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Love Has No Labels

March 6, 2015


“Before anything else, we are all human.¬†It‚Äôs time to embrace diversity.¬†Let‚Äôs put aside labels in the name of love.”

No, it’s not skeleton porn. #LoveHasNoLabels is the new diversity and inclusion campaign by the Ad Council. ¬†There’s a dedicated website with a quiz, stories, tips, resources and the obligatory adorable video that will melt the iciest hearts (even Lo’s). The stunt, filmed on the 3rd Street Promenade in L.A. (a place guaranteed to have offered a warm reception), features a giant X-ray machine, behind which couples engage with one another as humans — we, the audience, can’t tell their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, or (dis)abilities. All we see is the love.

Here’s the Ad Council’s description of the campaign and its point:

Most Americans agree that people should be treated respectfully and fairly. Yet many people in the United States still report feeling discriminated against. For example, one in five LGBT people report feeling there is little or no acceptance of their community. Six in ten Latinos report that discrimination is a major problem and a majority of African Americans report that they are not satisfied with the way they are treated in society.

The reason might be that we’re actually discriminating unintentionally–some call this implicit bias. Implicit bias influences how we treat people and how we interact with each other. More broadly, it can perpetuate disparities by impacting someone’s ability to find a job, secure a loan, rent an apartment or get a fair trial. To end bias, we need to become aware of it. And then we need to do everything within our power to stop it in ourselves, others, and institutions.

The Diversity & Inclusion campaign encourages everyone to reconsider the biases that we don’t even know we have. Visit¬†lovehasnolabels.com¬†to find ways to challenge bias in themselves and others.


Time Warner Cable Is for Straight White People Only, Please

March 3, 2015

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*** UPDATE: Within days of the following post going live, we heard from Time Warner Cable! They have pulled the tool down while they revise it. Read their response here. ***

According to¬†Time Warner Cable’s WiFi-Denti-fier tool¬†(which is linked from Time Warner Cable’s homepage), only straight white people use WiFi and Time Warner Cable. Since our site’s focus is on issues of sexuality, we’re just going to discuss one half of this problem:

Apparently, gay and transgendered people never have problems with movies endlessly buffering, which is one of the many annoying device overload problems this tool is meant to help you solve.¬†What this ridiculously out-of-touch animated tool won’t help you solve: your gender identity crisis.¬†The first page¬†begins with the instructions, “Let’s start with an easy one: Are you a guy or a girl?” Wait, what? Do movies buffer differently for guys and girls? Do women need their tech advice given in a pretty pink font?! If you wait too long to select your gender — because, you know, maybe that’s a complicated issue for you that you don’t feel like discussing with an animated tech tool — the animated woman, wearing a pink shirt, naturally, cocks her hip and shimmies her shoulders a little. The dude, meanwhile, scratches his leg in a manly way (at least they stopped just short of ball-scratching). On the next page, you’re asked who else shares your WiFi with you. If you click the “My Better Half” option, then TWCC immediately places a person of the opposite sex next to your gendered icon on the couch. The only other option is to select “a few roommates,” as if it’s still the fifties and you’re still lying to your parents about who that gorgeous hunk is who shares your apartment and your answering machine. Apparently people who choose to marry or even just cohabit with someone of the same sex don’t use Time Warner Cable. (Actually, after discovering this, maybe they won’t!) Oh, and we’re guessing we don’t even need to tell you that if you select the “Our (Big) Family” option, the animated nuclear family on screen is fully compliant with the Tea Party’s “family values”… TWCC obviously invested an incredible amount of time and money into this tool, animating the characters, coming up with cheeky copy, etc. It’s not like it was a single, unthinking line of text or code. And it’s not like these are intentionally retro figures — the women wear skinny jeans, ¬†and the men have hipster facial hair, pompadours, and tattoos. It’s like Williamsburg or Silver Lake, except without any gay people. We cannot believe that not a single person in the entire process spoke up and said, “Hey, remember that time when Ellen came out on Oprah’s television show¬†and said she was gay and oh yeah that was 1997 and also probably a bunch of people were watching courtesy of Time Warner Cable.” And we haven’t even covered the complete whiteness of all the avatars involved! What’s up with that, TWCC?


