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The 15 Cheesiest “Sex” Photos from Getty Images (NSFW)

June 19, 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. Today’s installment highlights the ones that gave us the most second-hand embarrassment. Enjoy! (Or should we say try to…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Top 5 Love Lessons from The Bachelorette (Andi, Week 5)

June 17, 2014

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screenshot from ABC’s “The Bachelorette”

  1. When trying to express your most romantic feelings, do not say “You are awesome,” as if you’re at some sporting event marveling at an epic play, bro.
  2. Don’t be a poor sport on a date. Join in, lighten up and have a laugh. (That said, if your date makes you mime…in public…in France, not only should you feel free to sulk, you should feel free to dump your date.)
  3. We’ll say it again: don’t be a poor sport on a date: If you don’t love to cook or feel inadequate in the kitchen but find yourself there on a date, roll with it, put in a modicum of effort, and make fun of your lack of culinary prowess. Do not pout and whine, “I don’t know how my mom makes her awesome mash potatoes, I just eat ‘em,” you big retro meathead.
  4. Think about what a Bachelor/Bachelorette producer would have you do on a date to be more romantic, and then do it. (No way did Brian come up with that restaurant kitchen make-out idea to make up for the kisses he didn’t steal in Andi’s apartment kitchen — that was pure producer prodding, and it totally worked.)
  5. Ladies, very rarely does “fancy” up-done hair look better than casual flowing hair. Less is often more, so when in doubt, walk away from the matronly up-do that takes hours to accomplish by a high-end stylist who secretly hates all women and is exacting their revenge through said ugly up-do.

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The 10 Funniest “Sex” Photos from Getty Images

June 13, 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. Today’s installment highlights the ones that tickled our funnybone the most. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Blog Snog: The 10 Dirtiest Novels to Read (No E.L. James!)

June 13, 2014

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image via Nerve.com



Dads Suffer Too: Helping Bereaved Fathers Cope with Loss

June 12, 2014

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The following is a guest post by Tara Shafer, Psychology Today blogger and founder of ReconceivingLoss.com, a site dedicated to helping parents cope with pregnancy and infant loss, especially through story sharing. She’s teamed up with the filmmakers of “Return to Zero“ (which has been getting Emmy buzz lately, especially for Minnie Driver’s performance) to create a digital archive of submitted stories, essays, poems and other artistic expressions about this type of loss. In honor of Father’s Day, Shafer writes about the new roles of fathers in today’s society, and how that sense of egalitarianism should extend to men during times of grief, as well.

Father’s Day & Baby Loss

by Tara Shafer

The German poet Friedrich Ruckert once wrote: “O you, refuge of your father/light of joy/extinguished all too soon” in reference to the death of his child. Following the stillbirth of our son in 2005, my husband and I wandered around in deep states of grief unable (or unwilling) to fully discuss what had happened when our baby died. In a certain way, there was no more perfect mirror of the despair I felt then than Gavin, and I think he probably felt similarly; it may have caused us to avoid one another. I am not sure. We have never really discussed it.

Some very close and dear friends somehow managed to endure us during those early dark days and invited us to dinner regularly. One night, in the car on the way home from their house I turned to Gavin and asked how he could eat anything. I probably said this accusingly more than I meant to. I like to think I wasn’t that angry then, but maybe I was. Gavin looked over and said, in an unbearably sad way, “I don’t know. I just eat until I am kind of full and then I stop.”  He looked bereft to me. I turned my face away and looked out into the barren winter moon-swept night and focused on the backlit clouds hanging on that moon.

With Father’s Day upon us, it is time to speak to the unacknowledged grief of men who suffer baby loss.

