photo by hmk
If your pick-up line — whether it’s “Hi my name is Pat” or “How much does a polar bear weigh? Enough to break the ice!” — actually turns into a conversation, don’t assume you’re on the home stretch. Nope, you could still screw things up royally. Like talking about the weather, for example, or the heat of the room. We’d also avoid the topics of astrology, college majors, exes, reproductive rights legislation, shopping, infidelity, and children. Safe topics include: the bar (et cetera) that you are in, if he or she lives in the neighborhood, what he or she does for a living, some inane law your mayor recently passed, the movie you just saw, his or her darts skills, the flossing-before-OR-after-brushing conundrum, HBO, mullet websites, and how much a polar bear does, actually, weigh.
photo by Gemma Longman
Knowing how to shake hands properly is not necessarily a sex- or relationship-related skill. However, it can certainly get a potential love or lust connection off to the wrong start — it could even squelch that potential entirely! So when you’re out tonight at a party, meeting new people and shaking hands, do it right. Avoid grips in the extreme — your hand should pass for neither a vice nor a wet noodle. Your grip should feel firm yet comforting, like a blood pressure strap after one squeeze of the air ball. Look the person in the eye for the duration of the handshake. Three shakes will suffice. These rules hold fast no matter the gender of the shakers. Women and men work, play, and screw like rabbits as equals, and the proper handshake should reflect this. Ladies, have you ever seen Martha Stewart shake hands? She thinks she’s the Queen, offering just her fingertips like she’s dipping them in Palmolive — and consider how much sex appeal she has! Gentlemen, the only hand you should be accepting merely the fingers of, rather than the full palm, is your grandmother’s.
photo by Pato Garza
If you want a little freedom from all your daily responsibilities, if you’re sick of having to make decisions, if you kinda like being held down and tickled….then why not spend an evening being submissive for a change? Let your partner call all the shots. By being (temporarily) submissive in the bedroom, you can get caught up in the moment. You don’t have to think. You don’t have to do anything; only what you’re told. Which is not to say that you’re passive; you are receptive, responsive, appreciative, grateful. And no, there’s no correlation between social, economic, or mental status and your power preference. Being dominated isn’t demeaning; it’s fun! So set some ground rules, set a time limit, come up with a safeword that means “time out,” and then take it and like it.
photo by Andre Natta
A note to straight men: We’re constantly hearing you guys complain that you have to do all the pick-up leg-work. But then when a woman does attempt to hit on you in a bar, you turn around and call her “desperate.” (Er, who made off with your self-esteem, anyway?) Admittedly, you don’t get hit on nearly as often as straight gals do, so you don’t have nearly as much practice at (politely) rejecting an unwelcome advance. Which means that when a brave lady does attempt to buy you a drink or engage you in conversation, you have a tendency to be awkward and weird about it. But what’s so “desperate” about knowing what you want and going for it? She shouldn’t be made to feel like she fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down just because she asked you to dance. It’s not like she’s asking you to bear her children. You never know, she may actually just want to use you for sex. So be nice to the women trying to even the playing field!
Oh, and ladies? Keep asking! And try not to take it personally if a guy is a douche when you ask him how he likes his eggs in the morning. He’s just had less practice than you.
photo by trec_lit
In this economy, terms like “upgrade” and “luxury” and “premium” are almost four-letter words. But if we’re talking about a product that usually costs under a dollar, we’re hoping you can afford to invest just a few more cents in it. (Come on, all the cool kids know that a recession is no time to sacrifice your sex life.) After all, what’s at stake is your pleasure and safety — two of the most important things we can think of when it comes to your personal life! So instead of the straight, tubular latex you get from the drugstore, go to a proper sex shop and check out the variety of materials, shapes and textures that can vastly improve your rubber bumping. A condom sampler pack is a great place to start!
photo by strelitzia
We know that masturbation feels like an easy lay, but just because you’re a sure thing, doesn’t mean you always have to treat yourself that way. Ladies: Light some candles, dim the lights, take a long bath (with a dirty Ducky, perhaps), pour yourself a glass of wine, moisturize your entire body, play that album you’d never admit actually turns you on, read the dirty parts of Anne Rice novels, watch gay porn, fantasize about the Fedex guy. Gentlemen, feel free to take a leisurely candle-lit bubble bath, too. But if that just sounds to you like a way to get pruny skin, then treat yourself to some new manly man lube instead (Gun Oil was actually developed by soldiers in the field, dude). And all of you: take your time and tease yourselves a little, would ya?
photo by Mike Goren
Lube gets a bad rap, so we’d like to clear its name here once and for all: Store-bought personal lubricant is not a “crutch” for people with faulty machinery. And reaching for the wet stuff doesn’t mean you’re “not into it,” “frigid” or “kinky.” For women, natural lubrication doesn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with sexual arousal. Plus, smoking, caffeine, booze, weed, stress, certain days in your menstrual cycle, and cold medicine can all dry you up. Oh yeah, and adding extra lubrication means your sensitive parts can take more and more kinds of stimulation without getting over-sensitive.
But don’t even thinking about pulling a Marlon Brando and reaching for the butter (not even the olive oil, yuppie). Oils can degrade latex (i.e. break the condom!) and can also encourage vaginal infections. So when you’re a friend in need, manmade lubricant is a friend indeed. Don’t have any on your nighstand? We’re big fans of GoodVibes’ organic water-based lube.
photo by Wolfgang Staudt
Most people have that one, fail-safe way that gets them from point A to point O quickly and directly, scenic lookout points be damned! And when you’re busy or tired (read: every minute of every day), it’s easy (and understandable) to resort to that surefire route on the rare occasion you do get around to doing it.¬† But tonight, whether you’re alone or with a partner, give yourself at least 30 minutes — okay, 20 — to try to have an orgasm in a different way: use a new hand technique, get in a different position, try a new toy, or just try it without your toy for once. The more ways you can train your body to have an orgasm, the less chance your orgasm has of ever getting old (not that that is a huge risk or anything). But don’t worry if you haven’t gotten to O-town before time’s up; remember, the journey is 90% the fun!
photo by peregrine blue
Lately everyone from Oprah to Real Simple to the guy at Harvard who teaches a class on happiness has been talking about gratitude journals — you know, every night you write down, say, five things you were grateful for that day. Could be big things (my wonderful supportive family) or small (Honey Bunches of Oats at midnight). Sounds too simplistic to make you feel better about your life, right? But if you’ve ever tried it then you know it actually works! So if you have a gratitude journal, great; if not, start one. Then, make sure you dedicate at least one of the items on your list every day to something sex- or romance-related: my Hitachi Magic Wand, the response I got on online personals, the delicious dinner my partner cooked for me, choosing sex over tv, the look on my spouse’s face when I surprised them with a pre-sex massage, spontaneous declarations of love from my partner, organic natural lubricant, etc. If gratitude journals work on your life in general, then why not on your love life?
photo by W00kie
We’ll be regularly posting 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 (even if the only person you’re currently dating is yourself).
For 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.