The Best (and Worst) Quotes from the 2015 Oscars

February 23, 2015

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

“I tried to commit suicide at 16, and now I‚Äôm standing here. I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she doesn‚Äôt fit in anywhere. You do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it‚Äôs your turn and you are standing on this stage please pass the same message along.” — Graham Moore, accepting the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game

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

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

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

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

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

“Good luck charms work ‚Ķ tonight I am wearing the real Michael Keaton’s tightie-whities. They are tight and smell like balls.” — Alejandro Gonz√°lez I√Ī√°rritu, accepting the Oscar for Best Director for Birdman

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

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

“We don‚Äôt stand here alone, it‚Äôs possible through the great organisations that support us. The disclosures that Edward Snowden revealed aren‚Äôt only a threat to privacy but to democracy, when the most important decisions made affect all of us. Thank you to Edward Snowden.” — Laura¬†Poitras, accepting the Best Documentary Oscar for Citizenfour

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

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

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

“Fear is the condom of life. It doesn‚Äôt allow you to enjoy things.” — Oscar-winning Birdman director¬†Alejandro Gonz√°lez I√Ī√°rritu

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


The 8 New Habits of the Modern Single

February 19, 2015


by Stephanie Castillo for YourTango  |  photo via flickr

Match.com’s latest survey reveals new dating rituals and rules for today’s modern single.

Bad news bears, singles: Match.com has released the results of a new survey¬†that shows that¬†dating¬†rules and habits have changed. Again. But even though the playing field has become a bit of uncharted territory, some traditional dating dos and dont’s still apply.

“It’s important for singles¬†to know that the¬†dating rules¬†have changed,” says Whitney Casey, relationship expert for Match.com. “This study finds that dating¬†behaviors drastically differ between the ages. Younger¬†singles are more likely to friend their date on Facebook, communicate¬†by text after a date, and be evasive about their availability if they’re not interested in a second date. Whereas older singles are more cautious when it comes to dating¬†in the digital era.”

That said, here are the eight dating habits ‚ÄĒ new and old ‚ÄĒ you need to know about.

1. He asks, he OR she pays.¬†The one traditional dating¬†”do” that still stands is the general belief men are supposed to make the first move. However, Match.com found 41% of women would offer to pick up the check on a¬†first date. You hear that guys? If you ask us out for dinner, we might just foot the bill.

2. All it takes is 15 minutes to determine if you have chemistry.¬†Thirty-one percent of both men and women agree that 15 minutes of a date is all it takes to decide. Worried your next date will bail if he’s not into you? Don’t, because Match.com found only 12 percent of singles would actually leave before the night was over.

3. Honesty is (still) the best policy.¬†Not enjoying your time out with what’s his name? Tell him. The survey found 52 percent of singles think it’s best to politely tell your date if you’re not interested – and we agree. Neither party gets anything out of being dishonest and you never know when you’ll run into him or her again later in life. Remember: manners matter.

4. Don’t go all the way on the first date.¬†Eighty percent of singles agree that you shouldn’t have¬†sex¬†on the first date. Holding out on your date builds mystery, and if your date can get it all in one night, they’re less motivated to call back for round two.

5. It’s OK to follow-up -¬†it’s just a matter of when.¬†Forty-eight percent of women like to follow up after a first date within 24 hours where as 68 percent of men like to “play it cool” and extend the follow-up to almost three days after your date.

6. Classic phone communication is best. In this digital era, there are hundreds of ways to follw up on a date: text, e-mail, instant message, etc. But surprisingly enough, the survey found 80 percent of singles prefer to talk over the phone.

7. Yes, you can Facebook-friend your date.¬† ust not too quickly. Ah, the social media dilemma that plagues all singles.¬†As far as friend requesting your date goes, 21 percent of young singles say it’s OK to request a friend after 2-3 dates while 11 percent of older singles wait until the relationship is exclusive to do so. These low percentages mean keeping your add-friend trigger finger under control while in the early phase of dating.

