Em & Lo: Sex. Love. And Everything in Between. » Books http://www.emandlo.com Your daily dose of advice, news, and stories about sex, love, and other important stuff. No yoga mat required. Wed, 23 Apr 2014 11:00:51 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.1 Moms Are Kinky People Too! http://www.emandlo.com/2014/04/moms-are-kinky-people-too-2/ http://www.emandlo.com/2014/04/moms-are-kinky-people-too-2/#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 14:51:19 +0000 emandlo http://www.emandlo.com/?p=28214 Lelo’s Etherea Silk Cuffs

Mother’s Day is just around the corner! Sure, you could get her some nice flowers…again. Or you could get her something she’ll really enjoy: our new book, 150 SHADES OF PLAY: A Beginner’s Guide to Kink!

Hear us out: Moms loved the Twilight series, but secretly wished there was more sex in it. Along comes the Fifty Shades series, which is essentially Twilight fan faction, and there’s tons of sex….kinky sex. Moms across the country go gaga for it, so much so that it’s dubbed “mommy porn.” Then the movie version goes into production, and mom-fans everywhere count down the days until its release: Valentine’s Day, 2015.

There are just a few problems:

  • Fifty Shades doesn’t tell moms how to incorporate any of this stuff into their own lives
  • it doesn’t mention specific quality products or where to get them
  • it perpetuates myths about kink
  • it even promotes some very dubious (i.e. unsafe) behaviors and techniques
  • and a year is a long time to wait until the movie comes out!

A mom friend of ours recently wrote us, saying she’s been married for quite a while and needs some new ideas, asking which book of ours we would recommend. We told her 150 SHADES OF PLAY: while it does cover some intense kinky stuff, it also covers the basics; it’s not visually graphic; it has a great sense of humor, which makes it fun and non-intimidating to skim with a husband or partner; and it gives readers a vouyeristic look into how extreme some people can get with BDSM which might make them feel more comfortable and confident to try new, mildly kinky things. Because let’s face it: a little toy or light bondage is nothing compared to pony play!

So when making the mom in your life a Mother’s Day care package this coming May 11th, remember: flowers are nice, but floggers are nicer.

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The Best of Gabriel Garcia Marquez on Love and Sex http://www.emandlo.com/2014/04/the-best-of-gabriel-garcia-marquez-on-love-and-sex/ http://www.emandlo.com/2014/04/the-best-of-gabriel-garcia-marquez-on-love-and-sex/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 19:00:49 +0000 emandlo http://www.emandlo.com/?p=28179 photo via Wiki Commons

Colombian novelist and Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez died yesterday at the very respectable — but still heartbreaking, to his fans everywhere — age of 87. He is irreplaceable as a writer. In addition to bringing magical realism to the masses, he practically invented a new language for talking about love and sex — especially in his classic novels Love In the Time of Cholera and One Hundred Years of Solitude. In the latter book, he wrote, “A person doesn’t die when he should but when he can.” His words, however, will live on forever. Here are some of our favorite things he wrote on love and sex.

From Love In the Time of Cholera

“It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.”

“The problem with marriage is that it ends every night after making love, and it must be rebuilt every morning before breakfast.”

“Think of love as a state of grace, not the means to anything, but the alpha and omega. An end in itself.”

“He recognized her despite the uproar, through his tears of unrepeatable sorrow at dying without her, and he looked at her for the last and final time with eyes more luminous, more grief-stricken, more grateful than she had ever seen them in half a century of a shared life, and he managed to say to her with his last breath: ‘Only God knows how much I loved you.’”

“The only regret I will have in dying is if it is not for love.”

“The problem in public life is learning to overcome terror; the problem in married life is learning to overcome boredom.”

“Nothing in this world was more difficult than love.”

“Amputees suffer pains, cramps, itches in the leg that is no longer there. That is how she felt without him, feeling his presence where he no longer was.”

“She knew that he loved her above all else, more than anything in the world, but only for his own sake.”

“‘If we’re going to do it, let’s do it,’ she said, ‘but let’s do it like grownups.’”

“With her Florentino Ariza learned what he had already experienced many times without realizing it: that one can be in love with several people at the same time, feel the same sorrow with each, and not betray any of them. Alone in the midst of the crowd on the pier, he said to himself in a flash of anger: ‘My heart has more rooms than a whorehouse.’”

“Nobody deserves your tears, but whoever deserves them will not make you cry.”

“He had taught her that nothing one does in bed is immoral if it helps to perpetuate love. And something else that from that time on would be her reason for living: he convinced her that one comes into the world with a predetermined allowment of lays, and whoever does not use them for whatever reason, one’s own or someone else’s, willingly or unwillingly, loses them forever. It was to her credit that she took him at his word.”

“And yet that first experience, although cruel and short-lived, did not leave her bitter; rather, she had the overwhelming conviction that with or without marriage, or God, or the law, life was not worth living without a man in her bed. What Florentino Ariza liked best about her was that in order to reach the heights of glory, she had to suck on an infant’s pacifier while they made love.”

“Always remember that the most important thing in a good marriage is not happiness, but stability.”

