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10 Questions to Ask Each Other Before Getting Married

March 24, 2015

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We’re not talking here about the kinds of questions everyone should ask each other before deciding to get married — things that could be actual deal-breakers, like, Do you want kids? And, Are you a member of the Republican party? No, these ten questions are things you should ask each other in order to have a more harmonious, fulfilling marriage together. The answers to these questions shouldn’t be deal-breakers — but knowing the answers to these questions should help make you a better spouse.

We don’t expect you to do exactly as your partner would like after asking and answering these questions — after all, their preferences might be completely unreasonable! (Ahem, porn, ahem.) But it is helpful, at least, to know what their preferences are, so you can be sensitive to them.

(Oh, and: All this advice could also refer to people are deciding simply to co-habitate ’til death do them part. For the purposes of this article, “marriage” is simply short-hand for “forever love.”)

1. Where do you draw the line between intimacy and T.M.I.?

Are you okay with me peeing in front of you? Should I close the door before pooping? What about hair removal? Should I knock if the bathroom door is closed? Do we have an open-fart policy? Would you prefer I didn’t read your email and text messages? Etc.

2.

a. What are your feelings on masturbation?

I will probably want to masturbate at some point during our marriage. Possibly fairly often. Where and how would you prefer I did this? And are you okay knowing that I do this, or would you prefer a don’t-ask-don’t-approach to self-love?

b. What’s your position on porn/erotica?

Will we be watching/reading it together? Can or should we watch/read it alone? Do you have any restrictions on the kind  you’d prefer I consumed (or how often, or where, etc)? Do you think restrictions are reasonable to begin with? Would you like me to always let you know when I’m going to enjoy it? Or would you prefer that I never discuss porn with you and pretend it doesn’t exist?

3. How much or little can we let ourselves go?

FYI, it’s much easier to discuss this topic before either of you adds on fifty pounds. Does your partner expect to be found attractive through thick and thin…waistlines? You may always love your partner, no matter how they look — that’s easy to promise. But attraction is a different beast. Sure, there are some things people can’t control (disease-repeated weight gain, genetic hair loss, etc.), but we all have a certain amount of control over the way we look. Do you expect your partner to take pains to fight the aging process, or do you expect that with age (and marriage) comes some amount of inevitable, understandable, and therefore forgivable deterioration? Where along this spectrum do you two lie, and if it’s worlds apart, can you meet somewhere in the middle?

4. Will we air our dirty laundry?

Do you mind if I tell my friends when we have a fight? Do you mind if I tell them when we have really good sex? What about if we have really bad sex? Can I talk about your crazy family?

5. Do you want me to tell you if you’re having a bad hair (etc.) day?

Yes, it is a spousal responsibility to let each other know if one of you has a piece of toilet paper stuck to their shoe, spinach in their teeth, or their fly down. But what about the other stuff in life? Do you want me to be honest when you try on an outfit for me? Do you want me to honest when you ask if your hair is thinning? Do you want me to tell you if you’re being too loud at a party? Do you want me to tell you if that anecdote you’ve been bringing out at every single social gathering is really not that funny? Etc.

6. How do you feel about ladies’/guys’ nights out?

How often will we be seeing our friends without each other? Are there any activities you would be bummed about if I did them without you? (And, related: Which TV shows can I go ahead and watch some episodes of without you while you’re gone?)

7. How do you feel about my exes?

Are we staying in touch with our exes? Just Facebook? Just email? Phone? What about in-person get-togethers? Groups only, or is one-on-one acceptable? Day-time meetings only, or are late-night drinks get-togethers kosher? Etc.

8. Will we talk about our fantasies?

Can we tell each other when we find someone else attractive? Can we share sexual fantasies? Do you expect me to share all my fantasies? What if I don’t want to share any of them? Is there anything you will never want to do in bed? Is there anything you’ve always wanted to do in bed?

9. How do you feel about adultery?

Of course we’re promising to never cheat or lie or kiss or sleep with someone else. But let’s face it: some people cheat.  You may be 100% sure you’ll never cheat on your partner, and vice versa, but still — it’s good to talk about this stuff anyway. Do you believe that lifelong monogamy is realistic for humans? Is cheating immediate grounds for divorce? If it’s just a drunken one-night stand with a complete stranger, would you rather not know, if I promise never to do it again? Okay, probably not, but what if it’s just a drunken kiss and nothing more? Do you mind if I text-flirt with someone, so long as we never do anything? What about e-flirting with complete strangers? Could an open relationship ever be even a remote possibility?

