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How to Define “Classic Rape”

July 11, 2014

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Last week, a UK judge proved just how real “rape culture” is: In response to a jury quickly finding a man guilty of raping a woman who was passed out on his couch, the judge offered these condolences to the criminal (i.e. not the victim):

  • “It’s sad to see a man of generally good character in the dock for such a serious offence.”
  • “I do not regard you as a classic rapist. I do not think you are a general danger to strangers. You are not the type who goes searching for a woman to rape.
  • “This was a case where you just lost control of normal restraint.”
  • “It was almost out of the blue that two girls turned up late at night, very, very drunk, at your home.
  • “The victim was the worst for drink out of the two of them. She was completely out of it. I accept that evidence.”
  • “She was a pretty girl who you fancied. You simply could not resist. You had sex with her.”

Salon responded with an appropriate WTF article about how “[t]his is everything that is wrong with how we view and talk about rape.” And when we posted about it earlier this week on Facebook, Molly Durham wrote this hilarious response:

*snorts* if this guy had it his way, there’d probably be a rape matrix or something… “Victim must be held down for 9.4 sec, victim must scream for 12.7 sec and clearly call for help 4 times at a level of 150 decibels or more, however, if rapist is known by victim or tells her that it’s not actually rape, victim must start over and file formal petition to change relationship with rapist from known to unknown.” Or some other bureaucratic nonsense… Sigh. It’s hard to be female, cis or trans :/

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Top 10 Things We Will Tell Our Daughters About Sex

July 9, 2014

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The two of us accidentally bred on the same schedule, which means we both have six-year-old daughters. We have long joked about the hazards of being both sex writers and parents (and in a small town, too, no less): What will they say at the P.T.A.? What if our daughters stumble across one of our books? What if one of their friends does during a playdate, and then tells her 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?!)

But writing about sex for the past fifteen years has also given us plenty of time to think about how we’d like to raise our daughters, and how we will talk to them (and in some cases, are talking to them) about sex. Here are the top ten things we want them — eventually — to know and understand:

1. Your virginity is not a “gift” to bestow on someone.
Your virginity is not even a thing to be objectified or glorified. In fact, penile intercourse, whenever you do it (if ever you do it), should not be put on a pedestal while handjobs and oral sex are demoted to meaningless freebies. All sexual acts are intimate and meaningful, and should be approached with thoughtfulness, deliberateness and respect. And when you have any kind of sexual relation for the first time, it should be because you want to — not because you like someone sooooo much you just want to do something nice for them, not because everyone else is doing it, and not because someone is pressuring you to.

2. Your body is beautiful and it belongs to you.
You will probably hear dumb guys talking about “meat curtains” or “fish tacos” or “gaping axe wounds.” These guys have no idea what they’re talking about, and are merely covering for the fact that they don’t know their way around a woman’s body. Your vagina does not smell like tuna fish, it smells like a vagina, and as long as you eat well and shower regularly with soap (no douching!), any guy who likes you will like the way it smells. And your labia do not look like roast beef slices. They look like labia, and they come in all shapes and sizes (sometimes even different shapes and sizes on the same woman), with different hairstyles — don’t believe the myth of sexual “norms” perpetuated by porn! (And stay away from anyone who does.) Oh, and you do not have a hoo-ha or a coochie or a vajayjay. You have a vulva. You have a vagina. You have a clitoris. (Okay, you can give your genitalia cutesy nicknames, but only if you can first name all your genital parts correctly and without shame.)

3. Masturbation is a great way to love and learn about your body.
Before you get intimate with someone, you should get intimate with yourself. You should learn what you like when you’re on your own, because once you’re with another person, it will be really easy to just focus on what they like and what works for them (especially if that person has a penis, which, generally speaking, is a much simpler machine to operate). Try lube, try a little vibrator, try closing your eyes and listening to music. And don’t worry if you can’t bring yourself to orgasm at first — these things take time.

4. If you have to get drunk to have sex, then you’re not ready to have sex.
When you get drunk you might not have safer sex. You might get talked into doing things you’re not comfortable with. You might sleep with someone you don’t even like. You might get date-raped (which wouldn’t be your fault, but drunkenness certainly increases the risk of it happening). Have all your wits about you when it comes to sexual situations so you can make smart, informed decisions and can give 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. If a guy tells you that sex with a condom feels awful, he’s lying. Sure, it feels better for him without a condom, but it’s still sex, and it’s the only kind he’s getting. You can tell him that sex with a condom feels better than sex with his own right hand. 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 also a great idea to 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?!?!??! P.S. The HPV vaccine is not about sex, it’s about protecting your body. It’s about saving your life. You will get it.

