured on my site as well as the process being shared on Facebook (that is how I get most of my business). I have had only three clients – so far – ask that I not share on Facebook or be displayed on my site and that is 100% okay with me. For some this can be a very personal, private thing.

How many have you done so far?

Just over a hundred.

How many liberties do you take with people’s bodies? Do you try to reflect reality or do some people want to be 50 pounds lighter, or have boobs they don’t have, in the painting?

Most of my clients allow me to take liberties with their bodies. They want the fantasy of the tiny waste and the long legs and fuller breasts. I’ve had a couple clients who love their larger size (or their wife’s larger size) and what me to capture that beauty. I am happy to give you whatever you want. It is all beautiful. It is the face, however, that most of my clients need me to get just right. They want to see themselves in this form so if I don’t get the nose just right or the jawline, etc. I will rework it until you see yourself.

Do you have a “typical” customer? Are your pictures usually for someone’s significant other, for themselves, or for something else? Basically, why are people interested in this? 

Most of my clients are female and I would say, among my female clients, more of them are getting the pin-up done as a gift for their partner. But I have a lot of clients who get the pin-up as a gift for herself… to be a reminder to her self that she is a gorgeous creature, to empower herself. I had one client who told me her pin-up to herself empowered her to get out and date again after escaping an abusive relationship. I had another client who is 70 and she did it as a reminder to herself that beauty is ageless.

And then I have male clients who want to give this to their partners to let them know how sexy they think they are and to keep the flame alive. I just got a new male client last week who is having me create his deceased wife as a Playboy Bunny because he always wanted to do something to remind him of “how she stirred his heart.” 

There is so much more to a custom pin-up portrait than tushies and ta tas.

Many of the pictures include nudity or show a lot of skin, but others are completely covered up. How do you make the decision on how much is revealed in the picture?

Whatever my client wants, my client gets. Whether they want something sexy but classy or naughty with nipples, your wish is my command.

We imagine many of your clients find their pin-up empowering. Why? 

Basically, when you look good, you feel good. My clients know that the typical pin-up body is unattainable and it’s just art but it’s a lot of fun to see yourself that way. It’s the same reason so many adults love Halloween: escapism, pretend, fantasy… it’s fun. And they think to themselves, “I know I don’t really look like that but I sure feel like that!”

We also imagine some people could criticize it: It’s a total vanity project for clients OR it’s based on the retro objectification of women for the male gaze. How would you respond to those charges?

I get that some may think I am contributing to the objectification of women, but I’m not forcing this on you. If you don’t want a pin-up of yourself, don’t get one. For the women that do, that’s their right and their decision. Let’s remember, the whole “pin-up” genre of art and photography actually came about in the late 1800’s with The Gingham Girl, which was an escape from the oppressive restrictions put on women and how they were forced to cover up by a male dominated society. Women weren’t allowed to show ankles back then. In the 20’s the swimsuit police would stop women on public beaches and make sure their suits were not more than 6 inches above the knee! The female body is not to be shamed but celebrated. Free the nipple!

Best background or story about one of your clients? 

There are so many. One of my first clients had a pin-up portrait done to remind herself of how she looked and felt before her legs were covered in scars from surgeries.  She loved her pin-up so much that she is going to have another done WITH her scars. I love that!

What’s been the best reaction to one of your paintings so far?

Well, one that made me laugh until I almost peed myself was from a woman who received her pin-up portrait as a gift from her long time boyfriend. When he commissioned me, he wanted me to put her in this purple night shirt she wears because he loved how her nipples poked through it. He was very specific about her nipples! After she received the pin-up she emailed me and said, “Thank you so much for my pin-up, love it! Fun to hear Bryan talk about the process and how he described me. Nice to know after 23 years he still likes my nipples and knows which side I part my hair on. It’s beautiful, thank you!”

What’s been the worst?

One of my earlier clients had me paint her in a long emerald green evening dress sitting on a piano. It turned out absolutely beautiful and I was particularly proud of the way the gown cascaded down the piano like a waterfall. After I shipped it to her she messaged me and told me she was very disappointed because she thought the head was too small. OUCH! That hurt for a very long time. A few months later she messaged me and said she actually loves it now and couldn’t be happier. That made my day.

