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People Really Do Win on EMandLO.com!

May 13, 2014

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photo via Flickr

In the past few weeks, we here at EMandLO.com (that would be us, Em & Lo) have held several quick, kick-ass contests with real live winners:

  • Amanda won a gift certificate to pleasure object purveyor LELO worth $200. 
  • Keirsten won a sensual Mother’s Day gift basket from Tess & James worth $70.
  • Alex won a gift package from Trojan worth $40.
  • And Chris won a selection of lubes for this hilarious Tweet based on our dare here – the bragging rights of which are priceless!

That’s a lot of swag in return for very little effort: Each of these contests simply required a mere “Like” here or a “Retweet” there. The craziest thing about these contests, though? They only had a handful of entrants each! Seriously, your chances of winning on EMandLO.com are huge, people — HUGE!

Do you think you can’t win? Is there something dirty about winning something sex-related? That’s the whole point! So the next time you see us holding a contest, enter it —  you’ll probably win. 

MORE LIKE THIS ON EMandLO.com:



Blurring the Line Between Sperm Donor and Father

May 6, 2014

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photo via New York Times

We were fascinated by the article in the New York Times this past weekend about the custody battle between actor Jason Patric and his massage therapist ex (and not just because the notoriously publicity-shy Patric talkied to Katie Couric on national television to get his side of the dispute out there).

Here’s the story, in a nutshell: Patric and Danielle Schreiber dated on and off for a decade, and during that time they talked about starting a family via I.V.F. (he had a surgical procedure to help things along). Then they broke up, but remained friends, and when Schreiber decided she still wanted a kid, Patric offered his sperm. You know, as gentlemen do. Then, duh, like some romantic comedy starring one of the Jennifers (Aniston/Lopez/Garner), they fell back in love once the kid showed up.

So Patric became Dada, yadda yadda. And then — of course — they broke up again. Except now Patric’s “sperm donation” is a four-year-old boy, and Patric considers this boy his son. And he wants shared custody — but she wants a restraining order. In other words, now it’s neither romantic nor comedic.

We do not envy the judge and jury who have to make a call in this case. Based on the information we have in this case, the line between sperm donor and father seems truly blurred. They are both right, and they are both wrong. And then there’s the kid, who is just a four-year-old boy and too young to understand the difference between giving a friend your sperm and giving an on-off lover your sperm. Actually, we’re in our forties and we’re struggling to make sense of it. Clearly the law needs to be clearer on the topic of turkey-based sperm. And, even more clearly, fully grown adults should think twice before donating sperm to, or accepting sperm from, someone with whom their relationship could be described as “complicated.” (Ah, remember early days Facebook?!)

What do you think? Once a sperm donor, always a sperm donor? Or can someone accrue parental rights by maturing from a sperm donor into a Dada?

MORE LIKE THIS ON EMandLO.com



LAST CHANCE to Win a Tess & James Feel-Good Package for Mother’s Day!

April 29, 2014

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Your odds of winning this Mother’s Day Feel Good Package made especially for EMandLO.com readers by Tess & James — a new, small batch production company specializing in feel good products made from ingredients that are gentle on the skin, nice to your nose, and free of artificial colors, artificial flavors and preservatives — are ridonkulous! But you only have until EOD EST TODAY, April 29th, 2014 to enter to win the random drawing by:

This fabulous Em & Lo gift box will include:

