Em & Lo's RSS Feed Em & Lo's Daily Email Feed Be Our Facebook Friend! Follow Us on Twitter!

Archive | Advice RSS feed for this section

How to Have More Sex Without It Feeling Like a Chore

May 13, 2015


According to new research, having more sex may actually make couples less happy — if they feel like they’re being told to have more sex. The Carnegie Mellon study, published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, studied 64 heterosexual married couples between 35 and 65 years old. Group one was told to have sex as they usually did for the next three months; group two was told to have twice as much sex as they usually did. Researchers then measured the couples’ happiness and sexual satisfaction. And guess what? Group two enjoyed the sex less, had less desire for sex, and overall, was less happy.

The researchers aren’t claiming their study proves that more sex equals less happiness. (Though this could certainly be true for some couples — it’s hard to pine for each other when you’re doing it all the time!) Rather, they think that the couples resented having sex be some kind of task that they had to check off on a to-do list, whether or not they were in the mood. It’s the ultimate honey-do list!

“If we ran the study again, and could afford to do it,” says George Loewenstein, PhD, the head researcher, “we would try to encourage subjects into initiating more sex in ways that put them in a sexy frame of mind — perhaps with baby-sitting, hotel rooms, or Egyptian sheets — rather than directing them to do so.”

But not every couple has a university researcher who will treat them to a fancy hotel room or nice sheets. So here are five suggestions for how you can have more sex in your relationship… without setting yourself some kind of goal that will feel like homework.

1. Talk About Your Own Sex Life

Remember when your relationship was new and you two were like this narcissistic unit, attached at the mouth/genitals? You talked about yourselves all the time back then, right? You talked to each other about how good the sex was, you talked about how into each other you were, and you didn’t really want to talk about or to anyone else. Well, it’s good that you moved on from that stage, otherwise you’d probably lose your job and your friends (and you’d never even consider procreation). But you could use a little more of that attention in your relationship now — and a little goes a long way. Take some time out of talking about your day to talk to each other about what you did in bed last night/last week/your best time ever. It’s like stealth foreplay, priming yourselves for more of that good stuff.

2. Sext Your Partner with a Promise.

Notice we said sext, not text. If you simply say, hey, let’s have sex tonight when I get home, it might feel like you just added one more item to the bottom of your shopping list. The dirtier and more specific the directive, the more organic it will feel.

3. Shower Just Before Bed

Duh, right? It takes five minutes. Just try it.

4. Keep Your Sex Toys Handy

What’s on your nightstand right now? A stack of books and magazines, an alarm clock, a tube of Chapstick, a box of Kleenex, your iPhone? Now, how about your sex toys, where are they? In a box under your bed? In your closet? When your bedside accessories are right there, next to your night-time lip balm — and fully charged, don’t forget, that’s important — they’re much harder to ignore. (If you have nosy kids or house guests, hide a vibrator inside your box of Kleenex!)

5. Ask Each Other These 36 Questions On a Date Night

Yeah, yeah, we know everyone tells you to go on a date night if you want to get in a mood. But that’s a lot of pressure to put on a plate of pasta to reinvigorate your desire for each other! What if the food sucks? What if your waiter is mean to you? Here’s a way to make a date night feel truly intimate: Ask each other these 36 questions. (The author of the questions also recommends staring into each other’s eyes for four full silent minutes at the end of the date — if you can pull that off, too, more power to you!)


image via

What Men Want You to Do with Their Nipples

May 12, 2015

1 Comment


Advice from three of our guy friends. This week a straight woman asks,“What’s up with men’s nipples? Should I play with them or ignore them?”

Gay Single Guy (Jay Dyckman): When it comes to nipple play and men, it’s very easy.  Some love it, some hate it, and some will ask you, during said act, and in a flat monotone, if you are “trying to get milk to come out.”  (Yes, that was a total mood killer.)  It really depends on the guy.  It will send some into the stratosphere and some racing for the front door.  Like everything, you never know until you give it a test drive. And if your guy really hates it, let’s hope he has the wherewithal to just say “Skip the nip, please.”

