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Can You Talk a Guy Into Having an Open Relationship?

March 4th, 2015


photo of open marriage fan Anais Nin via Wikimedia Commons

Advice from three of EMandLO.com’s guy friends. This week they answer the following: “I want to have an open relationship, but my boyfriend doesn’t want to open up the relationship. I don’t want to break up, what should I do?” To ask the guys your own question, click here.

wiseguy_benStraight Married Guy (Ben): Easy answer — if you don’t want to break up, then you can’t have an open relationship. But really it sounds like it’s time for you and your boyfriend to do a yes / no / maybe list — a kind of sexual proclivities inventory where you see what each of you definitely are up for, what you might want to do if conditions are right and what things are total out of bounds. You each fill out the list on your own and then compare your answers. Whatever you both answer Yes to, go for it. Maybes mean it’s up for negotiation. And No from either of you means No for both of you. There’s a pretty great Yes / No / Maybe list on my Adult Parlour Games site.

Gay Single Guy (Justin Huang): First off, you’re my type of lady friend. We should hang. Second, to be perfectly blunt, you should break up with this guy because the two of you don’t belong together. And there are two different explanations as to why:

1) You and he have fundamentally different views on romance. It takes a certain type of person who wishes for an open relationship. You’re polyamorous (which is a fancy academic word for “slutty”). We polyamorous people should really only date each other, not because we’re better than the monogamous, but because we just view love differently, as something fluid and evolving. Even if you don’t want to hurt him, you should realize that eventually, you will. You should let him find someone for whom he is enough. Or, there’s an entirely different scenario…

2) This whole “open relationship” is just really the beginning of a slippery slope that ends with you leaving him, because you’re lying to yourself when you say that you want to stay with him. He’s not fulfilling you in some way, whether it’s sexually, romantically, intellectually, spiritually, whatever. Don’t string him along.

Both possibilities have the same solution. You need to be honest with him, but more importantly, with yourself.

anonymous_suitStraight Single Guy (Max): If you find yourself constantly looking elsewhere, why don’t you just break up? Comfort breeds laziness, which I think can be dangerous to a relationship — you may not want to do the work it takes to keep things going. Look, if you want to sleep with other people, do it. It’s up to you to figure out if you want to be dishonest and cheat, or honest and break up with your partner. If you truly love your boyfriend, you’ll stay with him and be honest about things. But — and I hate to say it — I know for a fact that sometimes a little infidelity can make you realize how much you value your significant other. It just causes a lot of pain and has the potential to destroy everything. Regardless, tread carefully!

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Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Straight Married Guy is Ben, a writer and artist living in Los Angeles; our Gay Guy is Justin Huang, an LA-based freelance film editor, producer, certified personal trainer and the voice of IAmYellowPeril.com; and our Single Straight Guy, Max, is a recent college grad in New York City. To ask the guys your own question, click here.

Time Warner Cable Is for Straight People Only, Please

March 3rd, 2015

According to Time Warner Cable’s WiFi-Denti-fier tool (which is linked from Time Warner Cable’s homepage), gay people don’t use WiFi, and they certainly don’t use Time Warner Cable. They also apparently never have problems with movies endlessly buffering, which is one of the many annoying device overload problems this tool is meant to help you solve. What this ridiculously out-of-touch animated tool won’t help you solve: your gender identity crisis.

Let’s start with the first page, which begins with the instructions, “Let’s start with an easy one: Are you a guy or a girl?” Wait, what? Do movies buffer differently for guys and girls? Do women need their tech advice given in a pretty pink font?! If you wait too long to select your gender — because, you know, maybe that’s a complicated issue for you that you don’t feel like discussing with an animated tech tool — the animated woman, wearing a pink shirt, naturally, cocks her hip and shimmies her shoulders a little. The dude, meanwhile, scratches his leg in a manly way (at least they stopped just short of ball-scratching).

On the next page, you’re asked who else shares your WiFi with you. If you click the “My Better Half” option, then TWCC immediately places a person of the opposite sex next to your gendered icon on the couch. The only other option is to select “a few roommates,” as if it’s still the fifties and you’re still lying to your parents about who that gorgeous hunk is who shares your apartment and your answering machine. Apparently people who choose to marry or even just cohabit with someone of the same sex don’t use Time Warner Cable. (Actually, after discovering this, maybe they won’t!)

Oh, and we’re guessing we don’t even need to tell you that if you select the “Our (Big) Family” option, the animated nuclear family on screen is fully compliant with the Tea Party’s “family values”…

TWCC obviously invested an incredible amount of time and money into this tool, animating the characters, coming up with cheeky copy, etc. It’s not like it was a single, unthinking line of text or code. And it’s not like these are intentionally retro figures — the women wear skinny jeans,  and the men have hipster facial hair, pompadours, and tattoos. It’s like Williamsburg or Silver Lake, except without any gay people.

