Em & Lo: Sex. Love. And Everything in Between. » How To http://www.emandlo.com Your daily dose of advice, news, and stories about sex, love, and other important stuff. No yoga mat required. Mon, 29 Sep 2014 14:02:01 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.1 5 Ways the Meyer Briggs Test Can Improve Your Relationship http://www.emandlo.com/2014/09/5-ways-the-meyer-briggs-personality-test-can-improve-your-relationship/ http://www.emandlo.com/2014/09/5-ways-the-meyer-briggs-personality-test-can-improve-your-relationship/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 16:25:44 +0000 emandlo http://www.emandlo.com/?p=30176
by YourTango  |  photo via flickr

Having different personality types affects your relationship more than you realize. Are you like me? In a relationship with someone vastly different from you?

Whenever I am planning a trip, I start thinking about what I am going to pack at least three weeks ahead of time. I have created a master packing list of necessities for travel that I keep on my computer. That way I can modify the list depending on the time of year, climate at my destination, length of time I will be gone and purpose of the trip. About five days before “lift off,” I begin to set aside what I will need. I usually feel excited as I get ready and make sure that I am 100 percent prepared by the time I zip my suitcase closed before departure.

My husband, on the other hand, is a last minute packer. He doesn’t seem to give any thought to preparation until the day of the excursion when he often throws some clothing into a suitcase an hour before we leave home. Meanwhile, I stand by on the verge of a panic attack in fear that we will miss our flight. One November when we traveled from balmy California to blustery Canada, as we were gathering our belongings to disembark from the plane, he realized that he had forgotten to bring his winter jacket. As a result, he was chilled to the bone until we made it to a nearby mall to purchase a new one.

Read the rest over at YourTango.com: Driving Each Other Crazy? It’s In Your DNA

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How to Make Your Ravishment Fantasy Come True http://www.emandlo.com/2014/09/how-to-make-your-rape-fantasy-come-true/ http://www.emandlo.com/2014/09/how-to-make-your-rape-fantasy-come-true/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 11:00:13 +0000 emandlo http://www.emandlo.com/?p=30139

There is perhaps no sexual fantasy that disturbs people more than the rape fantasy.  Even people in committed, loving relationships who have successfully navigated such a fantasy with massive amounts of communication and trust can feel weird about it. Readers often ask us, “What’s wrong with me that I’m into this?” Well, as we have written before on this site: Nothing! The ravishment fantasyas we prefer to call it — is one of the most common, especially among women. (Here’s why.)

So if you’d like to make your own ravishment fantasy come true tonight, here are a few tips:

1.  Be in Love

Fantasies in general, but in particular ravishment fantasies, are best acted out with a long-term partner that you love, someone you can talk to about anything. Negotiating this kind of roleplay requires a boatload of communication and trust. Sure, some people like to act out rape fantasies with near strangers, but that’s crazy risky behavior, and not the sort of thing we’re talking about — or condoning — here.

2. Be Committed to the Role

Some people get all giggly and self-conscious at the thought of role-playing. While retaining the ability to laugh at yourself and the absurdity of sex is usually a good thing, a case of the giggles is really going to make it hard to get or stay in this particular mood. Try to remain in character.

3. Be Equally Committed to the Fantasy

Both parties have to be 100% on board with acting out this fantasy. This is not the sort of thing you should attempt to talk your partner into. Playing around with power dynamics in the bedroom can be heavy stuff, and if one person is unsure, serious damage can be done to a relationship in terms of trust.

4. Be Okay with It

Domination and submission fantasies are extremely common (hello, Judith Krantz novels?). And they aren’t automatically indicative of past abuse or some issue that needs to be worked out. Remember, what you two are doing isn’t actually rape: you are in control of the situation and the person in the submissive role is being dominated by someone they want to be ravished by, by someone they’ve given consent to. We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: Just because you like to be tied up, spanked, and called “bitch,” doesn’t mean you’re a bad feminist. This type of fantasy can just be a fun/creative/intense way to add spice to a sexual relationship, especially long-term ones.

