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Blog Snog: The 20 Hottest Sex Scenes in “Game of Thrones”

March 27, 2015

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An Open Marriage Can’t Fix Something That’s Already Broken

March 26, 2015

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A new memoir called The Wild Oats Project: One Woman’s Midlife Question for Passion At Any Cost is giving a lot of committed monogamists the chance to say “I told you so!” about open marriage.

Here’s the book in a nutshell: San Francisco-based magazine editor Robin Rinaldi felt like her marriage was in a rut, and convinced her husband to open their marriage for a year in an effort to save it. He said okay, and she went on to sleep with eight men and two women in a year, while he had a lengthy affair with just one woman. Then, soon after she returned to him, they decided to divorce. It turned out she’d fallen in love with one of those eight men, and she’s now married to him. It’s like a morality tale for the Nerve.com generation!

Except that what Robin and her husband were going through was a little more intense than a rut. Here’s Rinaldi writing in the New York Post:

Stuck in a rut — our once-a-week sex life was loving, but lacked spontaneity and passion — I was craving seduction and sexual abandon. I was having a midlife crisis and chasing this profound, deeply rooted experience of being female.

Before then, starting a family had felt like one route to this elusive state of feminine fulfillment. But Scott had made it absolutely clear he never wanted a baby, and even had a vasectomy.

I broke the news to Scott that I wanted an open marriage in early 2008, a few months after his vasectomy. “I won’t go to my grave with no children and four lovers,” I told him repeatedly. “I refuse.” [She'd had only three partners before marrying at 26.]

In other words, “once-a-week sex [that] was loving, but lacked spontaneity and passion” wasn’t even close to being the whole story. The inspiration for opening their marriage sprung more from a kind of deeply emotional and fraught tit-for-tat: If you won’t give me children, then you have to give me more sexual freedom. We’re not saying that this is a bad reason to want to open your marriage, — her reasoning actually makes complete sense to us — but the fact that Robin Rinaldi’s experiment failed to save her troubled marriage shouldn’t be considered a failure of open marriages in general.

Open marriages may very well be able to get you out of a rut — if that’s all you’re experiencing. Of course, as The Wild Oats Project demonstrates all too clearly, the risk you take when opening your marriage is that one of you will fall in love with one of the pinch hitters. (Rinaldi limited herself to three dates per partner, to keep things light and casual, but who hasn’t fallen in love within three dates before?!)

But what open marriage can’t fix is a marriage that is broken because one partner wanted children and the other didn’t. It’s the reason that most people discuss this subject before getting married, after all. Here’s Rinaldi talking about her experiment on British TV:

I got into my early 40s and my husband got a vasectomy and I knew the discussion of having a baby was over, which kick-started this experience. I looked forward to my death bed and thought, What will I have? I won’t have children and grandchildren. Will I at least have lived fully? If I couldn’t have one I wanted the other. Like a lot of women at that age I was hitting my confidence and sexual peak and suddenly realized very dramatically that I wasn’t going to have children. It was the perfect storm.

So, sure, maybe Rinaldi’s marriage wouldn’t have ended if she hadn’t opened her marriage — but then she would have been trapped in a marriage that had a lot more wrong with it than lackluster sex once a week. And you can’t blame the swingers for that!

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New Web Series: “Swipe Click Bang”

March 24, 2015

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The new web series from director Michael Sasso called “Swipe Click Bang” is about the mating habits of Millennials in the age of Tinder. Each webisode focuses on one couple who’ve just met through a hookup app and are either about to do it, are doing it, and/or just did it. According to Sasso, the show is an official selection at the HollyWeb and LA Webfest festivals and is nominated for 4 awards, including Outstanding Series.

Swipe Click Bang” is pretty safe for work, at least in terms of nudity (there is none). And, with only six episodes less than 7 minutes each, the show already feels incredibly inclusive: There are gay couples (both male and female), interracial couples, and some average body types. Topics covered include safer sex, body insecurity, casual sex etiquette, virginity, and the potential dangers around meeting strangers. Some moments are funny, some are painful, some are awkward, and some are painfully awkward — just like real sex. We didn’t have high hopes — the production values are pretty modest — but thanks to the clever writing (“talons”!) and decent acting (save maybe for #3), we got sucked in and happily watched all five. Below, you can too. (Short on time? Check out #2 and #6.)