Out of all the portraits you’ve created, which one is your favorite and why?

Oh that’s a hard one. Aesthetically… I’d say the logo I did for Vintage South Productions, a TV casting company.  I love that they stuck with the vintage pin-up look and I am very very please with the TV! I don’t enjoy painting or drawing inanimate objects like TVs or cars (even though they certainly add to the pin-up) but this vintage TV set turned out soooooo good!

What do you enjoy most about creating pin-up art?

As much as I love drawing and painting the female form, my favorite part of it is my interaction with my clients. I make them feel beautiful. I tell them they are beautiful or that their wife/girlfriend is beautiful. Because they ARE beautiful. I love to uplift my clients and make them have a smile on their face for the rest of the day because they feel good about themselves. We women can be so catty and jealous of each other. Let’s build each other up and celebrate ourselves. I love being a woman. It’s magical and I want other women to not feel angry about it but empowered by it.

Where do people hang them usually? Seems like the kind of thing that might be awkward hanging over the dinning room table at a dinner party! 

The naughtier pin-ups are usually hung in the bedroom but most are proudly displayed in the living room or man cave. And some are used as business logos or on business cards and hung in the office. A pin-up portrait is actually a very versatile piece of art.

Get yours done!
Visit YouAsAPinUp.com

How to (TRY TO) Female Ejaculate

Okay, before we tell you how to ejaculate, we have to set a couple things straight:

First, yes, women can ejaculate.

Next: no, not all women ejaculate. So if it doesn’t happen for you, please don’t stress about it or feel like your parts aren’t working properly. The last thing we mean to do is set up an unrealistic sexpectation. And partners, please don’t make it your “mission” to turn your gal into a geyser. It’s okay to give it the ol’ college try, but know when to give up.

Some women squirt across the bed, others barely trickle, still others find G-spot stimulation so painful or annoying that they never get far enough to find out, and many may not have the kind of equipment that would allow them to ejaculate at all. And that’s okay. But seeing as we’re always being asked how to make it happen, we thought we’d at least tell you how to try.

So, without further ado, here are our top ten tips for nurturing your inner female ejaculator:
1. Go for the G. Most women who ejaculate say it happens as a result of direct, firm, prolonged G-spot stimulation. Remember, while all women have a G-spot, not all women enjoy having theirs stimulated. If you’re one of those women, we recommend you give up now and try learning a new position or something instead. If you’re not, locate your G-spot on the upper, or front wall of your vagina, about two inches in. Curve your finger in a “come hither” gesture, toward the belly button.

2. Fly solo first. There’s less pressure and you can take as long as you want without worrying that you’re boring anyone. Not that this is boring, of course.

3. Use a tool. Once your partner’s involved, they might want to try a toy specifically designed for the G-spot, like the G-Swirl from GoodVibes or Lelo’s Mona. But really, any toy with that “come hither” hook is good–because most G-spots respond well to firm, steady, prolonged stimulation. And not all fingers can provide that.

4. Let it go. You’re going to feel like you’ve got to pee, but don’t worry about wetting the bed–if you’ve gone to the bathroom beforehand, there shouldn’t be a problem. But even if there is a little pee, is it really a problem? We’re all grownups here.

5. Bear down. Take “letting go” a step further by actually pushing out when you feel the urge to pee, like you’re in a pee-off and you’re about to take the lead.

6. Don’t block the exit. A large toy, a penis or a hand might cut off the urethral opening (and that’s where female ejaculate comes out — though as we’ve said before, it’s not actually pee). Keep up the stimulation, just get them out of the way as best you can.

7. Get hot and bothered. Being super sexed-up, overcome with lust, and engulfed in the flames of desire means a number of things: a) Your G-spot is easier to find and can take more pressure, which means more experimental poking. b) Your pelvic muscles are more relaxed, which makes it easier to let go. c) You’re more likely to have an orgasm, causing pelvic contractions which help expel the fluid. d) You’re super sexed-up, overcome with lust, and engulfed in the flames of desire!

