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How to Tell If Your Partner Is Emotionally Abusing You

October 7th, 2014


by YourTango  |  photo via flickr

Is it possible that you are being abused and not even know it? Abuse is not always as obvious as being hit or shoved, called degrading names or cussed out. In fact, it can very well be underhanded or subtle. You may find yourself feeling confused about the relationship, off balance or like you are “walking on eggshells” all the time. This is the kind of abuse that often sneaks up on you as you become more entrenched in the relationship. I am talking here about psychological abuse, which is also known as mental or emotional abuse.

Psychological abuse occurs when a person in the relationship tries to control information available to another person with intent to manipulate that person’s sense of reality or their view of what is acceptable and not acceptable. Psychological abuse often contains strong emotionally manipulative content and threats designed to force the victim to comply with the abuser’s wishes. All abuse takes a severe toll on self-esteem. The abused person starts feeling helpless and possibly even hopeless. In addition, most mental abusers are adept at convincing the victim that the abuse is his/her fault. Somehow, the victim is responsible for what happened.

A more sophisticated form of psychological abuse is often referred to as “gaslighting.” This happens when false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity. Examples may range simply from the abuser denying that previous abusive incidents ever occurred to staging bizarre events with the intention of confusing the victim. I listened to a client tell me that her husband denied an affair after his she found a racy email to another woman on his computer and confronted him. The husband vehemently denied this and when so far as to send an email to his tech guy asking how his account could have been hacked and to fix the problem!

Read the full article at YourTango:  21 Signs Emotional Abuse Is Happening In Your Relationship

What Men Really Think About Fake Boobs

October 7th, 2014

Advice from three of our “Wise Guy” friends. This week a straight woman asks, “So what’s the deal with fake boobs — are straight guys into them or not? Does it make a difference whether they’re just looking (e.g. porn, strip club, Hollywood star) vs. touching (e.g. a hook-up)? And does it make a difference whether the hook-up is casual or relationship material?”

Gay Single Guy (Jay Dyckman): Here’s the thing about fake boobs. They work. It’s the same for gay guys. Just substitute silicone for steroids. I know plenty of guys who have gone from Plain Jane to Ripped Rita via syringe, and rollicked in all the dating perks that come with that.  It is lame, they look ridiculous, but it truly, truly works.  To be totally fair, though, the real equivalent would be penile implants, which are currently as effective as supergluing Play-doh around the member so it appears larger.  And let me tell you, if they ever perfect the art of penile enhancement, every guy you know will have an eleven-inch penis.  Let me repeat:  Every.  Guy.  You.  Know.  At that point, glance waist level in a locker room and it would look like something Tarzan used to traverse the jungle. Which is why it amazes — and inspires — me that every woman doesn’t have humungous breasts.  You are the stronger sex.  Like I said, if men were in that position, this would be a nation of Pamela Mandersons. (Oh, and indulge a gay guy:  Why are “A-cup” boobs small and “D-cup” boobs big?  Shouldn’t it be the reverse?  As in, “Look at those grade A boobs!  She’s stacked.”  And flat girls are in danger of socially failing with a “D”?  I mean, this is classic grading on a curve, right?)

Straight Single Guy (Tyler Barnett): As a guy in my twenties, I have basically grown up surrounded by breast implants, so they don’t tend to faze me. I can recall on more than one occasion pointing out a beautiful girl, and hearing an older guy say, “But she has fake boobs,” and I’m like, “So what?” To me, fake boobs usually look better than their natural counterpart (which is not to say I haven’t seen horrendous, overdone and very strange looking fake breasts). But admittedly, much like artificially flavored food, no matter how close to the original they get, the real thing always tastes better. Saline boobs tend to feel like water balloons, which can take away from the heat of the moment. I’ve felt silicone ones that were so close to the real thing it didn’t matter, but at the end of the day a soft real breast is as sexy as it gets — and I think most men would agree. Besides, bigger isn’t always better. While I appreciate a large set of melons as much as the next guy, I also think small breasts can be very sexy. Another concern is if my future wife could breastfeed. (Didn’t China just recall baby formula because it contained Melamine? No thank you.) Ultimately, though, men love breasts — big, small, real, fake, we usually are just happy to see them, feel them, sleep on them. The decision to get implants should be the woman’s without any outside influence. Whatever you decide, like the bra you wear, we men will support you.