6. It’s not “bossy” to ask for what you want in bed.
Someone might think they know how to please you in bed, but they don’t. Every woman is different, and even the same woman is different on different days. Maybe your partner has hooked up a hundred times and this is your first time — you are still the expert on your own body. (Especially if you masturbate!) Show and tell them. Guide them with your hands. Encourage them when they get something right. If it doesn’t feel good to you, switch things up. Now, you know what is bossy? When someone pushes your head towards their crotch. Your ears are not a steering wheel! And oral sex is sex. It’s a big deal, and you should only go there when you’re ready. (In fact, if you’re not comfortable letting someone go down on you, then why would you feel okay going down on them?)

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. You never “owe” a person sex.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been dating, or how long you’ve been naked together, or how blue their balls/labia are. It doesn’t matter if you two have had sex before. It doesn’t matter if they just treated you to dinner (or to oral sex). It doesn’t even matter if you’re half-way through some sexual act, including intercourse, and suddenly change your mind. You can stop at any time. You don’t even have to start.

9. Sex is not just intercourse.
We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again. Oral sex is sex. So is manual sex. So is using a toy together. So is frottage! And given how far your clitoris is from the vaginal opening, intercourse alone will probably not lead to an orgasm for you. In fact, the majority of women need clitoral stimulation in order to climax, and a penis simply can’t reach that far. But you know what can? Your partner’s hand. Your hand. A small vibrator. Even then, your orgasm is not guaranteed — that will take time, and practice. If your partner doesn’t care about your orgasm, or gets impatient with your orgasm, you need to dump them immediately. (Then tell your mom and we’ll go out for ice cream…or a stiff drink.)

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 asking for what you want. Good sex requires practice. It requires knowledge about your body (we happen to have a few books you might want to read…). 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, and what you’re comfortable with.

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

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How to Give a Great Couples Massage

July 5, 2014

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sponsored post

When Denis Merkas, founder of “Melt: Massage for Couples,” asked us to review his online video series, we admit we were a bit trepidatious: images of sensitive ponytail men came to mind, the sound of cheesy tantric sitars filled our imaginations, and we thought we could suddenly smell a hint of patchouli in the air. But it turns out, we had nothing to worry about!

CouplesMassageCourses.com offers an informative, beautifully shot, sophisticated series of easy-to-follow instructional videos that can inspire couples to touch each other a little more deliberately and thoughtfully to make their lives together better (seriously, just watching the 2-minute promo below made us both want to be better partners). In each video, massage therapist Merkas — who has 13 years experience and has been perfecting these techniques for mass audiences since 2006 — tells you clearly what to do and why. His assistant in the videos is his own wife Emma — but before you start to worry the two are some HBO-ish “Real Sex,” hippy-dippy, swinging couple, rest assured, they’re adorable. And within the first minute of the quick intro video (see below), they make it clear their clothes are staying on: they provide the perfect back-rub techniques, then you can take it from there.

Here’s what we really liked about “Melt”:

  • Style: The website is beautifully designed. The videos are tastefully shot. Even their interstitial graphics are cool.
  • Charm: As host and instructor, Merkas seems like a genuinely nice guy who takes his job — and his wife’s pleasure — very seriously. But not too seriously. There’s a fine line between sophisticated seriousness and cheesy earnestness, and Merkas never crosses over to the dark side, even when he uses terms like “mushy mushy yum yum.” His cute Australian accent certainly doesn’t hurt!
  • Humor: We are automatically big fans of anyone who uses a Mr. Miyagi “wax on, wax off” reference when talking about massage do’s and don’ts.
  • Ease: Rather than one long daunting video that’s too intimidating to begin, Merkas breaks up the instruction into short, easy-to-process vids that are meticulously organized so you can ease into things, jump around, and review any specific technique you like at your own pace. Every technique is broken down and explained well with cute, easy-to-remember terms like “Train Tracks” and “The Cat Walk.”
  • Insider tips: No need for a massage table or other fancy props, just some useful tricks to make a sensual massage even better (for example, who knew the best place for a couples massage is not on the bed?!).
  • Choreographed routines: Included in the package are three massage “routines” — one 5 minutes, one 15 minutes, and one 30 minutes — that you can follow along with after you’ve mastered the various individual moves. Best part: Merkas offers each routine with or without commentary (hey, blindfold your partner and use the vids as a sort of silent cheat sheet!).
  • Effectiveness: Just ask Lo’s husband, who’s been in a zombie-like state of total bliss since she used him as her guinea pig.