Straight Single Guy (Tyler Barnett): In the film Meet the Parents, the great Robert De Niro casually asks Ben Stiller, “I have nipples Greg, can you milk me?” Funny as that may be, it makes male nipples seem a bit, well, out of place. While they don’t serve any biological function like their female counterpart, they do have a purpose. As a kid, the titty twister and the purple nurple were always fun. As an adult, when a lady moves her mouth from my lips to my nips it always sends a shiver of excitement down my spine. But too much nipple play can be a bit annoying and even painful for me. Some women like to bite ‘em which, in my book, is not a good thing. So unless you know your guy’s into a little pleasure-pain, I’d say skip it. Here are a few nip tips for you ladies:

  1. Kiss em, lick em, but don’t bite!
  2. There are two, let’s not neglect one or the other.
  3. Don’t spend too much time with our nipples, it could get weird if we feel like you’re waiting for something to squirt out.

Straight Married Guy (Jim): I really can’t decide if I’d miss mine if I woke up without them.  My wife says she loves them about as much as my big toe or my bellybutton, both of which I would definitely miss. If you don’t get any response from your guy the first time, they’re safe to ignore.


Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Straight Married Guy is Jim from New York, our Gay Guy is Jay Dyckman, an LA copywriter, and our Single Straight Guy is Tyler Barnett, owner of the LA PR firm Barnett Ellman. To ask the guys your own question, click here.

photo by via flickr

Why You Should Let Your Boyfriend or Husband Watch Porn

May 12, 2015


Porn is an evergreen issue in our mailbox — we frequently get letters about it from both men and women. The men tend to say, why is my girlfriend/wife so bothered by porn? And the women tend to say, why does my boyfriend/husband watch porn when he has me? Or, why does he continue to watch porn when he knows I don’t like it. Today, we want to address those women, a.k.a. the Porn Patrol. Because for all of the issues we have with porn (political, ethical, feminist, intellectual, aesthetic…we could go on), we think that compromising on porn may just save your relationship.

Let’s take your relationship with shoes (or women’s magazines, or whatever): imagine if your partner said he was viscerally opposed to it, thinks it is a horrible industry that exploits people and perpetuates sexism and misogyny, and suggested that it might be a deal breaker. Or imagine if he asked you to give up masturbation*, because he should be enough for you. You’d be bummed, because you know those things don’t impact the love you have for your guy. You might, out of generosity and kindness, give them up, but then you might become bitter and resentful for being forced to change.

We understand how porn makes many women feel uncomfortable and unloved and disrespected — we’ve been there — but really, from his perspective, it has nothing to do with you; you’re not in any competition with it; it’s a normal and almost unavoidable part of being a guy. (It’s also a normal part of being a woman, for some.) And honestly, you’ll have a hard time finding a man who doesn’t like porn; it’s hard enough to find one who doesn’t like sports!

This is not to say that all porn is harmless. We think that the prevalence of porn can be blamed for a lot of the misconceptions young people (and plenty of adults) have today about sex and safety and what constitutes realistic sex and what works for women (physically and psychically) and what it means to treat people with decency and respect. Which is why it’s so important not only for decent, realistic sex education to be readily and widely available, but for critical thinking about porn to be an equally prevalent part of our culture (we love this Danish sexologist’s idea for teaching young people to be critical and conscientious about their porn consumption).  We also think it’s important that people — especially women — support the production of quality porn (because porn ain’t going away).

Of course, you can’t dictate people’s sexual fantasies or tell them what they can and can’t watch, like an uptight Big Brother. Well, you can, if you’re their partner, but it probably won’t go over so well. Which is why it’s better to tell them how you feel. Compromises can be made on both sides so everyone’s more at ease. Maybe you try to find something that turns you on, that you find acceptable so you can see where he’s coming from, as it were — maybe so you could even enjoy it together.

You can certainly encourage him to stay away from the more disturbing stuff, like, say, Brazilian fart porn — there is plenty of good, old-fashioned, healthy, and responsible boot-knocking going on out there by consenting adults who aren’t on drugs. But if he’s watching porn instead of having sex with you, or his porn consumption is getting in the way of school or work or social outings or daily living, then you’re in your rights to demand he seek professional help.

