All posts by Em & Lo

How to Create a Sensual Environment for Good Sex

Sometimes sex is no more than a mood you create. The space you find yourself in, the air you breathe, the lights you dim, the furniture you lounge upon, the music you choose to play (no Barry White or his ilk, please) — all these things can serve to ignite your passion…or snuff it. So follow these simple steps to create the right environment for good sex. 

All items suggested below make great gifts for a loved one…

Straighten Up to Relax

Just as you would decorate and straighten up before having platonic company over for dinner, so should you decorate and straighten up for more intimate guests. Remember, it’s not just the bedroom that can sustain a sensual mood. A sexy night can begin the moment you or your partner walks in the door, and every room you move through can play a part. So remove the day’s mail from the coffee table and replace it with an orchid plant or that blush-worthy gift we told you to buyPull the drapes across the windows as if to say, This evening is for our eyes only. Or if you’re feeling saucy, leave the drapes open just a sliver so that later your misbehaving shadows catch the eyes of passersby. Make sure your abode smells nice, but not overwhelming sweet or antiseptic — go with subtly-scented aromatherapy accessories (not Febreze). 

The Right Lighting

Extinguish daytime’s harsh overhead lights in favor of dim, flattering lighting (installing smart-plugs or smart-bulbs with dimmer controls is a great trick; so is floor lighting tucked in corners and behind furniture). When you switch to candlelight, it’s immediately clear that no more bills will be paid, no more dishes will be scrubbed, no more magazines will be skimmed, no more phones will be answered (but if you light enough candles to be a fire hazard, you’ve overdone it). Instead of “dealing”, you’ll be poring over each other’s bodies, admiring how light falls on skin, how the flickering flames dramatize your partner’s curves or sinews. Aw yeah.

Pre-Sex Decor & Accessories

Ignore any furniture that isn’t built for two, so that even if you’re just dozing in front of a movie, you’re doing so with your legs intertwined. Or sprawl on a faux-fur rug, surrounded by copious cushions, so that even if you’re doing the crossword, you’re in each other’s arms — sometimes a few hours of this-might-not-go-anywhere body contact is all the seduction you need. If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace, then light a damn fire every now and then. If the fire grows dim (or you live in a bedsit), snuggle up under a blanket. (Cashmere’s nice if you live on a cashmere-and-caviar budget, but anything soft will do.)

Moving Things to a Well-Appointed Bedroom

Ultimately, you’ll be drawn to the bedroom. Kiss as you go. Open the window to let the long curtains move gently in the breeze. (Or to give the nosy neighbors something to listen to.) The lights should be, yes, dimmed. There should be no clutter, no mess, nothing in sight that is not meant for spending the night together (if this meant shoving all your crap under the bed with the dust bunnies, so be it). Slide your limbs between silk sheets (or at least sheets with a decent thread count). Consider moving the standing mirror closer to the bed for later kinky use.   

Moving Things Out of the Bedroom

And if the satin sheets are in the wash? Sometimes, changing your usual sex venue is all you need to reinvigorate the usual sex ritual. There’s no rule book that says good lovin’ must take place in the bedroom each and every time:

  • A new five-star hotel in town is an excuse to break the routine.  Dress up for a night. Indulge in oysters at the bar. And later press each other against the thick glass door of the shower in your well-appointed room upstairs.
  • A sleazy budget motel rented for a lunch-hour might bring out the taboo in you. 
  • A lavish soiree may give you the opportunity to part, flirt with others until you “accidentally” bump into each other, introduce yourselves as if you’ve never met before, and eventually abscond to a nearby stairwell to lock lips.
  • Or a romantic picnic in a remote corner of the park might inspire you to commune on the long leaves of grass.

In Conclusion…

You certainly don’t need a lot of money to set a sexy mood (the satin, cashmere, and five-star hotel are just optional extras for the luxe set). You only need a willingness to invest a little time, effort, and imagination. In the end, if you can both keep your eyes open and still get (and stay) in the right head space for fantastic sex, then you’ve succeeded. We’d give you a medal, but in this case the fantastic sex is its own reward. Plus, we’re all out of medals.

Want more decor advice?
10 Requirements for a Sexy Bedroom

Let’s (Not) Play Sexual Misconduct Bingo!

The #MeToo movement has proven that basically every woman you know (and too many men) have suffered at least one if not several incidents on the sexual misconduct continuum. You can play Sexual Misconduct Bingo, but it’s not a game and nobody wins. The only way to win is for witnesses of inappropriate conduct, victims of sexual harassment, and survivors of sexual assault to keep coming forward, speaking out, and demanding justice.

Sexual Misconduct Bingo: It's not a game and there are no winners.

More on this tough topic:
The Power & Pitfalls of Consent

10 Rules for Surviving Your In-Laws This Holiday Season

You may tie each other up every Monday and feel completely comfortable exploring each other’s less traveled orifices, or you may consider doggie style to be “experimental” — but when it comes to the holidays, we’re all just a bunch of overgrown kids hoping to survive extended time with the in-laws (or potential future in-laws).

