June 18, 2013
September 20, 2012
LELO created this fun infographicÂ (included below),Â which could be more simply titled “5 Reasons Why More Sex Helps Your LIFE.” A few thoughts on each point:
Getting On By Getting It On – LELO’s More Sex for a Better Career Infographic
August 24, 2012
We know, we know: it sounds like a bad frat-house joke. But there’s a lot of sex research making the rounds this week, and while some of it is very welcome (amongst college students, women are no longer judged as harshly for their sexual behavior; also it turns out rape victims actually have a higher rate of pregnancy… and goddamn Akin for making that seem like good news), other news seems ripe for abuse (semen can improve women’s moods?!). But, hey, at least the walnut industry should get a boost with the news that eating those nuts improves semen health.
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August 17, 2012
Much of this week’s news was slightly infuriating: Animals get birth control but humans don’t? The mistress gets punished but the married man doesn’t? Rapists get rights but their victims don’t? Aaaaaarrrrrggggghhhh!
More from yours truly:
August 15, 2012
We wrote a post wrote here a few weeks back about research into men’s and women’s fantasy lives — and in particular, how often this sort of research is willfully misinterpreted. That got us wondering what other new fantasy research might be out there… and we came across a fascinating study about why women have rape fantasies — or ravishment fantasies, as we prefer to call them (more on that issue below).
Previous research into this topic found thatÂ between 31 and 62% of women have rape fantasies. The authors of the new study posed the following question: “To be sexually aroused by such an imagined scenario represents a psychological mystery. Why fantasize about a criminal act which in reality is repulsive and harrowing?”
The researchers,Â based at the University of North Texas and the University of Notre Dame, studied 355 young women. In one of the exercises, the women’s arousal levels were studied as they listened to a ravishment fantasy scenario over headphones (gotta love audio erotica!) — and we say ravishment in this case because the scenario was pulled from the kind of story lines typical to romance novels… i.e. it was very clearly an erotic fantasy and not an actual account of a real-life rape. The women listening were told to imagine themselves as the woman in the narrative.
So why are women turned on by this kind of scenario? In the past, the theory went that women didn’t want to be perceived as “slutty” for enjoying sex, and so rape fantasies were a way to avoid taking blame for their sexual desires. We’re delighted to report that the researchers of this new study found no such thing! (Though they say that this theory may have held more water in the past, when attitudes toward women’s sexuality were more uptight.)
On the contrary, in fact: this new study found that the less repressed women said they were about sex and the more positive attitudes they had about sex, the more likely they were to fantasize about rape or ravishment.Â It makes sense, when you think about it: these women are more open to fantasy in general, and are less likely to feel guilty about their fantasy lives.
According to the study, women who reported frequent rape or ravishment fantasies were also more likely to enjoy fantasies about “overpowering or forcing a man to surrender sexually against his will.” Oh yeah, and they were also more likely to fantasize about being a stripper. And just in case that doesn’t completely shut down the slut-shame theory: women who reported more rape fantasies were more likely to have high self-esteem.
So, back to the rape vs. ravishment thing. A reader once called us out for our use of the term “rape fantasy,” claiming that “no one actually wants to experience what actually being raped would feel like. …Â Women might have fantasies about someone taking control (generally someone they find attractive and of course should trust) but as far as I believe, never about someone forcibly using their body against their will. If anything it should be called a â€śravishment fantasyâ€ť because the word rape, especially in context with women, creates a greater possibility for people to take rape less seriously and disturbing as it is, to take the idea that women have â€śrape fantasiesâ€ť to mean that itâ€™s okay to rape someone. … Find a new language to speak about this kind of fantasy.”
Some readers responded positively to that comment — one man said that he’d feel much more comfortable using the term “ravishment” to explain his fantasy to his girlfriend. But some women said, no, this isn’t true for all women, and “ravishment” is too romantic a word for what I fantasize about.
So clearly there’s a broad range of rape and ravishment fantasy. Some people want the romance-novel style fantasy, and others want something much darker… but the one thing these scenarios all have in common is consent. So we understand why the word “rape” offends people — especially when a reader of our site writes, “My fiance raped me. It wasnâ€™t play, wasnâ€™t a scene. It was rape.Â But, the police didnâ€™t believe me because of such things as rape fantasy. They told me that itâ€™s not his fault that the fantasy got out of control and to just calm down.”
The last thing we want to do is prescribe rules for people’s fantasy lives. After all, the sex you have in your own head is the one time you get to break all the rules — rules of law, rules of morality, of monogamy, of hygiene, of gravity…
So if you want to fantasize about the kind of rape that would be more fitting on an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit than in a romance novel, then go right ahead. And if, in the privacy of your own bedroom, you want to call it a rape fantasy, then go right ahead with that, too. But understand that when you’re talking about these fantasies outside the bedroom, the language you use has consequences. Sure, “ravishment fantasy” might sound a bit too purple-prose for your tastes, but if it helps preserve the rights of actual rape victims in the real world, we’re sure you can suck it up.