8. Have an orgasm first. Ejaculating might be easier after your groin has already been warmed up and relaxed by an explosive O.

9. Make clean-up a cinch. Put down towels or a waterproof pad (you’ll find them in the incontinence aisle at the pharmacy) or a fitted vinyl or PVC sheet (available at most sex shops) so you’re not stressed about wetting the bed. Or do it in the bathtub; if you actually run a bath, the warm water will also help you relax.

10. Drink water. When you’re dehydrated, your body gets retentive with all its fluids, including female ejaculate. Just make sure you pee before you attempt any of the above in order to avoid having an accident.

RELATED LINKS:

This post has been updated. 
2016: The Year in Bad Sex

This year sucked — and not in a good, consensual, non-transactional, mutually satisfying way. Here are the top 10 worst sex- and gender-related events, trends, crimes and tragedies of 2016. Good riddance!

1. Trump Admits to Sexual Assault on Tape, Still Gets Elected:

 

2. The New Jared: Glee Star Indicted on Child Porn Charges:

 

3. Anthony Weiner Can’t Keep It in His Pants, Helps Trump Win the Election:

 

4. Yet Another Christian TLC Star Is Unsurprisingly Charged with Child Rape:

 

 

5. Brock Turner, Convicted of Sexual Assault, Gets Only 6 Months, Serves Only 3 for Good Behavior:

 

6. 20 Women Accuse FOX Exec Roger Ailes of Sexual Harassment, He Gets Position in Trump Campaign Without Having to Pitch in a Penny for the $20 Million Settlement:

 

7. Sexism Is Alive & Well, As Lame Attacks Against Hillary Clinton & Her Campaign for the Presidency Prove All Too Clearly:

 

8. Still Not Convinced? Sexist-Troll Outrage Over the All-Women Reboot of “Ghostbusters” Was a Real Thing:

 

9. Gender-Bending Pop Icons Like Prince, Bowie & George Michael Die:

 

10. Icing on the Coming-Apocolypse Cake: London & Geneva Get Blowjob Cafes:

 

Check Out Our Other 2016 Wrap-Up Posts!

Merry Everything!

We hope you have a great holiday! Here’s hoping there’s something saucy and battery-operated in your stocking…or at least a nice new pair of undies. Thank you for reading our humble little sex advice site. The best present you could give us is signing up for our weekly newsletter, The Em & Lo Down, if you haven’t already. Joy to the world, and may the Force be with you and yours!

The 12 Days of Kinkmas

On the 12th Day of Kinkmas my true sub gave to me…12 Crops a Cracking
Disciplinary devices for horses and “horses.” However, even if you’ve never gotten on a real horse or gotten into pony play, you can enjoy the erotic benefits of this kind of rod. For one thing, it just…read more in 150 Shades of Play

 

On the 11th Day of Kinkmas my true sub gave to me…11 Ponies Prancing
One of the most popular forms of animalism, complete with its own subculture and events calendar. There was even once a…read more in 150 Shades of Play

 

On the 10th Day of Kinkmas my true sub gave to me…10 Chains a Clanging
When nylon and leather cuffs are just too cute and fluffy, and you want something with a little more weight and muscle, go for cold, hard, steel wrist and ankle restraints. Steel shackles have that quintessential…read more in 150 Shades of Play

 

On the 9th Day of Kinkmas my true sub gave to me…9 Slappers Spanking
Like paddles, but narrower and with better sound effects. Usually made of…read more in 150 Shades of Play

 

On the 8th Day of Kinkmas my true sub gave to me…8 Boots a Kicking
Tamareki is a ball-kicking fetish. Do we even need to bother telling you that…read more in 150 Shades of Play

 

On the 7th Day of Kinkmas my true sub gave to me…7 Wheels a Spinning
The human-sized rat-exercise wheels of the BDSM world—except instead of running inside the wheel, you’re strapped to the outside, either…read more in 150 Shades of Play