We interviewed therapist Dr. Terri Orbuch, author of the book Five Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great, who says she has found, in her long-term study of married couples, that when a husband or wife fails to get along with the in-laws, it’s predictive of marital unhappiness down the road. “On the flip side,” she says, “in the happiest marriages from my study, both spouses reported that they felt close to, or at least got along with, their in-laws.”

We distilled Orbuch’s advice into 10 rules for making sure your relationship survives the onslaught of questionable family members this holiday season.

  1. Make your partner a priority — and stand up for them. You can affect your parents’ behaviors and how they treat your spouse by treating your spouse with respect, dignity, and validation. If your parents love you, they want what is best for you. And the best thing for you is a happy spouse who wants to spend time with your family.
  2. Set a time limit. Short visits may be the happiest ones.
  3. Manage expectations. Don’t expect praise, warmth, and approval from your partner’s family. Realistic expectations reduce frustration.
  4. Your mother-in-law is not your partner. Don’t let the anger you have toward your mother-in-law (or your partner’s drunk inappropriate uncle) be misplaced on your partner.
  5. Learn to say when. You may need to accept the chill between you and your in-laws and simply learn to be decent and get along.
  6. Maintain your relationship privacy. Meddling in-laws sometimes want to invade the privacy between you and your partner. Set clear boundaries regarding what you will tell your in-laws and parents, because they often make terribly biased and unhelpful relationship counselors.
  7. Be a reporter. One of the best ways to keep conversations light is to ask questions and get your in-laws talking — about their work, childhood, interest in hedge trimming, etc. People love talking about themselves.
  8. Deflect — or at least postpone — negativity. If your in-law criticizes you, your partner, or a member of your family, simply smile and reply with a neutral comment, such as, “Think so?” Later, after the holidays are over and you have more control over the setting, you can share that it hurt your feelings.
  9. Play by their house rules. It’s the holidays, do you really need to make an issue out of whether or not you and your partner get to share a bedroom? Besides, who wants to have sex after overindulging in a massive, rich, holiday meal?
  10. Take a walk with your partner. Everyone understands the need for a walk after a big meal. So get out of the house and take some deep breaths together to remind yourselves of who you’re dating/living with/married to (i.e. not each other’s parents!).
This post has been updated.

Is Your Partner’s Mom a Tough Nut to Crack?
How to Win Over Their Mother at Thanksgiving

How to Navigate the Crappy Holidays When You’re Single (Video)

Feeling down in the dumps because you’re going to be single for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s?

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/elf costumes, all those extra Kay Jewelers commercials (that actually make us pine for the Coors twins), and the music about love and joy that’s piped into every pharmacy — despite all that, love is not, actually, all around.

There’s Trump and war and infidelity and Trump and existential crises and depression and Trump and Roy Moore and Harvey Weinstein and people in those pharmacies 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 — drinking Coors in dive bars, most likely — which makes you feel even more alone.

During this season, you might find yourself lingering in the self-help aisle at your local bookshop on Small Business Saturday, 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.

But maybe all your inner child needs is to pig out on some chocolate wrapped in red and green foil. The holidays never used to suck when you were a kid, even if Jeanie from the third grade didn’t get you a Christmas card. And it would never have occurred to you to pine for Jeanie on Christmas morning, because you were too busy ripping open your presents and watching your grandmother get soused. Give thanks this year that your to-do list for the season is as uncomplicated as when you were eight — except this time around, you’re allowed to get drunk, too!

And there are other blessings to be counted:

  • You get to enjoy a year off from celebrating 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.
  • You don’t have to worry that your partner will embarrass you in front of your family by burping, swearing, or talking about your oral sex acumen.
  • And think of all the money you’re saving on presents! You don’t have to fret over whether your partner will break the $50 limit you agreed on, thereby making you look like a cheap bastard.
  • You can get drunk at the office holiday party (that is, if they haven’t been cancelled this year) and gossip with all your coworkers without having to make your partner feel “included.” Then you can make out consensually with a colleague (not a boss or employee!) and pretend to be embarrassed about it for the rest of the year.
  • Best of all, you can wear your comfy pants with the elastic waistband so you can properly indulge — after all, there’s no annoying girlfriend or boyfriend around to complain that they make you look like George Costanza.

Other steps you can take to survive this season from hell include:

  • Doing your shopping early to avoid the worst of the commercial Cheez Whiz (or better yet, doing your shopping online to avoid the trampling masses).
  • Getting together with your single friends and talking shit about your ex and all your annoying lovey-dovey coupled friends.
  • Volunteering at a soup kitchen to put your own crappy holidays in perspective.

But whatever you do, 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.