  • Salty Bath Detox: An aromatherapy salt soak (in a 16 ounce jar) formulated to release toxins and extract impurities. Its carefully selected minerals and all-natural ingredients work together to balance the mind and body while soothing your skin.
  • Salty Bath Invigorate: A refreshing aromatherapy salt soak created to soothe tired and aching muscles. Its select minerals and all-natural ingredients will revitalize the senses and nurture your body while extracting impurities from the skin.
  • Tess & James Bath Porridge (16 ounces): This blend of organic oats, elderflowers and calendula mixed with other skin-nurturing botanics serves as a delightful alternative to harsh cleansers to help relieve the discomfort of dry, irritated skin. Simply mix one capful (or one ounce) of Bath Porridge directly into warm bath water, stir, add loved one and enjoy! Comes with a reusable bath sachet to keep your tub pristine.
  • Day Lip Shimmer: Roll out of bed and dress up your lips with Day, Tess & James’s nude lip tint and shimmer. This light, creamy, subtly sweet balm will nourish your lips and add a sparkle to your smile.
  • Night Lip Balm: This sexy black tube is loaded up with the most restorative, replenishing ingredients available. Night is infused with a light and refreshing peppermint scent. This natural, untinted, unshimmered balm  is the perfect night-stand accessory.

One lucky winner will be chosen and contacted via Facebook on Wednesday, April 30th in order to be sent the package in time for Mother’s Day (just be sure you check your Facebook account on Wednesday in case you win, so you can get Tess & James the right mailing address in time for May 11th!). Good luck!



EMandLO.com Is Giving Away Free Trojan Condoms!

April 18, 2014

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In honor of STI Awareness Month, we’ve teamed up with Trojan to offer one lucky person:

  • 2 10-count boxes of Trojan’s NEW Double Ecstasy Condoms
  • 1 Midnight Collection package (1 vibrating ring, 4 Pure Ecstasy condoms, 4 lubricant packets)

YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING ARE GREAT RIGHT NOW!

All you have to do is one or more of the following between now and EOD EST on April 21st, 2014. The more you do, the greater your chances of winning!:

* (Let us know you’ve retweeted/shared by mailing us a screenshot of each FB post/Tweet: on a Mac, Command+Shiftshift+4 lets you drag and capture an area of the screen; click here for instructions on taking screenshots on either a PC or a Mac)

 

In the meantime, brush up on your condom knowledge and start wrapping up!:

  • How To Use A Condom: This brief, informative how-to video gives viewers a fun and interesting look at the exact way to get it on before you “get it on.”
  • How Condoms Are Made: This exclusive factory tour takes viewers on an unprecedented look “beneath the sheets” at a Trojan condom factory, and a condom’s journey from the conveyor belt to your nightstand.
  • History of Condoms: This short documentary includes expert commentary on the history and creation of the condom, starting from its humble beginnings, to the innovations we see on today’s shelves.
  • New Condom iPhone App: Trojan is adding a little protection to everyone’s “hardware” with a new iPhone app, which includes sexual health trivia and a condom selection tool.

Prepare to have your mind blown by these stats (and check out the infographic below):

  • There are 65 million people in the U.S. who are living with an incurable STI
  • Each year, STIs lead to infertility in more than 24,000 women in the US
  • One in two sexually active persons will contact an STD/STI by age 25
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are more than 110 million STIs among men and women in the U.S. This includes both new and existing infections.
  • YET – only 1 in 3 sex acts among singles includes a condom

WHAT?!?! That’s outrageous. Especially since we’ve been promoting condom use and other safer sex acts since forever! Have we even made a dent? Help us make more of one and win some awesome condoms in the process!

We’ve



April Is STI Awareness Month – Want Some Free Condoms?!?

April 8, 2014

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sponsored post

Prepare to have your mind blown by these stats (and check out the infographic below):

  • There are 65 million people in the U.S. who are living with an incurable STI
  • Each year, STIs lead to infertility in more than 24,000 women in the US
  • One in two sexually active persons will contact an STD/STI by age 25
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are more than 110 million STIs among men and women in the U.S. This includes both new and existing infections.
  • YET – only 1 in 3 sex acts among singles includes a condom

WHAT?!?! That’s outrageous. Especially since we’ve been promoting condom use and other safer sex acts since forever! Have we even made a dent? Help us make more of one and win some awesome condoms in the process!