Straight Married Guy (Jim): There’s definitely a difference between looking and touching. The only time I’ve ever (knowingly) handled fake breasts, they felt like the knees of a Shaq-sized newborn: velvety-soft but concealing a hard, round mass.  (That means they were cheap, right?)  I have never heard my straight male friends say anything negative about the sight of fake boobs (or about the individual woman for having a surgically enhanced bust, for that matter), but displeasure has been expressed with the feel of stony fakes.  Most men wouldn’t avoid a hook-up based on bust fakery, unless they’re reading into your personality through your bra.  It’s still a hook-up, right?  But as with anything else in the bedroom that can’t be changed through intimacy and patience alone, if it’s a turnoff for this theoretical guy, it might sink the relationship.

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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 Jim from New York, our Gay Guy is Jay Dyckman, an LA copywriter, and our Single Straight Guy is Tyler Barnett, owner of the LA PR firm Barnett Ellman. To ask the guys your own question, click here.

Your Weekly Horoscopes: 10-06-14

October 6th, 2014

grandcentral_ceiling_421photo by Simply Schmoopie

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)
You are likely to run out of steam when you need it the most this week. Pace yourself, drink lots of water, and think about baseball.

taurus (Apr. 21st-May 20th)
Just because you’re in a good mood, that doesn’t mean everyone else you pass should “smile — it can’t be that bad!” Just because you’re in a bad mood, doesn’t mean you have to poo poo everyone else’s good time. Just because you think it’s a brilliant idea, that won’t mean your colleagues will too. Just because you want to do it, doesn’t automatically mean your partner wants to stop watching TV. Just because your dog wags its tail when you do that thing, that doesn’t make it right, you sick, sick bastard.

gemini (May 21st-June 21st)
If your mind’s in the gutter but your ass is on the La-Z-Boy, chances are the only person you’re going to be talking dirty to is your teddy bear. If you’re looking for a more interactive experience, as it were, you’re going to have to get out of the house every once in a while. Though, if your dirty talking skills are a little rusty, practicing on your teddy bear is not the worst idea in the world. But if you do any more than talk, we don’t want to know about it.

cancer (June 22nd-July 22nd)
The more passionate you are about something that you are involved in, the more likely you are to meet someone who is attracted to you, as well as everything you believe in and stand for. Are you really interested in being a married Evangelical pastor, or did you sign up just because it seemed like the thing to do? Find a cause you actually care about, one you can get behind with gusto, like Free Beer Fridays or Anal Fisting Education. Besides, that rumor you heard about pastors getting a free pass on gay sex with prostitutes is not true. Total urban legend, man.

leo (July 23rd-Aug. 22nd)
Let’s work on our indoor voice, shall we? This whole social butterfly thing you’ve got going works fine in the bar (or on line at the DMV), but in one-on-one situations, it’s a little much. Tone it down a tad once you hit the bedroom, lest you scare away the hotties (or piss off their neighbors).

virgo (Aug. 23rd-Sept. 22nd)
Go to bed without brushing your teeth for once. Hit the snooze button a third time. Leave on the conditioner for a minute longer than the bottle tells you to. You know: go nuts! Most of all, let your heart rule your head. Remember, it doesn’t have to “make sense,” it just has to be legal and consensual. If anyone questions your state of mind, just tell them that if loving this way is wrong, you don’t want to be right.

libra (Sept. 23rd-Oct. 23rd)
Don’t believe the lies of the person trying to seduce you right now!

scorpio (Oct. 24th-Nov. 22nd)
Being needy will be a problem. If you try too hard you will end up with someone who will take advantage of you. You are probably better off spending time alone with a good book — anything by Gillian Flynn is a good bet.

sagittarius (Nov. 23rd-Dec. 21st)
Anger and resentment will follow if someone becomes too clingy too fast. Just be sure you’re not mistaking true love for clingy-ness, because someday people will stop clinging and then you’ll die all alone.

capricorn (Dec. 22nd-Jan. 20th)
It’s time to turn on the charm and make a splash. You’re your own sexual agent, and sometimes that means rolling up your sleeves and doing a little self-promotion. Stop short of an “Am I Hot or What?” press release, but don’t shy away from anything else. Trust us on this one: We know from self-promotion. Once you bite the bullet and start, it’s addictive!

