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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 blas√© 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 Cuar√≥n, 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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Blog Snog: How the New Cinderella Movie Is Just Like “The Bachelor”

March 6, 2015

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Top 10 Life Lessons from “The Bachelor” (The Women Tell All)

March 3, 2015

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via The Bachelor’s Twitter feed

Last night, we came to the cat fight portion of the season with “The Women Tell All” episode of The Bachelor, in which producers gather together all rejected participants in a room with a live studio audience to watch — and defend — their most humiliating, offensive, mean-spirited and basically indefensible moments. Your mother catching you in your teenage bedroom naked with a bowl of Jell-O would be less awkward. There were new hairdos (Kelsey), new extensions (Carly), new cleavage (Ashley I), and new boobs (Jade) — and we learned that new doesn’t always mean better. We learned a lot of other decent life lessons, too — ten, in fact. Because just watching The Bachelor to make fun of other people’s highly entertaining foibles and personality flaws would not be honorable. Bettering ourselves in the process makes it meaningful. See, this is God’s work we’re doing here, people!:

  1. Live life like the cameras are not watching: be authentic, honest, unselfconscious, and unafraid to ugly-cry. That said, if you’re going to fake cry, do it better than our 7-year-old daughters.
  2. When someone asks you a question, don’t pussyfoot: be direct, forthcoming and honest. (Lady: “Can I ask a question?” Chris Harrison, channeling his inner Christian Grey: “No.”)
  3. Closure is overrated…and often an illusion: you’re never going to hear what you want to hear.
  4. Stealing kisses = a big no no. You must give you’re intended the chance to decline your generous offer of osculation. Otherwise it’s basically mouth assault — even when done by someone old enough to be your mother.

  5. Being a space cadet from your own planet is better than being a Barbie from L.A.
  6. Having a sense of humor is the most attractive quality, not only in the next Bachelorette (Kaitlyn!), but in any human being.
  7. When someone asks you for forgiveness, accept it graciously, even if you think they’re full of shit. You can take measures to distance yourself from them going forward to avoid further harm or hurt, but you’ll have ended things on a positive note, with you looking (and feeling) like a decent person.
  8. The best “Bachelor” drinking game for getting plastered: Drink when 1) anyone says “amazing,” 2) the craziest person on the show does something crazy, 3) the Bachelor/ette kisses someone, 4) tears, or 5) anyone says “the right reasons.” (Credit: the “hardiest” of the party girls Prince Farming and Host Charming busted in on.)
  9. When life gives you onions, use your magical thinking to turn them into pomegranates.
  10. If Chris Harrison can write a novel, so can you.

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

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Blog Snog: Photos of Kansas City’s 1960s Drag Scene

February 27, 2015

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LELO’s First Movie Explores Modern Intimacy… Without Sex Toys

February 26, 2015

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You may know LELO as the creator of some of your favorite pleasure objects, but now they would also like you to think of them as movie people… though it’s all still in the interest of intimacy.

Sex toy skeptics like to claim that bedside accessories reduce intimacy, inserting a piece of high-end silicone where two bodies meet. Nervous men worry that bringing a sex toy into the bedroom will make them suddenly dispensable to their wife or girlfriend. But we’ve always known otherwise: the right kind of sex toy can actually bring a couple closer in bed, helping them explore new sensations and fantasies. And when a couple gets closer in bed, that intimacy spills over into the rest of their relationships.

As it turns out, the right kind of sex toy company can bring a couple closer, too — both in and out of the bedroom. LELO, ever at the head of the pack, will release its first feature movie this summer, called Beyond the Wave. It will be the world’s first ever mainstream movie produced by a sex toy company.

No, it’s not a Fifty Shades knock-off — in fact, there’s not a single sex toy in the entire movie. No Red Room of Pain, no whips, no paddles, not even a pair of fuzzy hands. What there is is a smart take on modern intimacy, in a post-apocalyptic world where men and women choose to live apart. Beyond the Wave, starring Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers, Sleepy Hollow), Emilie Ohana (Paris, Je t‚Äôaime) and newcomer Zhu Wei Ling, examines the importance of understanding someone else’s perspective. On the surface it’s a love story, but it’s also a reminder about how to enrich relationships in an increasingly individualistic and divided world.

And here’s the sexy part: There is a special extended interactive trailer that can only be watched with someone else — ideally your other half! Called the PlayTogether experience, it’s the first ever movie trailer that requires a partner. (So there you go, all you naysayers who say that smartphones, like sex toys, are reducing intimacy!) You and your loved one put your smartphones side by side, and the trailer displays across both of them — then you have to decide, together, which scenes to watch next.

“By bringing couples closer,” says Steve Thomson, LELO‘s Head of Marketing, “PlayTogether encourages them not merely to sit in the same room but to engage with each other’s point-of- view. The trailer becomes a catalyst for a rich, shared experience.”

Though no LELO products are featured in Beyond the Wave, the movie’s title is a cheeky nod to customer feedback about the brand’s Ina Wave device, launched last year. According to Thomson, “Many testers commented that the Ina Wave was ‘better than sex’ or ‘there was no need for relationships anymore.’ That really got everyone at LELO thinking hard about our brand’s responsibility.”