 

On the 6th Day of Kinkmas my true sub gave to me…6 Whips a Flaying
A flogger is the pom pom of the BDSM world. (“Give me a W! Give me an H! Give me an I! Give me a P!”) A popular flagellation tool, a flogger consists of…read more in 150 Shades of Play

 

On the 5th Day of Kinkmas my true sub gave to me…5 Gold Cock Rings 
Rings or straps made just for the penis and testicles. Traditionally, a cock ring is meant to…read more in 150 Shades of Play

 

On the 4th Day of Kinkmas my true sub gave to me…4 Balling Babes
Adult babies engage in a form of role-playing wherein one partner (typically a straight guy) plays baby and the other plays grownup (typically mommy). The “baby” wears man-sized diapers and might…read more in 150 Shades of Play

 

On the 3rd Day of Kinkmas my true sub gave to me…3 Fetish Masks
Fetish wear for the face (probably what conservatives would consider a gateway accessory to more hardcore hoods). Most masks just…read more in 150 Shades of Play

 

On the 2nd Day of Kinkmas my true sub gave to me…2 Latex Gloves 
Medical latex hand gloves that help protect against STDs, allow for smoother entry into orifices, and are the perfect accessory for…read more in 150 Shades of Play

 

On the 1st Day of Kinkmas my true sub gave to me…And a House Slave in a Gimp Suit
Kinky onesies made out of leather, pleather, rubber, PVC, etc., and typically worn by a (usually male) submissive. Made famous by the 1994 Quentin Tarantino movie Pulp Fiction; made sexy by…read more in 150 Shades of Play

 

Get the book on Amazon Prime before Xmas!

This post has been updated from the original.
10 “Sexy” Gifts That Will Get You Dumped This Xmas

And 10 That Won’t!

You want  to give the object of your affection a gift that expresses your genuine love and sincere lust? Wonderful! But please understand there’s a fine line between sexy and stupid, and that line often moves depending on the couple and each partner’s level of kinkiness, their sense of humor, and their, well, stupidity. Best to err on the side of caution with holiday gifts, which are usually expected to be more romantic than lascivious. In other words, save the butt plug for Valentine’s Day.

Below are 10 gifts you should probably never give, along with suggestions for more appropriate — but still sexy! — alternatives.

1.


Fiber
We have long touted the miraculous sexual benefits of adding fiber to your daily nutrition. After all, a better bathroom experience means more confidence when having all your nooks & crannies explored. But we must draw the line at giving this as a present. Anything with “regularity” in its name does not a good gift make.
The Better Option: If you want to give a gift that promotes pelvic health, then give something luxurious and fun: Lelo’s Luna Beads.

 

2.


Candy Cane Dildo
We guess it’s kind of cute, but it’s not exactly ergonomic. If you’re going to splurge on a sex toy, make it something guaranteed to get the job done.
The Better Option: Lelo’s Smart Wand.

 

3.


K-Y Jelly
Let’s be clear: There’s absolutely nothing wrong with KY-Jelly. It’s a perfectly fine solution to your lubrication needs. But when it comes to the holidays, best to splurge on a more luxurious pleasure oil.
The Better Option: Something a little more glitzy, like Uberlube.

 

4.


Fundies
Ugh, the novelty toy: dumb, cheap, and useless. A piece of coal would be better — at least you can put that in your grill and smoke it.
The Better Option: Silk PJs.

 

5.

Crotchless Panties
Speaking of underwear…The only person who should be buying this as a gift is the wearer, because it is not a gift for themselves, but for their partner. If you buy this as a holiday gift for your partner to wear, you should be dumped twice — once for its cheap crotchless nature, and again for the uncomfortable thong element.
The Better Option: Proper comfy underthings your partner will actually wear, like Felina or Tommy John.

 

6.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Modesty Panels
This is the gift that says your body is mine and I want to control it.
The Better Option: A nice, simple, gold necklace that honors her décolletage (as long as it’s not heart shaped!).

 

7.