Lifetime access to these 3 massage routines and 17 technique videos is usually $99. But from now until July 23rd, 2014, EMandLO.com readers can get Lifetime Access for ONLY $29, that’s more than 70% OFF! Use coupon code EMandLO to get the videos for ONLY $29. That’s certainly way less expensive than a date night out. So turn down the overheads, light some candles, and plan a great date night in with “Melt: Massage for Couples.”

 



10 Ways to Sexify Your Gratitude Journal

June 27, 2014

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photo via Flickr

Everyone from Oprah to Real Simple to the guy at Harvard who teaches classes on happiness has talked 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, to help you feel better about and really appreciate your love life. Here are 10 examples for inspiration:

  1. My Magic Wand
  2. The response I got on online personals today
  3. The delicious homemade dinner my partner cooked for me
  4. Choosing sex over tv
  5. The look on my spouse’s face when I surprised them with a pre-sex massage with Lelo oil
  6. Spontaneous declarations of love from my partner
  7. Organic natural lubricant
  8. My spouse’s inclination to split all house chores down the middle
  9. Discovered a new route to my orgasm!
  10. The adorable dimples my partner gets when s/he smiles


A Fantastic Guide to Couples Massage (with No Sensitive Ponytail Men!)

June 23, 2014

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sponsored post

When Denis Merkas, founder of “Melt: Massage for Couples,” asked us to review his online video series, we admit we were a bit trepidatious: images of sensitive ponytail men came to mind, the sound of cheesy tantric sitars filled our imaginations, and we thought we could suddenly smell a hint of patchouli in the air. But it turns out, we had nothing to worry about!

CouplesMassageCourses.com offers an informative, beautifully shot, sophisticated series of easy-to-follow instructional videos that can inspire couples to touch each other a little more deliberately and thoughtfully to make their lives together better (seriously, just watching the 2-minute promo below made us both want to be better partners). In each video, massage therapist Merkas — who has 13 years experience and has been perfecting these techniques for mass audiences since 2006 — tells you clearly what to do and why. His assistant in the videos is his own wife Emma — but before you start to worry the two are some HBO-ish “Real Sex,” hippy-dippy, swinging couple, rest assured, they’re adorable. And within the first minute of the quick intro video (see below), they make it clear their clothes are staying on: they provide the perfect back-rub techniques, then you can take it from there.

Here’s what we really liked about “Melt”:

  • Style: The website is beautifully designed. The videos are tastefully shot. Even their interstitial graphics are cool.
  • Charm: As host and instructor, Merkas seems like a genuinely nice guy who takes his job — and his wife’s pleasure — very seriously. But not too seriously. There’s a fine line between sophisticated seriousness and cheesy earnestness, and Merkas never crosses over to the dark side, even when he uses terms like “mushy mushy yum yum.” His cute Australian accent certainly doesn’t hurt!
  • Humor: We are automatically big fans of anyone who uses a Mr. Miyagi “wax on, wax off” reference when talking about massage do’s and don’ts.
  • Ease: Rather than one long daunting video that’s too intimidating to begin, Merkas breaks up the instruction into short, easy-to-process vids that are meticulously organized so you can ease into things, jump around, and review any specific technique you like at your own pace. Every technique is broken down and explained well with cute, easy-to-remember terms like “Train Tracks” and “The Cat Walk.”
  • Insider tips: No need for a massage table or other fancy props, just some useful tricks to make a sensual massage even better (for example, who knew the best place for a couples massage is not on the bed?!).
  • Choreographed routines: Included in the package are three massage “routines” — one 5 minutes, one 15 minutes, and one 30 minutes — that you can follow along with after you’ve mastered the various individual moves. Best part: Merkas offers each routine with or without commentary (hey, blindfold your partner and use the vids as a sort of silent cheat sheet!).
  • Effectiveness: Just ask Lo’s husband, who’s been in a zombie-like state of total bliss since she used him as her guinea pig.