If women feel alone in grief following the loss of a pregnancy or infant, the solitude of the father is both palpable and largely unacknowledged.  “Helping Men with the Trauma of Miscarriage,” published inPsychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training in 2010, Mark Kiselica, Ph.D, and Martha Rinehart, PhD examined the issue of men following baby loss and concluded that the fathers’ grief was often dismissed by others. In “Psychological Impact of Stillbirth on Fathers in the Subsequent Pregnancy and Puerperium,” researchers found that following a stillbirth, men had elevated rates of anxiety and were at heightened risk for PTSD, in much the same way as their female counterparts.  Many fathers report wishing that they had had more and better access to care.

Speaking in broad generalities, there are a number of factors that may influence how men seek support in grief and which conspire against them. In a medical setting, for example, the health care is administered to the woman, reinforcing the outmoded notion that men are necessarily peripheral to pregnancy. Instead they are relegated to the distancing effect of phones, forced to make arrangements, and “be supportive.”

But wait. Men are now expected to be far more involved in the day-to-day of childrearing. The expectation that Dad will be absent from the delivery room, opting instead to hand out cigars in the waiting room like Don Draper, now seems patently ridiculous.  The role of fathers has shifted over time. This raises the question: why not allow men emotional space in pregnancy, as well as companion grief in loss?  While there is no one way to experience loss, and the spectrum of grief is complex, these men would do well to receive support as they navigate and define their ownexperience.  It is a mistake to paint the masculine experience of loss with one broad stroke.  This costs more than we know.

The assumption that men are peripheral to pregnancy may unravel rapidly, especially in situations of loss. We have all heard it said that a woman becomes a mother when she discovers she is pregnant and a man becomes a father when he holds his baby.  I am not convinced that either one of these sayings is really all that true, but if it is said enough times one grows complacent and believes some version of this.

Until.  In an instant everything is gone.

Writes “Return to Zero“ writer/director Sean Hanish, whose son was stillborn in 2005,  “As a husband, a partner, a man you are a passenger on the pregnancy express. You can look out the window and watch the scenery go by, her belly grow, her skin glow, and if you’re lucky, catch your baby’s elbow as it presses against her belly like the dorsal fin of some alien sea creature making it more real for you. But you’re not the engineer. When the crash comes you are struggling with your own emotions, grief and loss, desolation and depression, and watching as your wife, your partner, your life jumps the tracks. Twisting metal tumbling out of control in slow motion. Prepare for impact.”

I am reminded of a day several weeks or months after our loss when Gavin came home. He remarked that a lot of people were asking how I was.  We always took this beautiful gesture of concern in the spirit it was given and were, in fact, deeply appreciative of these questions. But we did laugh ruefully (and just a little) at how frequently Gavin was inadvertently left out of the equation, the expressions of concern.

On our website, Reconceiving Loss we collect the stories of loss for the Return To Zero Project. This archive reflects, in part, the lonely experience of men. Artist Louis Hemmings created a video, Goodbye, Au Revoir, Slan that shows the loss of his daughter decades ago through the eyes of his young son. Other fathers have lent their experience to the archive and their words reveal a well of sadness and loss.

As we approach Father’s Day, I call on women and men to support dads who have lost pregnancies or infants. We can begin by acknowledging their grief and understanding its nuance. We can remember to ask how they are, not just about their wives or their partners. We can engage them in a dialogue that begins to bear out the idea that we want to know how they are, how it feels to them to be missing something so central. We can acknowledge the role of fathers in childrearing as post-traditional by re-enforcing that they share the loss. This is the dialogue that creates healthier, happier families. And for the future of the men that we love, this is what will be required.

Visit ReconceivingLoss.com for more info, support and stories on this topic.