Chastity Belt/Cage
This is the gift that SCREAMS your body is mine and I want to control it! Unless you are a seriously kinky couple who have discussed and agreed upon the terms of your BDSM relationship, we’d recommend staying away from any sex toys that could offend more delicate sensibilities, such as ball-gags, butt plugs and anything “realistically veiny.”
The Better Option:  A silk blindfold or some nice soft cuffs, like the ones offered in Lelo’s “Adore Me” Gift Box.

 

8.

Emotion Lotion
Another novelty gift that stinks, tastes bad, and barely works.
The Better Option: A nice massage package with oils, IOUs and the skills to back them up.

 

9.

STD Stuffed Animals
While STIs are nothing to be ashamed of, and these could, under just the right circumstances, be the kind of prop that could help facilitate a tough discussion about sexual health before you sleep with someone, STD plushies don’t scream “romantic holiday gift.”
The Better Option: If you use condoms with your partner, upgrade your brand for the holidays with more high end options like Lelo’s Hex or Sir Richard’s (for every SR condom you buy, they’ll donate one to someone in need!).

 

10.

How-To Sex Manuals for Specific Genders
Nothing says “you suck in bed” like a book designated for either him (“His Guide to Going Down“) or her (“Oral Sex He’ll Never Forget“).
The Better Option: A sex book you can have fun reading together like, oh we don’t know, maybe “SEX: How to Do Everything” or “150 Shades of Play“?

Want some more ideas?
10 Great Last-Minute Gifts!

10 Great Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Your Significant Other!

Here are some great last-minute gift ideas for that special someone. All items are available on Amazon Prime and have been been highly rated. And there’s something for every budget!

1.

calvinkleinunderwear
Calvin Klein Underwear

Comfy undergarments meant for her, not you.
$35-45

2.

onehope
ONEHOPE Glitter Celebration Gift Set

Ring in the New Year together with this set, which includes ONEHOPE Sparkling Brut Glitter Bottle, two ONEHOPE champagne flutes, and a tube of confetti.
$109

3.

luxuryscrabble
Luxury Board Game

The perfect gift for the busy couple that needs more “us time.” There’s Scrabble, Monopoly, even Clue!
$199

4.

bathbombs
Bath Bombs

Art Naturals Spa Fizzies are organic,  natural and handmade with with essential oils and moisturizing shea butter. A great excuse to hop in the tub together.
$29

5.

uglyxmassweater
Ugly Xmas Sweaters That Aren’t Really Ugly
Ironic and stylish! His and hers.
$25-28

6.

lelomagicwand
Lelo Magic Wand

The “back massager” to end all “back massagers.”
$199

7.

gourmetpopcorn
Gourmet Popping Corn

Elevate your Netflix date night with flavors like Autumn Blaze and Savannah Gold.
$43

8.

silknightgown
100% Silk Nightgown
Soft, silky, sophisticated, sexy.
$89-199

9.

massagecandles
Massage Candle

This Shea Butter Massage / Aromatherapy Candle in Thai porcelain from C’Lite is a promise of things to come.
$15

10.

lelocuffs
Silk & Suede Cuffs

Lelo’s “Etherea” soft restraints are for the committed, experimental couple.
$28

 

Here’s what NOT to get:
10 “Sexy” Gifts That Will Get You Dumped

For more holiday themed fare, check out
Our Naughty & Nice Issue!

 

13 Tips for Surviving the Holidays Single

Feeling down in the dumps because you’re going to be single for the holidays this year? You’re not alone.

Well, sure, you’re alone in the sense that you don’t have a cutie to go ice-skating with while clad in matching striped scarves from the Gap. But you’re not alone alone. Despite the onslaught of trailers for overly sentimental flicks featuring inspirational sports teams/family reunions/wedding bells, all those extra Jared Jewelers commercials, and the music about love and joy that’s piped into every store — despite all that, love is not, actually, all around. There’s Trump and Aleppo and infidelity and existential crises and depression and financial insecurity and people in those strip malls fighting and pushing to get to the front of the line with their gift wrap, emergency box of tampons, and prescription meds.

