A few weeks back — in a post about how clutter can be as big an issue in relationships as money or sex — we mentioned a forthcoming book, Significant Objects: 100 Extraordinary Stories About Everything. Well, the book just came out yesterday! So we’d like to tell you a little more about it.
A little more than a month ago we here at EMandLO.com (that’d be me, i.e. Lo, and Em) conducted a poll called “Vulva or Vagina?” Readers had two options to choose from (natch):
Vulva: If we’re talking about female external genitalia, this is the anatomically correct and accurate term. (Plus, it sounds nicer.)
Vagina: That’s what everyone calls it. It’s common practice, common knowledge. Nobody calls it vulva. To do so is pretentious.
Article: Top 10 directors not afraid of nudes
Photo credit: mojeopinie.pl
If you spend a lot of time analyzing movie sex scenes like we do, you might find yourself rolling your eyes at how many onscreen couples manage to have sex without ever showing any skin… or who fall asleep with a sheet covering them just so… or who always put on a shirt and underpants when they get out of bed to pee, no matter how raunchy things just got. Where’s the nudity? Where’s the raunch? Well, if you’re looking to really steam things up this summer, check out the Hot Summer Nights series: every Friday and Saturday night in August, there is a triple bill of films designed to do just that, from Y TU MAMÁ TAMBIÉN to DIARY OF A NYMPHOMANIAC. For further feverish research on your own time, you might want to look up the work of the following 10 directors who are very, shall we say, comfortable with onscreen nudity. And we mean the real kind — not the CGI kind. Only after we finished this list did we realize it was entirely male, which we suppose shouldn’t surprise us — after all, most of the nudity is female. But we dug up male nudity — or, at least, equal-opportunity nudity — where we could. You’re welcome!
This week, we go from conception to being breastfed to leaving the nest to death — it’s the circle of life!
We’re always a little skeptical when sex research is sponsored by a commercial product — as opposed to, say, an academic institution. That said, the commercially driven surveys tend to have a lot of money and resources behind them, and every now and then, interesting stuff comes out of them. Take the new survey from Trojan — sure, it includes not particularly helpful stats, like the fact that 70% of people “are open to trying a new condom designed to enhance orgasmic pleasure.” Oh really, Trojan? And we don’t suppose you happen to know anything about where we could find a condom like that, do you?
While Em was reading her daughter a bedtime story the other night, it occurred to her — because she has read the same stories hundreds of times and thus it is possible to think about potential posts for this blog while reading — that a swift exchange of contact info would have been a much easier way for the Prince to stay in touch with Cinderella. And if the Prince and Cinderella forgot to exchange digits before midnight, then a few minutes of Internet stalking — Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, et. al. — would have fixed that. It’s perhaps not quite as romantic as visiting every woman in the land with a discarded shoe, but it’s a lot more convenient. Also, less gross. (Hello, athlete’s foot. Google that, Prince Charming.)
image: “Self Portrait with My Son 2012″ by Jade Bealle
Because all mamas are hot in their own way, photographer Jade Beall’s new project “A Beautiful Body” invites mothers, both new and old, to celebrate their imperfectly perfect bodies. In a world of airbrushing, Photoshopping and self-loathing, how refreshing! In the coming year she’ll be hitting the road with her now five-month-old son, her partner and her dog in an RV, taking nude and semi-nude portraits of as many women as she can who are interested in participating (and there are a lot!). We recently asked her to tell us more…
Are women’s and men’s fantasy lives vastly different, or are they basically the same except for a few variations on theme and frequency? We suppose it depends on who you ask and what they already believe. Because people’s prior beliefs about how women and men approach sex can really affect the way they interpret research on the matter.
OK, so maybe love is a strong word for North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s marriage. But who knows what goes on behind closed doors? In Scotland, doors might be opening for gay couples who wish to marry. Which is pretty much the last country we would have expected it from (except maybe North Korea… and Iran… OK, OK, the Scots aren’t that bad). But while it’s getting gradually easier to marry a same-sex partner across the globe (to the moon and back, even — thanks, Sally Ride), it’s not getting any easier to be a VP in the U.S. (or to get away with cheating if you’re a celebrity, for that matter).