10. Do either of us have minimum amounts of sex we expect?

Rarely are two people’s libidos perfectly matched. But someone who requires sex every other day may have a hard time living happily ever after with someone who could take or leave it once every other month. How much sex do we expect? Are there certain acts each of us feels we need to be satisfied? (Oral sex, for example.) And when we hit a rut — and we will hit a rut – will we just ignore it and assume our sex life will bounce back eventually, that it will come and go in waves over the years? Or do we think that a rut is the beginning of the end? And if so, should we pick a codeword to say to each other when it’s reached that point? Will we consider sex manuals? Sex therapy? Couples therapy? Opening our relationship? Divorce? Or will a rut not be that big a deal to us, considering all the other things we’ve got going on in our lives?

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6 Questions to Ask Yourself BEFORE Confessing Your Love to Your BFF

March 20, 2015

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We all know how it goes. Sometimes, we want the things we can’t have.

It’s hard when you think you’re fine being just friends with someone, but once they change their Facebook status to “In a relationship”, you realize you’re not as happy for them as you should be. Falling in love is sometimes messy—amazingly messy.

It’s especially so when you fall for a close friend who is in the dark about the feelings you’ve been harboring. Maybe, until recently, you were too. So, what do you do?

It seems simple enough to just blurt out, “Oh hey, I’m in love with you,” but it’s not. It’s risky to say something (as well as not to) and there are consequences. Before rushing in to anything, here are 6 questions you should ask yourself before dropping the L bomb.

1. Will your friendship survive?

If the foundation of the friendship is solid it won’t crumble, and you should go ahead and confess. If this person is truly your friend, they’ll understand. It’ll be awkward for a few days, and even if you come to find the attraction isn’t mutual, you’ll find you can still be friends. The best-case scenario? The feeling is mutual.

The worst-case?

It’s not. If you don’t think your friendship will bounce back or aren’t sure you can handle the rejection, then you should probably keep your mouth shut for the time being. Distance yourself a little to cope. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet their doppelganger on the subway.

2. What do you hope to gain?

By telling your friend, do you hope they’ll dump their significant other, or that it will help you never to wonder ‘what if’? If it’s the former and they break up for you, are you sure you want to be responsible for breaking someone else’s heart?

If your friend is truly the right one for you, hopefully they’ll realize their current squeeze doesn’t stack up and break up on their own—or once they gets the signals they’ve been waiting for from you. If you think ‘what if’ could lead to forever, it might be wise to suss out if your friend’s considered it, too, before laying your feelings on the line.

3. Are you sure you’re not just jealous?

We all know how it goes. Sometimes, we want the things we can’t have. Often they’re material like that Marc Jacobs bag you’ve been eyeing or a fancy new apartment you’ll never afford waiting tables at a burger joint. Whatever it is, it’s unobtainable and that’s what makes it attractive. This goes for people, too.

It’s natural to be jealous of a close friend’s new companion; the good news is that it subsides. Take a minute and evaluate your feelings. See where things go. If you find that it’s jealousy, then hold off on acting on it. We promise it will get better.

4. Is there a real attraction?

Misinterpreting signals is very common. Often we fall in love based on what we think is going on when, in reality, we could be wrong. Don’t mistake what the Frisky calls “false flirting” for falling in love.

5. How serious is this other relationship?

It’s tricky when there is a third party. It depends how far along the relationship is, whether it’s a week or 9 months. The more serious it is, the harder it will be on your friend. They might feel you’re being unfair and, although not intentionally, you’re pressuring them to choose. You not only have to do what’s best for you, but for everyone else involved, as well.

6. Do you honestly think your friend will be a great lover AND friend at the same time?

You might be saying, “Of course they will! Why else would I be in love with them?” Sorry but friend and boy/girlfriend etiquette don’t fall on the same page. Looking back on past conversations, maybe you notice that you were always the one to initiate them.

Or there were a few times you planned to catch a movie, but your friend canceled on you when something better came up. The things that blow over in a friendship aren’t the same things that blow over in a relationship. Make sure that this is who you want, the good and the bad, before saying “I love you.”

Readers, have you fallen in love with a friend? Tell us how you handled it.