8. Introduce your new man/woman to your friends. Sometimes your friends get a bad rap when it comes to dating, but 50 percent of men and 35 percent of women will introduce their dates to their friends within the first month of dating, regardless of how old they are.

This article originally appeared on YourTango.com: The 8 “Golden Rules” Of Modern Dating You NEED To Memorize

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The Kurdish Feminist Revolution…with Assault Rifles

January 23, 2015


Itai Anghel, an Isreali Jewish news correspondent and filmmaker with the balls the size of pumpkins, recently wandered into Syria and Iraq with a camera and not much else (no helmet, no bullet proof vest) to capture the front lines of the Kurdish fight against ISIS. (Apparently the Kurds are the only ones confronting ISIS on the ground.) “No Free Steps to Heaven” is an eye-opening, stomach-turning, bone-chilling account of the horrors currently taking place in the Middle East in the name of fundamental Islam.

We actually couldn’t watch the beginning of this 45-minute documentary, which includes excerpts of ISIS propaganda video featuring disturbingly brutal executions. But if you start at minute 20, and go to about 38:22, you’ll get an amazing (and not too graphically violent) story of the young female soldiers fighting ISIS. Some of them just teenagers, they renounce their former lives, go to boot camp and then go to battle. And they’ve got labes the size of watermelons.

When asked about why she’s fighting, one young woman, while sitting around a campfire with her fellow female and male soldiers, explains so eloquently:

I joined the YPG to protect my people, and to protect women especially….In the distant past, women were deemed sacred and in time, men in general, and in this region in particular, deprived us of our rights. We became an object that can cook, raise children and serve. So now, we’re retrieving the status we deserve. By enlisting the guerilla forces, my friends and I are proving that a woman can do everything a man does. So our struggle is not only for Kurdish women but for women the world over.

When the filmmaker says, “You know ISIS will kill in order for you not to implement this idea,” she responds:

I don’t care. I’m not afraid. They should fear me. I know very well what ISIS is. They are merely human beings. I am a human being too. They know how to fight. I know how to fight too. They have guns. I have a gun too. What I have and they don’t is a purpose worth fighting for. This empowers me. I’m here to protect my existence. I am fighting to live, they are fighting to die.

Later on in the segment, we hear from two captured ISIS fighters who say that they¬†happily¬†(their term) beheaded heretics and¬†believe if they’re killed in battle they’ll go to heaven and receive 72 virgins. But here’s the colossal irony: if they’re killed in battle by a woman, they believe they won’t go to heaven. Explains one:

We saw women fighters and we were told to stay away. So we retreated. So the Kurdish women wouldn’t kill us.

No free steps to heaven – The fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. December 2014. Itai Anghel from itai anghel on Vimeo.

An interesting side note: The following is the 20th footnote to the chapter “The Problem with Islam” in Sam Harris’s book, The End of Faith:

Christopher Luxenberg (this is a pseudonym), a scholar of ancient Semitic languages, has recently argue that a mistranslation is responsible for furnishing the Muslim paradise with “virgins” (Arabic hur, transliterated as “houris” — literally “white ones”). It seems that the passages describing paradise in the Koran were drawn from earlier Christian texts that make frequent use of the Aramaic word hur, meaning “white raisins.” White raisins, it seems, were a great delicacy in the ancient world. Imagine the look on a young martyr’s face when, finding himself in a paradise teaming with his fellow thugs, his seventy houris arrive as a fistful of raisins. See A. Stille, “Scholars Are Quietly Offering New Theories of the Koran,” New York Times, March 2, 2002.



STIs Are on the Rise. You Can Thank Tinder.

January 21, 2015


by Amanda Chatel for YourTango | photo via flickr

“Thanks to Grindr or Tinder, you can acquire chlamydia in five minutes.”

When Grindr hit the online¬†dating¬†scene, it seemed too good to be true. An app that you have right in the palm of your hand that can pinpoint just how close your next potential hookup is? Um, yes please! So the gay community went nuts for it, while straight singles sat around, twiddling their thumbs, wondering when it would be their turn to get their hands on such technology. They didn’t have to wait too longer, because¬†Tinder¬†soon followed, and then everyone was happy.

