A recent article in The Economist magazine examines a bunch of scientific papers about online dating in an attempt to figure out if any of those fancy matching algorithms are better than old-fashioned matchmakers like your grandmother. Or even if simply all that choice — and all those checkboxes! — improves your odds of finding love. Turns out there’s very little data to support either theory — and what data there is (hi, Malcolm Gladwell) suggests that too much choice means people (a) make bad decisions and (b) feel less satisfied with their ultimate choice. Oh, yeah, and related research shows that, yes, people with similar personalities tend to have happier relationships — but by the not-exactly-earthshaking margin of 0.5%. In other words, if you want to have a 0.5% better shot at happiness, make sure you go online to find someone who checks all the same boxes as you.
What makes a sex scene great — at least in our opinion — is when there is some genuine realism in it: maybe heads get bonked or tears are shed or body parts fail or giggles erupt. Call it skinéma vérité. Anyway, we hear there is some big, film awards show coming up this weekend, so we decided to honor a few of our favorite, most realistic sex scenes of the past year. These clips are the real deal, so use protection!
Researchers out of Chicago University’s Booth Business School recently conducted a study on people’s ability to resist their desires. It turns out that people can resist cigarettes, they can resist alcohol, they can resist sex, and they can resist the urge to spend money… but what they really really can’t resist is the urge to engage in social and other types of media. In other words, checking email, browsing Facebook, posting to Twitter, etc.
SNL has an actually funny and actually informative round-up of all the bullshit last week.
This is a great cartoon from Jim Morin in the Miami Herald that pretty much sums up last week’s “religious freedom” debate around birth control coverage.
We’ve long known that The One Who Got Away makes for great late-night Google fantasies. And that makes sense: you rifle through your memory bank after another bad breakup — or after another inane argument with your spouse — and wonder how life would have been different if you’d stayed with X. Because through your rose-tinted glasses, you forget about how your ex chewed with their mouth open and only remember the grand romantic gestures.
Back in December, we wrote about the stock photo cliche of a couple’s bare feet sticking out from under the covers always used to accompany sex stories. We had no idea back then that a whole internet meme was brewing about the ridiculousness of stock photos. First came women laughing alone with salad. Then there were the hilarious (or sexually suggestive, we suppose? if you’re into that kind of thing) women struggling to drink water. And now, from the blog Vagenda (tagline “Like King Lear, but for girls”), there are stock photos of women looking remorseful after sexual encounters.
Swing-state singles: Unmarried voters could decide the next election. (Hey, that’s one reason to celebrate being single on V-Day!)
Harvard psychologist claims the data is in, and the world would be a more peaceful place if women were in charge.
Article: Occupy Valentine's Day
Hate Valentine’s Day and its corporate overlords? Have we got a site for you: Occupy Valentine’s Day (“Down with Couple-talism!” Get it?). The tumblr was created by Samhita Mukhopadhyay, author of Outdated: Why Dating is Ruining Your Love Life and Executive Editor of Feministing.com. Here’s its raison d’etre:
The other night, we went to the book launch party for the new sex manual, “Great in Bed,” at the SoHo Babeland in NYC. It had been years since we’d seen our old friend and former coworker, Grant Stoddard, but he was his typical funny, charming self as he and his co-author — Kinsey sex researcher Debby Herbenick, PhD — answered questions from the anonymous drop-box…for an hour and a half. Fortunately, there was champagne:
Article: The pocket rocket… literally
Pocket rocket vibrators have been around forever — since before sex toys got all fancy and high tech and, you know, effective. But there’s a reason the pocket rocket-style vibe has stood the test of time — it’s small and unassuming, but not so small that you wonder why you bothered. It fits easily in your nightstand or, yes, your pocketbook, and it’s not likely to give any guy a complex.
In sci-fi news, scientists are working on a prosthetic testicle that creates and ejects human sperm for men missing one or both testicles who want to procreate. Yale Sex Week, once banned, is in full swing right now. Ron Paul says abortion is okay only when it’s an “honest rape,” you know, as opposed to all…
We both enjoy playing Texas Hold ‘Em, but of the two of us, I (Lo) enjoy it a little too much. So much so that when I just need a night away from it all, I go to Foxwoods to play the low limit table with a bunch of 65 year old men, half of whom have a drinking problem, the other half of whom have a gambling problem. It’s not as sinful or sexy as Vegas, naturally, but it does the trick.
A recent survey by Pew Internet and the American Life Project found that one in three teens had shared a password (email, Facebook, etc.) with a friend or boyfriend or girlfriend. Apparently sharing your password is the new way to express intimacy, to prove to your partner that you have nothing to hide. Um, hello Facebook hacking! (Aside: Did you know that if you work at Facebook HQ and accidentally leave your FB account logged in when you leave your desk, some jokester colleague will update your status to say that you are pooping? Apparently it’s a company tradition.) Anyway. Maybe teens don’t have any credit card digits to lose just yet, but identify theft (or even just unauthorized identity borrowing) can suck in junior high too. We hope we don’t need to explain what a terrible idea this is.
Article: It's you, perfected!
There are many reasons not to read women’s magazines. One of the biggies? All the retouched photos. The genetic mutants we call models and celebrities can beat the shit out your average Jane’s self image, but Photoshop can chop it up with chainsaw. This before and after cover of Red Book from a few years ago thanks to Jezebel.com says it all. In fact, Jezebel has made one of their crusades exposing the evils of Photoshop (here’s their most recent “unveiling”). One of the funniest commentaries on how fucked up Photoshop is when it comes to setting impossible beauty standards is this recent parody of a beauty product commercial by Jesse Rosten on Vimeo: “Just one application of Fotoshop can give you results so dramatic, they’re almost unreal…istic.”