We cannot believe that not a single person in the entire process spoke up and said, “Hey, remember that time when Ellen came out on Oprah’s television show and said she was gay and oh yeah that was 1997 and also probably a bunch of people were watching courtesy of Time Warner Cable.”

What’s up with that, TWCC?

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

March 3rd, 2015

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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How Do I Ease Into Kink with a New Partner?

March 2nd, 2015

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your advice in the comments section. 

Dear Em & Lo,

My bf and I have been together for about 3 months, and have been sexually active for about 4. My thing is, he has a domination kink. And while the idea of it (spanking, hair pulling, choking…) is appealing to me, the few times we have engaged in such activities, I haven’t enjoyed them as much as I would have hoped. Granted, we never really have eased into things, and we were both either tipsy or other such reasons. I want to try things like bondage and light domination but I’m worried. What do I do?

– Don’t Call Me Ms. Steele

Leave your advice for D.C.M.M.S. in the comments section below.

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Your Weekly Horoscopes: March 2nd, 2015

March 2nd, 2015

photo via flickr

Each week, we at EMandLO.com predict the course of your love life for the week with our own version of irreverent horoscopes — ignore our advice at your own peril. (Hyperbole intended for dramatic effect.)

aries (Mar. 21st-Apr. 20th)
Ask lots of questions this week to determine which hottie is best suited to fill your needs. Or should we say feel your “needs”?

taurus (Apr. 21st-May 20th)
The next time you’re in the presence of that special someone, stamp your left foot three times, cluck like a chicken and then turn around and give them a good moon. There’s no way they’ll be able to resist your charming and mysterious ways.

gemini (May 21st-June 21st)
Someone you least expect may try to lead you in the wrong direction. Dig deep and find out all you can about a potential lover before you go any further. Feel free to sleep over (this will give you a chance to snoop in their medicine cabinet), but no hanky panky.

cancer (June 22nd-July 22nd)
You can’t lose if you get out and mingle with interesting people this week. We’re not saying that you won’t put your foot in your mouth three or four times (if you’re not sure she’s pregnant, don’t ask when the baby is due), and we’re not saying that you’ll go home with a pocketful of phone numbers (one if you’re lucky), and we’re not saying that the DJ will play all the songs you request — especially if you keep requesting “Dancin’ on the Ceiling” at your local bar. However, overall, on the balance, you’ll come out ahead. We think it’s worth taking the chance and stepping outside.

leo (July 23rd-Aug. 22nd)
Isn’t it always the way: you have a few drinks, meet someone with a sparkle in their eye, exchange a few meaningful life stories, find out all these things you have in common, take off each other’s clothes and look deep into each other’s eyes before passing out, only to wake up three hours later to realize that the sparkle was the way the light hit their glasses, that the only thing you have in common is a fondness for “House of Cards,” and that they apparently don’t wash very regularly. Occasionally, it works out and people end up getting married this way. But it’s rare. To be on the safe side, get to know new friends first, fondle them later.

virgo (Aug. 23rd-Sept. 22nd)
Your horoscope says that you don’t have to end up alone if you don’t choose to. But that’s kakapootie. Sure, you can always be with someone, as long as standards aren’t an issue for you. (“No personality, no manners, no kissing skills, no permanent address? No problem!”) Let’s stick to the other part of your horoscope which says that if you just get out and do what you do best, you’ll be the center of attention. Now that’s a ‘scope we can get behind.

libra (Sept. 23rd-Oct. 23rd)
This is a pretty good week to meet someone at a work-related event. So dig deep for your last ounce of company morale and show up for that stupid capture-the-flag event your boss organized “to get everyone pumped.” Because who knows? Next week, you might be chased down by a coworker. Or, you could just get fired.

scorpio (Oct. 24th-Nov. 22nd)
You will have a magnetic allure this week. Just be sure not to hang out next to your credit cards in case that magneticism rubs off.

sagittarius (Nov. 23rd-Dec. 21st)
Easy there, pardner, you’re frightening the horses. Your attempts to go from zero to intimacy in sixty seconds may seem to you like “enthusiasm” but to others it reeks of desperation. If you’re having trouble playing it cool, just imagine your date naked…uh…make that, pretend your date got a hold of some bad seafood and is now puking out your car window.

capricorn (Dec. 22nd-Jan. 20th)
You may be desperate, but no one need know it but us. So go on that blind date your relative wants to set you up on and act like like it’s no big deal. We won’t tell anyone that this could be your last shot at true romantic happiness.

aquarius (Jan. 21st-Feb. 18th)
Love and money will go hand in hand this week. Don’t rule out spending some quality time with someone who interests you romantically. Likewise, don’t rule out spending some cold hard cash on someone who interests you romantically. If the witty repartee and fun dates don’t get you the results you want, the presents will.

pisces (Feb. 19th-Mar. 20th)
One of us (and we’ll never tell which) was a cheerleader in high school. It’s not a source of pride. Don’t make us relive those painful memories by having us metaphorically whip out the pom-poms and give you your own personal pep rally right here. Whatever it is you’ve been thinking about doing, just go for it! ‘Nuff said.