Read more of our Thanksgiving advice:
Love in the Time of Turkey

Roy Moore: Right Winger (Hair Band Meets Hypocritical Politician)

 
 

 
 

For more on shitty sexual predators:

 

Is What Louis CK Did Rape?

 

The Power and Pitfalls of Consent (Louis CK Part II)

The Weinsteins of the World Get Permission in a Million Little Ways Every Day

10 Easy Ways Not to Be a Misogynist Pig Like Trump

 

LELO Makes Sonic Waves with the SONA & the SONA CRUISE!

Leave it to our friends at LELO to make a sex toy that addresses the misconception that the clitoris is just that little man in a boat you can see and tries to target the entire extensive clitoral network of innervated tissue beneath the surface that extends throughout the pelvic region.

Meet the Sona and the Sona Cruise, two sister pleasure objects that utilize sonic waves and pulses to deliver sensations that are more than skin deep. According to LELO, they stimulate 75% more of the clitoris than conventional vibes, because rather than applying stimulation directly and only on the surface, the Sona creates sonic waves via the “pad” in its “mouth”  that reverberate into the clitoral head and are transmitted throughout its entire structure.

Another unique feature that sets them apart: the Sonas don’t need to come in direct contact with the clitoral head for them to deliver powerful sensations, which means sensitive little bunnies can enjoy more pleasure for longer!

The Features

Like almost all LELO’s, the Sona and the Sona Cruise have these attractive features:

  • Completely Waterproof – Made from a single piece of silicone, this one-piece design keeps it watertight, even at the charging socket. So you can take it to the shower, the bath or the hot tub!
  • Fully USB Rechargeable – A one hour charge will give you an hour of go-time
  • Multiple Pleasure Settings – 8 stimulation patterns that you can increase or decrease in strength
  • Quiet – Since the Sona isn’t a traditional vibrator, it doesn’t sound like one. Great for those who like to be discreet.
  • Easy to Clean – Unlike novelties, LELOs come with care and cleaning instructions.
  • 1 Year Warranty – Plus a 10-year quality guarantee!

Sona Cruise Control


The Sona Cruise has an additional perk: “cruise control. That means when it’s pressed hard against your body it won’t drop its power, so you get a consistent, hassle-free experience. It’s not a setting, it’s completely automatic, and it eliminates the single most common complaint against pleasure products.

Does It Create Wind?

Since we’re all about safety, we wanted to be sure its sonic waves weren’t actually creating wind. Because fun scary fact: if a person were to create a seal with their mouth around the vaginal opening and then blow inside, there’s a small chance it could create an air bubble that gets into the bloodstream and then causes a fatal embolism. So we reached out to LELO and asked them: If someone inserted the tip into their vaginal opening (rather than applying externally to their clitoral head), is there any chance this could happen? Here’s what they said:

There’s a false equivalency at work here: SONA does not create wind in the same way as, say, blowing into the vagina. If you were to blow into a person, you have about 6 liters of lung capacity to convert into exhalation, injecting air into it. SONA has no respiratory capacity at all, so it’s simply not a comparable scenario as SONA has no air to inject. SONA only resonates the existing air, it doesn’t add more, so in direct answer to your question, no, there is no chance at all of an embolism.

On Sale NOW!

At the time of this printing, the Sona Cruise is 45% OFF and the Sona is a whopping 54% OFF! Use coupon code EMANDLO17 for an additional 15% OFF! More than half off a luxury LELO? Deals don’t get much sweeter than that!

Do It Tonight! The Pre-Sex Massage

We regularly post quick and easy tips you can take home with you and try out on any given night. Whether you’re a newbie, a playa, or a committed monogamist, you have no excuse for not putting a little effort into your lovin’ every now and then, like with a pre-sex massage.

The Pre-Sex Massage

Couples, the next time you have sex, treat your partner to a 20-minute (minimum) massage first. Turn up the heat in the room, turn down the lights, undress them, and give them an all-over body rub-down, avoiding the obvious erogenous zones until the very end. No need to use oil or put on Enya, but if you do the former, just remember to keep it away from genitals as it can lead to vaginal infection and break down condoms. If you do the latter, we can’t help you.

For specific tips on pre-sex massage technique, check out these helpful articles:

[Updated post]
Thanks to You, We’re Sex Blogger Superheroes!

Thanks to everyone who nominated us for Kinkly’s Top 100 Sex Bloggers list! We made the cut, along with a lot of other cool sites we’re honored to share the space with.

Like Kinkly says:

…it’s easy to take for granted how much the internet has done for sex education. No matter who you are or where you are, you can log on and connect with whatever you need — including other people just like you. You can get the sex education your school won’t give you. Or, if you’re an adult, the one you never got. You can find out that that fantasy you have is perfectly normal, because, look!, other people fantasize about the same thing. You can learn how to use contraception and, if it’s hard to come by where you live, perhaps where to get it. You can learn how to have better sex, how to treat your partner better and with more respect, how to bring more pleasure into your body. You can learn about sex toys and how to use them — and choose them. And, perhaps most importantly, you can figure out how to have the kind of sex you want to have, starting with what that might mean for you. When it comes to sex, getting good information online may not be brand new, but something is definitely happening here in the sense that the information available is more readily available, of higher quality and easier to find.

