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I usually get a lot of flack for my unending love of the original, the ultimate ’90s teen primetime soap Beverly Hills, 90210. I can’t help it. I grew up watching Brenda follow her dreams all the way across the pond. I aspired to run the school newspaper like Andrea Zuckerman. I wanted a boyfriend who had sideburns like Brandon’s. (And I found him!) The show lasted an entire decade! And I’ll admit, I ditched it for Dawson’s Creek once Jason Priestley left and it got kind of intolerable. (I mean, really, how many awful things had to happen to poor Kelly Taylor? My friend Elizabeth and I agree that after she had been burned in a fire, sucked into a cult, addicted to coke, almost killed by a mixed-up sociopath, raped twice and shot, the girl must have been from Hell.)

Still, I will always sing the praises of the show’s earlier years, because it was the first hour-long drama to take teens seriously (sorry, Saved By the Bell, that wasn’t you). The story lines of the West Bev crew touched on important, timely issues that applied to ’90s teens—from AIDS to suicide to premarital sex (oh, Donna Martin, you goody-goody) and even the consequences of drinking too much champagne at prom. Where’s that show today? Oh, right, there was nothing but a pile of sugar-coated, Hannah Montana crap—so the CW had to just remake 90210.

At any rate, today is actually 9-02-10! To commemorate, I thought I’d spotlight just a few of the show’s life lessons on body image, love and sex.

Diet pills suck – Remember Kelly Taylor’s friend who came to Brenda’s sleepover but acted way too cool? Well, she was actually just a grumpy ex-chubby girl who was on loads of diet pills. And beautiful but insecure Kelly herself later abused diet pills. The show portrayed pill-popping to stay slim as sad and scary. Maybe this stuck with me, because years later, I found myself trading a bottle of Metabo-Life for a healthy lifestyle change with Weight Watchers.

You don’t have to wait ’til marriage—just ’til you fall in love – Before Brenda and Dylan did it at the Spring Dance, she gushed, “How many girls get to have sex for the first time with someone they love?” That scene likely shaped my own and many other girls’ views of virginity. Why do it with someone I didn’t love? But that didn’t necessarily mean having to wait until marriage. (Besides, it’s not like I’m Catholic, like Donna. Oh, wait, she had eventually did it with David before they got hitched!) Turns out Brenda’s swiping of the V-card was pretty revolutionary, too: According to an article in Slate, “The most shocking part was that she shows no remorse. A teen girl having sex—even if she used a condom—and gloating about it didn’t go unnoticed (or unpunished).” …until of course they wrote in Brenda’s pregnancy scare of season 2. Whatever. Sorry, Jim Walsh, she just wasn’t your little girl anymore.

Andrea Zuckerman was beautiful – She may have started out as the geeky girl with the hopeless crush on Brandon Walsh. And granted, she never got that guy, she was still adored—by Brandon, Steve and many a hot (and often older) dude. In her all of her straight A-earning, editor-in-chief of The Blaze, getting into Yale while wearing high-waisted jeans glory, the Jewish girl from the wrong side of the tracks was truly aspirational.

Put your sisters before misters – Really, what the heck, Brenda and Kelly? Dylan had that sexy James Dean thing going on, but he was also super screwed-up on booze, coke and later, heroin. Not hot. And definitely not worth throwing out your BFF bond.

Being a model is not worth sleeping with some sleazy French guy – That is all.

Be yourself! – This was a running theme, of course—being a teenager is all about figuring out who you are and staying true to that. But the most literal lesson on being yourself may have been when Brenda pretended to be French with hottie-pa-tottie Rick (played by Dean Cain) in Paris. The ruse got her in a lot of hot water back in Bev Hills once “Reek” showed up to attend UCLA—classic! After attempting to enlist mom Cindy and bro Brandon to play along, Brenda quickly learned that she was better off calling the whole thing off and just being herself—the all-American Brenda Walsh from Minnesota. She could save random accents for the stage.

More hilarious life lessons from 90210.

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Alright, I’ve had it! It is time to take a stand on what’s what in the world of lady health, and I need you with me. We have to make sure that we’re not buying into, parroting or perpetuating even more BS about what’s best for our sex lives, boobs, genitalia or hygiene. So without further ado, let’s get a few things straight.