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Blog Snog: 10 “Weird” Things You Do As a Couple That Are Actually Normal

March 20, 2015

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photo via YourTango



TBT: Stephen Fry on the Catholic Church’s Obsession with Sex

March 19, 2015

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Lo listens to YouTube debates on religion for fun. (Seriously, it makes doing the dishes so much more entertaining.) She just came across an oldie-but-a-goodie: A 2009 “Intelligence Squared” debate entitled “The Catholic Church Is a Force for Good in the World” featuring Archbishop John Onaiyekan and Ann Widdecombe (with a voice only a Monty Python fan could love) arguing for the motion, and Stephen Fry and Christopher Hitchens arguing against it (and crushing it). In his opening statement, Fry makes a few excellent points about sex that were just too good not to share again here six years later:

It is the strangest thing with this church. It is obsessed with sex. Absolutely obsessed. Now they will say, they will say we with our permissive society and our rude jokes are obsessed. No, we have a healthy attitude: we like it, it’s fun, it’s jolly. Because it’s a primary impulse it can be dangerous and dark and difficult. It’s a bit like food in that respect, only even more exciting. The only people who are obsessed with food are anorexics and the morbidly obese, and that, in erotic terms, is the Catholic Church in a nutshell.

Here’s the excellent 10-minute clip which features the above, along with Fry condemning the widespread cover-up of child rape among priests, the homophobia the Church spreads, and their campaign against condom-use in AIDS-riddled African countries. You can view the debate in its entirety at IntelligenceSquared.com.

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Photos of the Week: Feet in Bed

March 17, 2015

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When you do a search for “sex” on Getty Images, you get a lot of interesting results — so many, in fact, that we were compelled to create a superlative series of Getty “sex” search images. Since we’re in the market for a lot of PG-rated images that convey sexual congress here at EMandLO.com, we decided to narrow our search by throwing in the term “feet.” After all, there is a whole cottage industry dedicated to making images of bare feet sticking out of sheets. Be warned, fetishists: there are a few seriously good looking tootsies below…

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Blog Snog: The Double Life of a Human Carpet

March 13, 2015

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Word of the Week: Cinemadultery

March 12, 2015

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photo via flickr

These days, most of us watch TV on our own schedule, rather than sitting down in front of the box when the networks tell us to. In fact, plenty of people never even sit in front of a television set to watch their favorite shows! And plenty of us wait until an entire season (or more) of a show is available on Netflix or iTunes before choosing to watch it. But this new world order has ushered in the problem of cinemadultery.

You may not have heard of the term, but unless you’ve been single since the advent of Netflix et al, we’re fairly sure you’ve suffered the syndrome: It’s when your significant other watches an episode of a television without you — a show that you were supposedly watching together. For example, one of you is working late, or is out on a ladies’ or guys’ night, and the other one, home alone, sneaks in an extra episode of “The Good Wife.”Low blow, right?

And because we live in such a high tech world, it’s not always even possible to lie about this cinemadultery. Em once discovered her guy’s cinemadultery when she logged into their Netflix account and saw the cursor shifted down three episodes in the “House of Cards” section. (“House of Cards” is particularly vulnerable to cinemadultery, as an entire season is released at once.) He responded that “it meant nothing” and “it’s not you, it’s me” (he was bored) and, finally, “I didn’t know you cared!”

In the interest of protecting your relationship from cinemadultery, we suggest communicating clearly about the shows you watch together. Perhaps some shows are reserved for couple viewing time only (especially those with steamy sex scenes and hair-raising plot twists), while others can be consumed on an individual basis (foreign shows with sub-titles, for example).

Unless, of course, you feel like cinemadultery serves a purpose in your relationship. Perhaps it’s an outlet for partner-related frustration. And perhaps it’s a substitute for actual cheating — the kind that involves stealth late-night texting and handjobs in semi-public places.

In which case, let your asshole flag fly! Go ahead and watch that entire season of “Game of Thrones” on your own. Make a bag of popcorn and eat the entire bag yourself. And when your partner comes home and finds you passed out on the couch, remote in hand and your face smeared with butter? Don’t even think of apologizing.

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The 15 Best Sexiest Movies on Netflix Right Now

March 11, 2015

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We’ve scanned Netflix for the best sex-related movies so you don’t have to. Are they all “sexy,” in the traditional sense of the word? No. In fact, you might consider some the opposite of sexy. But most of them deal with issues related to mating and relating with ingenuity, style and/or intelligence. We’ve ranked them in order of Rotten Tomatoes freshness ratings from lowest to highest: all are “fresh” (the majority of critics — over 60% — gave the film positive reviews) and half are “certified fresh” (75% or higher, with 40 reviews counted and at least 5 reviews from top critics).