aquarius (Jan. 21st-Feb. 18th)
When you fall for someone, it’s like you become a Jehovah’s Witness: you do everything in your power to convince the object of your affections to see the light and join you on this journey of love. Yet they almost always resist when you come on so strong, practically slamming the door in your face. Don’t put your foot in the door jam — you’ll just end up with a broken toe, maybe even a cop or two responding to the 911 call your beloved made when you wouldn’t back down. The best thing you can do is just quietly walk away. One look at that ass as you leave the front porch, and they’ll be calling you up for salvation before you know it.

pisces (Feb. 19th-Mar. 20th)
We’re assuming the stars are talking about love, but this may apply to a friendship or a business relationship for all we know: Don’t turn your back on someone who has been loyal to you for years. Shame on you for even considering it! Think of everything they’ve ever done for you. Sure, they may be completely annoying in their own special way, but that’s part of their charm. Don’t walk away from them, not if you want us to talk to you again.

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Your Call: My Wife Never Initiates Sex

October 6th, 2014


photo via Flickr

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. 

Submit Your Own Question to EMandLO.comTry Our New
*PRIVATE*
Advice Service!

 

 

Dear Em & Lo,

I’ve been married for five years, and my wife and I have a great sex life. We have sex probably two or three times a week, and I’m pretty sure we both have a good time — we try new things, we try new positions, the whole deal. The problem is, she NEVER initiates sex. I’ve told her many times that this bothers me and she always promises to make an effort and then never does. She says she’s just used to me making the move, and forgets to do it herself. She always seems happy to have sex when I initiate, so I don’t understand why she never makes the first move herself? And what more can I do to make her realize what a bummer it is never to be asked?

– Wallflower

What should Wallflower do? Leave your advice in the comments section below.


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Confession: Binge-Watching Saved My Marriage!

October 3rd, 2014


by YourTango  |  photo via flickr

It didn’t matter what we were binge-watching; it just mattered that we were binge-watching together.

I sat at my desk waiting for the clock to tick just close enough to 5:00 p.m. so that I could duck out early from work. My man was waiting for me at home, and I didn’t want to keep him waiting any longer than necessary. I was excited to get home, throw on some comfortable clothes, and curl up on the couch with my favorite man of the moment, Walter White. Granted, I wasn’t so much physically curling up with him as I was spending my evenings peering inside his mind, but either way, I couldn’t wait to find out what else was going to happen on Breaking Bad. After all, my marriage depended on it.

Sound strange? It shouldn’t. My husband and I had been slowly drifting apart for a few months. After work, he would often retreat to the basement to work on the non-profit he recently started. I’d flip open my laptop and continue to work after he went downstairs, knowing I’m a lot more productive at night when nobody’s around to respond to my emails. (I’m also more productive when I’m not wearing pants, but that’s neither here nor there.) Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like our marriage was falling apart, but our closeness was definitely drifting. We didn’t notice it at first. After all, we both lived under the same roof every night and we weren’t cheating on each other or spending too much time with our friends. But still, there was distance.

I vowed to fix it. I knew my husband and I needed to find something in common that we could unite over. Our interests are very different, so I knew there was no chance of successfully enjoying dance lessons or going to the gym together. We needed something we could enjoy together that would spark discussions and give us something to look forward to every night, TOGETHER. And then it hit me: binge watching Breaking Bad was the secret to saving our marriage…

Read the rest over at YourTango.com: Breaking Bad Saved My Marriage (No, Really)

Top 10 Tips for Erotic Spanking

October 3rd, 2014

photo via Flickr

Hand-to-bum contact, if you can pull it off without cracking up (heh, we said crack), is a great way to add some kinky flavor to your next sesh. It’s intimate, it’s saucy, and — when compared to, say, a whip or a flogger — it’s safe for newbies to try out. Also, one study found that it can actually bring couples closer. Now that’s something we can get behind (sorry…). Try a few spanks during a particularly passionate bout of intercourse, or make spanking the main goal. If you’re keen on the latter, then follow these important guidelines:

