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

Archive | News RSS feed for this section

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

April 8, 2014


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 CondomThis 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 MadeThis 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 CondomsThis 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 AppTrojan 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 PsychologiAmericapublished 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 coupland 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 separatand detacfrom 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 involvewith, too closto, or too dependenon 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 Homsapiensor “one who knows,” we should be named Homauxiliatoveaccipiauxiliumor “one who helps or receives help.” To be even more accurate, I say we should be called Homvinculum—“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


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.


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

February 20, 2014


sponsored post

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.


R.I.P., Maggie Estep

February 19, 2014


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

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.


A New Take on Online Dating: “Jess Meet Ken”

February 14, 2014


Once upon a time, Ken’s best friend, Adele, created a witty and honest profile on a [now defunct dating] site…Jessica, a pretty, funny, smart girl lookin’ for love, had just created a profile for her co-worker, Jared. Jessica spotted Ken’s profile and reached out to Adele to find out his deal. Adele knew Jess was perfect for Ken the moment she got her very first email. In fact, she immediately forwarded it to Ken with the subject, “Holy $#!& it’s your wife!” True story. (Click here to read the whole, real email chain!) Needless to say, Adele was right. They got married four years later and now have a happy family including three beautiful little girls.

Ken, Jess and Adele (along with someone in charge of tech & development) have just launched the first Beta stage of their new site “JESS, MEET KEN,” where women can post ads on behalf of their great single guy friends and/or post ads for themselves (those that do so now during Beta1 will receive a free subscription once Beta2 launches in the near future, when they’ll start matching people and making introductions). We asked Ken Deckinger — whom we knew way back from his days as founder of HurryDate  – a few questions about his new endeavor:

So JESS, MEET KEN is still in pre-launch mode – when do you think you’ll launch?

We’re doing it this way so that we can really understand what our users want in our product and also so that we start to build a userbase of men and women before turning on all of the features (an online dating site is only as good as its users so we want to come out of the gates with fabulous people).  We’re not exactly sure when that will happen and won’t really be able to set a date until we get a bit more data. We don’t anticipate it being too far out because we’re way ahead of where we thought we’d be by now.  Either way, the site’s open for women to post themselves and guys now – if they do, they get a first look for free once we go to Beta2.

How is JESS, MEET KEN different from the site you and Jess met on? 

That was a site that allowed users to post on behalf of other people. It was not a traditional dating site.  It existed and was eventually sunsetted out of existence – we don’t know why (although we have theories).  Ours is conceptually similar but very different technology wise – FB and other social functionality that we’ve implemented to make our product rock didn’t even exist at the time so the technology and approach is very different.

Today, there are a lot of sites and apps that introduce you to friends of friends via Facebook. Some are good, some are not. But I don’t think that introducing friends of friends to each other via FB solves the real problems found in online dating.  It’s certainly a big step in the right direction but a strategy that has many holes, and raises new questions, in my opinion.

What was the name of the site you met on?

We don’t tell anyone that. ;-)

How do you ensure that the people posting guys are women and not, say, the men themselves in disguise? And why have users sign in solely through Facebook (rather than giving the option of signing up with traditional email and password)…Or did we just answer our first question ourselves?

The first reason is to help ensure that men and women aren’t gaming the system, that men are men and women are women.  The second reason though is to ensure that people are who they say they are – for the safety of our users.  Third would be because it makes our on boarding process simpler for the user.  We are immediately able to get the basic information about a person without having to ask them for it.  It’s a much better user experience because profile creation has fewer steps than a traditional online dating site.

And finally, traditional online dating sites are plagued with scammers, the biggest being the 419 Scam, “Hi, I’m a rich man. My uncle is holding my $15 million. If you can give me $1000 to release the funds, I will give you half the money when I get it.”Facebook plays a big role in helping us address that issue.  Right off the bat we can cut out a significant portion of the scammer noise.  We then have other mechanisms (did I just say “mechanisms”?) to catch people that slip through the cracks.

You give people the option of changing their age – why?

Ha! Great question!  So, that option is there not so people can change their age but rather because in some cases, we’re unable to get a person’s age from their FB profile. Privacy settings allow a FB user to tell us if they want us to have it or not.  So, in the cases where we don’t have a woman’s (or their guy’s) age we give them the option to select it, because we need to know age.  The ability for any user to change their age is actually a bug that we’re fixing right now — it’s just one of those silly beta bugs that we’re correcting.

When someone posts a guy, do they need to get their permission first? 

We ask women to ensure that the guy they are posting knows he is being posted. It’s up to our users to make sure the guy knows.

And how much work will it be for the a woman who posts a guy – do they have to go through all the interested parties themselves first, responding to their questions? Seems like a big commitment for someone who may not even be single herself.