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August 10, 2012
We have a dream that one day, people will deal with sex rationally and reasonably. Sure, we know that everyone loses it a little when they’re head over heels in lust — but we’re talking about something much deeper and more ingrained and more screwed up. Like orthodox Jewish men blurring their glasses so they don’t have to look at immodest women … or men visiting prostitutes for emotional intimacy … or the U.K. making it illegal to own depictions of sexual acts (like fisting) that are perfectly legal to engage in (just ask Christian Grey).
MORE FROM EMandLO.com:
August 2, 2012
We’re always a little skeptical when sex research is sponsored by a commercial product — as opposed to, say, an academic institution. That said, the commercially-driven surveys tend to have a lot of money and resources behind them, and every now and then, interesting stuff comes out of them. Take the new survey from Trojan, for example — sure, it includes not particularly helpful stats, like the fact that 70% of people “are open to trying a new condom designed to enhance orgasmic pleasure.” Oh really, Trojan? And we don’t suppose you happen to know anything about where we could find a condom like that, do you…?
But some of the other research isn’t half bad, and even debunks some of our least favorite myths about sex — always a good thing. Some highlights:
July 30, 2012
Take aÂ recentÂ article in an Australian newspaperÂ that begins, “We’ve all heard it before: Our brains are our most powerful sexual organs.Â But what goes on inside those well-used organs is largely down to gender. According to new research…” In other words, men’s fantasy lives are from Mars and women’s are from Venus.
The article then links to a press release about the original research… with the following headline:Â “A study shows that men and women have theÂ sameÂ sexual fantasies”Â [sarcastic italics ours]. To really underscore the point, the first line of the press release reads, “A study conducted at the University of Granada [has] demonstrated that there areÂ not significant differencesÂ between men’s and women’s sexual fantasies.” [ditto on the italics]
Um, we know that people are pretty invested in the idea that men and women are really different in bed, but this takes the cake!Â What the studyÂ actuallyÂ found is that men and women tend to fantasize about theÂ sameÂ things, but atÂ differentÂ rates. Which we think is totally fascinating — so we have no idea why people who feel the need to misinterpret the data. (Oh, wait, weÂ doÂ have an idea: People are comfortable with the idea that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. They don’t necessarily like the idea that women can enjoy sex as much and as creatively as men.)
The researchers interviewed 2,250 Spaniards (half men, half women)Â between 18 and 73 years old, who had been in a heterosexual relationship for at least 6 months. Here are a few of the fascinating — and true! — things they discovered:
Men are more likely than women to fantasize about “exploratory sexual activities” like group sex. Then again, we’d like to see this research repeated in another year or so, when 50 Shades has been fully absorbed into our collective sexual consciousness.
RELATED LINKS FROM EMandLO.com:
July 20, 2012
Squid have sex for three hours, STDs can cause a rise in foot fetishes, Domino’s Pizza wants you associate date rape with extra cheese, and Charlie Sheen likes to tweet during sex. Welcome to an edition of Naked News guaranteed to make you feel like your sex life is vanilla — and to make you feel okay about being vanilla.
July 17, 2012
When is an item a significant object worth collecting or displaying on the mantlepiece — or saving to sell on eBay at a later date — and when is it clutter? And if it’s clutter, is it threatening your relationship? The subject of household clutter has been on our minds lately. Em was at a reading last week for the forthcoming bookÂ Significant Objects, a literary experiment that began its life on eBay. Basically, the editors (New York Times Magazine writer Rob Walker and Em’s old friend Josh Glenn ofÂ HiLoBrow.com) wanted to see if attaching a fictional backstory to a tchotchke would increase its value (turns out it did). We’ll write more on the book itself when it comes out next month.
Anyway, in an interview in the Home & Garden section of theÂ New York Times, Glenn talks about the project and explains why he actually doesn’t have an abundance of objects, significant or otherwise, lying around his house (and he’d have a convenient excuse, as he and his editing partner raided flea markets and charity shops for the Significant Objects project): “I’ve been reading way too many women’s magazines for a client. And I think this is what they’re saying: ‘Stress causes cancer. Clutter causes stress.’ So, basically, clutter causes cancer.”
So that was a little tongue-in-cheek, perhaps, but therapists and theÂ Wall Street Journal have his back. According to a recentÂ article, clutter is as common a marriage issue as sex or finances, but it’s just not talked about as much because people feel silly or petty bringing it up. Because, really, how do you tell someone that their overflowing in-box or their sprawling collection of nodding dogs is a threat to your marriage? (Okay, maybe the latter should be a given.)