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10 Easy Ways to Be More Romantic

March 20, 2015

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photo via Flickr

Romance is contagious. So the best way to get your guy or gal to be more romantic is to be more romantic with them first. Here are 10 not-too-arduous ways to do just that.

1. Wax nostalgic. Ninety-eight percent of romance is remembering not to take each other for granted. So tap into long-lost crush feelings by regularly thinking back to those first exhilarating moments that made you fall in love: the first time you met, your first date, your first kiss, your first time naked together, the first time you had teary, face-holding, we-adore-each-other sex. Remember how lucky you thought you’d be if you ended up together for the long haul — especially during those moments when the way he chews is starting to annoy you.

2. Don’t overshare. There’s a fine line between intimacy and TMI. We’re not so prudish as to suggest you should never pee in front of one another, but is it so much to ask that you keep your #2′s private? And when it comes to eliminating errant nose, chin, and nipple hairs, it might be a good idea to lock the bathroom door. Ask that he do the same for you. Just think of it as quality alone time to pamper yourselves.

3. Go on dates. Someone told us recently that it’s pathetically suburban to call it a “date night.” We say, save “hip” for your wardrobe and music library and embrace the cheese in your relationship. There’s a reason dinner-and-a-movie is a decades-long tradition — it works! Besides, if you don’t call it a date night, how is your guy supposed to know that you want him to change out of his old college sweatshirt and act all date-like? Subtle hints don’t work; calling it a date night does. If you really can’t stand to say those two words, then help clue him in with a new tie for the occasion — or just ask him to wear a certain shirt that you love.

4. Exchange just-because gifts or treats. Don’t wait for the officially designated romantic holidays —anniversaries, birthdays, and Valentine’s Day — to give your partner a thoughtful present. Surprising him with something out of the blue shows that he’s on your mind, that you don’t take him for granted, and that you care all of the other non-holiday days of the year, too. If you’re broke, just bring him breakfast in bed with his favorite section of the newspaper on a random Sunday (and yes, “favorite section of the newspaper” may also be a euphemism for “fantastic oral sex”). Remember to reassure him that he didn’t somehow forget a major anniversary, otherwise his mind will be racing all day.

5. Engage in random PDA. Not to the point where you elicit pleas to “get a room,” but just enough to increase your daily physical contact and prove to the world (or even just your cat) that you’re in love. Hold hands whenever possible. Give a peck on the lips here and a hug there. And don’t forget the occasional furtive pat on the bum. Studies have shown that even a 20-second hug raises oxytocin levels — and oxytocin is the Hallmark card of the hormone world.

6. Write love notes. No need to pen long, flowery love letters or corny poetry (though the romantic potential of a sweet and funny love haiku cannot be overestimated). Just write the occasional “thinking of you” email, put a surprise “miss you already” Post-It in his business trip suitcase, or draw a heart around your initials on the steamed bathroom mirror.

7. Brag about your partner in public. We understand the inclination to get together with your girlfriends and bitch about the annoying things your partner does (hey, we all do it). But it’s nice to occasionally embrace the positive and speak glowingly about your fella’s home improvement skills/parental instincts/bedroom acumen. Sure, you might annoy your friends who don’t want to hear about how good you have it, but you’ll feel even better about going home to your awesome relationship. Oh, and brag about him to friends when he’s listening, too. Whether it’s a new promotion or just something witty he said last night, we guarantee he’ll swoon.

8. Compliment your partner. Speaking of his self-esteem: We all like to feel needed and desired, but guys especially. So lay the compliments on thick at home, too. Just because it’s been established in your relationship that he can cook (and you can’t), doesn’t mean you can forgo the lavish praises of his famous homemade lasagna. And just because he doesn’t spend as long as you do in front of the mirror doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to hear how attractive you find him — especially if he’s experimenting with a new facial hairstyle.

9. Skydive together. Studies have shown that participating in adrenaline-revving activities together will help keep that spark lit. Bungie-jumping, whitewater rafting, streaking down Main Street in your home town — there’s nothing like near-death experiences to bring a couple closer together.

10. Take a basket-weaving class together. Joint activities don’t all have to be thrilling — studies have also shown that just the novelty is enough to make two people feel closer. If basket-weaving isn’t your bag, join forces for a yoga class, a comedy show, a walking tour, a cooking class, cha-cha lessons, a movie script… hell, even just a double-date with the new couple in town (and no, that one wasn’t a euphemism).