Lifetime access to these 3 massage routines and 17 technique videos is usually $99. But from now until July 23rd, 2014, EMandLO.com readers can get Lifetime Access for ONLY $29, that’s more than 70% OFF! Use coupon code EMandLO to get the videos for ONLY $29. That’s certainly way less expensive than a date night out. So turn down the overheads, light some candles, and plan a great date night in with “Melt: Massage for Couples.”

 



8 Ways to Overcome Anxiety About a Gynecologist Visit

June 20, 2014

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photo via flickr

Nervous about going to the gynecologist? That’s a bummer.

Okay, that’s all the sympathy you’re going to get from us, because you’ve got to get over it. Your health is at stake, especially once you’re sexually active — and there’s nothing more important.

We all have to do things we don’t like: take our vitamins, shovel snow when it’s blocking the front door, pay our taxes, leave the womb. But we do it; we just get it over with as quickly and with as little fanfare as possible — and it ultimately makes our lives easier and better. When you were a kid, you certainly didn’t want to get your shots, but you had to, your parents made you, you didn’t have a choice — and at the time, you probably thought you were going to die. But you didn’t. And because you got the shots, you’ve avoided getting terrible diseases which could have killed you. See, better!*

Yes, there are much more enjoyable things to do than go to the gynecologist, but it’s hardly a visit to Gitmo. You lie back, bend your knees, spread your legs, breathe deeply, and try to relax while your gyno takes a look down there (more deets from Dr. Kate here). It usually takes less than two minutes, though our nerves can make it feel like fifteen. It’s not painful, just a bit uncomfortable and awkward.

Here are 8 things we’d recommend to make the whole thing less daunting, i.e. more comfortable and less awkward:

1. Get a mirror and start probing yourself. It’s sounds hippy-dippy, but the better you know your own body, the more empowered you’ll be. Doctors are often scary because they hold all this knowledge that you don’t. Even the playing field a bit by getting down there and taking a look around. Feel inside with your fingers. You can even order your own speculum from a female-friendly place like GoodVibrations so you can see what your gyno can see. (Just be sure to read up on proper procedure.) Plus it’ll get you familiar with the feeling.

2. Love your vagina. We know talk of speculums and beaver shots may sound gross, but there’s nothing gross about your body. Try to have happy, positive thoughts about your bod, especially your genitals — learn to love them, and then you’ll want to take care of them by going to the doctor regularly.

3. Go to a doctor that comes highly recommended. Ask around and find out who among your friends and family has a great gyno — then, assuming she’s in your health care company’s network, go to her. And we do mean her — having a person who can empathize with your body parts, and not inadvertently make you feel even more self-conscious while your pants are off really makes a difference, at least in our book. But just because a gynecologist is a woman, doesn’t automatically mean she’ll have a great bedside manner (which is why you need the personal recommendation), but the odds are probably better with a lady doc.

4. Have a close friend or family member be your wingwoman: Explain that you’re nervous and ask for help. Make the appointment for a time they can come along with you. Have them pick you up and go with you to the appointment. If you’re really scared, then them come into the exam room with you (just get clearance from the doc’s office beforehand). Have them hold your hand, make eye contact with you and distract you with small talk during the exam. Don’t worry about being perceived as a wimp — if it makes you feel better and keeps you up on the exam table, that’s all that matters. If you’re there, you’re not a wimp.

5. Tell your gyno that you’re nervous. Sounds basic, we know, but if she knows you’re nervous (we’re guessing the wingwoman will be a hint!) she can make a special effort to talk you through what she’s doing as she’s doing it. (The best gynos do this as a matter of course, which is just one more reason to get a recommendation.

6. Learn how to relax, physically and mentally. Take some yoga classes, do your kegels, get in the habit of breathing deeply and abdominally — because the more tense you are, the more uncomfortable it’s going to be.

7. Schedule your appointment in the afternoon so you can go to lunch and have a glass of wine first. Then, make sure you have something fun to do with your friend afterwards, so you have something to look forward to. But make a pact with yourself that you can’t do the fun thing unless you go to the doc first.