We’ve always believed that the best sex advice is universal, no matter your gender, junk or orientation.  Over the past almost 20 years, we’ve tried to offer insight and suggestions to help make sexual relationships more informed, respectful, egalitarian, and just. But we’ve tried to balance out our earnestness with a healthy sense of humor and lots of ridiculous ’80s pop culture references. We hope you find EMandLO.com informative yet fun, opinionated but not (too) judgmental, philosophically complex yet down-to-earth, sexy but never sleazy, progressive and ethical.

Thank you so much for being here!

Search our Sex Advice Archive! 

What Are the Best Intercourse Positions for Shallow Penetration to Avoid Cervical Pain?

This week, a reader wants to know what the best positions for shallow penetration are. Got your own sex or relationship question? Send it to us here and we’ll do our very best to answer it!

Hi Em & Lo,

So me and my boyfriend have been struggling to figure out positions to where he stops hitting my cervix. My cervix opening is only about 3 inches into my vagina and it’s making intercourse very tricky. I do not have a tilted uterus or anything and I got a Paraguard IUD inserted about 3 months ago and my gyno never said anything, except there were complications with my cervix during the procedure. Do you know any tips or positions that might reduce him hitting a shallow cervix? Thank you very much for your time!

— Prob-positioned

Dear P,

First thing’s first: if this cervical discomfort started happening only after you got your IUD, you should definitely speak with your gynecologist about possible IUD-related complications.

Assuming everything’s A-OK with your IUD, let’s move on to the wonderful world of positions:

Not every heterosexual couple fits together perfectly. She might be petite and his penis might be bigger than average. She might be tall and his penis might be smaller than average. One might be slim and the other husky. He might love doggy style but she hates G-spot stimulation. All hetero couples need to work together to find sexual techniques and intercourse positions that they both enjoy comfortably. This requires communication and compromise, things that may not come naturally for people brought up on romance (when it’s right, the sex will be magical) and/or porn (tricky positions produce squirting money shots on demand!).

Obviously, you want to avoid the positions that provide deep penetration. These are often the standard go-to position for guys that usually feel great for them and thus make a lot of appearances in porn: the missionary position (especially with the woman’s legs up and out, or over his shoulders, or bent and back, maybe even as far as her ears!) and doggy style. These are two positions that allow him to thrust away without much restraint, which means your cervix can get a real pounding.

Instead, think of positions that do at least one of two things:

1) Put you in control of the motion.
AND/OR
2) Limit his mobility.

Any position where you’re on top will help you control the thrusting motion, speed and depth. And talk with him about trying to resist bucking up against you like a bronco. You might find Reverse Cowgirl especially effective, since the angle is a little trickier than forward-facing Cowgirl and you can put some weight on his legs with your hands, arms or torso.

But you’ll have the most versatility with positions for shallow penetration in which you’re both lying down fairly flat with your own legs fairly close together. We’re talking:

The Coital Alignment Technique (C.A.T.): read up on it here.

The Reverse Coital Alignment Technique: read up on it here.

Spooning sex: you’re both lying on your sides and he comes in from behind. Keep your legs together for less depth.

Overlapping legs: One of you is on the bottom, the other on top, in a sorted shifted missionary where one of your legs is between your partner’s legs and your other is outside theirs. This means penetration will be aimed off to one side, rather than straight for the cervix.

Perpendicular sex: He’s on his side, you lie on your back perpendicular to him, with your legs over his hips so your genitals line up. This may not work for you, but it’s worth a try.

Lazy doggy: you’re both fairly flat and his legs are on either side of yours.

You can also try Standing-Up sex — it’s the same idea as most of the  above: you’re both flat against each other with an angle of penetration that prevents deep penetration. Just resist the temptation to jump up and wrap your legs around him!

Now, while we’re all for encouraging you to try lots of different positions, we’re also big fans of NOT equating sex with intercourse, especially since so many women have trouble climaxing from intercourse alone. There are many routes to orgasm, and despite conventional wisdom (thanks Freud!), intercourse is not the best/most mature/ideal/only one. Stop thinking of intercourse as the end game of all sexual encounters, and a whole new playing field of sexual possibilities opens up: handwork, oral, sex toys, mutual masturbation, anal play… As long as you both end up at the destination of Pleasured and Satisfied, who cares how you get there?

Striking a pose,
Em & Lo

P.S. Thank you for debunking the myth that all straight women automatically want 7 inches or more in the bedroom.