Douching is a no-no. There has been a lot of hullabaloo about a new Summer’s Eve ad that is titled, “Confidence at Work: How to Ask For a Raise” (see left). They claim they know what can really help you smash that glass ceiling: Manmade contraptions and chemicals used to wash your cooch, of course! …But, no. No, it isn’t. Don’t we all know that? When I heard about it, I thought, “Um, what? Why does that product even exist anymore? Who out there still thinks it is a good idea to douche?” I thought we all knew this by now—douching is generally not recommended, as it can adversely affect the body’s natural balance of bacteria, leading to vaginal infection and other problems. So, yes, this ad is totally ridiculous, but even more wild and crazy to me that there’s even a market for Summer’s Eve. Hey you, Mary Sue! The 21st century called—it wants you to walk away from the douche bag…

Big mouths speaking out on breastfeeding. Please shut up, Gisele, and anyone else who thinks they know what is best for every single woman. Just stick to what works for you, mm’k?

The Kardashian girls may have a lot of sisterly love—but apparently not the correct vocab for their vajayjays.

Vulva, vulva, vulva! OK, I don’t care if you think it’s school marmy. I’m a writer, so right there, you know why I’m a bit of a stickler for correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. Also, I heart me some correct terminology. And I’m personally super-annoyed when women refer to their own gorgeous genitalia with the wrong name. A perfect example in the news: Kim Kardashian was quoted as saying, “I don’t know, I never looked at [sister Khloe’s] vagina. I thought it was, like, a shaved rashy vagina.” Ehhh! Sorry, Kim. You’d need a speculum to really see your sister’s vagina. It’s her red, bumpy bikini line that you must be referring to…or if she gets Brazilians, maybe it’s her vulva. That’s the outer part. I really hope it’s not her vagina. (Ooouchhh.) Bottom-line: If you’re not going to call it by it’s correct name, at least use something fun—like “honey pot” or “lady business.”

Myths or missing info about birth control. This is a huge umbrella under there is one really nasty storm is going on. One golfball-sized piece of hail… The idea that the Withdrawal Method or “pulling out” is hands-down, no questions asked an express ticket to being called Ma-ma. The reality of it is that coitus interruptus is nearly as effective as condoms. That’s good news for many responsible, monogamous couples who trust one another and are in tune with their bodies. Then there is the missing info (and sometimes straight-up lies) about ParaGard, the copper-T, nonhormonal IUD. Some resources won’t mention it to you if you’re young and unmarried. Some dishonest practitioners will shoo you out of their examining room if you tell them you’re interested in using it instead of the Pill. (Really, you ask? Stay tuned. My sister will report on a personal experience in a future post…) The truth is that the IUD can be inserted in younger women who haven’t had a baby, and it is safe, 99% effective, good for up to 10 years and a stellar choice for birth control especially if you’re in a monogamous relationship.

Ok, now it’s your turn. What totally un-sexy trend would you like to blow the whistle on?

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(Photo via menstruationresearch.org)

On Friday afternoon/evening, I got swept up in what can only be described as a brilliant, bold, Twitterific takeover of Midtown Manhattan by over 2,000 lady bloggers aka BlogHer ’10. My friend and associate (I edit her magazine column at First for Women), Lissa Rankin was one of the keynote speakers at the Voices of the Year Community Keynote, and she graciously invited me as one of her guests to see the speech and party afterward at the BlogHer Gala.

Although Lissa and I hadn’t discussed any of the details of what she would be presenting in her keynote, I nodded knowingly when she began reading her Op/Ed post, “What? We Can’t Say ‘Vagina‘?” If you don’t recall, this past spring, there was controversy regarding a Kotex tampon commercial that featured the word for the body part that tampons are for. The company had two choices: Give up the “vagina” or bury the spot. In her post, Lissa wisely weighs in and calls out the irony and insanity of our squirminess as a society to verbalize the female genitalia—especially in the Kotex context. The response? She had a blogger-filled ballroom literally standing up to those lame-o TV execs by chorusing, “Vagina! Vagina! Vagina!”