We’ve teamed up with Trojan to offer one lucky winner:

  • 2 10-count boxes of Trojan’s NEW Double Ecstasy Condoms
  • 1 Midnight Collection package (1 vibrating ring, 4 Pure Ecstasy condoms, 4 lubricant packets)

All you have to do is one or more of the following between now and EOD EST on April 21st, 2014. The more you do, the greater your chances of winning!:

* (Let us know you’ve retweeted/shared by mailing us a screenshot of each FB post/Tweet: on a Mac, Command+Shiftshift+4 lets you drag and capture an area of the screen; click here for instructions on taking screenshots on either a PC or a Mac)

In the meantime, brush up on your condom knowledge and start wrapping up!:

  • How To Use A Condom: This brief, informative how-to video gives viewers a fun and interesting look at the exact way to get it on before you “get it on.”
  • How Condoms Are Made: This exclusive factory tour takes viewers on an unprecedented look “beneath the sheets” at a Trojan condom factory, and a condom’s journey from the conveyor belt to your nightstand.
  • History of Condoms: This short documentary includes expert commentary on the history and creation of the condom, starting from its humble beginnings, to the innovations we see on today’s shelves.
  • New Condom iPhone App: Trojan is adding a little protection to everyone’s “hardware” with a new iPhone app, which includes sexual health trivia and a condom selection tool.


 



Infographic: How Sexual Norms Have Evolved in 50 Years

March 19, 2014

1 Comment

Just when your blood is about to boil over all the reproductive rights rollbacks that have taken place in recent years, when you’re about to puke if you hear one more Fox pundit talk about “family values,” and when when your head is about to explode at the idea that “Dancing with the Stars” is a family show, something comes along that restores your faith in sanity and humanity, at least a little.

This week, Vitamin W ran a great article (with the infographic below) on how far we’ve come as a society when it comes to sexual and relational mores. There’s no doubt we’ve come along way, baby. But we’ve still got a ways to go (13% of people still believe interracial marriage is wrong???). As long as we stay vigilant and vocal and can avoid some 21st century version of the Protestant Revolution, then that progress will keep heading in the right direction. Forge ahead!

Here are a few places you can help keep that forward momentum going:



The New Science of Love (from the Book “Love Sense”)

March 14, 2014

1 Comment

photo via Flickr

The new book Love Sense by clinical psychologist Dr. Sue Johnson tries to take some of the mystery out of that big emotion. While that may not sound very romantic, Johnson is dedicated to the scientific exploration of love so that we may have better, more-fulfilling, more intimate long-term relationships — especially in a world where independence, isolation and non-monogamy are growing more common. Her book offers real-life examples and practical exercises, based on the Emotionally Focused Therapy she developed in her own practice. Last week we featured the first part of Chapter 1 on the history of love; below is the next section, which lists the recent findings in the latest scientific research on love.

 

Love Sense” by Dr. Sue Johnson

from Chapter 1: Revolution

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines revolution as “a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something: a change of paradigm.” And that is exactly what has happened to adult love in the field of social sciences. Two decades ago, love didn’t get much respect as a topic of study. No emotion did. René Descartes, the French philosopher, associated feelings with our lower animal nature and thus considered them something to be overcome. What marked us as superior animals was our ability to reason. Cogito ergo sum—“I think, therefore I am,” he famously proclaimed.

Emotions were not rational and therefore suspect. And love was the most irrational and suspect of all, thus not a fit subject for scientists, the supreme rationalists. Scan the subject index of professor Ernest Hilgard’s exhaustive historical review Psychology in America, published in 1993, and you won’t find the word love. Young researchers were routinely warned off the topic. I remember being told in graduate school that science does not deal with nebulous, soft indefinables, such as emotion, empathy, and love.

The word revolution also means “an uprising.” Social scientists began to recognize that much of their work was not addressing public concerns about the quality of everyday life. So a quiet movement, without riots or bullets, began in campus laboratories and academic journals, challenging the orthodox adherence to studies of simple behaviors and how to change them. New voices began to be heard, and suddenly, in the 1990s, emotions emerged as legitimate topics of inquiry. Happiness, sorrow, anger, fear—and love—started appearing on the agenda of academic conferences in a multitude of disciplines, from anthropology to psychology to sociology. Feelings, it was becoming apparent, weren’t random and senseless, but logical and “intelligent.”