15. Bitter Moon (63%)

If you can get past the fact that it’s directed by statutory rapist Roman Polanski, Bitter Moon is a wonderfully campy dark-comedy about erotic obsession gone really, really wrong. Like oinking-in-a-pig-mask wrong.

14. Sex and Lucia (71%)

This is sexy — there is a lot of “strong sexual content” — but it is also super sad. Tragedy plus eroticism does NOT equal comedy.

13. Young and Beautiful (73%)

Sounds like a terrible soap opera, but this French film by the director of Swimming Pooland 8 Women centers on a teenager with a secret life as a blasé sex worker. (Actually, maybe it could be a soap opera…) Let’s just hope mom doesn’t find out!

12. The Piano Teacher (73%)

Basically, this is the opposite of the BDSM relationship in “Fifty Shades of Grey”: older woman, younger man; zero romance (and we mean it, unlike Christian Grey); and a seriously unhealthy approach to masochism. Makes “Fifty” look like a feel-good romantic comedy.

11. Nymphomaniac (Vol I 75%; Vol II 60%)

We’re almost morally opposed to including anything by Lars Von Trier on this list, just because his films are so painful to watch. But come on, this is an epic two-parter (over 4 hours long) about a sex addict. Do we have a choice?

10. Frida (76%)

This biopic of the Mexican surrealist painter Frida Kahlo chronicles her complicated marriage to muralist Diego Rivera, which involved lots of lovers on both sides (including one shared mistress), as well as Kahlo’s affair with the Marxist revolutionary, Leon Trotsky.

9. Fatal Attraction (78%)

The classic that spawned the term “bunny boiler” wasn’t just a cautionary tale (be careful what you wish for, don’t take for granted all you have…) — it could also be seen as a feminist treatise on the dangers of ignoring women and their feelings.

8. I Am Love (80%)

Italian vistas + food porn + an affair + Tilda Swinton = intense, dramatic sensuality.

7. Don Jon (81%)

Funny and stylish take on the the deleterious effects the modern meathead’s porn habits have on his romantic relationships.

6. Submarine (86%)

Adorable, stylish and touching coming-of-age British film about a 15-year-old trying to save his parents’ marriage and lose his virginity.

5. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (90%)

Peter Greenaway, famous for combining beauty and horror in his art house works, carried on the tradition in this shocking film from 1989 which featured Hellen Mirren’s always-stellar acting, Jean-Paul Gaultier’s over-the-top costumes, and Michael Nyman’s creepy music. You won’t be hungry for a while after this one.

4. Like Water for Chocolate (90%)

Based on the best-selling book of the same name, the film tells the tale of star-crossed Mexican lovers with lots of foodie sensuality and magical realism. According to RT, it’s one of the highest grossing foreign films of all time. You will be hungry after this one.

3. Blue Is the Warmest Color (91%)

A French teenager explores her Sapphic sexuality with a blue-haired art student. Rated NC-17 for explicit scenes. Strap in, ’cause it’s over three hours long.

2. Y Tu Mama También (92%)

A coming of age story about two Mexican teenage buddies on a road trip with a 28-year-old married woman. It’s got all the fantasies: older woman, younger men, casual sex, threeways, homoerotic experimentation… Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, who would later make Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004),  Children of Men (2006) and Gravity (2013), for which he won an Academy Award.

1. Gloria (99%)

It doesn’t get much better than 99 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. This Chilean film follows a divorced, middle-aged woman looking for love in singles’ dance clubs. She finds it…but it ain’t perfect.


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Making a Bad Show Worse: Turning “The Bachelorette” Into “Highlander”

March 10, 2015

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photos via ABC.com

Well, we’ve made it through another season of The Bachelor. The editors cut the footage with a heavy hand to make us think Chris would ultimately think with his dick and pick the distant, unamused, hot virgin, Becca, instead of the much more sensible choice, Iowa-loving, family-embracing, 100% gung-ho, baby-talking (in ALL senses of the word) Whitney.  It’s one of the great ironies of The Bachelor/ette, that the person who chooses to get engaged at the end of show is at the height of their celebrity, with their dating options exponentially increased to stratospheric proportions — not exactly the ideal time to settle down. But no L.A. model is going to want to become a farmer in Bumblefuck, so perhaps Chris Soules will forgo all the effortless sex his D-list status could offer and stick with Whit. Still, the odds are against it, Arlington or not. We shall see.