“It was the first time she had made love in over twenty years, and she had been held back by her curiosity concerning how it would feel at her age after so long a respite. But he had not given her time to find out if her body loved him too. It had been hurried and sad, and she thought: Now we’ve screwed up everything.”

“When at last she recovered her self-possession in the perfumed oasis of her cabin, they made the tranquil, wholesome love of experienced grandparents, which she would keep as her best memory of that lunatic voyage. It was as if they had leapt over the arduous cavalry of conjugal life and gone straight to the heart of love.”

“She would defend herself, saying that love, no matter what else it might be, was a natural talent. She would say: You are either born knowing how, or you never know.”

“But when a woman decides to sleep with a man, there is no wall she will not scale, no fortress she will not destroy, no moral consideration she will not ignore at its very root: there is no God worth worrying about.”

From One Hundred Years of Solitude

“If I knew that today would be the last time I’d see you, I would hug you tight and pray the Lord be the keeper of your soul. If I knew that this would be the last time you pass through this door, I’d embrace you, kiss you, and call you back for one more. If I knew that this would be the last time I would hear your voice, I’d take hold of each word to be able to hear it over and over again. If I knew this is the last time I see you, I’d tell you I love you, and would not just assume foolishly you know it already.”

“There is always something left to love.”

“Gaston was not only a fierce lover, with endless wisdom and imagination, but he was also, perhaps, the first man in the history of the species who had made an emergency landing and had come close to killing himself and his sweetheart simply to make love in a field of violets.”

“It’s enough for me to be sure that you and I exist at this moment.”

“They were so close to each other that they preferred death to separation.”

“He dug so deeply into her sentiments that in search of interest he found love, because by trying to make her love him he ended up falling in love with her. Petra Cotes, for her part, loved him more and more as she felt his love increasing, and that was how in the ripeness of autumn she began to believe once more in the youthful superstition that poverty was the servitude of love. Both looked back then on the wild revelry, the gaudy wealth, and the unbridled fornication as an annoyance and they lamented that it had cost them so much of their lives to find the paradise of shared solitude. Madly in love after so many years of sterile complicity, they enjoyed the miracle of living each other as much at the table as in bed, and they grew to be so happy that even when they were two worn-out people they kept on blooming like little children and playing together like dogs.”

“And both of them remained floating in an empty universe where the only everyday and eternal reality was love.”

From Memories Of My Melancholy Whores

“Sex is the consolation you have when you can’t have love.”

“I became aware that the invincible power that has moved the world is unrequited, not happy, love.”

“No matter what, nobody can take away the dances you’ve already had.”

“Don’t let yourself die without knowing the wonder of fucking with love.”

 

From Of Love and Other Demons

“No medicine cures what happiness cannot.”

“Do not allow me to forget you.”

“This was when she asked him whether it was true that love conquered all, as the songs said. ‘It is true’, he replied, ‘but you would do well not to believe it.’”

 

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The 10 Types of Sex Dreams http://www.emandlo.com/2014/04/the-10-types-of-sex-dreams-3/ http://www.emandlo.com/2014/04/the-10-types-of-sex-dreams-3/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 14:55:17 +0000 emandlo http://www.emandlo.com/?p=28157

available on Amazon

Freud, Schmroid. If you’re looking for a good book on the interpretation of dreams, check out the one by our very own Lauri Loewenberg, dream interpreter extraordinaire! Dream On It: Unlock Your Dreams, Change Your Life (published by St. Martin’s Press) features hundreds of real dream interpretations and a comprehensive dream symbol dictionary to help you understand and make the most of your nocturnal visions, especially the sexy ones. There’s an entire chapter dedicated to sex dreams, which Lauri says are often “not about a physical union you want, but rather a psychological union you need!” There are 10 kinds of sex dreams; below are 5 of them; check out Dream On It for the other five archetypes (The Friend, The Same Gender, Oral Sex, Family Members, and Masturbation):

  1. The Mystery Lover – This is the most common of all sex dreams. Many of us wonder if this dream is actually a glimpse of our soul mate who might be out there somewhere waiting for us.  Alas, t’is not so.  But what is so is that the unknown, faceless man or woman that often appears in our dreams does indeed hold significance….Our dreams have a cool way of showing us the different parts of our personality in the form of a person so we can gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and what makes us tick. That being said, the mystery lover in your dreams is the embodiment, the personification of the qualities we tend to associate with that gender….Throughout life we struggle to incorporate the right balance of each [gender] into our personalities and behavior.  A man wants to be caring and understanding, yet he doesn’t want to be a sissy.  A woman wants to assert herself, yet she doesn’t want to be labeled the B word!  Our mystery lover dreams are guiding us towards that perfect balance of firm and gentle, bold and caring, yin and yang.
  2. Cheating — These dreams can be infuriating, worrisome and the cause of many a slap across the face first thing in the morning.  In fact, in a recent survey I conducted with over 5000 participants, the cheating dream came in as the #1 most common dream! As upsetting as these dreams can be, the good news is that they rarely indicate that your mate is getting his or her pleasures elsewhere.  They do suggest, however, that something rather than someone is taking the time and attention from your mate that you feel you deserve.
…[If] you are the one straying in your dreams you need to ask yourself what you may be doing that is taking your attention away from your mate.  The guilt you feel in the dream is a tell tale sign that, deep down, you are aware that this may not be sitting well with your significant other….Once you can pinpoint what it is your mate is “cheating on you” with, or what you may be guilty of giving too much time to, it’s time to compromise.  Offer to give up or cut back on something your mate isn’t a big fan of if he or she promises to cut back on the activity that is causing you to feel left out. If you both stick to the compromise, you’ll find that the dreams will stop.
  3. The Ex — Past lovers are very popular characters in our naughty dreams. Even though it may be light years since you were with this person, he or she STILL continues to appear in your dreams, bringing those old feelings back to the surface that leave you wondering if you still may be holding a flame.  