At the same time, therapists and mental health professionals began adjusting their frame of reference in dealing with relationship issues, especially romantic ones. For years they had focused their attention on the individual, believing that any turmoil could be traced back to a person’s own troubled psyche. Fix that and the relationship would improve. But that wasn’t what was happening. Even when individuals grasped why they acted a certain way and tried to change, their love relationships often continued to sour.

Therapists realized that concentrating on one person didn’t give a complete picture. People in love relationships, just as in all relationships, are not distinct entities, acting independently; they are part of a dynamic dyad, within which each person’s actions spark and fuel reactions in the other. It was the couple and how the individuals “danced” together that needed to be understood and changed, not simply the individual alone. Researchers began videotaping couples recounting everyday hurts and frustrations, arguing over money and sex, and hassling over child-rearing issues. They then pored over these recordings, hunting for the critical moments of interaction when a relationship turned into a battlefield or wasteland. They kept an eye open, too, for moments when couples seemed to reach harmonious accord. And they looked for patterns of behavior.

Interest in emotions in general, and love in particular, also surged among “hard” scientists as advances in technology refined old tools and introduced new ones. A major hurdle to investigations had always been: How do you pin down something as vague and evanescent as a feeling? Or, as Albert Einstein lamented: “How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?”

The scientific method depends not only on observation and analysis but also on measurable, reproducible data. With the arrival of more sensitive tests and assays, neurobiologists launched inquiries into the chemistry of emotions. But the big push came with the advent of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Neurophysiologists devised experiments that peer into the brain and actually see structures and areas lighting up when we are afraid, or happy, or sad—or when we love. Remember the old public service announcement showing an egg frying in a pan while a voice intones, “This is your brain on drugs”? Now we have films that actually do capture “This is your brain on love.”

The result of all this ferment has been an outpouring of fresh knowledge that is coalescing into a radical and exciting new vision of love. This new love sense is overthrowing long-held beliefs about the purpose and process of romantic love as well as our sense of the very nature of human beings. The new perspective is not only theoretical but also practical and optimistic. It illuminates why we love and reveals how we can make, repair, and keep love.

Among the provocative findings:

The first and foremost instinct of humans is neither sex nor aggression. It is to seek contact and comforting connection. 

The man who first offered us this vision of what we now call attachment or bonding was an uptight, aristocratic English psychiatrist, not at all the kind of man you would expect to crack the code of romantic relationships! But John Bowlby, conservative and British, was nevertheless a rebel who changed the landscape of love and loving forever. His insights are the foundation on which the new science of love rests.

Bowlby proposed that we are designed to love a few precious others who will hold and protect us through the squalls and storms of life. It is nature’s plan for the survival of the species. Sex may impel us to mate, but it is love that assures our existence. “In uniting the beloved life to ours we can watch over its happiness, bring comfort where hardship was, and over memories of privation and suffering open the sweetest fountains of joy,” wrote George Eliot.

This drive to bond is innate, not learned. It likely arose as nature’s answer to a critical fact of human physiology: the female birth canal is too narrow to permit passage of big-brained, big-bodied babies that can survive on their own within a short time after birth. Instead, babies enter the world small and helpless and require years of nurturing and guarding before they are self-sustaining. It would be easier to abandon such troublesome newborns than raise them. So what makes an adult stick around and assume the onerous and exhausting task of parenting?

Nature’s solution was to wire into our brains and nerves an automatic call-and-response system that keeps child and parent emotionally attached to each other. Babies come with a repertoire of behaviors—gazing, smiling, crying, smiling, clinging, reach-ing—that draw care and closeness from adults. So when a baby boy bawls from hunger and stretches out his arms, his mom picks him up and feeds him. And when Dad coos or makes funny faces at his baby girl, she kicks her legs, waves her arms, and babbles back. And round and round it goes, in a two-way feedback loop.