8. Check yourself: If you think there’s a chance your anxiety stems from some past trauma you haven’t dealt with emotionally, seek professional therapy. (This is not to say, of course, that your anxiety necessarily has a root cause — it’s perfectly natural to be nervous about a gyno visit with no past trauma at all.)

Be sure to check out Dr. Kate’s take on gynecologist fears here (after all,  she’s a nice woman who looks at vaginas all day long!)

 *Let’s save debates about vaccinations for another website.

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The 5 Stages of Sexual Grief

May 15, 2014

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photo via Flickr

Making huge stupid mistakes in bed — we’re talking, like, of epic proportions — is a universal experience. People from all walks of life do dumb things they regret in the morning — it’s an inevitable part of life and love. But while there is no right way to mourn your sexual indiscretions, please know that one thing is certain: as long as you have a support network of good friends who have short attention spans, private access to reliable erotica, and the ability to move to a new city, you will get through this.

1. Denial and Isolation

The first reaction of a terrible sexual experience is to deny the reality of the situation. “It only seemed like I lasted 30 seconds because it was such good sex, surely it was longer.” Or: “There’s no way my boss will figure out I masturbated in her office. Now where did I put those monogrammed panties?” Or: “There was so much moaning going on, there’s no way she heard me call her ‘mommy.’” It is a normal defense mechanism that eases the bad blow (job). Rest assured, this is a temporary response that gets you through the first wave of humiliation, embarrassment and/or regret.

 

2. Anger

You can only lie to yourself for so long; eventually reality must dawn on you. But when it does, you still probably won’t be ready to wake up. Rather than emotionally processing the humiliation, embarrassment and/or regret, you deflect it and express it as anger:

  • Your mother is to blame for your inability to get naked without crying…
  • The angle of your boyfriend’s stupid penis is what caused you to queef, which in turn made you try to blame it on the cat…
  • It’s your roommate’s fault that he found you naked with the dog and a jar of peanut butter because he’s the one who insisted on getting a pet in the first place!

You may lash out at these people, or at total strangers…strangers who happen to be making out on your bus home from a long, shitty day at work…throwing the fact of their healthy sex life in your face…until you throw the wadded-up wrapper from your tasteless Big Mac at them while running off the bus at your stop, screaming “GET A ROOM!!!” Or you might take out your frustrations on inanimate objects, like violently shoving your Magic Wand down the garbage disposal.

 

3. Bargaining

The normal reaction to feelings of sexual inadequacy, ignorance or stupidity is often a need to regain control:

  • If only I hadn’t drunk dialed him that fifth time the other night…
  • If only I had deleted my browser history…
  • If only I had worn a condom that last time (never mind all the other times I somehow skated by without them)…
  • If only I hadn’t used a dick slap as my opening move…

Secretly, you might try to make a deal with some higher power — God, your spouse, your Internet service provider — in an attempt undue what’s already been done. Sorry, sucker: it ain’t gonna happen.

 

4. Depression

This is when it really hits home: you realize how royally you fucked up with the fucking. And it makes you want to lock the front door, turn off your phone, and curl up in a ball with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and a Tori Spelling marathon on Lifetime. Go ahead and do it, because, let’s face it, you really shouldn’t be showing your face in public right now. But don’t worry, Pookie, it won’t always be this bad (see number 5 below).

 

5. Acceptance

Most people with at least an ounce of self-awareness will eventually come to accept the fact that they did something sexually stupid, the world didn’t end, and they were able to emerge from their Lifetime cocoon (fairly) unscathed. Acceptance will come quicker if you proactively try to learn from your mistakes and vow to never commit them again: we’re talking to you, bare-backer / never-called-backer / porn-liar / point-and-giggler / best-friend’s-partner-fucker. If you need help fully achieving this stage, write to us for advice — our tough love can be quite soul cleansing.

 

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5 Reasons to Wear Lingerie (Especially If You’re Not the Type)

May 2, 2014

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LELO’s Halter Camisole (on sale now for half off)

We are not ones to put more undue pressure on women (or men for that matter, though they could use some more time in high heels) to live up to some unrealistic ideal of style and beauty. If you’re comfortable in an old worn oversized cotton t-shirt, awesome! But if good sex is often about trying new things, pushing your boundaries, breaking taboos, making yourself blush, and avoiding habits and ruts, then switching things up every once in a while in the bedroom is essential. And dressing up for sex is a simple and easy way to do just that.