5. Have a Plan

You need to talk through this fantasy in advance and in detail: What exactly you each have in mind, what is okay, what is definitely not okay, etc. Go into specifics: Is hair-pulling okay? How about being tied up? Name-calling? How much pain do want to inflict/enjoy? Etc, etc. The more you discuss things in advance, the more you can lose yourself in the moment.

6. Have a Safeword

A safe word is a signal that either of you can use in the heat of the moment that means “stop” or at least “time out,” just in case things get too uncomfortable, either physically or mentally.  Don’t make it “stop” or “no,” because when you’re acting out a scenario — and you are acting — you want to be able to use words that heighten the drama. So go with something like “red light” or “taco night,” or, our fave, “babyfishmouth.”

7. Be Safe

A little bruise here or there is okay: a bit of safely inflicted pain can feel kinda good when you’re in a heightened state of arousal (as anyone who’s been spanked on the tush during sex can attest). Just be careful not to get too much into character: you certainly don’t want to end up with a broken wrist or a kick in the nuts! Genuine damage — physical or mental – should not be the goal here.

8. Debrief Afterwards

Cuddle, hold each other, express your love for each other, and then have a little post-play analysis: What worked, what didn’t, what you could do better next time, if you could go even further next time, if there will even be a next time… Remember, the more you communicate before and after this sort of fantasy, the more you can disappear into your respective roles during the fantasy itself.

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10 Best Things About Married Sex http://www.emandlo.com/2014/09/top-10-best-things-about-married-sex/ http://www.emandlo.com/2014/09/top-10-best-things-about-married-sex/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:00:46 +0000 emandlo http://www.emandlo.com/?p=29996

Married sex is like the redheaded stepchild of the booty world — at least, according to TV and movies. In that world, married sex is overly lit and played for laughs, whereas all the other kinds of sex — casual sex, new sex, cheating sex, ex sex — get the sultry soundtrack and rumpled sheets.

So we are here to remind you of ten reasons — yes, we managed to come up with ten — why married sex is awesome.

1. You Have Advanced Degrees in Each Other’s Bodies

You know where to let your hands wander — and where not to. Your partner knows exactly what you like — and what you can’t stand — so you won’t ever again have to figure out a nice way of saying, “What is that weird thing you keep doing with your nose during oral sex? And can you please not do it ever again?”

2. Good Sex Can Happen Fast When You Need It To

Those advanced degrees mean that sex doesn’t always need to take an hour. Because five minutes of getting the job done is better than forty-five minutes of ineffectual dilly-dallying, especially when you have to be up with the birds the next morning. Also, it’s okay to say, ”Wanna have sex as soon as my show is finished?” In fact, sometimes that’s all it takes to get in the mood.

3. Sex Can Be Hilarious

All the stuff that used to mortify you when you were single and dating is now more entertaining than a reel of news bloopers: unexpected bodily emissions (a well-timed queef can be entertaining for days); trying and failing at a complicated position; accidentally getting certain substances in your ear during the money shot; a pillow that keeps getting in your way like an unwelcome third wheel; etc., etc.

4. You Can Be Fully in the Moment

Yeah, yeah, we know there are kids and work problems and dirty laundry and all the usual life stuff that can distract you from good sex. That’s life. But you’re not distracted by thinking, Does this person really like me? I wonder if I’ll ever hear from them again? I wonder what they think of my boob size/penis size/oral technique? Should I stay the night? Will I climax? Did my partner climax? Did they just wince when I got near their nipples? Where did my nose ring go? And so on and on and on and on.

5. You Make Your Own Normal

Forget about the Joneses, they’re not sleeping in your bed. When you’re married, you’re each other’s yardstick for what’s “normal.” If you like sex once a month — and the two of you agree on this — then that’s your normal. If you both like a strict diet of missionary, then that’s cool too. You swing every other Friday with the neighbors? Then it’s just your typical Friday night. Whatever positions, whatever schedule, whatever approach — whatever works for the two of you is all good, and screw everyone else.

6. Kink Works Better

Really naughty sex requires negotiation, communication, and trust. When you’re married, you (should) have these things in spades, and they’re not buzz kills, either! So you can experiment with bondage, power roles, sharing fantasies, even pain, and it’s much less likely that someone will end up in the emergency room (or in tears)! Plus, the more intimate and domestic and settled your day-to-day life is, the hotter it is to break out the handcuffs at night.