Adult romantic love is an attachment bond, just like the one between mother and child. 

We’ve long assumed that as we mature, we outgrow the need for the intense closeness, nurturing, and comfort we had with our caregivers as children and that as adults, the romantic attachments we form are essentially sexual in nature. This is a complete distortion of adult love.

Our need to depend on one precious other—to know that when we “call,” he or she will be there for us—never dissolves. In fact, it endures, as Bowlby put it, “from cradle to grave.” As adults, we simply transfer that need from our primary caregiver to our lover. Romantic love is not the least bit illogical or random. It is the continuation of an ordered and wise recipe for our survival.

But there is a key difference: our lover doesn’t have to be there physically. As adults, the need for another’s tangible presence is less absolute than is a child’s. We can use mental images of our partner to call up a sense of connection. Thus if we are upset, we can remind ourselves that our partner loves us and imagine him or her reassuring and comforting us. Israeli prisoners of war report “listening” in their narrow cells to the soothing voices of their wives. The Dalai Lama conjures up images of his mother when he wants to stay calm and centered. I carry my husband’s encouraging words with me in my mind when I walk out on a stage to speak.

Hot sex doesn’t lead to secure love; rather, secure attachment leads to hot sex—and also to love that lasts. Monogamy is not a myth. 

Pick up any men’s or women’s magazine and you’ll find cover lines blaring: seduce him! this sexy move works from 20 feet away; 28 things to try in bed…or in a hammock. or the floor; and sex academy—get an a in giving her an o. In our ignorance, we’ve made physical intimacy the sine qua non of romantic love. As a result, we myopically pour massive amounts of energy and money into spicing up our sex lives. But we have it backwards: it is not good sex that leads to satisfying, secure relationships but rather secure love that leads to good—and, in fact, the best—sex. The growing craze for Internet porn is a catastrophe for love relationships precisely because it negates emotional connection.

It is secure attachment, what nature set us up for, that makes love persist. Trust helps us over the rough places that crop up in every relationship. Moreover, our bodies are designed to produce a cascade of chemicals that bond us tightly to our loved ones. Monogamy is not only possible, it is our natural state.

Emotional dependency is not immature or pathological; it is our greatest strength. 

Dependency is a dirty word in Western society. Our world has long insisted that healthy adulthood requires being emotionally independent and self-sufficient; that we, in essence, draw an emotional moat around ourselves. We talk of being able to separate and detach from our parents, our first loved ones, as a sign of emotional strength. And we look with suspicion at romantic partners who display too much togetherness. We say they are too involved with, too close to, or too dependent on one another. In consequence men and women today feel ashamed of their natural need for love, comfort, and reassurance. They see it as weakness.

Again, this is backwards. Far from being a sign of frailty, strong emotional connection is a sign of mental health. It is emotional isolation that is the killer. The surest way to destroy people is to deny them loving human contact. Early studies discovered that 31–75 percent of institutionalized children expired before their third birthday. More recent studies of adopted Romanian orphans, many of whom had spent twenty hours a day unattended in their cribs, found that many suffer from brain abnormalities, impaired reasoning ability, and extreme difficulty in relating to others.

Adults are similarly demolished. Prisoners in solitary confinement develop a complex of symptoms, including paranoia, depression, severe anxiety, hallucinations, and memory loss. They call their experience a “living death.” “When we isolate a prisoner in solitary confinement,” writes Lisa Guenther, associate professor of philosophy at Vanderbilt University and author of Solitary Confinement: Social Death and Its Afterlives, “we deprive [him] of the support of others, which is crucial for a coherent experience of the world.”

The idea that we can go it alone defies the natural world. We are like other animals—we need ties to others to survive. We see it clearly in a multitude of cross-species combinations: in Thailand, a tiger adopts baby pigs; in China, a dog nurses lion cubs; in Colombia, a cat cares for a squirrel; in Japan, a boar carries a baby monkey on its back; and in Kenya, a giant male tortoise fosters a tsunami-orphaned baby hippo.