But the problem with these apps is that maybe they’re a little¬†too¬†convenient. I’ve known people who have discovered people on these apps who were actually in the same apartment building and yet had never met before until a sweep to the right on Tinder put them in touch ‚Ķ in more ways than one. While that’s all well and good in a society that thrives on instant gratification, where it’s not so great is that, according to some¬†doctors, these apps are to blame for a rise in STIs.

“Thanks to Grindr or Tinder, you can acquire chlamydia in five minutes,” says Peter Greenhouse, of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, and based on stats he’s not exactly exaggerating.

In England, both gonorrhea and syphilis cases have increased. From 2012 to 2013, cases of gonorrhea have gone up by 15 percentand cases of syphilis have gone up by 9 percent. Considering we live in a time where we should all not only know about the importance of safe sex, but have easy access to it, these numbers are pretty depressing.

In fact, according to Public Health England, the apps were the direct cause of six outbreaks of syphilis. Keep in mind, that’s not six cases of syphilis, but six outbreaks, meaning each outbreak affected a lot more than must one person. The apps, as Dr. Ian Simms of the Public Health England points out, were enabling “hyper-efficient transmission” of the infections. In other words, it was spreading like wildfire.

Having an active sex life is awesome, but not using protection during all this activity is just stupid. If you’re smart enough to know how to download an app, use it effectively enough to find some action, then you’re certainly smart enough to know where to get some condoms and how to use them. Seriously. If you can’t be responsible enough to have safe sex every¬†single¬†time then maybe someone needs to take away your phone. That’s right. We’ll just take that phone right away from you. Then how will you feel?

But in all seriousness, gonorrhea and syphilis are not STIs to treat lightly. Both gonorrhea and chlamydia can lead to infertility, and syphilis, can result in blindness, madness, and even death.¬†You know who had syphilis? Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Idi Amin just to name a few‚ÄĒnot exactly the most stellar example of humanity. So, do yourself and every person you sleep with a favor, and use a condom. Every. Single. Time.

This article originally appeared on YourTango

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Em & Lo Named Among the Best 15 Sexperts of 2015!

January 14, 2015



Yes, we just referred to ourselves in the third person. We can do that now, because apparently we’re officially among the Top 15 Sexperts of the Year! (And we’re only 14 days into it!) We’re rubbing virtual elbows with the likes of Dr. Ruth, along with long-time friends and respected colleagues Jamye Waxman and Ian Kerner. Now we know what it must feel like to be recognized by the Academy, except in our case the Academy is DatingAdvice.com, a site surely looking for a little free publicity. But hey, we’ll shamelessly give it to them, because whether they truly believe we’re in the top 15 or they just give out these awards every other Wednesday, it’s nice to be recognized. They like us, they really like us!

Though we’ll admit: comparing our “social media clout” — i.e. the DatingAdvice.com stat given to their 15 faves — to the others’ on this list, we’re having a bad case of social media envy. It’s a miracle we made the cut considering our weak media showing. Can you, dear reader, help us bury this digital shame by following us on Twitter and Liking us on Facebook (and getting your mom to, too)? It’s a small effort to make in exchange for all this free, kick-ass content we slave to give you every damn day! Then we’ll know you don’t just like us, you love us, you really love us!

Thanks & kisses,

Em & Lo

P.S.¬†Don’t think for a second that the life of a sexpert is charmed: That bathtub was freezing and we didn’t even get to enjoy the champagne!

A Dating Site That Matches Your DNA

January 8, 2015


By Amanda Chatel via YourTango.com | photo via Flickr

Let your DNA do all the work for change while you just sit back and enjoy the benefits.

When it comes to chemistry, it’s all about DNA. As we’ve learned with¬†microbes, what’s going on in the inside of our bodies has a direct effect on what’s going to go on with the rest of our life, too. While looks and wit may initially win you over in the¬†dating¬†department, that’s just superficial stuff. If there’s no chemistry, then you can’t expect it to last‚ÄĒno matter how much he may look like Idris Elba.

