Blog Posts by Erin Flaherty, Shine staff

  • Sex tips, from the year 1894

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesImagine a time when sex was seen as "at best revolting and at worst rather painful." According to The Sun (and well, anyone who's ever taken rudimentary history lessons), the Victorians, not exactly known for their raunchy bedroom antics, perceived a woman's um, "wifely duties" as something to abhor. Sex Tips for Husbands and Wives was penned by Ruth Smythers, a vicar's wife, in 1894. Some amazing gems:

    • The wise bride will permit a maximum of two brief sexual experiences weekly - and as time goes by she should make every effort to reduce this frequency.
    • A selfish and sensual husband can easily take advantage of his wife. One cardinal rule of marriage should never be forgotten: Give little, give seldom and above all give grudgingly. Otherwise what could have been a proper marriage could become an orgy of sexual lust.
    • A wise wife will make it her goal never to allow her husband to see her unclothed body, and never allow him to display his unclothed body to her.
    • Once in bed, the
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  • How to keep the recession out of your love life

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    Immediately following the Dow crash, we reported that some hookup sites saw major spikes in activity, leading us to speculate that "terror sex" was at play and that in some strange way, perhaps a recession could somehow be good for your love life (see the original post). But now that some time has passed, the decidedly less sexy reality of financial strain and its negative impact on our relationships has become more and more apparent. So, during a time of crisis, when our hands are absolutely tied (and again, this has nothing to do with S&M), what the heck can we do to combat this unfortunate reality? Besides, who can afford a divorce? (ahem)

    If you're in a bad marriage you have every right to get out of it and fast, but if you're in an otherwise healthy partnership, you obviously don't want the current economic climate putting cracks in your uh, house of love. People are flailing financially and need to retool the way they approach their household budgets. Because money is

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  • "Red Sex, Blue Sex": Do abstinence-only programs cause more teen pregnancies?

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    Do religious teens exposed to abstinence-only education have more sex and unplanned pregnancies than those with less restrictive parameters? Startling new research says yes, absolutely. The latest issue of the New Yorker presents these findings in a provocative article called "Red Sex, Blue Sex," which explores the relationship between religion, socio-economic status, political affiliation and sex education. While I can't say I found the results shocking, they certainly gave me pause.

    For example, Bristol Palin's pregnancy helped instead of hurt Sarah Palin's bid for the socially conservative, Christian vote, because apparently, so many folks in the community could relate. "As Marlys Popma, the head of evangelical outreach for the McCain campaign, told National Review, 'There hasn't been one evangelical family that hasn't gone through some sort of situation." In fact, blue states tend to support sex education and teen pregnancy is generally perceived as a social stigma, whereas "'red

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  • 5 romantic (and affordable!) winter getaways

    There's nothing better for your relationship than escaping all the stress and obligatory travel of the holidays and doing something just for you two. For some couples, a special trip is priceless when compared with material possessions--who needs those manty stocking stuffers anyway?--so a well-planned weekend or hopefully, week long, adventure is a yummy gift idea, too. As a travel junkie, I've been everywhere as they say, so I wracked my brain to come up with a list of unique places that not only provide a sexy backdrop for two, they're also easier on your pocketbook than say, a lavish weekend in the French countryside. Enjoy, and don't forget to let us know your suggestions as well.

    Reykjavick, Iceland

    As a nation under recession, we can relate to the unfortunate circumstances that have led to a decline in the value of the Icelandic krona. But from a vacation opportunist's perspective, this means that travelers can take advantage of the lower currency rate, SO... While ice

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  • Why gay marriage lost big this week (and is Obama partly to blame?)

    Jay L. Clendenin/Lara Porzak/GettyImagesJay L. Clendenin/Lara Porzak/GettyImagesThis historic, landslide presidential election was a huge win for those who are thirsting for change in the form of a progressive new political ideology in this country. And that's exactly why gay marriage activists are even more perplexed as to how Proposition 8 passed on the same day. In fact, November 4th symbolized a huge step back for gay rights when three states voted to change their constitutions to define marriage as well, a hetero thing.

    While some expected bans to pass in, let's face it, far more conservative states like Florida and Arizona, the California loss was shocking to many, especially due to the fact that those who opposed the proposition raised a staggering, unprecedented $43.6 million to fight it, and had the very vocal support of many famous faces like Brad Pitt and Ellen DeGeneres (who recently married her partner Portia de Rossi in California). Writes John Cloud in Time, "Losing there dims hopes that shimmered brightly just a few weeks ago - hopes that in an

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  • Study finds the lady in red is one red hot mama

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    According to a new study led by psychology professor Andrew Elliot of the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York, 100 (mostly) young, straight men found women dressed in red more sexually attractive than those who weren't.