 7. STDs Are a Thing of the Past (If You’re a Monogamous Married Couple)

So long, condoms. So long, crabs. So long, douchey partners who lie about their sexual history. So long, that late-night panic of, “Is that herpes or just a really big pimple?!”

8. Simultaneous Orgasms

Sure, these aren’t guaranteed with married sex, but the more times you sleep with the same person — someone you love and trust and are committed to — the more likely this is to happen. You know each other’s timing, each other’s bodies, each other’s hot spots, and you’ll be comfortable bringing vibrating toys to bed to help even the orgasmic playing field. (You are comfortable doing that, yes? Because if you’re not, then you’re not doing married sex right!)

9. You Can Take Each Other for Granted

Not that you should do this all the time, but you’re allowed to do it some of the time.  Assuming you have a healthy marriage and you communicate well and often, sex will probably be there for you when you need it — at least at some point, even if it’s not as often as you’d like. You don’t need to hit the town and hope you get lucky. You don’t always need to shave your legs. You don’t need to suck in your stomach and present your good side. Warning: If you take married sex (or your married love) for granted too often, you may find married sex less reliable than it used to be!

10. You Can Get Better

Sex doesn’t automatically get better over time, but it does if you want it to! And having sex doesn’t necessarily make you better at sex — after all, everyone is different in bed — but having sex with the same person, over and over again, absolutely makes you better at having sex with that same person. In other words, married people have no excuse not to be sex gods and goddesses — at least in the eyes of their spouse!

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10 Reasons to Become a Submissive (If Only for a Night) http://www.emandlo.com/2014/09/10-reasons-to-become-a-submissive-even-if-only-for-a-night/ http://www.emandlo.com/2014/09/10-reasons-to-become-a-submissive-even-if-only-for-a-night/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 11:00:23 +0000 emandlo http://www.emandlo.com/?p=29609
LELO’s Etherea Silk Cuffs

  1. You want a little freedom from all your daily responsibilities.
  2. You’ve been with your partner for a while and things are getting a little routine.
  3. You kinda like being held down and tickled.
  4. You think our book on the topic “150 Shades of Play” is fascinating.
  5. You don’t want to over-think things in the sack, you just want to get caught up in the moment.
  6. You enjoyed acting in high school and want an excuse to be more theatrical.
  7. You’re sick of having to make decisions.
  8. You’re shy and you have a hard time taking initiative in bed.
  9. You’re not shy, you always take the initiative, and you’re ready for a change.
  10. You think you could do a hell of lot better job than Anastasia Steele.

You don’t have to adopt a new permanent “lifestyle” just because you’re a little curious about BDSM. You can simply choose to spend an evening being submissive and let your trusted partner call all the shots for a change. By being (temporarily) submissive in the bedroom, you don’t have to do anything…except 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.

For more BDSM tips, check out our latest book ”150 Shades of Play“.

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Top 10 Sex Tips for College Students (Especially First-Years) http://www.emandlo.com/2014/08/top-10-sex-tips-for-college-students-especially-first-years/ http://www.emandlo.com/2014/08/top-10-sex-tips-for-college-students-especially-first-years/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 10:57:36 +0000 emandlo http://www.emandlo.com/?p=29834

For many young women and men, the end of August marks the start of a new chapter of life — one of higher learning, critical thinking, problem solving, horizon broadening, and lots and lots of casual bonking. It’s a whole new world of unchaperoned independence and freedom combined with 18-year-old hormones — which can result in a lot of really bad life decisions. If you are the kind of wise-beyond-your-years person who only has sober sex with people you’re in a committed relationship with, more power to you! If not, follow these rules to save yourself  from (at least some) sex-related humiliation and regret up in your ivory tower.