  1. Fantasy: Why do we watch big Hollywood blockbusters and read epic novels? Why do we watch porn and read erotica? To temporarily escape to other worlds that are more dramatic, more exciting, and sexier! Why do we dress up for Halloween? So we can pretend we’re someone we’re not for an evening. Lingerie and sexy sleepware can work the same way, especially if wearing it is not something you normally do. It’s the mildest, least embarrassing form of roleplaying there is.
  2. Modesty: Yes, you read that right. If you tend to be a little shy when it comes to being naked, or are insecure about a part of your body (even though you shouldn’t be!), then lingerie can actually embolden you by giving you a bit of cover or support. Remember, a lot of sexy stuff can happen without the lingerie ever coming off.
  3. Generosity: It’s nice to be a giving lover, to think about what your partner would enjoy and then give it to them (even if it’s not your number one favorite thing to do). We’re not saying you should ever do anything you don’t want to do, but something you think is merely silly might be the ultimate in sexy to your partner. Would it be so bad to make their day in that way every once in a while? And we’re not just talking to the ladies. A nice pair of boxer briefs instead of those baggy boxers (or whatever Ryan Gosling wears to bed) might be a nice change of pace.
  4. Confidence: Like any piece of clothing, if you find something that fits well, isflattering, feels good against your skin and thus makes you feel good, you’ll have more confidence in bed. And when you have more confidence in bed, you have a better time in bed — and so does your partner.
  5. Ceremony: By dressing up for sex, even if it’s just on special occasions, you honor the sex as a sacred event. You’re a goddess (or god) who deserves to be worshipped, body and soul. What you’re sharing is important and meaningful. By wearing something nice, you’re expressing your respect for the union at hand.

Check out LELO’s Sussurra Collection of silk intimate apparel, including exquisite kimono robes, delicate silk baby-dolls and even a French Maid Set. Everything in the collection is 50% off now! 

 



10 Things That Feel Better Than Getting Revenge On An Ex

April 29, 2014

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The new movie The Other Woman, starring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, and Kate Upton, features three women who join forces to get revenge on the guy who, it turns out, was sleeping with all three of them (and married to one of them). But while creative, collaborative revenge on an ex makes for catchy movie taglines — “The oddest friends are about to get even” — and meme-a-rific blog posts, it rarely feels as good in real life. Why? Because revenge keeps the focus clearly on your asshole ex. No matter how humiliating the situation, you are continuing to make him or her the star of your show.

The best kind of revenge is the kind that has nothing to do with your ex, and everything to do with you. Sure, if your ex happens to witness any of these acts of transformation, you will feel a sense of sweet justice, but that’s not your primary motivation. The whole point of these acts is to erase your ex from the picture and make you the star of your own life once again. Because, trust us, taking the high road in any one of these ten ways can feel just as good as selling your ex’s prized Mercedes or closet of Louboutins for a dollar at a tag sale:

1. Getting a Breakover

Nothing is more motivating on the treadmill than the revenge of looking hotter than ever post-breakup. Work out, eat right, learn how to lift weights, take up hot yoga, pluck your nose hair, do a hundred sit-ups before every shower… by the time you’ve done all this, you’ll have forgotten who you were trying to get revenge on in the first place. Hint: Listening to the Flashdance soundtrack may help.

2. Being a Better Person

Volunteer somewhere. Because nothing puts your own problems in perspective like helping out people who are even less fortunate than you are. You know, people who fought for their country and ended up in a wheelchair; people who are dying in a nursing home with no one to visit them; kids who have nowhere to go after school; people who can’t get a date to the soup kitchen. We won’t be so crass as to suggest you might meet someone new this way, but we know it crossed your mind. We won’t tell.

3. Getting Busy

Start a blog, take up a new hobby (preferably one where you’ll meet new people, like joining a running club), read a Russian novel, write a Great American Novel, paint your room, learn how to take really good photographs, sort out your closet and host a clothing swap, learn chess with a friend, teach yourself Mandarin—basically, keep yourself busy with something that will make you feel good about yourself afterwards. (Meaning, watching Friends re-runs doesn’t count.)

4. Buying a New Sex Toy

Splurge on a high-end sex toy for you or your next partner and put the sex you had with your ex to shame.