5 Ideas for a Grownup Games Night with Your Partner

March 18, 2015

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photo via flickr

Who says games nights are just for bored kids and drunken singles hoping for a threeway? There’s no reason why committed monogamists shouldn’t have some fun, too. Here are five D.I.Y. ideas for playing together… it’s like foreplay, except with dice!

 

1. Spin the Sex Manual 

>Grab a couple pairs of dice, toss them at the same time, whatever number you get total, go to that page in a sex manual and try out whatever’s on that page. Our two latest books work particularly well for this: SEX: How to Do Everything and, for the really adventurous, 150 Shades of Play: A Beginner’s Guide to Kink. This will take the element of control away from the two of you, so neither of you needs to feel coy or embarrassed about making new suggestions.
 

2. Sexy Simon Says

Take it in turns being “Simon.” When it’s your turn, tell your partner things you’d like them to do to you — or to themselves. “Simon says kiss my neck”; “Simon says take off your pants“; etc; The first person to mess up — i.e. moving without hearing “Simon Says” first — has to massage their partner for 15 minutes. (Or whatever “punishment” you decide on… perhaps you favor something a little more Christian Grey!)

This game is awesome for the same reason teachers favor it with little kids: because it forces you to really LISTEN to your partner! Plus, being forced to call out commands really quickly will encourage you to blurt out things you might normally be a bit embarrassed to ask for. In “Simon Says,” you’re MEANT be bossy!

 

3. Guess the Sensation

One partner is blindfolded and the other partner gathers a selection of potentially sensual items: ice cubes, a feather duster, a clean hairbrush, hand cream, a massage candle (for warm wax). The blindfolded person lies down naked and has to guess what item their partner is using on them. Then switch places! This will teach you to pay attention to bodily sensations, which is a great way to shut out the outside world and really focus on sexual pleasure.
 

 

4. Hand Over the Remote 

And no, we’re not talking about the remote control for your television. Invest in a small, discreet, high quality remote-controlled vibrator (we like LELO’s Lyla 2). Then hit the town with one of you secretly wearing the strategically placed toy and your partner tucking the wireless control in their pocket. That way you can get some sensual kicks anytime, anywhere — you being at your partner’s mercy is all part of the fun!

 

5. Sexy Task Box

This is a game that can begin one evening and last all year long. Each person in the couple writes down on a little piece of paper 5, 10, or 15 things they’d like to try (this could be as simple as, “kiss with tongue for 5 full minutes with no expectation of sex,” or more daring, like, “let me tie you up and blindfold you”). Fold them up, throw them in a hat or box, and then set up a schedule — every day for a month, or once a week for an indefinite amount of time, or whatever you’re comfortable with. Then on your allotted days, take turns pulling out a slip of paper in the morning with the understanding that you’ll have to complete the sex task before you go to sleep that night.

This will encourage you to try new things, help you fulfill each other’s fantasies, and get you thinking about sex all day long, i.e. extended foreplay! Here are the ground rules: both people must approach things with an open mind, there can be no derisive laughing at anyone’s suggestions, and both parties have full veto power over anything they’re truly uncomfortable with.

 

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Why You Should Ditch Tinder and Give Out Your Number Instead

March 17, 2015

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photo via flickr

We’re normally pretty skeptical of the click-baity headlines in Men’s Health magazine. 4 Week Fat Shredder! 12 Scientific Ways to Look Smarter! How Listening to Your Mom Can Make You Fat! But we really loved the recent article by David Amsden, called “Give Her Your Number.” (Amsden is the author of the novel Important Things That Don’t Matter, which we also liked.) The article feels real, and it’s missing all that “negging” bullshit propagated by self-titled “pickup artists.”

Here’s the idea in a nutshell: The author was failing miserably at modern dating techniques like Tinder. Despite this, he had become completely reliant on such technology. This is his first thought upon seeing a beautiful woman walk into the bar:

Straight-up hitting on women seems uncouth to me. Thanks to the ultimate wingman (my smartphone), I prefer a lazier, no-risk way to reach out. I’ll scroll through Tinder, hoping that now that we’ve seen each other, we might also right-swipe to bypass some small talk. Or take a little trip through Instagram to see if she geo-tagged a selfie that I could comment on. (Think that’s weird? Go tweet about it, pal.)

So he decides to go cold turkey from all the seduction technology and adopt an old-school approach instead:

Pulling a pen and notepad out of my back pocket, I jot down my number and head on over.