  1. Keep your condom shelf fully stocked at all times. Whether you’re a man or a woman, make sure you keep a healthy supply of condoms on hand, for you, for your friends, for friends of friends. Invest in decent ones, with lubrication (but not spermicide), because everyone could use a little rehydration after a night of drinking (and, good or bad, many of you will have been drinking…heavily – see tip #3). Replace the condoms when they get close to their expiration date — because the only thing worse than not having a condom is having one that breaks mid sesh.
  2. Carry a condom on you at all times. Do you see a theme here? (And we don’t want to hear about how we’re living in a “post-AIDs/HPV-vaccine world” in which condoms are no longer a requirement; STDs still exist!) You never know when nookie is around the corner, especially on nights out. Keep a condom (more if you can manage it) cool and dry in a purse or loose pocket, not crammed in an overstuffed wallet or squeezed into the back pocket of your skinny jeans.
  3. Don’t do it drunk. Chances are, you will get drunk. Too drunk. Way too drunk. Probably on more than one occasion. We’re not talking about a good, healthy buzz — because let’s face it, that’s the most likely time sex is going to happen for you this year — no, we’re talking completely sloshed. And when that happens, when your balance starts to fail and your voice gets really loud and the room spins a bit, try with all your might NOT to hook up. Have a friend or three on hand who’ve got your back (and will tell you when to “turn back/back off now”). Because the chances of it not going well are exceedingly high. Think: poor sexual performance, blackouts, accusations of date rape, actual date rape, mid-sesh vomiting, forgotten birth control, accidental pregnancy, viral videos, the list goes on.
  4. Have a no hook-up zone. Ground zero is your dorm room and the zone radiates out from there. The closer anyone lives to ground zero, the less advised you are to hook up with them. So: students in other dorms = fair game. Students in same dorm = proceed with caution. Students on same floor = enter (or be entered) at your own risk. Immediate neighbors = turn back now! Roommate = NO!!! And while we’re on the topic of roommates, have respect for yours — don’t keep locking them out while you’re showing someone your dorm room etchings, especially on nights before exams.
  5. Don’t sleep with anyone to get them to like you. This will not work. Sleep with someone because you are attracted to them and would like to have sex now, but only if you can do so without any expectations of a future relationship. If you think sex tonight means you’re dating tomorrow, think again.
  6. Avoid having sex in a fraternity/sorority house. But especially a fraternity house. Because in close-knit community living like that there are no boundaries: people will walk in on you while you’re doing it. Sometimes they’ll stay. They might try to take pictures.
  7. Don’t hook up with your friends’ exes. We know college is inherently incestuous. But you’ve got four more years with your friends. Don’t make it awkward.
  8. Be open and honest about STDsYou’re jumping into a pool of smart, well educated, fun, attractive, decent people — many of whom have sexually transmitted diseases. Hell, you probably have one right now too! There’s nothing shameful about that — it’s just statistics. But that doesn’t mean you can shirk your civic responsibility to be honest about anything you’ve got that might be transferrable — oral herpes counts too! The more people talk about it, the less stigma there will be, and the smarter everyone can be about protecting themselves and the ones they lust.
  9. Don’t schtupp your professor. It’s so cliche. The affair might feel naughty and transgressive, but ultimately it’s an abuse of power on their part. Plus, it’s not worth it for the inevitable mediocre B you’ll get.
  10. Get familiar with your health center, campus security, and your school’s policy related to sexual assault.  The health center is your friend: a good one will have free condoms, STD information and check-ups, Plan B and pregnancy tests. Familiarize yourself with campus security: put their number in your phone and memorize it, call them if you need to be picked up or any other kind of help, and know where all the emergency phones are on campus. Finally, now that schools are being forced to actually do something about the on-campus sexual assault epidemic (according to a 2007 study funded by the National Institute of Justice, one in five women will become the victim of an attempted or complete sexual assault during college), review your own school’s current policy so you know your rights and whether you need to insist your school do more.

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5 Ways to Spice Up a One-Night Stand http://www.emandlo.com/2014/08/5-ways-to-spice-up-a-one-night-stand/ http://www.emandlo.com/2014/08/5-ways-to-spice-up-a-one-night-stand/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 11:18:00 +0000 emandlo http://www.emandlo.com/?p=29611 photo via Flickr

One-night stands are inherently pretty spicy, what with all the excitement of the unknown. But they offer a unique opportunity to expand your sexual repertoire without the possibility of being judged or shamed (at least not by someone you know and love). Next time you take a beautiful stranger back to your place for a one-night stand, take advantage of that opportunity to experiment with acts that you would consider out of character. (And no, we don’t mean letting them tie you up — remember, kids: don’t stare at the sun, don’t run with scissors, and don’t let strangers or vengeful exes tie you up in bed!) Whatever you end up doing, your one-nighter won’t think it’s out of character and therefore unusual — because you’ve only just met! One-night standers who fail to get it on a little naughtier are missing out on half the fun.