Enter:¬†SingldOut‚ÄĒYes, that’s right, no E in there, so as not to be confused with that MTV game show of the 90s. Singldout came to be when matchmaker, Elle France, met up with client, Jana Bayad, to discuss finding her a possible match. What the two women ended up discussing instead were the pitfalls of dating, the disappointment that comes with meeting someone in person who isn’t who they claimed to be online, and how there had to be another way to match people. Because, really, is¬†online dating¬†as good as it gets? I should hope not.

So the women went the route of science, several levels above your average online dating site that chains you to your computer with hour-long questionnaires and clothing catalogue type searches of one photo after another, to match people at their core, literally. Because, as France points out, when you have actual chemistry involved in the dating process, it makes for a “more enjoyable ride.”

SingldOut is the first site of its kind. As their site explains, they’re the “first in the online dating industry to bridge the gap between the digital and biological world of¬†Love.”

Those looking to give SingldOut a try sign up through LinkedIn (so you know you’re dealing with other professionals), then you’ll get your DNA kit in the mail. Once you swab your mouth to retrieve your saliva sample, you send it back to SingldOut. Next up, you’ll complete a personality assessment while scientists match you both genetically and psychologically to those who will actually be compatible in more ways than one.

Can you imagine the possibilities? And all the free time you’ll have by not wasting your precious minutes on dates with people who just aren’t for you? It’s like a world of opportunity has unfolded unto your lap and the fun is just getting started!

Elle France and Jana Bayad have certainly come up with something revolutionary. They took the good ol’ fashioned¬†“sweaty t-shirt” experiment¬†a couple steps further to really insure that you can weed out the wrong ones and get to the right one quicker and with less hassle. They’re also the only women out there in the online dating industry at the helm of a company, and, if we’re being honest, women are instinctively more nurturing by nature, so you know you’ll be in good hands.

“It’s everybody’s right to love,” Bayad told YourTango, and she couldn’t be more right. So if you can skip the disillusion and discouragement that comes with your usual brand of online dating, wouldn’t you? Let your DNA do all the work for change while you just sit back and enjoy the benefits. You deserve a break after all those past dating experiences.

This article originally appeared on YourTango.com: How A DNA Test Can Lead You To Your Perfect Match


Happy New Year!

December 29, 2014


photo by andrewcparnell

We hope you have a great New Year‚Äôs Eve, a very mild New Year‚Äôs Day hangover, and a nice long weekend off! We‚Äôll be back with our regularly scheduled program on Monday. In the meantime, don’t forget to make your New Year’s Resolutions with the help of our kinky guide. A great way to help you fulfill those resolutions is to buy our book — now in Kindle e-book form! — 150 Shades of Play: A Beginner’s Guide to Kink. Start 2015 off with a bang! More importantly, get prepped for the release of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” — it’s right around the corner!

Thanks for a great year on EMandLO.com!

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We Wish You a Merry Kinkmas!

December 23, 2014


We hope you’ll get to spend at least part of this week eating too much, drinking too much, and maybe even having post-t(of)urkey comfort sex (assuming you’re not sharing a bedroom with your nerdy eight-year-old cousin at an over-stuffed family reunion). We’ll be taking the rest of the week off, back for a bit next week, then off again for some serious New Year’s partaying. If you want to make our year — what’s left of it! — then you can buy our award-winning book 150 Shades of Play: A Beginner’s Guide to Kink to keep you company while we’re gone: the beautiful fully illustrated print book is less than 10 bucks, and the new Kindle e-version let’s you flip from topic to topic with the touch of a finger from any page — for only $4.99! In the meantime, don’t forget to enter our #LoveResolution Contest for the chance to win a shiny new INA WAVE from LELO. You can count down to the holidays with our 12 Days of Kinkmas. And you can catch up on any holiday posts you might have missed at our Naughty and Nice Issue. Now… get thee to some mistletoe and make out like a teenager!