We deliberately made the user experience very simple and straight forward, keeping in mind that in many cases a woman will be making a time investment for someone else, not just herself.  It’s a pretty painless process. FB helps a lot with this.  We’re not a simple as a quick flick like Tinder – we believe that our users want a little more color around who they are meeting.  On the other end of the spectrum though, we’re much more straight forward and have fewer hoops to create a profile than say a Match.com. It’s really pretty quick and easy.

So this is just for heterosexuals right? Or could a woman post an add looking for another woman or could a woman post an ad for her gay female friend?

Right now it’s only heterosexual.  We’re doing only heterosexual because we want to be laser focused on one market segment coming out of the gates.   We have gay/lesbian on our radar and have discussed rolling it out but we’d only do it once we’ve mastered the model with the “Girl post guy” heterosexual market first.

Is it weird to run a site about dating when you are so far removed from that world (now that you’re married with three kids)?

Ha!  Another great question!  Weird – No.  Different than when we started HurryDate and were 100% single – Yes.   It’s not weird because we absolutely love what we’re doing. It comes natural to us to meet great people and introduce them to each other – so we love it.  And I love the technology side of the business – It’s so much fun to build the product that we’re building.  The big difference is that I’m now focused on providing an amazing service whereas before I was also interested in checking out the product. ;-)  I no longer use the product that I sell.

Have you ever worked with your spouse before? Do you worry about not getting enough quality time apart now?

I haven’t but since we’re not really working together in an official capacity (Jess has a pretty cool full time job so she’s mostly on the periphery offering advice and guidance), I’m not worried about getting enough QT apart.  The time that we do spend together on Jess, Meet Ken is usually very engaging and exciting to us because we love to talk about it so much.  It brings us closer together because we’re so passionate about it.

Ladies, post your own ad or an ad on behalf of a great single guy friend before the second Beta stage of JESS, MEET KEN launches in order to get your free subscription.


Fifty Shades of… Vanilla?

February 13, 2014


photo via flickr | sponsored post

Back in January we wrote about new research from LELO showing that the kinky sex revolution is waning: Sales of toys such as whips and teasers reached a plateau in the last quarter of 2013, compared with a 50% increase over the same period in 2012. Meanwhile, sales of premium couples massagers and vibrating couples’ rings worn during intercourse increased by 82%, compared with the same period last year.

Anyway, we promised at the time that even more research was forthcoming from LELO, with some initial findings from their 2014 Global Sex Survey. One of our favorite stats so far: One in five women has been involved in a threesome — double that of 2012’s findings — but a whopping 80% of women said that making their fantasies real didn’t live up to their expectations. One to grow on, folks.

In case you were worried that this trend toward “vanilla” sex means we’ll all end up lying back and thinking of England, fear not! This is fifty shades of vanilla (with a cherry on top), which includes everything from threeways to love rings to clitoral vibrators. In other words, this might not be Christian Grey territory, but it’s certainly not your parents’ vanilla sex life, either.

The survey is open for the rest of the 2014 — click here to take part yourself (and you’ll get 20% off your next LELO purchase!). In the meantime, check out the infographic below for even more stats from the LELO sex survey so far…


And the LELO for Best Oral Sex Haiku Goes To…

February 4, 2014

1 Comment

Thank you for your many, many entries into our LELO Oral Sex Haiku Contest! You guys sure do like oral (or oral sex simulators… or LELO pleasure objects of any kind). And thank you especially for heeding to our wishes to leave the explicit stuff on the cutting room floor. Instead, you used beautiful images (from petals unfurling to hummingbirds descending), clever metaphors (from the tide’s arrival to a good book), and a sense of humor (blatant pandering, “FaceTime”) — and one of you even submitted a haiku in Japanese, with an English translation. Now that’s the way we like to haiku about oral sex!

We were incredibly torn when it came to picking a winner, but in the end it came down to Monica A., because she submitted so many wonderful haikus — thirty-seven in total, and any one of them could have been a winner. Congratulations to Monica, she wins a LELO Ora! (And not just because she managed to get “Em and Lo dot com” and “Ora” in a single haiku!) Monica, we hope you receive many years of pleasure — and not a single broken heart or complaint about “high-maintenance demands” — from  your oral sex simulator.

Below Monica’s winning entry, you’ll find our Thirty-Three Honorable Mentions. Yes, thirty-frickin’-three: You guys rocked this one!


Mouth on my pistil
I feel like a loaded gun
Lick lick, bang bang boom
– Monica A.

TOP 33 HONORABLE MENTIONS (in no particular order):

How about you go
first and then do me…ok
fine, we’ll sixty-nine.
– Colleen

Pages of my book
Read in detail by your tongue
The perfect bookmark
– Erin D.