  1. If you normally let your partner take the reins in the bedroom, be bossy for a change. Or vice versa.
  2. If you and your previous partners’ clothes always quickly ended up in a pile at your feet, be a little bit more deliberate in the undressing this time around: undress your partner before you let them take off your clothes, or have them lie back and watch you strip ever so slowly, or you could even dare to do a little strip tease!
  3. If your usual dirty talk is limited to “don’t stop” and “oh god,” then try to expand your naughty vocabulary and verbalize a bit more (if the lights are out, they won’t see you blush).
  4. Try that ridiculous position you’ve always been curious about: the wheelbarrow, the jackhammer, doggy-style (remember, “kinky” is a relative term).
  5. If you’ve always wanted to role-play but were worried your ex-partners would laugh at you, tonight’s the night to embrace your inner superhero/farmhand/spanking professor.

Remember, it’s important to practice safer sex — even more so with one-night stands: always carry your own quality condoms and oral sex dams, discuss sexual history beforehand, let a friend know where you’re going and who you’re going with, and go with your gut (i.e. if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it).

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What Are the Rules for Dating Your Friend’s Exes? http://www.emandlo.com/2014/08/what-are-the-rules-for-dating-your-friends-exes/ http://www.emandlo.com/2014/08/what-are-the-rules-for-dating-your-friends-exes/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 18:59:11 +0000 emandlo http://www.emandlo.com/?p=29799

As a general rule, we think it’s bad manners — not to mention bad taste — to date or sleep with a friend’s ex, a.k.a. “dating the floor model.” Why ruin a perfectly good friendship for a hook-up that, let’s face it, probably won’t last the season?

The ONLY way we think it’s acceptable to move in on a friend’s ex is to:

(a) wait until that friend has reached some kind of relationship closure;

(b) give the friend a heads up first so they’re not blindsided by the news; and

(c) only do this if you’re convinced that there’s some kind of deep love connection and that you’d be defying Cupid to ignore it.

Obviously the ex in question also bears the same responsibility, but whatever — we expect exes to act like assholes. That’s why they’re exes, after all.

By the way, before you swear up and down that this is Cupid-defying love: Make sure it’s not just a matter of the forbidden being all the more tempting, of obstacles standing in the way of love (or lust) –thereby making it all the more appealing?  We get it, we really do — that’s the nature of the beast. But there’s Romeo and Juliet, and then there’s Gossip Girl.

Remember, dating is hard enough on the heart when you and your friends have each other’s back. But when you don’t? It’s soul-destroying.

Want to get advice on your own love life? Click here to ask us a question!

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10 Quick Ways to Spice Up Masturbation http://www.emandlo.com/2014/08/10-quick-ways-to-spice-up-masturbation/ http://www.emandlo.com/2014/08/10-quick-ways-to-spice-up-masturbation/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 16:03:59 +0000 emandlo http://www.emandlo.com/?p=29770

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. Here are 10 simple ways to spice up your old routine:

  1. Dim the overheads and light some candles
  2. Pour yourself a drink
  3. Take a long bath (with a nice waterproof accessory, perhaps)
  4. Moisturize your entire body
  5. Play that album you’d never admit actually turns you on
  6. Read the dirty parts of Anne Rice novels
  7. Watch an erotic film (if porn is a usual part of your wanking habits, try something a little different than you normally would)
  8. Fantasize about your Fed Ex delivery person
  9. Use the really nice lube you save for special occasions
  10. Take your time and tease yourself


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Top 10 Things We Will Tell Our Sons About Sex http://www.emandlo.com/2014/08/top-10-things-we-will-tell-our-sons-about-sex/ http://www.emandlo.com/2014/08/top-10-things-we-will-tell-our-sons-about-sex/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 09:00:52 +0000 emandlo http://www.emandlo.com/?p=29680

Remember how we said we accidentally bred on the same schedule and both have six-year-old daughters? Well, we weren’t kidding about that breeding schedule — we also each have three-year-old sons. So it’s only fair that, after publishing the Top 10 Things We’ll Tell Our Daughters About Sex, we should write a follow-up list for our sons.