Assuming it’s not an unhealthy porn addiction, and you can’t find a way to get into it yourself, but you’re not willing to walk away from the relationship, then make sure your guy keeps it a private thing (and if he’s doing this already, consider it him being polite!). Don’t talk about it and definitely don’t watch it, and ask that he hide all signs of it.  In this case, ignorance can be bliss.

*Masturbation is something you should continue to do whether you’re in a relationship or not, married or not — it’s good for you to have some quality alone time!


photo via flickr

Your Call: Why Won’t He Get to Know Me?

May 11, 2015


photo via Flickr

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. This woman asked her question in the comments section of the post How Often Do F-Buddies Become Girlfriends? Tell it to her straight in the comments section below. 

Dear Em & Lo,

So I started talking to this guy on a dating app. He seemed so interested at first. Conversations could have been a bit inappropriate looking back now, but at the time they were so exciting! We went out on our first date to a members only club. Which made me think “Ok, it’s good that he’s not hiding me.” We had three other dates but they were very spaced out and all three he would invite me over and cook for me. We spoke about our families, he’d talk to me about his friends like I knew them, we spoke about our ex’s for a minute or so, I learnt that he had got out of a one year relationship 3 months prior to us talking. We slept together on the fourth date. I really like him and we clicked so well when we were together, but then he wouldn’t talk to me until the next week when he’d want to see me.

One day he tried to make a joke out of wanting to sleep with me, I took it the wrong way and said I wasn’t only looking for someone to sleep with and if that was the case maybe I should take a step back. His response was “I hadn’t thought that far ahead!” What does that even mean?!

I tried to call him to explain what I meant, as I wasn’t looking to rush into something, I just wanted to go out and do different things. He picked up but said he was in the middle of something and would call me back… Of course he didn’t. I took the advice of a guy friend of mine and sent him a message the next evening to diffuse the situation. I said [things] got a bit lost in translation and there was no drama and I asked what his plans were for the evening. He responded the next day… Basically just saying that he was ill but was going to an event he had to attend that night but was just going to lay low. I took that as he was only going to invite me over if I was going to see him. I told him to enjoy his evening!

He texted a couple of days later saying that he was at work and was going to chill and watch a movie at home after work and said I was welcome to join. I told him I was not up for that but I didn’t mind going out for a drink! He said he would text me once he finished work. He texted me later than when he said he would to say that he was running late and let’s rearrange.

Of course I was annoyed but just said perhaps after I’m back from my trip. His response was “sure x.” Thing is he hasn’t asked about me or contacted me since. I don’t know how to deal with this guy, I don’t get why I’m not being given a chance, I’ve never been in a situation where a guy hasn’t wanted to get to know me. I think about him a lot but I don’t want it to just be about sex!

I’d love to hear your advice.


What advice do you have for LouLou? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


How Cheating May Actually Improve Your Relationship

May 7, 2015


by Sarah Harrison for YourTango

We didn’t believe it at first either …

Unless you’re inclined toward polyamory, extramarital relations are generally frowned upon.

Marriages accept and expect monogamy; infidelity is harmful! Right?

Not so fast, says Michael J. Formica, a Psychology Today blogger. In a post on the “Enlightened Living” blog, Formica makes the case that thinking about cheating—and even stepping out on your sweetie—can potentially help your relationship.

First Formica identifies four basic types of affairs:

  1. An object affair: The cheating partner neglects the relationship to focus on something else—work, a video game, an intense involvement in floral arrangement—a detriment to his or her love life.
  2. A sexual affair: Exactly what they sound like: The adulterer rents cheap hotel rooms for sex—but not emotional intimacy. A sexual affair is strictly about nookie, nothing more.​
  3. An emotional affair: When there’s no smooching, but lots of sentiment. You’re spending hours on IM with someone who’s not your boyfriend, spilling your secrets to a woman who’s not your wife, turning to someone else instead of your partner in times of need. Clearly not good for your primary relationship.
  4. A secondary relationship affair: This is the traditional kind of cheating, where you have two parallel partnerships that are both sexual and emotional, and it’s this kind of liaison that Formica says can actually help a marriage.