5. Cutting the Cord

Disconnect with your ex on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other ways you continue to be weirdly “social” with each other. Maybe one day you can be friends again, but for now, if you’re even considering creative forms of revenge, going cold turkey is your best bet. Trust us, a complete lack of information about your new life will be more frustrating to your ex than a hundred pictures proving how “happy” you now are and how quickly you’ve “moved on.”

6. Getting Rich

This is a metaphor, people. Sure, you could buy a lottery ticket or sell your pristine collection of vintage action dolls on eBay. But what we really mean is, be successful. Finally get your own dance-studio business off the ground. Go for that promotion. Insist on a raise. Revamp your resume. All that creative energy you were thinking of applying toward a meme-a-rific revenge strategy? Apply it to your career, instead. Think: What Would Beyoncé Do? (W.W.B.D.)

7. Reading a Saucy Sex Manual

The best sex of your life is yet to come! Don’t just mutter this like a mantra, though, or tape the saying to your bathroom mirror to help dry your tears in the morning: Instead, actually make it happen by learning a few new tricks and tips to apply to your next relationship.

8. Marking the Occasion

We get that you want to mark this occasion — you want to do something to prove to the world that you’ve moved on. But your ex shouldn’t be invited to this party! And that’s exactly what you’re doing when you try to mark the occasion with revenge. Moving on should be all about you. So get a tattoo, whether permanent or henna. Have a breakup party with all your friends. Get a new haircut or hair color. Change up your style. Create a new email sig file. Whatever works for you!

9. Having a Rebound Fling

Never underestimate the benefits of distracting yourself with the joys of being single so that you won’t be tempted to indulge in any late-night revenge-planning. Try masturbation, online dating (if only to get a few nice emails from strangers in your inbox), or flirting therapy (it’s like smiling — forcing yourself to do it will make you feel better). You don’t even need to have actual rebound sex with someone, though a rebound make-out sesh may just make you feel happier than a room without a roof.

10. Telling Us All About It

We’re guessing your friends, family, and distant acquaintances are all sick of hearing you talk about what went wrong in your relationship by now. So why not tell us instead? We’re putting together a collection of stories about failed relationships, and we’d love to hear yours! You can send it to us here, via our contact form. Think of it as a chance to put it all down for posterity, or to help others avoid the same pitfalls. Or, if you prefer, think of it simply as venting to two complete strangers who promise to take your side.

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What the Pets In Your Online Dating Photo Mean

April 22, 2014

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Scientific research about whether you should include a pet in your online dating profile pic is, not surprisingly, rather flimsy. So we decided to put together our own report on featuring pets. The following guide explains the message conveyed by different kinds of pet in your online dating pic. Depending on the image you want to present, consider posing with your pet, cropping your pet from the pic, or borrowing a pet from a friend.

 

Man with Dog (Regular Size)

“I’m rugged and manly but can be tender and caring with the right woman. Every woman except the right woman, however, comes second to my dog.”

 

Man with Dog (Miniature)

“I like pink shirts, skincare products, and cunnilingus. And yes, I’m perfectly secure in my manhood, thanks.”

 

Woman with Dog (Regular Size)

“I take five minutes to get ready in the morning and I’ll never order a salad (dressing on the side) when we go out to eat. And no players, please: The only games I like are those I play with my dog.”

 

Woman with Dog (Miniature)

“I take more than an hour to get ready in the morning and I’ll order a salad (dressing on the side) even when you insist the restaurant serves the best steak in town. Also: be prepared for mind games.”

 

Man with Cat

“I honestly don’t give a shit what you think about my cat. Also, go ahead and bring your vibrator to bed — it’s all good. I’ll probably write a poem about it, if that’s cool with you.”

 

Woman with Cat

“My bed is strewn with my stuffed animal collection. And, ew, please don’t put your finger there. Like, gross!”

 

Man with Horse

“I’m rich as fuck.”

 

Woman with Horse

“Are you rich enough to be my man?”

 

Man with Rabbit

“I love to spoon. No, seriously, I love to spoon.”

 

Woman with Rabbit

“Will you hold me?”

 

Man with Bird

“I’m a control freak with a jealous streak.”

 

Woman with Bird

“I don’t like to make noise in bed. Would you please keep it down?”

 

Man with Snake

“I have an enormous penis.”

 

Woman with Snake

“I like kinky sex and big penises.”

 

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