Granted, right now they’re mostly interested in Lightning McQueen, but their time will come soon. And then we will ask the same questions: What if our sons stumble across one of our books? What if one of their friends does during a playdate, and then tells his parents? (And what if it’s the unnecessarily detailed chapter on fisting in our first book, when we were still trying to prove how brave and unshockable we were?!)

We’ve already spent plenty of time thinking about how we’d like to raise our sons, and how we will talk to them about sex. Here are the top ten things we want them — eventually — to know and understand:

1. Don’t buy into macho sexual stereotypes.

First, losing your V-card doesn’t make you more of a man, so don’t rush it. When you have any kind of sexual relation for the first time, it should be because you and your partner both want to — not because you want to get it over with, not because everyone else is doing it, and not because you’re trying to prove something to your friends. Remember, guys who talk the loudest about sex either have the least experience with it, or the worst skills at it.

Those same guys may try to tell you that women who like sex or who’ve had more sexual partners than you are sluts. They’re wrong! And for the record, guys fall in love and want relationships as much as women do. So don’t engage in any so-called battles of the sexes: men aren’t from Mars and women aren’t from Venus — we’re all earthlings who should treat each other (and the sex we have with each other) with thoughtfulness, deliberateness, and respect. And if you hear anybody demeaning women or their bodies (e.g. with talk of “meat curtains,” “fish tacos,” “gaping axe wounds”), slut-shaming them, or pressuring them to have sex, then you have an obligation as a decent human being to step in and set them straight (not with brawn, with your brain). Oh, and real men wear pink with style, cry when they’re sad, and aren’t afraid to use lube and sex toys in bed, either.

And if we ever hear you use the phrase “That’s so gay” for anything other than describing light and merry pop culture from the fifties and earlier, we’re taking away all your screen privileges indefinitely.
 

2. Real sex is nothing like most porn.

Watching porn is not obligatory. Porn is a fantasy, and most of it caters to the assumed and narrowly defined tastes of a limited audience. In other words, what might turn men on visually in porn (jackhammering, facials, gang bangs) won’t necessarily feel good, either physically or emotionally, to your partner in real life. You should know that most women don’t look anything like porn stars — ditto for the guys…especially their equipment. Don’t try to measure your partners, or yourself, against what you see on screen. Women in porn (and men too!) get implants and cosmetic surgery (on their junk) and spray tans and full body makeup and anal bleaching and laser hair removal to look that way. In real life, labia come in all shapes and sizes (sometimes even different shapes and sizes on the same woman), in different shades, with different hairstyles. And the men in porn represent a small percentage of the population — they’re outliers in the size department, which is why they got the job in the first place! And those orgasms? More fake than not — even the guys, sometimes (Pina Colada mix, we’ve heard).

Basically, porn is a terrible place to learn about how to have great, satisfying sex, and what that kind of sex looks like. It’s an especially terrible place to learn about what women like in bed. A much better place to learn about sex — and we can’t believe we’re saying this — is one of our books! Fine, fine, if you just can’t go there (we get it), then we’ll find you another.

 

3. Oral should be reciprocal.

Other oral sex commandments, if you’re on the receiving end: Never push anyone’s head downtown. Never use their ears as a steering wheel. “Deep Throat” was the nickname of the Watergate informant — and that’s it! Basically, the basic rules of being a good person in general don’t end with oral: be respectful, communicate, and don’t have double standards.

 

4. If you have to get drunk to have sex, then you’re not ready to have sex.

Same goes for your partner — if they have to get drunk to have sex, then they’re not ready to have sex. In fact, if you suspect someone is drunk, zip your fly and go home. When either of you is drunk, you might not have safer sex. You might talk someone into doing things they’re not comfortable with — or you might do more than you’re comfortable with. You might sleep with someone you don’t even like. Have all your wits about you when it comes to sexual situations so you can make smart, informed decisions, and can give and receive consent.