Em and lo dot com,
Oral pleasure makes me smile
Ora should be mine!
– Monica A.

I am the quiver
Of sixty thousand starlings
Pulsing as they soar.
– Karah

Kimi no uta,
Yume no kaze desu,
Subarashi yo.

Your music,
The wind in my dream,
It’s wonderful.
– Heather

Who cares about size
Does your tongue work properly?
If so, we’ll be fine
– Monica A.

Peering through the moss
You discover, of all things,
A pearl to be kissed
– Inness

iPhones make me smirk;
“FaceTime” just means something else –
Him pleasuring me
– Monica A.

Eager, lustful wolf
Approaches my flowing stream
Longingly takes sips
– Anna Nicole

What do you mean you
don’t do that? Seriously,
you’re kidding right? Next!
– Colleen

A love note for you –
Spreading you across my desk,
My tongue is the pen…
– Monica A.

ocean waves seduce
lapping at forbidden shores
high tide is coming
– Chris

You’re taller than I,
So it’s a unique pleasure,
Gripping your thick hair
– Inness

Waves lap swollen shores
Until the levee explodes,
Chasing back the sea.
– Karah

wave washed stones, polished
and smooth, as a love song from
the lovelorn ocean.
– Colleen

My lover descends:
A velvet-tongued hummingbird,
Earning my nectar.
– Karah

flickering so fast
flickering woodpecker, oh
wood dont stand a chance
– Tawana

glistening pink rose
peel back each lovely petal,
slowly, rise with sun
– Amy

drowning in a sea
first a ripple, a wave, crash
then floating in bliss
– Amy

A ring of Saturn
Continues to spin nonstop
beautiful colors
– Tawana

Explore the ocean
Search for the man in the boat
Ahoy! you found him
– Tawana

Just a few quick flicks
And I’m where I need to be
Just Ora and me
– Monica A.

Fire passes through me
Underneath love’s canopy
Eat, live, be happy.
– Monica A.

Two is a party
Ready to rock my body
Just Ora and me
– Monica A.

Tongue play is heaven
She touched me once and I learned
Girls do it better
– Monica A.

I have a secret
It’s locked up inside of me
Your tongue is the key
– Monica A.

Her petals unfurl
Under gray dawn’s humid kiss.
The dew drops quiver.
– Karah

Your tongue like an oar
Row my boat faster, harder
Make me come ashore
– Monica A.

A haiku or two
To get me off without you –
Don’t mind if I do.
– Karah

I moan, “Oh my God,”
Bless my body with your tongue
I am no angel.
– Monica A.

Taste my galaxy…
Celestial chaos builds,
Eyes closed… stars explode
– Monica A.

With closed eyes I see
The shimmer of distant suns
Lit by my pleasure.
– Karah

I’m a slip’n’slide,
But don’t slip inside. That’s right –
Stay down there and lick!
– Karah

Read more about the Ora by LELO here


Last Chance to Haiku Your Way to a Lelo ORA!

January 30, 2014

1 Comment

sponsored post


The deadline for our LELO Ora haiku contest is end of day Friday, January 31st — a deadline specially chosen so that we can get the winner’s toy out before V-Day! So here’s your last chance to wax lyrical about oral sex and win yourself or your sweetie a LELO Ora. Because whether you’re all coupled up for this Hallmark holiday season* or you’re planning on spending V-Day solo, LELO’s brand new oral sex simulator is guaranteed to improve your evening (especially because this oral sex simulator is actually elegant and sophisticated… which isn’t at all surprising in a LELO toy, but is hugely surprising in an oral sex simulator) . To refresh your memory:

We have ONE of these gorgeous pleasure objects to give away, and all you have to do is woo us with your best haiku on oral sex! We’ll publish our favorite haikus here on EMandLO.com, and our very favorite of all will win an Ora by LELO. Here are the rules:

1. Post a haiku in the comments section below, or submit via our contact form here – enter as many times as you like! Just remember to follow the 5/7/5 syllable format.

2. Deadline is end of day Friday, January 31st (so we can get the winner’s toy out before V-Day!).

3. Bonus points for any haikus that are 100% metaphorical.

4. Bonus points for any haikus that feature images from nature.

5. Automatic disqualification for anything too graphic.

6. You must be 18 or over to enter.

8. When you fill out the comment section below or send us a haiku via our contact form, make sure you include a viable email address (which we will keep private) so we can contact you in case you win.

9. Winners who do not claim their prize by responding to the private email from Em & Lo within seven days forfeit their prize, at which time another best haiku will be chosen.

Happy Haiku-ing!

* We have a dream that, a few years from now, people will refer to V-Day is the “vibrator holiday” or the “LELO holiday” or the “pleasure object holiday.”

Read more about the Ora by LELO here