You can check out a video of Lissa reading her post at BlogHer here.

I’m always talking about loving your body. And for the most part, when talking about body confidence, we tend to think of curves, muffin-tops, jiggly thighs and maybe breasts. But what about the part of our body that TV networks would prefer to shroud in secrecy? The part of our body, which as Lissa points out, is where all human life comes from! After Friday night, I started to think … Maybe it’s about time we start cultivating our vagina confidence! We could have a soap company sponsor a “Campaign for Real Vaginies” and Jessica Simpson could have a show on cable called “The Price of Pretty Coochies.” 🙂

But in all seriousness, we need to take more pride in our “private” parts. I know, I know, it all stems from this backasswards Puritanical idea that we perpetuate as Americans that boobies and vulvas are to be bleeped out, covered up, blocked out with black boxes when shown on TV and slapped with an X rating (whereas blood, guts and guns—that’s just PG). And I’m not advocating that we start throwing “bottom-less” parties a la Harold and Kumar. But we should really listen to what Lissa’s saying and work toward being comfortable and confident as women with saying “vagina,” “vulva” or even a euphemism when naming our own normal, perfectly beautiful genitalia. Communication breeds empowerment, and no one else is going to own your health, your sexuality and your well-being like you can. So, let’s do like Lissa and start a vagina confidence revolution. One defiant chant of “Vagina! Vagina! Vagina!” at a time.

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(Photo via match.com)

My boyfriend has iPhone envy, and sometimes when I’m brushing my teeth and he’s already in bed, he’ll tuck into my New York Times or CNN apps to catch up on the day’s news. Last night, he read me this story, from The Frisky, in which Anna Sophia Martin tells her tale of a first date gone horribly wrong. Dan thought I’d get a kick out of it, because I was the Queen of Online Dating until he and I met on JDate in late ’06. While Anna had spent a few months pointing and clicking in search of a soulmate, I spent a few years scouring guys’ profiles in Boston, L.A., Chicago and New York. I was even bi at one point—coastal, that is. And all I can say is, I feel the girl’s pain—and her pride.

Anna went out with a guy named Dan who sported “a round, waffle-sized bald patch” and 20 extra pounds (which he claimed was muscle, mmk…) She wasn’t into it. And neither was he…sort of. He chose to e-mail her after their first date to explain where he stood. He confessed that he just doesn’t have chemistry with “very curvy women.” He inquired as to whether or not she was planning to “embark on and commit to a process of a transformation”… If so, he’d be down to go out again.

As my (very unbald, extremely handsome, respectful, considerate, etc.) Dan read Anna’s tale aloud, I couldn’t help but laugh, shake my head and groan. I flashed back to various cringe-worthy or ridiculous moments of my dating career, in which I experienced similarly outrageous encounters regarding men’s superficial, unjustified expectations. A couple of my horror stories for your entertainment:

Whackadoodle Dude #1: Not long after I moved to L.A., I met Kyle* online. He was getting his Masters in New York, so I ended up flying across the country to a.) visit my friends at NYU and b.) go on several dates with Kyle. He was a theater geek who religiously watched “Battlestar Galactica” and who didn’t seem to have too many friends or much of a life outside of school. But I shrugged all that off, because he looked a bit like Fred Savage and seemed like he could be a nice Jewish guy. And he was quite the gentleman…until we were hanging out in person for the second time, and out of the blue, he said, “Promise me that you’ll never turn into a fat Jewish mom.” As you might imagine, my head nearly exploded. “WHAT did you say?” I responded. He laughed hysterically. I wasn’t amused. I hailed a cab and left him to find someone else who wouldn’t mind passive-aggressive requests regarding her bagel eating habits and circumference of her thighs 10 years from now.