“Hey, I’m David,” I say as I hand her the slip of paper. “You’re compelling. Call me.”

… I made a pact with myself: Whenever I noticed an attractive woman, I would simply stop and give her my number. Then I’d be standing in front of her and could make another game-time decision: Head for the exit, or see if she wants me to stick around.

To Amsden’s complete and utter surprise, this actually works. Like, really well. Even some women who initially balk at his bold approach often end up texting him a day or two later. In fact, more than half call or text eventually. And here’s why: with Tinder, Match, OKCupid, et al, there’s very little opportunity for face-to-face rejection. You’re not putting yourself out there for potential humiliation. So when someone is bold enough to put themselves in this position — and to do so in a casual, no-pressure way, without any negging — it’s both endearing, and, yes, attractive.

Note that he hands out his number, by the way — he never asks for hers. The ball’s in her court. He’s not collecting digits to make himself feel more manly, he’s simply putting himself out there. It means he’ll be the one sitting there waiting for the phone to ring.

Here’s another reason why it work: It takes a lot of balls (or labes) to do something like this, and as everyone knows, people like balls (or labes). Even if you’re faking this confidence so hard that your asshole actually aches (from all the stress-induced clenching), the person you’re approaching will respond to it.

Remember, though, that those online sites — not to mention skeevy pickup artists — get one thing very right about dating: it’s a numbers game. And we’re not talking about phone numbers. We mean the number of people you approach or scroll past or even go on a first date with. So if you’re going to pull an Amsden, you can’t just do it once. Do it like your sex life depends on it, and maybe you’ll get lucky, too.

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A Professional Escort’s 10 Rules for a Threeway That Won’t Backfire

March 12, 2015

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by Miss Jolene Dubois for YourTango

I’m a professional prostitute. Personally, I’ve had at least 15 to 20 threesomes with different couples as well as my own boyfriends, plus one drunken gang-bang.

In short, I’m quite experienced with the more popular version of threesomes (two girls, one guy), which gives me ample expertise on sharing with you, the reader, the 10 major rules you MUST abide by if you’re going to have a successful threesome:

1. If your partner is pressuring you (either aggressively or passive-aggressively) to have a threesome, don’t feel obligated out of fear they’ll leave you.

To draw a comparison, it’s unlikely I’ll ever be able to have anal sex with a partner; I’ve tried several times and was practically doubled over in pain. If your unwillingness to try a threesome (or anal or whatever) is a deal-breaker, they don’t deserve you and should be kicked to the curb anyway for disrespecting your boundaries.

2. Agree on boundaries beforehand. 

Is the other woman allowed to give him oral? If so, is she obligated to use a condom or dental dam? Is he allowed to penetrate her? How much lesbo action is the man looking for? There’s a spectrum from just kissing and rubbing to girl-on-girl oral and double-ended dildos. If you’re the third person, be sure to establish boundaries before starting (I usually consult the woman).

3. Set realistic expecations. 

Just how much are you two comfortable doing with this other person? Is one of you getting the short end of the stick? Is your partner expecting too much out of it because they’re getting carried away with the fantasy? If it’s your first time, acknowledge that cold feet could occur (a glass of wine might help break the ice).

Usually, the couples I’ve seen discuss ahead of time whether it’s going to be “all about him” (let’s say as a birthday present) or “all about her” (she’s bi and he wants to let her play with that side of herself without cheating). Of course, it’s not always about one person or the other, either, in which case both people get something equal out of the experience.

4. Consider the emotional and physical ramifications.

Threesomes are a great way to spice it up and enjoy sexual acts with someone outside your partnership without cheating. However, what if one or both of you gets jealous? What if one of you ends up seeing the third person again but alone and in secret? This happens all the time. (Trust me, I know.) And it’s usually the man who gets a bit addicted and wants to do 1-on-1s on the side.

5. Make sure the third person has some idea of the tone because they aren’t as familiar with your sexual preferences.

Are you going for soft and sensual? Rough and tumble? Amateur porn crazy? The other person deserves to know, especially if you want to play rough, role-play or have a dominant/submissive tone of degradation.

When a couple I saw as clients were talking dirty to each other, they’d say, “You like watching me f*ck this whore?” It hurt my feelings to the point I almost hit the time-out button, but I let it go, assuming it was heat of the moment dirty talk meant more to turn themselves on rather than degrade me.

(Plus, I am a whore! I just command respect and won’t see — or re-see — clients if they are genuinely disrespectful.)