Most often, the ex we dream about the most is our first love.  Strangely enough, we continue to dream of our first loves, even if we’ve moved on into a happy marriage.  Don’t worry, it’s not that you want the ex back, it’s that you want what he or she represents back: excitement, bubbles, passion!  You are likely to get these dreams when you are in a dry spell or when your marriage or current relationship gets a little too routine and humdrum, as all relationships do from time to time.  Your dream is using your ex to remind you of the passion that is still alive inside of you.  These dreams are actually good for you and are alerting you to the fact that the passion department doesn’t want to become a thing of the past.
  4. The Co-Worker – This dream can make work a very uncomfortable place to be. Unless your co-worker causes your heart to skip a beat and your mind to wander into naughty, naughty land, then your sex dream(s) about him or her are nothing to cause you concern.  However, understanding the dream is well worth your while because odds are, that dream is actually trying to help you improve yourself at work.  Your dreaming mind may be telling you that you need to “come together” on some level with your co-worker, for the sake of work, that you need to have a meeting of the minds in order to make co-existing and co-working more efficient.  

But what if you don’t really have much to do with a particular co-worker during the day but you find yourself knocking boots at night?  All you need to do is ask yourself what stands out about that person.  Is he really good with computers?  Does the boss seem to favor her?   Maybe he’s easy going and doesn’t seem to have a care in the world.  There is very likely a quality he or she possesses that your dreaming mind feels you would do well to take on as your own.
  5. The Boss – Shagging your employer at night can sure make it difficult to come into work the next day.  If this is the case with you, remember, sex dreams are not necessarily about the person but rather about what he or she represents.  In the case of your boss it is most likely power, authority, management skills, decision making, et cetera that you need to merge into your own life.
 Do you need to take on the role of boss at home and better manage those unruly kids?  Are you facing a tough decision?  Do you need to fire or get rid of a certain element, person or behavior in your life?  Or perhaps you simply need to merge with your boss psychologically in order to deal with a client or project. Whatever the case may be, your boss dream is telling you that it’s time to take charge! Being decisive and authoritative would suit you well now.

For more on the 5 sex dreams above and to discover the meaning behind the other 5 most common sex dreams — The Friend, The Same Gender, Oral Sex, Family Members, and Masturbation – check out Lauri’s book Dream On It, available everywhere! Check out all of Lauri’s books here.

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Erotica: Spying on Your Neighbors Is Hotter Than Porn http://www.emandlo.com/2014/04/erotica-spying-on-your-neighbors-is-hotter-than-porn/ http://www.emandlo.com/2014/04/erotica-spying-on-your-neighbors-is-hotter-than-porn/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 11:00:55 +0000 emandlo http://www.emandlo.com/?p=28078

The two of us often struggle with erotica. On the one hand, we think it’s an awesome resource (and by resource, we do of course mean wank material) for women who are easily squicked by porn –by  its cheesy dialogue, its fake boobs, and its even more fake orgasms. On the other hand, we are easily cheesed out by erotica. Also, while we want to inform our readers about new erotica collections — especially when they’re edited by fabulous sex writers like Violet Blue — we feel a little funny publishing material that people might wank to. That’s just not the kind of site we want EMandLO.com to be.

That all said, today we’re publishing an excerpt from a short story called “Reality TV” by Alyssa Turner. It’s part of the book Best Women’s Erotica 2014edited by, yes, Violet Blue.  We’ve convinced ourselves that this excerpt — about how spying on neighbors who “forget” to close the blinds or drapes can be a kind of interactive porn — is more of a tease, and that no one will actually wank to this story until they buy the book and make it all the way to the steamy end. Hey, two prudish sex writers can dream! In the meantime: You’re welcome.

“Reality TV” by Alyssa Turner

“Are you spending another evening in that window, Marcella?” Abby only sounds annoyed as she asks me the same rhetorical question I’ve heard every night this week. Her keys clank on the table next to the door, and I glance in her direction.

“Okay, so I’m nosy. Beats watching TV since they cut off the cable.”

“Maybe if you’d paid the bill instead of getting a new set of headshots…” she says, taking off her sneakers.

I pout. “You don’t mean that.”

And she relents. “No, chica. I don’t. You know I don’t.” Abby kisses me on the cheek. “So what’s playing tonight on NYC live, Amsterdam and One Hundred and Twenty-Third Street edition?”

“Checked out a girl doing Pilates over the bodega.”

“Big deal, I can see that working at the gym any time of the day.”

“Oh, but she was only wearing her panties.” I turn to her and smile.

Abby isn’t convinced. “Give me those,” she says with a devilish grin and snatches the binoculars out of my hands before I can protest. “Now let’s see here. It was the third window from the left, wasn’t it?”

“Wasn’t what?” I act clueless, but I won’t win any Academy Awards with my performance.

“Uh-huh, just like I thought.” She peers down at me from over the Nikons I scored for a bargain at a pawnshop in Times Square. “Same dude we caught stroking his dick in front of the TV three nights ago.”

I’m red, I know it. “Really, I didn’t see him.”

“Guilty little Marcella, can’t tell a lie for shit.” She’s laughing at me.

“Stop it.” I can’t help it. I’m giggling with her.

She takes another look at the nameless guy sitting naked on his couch with just one light on in the kitchen and the blue flick- ering glow of the television washing his taut body. “You’ve been watching him every night, haven’t you?”

“Maybe I have.” I shrug my shoulders.

Abby cocks her head to the side with an eyebrow raised and returns the binoculars to her eyes. “Where’s the zoom on these things?” I start to show her, but she waves me away. “Never mind, I got it.”

… [edited here for length and prurience!] …

“You want chocolate cake, I go to the bakery. You want a bubble bath, I run the water.” She rolls her tongue against mine in a single slow wave. “You have a taste for some cock?” Her voice is throaty. “I’ll see what we can do about that, too.”

“I love you.” All I want to do is show her how much. But Abby is scooting off to our bedroom.

“Stay there. I’ll be right back.” I hear her rustling in the night table. “Don’t you move.”

Sliding down my pants, I’m ready and waiting for her when she returns. Abby saunters back in peeling off her T-shirt and dropping it to the floor. In her other hand, a strap-on harness dangles between three fingers. “Hurry up and bend over before he finishes,” she says, and I do as I’m told. Looking through the binoculars, I’m pleased to see we’re not too late. “You keep watching him stroke his cock. and I’ll help you imagine what he feels like.”

“But you fuck like a girl.” I tease her with a wide grin and my eager booty wiggling in anticipation, waiting while she fastens my favorite dildo snug against her boy shorts.

“Oh, is that right?” Abby squares herself behind me and wraps her tawny fingers onto my hips. She takes a nice firm hold of my sandy brown ponytail and makes sure I know that she intends for me to eat my words. “Well, let’s see if you scream like one.”

Best Women’s Erotica 2014, edited by Violet Blue, is now on sale

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Losing It: How We Popped Our Cherry Over the Last 80 Years http://www.emandlo.com/2014/04/losing-it-how-we-popped-our-cherry-over-the-last-80-years/ http://www.emandlo.com/2014/04/losing-it-how-we-popped-our-cherry-over-the-last-80-years/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 12:50:48 +0000 emandlo http://www.emandlo.com/?p=28067

Author Kate Monro has managed to make us jealous of her job: searching the world for first-time tales that don’t often get told. In her new book, “Losing It: How We Popped Our Cherry Over the Past 80 Years,” she picks up where Nancy Friday left off, letting a wide range of people — from a 90-year-old woman with “one foot in the grave and the other on a banana skin” (her own words!) to a disabled punk rocker who moves near a lesbian hippie camp in Wales in the 1970′s — tell their stories of how they lost their virginity, smartly bookending each with historical and cultural context. It’s a fascinating book that shows, to put it one way, just how far we’ve come.

Below is an excerpt from the story of a man who’s been married for ten years with two kids. He’d been the one to take his wife’s V-card fourteen years earlier. Then it was her turn to take his:

Boys Don’t Cry

from “Losing It” by Kate Monro

I expected men to hold back, to be economical with the truth. I assumed they would be reticent and reluctant to talk to a woman about one of the most revealing moments in their sexual history.

Reader, they sang like canaries.

Not only that, but they did it with extraordinary honesty. I was about to receive a story that could not have illustrated this point any better if it tried:

[T]wo years ago, while we were in bed, [my wife, Georgina] first brought up the idea of anal. I was, to put it mildly, petrified. Visions of ’being gay’ ran through my head. She assured me I wasn’t but I tried to let the topic die. She wouldn’t. She brought it up again and eventually we made a date to go to a sex-toy store, just to look.

We went, we looked, and I was astounded as to how many toys and videos there were about woman-on-man anal. We both laughed and I found myself going along with things, retreating from a ‘no way’ attitude to one in which I was saying, ‘but that’s way too big’. Eventually we settled for a harness with a dildo on the small side. The salesman nonchalantly rang up the sale.

That night I was about as nervous as I’d ever been. We took our clothes off and kissed. There was no turning back. She looked at me. ‘Ready?’ I went over to the bed and lay down. She went over to a closet and finally reappeared, fully harnessed. I must have gasped. The sight of that missile protruding from her, and meant for me, brought everything home. This was real. I was about to get fucked.

[If you want the dirty details, you'll have to buy the book! Keep reading for the aftermath...]