We, too, as the Celtic saying goes, “live in the shelter of each other.” World War II historians have noted that the unit of survival in concentration camps was the pair, not the individual. Surveys show that married men and women generally live longer than do their single peers.

We need emotional connection to survive. Neuroscience is highlighting what we have perhaps always known in our hearts—loving human connection is more powerful than our basic survival mechanism: fear. We also need connection to thrive. We are actually healthier and happier when we are close and connected. Consistent emotional support lowers blood pressure and bolsters the immune system. It appears to reduce the death rate from cancer as well as the incidence of heart disease and infectious disease. Married patients who have coronary bypass surgery are three times more likely to be alive fifteen years later than their unmarried counterparts. A good relationship, says psychologist Bert Uchino of the University of Utah, is the single best recipe for good health and the most powerful antidote to aging. He notes that twenty years of research with thousands of subjects shows how the quality of our social support predicts general mortality as well as mortality from specific disorders, such as heart disease.

In terms of mental health, close connection is the strongest predictor of happiness, much more so than making masses of money or winning the lottery. It also significantly lessens susceptibility to anxiety and depression and makes us more resilient against stress and trauma. Survivors of 9/11 with secure loving relationships have been found to recover better than those without strong bonds. Eighteen months after the tragedy, they showed fewer signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and less depression. Moreover, their friends considered them more mature and better adjusted than they had been prior to the disaster.

Being the “best you can be” is really only possible when you are deeply connected to another. Splendid isolation is for planets, not people. 

Like Darwin, with his list of reservations, many of us think of love as limiting, narrowing our options and experiences. But it is exactly the reverse. A secure bond is the launching pad for our going out and exploring the unknown and growing as human beings. It is hard to be open to new experiences when our attention and energy are bound up in worry about our safety. It is much easier when we know that someone has our back. Thus fortified, we become imbued with confidence in ourselves and in our ability to handle new challenges. For example, young professional women who are emotionally close to their partners and seek their reassurance are more confident in their skills and more successful at reaching their career goals. It is an ironic paradox: being dependent makes us more independent.

We are not created selfish; we are designed to be empathetic. Our innate tendency is to feel with and for others. 

We are a naturally empathetic species. This part of our nature can be overridden or denied, but we are wired to be caring of others. We are not born callous and competitive, dedicated to our own survival at the expense of others. As biologist Frans de Waal points out, “We would not be here today had our ancestors been socially aloof.” We have survived by caring and cooperating. Our brains are wired to read the faces of others and to resonate with what we see there. It is this emotional responsiveness and ability to work together, not our large, thinking brains alone, that has allowed us to become the most dominant animal on the planet. The more securely connected we are to those we love, the more we tune in and respond to the needs of others as if they were our own. Moral decisions and altruistic actions spring naturally from our emotional connection with others.

The bonds of love are our birthright and greatest resource. They are our primary source of strength and joy. Seeking out and giving support are so vital to human beings that social psychologists Mario Mikulincer and Phil Shaver observe that, rather than being called Homo sapiens, or “one who knows,” we should be named Homo auxiliator vel accipio auxilium, or “one who helps or receives help.” To be even more accurate, I say we should be called Homo vinculum—“one who bonds.”

 

from “Love Sense” by Sue Johnson, available on Amazon.com
Copyright (c) 2013 by Sue Johnson. Reprinted with permission of Little, Brown and Company. All rights reserved.
 Read the first part of Chapter 1 on the history of love. 
Tune in next week for the next section of Chapter 1!