First, he says, an affair can add fizz to a flat partnership. What was once stale gets refreshed by a new energy.

Second, if you’re having an affair you’re probably doing it because you’re missing something in your primary relationship. If you analyze the affair you might be able to see what it is that’s lacking and address that problem.

Finally, people tend to get into the same kind of relationship over and over again, but affairs are different—according to Formica they often are “a more authentic barometer for what we actually need in our relationships.”

Right about now you’re probably thinking this Formica guy is one messed up dude who’s just making excuses for cheating. But Formica qualifies his analysis:

The “good” that might come out of an affair is clearly not the affair itself or its potential painful consequences (for the betrayed, children involved, etc.). But, as I often say, everything is material for change. If we look at our choices and examine ourselves in an honest and forthright way, we just might find one of the keys to prompt our own personal growth and evolution.

That evolution might lead us back to a more authentic relationship with our primary relationship, or it might lead us to a more authentic understanding of ourselves that leads us away from that primary partner. Either way, that is still positive growth.

Readers, what do you think? Can infidelity ever lead to positive change? Or is the damage wrought by cheating too harmful to ever be good?

More content from YourTango:

Do Guys Really Hate Talking on the Phone?

May 5, 2015


photo via Flickr

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following:  Why do guys seem to hate talking on the phone?

Gay Single Guy (Daniel): My suspicion is that it has to do with how most straight guys talk, or rather, don’t talk. Straight men seem to not indulge in gossip and tangential storytelling when it comes to conversing with others. The phone is much more utilitarian to them. It’s about communicating the necessary information: where to meet, when, where are you parked, what should he buy your parents, etc. For the most part, they aren’t interested in talking about the banalities of daily life on the phone, and certainly not their feelings — not surprising, if you consider how difficult it is for them to talk about them in person. But whatever the reasons, don’t take it personally if he doesn’t like talking on the phone with you. In all likelihood, he is probably the same with his mom. It isn’t necessarily reflective of how he feels about you. And look on the bright(er) side: if he doesn’t like the phone, then the other option is more face time!

Straight Married Guy (Figleaf): I’m not sure men hate talking on the phone.  I practically lived on the phone as a teenager, for instance, talking endlessly with both male and female friends.  And a very informal visual survey I made while thinking about the question turned up equal numbers of men and women passing by with cellphones to their ears.  None of them looked like they were hating it.  I’m going to wing it here, but it’s possible that in a world where men are supposed to make the first calls to ask women out — and might have more associations with being turned down — we might feel more self-conscious about saying “the wrong thing.”  Even when you make it clear you want to hear from us. Read the rest of this entry »

Your Call: How to Tell Your Husband It’s Okay to Ravish You (a Little)

May 4, 2015


We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your advice in the comments section. 

Submit Your Own Question to EMandLO.comTry Our New
*PRIVATE* Advice Service!


Dear Em & Lo,

I’m just about as open as u can get when it comes 2 sex w/ my husband. I’m the one pushing toys, anal play . . . I’ve noticed that it turns him on when I say “ouch” or “please.” His arm creeps around my neck and I go w/ it, biting him, feeble “faux” struggling.

I trust him. How can I tell him that it’s ok if he likes to fantasize about these things? I wouldn’t mind a little pain at the right moment, but he has 2 learn when I’m ready. I was raped and I think he is afraid of pulling that up but we’ve been together 15+years (since 16) & I know he will never do anything I don’t want him to.

I love it when he pulls my hair/bites my neck/shoulder. So how do I bring this up so we can set up cues 4 when I’m ready and when it’s 2 much?

– Take Me

What should T.M. say to her husband? Leave advice for her in the comments section below.


What Is the PS-Spot and How Can I Enjoy It?

May 1, 2015


photo via flickr

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you know exactly what the G-spot is, and you probably know where it is, too — an area on the front wall of the vagina a few inches in that, when stimulated, can result in extreme pleasure, explosive orgasms, and even female ejaculation…well, at least for some women (quite a few don’t like theirs even looked at!). Thanks to a number of studies on the anatomy and sexual response of this area over the past few decades, the G-spot has become the It Girl of female sexuality.

But what about the PS-spot? The PS-who?