Rethink intercourse:
8 Ideas for Improving the Old In-Out

7 Tips for Determining Who Pays on a Date

Do people even go on dates anymore? It may be a dying tradition, but they still happen. And while they may be cheap, they ain’t never free. So who pays on a date?

This is the 21st century: the old assumption that the man always coughs up doesn’t fly anymore. There might not even be a man on your date! Better to assume the parties on the date will share all costs — it establishes a sense of egalitarianism in any budding relationship and avoids any weird power dynamics that might result from one person paying and feeling owed something. This should be standard with online dating, where everyone is looking and whoever “officially” does the asking first is fairly arbitrary.

But some people still think it’s nice to “gift” someone a fun time, so consider these 7 rules for determining who pays.

  1. Whoever did the asking should assume they’re paying for the whole date and should offer to do so. (And straight ladies, you should be asking as much as you’re being asked out! Remember: 21st century and all that jazz…)
  2. That said, if you’ve been asked out, you should always assume you’ll be going dutch to, yes, instill a sense of egalitarianism in any budding relationship early on…and to avoid disappointment. Bring cash so you don’t end up washing dishes.
  3. When the check comes, the one who was asked out should offer to go halvsies — and they should try to sound like they mean it. If the one asked out really forcefully insists on splitting the bill, the one who did the asking should consider graciously honoring the request as a way to — we’ll say it again — instill a sense of egalitarianism in this budding relationship (after all, that’s probably the intent of the person forcefully insisting on splitting).
  4. If you end up sharing the bill, split it evenly, even if one of you got lobster. Exact breakdowns are for roomies, siblings, and other people with no plans to get naked.
  5. In a battle of the Amexes, defer to the one who did the asking (maybe they really want the miles). Though if you want to be high maintenance, you can have the server run two cards.
  6. If your date absolutely insists on getting the whole thing, this is your excuse to extend the date. Offer to buy cocktails or coffee at the bar across the street, or insist the next date’s on you.
  7. Though we’d like to believe that everyone knows better by now, we should note that no matter how much your date spends on dinner, you do not owe them a thing in the booty department — not even a kiss.
This post has been updated.

MORE LIKE THIS ON EMandLO.com:

My Boyfriend Masturbates to Facebook Friends — Is That Normal?

Dear Em & Lo,

My ex and I were in a relationship for just over 2 years. We broke up recently as he preferred to masturbate to his friends Facebook photos than have sex with me. I had known about it all throughout the relationship and tried to get him to stop. It really killed my self esteem and now he’s trying to tell me it’s normal for guys to do this, but wont confess his “habit” to anyone else. It hurts because I know he is playing the victim card to all his family and friends without telling them the whole story and now I feel like I’m the one with the problem.

Is this normal? Am I overreacting? How do you deal with something like this? HELP!

— Exed Out

Dear E.O.,

Two years is a long time, so of course you’re feeling a lot of pain from this breakup. Especially when he’s trying to make you feel like you’re the bad guy for having certain sexual standards and then advertising you as such to friends and family without, shall we say, coming clean. There’s no way around it: it’s a total bummer.

We can’t really speak to what is “normal.” Proclivities and preferences vary so greatly that it’s not only unfair, but damn near impossible, to categorize sexual activities into two distinct boxes labeled “normal” and “abnormal.” But the fact that he won’t admit this habit to others seems to undermine his claim that all guys do it. We would not begrudge you feeling a little vindication over that.

What we can speak to is what is right for you. Obviously, you were hurt by his particular habit. It’s okay to want a partner who prefers sex with you over porn. It’s okay to hope a partner’s masturbatory habits involve more anonymous fantasies rather than actual friends and neighbors (which can make dinner parties mighty awkward). While we acknowledge that many successful relationships include compromise, it’s okay to have certain red lines that you don’t want crossed (e.g. Facebook being a masturbation-free zone). In other words, what worked for him clearly didn’t work for you — and, again, that’s okay. You had the self-awareness to know this relationship was not good for your own self-esteem and got out. That is to be commended.

As far as “how to deal with something like this” goes: You can’t control his behavior, only your own. So feel good about ending a relationship that clearly wasn’t right for you, be confident in your own sexual preferences, and then get out there and find someone who shares them!

— Em & Lo

Trying to get over an ex?
Visit Our Breakup Archive!

The 10 Sexiest Scary Movies

A lot of horror movies just throw in the obligatory topless scene and consider that “sexy.” We’re raising the bar here. All the movies below (except one) receive fresh ratings on RottenTomatoes.com’s ‘s Tomatometer and were seminal contributions to the horror genre in some way. Or else they just tickled our fright fancy. (There was some natural crossover with our recent “10 Most Romantic ‘Monster’ Movies” post, but we left off any of those to avoid repetition.) The sexy scary flicks are listed in chronological order (there’s only one real spoiler, which we’ve alerted you to below). Let us know in the comments which other titles we should have made the “sexiest scary movies” cut.