Sex After Kids: A Different Kind of Wet Spot

February 24, 2014

2 Comments

photo via NYT

A few weeks back, the New York Times Magazine cover story was about sex after marriage, and specifically, whether more equality in marriage might lead to less sex. It was based in part on a study called “Egalitarianism, Housework and Sexual Frequency in Marriage,” which found that when men took on more of the traditionally “feminine” chores around the house — like folding laundry, cooking, or vacuuming — those couples had less sex. They had sex 1.5 fewer times a month, in fact, than couples where men were more likely to take on the more “masculine” chores, like taking out the trash or fixing the car. And it wasn’t just about quantity, either — the wives in these more “traditional” couples reported greater sexual satisfaction than those in more egalitarian marriages (i.e. relationships where both couples work and take care of the domestic side of things).

Of course, correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation — we can’t imagine that satisfying sex is simply a matter of acting like a nineteen-fifties couple. (In fact, we’re 100% sure that this isn’t the case!) But one take-away we are sure of is this: There are certain chores no one wants to see their partner perform, male or female: scrubbing poo stains off a toilet basin, for example (unless that’s your kink). Hence our Tweet the following Monday: 

Because just in case correlation does mean causation, and men sweeping the floor and cleaning toilets does dampen your sex life — well, we don’t know many women who are prepared to take on more domestic duties to rectify this situation, so clearly, the answer is outsourcing.

(And yes, yes, we know that not everyone can afford a cleaning service, and that these are first world problems with first world solutions. Bear with us for a moment.)

Anyway, cut to this past weekend, when Em’s husband was giving their two kids a bath before bed. (A.k.a. Major lady boner killer, according to the study.) Their two-year-old son peed on the bathroom floor just before getting into the bath, and as Em’s man was leaning down to clean it up, he accidentally dropped this weekend’s New York Times Magazine in the wet spot. When he picked it up, look where the wet spot landed:

Yep, that’s our Tweet, featured on the magazine’s letters page, and now covered in Em’s son’s pee, which her husband cleaned up! Which just seemed perfectly fitting to us. Here’s the full-page evidence:

As to whether or not Em’s husband got laid after this domestic double-duty, we’ll just have to leave that up to your sordid imaginations.

MORE LIKE THIS ON EMandLO.com:



EMandLO.com Ranked 6TH in STDcheck.com’s Top 100 Love Blogs!

February 20, 2014

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In 2012, GetSTDtested.com released their list of the Top 100 Sex&Love&Dating Blogs, and our little ol’ humble home site EMandLO.com not only made the top 10, we were ranked third! This year, STDcheck.com has done their own TOP 100 SEX, LUST & LOVE BLOGS and we made their top 10! (Excuse us while we do The Running Man.) But this time we only got 6th place (we wererobbed!). Like before, we know this is just a clever marketing technique by STDcheck.com to drum up some buzz and get some shout outs, but we don’t care — we’re suckers for flattery! We’re also suckers for safer sex, regular STD testing for the sexually active, and open communication about one’s health history.

So hell yes, we’ll happily give STDcheck.com a shout out. And yes, we’ll put their badge of honor on our site. And damn straight, we’ll shamelessly collect the 10 $50 bribes gift card prizes to STDcheck.com they’re handing out to all the winners (to be dolled out to friends and readers in some TBD fashion).

But first, we had some quick questions, which STDcheck.com quickly answered:

Are you guys affiliated with GetSTDtested.com (they did almost the same thing two years ago)? And if not, how are you different?

We are not affiliated with getSTDtested.com, but we are also a health services provider. We provide STD testing that can be purchased online, but our services are more affordable than our competitors, our testing is more comprehensive (we’re the only service offering Hepatitis A in our complete panel), and we are able to offer an RNA test for the early detection of HIV that can actually identify the virus itself (not just HIV antibodies) as soon as 9 days after exposure. We try to provide the absolute best testing available. We also focus a lot more on awareness. We have a non-profit program that gives free HIV tests to any college student in the country, we partner with activists and organizations that focus on prevention and education.

How does the gift thing work? Do we have to put up the button or will a post about the contest and your site work too? What are the gifts? How can you offer that to so many bloggers?