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New Virgin Mary-Inspired Poetry: The Madonna Comix

June 11, 2014

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Our friend Celia Bland, who works at The Bard Institute for Writing and Thinking, just down the road from us, recently published a book of poetry called Madonna Comix. It’s a large-format, fine art book that was a cross-country collaboration with the artist Dianne Kornberg; the poems feature the Virgin Mary in various modern-day incarnations: vending machine, bomber, girl going to prom, etc. (With a foreword by Luc Sante, another neighbor of ours up here in the Hudson Valley. Because we’re not the only creative types to have forsaken New York City, though we’re pretty sure we’re the only sex writers in our country bumpkin zip code — reason enough to move here, we suppose.) A few months back, we wrote this about Mark Bibbins‘ new book of poetry, They Don’t Kill You Because They’re Hungry, They Kill You Because They’re Full: “He will convince you poets are sexy and dreamy and powerful and relevant.” We’re happy to have further proof now in the Madonna Comix.

Immediately below is a short essay by Celia on her project and why she was drawn to the Virgin Mary — and what the Madonna means to her as a modern woman (and as a poet who “kind of specializes in poems about sex,” she says). Just below that, after the jump, we are thrilled to publish three poems and three illustrations from the book:

The Madonna Comix were originally Captions for Cartoons Not Yet Drawn.  I imagined the poems’ stanzas appearing as comic strip captions beneath empty boxes – the panels drawn with different thicknesses of line but always empty.

The poems, you see, were about emptiness – a metaphorical emptiness as concrete as the air space where the Twin Towers once stood.  I’d worked as a temp in Tower B and at noon every day that summer, I’d sat in the shadows of a desolate wind-swept plaza eating peanut butter sandwiches and hating my life.  Looking back at my internal emptiness, so unaware of how the world could and would soon change, my complaints seem so petty, so personal.  The poems written afterwards stung with self-rebuke, a kind of loss focused on my ideas of Mary, mother of Jesus.

Despite the poems’ sometimes smart-alec-y lines, I remain deeply moved by the Blessed Mother.  I see her bereft at the foot of the cross, palms up in a gesture of acceptance, as in my poem “Education of the Virgin.”  Mary breaks my heart.  She does not rail against fate – Why hast thou forsaken me?  She has the patient heaviness of pregnant women – that almost-bewildered delaying of self for another day, another day, before blessed release.  I see her as a kind of shape-shifting superhero.

I wrote these poems in short lines and with some sense of the many roles women play: pregnant and scared, birthing and scared, mothering and resentful, joyous, bored, nurturing and self-abnegating. A woman who fell at the foot of the cross, beneath the corpse of her son, in a dead faint. A woman pressed into service. A vending machine for babies. A figure of maternal longing and infinite pity.

One day, wandering into an exhibition of text-inspired images at the Chicago Cultural Center, I saw Arachne, a collaboration between artist Dianne Kornberg and poet Elizabeth Frost, I decided that, yes, perhaps my poems could be captions for cartoons drawn.  So I mailed her a series of poems about the Madonna—Mary as pelican, as bomber, as vending machine, as bereaved mother. Dianne responded enthusiastically to my ideas.  She found some black and white negatives of photos she’d taken years before of a dancer seven months pregnant.  These became the basis for Madonna Comix.  Little Lulu bleeds through, a pentimento.  The comic balloons for exclamations and jokey asides suggest the strange teardrop wombs that enclose medieval Madonna’s.

None of this is solely my invention, of course. Mary has always been, in the words of British historian Helen Hackett, a repository of “contradictory impulses towards the female body, including desire, fear, idealization and prurient fascination…” Pray to her to advocate for us lowly mortals, to intercede with a distant god. Always, when the Catholic missionaries came to a place, they supplanted the fertility goddesses, the Venuses of that place, with a Mary fashioned of clay and magic. This virgin, chosen by god, impregnated by him, not in Zeus’s golden shower or in the shape of a satyr or a husband, but by a white bird, bearing a word: that is, the word made flesh.

Making Mary, in my own mind, at least, most especially the protector of those laborers of the word.