 

1. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)


The somnabulist that Dr. Caligari keeps in a coffin is tall, pale, dressed in black, and wears lots of goth makeup — in other words, totally sexy! When it comes to tormenting pretty ladies dressed in white, we’ll take him over 1922’s long-nosed Nosferatu any day.  “Portlandia” did a whole sketch on how The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is one of those films you know you should watch (it’s a landmark, cinematic masterpiece of German Expressionism!) but you never do. Do it finally! (We’ve embedded the full movie above.)

2. Cat People (1942)


Not to be confused with the graphic cheese-fest that was the 1982 remake, this moody, suspenseful thriller subtly tackled big issues for the time: sexism, sexual abuse, the power of female sexuality, and the dangers of jealousy. The main character refuses to consummate her marriage for fear she’ll turn into a ferocious panther when aroused, a condition caused by her repressive and abusive childhood. One can imagine ISIS using it as a propagandistic cautionary tale; they’d be missing the point.

 

3. Horror of Dracula (1958)


Time Out London’s list of the top 100 horror films of all time put this film at #74. Here’s what they had to say:

The British horror boom which ran from the late ’50s until the early ’70s received short shrift on this list – which is disappointing for great films like ‘Curse of Frankenstein’, ‘Theatre of Blood’ and ‘Death Line’, but perhaps inevitable given the fact that so many films of the period have aged so poorly. But it’s no surprise to see a solid placing for the film which started it all, Hammer’s (for the time) groundbreakingly savage and saucy take on Stoker’s classic novel, and one of the key works in the modernisation of horror. All those frilly frocks, heaving cleavages and creaky sets don’t look especially modern now, but this was the film which clarified forever the link between vampires and eroticism, as embodied by Lee’s stately, stalking presence as the ultimate gentleman sex fiend.

We agree.

 

4. Daughters of Darkness (1971)


The fabulous silver sequined dress Delphine Seyrig wears as the ageless Countess at an old grand seaside hotel is enough to get this Belgian movie on our list. But her and her sapphic sidekick’s sensually sadistic seduction of two sad honeymooners scream sexy with a capital S. (That’s a lot of esses.)
Bonus:  DoD reminds us of another disturbing seventies flick: Andy Warhol’s Flesh for Frankenstein (1974), an over-the-top camp concoction that shamelessly mixes sex and gore until the two are indistinguishable.

 

5. Don’t Look Now (1973)


Super creepy movie about the tragic death of a daughter from the perspective of the two parents trying to keep reality from descending into horror (yeah, good luck with that!). It’s beautifully shot in Venice, which is sexy in and of itself, but what makes it stand out is the incredibly realistic sex scene between husband and wife intercut with post-sex shots of them getting ready for the evening. One of the most intimate sex scenes ever made. Just remember it was the 70s — hopefully you can get past the flute music and Donald Sutherland’s perm.

 

6. Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)


It’s about the sexual awakening — and then some — of a conservative, virginal couple (Susan Sarandon and Barry Boswick)  in the hands of Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry), the mad scientist who’s incredibly and inspiringly comfortable in his “transvestite” skin. Almost every song in this twisted cult classic send up of old sci-fi and B-horror is an ode to sensuality. “Touch-A, Touch-A, Touch Me” sung by Sarandon’s Janet is pretty obvious (“I wanna be dirty/Thrill me, chill me, fulfill me”) but there’s no sexier line than the one from “Rose Tint My World” sung by the newly empowered Janet: “I feel released/Bad times deceased/My confidence has increased/Reality is here.”

 

7. The Hunger (1983)


Another Susan Sarandon vehicle, The Hunger is the only one on our list not to get a fresh rating on RottenTomatoes.com. But come on, it’s got Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie as vampire lovers! (Pictured above.) That’s the definition of sexy. Add to that the lesbian “love” scene between Deneuve and Sarandon, plus the kickass soundtrack (with Bach’s Cello Suite #1 alongside Bauhaus’s goth classic, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”), and we’re giving this a thumbs up.

 

8. Angel Heart (1987)


Spoiler alert: If you can get past the the fact that the sex scene involves an adult (played by Mickey Rourke) fucking a minor (played by Lisa “Cosby Show” Bonet)…who’s mother is his ex-lover…whom he murdered…and who, it turns out, is his daughter from that dead ex-lover…whom he will kill after they have sex…by shooting her in the freakin’ vajayjay, well then that scene is pretty damned hot (emphasis on the damned).

9. American Psycho (2000)


We realize that by including American Psycho in this list, we’re guilty of the same kind of sexually shallow, consumeristic, image-conscious obsession the movie (based on the Bret Easton Ellis book) is making fun of with its sexually shallow, consumeristic, image-conscious obsessed, serial-killing main character. But it’s not often that movies gaze so lovingly and longingly (however ironically) at the idealized male form (yet another reason Hollywood needs more female directors like this one’s, Mary Harron). So Christian Bale’s chiseled pecs and glutes earn the film a spot on our list.