In an effort to find love, I was bi—coastal, that is. (Photo via SheKnows.com)

Whackadoodle Dude #2: I once started chatting with a guy online who fired questions at me via IM as if I was interviewing for a six-figure corporate job. He felt he had the right to know how often I worked out, did I consider myself fit, how much I weighed? Although with that last Q, I should have just closed out of the conversation, I found myself wrapped up and trying to prove a point… That I was attractive. That I consider myself a work in progress when it comes to my fitness. (Aren’t we all?) That when it deciding whether or not to go on a first date with me, my recent, clear-as-day photos should have been enough—my body fat percentage, on the other hand, was a non-issue. Mostly I just couldn’t believe he had the audacity to request this info. He argued that he was “looking for the whole package.” Meanwhile, the guy didn’t even have a photo of himself on his profile. I didn’t waste much more than a second or two before hitting the good old X button.

"I'll have a half-caf, 5'5" blonde with grande C-cups and a membership at Equinox Americano, please."

I’m all about being forthright about what you want in a relationship and from a potential partner. And I don’t deny that physical attraction is crucial. But telling someone you barely know to go on a diet, hit the gym daily or vow to never become a nasty stereotype is just plain crazy. And having deliriously high standards and/or acting like finding a significant other is the same thing as placing a customized order at Starbucks is a prescription for eternal singledom. I’m really just baffled as to where these guys get off. But I’d take a wild guess that Anna’s Dan and my own delusional dates are destined to be alone until their attitudes—and likely subpar looks—seriously shape up.

*=Surprisingly, I never dated anyone with this name! So it works as a pseudonym.

On Tuesday, July 6, my sister and I saw Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball. Being big enough fans to call ourselves “little monsters,” Emmie and I had greatly anticipated this day and this show for months. And, believe me, Gaga did not disappoint. Next time (yes, I will pay to see this woman perform more than once), we will have to splurge a bit to get up closer, because we had a pretty dead-on side view. (Hey, at least we could see her exits and entrances, which made for a “behind-the-scenes” experience!)

Queen of The Monster Ball (Photo via InspiredByTheLady.tumblr.com)

 

Gaga/Stefani Germanotta embodies a lot of what I believe in and try to touch on through my TBL writing. She’s sexually open, political, outspoken, empowered and bold. She’s confident–but modest, she has recently owned the label of feminist, she’s been through hard times with her physical/emotional/mental health and come out on top. Many of these themes play throughout her whimsical, outrageous, sexy, poignant performance. And because of that, there’s a lot going on beneath the surface of the experience. That’s why I thought it’d be fun to break down the…5 Lessons Learned from The Monster Ball:

5. Everyone’s insecure. Sadly, this often compromises our emotional and sexual well being.

The Monster Ball opens with the silhouette of Gaga behind a giant, green, laser lit video screen, behind which she performs “Dance in the Dark.” By waiting to present herself fully to the audience, Gaga is surely toying with her audience’s sense of anticipation, but she’s also making a statement about insecurity. As Gaga told Ann Powers back in December: “The record is about a girl who likes to have sex with the lights off, because she’s embarrassed about her body. She doesn’t want her man to see her naked. She will be free, and she will let her inner animal out, but only when the lights are out…These lyrics are a way for me to talk about how I believe women and some men feel innately insecure about themselves all the time. It’s not sometimes, it’s not in adolescence, it’s always.”

4. There are so many definitions of ‘sexy.’

Bloody Gaga

 

At some point between smearing blood makeup over her chest, wearing a clear rubber nun costume and laying between the legs of one of her bisexual male dancers, Gaga shouted, “Do you think I’m sexy?! Because I think you’re sexy!” When it comes to being a little monster, you don’t have to be clad in black leather from head to toe, wearing 5 ft. platforms and fishnets, blonde or painfully thin to be sexy. You just have to be a free…bitch.

3. No matter how much Fame you have, you can’t go it alone.

The show’s Wizard of Oz-ish storyline follows Gaga from her Lower East Side roots to Brooklyn, Central Park and eventually, to The Monster Ball. You could say it’s a mishmashed freaky-deaky love letter to NYC. And Gaga, always effusive about her devoted fans, paid special tribute to her hometown when she said, “Without New York, I would not exist.” She also praised her pops, stating before her performance of “Speechless,” “Of all the drunk men in my life, Dad, you’re my favorite.” I also adored when Gaga sang  “You and I,” a new rock-and-roll ballad that was supposedly written about Stef getting back together with her ex-bf, Luc Carl. The bottom-line: When making your dreams come true, prioritizing love is a must.

