Em & Lo's RSS Feed Em & Lo's Daily Email Feed Be Our Facebook Friend! Follow Us on Twitter!
EM & LO's Sexy Holiday Gift Guide

Good Vibes Sex Toys

Buy on Amazon Kindle!

Christmas Story Lamp on Amazon


Archive | Research RSS feed for this section

Naked News: Walnuts Are Good for Semen, Semen Is Good for Women

August 24, 2012

1 Comment

photo via flickr

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.

Read the rest of this post on SUNfiltered

RELATED ARTICLES FROM EMandLO.com:



Naked News: Celebrity, Political and Animal Sex Scandals Abound

August 17, 2012

0 Comments

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!

Read the rest of this week’s Naked News on SUNfiltered.¬†

More from yours truly:



Why Women Have Ravishment and Rape Fantasies

August 15, 2012

4 Comments

photo via Parlez-Moi

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 that¬†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,¬†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. 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. …¬†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 ‚Äúravishment fantasy‚ÄĚ 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 ‚Äúrape fantasies‚ÄĚ to mean that it‚Äôs 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 wasn‚Äôt play, wasn‚Äôt a scene. It was rape.¬†But, the police didn‚Äôt believe me because of such things as rape fantasy. They told me that it‚Äôs 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.

(And if you’ve got a better idea for a replacement term, please do let us know!)

‚Äʬ†This post¬†is a part of Sundance Channel‚Äôs¬†SUNfiltered Blog
‚Äʬ†Get the¬†SUNfiltered RSS feed

RELATED LINKS on EMandLO.com:



Naked News: Men Visit Sex Workers for Companionship

August 10, 2012

0 Comments

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).

Read the rest of this post on SUNfiltered

MORE FROM EMandLO.com:



Survey Debunks Some of Our Least Favorite Sex Myths

August 2, 2012

0 Comments

photo via flickr

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:

  • The Myth: Men are afraid of sex toys. The research: Men are more willing to try a vibrator in bed than women: ¬†74% of men — compared to 70% of women — are open to using a vibe during sex. Still, both figures are pretty encouraging!
  • The Myth: Having kids destroys your sex life. The research: Parents are more likely to have spontaneous sex, sex in different places than couples without children, and they’re more likely to use a vibrator, too.
  • The Myth: It’s all about the sext. The research: Americans are more likely to have experimented with dirty talk, used lubricant, or had sex outdoors than they are to have sexted or sent a dirty pic or video.
  • The Myth: Sex is a competition, and more is always better. The research: Bay Area residents have the least amount of sex compared to other areas of the country¬†(120 times a year) and shortest sessions (31 minutes), yet they have high rates of satisfaction (65%) and are least likely to fake an orgasm (31%).
  • The Myth: Longer is always better. The research: Only 34% of women said they wished sex lasted longer (compared to 41% of men).
  • The Myth: Men never fake, that’s just a girl thing. The research: Sure, more women fake orgasms (nearly 60%)… but 19% of men have faked, too.

‚Äʬ†This post¬†is a part of Sundance Channel‚Äôs¬†SUNfiltered Blog
‚Äʬ†Get the¬†
SUNfiltered RSS feed

RELATED LINKS FROM EMandLO.com

photo via flickr



Just How Different Are Men’s and Women’s Fantasy Lives?

July 30, 2012

0 Comments

photo via flickr

  • Are women’s and men’s fantasy lives vastly different, or are they basically the same except for a few variations on theme and frequency? We suppose it depends on who you ask and what they already believe about the way women and men approach sex. Because people’s prior beliefs about how women and men approach sex can really affect the way they interpret research on the matter.

    Take a¬†recent¬†article in an Australian newspaper¬†that begins, “We’ve all heard it before: Our brains are our most powerful sexual organs.¬†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:¬†“A study shows that men and women have the¬†same¬†sexual fantasies”¬†[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 are¬†not significant differences¬†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!¬†What the study¬†actually¬†found is that men and women tend to fantasize about the¬†same¬†things, but at¬†different¬†rates. Which we think is totally fascinating — so we have no idea why people who feel the need to misinterpret the data. (Oh, wait, we¬†do¬†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)¬† 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.

  • Women are more likely than men to fantasize about being forced into sex. Then again, perhaps they’re just more likely to admit to this — at least, that’s what our Wise Guys think. By the way, this article on HuffPoUK has some great insights into women’s fantasies about coercive sex.
  • Both men and women have intimate or romantic fantasies about their long-term partner.
  • Overall, men fantasize more often than women (exact figures not given).
  • That said, women have pleasant sexual fantasies more often than men (again, exact figures not given). Or perhaps women are just less conflicted about their fantasy topics.

Read the rest of this post on SUNfiltered

RELATED LINKS FROM EMandLO.com:



Naked News: How STDs Lead to More Foot Fetishes

July 20, 2012

0 Comments

photo via flickr

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.

Read the rest of this post on SUNfiltered



It’s Not You, It’s Your Clutter

July 17, 2012

0 Comments

photo via flickr

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 book¬†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 of¬†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 the¬†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 the¬†Wall Street Journal have his back. According to a recent¬†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.)

Read the rest of this post on SUNfiltered



Naked News: How Sex Research Explains Pretty Much Everything

July 6, 2012

0 Comments

photo via flickr

We have a love-hate relationship with sex research — on the one hand, we think it’s incredibly important to study how and why we do (or don’t do) what we do when the lights go out. But on the other hand — well, a lot of this research can be a little on the flimsy side. This week, sex research highlights teen sexting, work-life balance, and how to fake love.

Read the rest of this post on SUNfiltered



This Is Your Brain on Facebook

June 28, 2012

0 Comments

image via Zazzle.com

Did you know that when someone “likes” your Facebook status — or, even better, actually comments on it — that warm fuzzy feeling you get is akin to the feeling you get from good food or good sex? Of course you knew that! Why else do you waste so many hours on social networking sites, over-sharing the minutiae of your life, and willingly sharing so much private data with massive technology companies who can then tailor advertising to you?!

Well, in case you were wondering, some nerds (sorry, scientists) at Harvard University have now confirmed this. In official lab lingo, what you’re doing is called “self-disclosure” — even when you’re just posting about what an awesome poo your toddler just took in the potty, or how much you love your snookums on your second wedding anniversary. And the more you self-disclose, and the more attention you get for it, the more your dopamine levels spike. It’s that whole pleasure and anticipation reward center in your brain — where good sex and good food are also logged.¬†The¬†research was published last month in a journal called Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read the rest of this post on SUNfiltered