10. Thirst (2009)


In his 1996 essay “Hail the Returning Dragon, Clothed in New Fire,” David Foster Wallace argued that obstacles are what make sex meaningful and sexy (dragons got in the way of maidens, AIDS got in the way malaise-inducing free love). South Korea’s Thirst is a tale with some serious obstacles: he’s a Catholic priest, she’s a married woman; he’s a vampire, she’s not…not yet at least. It doesn’t get much more forbidden than that.


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8 Odd Couples Costumes for 2017

Timely couples costumes are always a hit. And the odder, the better. Political is always risky, but you can probably pull it off. So here are some last minute couples costumes for 2017. As always, do NOT change the shade of your skin (except in the case of creepy clown white). Happy Halloween!


1. Trump Puppet & Putin Puppeteer

The world’s greatest power couple.

 


2. Milo Yiannopolis & Berkeley Protester

Alt-right outrageousness meets righteous indignation.

 


3. Kendall Jenner with a Pepsi & Riot Police Officer

Go as the worst commercial of 2017.

 

4. NFL Player & American Flag Patriot

 


5. Martha Stewart & Snoop Dogg

This unexpected duo was Emmy-freaking-nominated!

 

6. Wonder Woman & Doctor Poison
Two strong women with very different values.

 


7. Two Cats with Plates & Call Bells

Two cats playing dueling call bells — the viral sensation of the year!

 

8. Kellyanne Clownway & Anthony Scarymucci
Inspired by the SNL skit, one person does Pennywise makeup with a blonde wig while the other wears bronzer, mirrored shades, a pale blue tie and fangs to go as that vampire, The Mooch.

 

Check Out Our Halloween Issue!

Drunk-Texting an Ex: Good Idea, Bad Idea, or Worst Idea Ever?

Three things always seem like a good idea when you’re drunk: Having another drink, going to Mickey D’s, and texting your most recent ex. You wake the next morning with a pounding head, a roiling stomach, and a cringing feeling as you scroll messages on your phone. And there they are: Sixteen rambling texts to your ex at 3:10 a.m., followed by thirteen texts to your best friend at 3:17 a.m., and then two more to your ex again. You remember only the first one.

Common knowledge (a.k.a. your best friend) would have it that these texts are a Very Bad Idea. High on truth serum, you say things you’d never say sober. You say things you didn’t say at the break-up, either because you were too broken-hearted, or too concerned with your ex’s broken heart. You say things that are far too messy to say at the time of the actual split, like “Can I come over?” or, “I hate you! Can I come over?”

But it’s the messiness that makes most break-ups bearable. (What did you think all those nighttime and weekend minutes were for, anyway?) Drunk-dialing is a relationship amnesty where all rules of appropriate behavior are called off, where nothing spilled requires a morning-after apology or explanation. It’s a pay-as-you-go conversation that rarely affects the long-term outcome of things (the immediate short-term is a whole other story), though it does take the edge off such soul-crushing activities as dividing property and debating pet custody. It offers the texter a cathartic release. And even if you’re mortified the next day, that humiliation often helps move the all-important “closure” process along (whether you want it to or not…whether you like it or not).

Of course, sometimes the call IS a bad idea. Sometimes it’s too early, or too late, or already too messy for an amnesty chat. And that’s when you install the Drunk Mode app on your phone: it allows you to hide certain contacts on your phone, before you get drunk, for up to 12 hours. But even that takes discipline you might not have, especially after a brutal breakup. It may be better to hand your phone over to a trusted designated dialer on those crazy late nights out. Or better yet, muster up 1-second’s worth of courage to delete your ex’s number for good.

Let’s just hope you don’t have it memorized.  

Need broken-heart help?
5 Easy Steps to Get Over a Breakup

 

 

When Your Son Wants to Wear Nail Polish…

Show him this!

Em’s six year old is a cool, creative kid who occasionally likes to wear nail polish and hair dye. He also happens to be a boy. This — surprise, surprise! — means he’s been teased multiple times at school for it with the refrain “Only girls do that!” It’s a narrow world-view based on traditional, stereotypical, and often arbitrary gender roles that’s passed down from parents to their kids, then regurgitated on playgrounds, and spread like a case of lice among impressionable children grappling with identity-formation:

If I’m a boy, and boys don’t wear nail polish (play with dolls/talk about their feelings/express sad emotions), then I guess I can never wear nail polish (play with dolls/talk about my feelings/express sad emotions). Better start making fun of any boys breaking the ‘rules’!

But come on, what kid wouldn’t want to wear nail polish if given the freedom to?