You can watch the solo trailer for Beyond the Wave at the top of this post, and you can go behind the scenes of the movie here. But for the full interactive experience, find a loved one (or a lusted after one!) and sync up ¬†your smartphones here. There’s no need to download any software or apps — you simply need to share the regular trailer on Twitter or Facebook, and then the extended trailer will unlock. Popcorn optional. Because only LELO could make a movie trailer feel like extended foreplay.

PlayTogether Here! 

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The Best (and Worst) Quotes from the 2015 Oscars

February 23, 2015

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Speeches about equal pay for women and gay rights…equal opportunity objectification (thanks, Neil!)…straight men being sensitive and highly emotional about their mothers…more jokes about balls than boobs…anyone would think it was 2015 out there! Here are our favorite quotes from the Oscars last night:

“I tried to commit suicide at 16, and now I‚Äôm standing here. I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she doesn‚Äôt fit in anywhere. You do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it‚Äôs your turn and you are standing on this stage please pass the same message along.” — Graham Moore, accepting the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game

“If I may, call your mom. If you’re lucky enough to have parents or two alive on this planet…Don’t text, don’t email. Call them on the phone tell them you love them. Talk to them for as long as they want to hear you. Thank you, mom and dad.” — J.K. Simmons, accepting the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for Whiplash

“To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s civil rights. It is our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.” ‚ÄĒ Patricia Arquette, accepting the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for Boyhood (to enthusiastic cheers from Meryl and J.Lo. who¬†basically stormed the stage in her support, see¬†photo above)

“Benedict Cumberbatch: It’s not only the most awesome name in show business. It‚Äôs also the sound you get when you ask John Travolta to pronounce ‘Ben Affleck.’” — host Neil Patrick Harris

“They are four women. Plus — in accordance with California state law — Meryl Streep.” ‚ÄĒ Jared Leto introducing the best supporting actress nominees

“Our next film is amazing. I’m blown away right now myself. [tearing up] Our next nominee for best picture reveals how the visionary father of modern computing Alan Turing helps defeat the Nazis only to have his own greatness stripped away from him for his sexual orientation.” ‚ÄĒ Terrence Howard, introducing¬†The Imitation Game (as he began to get choked up, most people assumed he was going to introduce¬†Selma)

“Good luck charms work ‚Ķ tonight I am wearing the real Michael Keaton’s tightie-whities. They are tight and smell like balls.” — Alejandro Gonz√°lez I√Ī√°rritu, accepting the Oscar for Best Director for Birdman

“I read an article that said that winning an Oscar could lead to living five years longer. If that’s true, I‚Äôd like to thank the Academy because my husband is younger than me.” — Julianne Moore, accepting the Best Actress Oscar for Still Alice (and for the record, he’s not just younger than her, he’s nine years younger!)

“Who gave this son of a bitch his green card? Birdman!” ‚ÄĒ Sean Penn, presenting the Best Picture Oscar to Birdman

“We don‚Äôt stand here alone, it‚Äôs possible through the great organisations that support us. The disclosures that Edward Snowden revealed aren‚Äôt only a threat to privacy but to democracy, when the most important decisions made affect all of us. Thank you to Edward Snowden.” — Laura¬†Poitras, accepting the Best Documentary Oscar for Citizenfour

“Welcome to the 87th Oscars. Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest — sorry, brightest.” — host Neil Patrick Harris, in one of the rare funny jokes of the night

“Our next presenter is not only the star of the record breaker for biggest February premiere ever, Fifty Shades of Grey, she’s also the reason you had to explain to your grandmother what a spanking bench is.” –¬†host Neil Patrick Harris, introducing Dakota Johnson

And, finally, the very worst quote of the night happened backstage:

“Fear is the condom of life. It doesn‚Äôt allow you to enjoy things.” — Oscar-winning Birdman director¬†Alejandro Gonz√°lez I√Ī√°rritu

Seriously, dude? It’s one thing to make fun of the ball-sweating properties of tight-whities. That’s funny, and also, it makes us think of balls during a night when it’s mostly golden globes on display. But don’t go giving condoms a bad name!

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Blog Snog: What I Learned From Remarrying My Ex

February 20, 2015

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YourTango: What remarrying my ex taught me about anger and forgiveness.

The Frisky: How to host a small penis party.

Pop Sugar: Promposals are the new proposals.

Nerve: The year I spent as a phone-sex operator.

150 Shades of Play: Now you’ve seen the movie, learn how to do all that stuff without losing an eye… or your sense of humor!¬†


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Jumping on the “Fifty Shades” Meme Bandwagon

February 19, 2015

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Okay, we know we said we’d stop with the “Fifty Shades” posts¬†once the movie came out, but we can’t stop! We’re addicted. We’ve been enjoying the Shades meme wherein Christian Grey reveals his curiously singular tastes, and they turn out to be….an interest in, say, computer servers. So we thought we’d come up with a few of our own (there are 13 in all). If you can stand it, enjoy!

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