2. Fantasy is central to a life worth living.

Between songs, Gaga talked about how bullshit can get you pretty far and admittedly, she’s “the most delusional bitch on earth.” Thank God for that, because a healthy dose of over-the-top theatrics, escapism, fantasy and indulgence—themes thread throughout The Monster Ball—makes anyone richer.

Me (left) Em (right) after we had our asses kicked by Gaga

 

 

1. Beauty is being your freaky or comfortable, half-naked or costumed-to-the-max, sexy or grungy, drunken or sober self.

Em and I were sure that we’d be plain Janes compared to the little monsters who were dressed up in elaborate “Telephone”/futuristic Russian brothel/disco stick tributes. (Even though Em bravely picked up a hot metallic silver body suit and paired it with her black band-aid mini.) Turns out, for every pair of fans wrapped in caution tape or sporting sunglasses made of cigarettes, there were twice as many girls in cute, comfy sundresses and flip flops or sexy heels and guys in jeans and Gaga image-adorned tees. No matter how they decided to flaunt it that night, all the fans were gorgeous in their own right.

As you can tell, The Monster Ball made me love Gaga even more than I did before, as if that were possible! I can’t wait to see her again–hopefully in February when she returns to the city that adores her as much as she loves and appreciates it.

If you’re also a little monster—or even if you’re not—what have you learned from Lady Gaga?

 

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Wow! That was one really long, really awesome holiday weekend—even though it kinda flew by. I’m so happy I got to spend quality time with my sister, boyfriend and his family and our friends. We saw fireworks, ate BBQ, swam, drank and shopped. On Tuesday night, my sister and I went to Madison Square Garden to see Lady Gaga (more on that soon!) 

But before we headed to MSG to see the Monster Ball, we made a pit stop at Babeland, my favorite female-friendly sex shop.

Sex ed available direct from Babeland in the new book, MOREGASM (2009), available at Amazon.com

It’s nothing like that right-off-the-highway, sketchy, dirty sex shop that only a creepy guy would feel comfortable walking into. Instead, Babeland is like an upscale boutique, clean, well-lit and filled with friendly, helpful gal staff. Turns out that the store is promoting a program right now called Come for a Cause: Sex Education, which I just had to share with you. The Cause: The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), which educates teachers, youth, parents, and politicians about sexuality and reproductive health. The Deal: Donate $5 and get a free Jimmyjane massage lotion, candle or vibrator. The sales chick who rang me up didn’t really have to explain any further. And not just because I think Jimmyjane makes sexy, quality products! I’m all about supporting SIECUS.

Here’s what they’re all about (via the SIECUS mission statement):

SIECUS affirms that sexuality is a fundamental part of being human, one that is worthy of dignity and respect. We advocate for the right of all people to accurate information, comprehensive education about sexuality, and sexual health services. SIECUS works to create a world that ensures social justice and sexual rights.

More specifically, SIECUS supports teen pregnancy prevention, education on sexual orientation and gender identity, STD prevention and education, etc.  

As you can guess, this is one cause I would without question give 5 bucks to. Sex ed is power! Plus, a “sensual gift” for free? That’s just the icing! haha Babeland’s accepting donations online, so for more info, click here.

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Miley (when she was more tame) and me - Summer 2006

 

I met Miley Cyrus in the summer of 2006. She was making her premiere appearance as Hannah Montana at a concert in Disney World. Having been told that she was the “next big thing,” I was to interview her for my then job at a teen entertainment mag. My co-worker and I waited patiently for a Disney publicist to escort us into her trailer, where the tween star-in-training was hanging out with her mom, Tish. All I remember is that she was sort of standoffish… Reserved. Not that she only gave me “yes” or “no” answers like some young stars (cough Rupert Grint cough), but she already seemed jaded, not very trusting. She wasn’t going to share much.

But, let’s take a step back for a second and remember that she was 13, for crying out loud! She was a baby. Yet, she wanted nothing more than to be thrust into fame, to be the next Britney Spears… No, she didn’t tell me that, but it was pretty clear from how she was being marketed that Disney aimed to launch her into mega-fame. Sure, via a squeaky-clean sitcom. But how did Britney start out? Oh, that’s right, the squeaky-clean 1990s version of The Mickey Mouse Club.