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Top 5 Love Lessons from The Bachelorette (Andi, “The Journey So Far”)*

June 10, 2014

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  1. If you’re going to talk politics on a date, then the only appropriate response to the topic of Benghazi is “Bring it on!”
  2. It’s gauche to ask your date about the ancient indiscretions of their partner, especially if said date was the Secretary of God Damn State.
  3. If you’re going to tell your date how dead broke you once were, don’t talk about having to somehow finance your houses (plural) back then. Be sensitive to the genuine financial hardships your date might have experienced in the past or may be experiencing right now.
  4. The discussion of scrunchies has no place on a date, whether you’re running for President of the United States or not.
  5. While on a date, don’t try to disguise your age, especially not with a schmear of Vaseline over the camera lens. Be proud of your extensive journalistic experience and own your wrinkles.
*This week’s “Bachelorette” show was a one-hour recap of the season so far that made room for Diane Sawyer’s exclusive ABC News interview with Hillary Clinton which aired on Monday night. 

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Why Lo Won’t Watch “Game of Thrones” Anymore

June 9, 2014

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Lo wanted to pen a smart, thoughtful piece on all the serious, misogynistic, pro-rapey problems with “Game of Thrones” that have made it unwatchable for her, but after reading Bethany Jones’ piece ‘Game of Thrones,’ Sex and HBO: Where Did It Go Wrong For TV’s Sexual Pioneers? over at Indewire’s “/bent” blog last week, there was no point: Jones nails it. At three pages, it’s a tome of an internet article, but it’s so worth it! The piece is funny, erudite, well-researched, and spot on. It should be required reading for any GOT fan.

Here’s one small taste, in which she uses one of our favorite philosophical party tricks to expose just how fucked-up the “sex” scenes in Game of Rapes, er, Thrones are:

So let’s imagine another scenario. Let’s imagine that in the background of most episodes of “Game of Thrones” we saw dark-skinned semi-naked people casually or brutally humiliated because of their race: lynchings, gratuitous beatings, n-words thrown about, all the horrible theatre of race-hate, say. Imagine that the incidental exposition scenes of “Game of Thrones” didn’t take place in a brothel but in a slave market, for no real reason. And in a slave market where the slaves showed signs of contentment and arousal at the point of sale. Imagine that in the background of incidental scenes of “Game of Thrones” we saw dark-skinned people being tarred and feathered, or whipped, or branded, just incidentally. And imagine that the camera dwelt lingeringly on the small physical details of these acts, just for the hell of it. And then, as a finishing touch, imagine that all of this was done spuriously, as a departure from the source material and for no meaningful narrative gain, but just to spice up the action, to show some pecs and tits, to give an impression of grittiness, to get some people off. Imagine a non-white person was subjected to the most violent instance of racial hatred, and then appeared to forget about it in the following episode. Imagine if having resisted being beaten, and imagine whilst saying ‘no, no’ to their abuser, they shifted their body in an ambiguous way, a way that could have been interpreted as inviting further punishment but could also have been seen as self-protection. Imagine if this meant we were told it was no longer an instance of racial hatred but a mutually consenting act.  Imagine we were asked to forget all we know about the historical and contemporary power dynamics that structure and inform racial violence.

Would you think that was ok, HBO? And how many people would think that was ok?

If you read only this, then you are doing yourself a disservice: you’ll miss the exact moment Jones declares that HBO jumped the sex shark, how ill-informed about and indifferent to rape the director of one now-infamous GOT rape scene (pictured above) is, and how a 1976 BBC production featuring a young, mad, sadistic king who trusses up a naked woman and kills her (sound familiar?)  is less sexist than this “modern” HBO show. This is the stuff brilliant PhD dissertations are made of — except, lucky for us, Jones gets to use phrases like “frathouse flatulent ether” here. Sanity is coming!

 

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Blog Snog: How to Be a Feminist When You’re a Man

June 6, 2014

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photo via Nerve.com



The Best Wedding Photos from Getty Images

June 5, 2014

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It being the month of June, we thought we’d continue our superlative series of Getty search images around the topic of weddings. Can you hear the church bells ring? Here are some of Getty’s best wedding photos to have and to hold: