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Photographer of the Week: Sven Hagolani via Getty Images(NSFW)

October 2, 2014

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Please VOTE for EMandLO.com!

October 1, 2014

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photo via Flickr

All you  have to do is press the pink “VOTE” button on our Kinkly page HERE!

 

Kinkly.com is holding a Sex Blogging Superheroes Contest: whichever blog gets the most votes from their fans gets not only the glory, but $500 in cash from our favorite pleasure object purveyors, LELO! And we could use it — writing a sex blog is not the lucrative career choice Carrie Bradshaw’s wardrobe had us all believing in. So if this site has ever:

  • Given you good advice
  • Made you laugh
  • Let you vent
  • Gave you an excuse to avoid work

…then please take one second and anonymously click the “VOTE” button here — it’s that easy! We’ll love you forever for it.

XO,

Em & Lo

 



The Revolution Will Be Televised: 15 Great Recent Feminist Shows

September 24, 2014

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Netflix’s “Happy Valley”

“The Golden Girls” was a historic show: four central characters, all female and all over the age of 60! Of course, back in the ’80s, it was an aberration: throughout television history, female actors have been in supporting roles mostly, with an emphasis on their youth and beauty. Sex and the City was a 90s update on that original foursome, with a chokehold on traditional beauty and Hollywood glam, but a lighter grip on our youth obsession, and a revolutionary embrace of female sexuality and all its complications. Showtime’s The L Word seemed to pick up where SATC left off, doubling down on the glam factor and the sex, but doubling the female cast size, as well as upping the diversity in terms of race and sexual orientation. Still, the television landscape was mostly dominated by dudes.

Now, a decade after SATC’s final episode aired, with a lot of “female-focused” trash in between — Desperate Housewives and The Real Housewives franchise do not serve the cause — television is experiencing something of a feminist revolution, with more and more quality roles for women that revel in their imperfections, explore their contradictions, and — perhaps most importantly — don’t always revolve around men. These past few years have seen a welcome trend in award-worthy (and award-winning) female-driven shows that aren’t afraid to portray women as ugly, whether inside or out. Thanks to the freedom and risk-taking that Netflix and cable channels have offered producers, the old notion that female-focused narratives have too limited an appeal has been blown out of the water.

Let’s hope the deluge of decent shows continues! The below series in our top 15 have all premiered sometime in the last three years, with many of them still in production and/or available on demand. We’ve left off many of the network shows that could be considered feminist — The Good Wife, Scandal, etc — but that aren’t necessarily groundbreaking since they often have a gloss that feels fairly unrealistic, dumbed down, or at least cliche. What we’re focusing on here is the cream of the crop in terms of feminist advancement, TV-wise:

The Ensembles

1. Orange Is the New Black (2013, ongoing) — Has there ever been a show with this many women in it? A show that has a ratio of female-to-male characters at about 10 to 1? That’s so comfortable showing female diversity, in looks, body size, race, age and sexual orientation? It’s a boob-tube miracle! Thank you, memoirist Piper Kerman, developer Jenji Kohan, and Netflix!

2. American Horror Story: Coven (2013) — The third season of FX’s horror anthology is more slick and stylistic than OITNB, but the main characters are also all female — some big, some small, some white, some black, some young, some old, and even one with a genetic disorder — with just a handful of men in supporting roles.  These witches are powerful, sexually assertive, and oftentimes sadistic — not stereotypical feminine qualities.

3. Girls (2012, ongoing) — The 21st century’s SATC on HBO, with four equally unlikeable yet oddly compelling female leads. Writer, director, producer, star (and probably caterer, too) Lena Dunham and her exhibitionistic tendencies have done more for female body confidence than all the Dove campaigns combined!

The Leads

4. Happy Valley (2014) – This new BBC import by Netflix has the biggest baddass on TV since Walter White: both “Heisenberg” and Happy Valley’s “Catherine Cawood” are middle-aged, world-weary yet strong-willed and obsessive, reckless and resilient, with unexpected reserves of bravery. Except in her case, she’s on the right side of the law as a morally stable police sergeant (played impeccably by Sarah Lancashire). Fortunately for viewers, the camera isn’t afraid of the lines on Lancashire’s amazingly expressive face.

5. The Honorable Woman (2014, ongoing) – The Sundance Channel series from the U.K., starring Maggie Gyllenhaal as a Baroness and Anglo-Israeli businesswoman, is incredibly timely and incredibly smart. Gyllenhaal is one hundred percent committed to her career — it’s more of a calling than a day job — and she kicks some serious ass along the way. There is no female eye candy on this show — all the women have their own motives and desires, and these desires are more along the lines of  ”peace in the Middle East” than “shoe shopping.” The show is complicated and sometimes hard to follow, but it’s a pleasant treat to feel like maybe you’re not quite smart enough for a television show.

6. Homeland (2011, ongoing) – This Showtime series follows one CIA agent’s major role in U.S. counterterrorism efforts. Talk about a flawed character! She’s got bipolar disorder, terrible taste in men, and pretty bad roots. Claire Danes is in the lead, so you know there’s no “pretty” crying on this show — just like in real life.

7. The Killing (2011 – 2014) – As we’ve written before, if you can get past the fact that the entire series revolves around the brutal murders of pretty young girls, this show totally counts: the main character, homicide detective Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos), is a strong, tough, independent woman who is sexual without being sexualized, realistically styled with sensible shoes and sweaters, and pretty bad at parenting. That her awesome male police partner doesn’t participate in macho posturing (and is unapologetically vegan!) is icing on the cake.

8. The Fall (2013, ongoing) – Gillian Anderson plays a badass senior police officer (are you seeing a pattern here?) on this Netflix show, another BBC import. She’s a woman who knows what she wants and ruthlessly goes after it, whether that’s a serial killer (played by Christian Grey!) or casual, no-strings attached sex.

The Comedians (Not Comediennes)

9. Inside Amy Schumer (2013, ongoing) — She is unafraid to address the most embarrassing, unflattering, and horrifying aspects of being a woman in the most hilarious, un-pc, and feminist ways.

10. Broad City (2014, ongoing) — Weird, random tales about two under-acheiving, disheveled, stoner dudes…and they’re female! After all, it’s approved and produced by “mighty girl” Amy Poehler.

11. Garfunkel & Oats (2014) — Since we did our Anal Airlines bit 10 years ago, there will always be a special place in our hearts for two adorkable women who sweetly profess, without shame, the benefits of anal sex.

The Great Equalizers

12. The Leftovers (2014, ongoing) – While the main protagonist is male, this HBO show based on Tom Perrotta’s intriguing novel is full of interesting female characters who are damaged, dangerous and refreshingly not dolled-up. It’s missing the gratuitous T&A that HBO often feels compelled to cram into its shows to satisfying the paying straight male audience.

13. The Returned (2013, ongoing) – Another Netflix import, this time from France, about a town whose dead inhabitants mysteriously come back to life.  This haunting show follows a series of characters — some male, some female, all complex and all realistically portrayed.

14. Top of the Lake (2103) – If it’s a miniseries made by Jane Campion, you know it’s going to be a feminist heavy hitter. With rich roles for both women and men, including Mad Men‘s Elizabeth Moss as the lead detective investigating the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year-old and Holly Hunter as the spiritual leader of a compound of middle-aged women looking to rediscover themselves. (Rarely on TV do you see naked women who don’t have perky breasts and slim physiques — Campion dares to go there.)

15. Masters of Sex (2013, ongoing) – This critically acclaimed Showtime show was developed by a woman who assembled a majority-female writing cast (in the telly biz, that’s rarer than a white rhino!). At the start of MoS’s second season this summer, Time magazine called it the most feminist show on television, in part because of its self-imposed rule that the sex scenes on this show couldn’t just be about sex, they had to be completely connected to story. Take a tip, HBO!

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How “Fifty Shades” Has Changed Sex Over the Past 3 Years

September 24, 2014

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sponsored post

As if the whole Internet going gaga over the first trailer for the movie adaptation of E.L. James’ erotic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” wasn’t evidence enough, our friends over at LELO have actually quantified just how influential the story of Ana, Christian and his woven tie have been on the world’s sexual habits. They surveyed over 10,000 women from 8 countries over the past few years and discovered that the interest in kinky accessories inspired by “Fifty Shades” served as a gateway to enjoying other intimate objects and activities:

2012:

The Year Vanilla Turned Grey

(click for infographic)

Women were becoming more adventurous. Sex out of the bedroom was on the increase, sex toys were on the increase and kinky liaisons were on the increase too. Sales of whips and teasers increased by more than 50% and sales of Pleasure beads increased by more than 200%. Fifty-eight percent of global sex toy owners were expected to use premium personal massagers with their partner.

 

 2013:

The Kink Continues

(click for infographic)

The kinky liaisons between the sheets continued throughout the first two quarters of 2013 with women everywhere feeling a new sense of sexual empowerment. But by the end of 2013 LELO witnessed a shift in how women wanted their pleasure.  Sales of BDSM accessories, like whips and teasers, reached a plateau in the last quarter of 2013 compared with sales of premium couples’ massagers and vibrating couples’ rings worn during intercourse, which increased by 82%. By the end of 2013, 72% of sex toy owners used massagers or rings with their partner.

 

2014:

The Year of the Vanilla Revolution

(click for infographic)

LELO’s Global Sex Survey revealed women emerged from their kinky ‘Fifty Shades’ phase with liberated attitudes, finding ways beyond novelty and kink to enhance intimacy with their partners.

In 2014 LELO shows that 1 in 5 women have been involved in a threesome (double that of 2012’s findings). Similarly more than half of women in a relationship have made a home movie, and over a third have had sex in a public place. More women have lived out their fantasies over the past 2 years but a whopping 80% said their fantasy didn’t live up to expectations. Either women have become more sexually confident since “Fifty Shades,” or they’ve become more confident talking about their sex lives.

Kinkier ‘novelty-based’ products like whips and hand cuffs have still plateaued, but are expected to take a sharp rise around the release of the movie. However, sales of couples’ massagers, vibrators worn during intercourse, like IDA and Tara have increased by as much as 82% this year and are expected to continue to rise.

 

2015: Predictions for the Future of Sex

We would guess that immediately after Valentine’s Day next year, when the “Fifty Shades” movie premieres, LELO will be absolutely pummeled by increased requests for handcuffsblindfolds and teasers, not unlike Christian Grey on Ana’s bare bottom. Sales of kinky accessories will plateau (until the next movie in the series comes out), but by then even more women will have become comfortable buying and using bedroom accessories with their partners. A regular visit to LELO will be as normal as a dental checkup — but certainly much more pleasurable (unless, of course, you’re into pain).
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The 10 Best Bird Kisses from Getty Images

September 24, 2014

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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. A lot of the animal-themed images that come up are just adorable kissing photos, so today, it’s decidedly PG in the animal kingdom, with a focus just on frisky fowl. Enjoy!

 

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Blog Snog: Dating Advice from Mindy Kaling

September 19, 2014

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The Best Animal Kisses from Getty Images

September 18, 2014

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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. A lot of the animal-themed images that come up are just adorable kissing photos, so today, it’s decidedly PG in the animal kingdom. (Stay tuned for the bird kisses next week!) Enjoy…

#154502253 / gettyimages.com

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Battle of the Sexists: “Blurred Lines” VS. “Rude”

September 16, 2014

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During this, the last official week of summer, we thought we’d compare this year’s “Song of Summer” with last year’s official hit to see which would win the title of “Most Offensive.” For the sake of argument, we’re calling “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke the winner of 2013 (though it was pretty much a tie with Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”) and naming “Rude” by the band Magic! the winner of 2014 (though we’re sure many arguments could be made for “Fancy,” “Problem,” “Chandelier,” even “All About That Bass”…the list goes on). When it comes to our car-radio listening experiences these past two summers, Thicke and Magic! are the S.O.S. champions, hands down.

So since we’re dealing with these songs as radio hits, let us dismiss their videos entirely, at least for this particular column. After all, it wouldn’t be a fair fight: in the objectification department, ”Blurred Lines,” with its topless women bouncing around the fully-clad male singers, would easily and roundly kick “Rude”‘s ass, what with its casual-Friday wedding attire and adorkable lead singer.

Actually, we imagine most people would automatically give the title to “Blurred Lines,” even just musically speaking, considering its traditionally sexually suggestive R&B roots and all the controversy and criticism the song’s lyrics garnered:  I know you want it…I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two… Lines like that, along with the narrator referencing toking up with this “bitch”, getting blasted, her playing hard to get and him hating “these blurred lines,” resulted in the song being widely labeled as “rapey,” accused of sending mixed messages about consent, to the point where several student unions in the UK banned the song outright!  (It also probably didn’t help that Robin Thicke often comes across as a slimy, philandering, drunken, musical liar.)

By contrast, Magic!’s “Rude” has seemed sweet and romantic, with its light reggae beats under lyrics about wanting to get married and create a family. The narrator is so in love with this woman, and so emotionally hurt by her father’s rejection of him, we can’t help but fall in love with this sensitive ponytail guy right back!

Even so: in this Battle of the Sexists, “Rude” is the winner.

As sleazy and smarmy as “Blurred Lines” is, its lyrics are still open to interpretation: The way you grab me / Must wanna get nasty / Go ahead, get at me… As some mags like Slate and XOJane argued last summer, the woman is actively touching him, and though the narrator may be misinterpreting what that ultimately means, he’s leaving the call up to her, inviting her to make the first move. Same thing happens during T.I.’s rap:  So I just watch(in) and wait(in) for you to salute / But you didn’t pick. She has sexual agency. And it can’t be denied that there are certainly straight women for whom having a guy whisper confident, alpha-male, dirty nothings in their ear is a real turn on (hey, there’s no accounting for fantasy fodder…or taste.) Perhaps the big crime in this song is not condoning date rape but endorsing cheesy, egotistical, pick-up artist techniques.

In “Blurred Lines,” the woman seems to have a choice; in “Rude,” she doesn’t even have a role. The lyrics are straight out of the 1950s, even though it was written around 2013: man wants to marry “that girl,” so he seeks out her father to ask for his permission, which — hello? — isn’t his to give! The only person the singer has to ask is her. Just because the dad is “an old-fashioned man” doesn’t mean his old-fashioned sexism should be honored or met in kind. Can I have your daughter for the rest of my life? the narrator croons, as if she is something to be owned, as if this is a necessary step in the processes of two heteros getting married these days. Even if you’re a sucker for long-time traditions grounded in the ancient practice of women being traded like chattel in property deals, why not update things by going to both sets of parents as a united couple and hoping for their blessing. After all, marriage is no longer a deal made solely by patriarchs conducting real estate business; it’s a commitment entered into by two consenting, equal partners. Do we need to mention again that this is North America in the 21st century?

With “Blurred Lines,” you know you’re getting a sexed-up, sexist song — there’s no hiding it. With “Rude,” its retro sexism is hidden under layers of romance and love, which makes it more insidious. One is about casual sex, which automatically doesn’t get much respect, crap lyrics or not; the other is about marriage, which automatically seems more noble in our puritanical culture. Don’t be fooled!

“Blurred Lines” is way easier to dance to, anyway.

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Blog Snog: Condoms Are Disappearing!

September 12, 2014

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photo via Flickr



The 10 Best “Sex” Photos of Ancient Sculptures

September 11, 2014

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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. This week, it’s naughty ancient sculptures (that’ll make your sex life seem pretty tame by comparison).

 
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