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

February 26th, 2015

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’aime) 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! 

When His Mouth Says “Booty Call” But His Body Says “Relationship”

February 26th, 2015

romance_ocean_couplephoto via flickr

Dear Em & Lo,

I met this guy who is really sweet and nice.  He is 20 and I am 21.  We’ve hung out a few times and I am starting to like him.  Then, I saw him at a fraternity party the other night (although he does not go to my college) and he barely said hi.  I was walking with one of my guy friends when I ran into him. He told my friend he was too “sweaty and gross” and had to go.

Then the next morning he texted my best friend (the one that kind of set us up) and asked her if she had fun the night before.  She said yes and asked him if he did and he said he “found a cute girl and stuck with her all night.”  My best friend texted him back and said “oh so no more cam?”  And he said “i am still interested and i still like her, she is really cool…i just don’t want a girlfriend right now, is she down with that?”  My friend said that he should talk to me about that and he said we should all hang out soon.  This is so out of the blue…he definitely does not act like he just wants a hook up, but now I am unsure of what to do…

– Hopeless in Seattle

Dear H.i.S.,

Hmmm, let’s see: What makes you think that “he definitely does not act like he just wants a hook up”? Does he like to cuddle? Is he fascinated by your thoughts on neoclassical architecture? Does he like to tell you about his day or whine about his Mom? Does he want to take you to brunch the next morning? And yet he tells your best friend — 100% sure that she will pass the info onto you — that he just doesn’t want a girlfriend right now. What we have here is a classic case of intimacy lite, also sometimes known as casual intimacy.

If you’ve ever spooned your booty call or held hands with your one-night stand, you’re familiar with intimacy lite. If both parties are fully onboard with the lite nature of the intimacy, it’s perfectly natural — everyone needs a cuddle sometimes, and even the most ardent commitment-phobe among us misses snuggling and nuzzling and — eww, okay, we’ll stop (like dirty talk, all that stuff should be kept in the bedroom; talking about it out of context makes our assholes contract).

Anyway, commitment-phobes (i.e. 99.9% of male college students) are especially prone to indulging in intimacy lite, and this often sends a mixed message, because if his mouth is saying one thing and his body is saying another, then you’re probably going to listen to whichever message you like best. Sure, he might tell you that that the sex doesn’t mean anything, but does brunch invalidate that sort of agreement? Not in our book — but plenty of tenderhearted young things out there might think so. All crushed up, you refuse to believe that sometimes, someone simply needs help finishing the crossword, or wants company at brunch because all their good friends are brunching with their significant others

To make a sweeping generalization (Who, us? Never!), men are most often the culprits in cases of misinterpreted intimacy lite, perhaps because they dominate the ranks of the commitment-phobic. It’s not just getting free milk — it’s having Bessie listen to you ramble on about your problems at work, too: a mini-me relationship on tap, whenever you need a top-up.

If someone regularly engages in intimacy lite, we like to refer to them as a “sampler,” i.e. a man — or, yes, sometimes a woman — who subsists on a diet of sex and relationship “samplers.” You know how some supermarkets offer tastings of new products in every aisle? If you’re a cheapskate (and not a germaphobe), you can make a meal of it — melon squares in aisle 1, cheese and ham at the deli counter, brownies over in aisle 7. Keep doing laps, avoid making too much eye contract with the product rep, and sample away. In the world of hooking up, samplers ensure a balanced diet by relying heavily on light intimacy from multiple product reps.

So, what does this mean for you? Well, if intimacy lite sounds like a fun way to pass the Spring semester to you, then go ahead and keep taking his calls. But if you really want to be his girlfriend, then we recommend moving on and not letting him sample any more of your, ahem, melon squares.

Lunch ladies,

Em & Lo

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8 Easy Ways to Tell If It’s Love… Or Lust

February 26th, 2015

by Caithlin Pena for YourTango  | photo via Flickr

Love, lust: it’s easy to confuse the two, especially in the early stages of a relationship. Both emotions make you feel a kind of bliss that you’ve never experienced before – which is wonderful and joyous and something to celebrate – but make sure you know the difference between the two. Need a little help? Here’s a few clues:

1. When you’re in lust, you dress to the NINES. Maybe even the TENS. Obviously, there’s no harm in trying to look good for your significant other, especially when you’re first courting each other. But we all know dressing (and looking) like you’re going to Fashion Week each time you step out for a date takes a sh*t-ton of effort, not to mention money!