It only feels like love’s all around because single people don’t spend as much money on holiday gifts and activities, so as far as Madison Avenue is concerned, you’re persona non grata. You might as well be an elf. So you and the other single people start hibernating (read: drinking while watching ancient Christmas specials on network tv), which makes you feel even more alone.

So follow these DOs & DON’Ts for making your single season bright — or at least just a little less blue.

 

1. DO enjoy and appreciate getting a year off from having to spend the holidays with someone else’s annoying and/or dysfunctional family — no pretending to like their mom’s Jell-O mold or fake-laughing at their dad’s bad jokes.

2. DON’T worry that your partner will embarrass you in front of your family by burping, swearing, or talking about your oral sex acumen — because, remember, you don’t have a lame partner, woohoo!

3. DO give thanks this year that your to-do list for the season is as uncomplicated as when you were six — except this time around, you’re allowed to get drunk, too!

4. DON’T linger in the self-help aisle at your local bookshop, fingering titles like If I’m So Wonderful, Why Am I Still Single? and Healing Your Aloneness: Finding Love and Wholeness Through Your Inner Child. (We wish we could say we made those titles up.) This extended holiday season is a romance pressure cooker guaranteed to make you feel like the kind of loser who might actually buy one of these books. …

5. DO get drunk at the office holiday party and gossip with all your coworkers without having to make your partner feel “included.” And do make out with someone highly inappropriate and pretend to be embarrassed about it for the rest of the year.

6. DON’T overindulge too much. Yes, do live it up at the office party (see previous point). And please pig out on some chocolate wrapped in red and green foil to satisfy your inner child. And definitely don’t say no to the spiked eggnog. But don’t go back for figgy pudding seconds (okay, thirds), don’t actually have sex with that coworker (we only said make out), and don’t get so smashed that the holidays are just one big blur of regret. Humiliation and an extra 10 pounds won’t make you feel better about being single.

7. DO wear your comfy pants with the elastic waistband so you can indulge within reason — after all, there’s no annoying girlfriend or boyfriend around to complain that they make you look like George Costanza. Plus, they’re just more comfortable. 

8. DON’T wait ’til the last minute to do your gift shopping. Get it done early to avoid the worst of the commercial Cheez Whiz (or better yet, do your shopping online to avoid the trampling masses).

9. DO think of all the money you’re saving on presents! You don’t have to fret over whether your partner will break the fifty-dollar limit you agreed on, thereby making you look like a cheap bastard.

10. DON’T submit to all the lovey-dovey, saccharine-coated sentiment of the season and start flipping through old photos of your ex. Most importantly, don’t call them, text them, or show up on their stoop to sing carols through a waterfall of tears.

11. DO get together with your single friends and talk smack about your ex and all your annoying schmoopied-up couple friends.

12. DON’T impulse-shop for a boyfriend or girlfriend just because everyone tells you it sucks to be alone at the holidays. Remember those “a puppy is for life, not just for Christmas” ads? Don’t confuse warm, fuzzy yuletide feelings with the desire to be in a relationship–it’s not true love, it’s just the eggnog. And the hangover’s a bitch.

13. DO volunteer at a soup kitchen to put your own crappy holidays in perspective.

This post has been updated. 

And if you ignore our advice about the office party?
How to Deal with a Coworker You Regret Sleeping With

5 Quick Ways to Make Quickies More Satisfying

Sometimes with sex, you’ve just got to get the job done fast. But just because you’re short on time doesn’t mean you have to be short on pleasure. So here are 5 ways not to skimp. Let’s make this quick!

1.

Use lube. It’s not cheating, it’s just helping along the arousal process!

2.

Accessorize your way to fast stimulation: Introduce your partner to your favorite extra-strong vibrator, buy a bullet vibe to keep on hand (you know, in case of emergency), or have him wear a vibrating love ring.

3.

Embrace the sense of urgency — kiss passionately, bite each other’s necks, push each other against the wall.

4.

All hands on deck! Both your hands should be used wherever you need them.