That’s exactly the reaction we got when we asked a group of sexually sophisticated women and their partners about this area opposite the G-spot: “Never heard of it”, and “The G-spot is hard enough to find, let alone something with 2 letters”, and “Is that similar to treacle sponge?” If the G-spot is the It Girl, the PS-spot is its red-headed step-sister. So here’s some info to help you get to know her better, because she can really be quite nice:

  1. What the PS-spot is exactly: The PS stands for perineal sponge, which lies between the vagina and rectum, just beneath the perineum (that band of skin between the vaginal opening and the anus). The perineal sponge is a mass of erectile tissue, which means that when it’s stimulated, it fills with blood and becomes engorged, just like a man’s penis and a woman’s clitoris do during arousal.
  2. Why you’ve never heard of the PS-spot: Willful ignorance has been a long-standing tradition when it comes to female sexuality. Women were once considered practically asexual, encouraged just to lie back and think of England. Then Freud nearly ruined the clitoris for us, suggesting that orgasms gained from its stimulation were somehow “immature”. And even today there are some doctors who question the existence of the G-spot. There’s just been very little research on pleasure-related issues for women, especially those connected to the perineal sponge.
  3. How to stimulate the PS-spot: The best way to stimulate the PS-spot is with a finger(s) or a curved sex toy – just as is the case with the G-spot, except you apply pressure in the opposite direction (i.e. on the back lower wall of the vagina). You can also stimulate it via the perineum (pushing up) or the anus (gently pushing toward the front of the body). If you want to try getting at it during intercourse, you could try positions that direct the penis/phallus toward your back wall, such as missionary or woman-on-top with your torsos pressed together — basically, the opposite of what works best for targeting the G-spot, which is doggy style.
  4. What the PS-spot may feel like: Women who like this area stimulated have reported various results: reaching orgasm from its stimulation alone, enhancement of other kinds of stimulation,  the extending or intensifying of orgasm, reaching orgasm quicker.
  5. Why you shouldn’t get too excited about the PS-spot: Whether you’re looking for the G-spot or the PS-spot, there’s definitely no guarantee that either will feel good to you. And that’s okay. It’s good just to know that these spots are a natural part of your anatomy there to be explored. If you happen to be one of those women for whom the G-spot isn’t the holy grail, then maybe the PS-spot will do it for you. If not, don’t worry — there are always other spots to try, whether they have their own catchy term yet or not. When you find one you like, name it after your own initials!


5 Signs Your Jealousy Is Out of Control

April 30, 2015


Kim Olver for Your Tango | Photo via Flickr

Extreme jealousy is one of the most destructive things in a relationship. Engaging in jealous behaviors and suspicions is not cute. It does not let your significant other know you really care.

And it definitely will not strengthen your relationship.

An occasional, mildly jealous episode might actually heighten the interest in your relationship but chronic, pathological jealousy is like a cancer that will destroy any loving feelings that exist in your relationship.

With that in mind, here are five signs you are a jealous mess:

1. His phone habits upset you. Whenever your partner doesn’t answer the telephone while in your presence, you wonder if it could be a lover.

2. His social media habits scare you. Whenever your partner has a new friend on Facebook, you go to the friend’s page to check out your competition.

3. You stalk him. You find yourself driving by your loved one’s job, home or places you know him/her to frequent, thinking you’ll find some incriminating evidence.

4. You’re mistrustful of new people. Every time your loved one introduces you to someone new, you closely watch them for any sign of attraction and later grill your significant other about their relationship.

5. You snoop. Whenever you get the opportunity, you are checking your loved one’s phone and/or email for signs he/she may be involved with someone else.

If this describes you, your relationship is in big trouble! It’s time for some introspection and to make some changes.

Is this the person you really want to be? Does your partner deserve your trust and respect? If so, then extend those courtesies. If not, and your partner has given you multiple reasons not to trust him/her, ask yourself why you are still in a relationship with a person you cannot trust?

People who are a jealous mess choose these jealous behaviors as their best attempt to get what they want. Typically what jealous people want is for their partner to have no romantic interest in other people.