When Em’s awesome, lilac-haired, tattooed sister-in-law Kat caught wind of the situation, she wrote this:

Aside from wanting to murder, my heart broke for the little guy. I know he’ll be fine but I made this for him, and his sister too, just as a little extra reminder that there are some bad ass guys out there with super cool hair and painted nails!
Attached was the below graphic. It’s a tribute to creative expression, fierce originality, and social bravery — all qualities we should encourage our kids not to make fun of but to embrace!

When Your Son Wants to Wear Nail Polish - EMandLO.com

 

How NOT to raise little gender police officers:
10 Quick Lessons from “Parenting Beyond Pink & Blue”

10 Steps to Orgasming WITH Your Partner

One of the most common questions we receive from heterosexual women is, “How can I orgasm in bed with my partner?” The really demanding ones want to know how to orgasm simultaneously, during penetration, every time. If this is you, then sorry, you’re out of luck; if we knew the answer to that question, we’d be richer than Oprah. But here are 10 things we do know that will help increase your chances of orgasming with your partner in bed tonight…

1. Take intercourse off its pedestal.

Are you assuming that “sex” means penile penetration? If so, that’s your first mistake. Maybe you’ve tried many intercourse positions, but it’s not necessarily an intercourse position that will ultimately do it for you — maybe it’s oral sex, or handwork, or some combination of the two. There’s no shame in getting your orgasm via non-intercourse means — the majority of women don’t. Nor is there any shame in you having your orgasm and then him having his. Remember, sex — especially for women — doesn’t necessarily happen in a straight line, i.e.  your orgasm won’t necessarily be located conveniently at his finish line, or vice versa. Plus, it’s much easier for gals to keep going after a Big O than the lads. And you may find that certain intercourse positions feel even better (perhaps even orgasmic) after you’ve had one orgasm.

2. Focus on your clitoral network. 

Again, intercourse alone is orgasmic for very few women, given how far the exposed part of the clitoris is from the vaginal opening — and how key clitoral head stimulation is for most women’s orgasms. So don’t forget to supplement all those positions with a little extra stimulation at the apex of the vulva, whether with your hand, his hand, a small vibrator, a helpful neighbor’s hand…

3. Three words: Coital Alignment Technique.

Learn it, live it, love it. In fact, any position where your bodies are mashed up against each other is good — because close contact means more friction down there, and more friction down there means more clitoral stimulation.

4. Try a vibrating love ring.

Like this one from LELO. Or this one from GoodVibes. Because vibrating clitoral stimulation could be just the thing your intercourse life has been missing. You know all those times a dude looks at a traditional vibrator and thinks, “Hey, my penis doesn’t vibrate like that? No fair!” Well, now the playing field has been evened.

5. Show him exactly what you like.

If you can orgasm on your own, try playing a little show-and-tell, teaching your partner how to mimic the thing(s) you do. Be specific. But remember: there are still some guys who don’t like being told what to do, who think that sex should come naturally and that getting tips from you is emasculating. If that’s not a deal breaker for you, then treat delicate egos gently, but not at the expense of asking for what you want/need.

6. Masturbate.

If, on the other hand, you can’t orgasm on your own, then scratch everything else we’ve said for now and start masturbating! Often! Treat yourself to a nice vibrator, dim the lights, think some sexy thoughts and let the love flow. Because in our nearly twenty years of dishing sex advice, most women we’ve spoken to find it easier to learn solo first.

7. Sex toys are your friend.

If your partner is the jealous type, remind him that sex toys don’t cuddle and they’re useless at pillow talk. In addition to vibrating love rings, there are tons of other great toys for couples, like finger toys (which can really turn hand work up to eleven) and small pebble-like vibrators, which can nestle comfortably between your bodies.

8. Have you lubed today?

Remember, man-made lube is not a crutch and using it doesn’t mean you’re not that into the sex. In fact, lube is one of the greatest bedside accessories we know. Using lube means that your sensitive parts are less likely to get over-sensitive while you’re trying out various different hand, tongue, toy, and intercourse techniques. And you’ll avoid rug burn!

9. Try not to over-think your orgasm.

It sounds impossible, we know, but the more you stress about your happy ending, the less likely it is to happen. Sure, keep experimenting, and try out everything we’ve suggested here — but try not to think about this as a mission to O. Rather, it’s a mission to improve your sex life. Because orgasms are kind of like bad boys — the more you ignore them, the more likely they are to show up.

10. Finally, be patient.

Just because your orgasm hasn’t made an appearance yet, doesn’t mean it won’t. Orgasms are mysterious things and sometimes things just click into place one day. Hey, long-term monogamy has got to have its benefits, otherwise we’d never enjoy the pleasure of board games.

We hate to sound like a self-help book (what color is your parachute, anyway?), but when it comes to sex, the journey is meant to be at least half the fun. Of course every woman has the right to an orgasm with her partner, and we understand our readers’ frustration.  You should definitely be demanding, but don’t forget to appreciate your relationship, too,  because having a good time together is the best foundation for having an orgasmic time together.

This post has been updated.

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