It was a mind-blowing orgasm, the likes of which I’d never experienced before. I was joyful and ashamed at the same time. What an odd sensation. It was so impersonal. It was as though my private parts were just there to be used by her. She lay atop me, eyes half glazed, staring into space or at the wall or something, but not at me….We said nothing for a while, just holding each other tightly.

The physical act had been one thing, and a weird one at that. But the psychological effects were just beginning to waft in. I’d just come about as close as I ever will to experiencing what Georgina had experienced the first time I had screwed her. This was not like my first experience all those years ago, from which I took away feelings of power and exhilaration. On the contrary, this mostly involved powerlessness – being pursued, penetrated and under the control of another person.

All my life I had been the penetrator and even when the woman was aggressive, there was no doubt as to who was doing what to whom. But now, as the one being penetrated, I was on the other side. She’d gotten me to give it up. She’d probed, thrusted and done any manner of other things, all of her own urging and without regard to what I wanted. She had been cool, under control, self-assured, while I’d been emotional, afraid and out of control. And yet, I’d experienced great orgasms, real rock ’em, sock ’em ones. My mind had reeled at the experience; my body had enjoyed almost every second of it. Even the pain (and there was pain) was rewarded in the end by pleasure.

I told her all these things. She hugged me all the harder and explained how it had been great for her. She told me how she loved being in charge for a change and how great it felt to be able to control me, as opposed to usually being under my control. She said that what really surprised her was how protective she became of me when she realised that I was now vulnerable to her. (Yeah, I thought sarcastically, you really acted protectively.) She said that she felt like she’d conquered me but at the same time wanted to make sure that I was OK.

She also said, mimicking a cornerstone on which patriarchy is based, that she felt surprised at how easily I’d let her do what she was doing and in a way lost some respect for me. I nodded. I was surprised by that too and a little angry that that was how she felt. After all, I’d just done what she wanted me to.

“Losing It” is available now on Amazon.com

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Top 6 Worst Kind of Kisses http://www.emandlo.com/2014/04/top-6-worst-kind-of-kisses/ http://www.emandlo.com/2014/04/top-6-worst-kind-of-kisses/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 11:00:59 +0000 emandlo http://www.emandlo.com/?p=28017 photo via Flickr

Violet Blue is one of the most prolific sex writers we know — we’ve literally lost count of how many books she’s written — and yet she’s not the slightest bit annoying, so we can’t hate her for this. The latest in her grand oeuvre — we’re pretty sure she’s going to tip the scales into a full-on genre soon — is called Kissing: A Field Guide. It will tell you everything you need to know about smooshing face, from timing to style to tension and technique.

In this excerpt, Violet details the six most hazardous kinds of kisses you might encounter in the field:

1. The Fish Tank Kiss:
Every girl’s nightmare. He’s totally cute, funny, the conversation is good—but then you kiss and it feels like he’s trying to clean the inside of your mouth as if it was a fish tank. As the minutes pass more slowly than you ever thought possible, you wonder if he’s actually looking for treasure. His tongue is too hard, and it darts about quickly and all pokey. You are usually too stunned to decide whether you should wait it out or hold up a “send help” sign. Toss this one back into the sea.

2. The Chewing Gum Kiss
You’ve seen these before—a couple joined at the mouth, lips locked in a deep French-kissing session that looks like they’re about to gnaw each other’s head off. Don’t worry, everyone will be fine, but this combination of French Kiss and Fish Tank Kiss with extreme jaw movement looks pretty scary if you watch too many horror movies.

3. The Limp Noodle
So sad, the Noodle. When you lock lips and start to French, and his lips just hang there and his tongue lies there like a slug, you have a Limp Noodle on your hands. No matter how much you push, massage, and prod his tongue to bring it back to life, it plays possum, dead in the middle of the road. There is nothing you can do—you’re basically giving mouth-to-mouth to this guy.

4. Mercy Kisses
Sometimes you kiss for fun, and sometimes you just have to give a kiss out of pity—hence the Mercy Kiss. You give these kisses when you feel bad about something, want your date to look good (even though you aren’t into him), or just feel sorry for the poor sap. Only in the movies do these kisses turn into a blazing romance. If you end up on the receiving end of a Mercy Kiss, just enjoy it and then excuse yourself to go wash your cat.

5. The Zombie Kiss
Another nightmare kiss many of us have experienced, which seems to come from beyond the grave. It’s as if all the life drains out of him as he comes in for a kiss: the eyes flutter, clamp shut, or roll back into his head. His face goes slack and lifeless. And the most horrifying part of all: his mouth opens up into a gaping maw, threatening to swallow you whole. Sometimes the Zombie Kisser comes at you like a lost extra from Night of the Living Dead, mouth agape, with a shiny pink sluglike tongue pointing out at you. Scream! Run! Barricade the doors and windows!

6. The Zoolander Kiss
Ever wonder what it would be like to kiss an international male model? The Zoolander makes you feel like you’re a pretty prop designed to make him look good as he poses, shifts, and gives his “sexy” face to the world while kissing you. Would he notice if you were gone? Probably not. The Zoolander Kiss is meant purely to compliment the physical beauty of the man kissing you—it’s not for anyone’s actual physical pleasure. It’s used when trying to impress others or to make someone jealous.