The gift cards are sent out once the badge is on your site. Part of our goal with the Top 100 list is to increase awareness about the importance of getting tested among a wider audience than what we currently have, so we do ask that the badge be displayed, although blog posts are awesome, too. We allocated funds to do this because we felt that the long term results were worth it — increased awareness of why it’s important to get tested, an open dialogue among an audience who is comfortable with sexuality, a way to let people know how convenient and private the STD testing process can be, and (hopefully) new customers who can benefit the services we offer.

MORE FROM EMandLO.com:



R.I.P., Maggie Estep

February 19, 2014

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We were introduced to Maggie Estep‘s work more than ten years ago, when Nerve.com, where we were both editors at the time, published her fiction. Here are the opening lines to her short story Devil in Her Eye, published on Nerve in 2002:

She wasn’t the kind of girl to make a bishop kick in a stained glass window, but she got to me all the same. Her name was Sylvia. Dirty blonde. Five-foot-four, 122 pounds, thighs just shy of ample. She was quiet. Seldom looked at you straight on, but once she did, you never forgot it. Which is what happened. She looked at me. Right into me.

And I melted. I’m not the kind of guy to go around melting, mind you. I’m pushing thirty-five. I’ve been locked up a few times, and when I wasn’t Inside, I worked on the back side of racetracks. Mucking horse shit and what have you.

I’m not a melter. But Sylvia got me.

Her writing sticks with you, and this stuck with us. (You can read the story in full here.) Neither of us ever met her, but then last week, Em went to a reading at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, NY — it turned out Maggie Estep lived just one town north of us, and had contributed to an anthology about writers leaving New York called Goodbye to All That (hey, we did that, too!). She was charming, hilarious, brilliant, vibrant, and sweet, and Em departed the reading with secret plans to friend-stalk her. And then two days later, she had a heart attack, and two days after that she was dead. At fifty.

Estep was best known as a slam poetry performer — she helped bring the genre into the mainstream, performing on MTV, HBO, and PBS… and how often does a poet whose work is ”characterized by gritty honesty, black humor and a post-punk brand of feminism”  (NY Times) get to do that? One of her most famous poems is the blisteringly sarcastic “Happy”, which she performed on the HBO show “Russell Simmons’s Def Poetry Jam” (watch her perform it in the video above, it’ll make you happy, no sarcasm):

To hell with sticking my head in the oven
I’m happy
I’m ridiculously, vengefully happy
I’m ripped apart by sunshine
I’m ecstatic
I’m leaping
I’m cutting off all my limbs
I’m doing circus tricks with forks

But the poem that we want to share in full today is the one that Beavis and Butthead poked fun at Estep for (not that she cared). The poem is called  ”Hey Baby,” and the topic is pretty appropriate for this site:

Hey Baby

So I’m walking down the street
minding my own business
when this guy starts with me
he’s suckin’ his lips goin’
Hey Baby
Yo Baby
Hey Baby
Yo

and I get a little tense and nervous
but I keep walking
but the guy, he’s dogging my every move
hey Miss, he says,
Don’t miss this!
And he grabs his crotch and sneers ear to ear
so finally, I turn around
Hey Buddy, I say
I’m feelin’ kinda tense, Buddy
I got a fuckin’ song in my heart
so come on,
Let’s go

I got a huge bucket of non-dairy creamer
and some time to kill
so let’s do it
we’ll make some foul-smelling artifical milk
and drink gallons and gallons and gallons of it

Get our bladders exceedingly full then
sit on the toilet together and let
the water run in the shower
and torture ourselves by not letting ourselves urinate
as the water rushes loudly
into the bathrub, okay?

We’ll do it together
writhe in utter agony
Just you and me
and I’ll even spring for some of that blue shit
for the toilet bowl, all right?
I mean, that’s my idea of a good time
so how bout it, you wanna?

The guy backs up a bit
Whatsa matter, Baby?
You got somethin’ against men?, he says
No, I say
I don’t have anything against men
Just stupid men

R.I.P., Maggie Estep., you were one of the good ones.

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