Article: A musical history of wooing women
CDZA (short for Collective Cadenza) is a group of mostly Juilliard-trained music geeks (and we use that term in the most loving and respectful way) that “creates musical video experiments” — in other words, fun viral vids that play upon all sorts of musical themes and genres (think “Evolution of Dance” but with live musicians and no dancing). Ten months ago they created their inaugural “History of Lyrics That Aren’t Lyrics” (i.e. Sha na na na, doobie doobie doo, etc). Then a few months ago they started producing these videos regularly, one every other Tuesday. Some recent examples: “Mark Zuckerberg: The Musical” (“This is the dawning of the page that you share with us”) and “Aces of Basses” (a literal tribute to the Swedish pop sensation using five acoustic upright basses).
“When we take a few moments away from horror and tragedy — not to mention politics and anger — to prove that humor and fantasy survive, there will be one question on moviegoing America’s mind this month… Who would win a fight between Spider-Man and Batman?”
Image from Em & Lo’s sex manual, SEX: How to Do Everything
You’ve probably heard of the Coital Alignment Technique. It was all the rage a decade or so ago. But have you ever actually tried it? Have you tried it again recently? It takes patience. It takes practice. And it goes against everything you’ve seen in porn. But since when did porn cater to what women want? Beyond just following the specific steps below, mastering the C.A.T. requires a philosophical readjustment. Abandon your assumptions that intercourse automatically means a piston-like motion, lots of flailing about and a rush to climax. For the C.A.T., you’ve got to take what some might call a more “feminine” approach to sex: think small subtle movement, full-body contact with a focus on the clitoris and the pelvic mounds and a Buddhist-like repetition of steps that may very well get her closer to Zen (i.e. orgasm) better than any other hands-free intercourse position out there.
Yes, it’s a serious question. An ancient technique called karezza — based on the Italian word carezza, for caress — is coming back in vogue with therapists as a means of addressing more modern sex problems. Karezza refers to intercourse that eschews orgasms for both parties and focuses on attachment and affection. Serious devotees claim that it can overcome sex addiction, female sexual dysfunction, erectile dysfunction and sexual boredom, and extend the honeymoon period of a relationship for, well, forever. Which sounds to us like a bit of a Sophie’s choice: Would you be willing to give up orgasms — or, at least, intentional orgasms — for the rest of your life in order to have a permanently awesome sex life?
Squid have sex for three hours, STDs can cause a rise in foot fetishes, Domino’s Pizza wants you associate date rape with extra cheese, and Charlie Sheen likes to tweet during sex. Welcome to an edition of Naked News guaranteed to make you feel like your sex life is vanilla — and to make you feel OK with that.
Today marks the second weekly installment of the Onion’s new web series, Sex House — a parody of The Real World/Big Brother/Glass House-type reality shows that pretend to be about something other than throwing a bunch of people into a Sartre-esque No Exit living sitch with a bunch of raging hormones and an endless supply of cheap vodka. It’s the first series from the Onion Digital Studio, which according to the Huffington Post, will focus exclusively on non-news parodies. The other three web series airing on its YouTube channel this summer include Lake Dredge Appraisal (think Antiques Road Show meets 1980s public-access TV), Horrifying Planet (think National Geographic meets When Animals Attack meets American’s Funniest Home Videos) and Troublehacking with Drew Cleary (think vloggers with delusions of grandeur).