If you are a jealous mess, ask yourself the question, Is my behavior really causing my partner to want to be with me exclusively?  When you honestly look at your behavior, you are going to have to admit that everything you are doing is pushing your loved one right into the arms of an understanding, non-jealous person.

Do you think your behavior is attractive? Do you actually believe that engaging in this crazy behavior will keep your partner devoted to you, and only you, for the rest of your life?

When you actually take the time to honestly answer those questions, you know what you are doing isn’t helping your cause.

So now what? It’s time to understand that you, and only you, are in charge of your behavior. When you feel compelled to engage in behavior you know is destructive, it is because you are having thoughts that lead to feelings that generate the destructive behavior. The place in that cycle where you have the most control is your thinking.

Next time you begin to feel jealous, ask yourself, What am I thinking right now that is creating these feelings of jealousy? Is what I’m thinking true? Is it really true? How do I know? What evidence is there to indisputably support this story I’m telling myself? What other story could I invent that would create loving feelings instead? What thoughts could I think that will lead to trust? What thoughts will help me be the person I really want to be in this relationship?

Change your story, change your life. Stop being a victim of repetitive behavior as if you have no control. The only person who can change this perpetuating cycle is you. So choose something different today!

This article originally appeared on YourTango. Check out Kim Olver’s book, Secrets of Happy Couples, for tips on what to do when you are a jealous mess. She talks about the four roots of jealousy and what to do about them.

More content from YourTango:

What Guys Really Think About Your Small Boobs

April 28, 2015


Advice from three of our guy friends. This week a straight woman asks, “I think my boobs are too small — slightly pudgy guys have bigger boobs than me! Should I get a boob job?”

Gay Committed Guy (Mark): Gut response: No. Even though god knows how many Americans have some kind of body-image hangup, I don’t think “society” is shaming those pudgy guys into getting lipo on their manboobs in order to look more attractive to women. That said, if you think the pain and possible health risks associated with surgery and/or implants are worth it — if you really think it would improve your self-esteem, and you’ve exhausted all other options toward that end — it’s your decision. Anyone who tells you that you “should” get a boob job is either a creep or a plastic surgeon or an editor at Us Weekly magazine (the latter of which will be the first to mock your new rack for looking fake). I have friends who have had minor work done — breasts (adding and subtracting), eyes, nose, thighs, tummy — and they’ve all been pleased with the results. Obviously, if you do decide to go through with it, find a reputable doctor, and don’t go overboard with ridiculous porn-star balloons that are out of proportion with the rest of your body.

Straight Single Guy (Max): It kills me not to automatically say “Don’t do it!”, but I think it actually depends on a couple of things. Confidence, as you know, matters more than most factors when it comes to attraction. If you can’t talk to a guy because you’re too self conscious about the size of your boobs, then you need to do something. But plastic surgery might not be the answer. Boobs, as I and most guys see them, are always and only bonuses. If a girl has nice boobs, that’s great. But I’m not going to see a girl and think “Man, if she only had bigger boobs…” That’s just stupid. (If, however, this is the kind of guy you want, then by all means, get a boob job.) Personally, I think fake boobs are gross. I believe that most guys agree, no matter how much porn would have you believe otherwise. But again, you gotta do what makes you feel sexy. (Oh, and please don’t compare yourself to pudgy guys. That’s the first step in gaining a little self confidence.)

Straight Married Guy (Ben): My wife’s boobs have changed sooo much over the course of our relationship — from tiny to a handful to size F after our baby was born (we didn’t even know they made size F!) and then back to C. Each step of the way I’ve been right there enjoying them. It’s actually been one of the most amazing things about her body. That’s not to say your boobs are one day going to blossom or grow, but what’s made my wife’s body so immensely pleasurable for me and for her is her own comfort and confidence with it. Sexy does not equal boob size. Sexy equals feeling good and being confident in yourself and your sexuality. I say, learn to rock those nubs! You can always get the surgery later. Or have a baby.


Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Straight Married Guy is Ben, a writer and artist living in Los Angeles. Our Committed Gay Guy, Mark, is a writer and teacher in NYC and our Single Straight Guy, Max, is a recent college grad in New England. To ask the guys your own question, click here.

photo via Wikimedia Commons