5.

Communicate. Tell each other exactly what you need to speed things up, whether it’s a naughty whisper in your ear or a saucy spank on your bum.

 

In Defense of the Quickie
(Especially for Women)

10 Novel Ways to Ignite Your Relationship (from Readers!)

We asked readers to give us their single best tip for lighting up their love life, and we got a lot of inspiring answers. So many in fact, that we’re not just going to publish the 5 big winners of the 5  Wildfire Pleasure Oil Prize Packages, we’re going to publish the top 7 runners up as well! (The first three below are top winners, followed by the runners up; stay tuned tomorrow for the final two big winners.)

wildfire-essentialoil-tantalize-150Thanks to everyone who participated in our Wildfire Contest. And now, without further ado, we give you 10 great reader suggestions for keeping things interesting in any romantic relationship:

1. Get Serious About Casual Touching

My best tip for spicing up my love life is to be in almost constant physical contact with my fiancé. Nothing too intense, just having our thighs grazing each other as we watch sports on TV, or his hand on my thigh when he’s driving, or holding hands when we are walking. To me, it keeps the romance alive and brings us closer.” — J.

2. Make Masturbation a Group Sport

Actively participate in each others’ self-pleasure. It’s easy to lapse into busy routines of “taking care of yourself” and not paying attention to your partner – that’s okay, but it doesn’t have to disconnect you. You can use it to reconnect after a stressful day or week. Had a good fantasy? Share it. Found a toy you really like? Tell your partner, and let them use it on you. Masturbation is an important part of self-care; don’t feel bad about it. Share it!” — Anonymous

3. Spill the Beans

Vulnerability. Some of the best sex I have ever had was after some moment of vulnerability. One time it is was me telling my new partner that it has been 2 years since I last had sex and because of that I was nervous and awkward and worried I would embarrass myself. Another time it was revealing a sexual fantasy with fear of rejection and receiving only warmth and excitement from my partner. Putting yourself out there and being accepted is a powerful and exciting thing. It is not arousing like lingerie or sexy role play, but it is a powerful force none the less. And it reminds me to be open and accepting of my partners as well, as it works both ways. It serves to build trust and trust is a solid foundation to build some sexy fun times on.” — Derek

4. Toys Are for Boys, Too

“Men can use vibrators too! The sensation on their testicles or shaft can be extremely pleasurable. Introduce your man to this world of pleasure.” — Miranda

5. Porn Is for Girls, Too

“Watch woman-directed porn together or alone. I love Erika Lust!  And her TED talk about it being time for porn to change to show authentic female desire and pleasure.” — Liz

6. Give to Get

“What can ‘I’ do for ‘you’.  The selflessness of the offer is a surefire road to happiness (and reciprocation).” — bklynbug

7. Swap Roles

“Switch it up – it’s always fun (if you’re a woman) to play the dominant role and pull out that strap-on. If he’s game, the possibilities are endless.” — Molly

8. Heat Things Up with Hot Sauce

“Having your partner erotically lick Wasabi sauce off your fingers. The spice and licking will make you both horny. Eventually the person licking the wasabi will start crying from the spice, but that’s okay, the tears will create a sense of vulnerability and lead to intimacy. Pro-tip: Wash your hands and tongues throughly before moving on to any other erotic activities! Trust me: Wasabi can burn!” — Caroline

9. Add Fiber to Your Diet

“I read this tip from Em & Lo years ago, tried it, and have never turned back: a daily dose of fiber. Stir some in your OJ and your bathroom experience will be transformed, which means your naked time will be improved, no joke. Thx Em & Lo!” — JP

10. Send a Surprise Gift Ahead of Time

“My boyfriend and I spent over a year in a long-distant-relationship, with visits every two or three weeks. One thing I loved to do is order a box of new toys, lube, massage candles, fancy underwear, etc, and have it delivered to his house a day or so before my visits. That way, his imagination got going even before I got there, and we had a great time trying out the stuff I ordered for us…” — Jen

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Let’s get more specific:
8 Ways to Spice Up Date Night!