Much more of a surprise than Chris’s pick and full-on engagement was the announcement of the next Bachelorettes — yes, plural! With all the talk last week of Kaitlyn unofficially confirmed as the next Bachelorette (much to the chagrin of loyal Britt-ophiles everywhere), we were just waiting for Kaitlyn to be introduced by Chris Harrison, dutifully make her appearance and take her place next in line. So when Britt was invited to crash the party, cheers and moans erupted simultaneously all across Bachelor Nation (did we just use that term unironically?).

Apparently, Britt and Kaitlyn will be joint Bachelorettes. But like Highlander, there can only be one. The two will enter the mansion, but — according to some show rules seemingly yet-to-be-determined by the producers — only one will be left to hand out the final rose. Surely, it will boil down to who is the better liked (or lusted after) by the guys in the house.

It’s a great new gimmick to get people talking about the show — we’re doing it right now! — but here’s why we don’t like it:

The show started off thirteen years ago on seriously shaky sexist ground by having a large group of women essentially fighting over one man. It encouraged and emphasized tired stereotypes about the cattiness and desperation of women. It was only after they turned the tables one year/two seasons later and introduced The Bachelorette that the franchise became much more palatable, revolutionary even. By showing that whole groups of men were just as interested in love and marriage, that they could talk publicly about their feelings too, and that a woman could seriously enjoy kissing (and even having sex with) multiple people just as a man could, the show could actually be accused of being practically feminist!

It wasn’t ideal. For the first several years, The Bachelor seasons outnumbered Bachelorette seasons two to one, giving the impression, perhaps, that producers couldn’t find enough men crazy or stupid enough to sign up for the same humiliation that countless women seemed ready for. And in 2006 and 2007, there were no Bachelorettes made at all, while The Bachelor marched steadily on. Not until 2008 did the two shows achieve equal footing, with one show of each made every year through to the present. The Bachelorette still traded in the old fashioned notion that men have to do the proposing, even though she was basically making the call, but at least for every man who got his pick of the litter on The Bachelor, one woman could do the same on The Bachelorette.

Which is why this gimmick of two dueling Bachelorettes is so disappointing. It feels like a step back for the show. Before, one woman rejected from The Bachelor could have redemption, total attention and complete control on The Bachelorette. The idea of having to fight for or over a man was refreshingly removed from the process. But now, by reinserting this element of competition back into the process, the once elevated status of the Bachelorette has been undercut, marred. To co-opt language usually reserved for elected office, it is beneath the dignity of the position of the Bachelorette.

You could see the disappointment and humiliation in Kaitlyn as she stood there awkwardly next to Britt on “After the Final Rose,” looking down at the ground, biting her lip, forcing those smiles. Britt, having thought she was a no-go as the fifth-to-last out on Soules’s season, seemed just happy to have more air time — hey, two Bachelorettes are better than none for me, the adorbs L.A. “waitress”! But clever Kaitlin, who must have been as certain as we were that she was going to be crowned queen for a season, couldn’t hide her mystification at this lost opportunity, this reneged title, this chance to be rejected all over again. As she admitted last night with this understatement, “It’s not ideal.”

One could argue this turn of television events is no biggie since the show’s done this before, with men. In season 6, the first-night cocktail party featured two potential Bachelors — Byron Velvick and Jay Overbye — and had the ladies decide who was going to stay for the rest of the season (they chose Byron, and he ultimately chose Mary, and six years later they chose to go their separate ways). They put two guys through this ringer, it’s only fair the gals get their turn, right? But it was lame back then, and it’s lame now. And this case feels a bit more cruel, since the two people involved are now personalities that American viewers feel they have gotten to know — whoever loses, their second rejection will be that much more humiliating and, the producers are betting, that much more entertaining. Gross. (But will we still watch? Does Chris Harrison have an unnatural compulsion to explain simple math?)

Let’s just hope that the gimmick doesn’t last, that it doesn’t deliver in the entertainment department, that Bachelor Nation rejects it as an exploitative step too far, and/or that the producers call it quits once they’ve tried it with both men and women. If the gimmick has staying power, then the only way we could feel any better about it is if it’s used across the Bachelor/ette board. It would still be undignified, campy and unrealistic objectification, but at least it would be equal-opportunity objectification.

Read up on last week’s love lessons learned from “The Bachelor.” 

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