Jacqueline Samuels has become an overnight sensation. Last month she opened “The Snuggery,” a little cabin in Penfield, NY, where she offers private cuddle sessions for $60 an hour: no nudity, absolutely no sex, just platonic touch that she says studies have shown can have a positive effect on your mental and physical well-being. (She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Brain and Cognitive Science from the University of Rochester and is currently completing her Master’s Degree in Social Work). Well, the Internets eat this kind of thing up, and within days, she went global, appearing on CNN (without her knowledge) and getting inquiries from abroad. Apparently the world needs a hug. So we contacted Samuels via her tasteful little website and asked her about it directly:
Article: It's not you; it's your clutter
When is an item a significant object worth collecting or displaying on the mantlepiece — or saving to sell on eBay at a later date — and when is it clutter? And if it’s clutter, is it threatening your relationship? The subject of household clutter has been on our minds lately. Em was at a reading last week for the forthcoming book Significant Objects, a literary experiment that began its life on eBay. Basically, the editors (New York Times Magazine writer Rob Walker and Em’s old friend Josh Glenn of HiLoBrow.com) wanted to see if attaching a fictional backstory to a tchotchke would increase its value (turns out it did). We’ll write more on the book itself when it comes out next month.
In my senior year of high school, I (Lo) read The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, the first in a three-book series by vampire-genre goddess Anne Rice (who was a fave of mine at the time), writing under the pen name A. N. Roquelaure. Except instead of vampires, she was playing around with fairytale characters in a crazy BDSM world with bondage, whips, suspension, sticky-itchy honey-glazes on genitals, you name it! Her Beauty trilogy from more than 25 years ago was the original “Fifty Shades of Grey” series, filled with kinky sex on almost every page — except Rice’s was actually well written and, if memory serves me correctly, a lot more hardcore.
This week, a gay Episcopalian who fell in love with a one-night-stand-turned-fiancé can learn how to survive a hurricane barreling through her upcoming wedding nuptials.
Is it possible that bad parenting could lead to bad sex? Could spoiled and selfish kids grow up to be spoiled and selfish bed partners? A recent article and book review in The New Yorker, “Why are American kids so spoiled?,” got us thinking along these lines.
To quote Woody Allen, “Pizza is a lot like sex. When it’s good, it’s really good. When it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.” Writer John Banville (who won the Booker Prize for his awesomely beautiful and lyrical novel The Sea back in 2005) would agree. And he goes one step further, saying that because of this, it’s impossible to write well about sex. Meaning that because men, at least, tend to enjoy most sex, no matter how bad it is, there is this inherent disconnect: They can’t write about it because they have no idea what just happened. Was it good, was it bad, was it the same old thing, was it earth-shattering? All they know is that they had an orgasm and it felt pretty cool. And as Tolstoy didn’t really say, good sex is all alike; all bad sex is bad in its own way. The latter is worth reading about; the former is just bad erotica.
Our poet friend Mark Bibbins is the author of “The Dance of No Hard Feelings”, a prof in the graduate writing programs at The New School and Columbia, and the poetry editor of The Awl (“Be Less Stupid”), where he features one or two pieces by a poet each week. His latest selection — “Romeo + Juliet Poem” by Krystal Languell, who’s on the board of the Belladonna* Collaborative — really caught our attention: It’s fun, sexy, visceral (see excerpt below). Since our enjoyment of good poetry usually involves quoting THE PRINCESS BRIDE (“No more rhymes now, I mean it.” “Anybody want a peanut?”), we asked Mark to give us some insight into this particular poem.
Double-dating is at least as hard as plain old dating. First of all, there’s two of them and two of you, which means there are four potential relationships to negotiate — you’re trying to find a couple with whom you have four-way chemistry. That’s Nobel-level stuff happening there. And then there’s the lack of sex — unless you’re swingers, of course. You might forgive your date’s annoying dining habits (chewing with their mouth open, gesticulating with a fork) because you’re going to get some hot monkey lovin’ later on. But your double date? The best you can hope for is a double kiss on the cheek, European style. So they’d better be good company. Here are the Top 10 movie couples we wouldn’t mind double-dating with. (Though we can’t promise that our other halves would necessarily agree.)
Article: The secret sex life of tennis
OK, so maybe it’s not the first sport you think of when it comes to sex appeal. But look a little closer and you’d be surprised at how much sex there is in tennis. (Though will someone please tell Rafael Nadal that biting trophies doesn’t make anyone think of sex, and actually just makes us all a little bit uncomfortable?)