6. If you suspect your partner is secretly bi or gay, this could be a good litmus test.

Just think about how you will handle it if this truth comes out.

7. If you are the man, make DAMN sure you attend to your woman during the threesome.

Don’t over-emphasize and overly-focus on the other person. Always remind your lady via eye contact, verbal validations and physical actions that she’s your #1 and this isn’t going to threaten your relationship.

If she’s comfortable and turned on enough to watch you bang someone else or focus on the third person more, you will likely know this going in; if not, assume she’s your primary focus. Same goes for gender reversal.

8. Have a dignified and realistic parting of ways.

Don’t do the fake “let’s do this again!” bad first date cop-out. Try and end on a high note, but also be fair and realistic to each another in a way that all parties feel respected.

If the chemistry is good, definitely entertain the thought of doing it again, and if the chemistry is off (or you want to uphold your boundary as a couple not looking for someone getting clingy), it might be best to make clear it was a one time only episode.

9. Don’t get too addicted and carried away once you’ve popped your threesome cherry for the first time as a couple. 

Discuss as a couple how often you want to have threesomes and whether you want the same person to join or whether you want to mix it up. Establish rules about whether each of you are allowed to see the third party on your own and, if so, whether the boundary is a friendly coffee (fully clothed) or some sexual activity within agreed upon boundaries.

10. Practice safe sex.

This should be a no-brainer, but even if the third in your threesome is a trusted friend, either use condoms and other protection or agree to get rapid testing prior to the encounter to rule out all STDs. Never assume someone’s clean. Many people selfishly claim to be STD-free to avoid condom use and other precautions that can diminish the pleasure level.

More from YourTango:

Is It Wrong NOT To Tell My Boyfriend That I’m A Prostitute?

10 Harsh Truths Your Husband’s Prostitute Wants You To Know

How Does An Affair Start?



3 Easy(ish) Steps to Sharing a Fantasy with a Partner

March 6, 2015

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Sharing a fantasy with a partner can be a cheap and easy way to foster intimacy, build trust, and kink things up. But it takes a lot of courage to do. What if you think yours is too mundane to put into words (remember Meg Ryan’s faceless stranger fantasy in When Harry Met Sally?). Or what if you’re afraid your partner will be jealous of or even deeply disturbed by what you share? Or, worst case scenario: What if they just laugh? Try these tricks to make things a little smoother:

  1. Set the Stage for Safe Sharing: Ask your partner to tell you one of their biggest/darkest/strangest masturbation fantasies, explaining that it’d be such a turn-on to get in their head. Promise them you won’t judge or giggle (and keep that promise). If they’re reluctant, set a brave example by offering up one of your own (you can insist that they honor the no-giggling rule, too).
  2. Just Start Talking: The next time you’re having regular old comfort sex, start talking about something you’d like to try now, something you’d like to try eventually, or something you’d never ever want to try but are simply turned on by in your mind. Then suggest that your partner do the same (no pressure though!). Or just recount a dirty story you recently read. The fact that you’re having sex at the time will mean any awkward pauses can be filled with moans. And when you’re both distracted by physical pleasure, there’s less pressure for your fantasy to make narrative sense. Just a sentence or two here and there will get the point across.
  3. Know When to Hold Them: There’s no rule that says you have to share every single dirty thought that crosses your mind. Maybe that fantasy you enjoy during your self-love sessions is hot precisely because nobody knows about it. Or if your partner’s the jealous type, then they don’t need to know that you occasionally imagine their best friend naked.

 

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8 Easy Ways to Tell If It’s Love… Or Lust

February 26, 2015

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by Caithlin Pena for YourTango  | photo via Flickr

Love, lust: it’s easy to confuse the two, especially in the early stages of a relationship. Both emotions make you feel a kind of bliss that you’ve never experienced before – which is wonderful and joyous and something to celebrate – but make sure you know the difference between the two. Need a little help? Here’s a few clues:

1. When you’re in lust, you dress to the NINES. Maybe even the TENS. Obviously, there’s no harm in trying to look good for your significant other, especially when you’re first courting each other. But we all know dressing (and looking) like you’re going to Fashion Week each time you step out for a date takes a sh*t-ton of effort, not to mention money!

When you’re in love, you might forget to wear pants. Are you wearing a shirt? Check. Shoes? Check. Pants? Oops! On those exciting Friday nights where you end up pacing the aisles of Costco to stock up on frozen pizzas and Lucky Charms cereal, comfort = love.

2. When you’re in lust, you look past their foolishness. Things are so hot & heavy, it’s easy to look past minor “annoyances” (that laugh, that money problem, that MOTHER) that may turn into larger issues down the road.

When you’re in love, you point out their mistakes. You love them, which is why you want them to be a better person. And if they love you, they’ll accept the (constructive) criticism and try to be a better person not just for you but for themselves, too.

3. When you’re in lust, you say what they want to hear. You constantly aim to please. When they ask you a question, you’re more apt to reply with a “safe” answer, even though it might not fully express how you feel. (You figure you’ll get to that later, right?)

When you’re in love, you keep it real. You don’t agree with everything they’re saying and you clearly state that. Having different views and opinions from your significant other doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not a good match; it just means that SHOCKER: You’re different people. And that’s okay. Healthy debate is good and normal and helpful at seeing things from another perspective.

4. When you’re in lust, the person you’re with is a Greek God/Goddess. Or rather, try this analogy: a perfectly-shaped cookie with no dents or chipped corners. But hate to break-it-to-you: even perfect-looking cookies have burnt sides (even if they’re not visible at first).

When you’re in love, they’re more like a Greek God/Goddess statue missing it’s arm. Perfectly imperfect, just like you! Pretending to be anything other than that is exhausting and oh: A LIE.

5. When you’re in lust, you don’t really know them. Sure, you know their favorite color is blue and their favorite food is macaroni and cheese. But that’s surface level-stuff. You haven’t dug down deep – and girl, that tunnel is LONG.

When you’re in love, you know small insignificant details. Their favorite color is blue because when they were little, it was their mother’s favorite color to dress them up in. Their favorite food is mac & cheese because it’s the comfort food their Grandma always made them when they went to visit. These small, seemingly insignificant details are intimate parts of their past and who they is. And you know all these little, beautiful factoids because you took the time to really get to know them – and better even, you still want to know more.

6. When you’re in lust, you don’t feel comfortable talking to them about your problems. Talking about your problem can help ease stress and tension. But you prefer to talk about them with someone you trust. And let’s face it, you’re just not at that ride-or-die stage yet.

When you’re in love, you’ll talk to them about, well, basically everything. You know you love someone when you can trust them with the most minor (and major!) issues you’re having, not matter how weird/trivial/embarrassing they are. You know that they’ll listen without judgement. That’s love.

7. When you’re in lust, silence is awkward. Which is either filled with rambling or make-out sessions. No objection to make-out sessions, of course, but the fact that you both find the silence awkward is a sign of discomfort.

When you’re in love, silence is welcomed.  When you run out of conversation topics, you don’t feel like you need to fill the silence with something else. You just let the silence sit comfortably. The void is welcome.

8. When you’re in lust, the future is unknown. Yes, you’re enjoying every moment you have with them right now. You love their attention, the dates, and the feeling of pure bliss. But when you look at the long run, you have absolutely no idea what the next few months (or years!) will hold. It’s a little scary.

When you’re in love, you welcome thoughts of the future. Whether you marry or not is up to you both, but can you see yourself sitting side-by-side on matching rickety rocking chairs? Does the idea of that give you something to look forward to? Do you picture bad vacations, fights over trivial things, and (gasp!) babies and can’t imagine anyone else taking this journey with you? Then, you’re totally and utterly in love.

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The Best (and Worst) Quotes from the 2015 Oscars

February 23, 2015

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Speeches about equal pay for women and gay rights…equal opportunity objectification (thanks, Neil!)…straight men being sensitive and highly emotional about their mothers…more jokes about balls than boobs…anyone would think it was 2015 out there! Here are our favorite quotes from the Oscars last night:

“I tried to commit suicide at 16, and now I’m standing here. I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere. You do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage please pass the same message along.” — Graham Moore, accepting the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game

“If I may, call your mom. If you’re lucky enough to have parents or two alive on this planet…Don’t text, don’t email. Call them on the phone tell them you love them. Talk to them for as long as they want to hear you. Thank you, mom and dad.” — J.K. Simmons, accepting the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for Whiplash

“To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s civil rights. It is our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.” — Patricia Arquette, accepting the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for Boyhood (to enthusiastic cheers from Meryl and J.Lo. who basically stormed the stage in her support, see photo above)

“Benedict Cumberbatch: It’s not only the most awesome name in show business. It’s also the sound you get when you ask John Travolta to pronounce ‘Ben Affleck.’” — host Neil Patrick Harris

“They are four women. Plus — in accordance with California state law — Meryl Streep.” — Jared Leto introducing the best supporting actress nominees

“Our next film is amazing. I’m blown away right now myself. [tearing up] Our next nominee for best picture reveals how the visionary father of modern computing Alan Turing helps defeat the Nazis only to have his own greatness stripped away from him for his sexual orientation.” — Terrence Howard, introducing The Imitation Game (as he began to get choked up, most people assumed he was going to introduce Selma)

“Good luck charms work … tonight I am wearing the real Michael Keaton’s tightie-whities. They are tight and smell like balls.” — Alejandro González Iñárritu, accepting the Oscar for Best Director for Birdman

“I read an article that said that winning an Oscar could lead to living five years longer. If that’s true, I’d like to thank the Academy because my husband is younger than me.” — Julianne Moore, accepting the Best Actress Oscar for Still Alice (and for the record, he’s not just younger than her, he’s nine years younger!)

“Who gave this son of a bitch his green card? Birdman!” — Sean Penn, presenting the Best Picture Oscar to Birdman

“We don’t stand here alone, it’s possible through the great organisations that support us. The disclosures that Edward Snowden revealed aren’t only a threat to privacy but to democracy, when the most important decisions made affect all of us. Thank you to Edward Snowden.” — Laura Poitras, accepting the Best Documentary Oscar for Citizenfour

“Welcome to the 87th Oscars. Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest — sorry, brightest.” — host Neil Patrick Harris, in one of the rare funny jokes of the night

“Our next presenter is not only the star of the record breaker for biggest February premiere ever, Fifty Shades of Grey, she’s also the reason you had to explain to your grandmother what a spanking bench is.” – host Neil Patrick Harris, introducing Dakota Johnson

And, finally, the very worst quote of the night happened backstage:

“Fear is the condom of life. It doesn’t allow you to enjoy things.” — Oscar-winning Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu

Seriously, dude? It’s one thing to make fun of the ball-sweating properties of tight-whities. That’s funny, and also, it makes us think of balls during a night when it’s mostly golden globes on display. But don’t go giving condoms a bad name!

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Top 10 Signs You’re Reading Bad Erotica

February 20, 2015

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Years ago, we popped our sex-writing cherries at Nerve.com, the online magazine about sex that featured impressive original fiction by the likes of Jay McInerney and Rick Moody. As young, naĂŻve, and underpaid Internet employees, one of our duties included trudging through the slush pile—that four-foot-high stack of unsolicited submissions by amateur writers who thought they grasped what Nerve’s “literary smut” was all about.  Alas, they did not. Long before the excessive adverbs of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” we got second-hand embarrassment from poorly written erotica trying so desperately to be compelling lit via Nerve. So we soon developed a battery of criteria to quickly identify the runts. Never again would we struggle for long through prose so cheesy it came with crackers (except if we were having a bad day and needed a good chuckle). Now, neither will you:

  1. The text is sprinkled with “creative” euphemisms for the penis, in particular those that call up manly pursuits such as cars, the great outdoors, or weaponry: lust log, love muscle, rod of steel, love gun, etc. Bonus negative points if the adjectives “engorged,” “pulsing,” “throbbing,” or “glistening” appear before such synonyms.
  2. Meanwhile, the word “pussy” is used exclusively and without restraint.
  3. She’s running her fingers through his waist-length locks.
  4. He has a 13-inch penis (and it’s not Sci-fi erotica).
  5. It’s Sci-fi erotica.
  6. “Come” is spelled with a “u” and no “e.”
  7. You note excessive use of fire imagery, as in: “The candles flickered and the fireplace roared as he stoked the flames of her burning desire with his fireman’s pole until she was so hot and bothered, the fire alarm rang and the sprinklers busted a nut all over their smoldering lust.”
  8. It reminds you to make an appointment with your urologist/gynecologist.
  9. It contains at least one metaphor or simile that tries a little too hard, such as: “His hands roamed like blind rattlesnakes searching for shelter in a dark, moist cave,” or “Her love juice was the finest wine he had ever tasted, the ambrosia of the gods, the center of a Cadbury’s Creme Egg.”
  10. She has an orgasm just from giving a blowjob.

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