 

5. If you’re not comfortable enough with someone to talk about safer sex, then you’re not ready to have sex with them.

Talk about your partner’s sexual history — and yours. Ask them if they always use barrier protection (condoms, oral sex dams) — and if they don’t, then don’t go there. And we don’t care if sex with a condom feels slightly less awesome than the alternative — it’s the only kind you’ll be having. But please know that condoms will not protect you from every S.T.I. — some infections exist on the surrounding skin, and sometimes condoms break. This, however, is no excuse to forgo barrier protection all together — they’re like seatbelts: they don’t prevent every accident, but they make driving a hell of lot safer (so make sure you always use both seatbelts and barrier protection!). It’s great if any female partners also use a back-up form of birth-control, like the Pill (but the Pill et al does not mean you can forgo the condoms!). Have we used enough exclamation points to make ourselves clear?!?!??!

 

6. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for directions in bed.

And it’s not “bossy” if a woman (or a man) gives you directions in bed. After your first few times, you might think you know how to please anyone in bed, but you won’t (even after years of sex, you won’t). Every partner will be different, and even the same partner will be different on different days. This is especially true of women, whose orgasms tend to be a little more elusive than men’s. But whoever you end up dating, guy or girl, you should be open and receptive.

 

7. Maybe you’re gay. Maybe you’re bisexual. Maybe you don’t know yet.

And it’s all good. Be yourself. And don’t worry too much about labels.

 

8. Nobody ever “owes” anyone else sex.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been dating, or how long you’ve been naked together, or how blue your balls are. It doesn’t matter if you two have had sex before, or if you partner has slept with ten people before you. It doesn’t matter if one of you just treated the other to dinner (or to oral sex). It doesn’t even matter if you’re half-way through some sexual act, including intercourse, and suddenly one of you changes your mind. Sex can stop at any time. It doesn’t even have to start.

 

9. That whole baseball thing is a terrible metaphor for sex.

Sex acts don’t exist on a checklist. Foreplay isn’t some discrete event that can be rushed through before the “main event.” Sex isn’t a linear set of steps. It’s not about keeping score or rushing to home plate. Sex is an amorphous conglomeration of hormones and touching and adoration and lust and pleasure and imperfection. We’ve said it before, we’ll say it (a million times) again: sex isn’t just intercourse, and intercourse shouldn’t be considered the culmination of sex. Oral sex is sex. So is manual sex. So is using a toy together. So is frottage!

 

10. Sex is awesome!

When you do it with the right person, at the right time, sex can be amazing. It can feel, like, really good. It can be fun and exciting, it can bring you closer to your partner, it can reduce stress, it can make you love a person more than you thought possible (though to be sure, love is not a requirement for sex — mutual respect, however, is). But sex isn’t usually awesome at first. Even when you’re head over heels in love and one hundred percent ready to do the deed, sex exists on a learning curve. That said, the better you know someone before you have sex, the more comfortable you will probably be figuring out what each other wants. Good sex requires practice. It requires knowledge about your body, and your partner’s body. It requires experimentation, and play. And it requires a sense of humor so you can both laugh it off when someone farts or queefs or gets an elbow in the face. Remember, there is no such thing as “normal” in bed — there is only what you like, what your partner likes, and what you’re both comfortable with.

Have fun, be safe, and remember: You can ask your mom anything. We’re, well, unshockable.

 

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Straight Guys: How to Respond to Being Hit On by a Woman http://www.emandlo.com/2014/08/straight-guys-how-to-respond-to-being-hit-on-by-a-woman/ http://www.emandlo.com/2014/08/straight-guys-how-to-respond-to-being-hit-on-by-a-woman/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 17:24:36 +0000 emandlo http://www.emandlo.com/?p=29659 photo via Flickr

A note to straight men: We’re constantly hearing you guys complain that you still have to do almost all of the pick-up leg-work. But then when a woman does attempt to hit on you in a bar, a lot of you turn around and call her “desperate” — even in 2014! (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.

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