  1. Have the spankee lie across your lap, kneel on a bed, stretch out stomach-down, or bend over something they can put their full weight on for comfort.
  2. Remove all your bracelets and rings.
  3. Start with a bum massage to warm things up.
  4. When it comes to actually spanking, start slowly and build up intensity gradually with your partner’s permission, varying your pressure and strokes. You may even want to begin over jeans or underwear first. Keep checking in with your partner to make sure the pain is pleasant — you’re going for a rosie glow, not an imposed inability to sit down for three days.
  5. Contain your spanking to the lower, fleshier halves of each cheek and the backs of the upper thighs (even if you’re just having a spanking snack during sex, this area should be your target) — avoid the lower back, tailbone, and back of the knees.
  6. Follow each love pat with a short massage, too, to spread out the pain and keep things nice and warm.
  7. A woman might like particular attention paid at the intersection of bum crack and crease, with the vibrations reverberating throughout the vulva, but definitely steer clear of his family jewels.
  8. Remember that, because of your close proximity to your partner, spanking is especially great for pleasantly diddling their front side while patting their backside.
  9. If you don’t want your hand to get numb, let a paddle do the work. It’s easy to control the aim and the force (way easier than whips, which are too dangerous for dabblers). Made-for-play paddles are available at any sex toy shop. However, there’s really no need to invest in a pricey paddle when you’ve got a variety of household items that’ll do the job: a wide plastic spatula, a rubber-soled slipper, and, of course, a ping pong paddle.
  10. Need spanking inspiration? Check out Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z by Rachel Kramer Bussel (there’s even a volume two if you can’t get enough spanking!).

Dream Interpretation: My Two Best Friends Kissed Each Other

October 2nd, 2014

Other people’s dreams are never interesting…except when they’re about sex. Each week, our dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg tells one lucky reader what their dirty dream means. Got a dream you want Lauri to analyze? Click here to submit it (18 and older only, please). This week, a reader asks Lauri:

So last night I had a weird dream where I was with three other friends, and I think I’m bi, and two of my friends kinda like progressed through a relationship throughout the dream. They eventually starting kissing right in front of us and it was my best friend and another friend of mine. I think the characters were those people because all of us are on the volleyball team and we had a game last night. I don’t remember who the other person was who was with me, but I remember how they were always kissing and holding hands. They’re both girls. What does this mean?

Lauri: It’s not likely that this dream means that these two friends of yours have “special feelings” for each other. However, it may mean that they have connected in some way, causing you to feel somewhat left out.

You mentioned that you are all on a team together and had a game the day prior to the dream. Do you recall if these two friends united as teammates and progressed the game through their teamwork with each other? I think the progression is an important element to this dream. Are they progressing as players? Or perhaps they had a pretty involved and intimate conversation recently that you were aware of.

Remember, kissing in dreams is more often about communication in real life than it is about an actual desire to make out. The holding hands in this dream does show a united front, so I can’t help but feel this may be about how they are progressing as teammates. But you should also ask yourself if they had a united front in some other way.

Finally, it is also possible that they both symbolize something you want in a relationship for yourself. Is there a quality that each possesses that you like? Your dream may be showing you that, for example, friend A’s sense of humor is really attractive and friend B’s ability to be a good listener is pretty great, too, and these are two qualities you want in your ideal partner and two qualities that will allow a relationship to progress. Whatever the case, it’s all good, baby!

 

Visit Lauri’s brand new site, WhatYourDreamMeans.com, for even more dream interpretations! If you want to be able to figure out your own dreams every morning, then check out her latest book, Dream On It: Unlock Your Dreams Change Your Life, which will give you the tools you need to become a dream expert, too. Check out all of Lauri’s books here.

 

 

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Comment of the Week: Communicate or Cut Him Loose!

October 1st, 2014

photo via Flickr

This week,  our favorite comment came from TK in response to the “Your Call: The Relationship Is Great, the Sex Not So Much.” We love it when our readers deliver tough love so eloquently!:

Most people who write in to advice columnists “know” the answer already. You may love this guy to bits, but please wake up: you DON’T have a healthy relationship. People treat us the way we allow them to. You set the stage for your dissatisfaction when you went for en entire year without making your sexual needs known. And when you had the “awkward conversation” (see: “this relationship is not healthy” comment above) he made half-hearted attempts to please you. I think you answered your own question with the “he isn’t even trying” comment. You two either need to get real comfortable communicating with each other (which is going to take a lot more awkward conversations before it gets better) or you need to realize now that you’re incompatible. If he really is going to “give up altogether” if you keep asking for your needs to be met, he’s not relationship material, despite how much you think you love him.

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