When you’re in love, you might forget to wear pants. Are you wearing a shirt? Check. Shoes? Check. Pants? Oops! On those exciting Friday nights where you end up pacing the aisles of Costco to stock up on frozen pizzas and Lucky Charms cereal, comfort = love.

2. When you’re in lust, you look past their foolishness. Things are so hot & heavy, it’s easy to look past minor “annoyances” (that laugh, that money problem, that MOTHER) that may turn into larger issues down the road.

When you’re in love, you point out their mistakes. You love them, which is why you want them to be a better person. And if they love you, they’ll accept the (constructive) criticism and try to be a better person not just for you but for themselves, too.

3. When you’re in lust, you say what they want to hear. You constantly aim to please. When they ask you a question, you’re more apt to reply with a “safe” answer, even though it might not fully express how you feel. (You figure you’ll get to that later, right?)

When you’re in love, you keep it real. You don’t agree with everything they’re saying and you clearly state that. Having different views and opinions from your significant other doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not a good match; it just means that SHOCKER: You’re different people. And that’s okay. Healthy debate is good and normal and helpful at seeing things from another perspective.

4. When you’re in lust, the person you’re with is a Greek God/Goddess. Or rather, try this analogy: a perfectly-shaped cookie with no dents or chipped corners. But hate to break-it-to-you: even perfect-looking cookies have burnt sides (even if they’re not visible at first).

When you’re in love, they’re more like a Greek God/Goddess statue missing it’s arm. Perfectly imperfect, just like you! Pretending to be anything other than that is exhausting and oh: A LIE.

5. When you’re in lust, you don’t really know them. Sure, you know their favorite color is blue and their favorite food is macaroni and cheese. But that’s surface level-stuff. You haven’t dug down deep – and girl, that tunnel is LONG.

When you’re in love, you know small insignificant details. Their favorite color is blue because when they were little, it was their mother’s favorite color to dress them up in. Their favorite food is mac & cheese because it’s the comfort food their Grandma always made them when they went to visit. These small, seemingly insignificant details are intimate parts of their past and who they is. And you know all these little, beautiful factoids because you took the time to really get to know them – and better even, you still want to know more.

6. When you’re in lust, you don’t feel comfortable talking to them about your problems. Talking about your problem can help ease stress and tension. But you prefer to talk about them with someone you trust. And let’s face it, you’re just not at that ride-or-die stage yet.

When you’re in love, you’ll talk to them about, well, basically everything. You know you love someone when you can trust them with the most minor (and major!) issues you’re having, not matter how weird/trivial/embarrassing they are. You know that they’ll listen without judgement. That’s love.

7. When you’re in lust, silence is awkward. Which is either filled with rambling or make-out sessions. No objection to make-out sessions, of course, but the fact that you both find the silence awkward is a sign of discomfort.

When you’re in love, silence is welcomed.  When you run out of conversation topics, you don’t feel like you need to fill the silence with something else. You just let the silence sit comfortably. The void is welcome.

8. When you’re in lust, the future is unknown. Yes, you’re enjoying every moment you have with them right now. You love their attention, the dates, and the feeling of pure bliss. But when you look at the long run, you have absolutely no idea what the next few months (or years!) will hold. It’s a little scary.

When you’re in love, you welcome thoughts of the future. Whether you marry or not is up to you both, but can you see yourself sitting side-by-side on matching rickety rocking chairs? Does the idea of that give you something to look forward to? Do you picture bad vacations, fights over trivial things, and (gasp!) babies and can’t imagine anyone else taking this journey with you? Then, you’re totally and utterly in love.

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How to Have Kinky Sex with Your Vanilla Husband

February 25th, 2015

photo via Wikimedia Commons

Reader subgirl said the following in response to our post, “He’s Kinky, She’s Vanilla, Is the Relationship Doomed?“  Heads up, everyone in a mixed-cone, chocolate-swirl-slash-vanilla relationship, there is hope!

I am a submissive woman and I have a wonderful vanill-ish husband who plays along with me. We communicate our needs to one another. Anyone who tells you this is only about humiliation and degradation and weak women getting walked on like door mats has watched too much porn. Absolutely be true to yourself. I could not agree more with that statement.

BUT if you’re going to agree to get involved with a kinky partner then please, for the love of god, go learn something about it. There are many books on the subject.

Do not ever take another person’s fantasies and make them your own. If you are open to exploring, then try to discover your own fantasies, likes and dislikes, and then communicate them. And any Dom worth a squat will want you to learn, on your own, from many sources.

The lifestyle can actually make a relationship very close and intimate if you learn about it, work it like a journey, and open up communication with your partner. You do not ever have to be into pain or bondage to be involved in the lifestyle.

And I am anything but a mindless door mat.

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