Violet Blue, author of Kissing: A Field Guide

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A Love Poem for National Poetry Month http://www.emandlo.com/2014/04/a-love-poem-for-national-poetry-month/ http://www.emandlo.com/2014/04/a-love-poem-for-national-poetry-month/#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 12:09:29 +0000 emandlo http://www.emandlo.com/?p=27982 photo via Flickr

APRIL IS National Poetry Month. So to have your new book of poems be named one of the Books of the Week by Publishers Weekly this week has got to feel doubly good. Thus, a big congrats to our friend Mark Bibbins, whose new book is called “They Don’t Kill You Because They’re Hungry, They Kill You Because They’re Full.” A few weeks ago we featured his “Poem that Wants to Use Revelation 3:16 as an Epigraph.” Below is another great one from his new book. Enjoy!

 

By the Number 3

Can we back up and read
that sign again, the one

trying to tell us about a band
playing on a beach lined

with pine trees, very old.
If the internet doesn’t work

there you have to build
your own. Let’s rewrite

the constellations
so they read as all kinds

of fruits: here we see
the Grape Cluster reclining

just above the indigo treetops;
Can of Lychees keeps tampering

with my weekly horoscope
but I don’t know how.

Thus magic shuffles reluctantly
toward us and if you claim

you can organize it you should
be making a joke. Look

at a 3 the wrong way
and all you see is your own

wretchedness. If you look at 3
in a different way you might

see a fortunate mouth getting
ready to kiss. You used to

feel like you were always
going to the same place

but it didn’t hurt and other
times the ocean glowed

so blue it broke
half your bones.

 

Mark Bibbins’ “They Don’t Kill You Because They’re Hungry, They Kill You Because They’re Full” is available on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bi-Curious George: The Best of #RuinAChildrensBook http://www.emandlo.com/2014/03/bi-curious-george-the-best-of-ruinachildrensbook/ http://www.emandlo.com/2014/03/bi-curious-george-the-best-of-ruinachildrensbook/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 11:30:52 +0000 emandlo http://www.emandlo.com/?p=27920

This week’s most fun hashtag trending on Twitter was #RuinAChildrensBook. Given that we each have two small kids and we’ve been writing about sex for fifteen years — often between diaper changes and school runs — this hashtag was practically made for us. Here are our favorite ruined book titles that we posted to Twitter this week:

1. Harry Potter and the Red Room of Pain #RuinAChildrensBook
– Em & Lo (@emandlo) March 25, 2014

2. The Poky Little Penis #RuinAChildrensBook
– Em & Lo (@emandlo) March 25, 2014

3. Pierre’s Penis Pump: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue #RuinAChildrensBook
– Em & Lo (@emandlo) March 25, 2014

4. Pat “The Bunny” #RuinAChildrensBook
– Em & Lo (@emandlo) March 25, 2014

5. Bi-Curious George #RuinAChildrensBook
– Em & Lo (@emandlo) March 25, 2014

6. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Who Only Had a Teaspoon of Cottage Cheese All Day and Still Feels Guilty #RuinAChildrensBook
– Em & Lo (@emandlo) March 25, 2014

7. Lilly’s Purple Plastic Vibrator #RuinAChildrensBook
– Em & Lo (@emandlo) March 25, 2014

8. Tales of a Fourth Grade Anorexic #RuinAChildrensBook

– Em & Lo (@emandlo) March 25, 2014

9. Charlie and the Fudge Factory #RuinAChildrensBook
– Em & Lo (@emandlo) March 25, 2014

10. Please Don’t Tickle Me Elmo #RuinAChildrensBook
– Em & Lo (@emandlo) March 25, 2014

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The Best Way to Fix Love (According to the New Book “Love Sense”) http://www.emandlo.com/2014/03/the-best-way-to-fix-love-according-to-the-new-book-love-sense/ http://www.emandlo.com/2014/03/the-best-way-to-fix-love-according-to-the-new-book-love-sense/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 11:00:06 +0000 emandlo http://www.emandlo.com/?p=27761 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. In previous weeks, we’ve featured the first sections of Chapter 1 on the history of love and the sceince of love; below is the final section, which presents a unified theory of love and offers an exercise to try at the end.

 

Love Sense” by Dr. Sue Johnson

from Chapter 1: A Unified Theory of Love

Understanding that our lovers are our safe haven from the vicissitudes and depredations of life has given us new insights into what makes romantic relationships fail and succeed. For years, all of us have focused solely on what we see and hear. The fights that erupt over money: “You’re spending a fortune on shoes you don’t need.” “All you want to do is save. We’re living like misers. There’s no fun.” The disputes over in-laws: “You’re always on the phone with your mother, telling her every little thing we say and do.” “You’re Daddy’s girl, totally. When are you going to grow up?” The disagreements about child rearing: “So he didn’t do his homework last night. He gets too much. You’re too rigid and controlling.” “And you’re too lenient. He has no discipline. You let him get away with murder.” And the disappointment about sex: “You cheated. How many times? You’re such a liar.” “Well, I wouldn’t have if you were willing to try new things or have sex more often. And anyway, it didn’t mean anything.”

But concentrating only on what’s right before our eyes obscures our vision. We don’t get the big picture. Home in on the miniature dots in Georges Seurat’s painting and you’ll be unaware you’re seeing A Sunday on La Grande Jatte. Sit at the piano and play a few notes in a score and you won’t hear Johannes Brahms’s lulling Waltz in A-flat Major. Take the dance floor and repeat one series of steps and you’ll never realize the sensuality of Argentine tango.

Similarly, troubled couples are fixated on specific incidents, but the true problem is broader and deeper. Distressed partners no longer see each other as their emotional safe haven. Our lover is supposed to be one person we can count on who will always respond. Instead, unhappy partners feel emotionally deprived, rejected, even abandoned. In that light, couples’ conflicts assume their true meaning: they are frightened protests against eroding connection and a demand for emotional reengagement.

In contrast, at the core of happy relationships is a deep trust that partners matter to each other and will reliably respond when needed. Secure love is an open channel for reciprocal emotional signaling. Love is a constant process of tuning in, connecting, missing and misreading cues, disconnecting, repairing, and finding deeper connection. It is a dance of meeting and parting and finding each other again, minute by minute and day by day.

The new science has given us what I like to call a unified field theory of love. Einstein couldn’t find it for physics, but we’ve found it for love. At last, all the pieces we’ve been puzzling over separately fit together. We see the grand scheme. Fifty years ago noted animal researcher Harry Harlow, in an address to the American Psychological Association, observed, “As far as love or affection is concerned, psychologists have failed in their mission…The little we write about it has been better written by poets and novelists.”

Today we have cracked the code of love. We now know what a good love relationship looks and feels like. Even better, we can shape it. For the first time, we have a map that can guide us in creating, healing, and sustaining love. This is a consummate breakthrough. At last, to quote Benjamin Franklin, this “changeable, transient, and accidental” phenomenon—romantic love—can be made more predictable, stable, and deliberate.

The fixes we’ve tried in the past have been failures because we have not understood the basis of love. In general, therapists have attacked the problem in two ways. The first is analytical: couples dig back and sift through their childhood experiences to find the reasons why they respond the way they do. This seeking after insight into first relationships is laborious, time consuming, and expensive—with small benefit. It comes at the problem sideways, through intellectual insight into each person’s relationship history. Your present relationship is not just your past automatically playing out; this dismisses your partner and the power of his or her responses, as if this partner were simply a blank screen on which you project the movie of your past.

The second approach is practical. Couples are instructed on how to communicate more effectively—“Listen and repeat back what your partner has said.” Or they’re taught how to negotiate and bargain their way through divisive issues, from sex to cleaning—“You agree to vacuum the rug, and I’ll clean the bathroom.” Or coached on how to improve their sex life—bring on the flowers and racy lingerie and try positions from the Kama Sutra. All of these techniques can be helpful, but only temporarily. Love is not about whether you can parrot back what’s said or decide who vacuums the rug or agree on what sexual moves to try. Such practical counseling is like putting a finger in a cracked dam to hold back the tide or sticking a Band-Aid on a suppurating wound.

My client Elizabeth tells me, “The other therapist made us do these set exercises using the statements she gave us, but we just couldn’t talk to each other that way when we got home, let alone when we were upset. And we did make a deal about chores, but it didn’t change the way I felt about us. I was still lonely. At one point we were doing this ‘leave the room, take time out’ thing, but then I was even more angry when he walked back in, and I didn’t even really know what I was so angry about.”

Ultimately, these remedies are ineffectual because they don’t address the source of relationship distress: the fear that emotional connection—the font of all comfort and respite—is vanishing.

When we know how something works, fixing it and keeping it healthy is much easier. Before this basic understanding, all we could do was flail around trying to fix one part of the relationship in the hope that trust and loving connection would somehow find their way back in through these narrow routes. The new science has given us a straight arterial road to our destination.

To really help couples find happiness, we must shore up the foundation of their relationship; that is, help them relay and rebuild their emotional connection. The technique I and my colleagues have devised, EFT, or Emotionally Focused Therapy (my irreverent children call it Extremely Funny Therapy), does just that. We’ve discovered that discontented lovers fall into set patterns of behavior that plunge them into cycles of recrimination and withdrawal. The key to restoring connection is, first, interrupting and dismantling these destructive sequences and then actively constructing a more emotionally open and receptive way of interacting, one in which partners feel safe confiding their fears and longings.

The results of EFT, as measured in a multitude of studies, have been astoundingly positive—better, in fact, than the outcomes of any other therapy that has been offered. Lovers say that they feel more secure and satisfied with their relationship. Their mental health improves as well; they are less depressed and anxious. And they are able to hold onto the changes they make long after therapy has ended.

Why is EFT so effective? Because it goes to the heart of the matter. We do not have to persuade or coach partners to be different. The new
science has plugged us into the deepest human emotions and opened the way to transfiguring relationships, using the megawatt power of the wired-in longing for contact and care that defines our species. Says one of my clients: “For twenty-eight years, my wife and I had been circling the kind of conversation we are having now, but we’d never actually gotten down to it…Either we were too afraid or we didn’t know how. This conversation changes everything between us.”

Once you have a map to the territory called love, you can put your feet on the right path and find your way home.

***

To help you turn the new science into love sense, you’ll find brief “experiments” for you to do at the end of each chapter. Science, after all, is deliberate observation that leads to identification of recurring patterns. By doing these experiments, you’ll be collecting data on your own relationship that will help you understand the way you love and help you find the security and satisfaction you—and we all—long for.

EXPERIMENT 

Find a quiet place where you will not be interrupted for about thirty minutes. Sit comfortably and quietly, and count twenty breaths in and out. Now imagine that you are in an unfamiliar, dark place. You are suddenly unsure and scared and aware that you are very much alone. You want to call out for someone to come.

Step 1 

Who is the person you want? Imagine his or her face in your mind’s eye.

Do you call or not? Perhaps you convince yourself that this is a bad idea, even a sign of weakness, or an opening that will lead to hurt and disappointment. Perhaps you decide that it is not good to rely on another person and that you must take care of your distress on your own, so you hunker down in the dark. Perhaps you call, but very hesitantly, then go hide in a dark corner.

If you call, how do you do it? What does your voice sound like? When someone comes, what does he do? Does he express concern, offer comfort and reassurance, and stay with you so that you relax and let yourself be comforted?

Or does she come, but then sometimes turn away, dismiss your distress, tell you to control your emotions, or even criticize you, so that you try to hold onto her but get more upset, feeling that she has not really heard your call or cannot be relied upon?

How does your body feel as you do this experiment? Tight, numb, sore, agitated, calm, relaxed? How hard was it for you to do this experiment? Do any emotions come up for you—sadness, joy, anger, or even anxiety?

Step 2

Now stand up and move around for a few minutes. Sit in another chair to consider the results of your thought experiment from some distance. (If it is hard to get distance, you may want to postpone reflecting on the experiment until another day or even discuss it with someone you trust.)

Summarize, in very simple terms, what happened in this fantasy scenario. Write the steps down. What does this imagined scenario tell you about what you expect in a relationship? Our expectations, our predictions about how others will respond to us guide our steps in any dance with a lover. They are our very own love story.

Step 3

Reflecting a little more, see if you can articulate your general feeling about love relationships.

Some people automatically go to phrases such as: “They just don’t work”; “Men/Women are impossible to relate to. They always reject you or let you down”; “Love is hard work, but it’s worth it”; or “Love is for dummies.”

Step 4

Ask yourself, “What do I really want to know about love and loving?” See if you can find the answer by reading the rest of this book.

 

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
Read the second part of Chapter 1 on the sceince of love.
 

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New Poetry: “No Girls in the Porn Store” http://www.emandlo.com/2014/03/new-poetry-no-girls-in-the-porn-store/ http://www.emandlo.com/2014/03/new-poetry-no-girls-in-the-porn-store/#comments Tue, 18 Mar 2014 15:11:17 +0000 emandlo http://www.emandlo.com/?p=27829

Did you even know there were poets any more? Well, there are. We know one, and he is awesome. He is Mark Bibbins. And he will make you believe in poets again. He will convince you that they are sexy and dreamy and powerful and relevant. His knew book, just out, is called “They Don’t Kill You Because They’re Hungry, They Kill You Because They’re Full.” See? How can you not love that? How can you not give it as a just-because present to someone you want to have sex with? Even if that someone is yourself.

Here’s a poem Mark Bibbins is graciously letting us reprint in these unpoetic digs of ours. If we’re lucky, maybe he’ll give us another one next week.

 

Poem that Wants to Use Revelation 3:16 as an Epigraph

 

A guy who was a regular
at the bar where I used to work

we called Peckerhead because
he looked sort of like a balder

Ginsberg, who looks like a pecker.
Well I have no idea how Ginsberg looks

now, but it’s probably pretty
peckeresque. Peckerhead drank dollar

drafts and was no doubt ten times
smarter than all us smartass bitchy

barmaids put together, maybe he
was a botanist or an actuary

or had some other clever gig. I felt kind
of guilty about it, even though we never

called him Peckerhead to his face, as far
as I know. Ginsberg died April 5 (1997),

birthday of Colin Powell (1937), so happy
b-day C.P. and happy d-day A.G. Inevitably

we would get loaded during our shifts, before
we killed ourselves or caught you-know-what

or left town before either of those things
or worse happened. Did I read somewhere

that Ginsberg fucked a guy who fucked
Whitman? Fucked/got fucked by? So stinky,

who cares. I must not see what fucking
is, other than stinky. If I had anything

to say about gender I’d already
be fucking you or paying Peckerhead

to fuck you. I think he was gay too.
All the girls we saw after work

at the porn store, their skin was
the color of a three-month-old

plaster cast. If I could make you
a real simile it would be like when

I turn into a boy I will wag
a pecker at you like a dirty mop

until it cracks and flops around like
my broken leg. No girls better

go there, Peckerhead always said,
no girls in the porn store.

 

Mark Bibbins’ “They Don’t Kill You Because They’re Hungry, They Kill You Because They’re Full” is available on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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