    "Although this 'red alert' may be a product of human society associating red with love for eons, it also may arise from more primitive biological roots, Elliot said.

    'Noting the genetic similarity of humans to higher primates, he said scientists have shown that certain male primates are especially attracted to females of their species displaying red. For example, female baboons and chimpanzees show red coloring when nearing ovulation, sending a sexual signal that the males apparently find irresistible.'

    'It could be this very deep, biologically based automatic tendency to respond to red as an attraction cue given our evolutionary heritage,' Elliot, whose findings appear in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, said in a telephone interview."--

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  • Do women cheat as much as men do?

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    That's the first question the latest infidelity studies point to. The second is: If you cheated on your spouse, would you even admit it to a researcher?

    Historically, the male sex gets most of the flak when it comes to infidelity among spouses. But that could be due to those tired old gender roles we're cast in. A recent New York Times report implies that women may simply be more likely to lie about it for that very reason. Research professor of anthropology at Rutgers Helen E. Fisher suggests that, "Men want to think women don't cheat, and women want men to think they don't cheat, and therefore the sexes have been playing a little psychological game with each other." Fun!

    "Is it that men are bragging about it and women are lying to everybody including themselves?" she asks. Makes sense. After all, it's no secret that the widely held double standard that men who cheat are "studs" while women are "sluts" is still disturbingly prevalent.

    Still, the changes in the landscape of

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  • Can you date someone who doesn't share your politics?

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    In an appearance on "The View," staunch Obama supporter Maggie Gyllenhaal famously stated that she could never date a Republican. In this new YourTango essay, a liberal man writes wistfully, and just a tad angrily about the conservative girl he had to break up with. And when I recently wrote that discussing politics is probably a dish best served on a second date and not the first (see "10 things NOT to say on a first date"), hundreds of commentators skewered me, "Politics are too important," one reader said. "If we don't share the same views, it's a dealbreaker, period!"

    As Jason Malarkey writes in his essay, "When politics are truly and deeply felt, it's about a person's entire ethical perspective." If it's a question of holding radically different values sacred, is there any hope of romantic compatibility? Or rather, when it comes to politics, how long can you agree to disagree before the seams of your relationship burst?

    Then again, if love conquers all, it would seem easy

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  • Who's your favorite single girl?

    NBC/Mary Ellen MathewsNBC/Mary Ellen Mathews
    Since I don't own a TV at the moment, I've kinda fallen behind on what in the world could possibly be going on out there. (Truth be told, they lost me at those scary D-list celeb reality shows.) So in order to supplement my malnourished pop culture muscles I catch up online--see our Joanna's Entertainment posts and Yahoo! TV--and was surprised to come across this slideshow about all the single female protagonists out there burning up prime time. There's woman of the hour Tina Fey as Liz Lemon on "30 Rock," Mary-Louise Parker as Nancy Botwin on "Weeds," Holly Hunter as Grace Hanadarko on "Saving Grace," America Ferrera's Betty Suarez on "Ugly Betty," Kyra Sedgwick as Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson on "The Closer" and Christina Applegate as Samantha Newly on "Samantha Who?" among the 19 (19!!!) women they feature on the slideshow.

    Could this possibly have something to do with the insane ratings gold and box-office success that single women seem to provide? (Clearly, I'm thinking "Sex and

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  • The government is listening to our phone sex

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    Soldiers in Iraq--men and women who have honorably taken oaths to defend the Constitution--and their loved ones may have had their own rights violated when Bush's terrorist surveillance program, which allows the intelligence community to monitor phone calls between the United States and overseas without a court order (if someone on the call is actually a terror suspect), was abused. ABC reports on the investigation into allegations that U.S. intelligence officers shockingly intercepted, recorded, and shared hundreds of phone sex calls between U.S. citizens:

    "Adrienne Kinne, a former U.S. Army Reserves Arab linguist, told ABC News the NSA [National Security Agency] was listening to the phone calls of U.S. military officers, journalists and aid workers overseas who were talking about 'personal, private things with Americans who are not in any way, shape or form associated with anything to do with terrorism.'"

    In fact, what amused the workers most was phone sex, which was common

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