Cynthia Nixon clarifies her controversial quote, explaining that she is gay “by choice” only because she is bisexual by nature.
Heart patients get the go-ahead for sex… so long as it’s with their spouse.
Article: High heels are the devil
High heels are an essential part of our fashion-glam culture. Finding a pair of flats at last night’s SAG Awards was like trying to find a vegan quinoa recipe in a Paula Deen cookbook. More common was the doughnut burger of the shoe world: the 29-inch stiletto like Emma Stone wore. What women will suffer for fashion! Personally, the two of us fall into the more utilitarian camp: while Em has been known to rock a sparkly pump at a party, you’ll find her more often than not in the day-to-day dressing up a flow-y, flowery dress with a pair of Converse. And Lo? Nothing comes between her and her Danskos. It may not be pretty, but nothing’s more ugly than her mood after 20 minutes in a pair of uncomfortable pumps (are they even called that anymore?). Which is why we always feel high and mighty in our low flats when a new study about the horrors of high heels comes out.
What’s a recession-friendly Valentine’s Day gift that will always be received gladly? Unilateral oral sex is a pretty good bet. Or perhaps a half-hour massage with no pressure to reciprocate. Or maybe dressing up as a cowboy and doing your best BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN impression. But how do you make such generous sexual offers feel like an actual gift that you planned in advance — as opposed to a last-minute, oh-shit-I-didn’t-make-it-to-the-mall-in-time present? A hand-written promise to talk dirty, unabated, for 20 minutes is kind of sweet (at least, it is if that’s your partner’s bag), but it can come across as a little half-hearted. A little unofficial, if you will. No witnesses, no signatures in blood, etc.
Article: Want to go to Palm Springs?
One of our favorite toy creators, Jimmyjane, has just teamed up with Ace Hotels (in their NYC and Palm Springs locations) to offer guests a room upgrade that includes a Jimmyjane-curated selection of sexy goods, which can be purchased online, at check-in or from Ace’s late-night room service menu. No travel plans to NYC or Palm Springs? Jimmyjane.com is offering several packages that allow you to bring the Ace experience home with you (for example, the $89 “Voyeur” package includes TCHO Drinking Chocolate, a blindfold and cuffs, the French softcore Emmanuelle Collection, a bullet vibe, a feather tickler, Sir Richards condoms, and Good Clean Love lubricant — kind of an awesome Valentine’s Gift, hotel stay or not).
Article: Top 10 dirtier books
A few weeks back we jumped on the Twitter hashtag #lessambitiousbooks bandwagon, with a list of our Top 10 Less Ambitious Sex Books (The Joy of Dry Humping, Slight Hangup About Flying, etc.). This time around we figured we’d create our own damn hashtag — #dirtierbooks — so that nobody could accuse us of being late to the game. The trick with #dirtierbooks is to be clever without sounding like a cheesy porno (The Da Vinci Load, A Tale of Two Titties, et al). Below are our top 10 best attempts. So, er, anyone want to jump on our bandwagon? (That came out dirtier than we meant it.)
High school team can’t call themselves the Cougars because of its association with sexually-active, single, middle-aged women.
Speaking of cougars and high school: Sex and the City pre-quel pilot on the CW is a go.
Women’s reproductive rights haven’t been this threatened by a group of Republican presidential hopefuls in decades. As Rachel Maddow summarized brilliantly the other night, Rick Santorum, “libertarian” Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Perry have all signed pledges backing the Personhood movement that aims to make all abortions illegal (even in the case of rape and incest) by defining fertilized eggs as people, which would in turn ban most forms of birth control. Mitt Romney hasn’t signed anything yet, nor did he attend the Presidential Prolife Forum in South Caroline this past Wednesday like all the others, but he did tell Mike Huckabee last October that he “absolutely” would have supported a personhood amendment to his state’s constitution when he was Governor of Massachusetts. Rick Santorum is the only one — so far — who’s actually said out loud that birth control is “not okay” and is a dangerous problem in this country, but that kind of thinking is basically built into the personhood movement (whether these candidates, who will say anything to appease their religious base, realize it or not). So you know where these guys stand.
Instead of waiting til the last minute like usual, why not get a jump start on some Valentine’s Day card ideas, you know, before Monday, February 13th sneaks up and cupid-arrows you in the ass?
From Someecards, the king of irreverent greetings: e.g. “Sorry the only ring you’re wearing this Valentine’s Day is a contraceptive in your vagina” (that’s just one of 99 hilarious ones)
Five DIY Valentine’s Day cards to make with the kids, collated by LilSugar.
The Girl Scouts are standing by their transgender-inclusive policy despite a threatened boycott of Girl Scout cookies. Which sounds as good an excuse as any we’ve heard to over-indulge in Thin Mints this winter.
Pee in Peace iPhone app helps transgender people find the nearest single stall or gender neutral bathroom (in Ithaca, NY, only so far… but they have hopes to expand!).
Before we get going, you need to know that this post contains monstrously huge plot spoilers for THE IDES OF MARCH. We’re not joking — scroll down at your peril.
The trouble is, it’s kind of hard to talk about THE IDES OF MARCH (out today on DVD, it was nominated but totally — unfairly — shut out at the Golden Globes on Sunday night) without spoiling the plot, because one of the major story lines — which is nowhere in any of the trailers, for once — is meant to be a huge crazy surprise.