Fast forward 4 years later, and now 17 year-old Miley is front-and-center for flaunting her girly parts in public and prancing around in barely-there black leather and thick black eye shadow.

My question: This is news? When Britney was 17, she was skipping around in a skimpy Catholic school girl’s uniform pleading “(Hit Me) Baby One More Time.” Granted, when Britney catapulted to overtly sexy “Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” pop star status, she had been out of the public eye for a couple of years. She wasn’t even remembered by many as a truly innocent pre-teen. Miley’s not-so-smooth transition may seem a lot more jarring to parents who just a couple of years ago considered Hannah Montana default harmless viewing for their tweens. Nonetheless, given Disney’s track record of rebellious female tween stars, Miley’s new image shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. (Also, news flash: She was “acting out” and flaunting her fragile teen sexuality via mini-photo scandals on MySpace two-three years ago…)

"Give me a break! You people MADE me." (Photo via Wonderday.ca)

 

Says Robyn Silverman, a child and teen development expert who blogs here:

“Why is Miley’s behavior so shocking to parents and fans? As a childhood role model, she became a girl-next-door icon. It can be challenging for parents and fans to watch her new, ‘untamed’ persona stomp out the quirky, reliable, relatable Hannah Montana from the past.’’

Fair enough. But, sorry, it’s not really ever 100% about what the parents want. In pop music, entertainment and Hollywood, it’s about what makes money. And, on a more idealistic note, it should also be about what Miley wants. She’s 17. Like every other girl her age, she’s trying to assert her independence. But she’s still growing up, groping around blindly in the glare of fame and trying to figure out who she is and what inspires her. And too bad for you, Puritan America, part of that is developing her sexual identity. (Yes, a young woman does and should have one of those.) As a pop music aficionado, I’m not a huge fan of her blatantly ripping her new image off of every stale Beyonce, Britney, Christina, Madonna and Gaga stereotype. I’m also not a huge fan of her running around without skivvies. And I’m certainly not advocating that 10 year-olds imitate that behavior. But, it’s not Miley’s responsibility to make that obvious to tween girls. It’s the girls’ parents’ responsibility… (Dr. Silverman offers some tips for parents who want to make a “teachable moment” out of Miley’s recent image switch here.)

Hey, there are even mom bloggers out there who agree that the 17 year-old shouldn’t be subject to catty, critical chatter. 

And over all the bruhaha and buzz, what does Miley herself have to say for her “controversial” new album and look? “It’s all about breaking free, being who you are and not being afraid to tell the world to back off sometimes, and do your thing and do what makes you happy.” 

I’m all about speaking up for yourself and opening up about what you want, even if that’s for “the world to back off sometimes.” I kinda wish that I had met this outspoken, untamed Miley four years ago. I have to say, I’m pretty impressed by her evolution. And I can’t help but think, You go for it, girl.

Are you surprised by The “New” Miley?

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Sometimes, when my best friend and I were bored in college, we’d sit around and click through a trashy Web site you may know as HOT or NOT. The site is basically just a gallery of dopey participants who have uploaded a photo of themselves, with hopes that they’ll score high on the Hot or Not Richter Scale (10 being ScarJo or Ryan Reynolds, 1 being Gollum). 

Probably not a 10 on HOT or NOT. (Photo via inquirer.net)

 

Fast forward 5 years (oof, is that really how long since college?)… Now, the self-declared “Google of online dating,” OK Cupid wants in on the superficial action. According to The Consumerist, several online daters on the site report receiving a message alerting them that they were among the site’s most attractive users! And! They could now start seeing fellow hotties that are held back in a “reserved” section of the site.

(Screen shot via TheConsumerist.com)

 

The Powers that Be over at OK Cupid told these lucky users: 

“We are very pleased to report that you are in the top half of OkCupid’s most attractive users. The scales recently tipped in your favor, and we thought you’d like to know…

Your new elite status comes with one important privilege:

You will now see more attractive people in your match results.

This new status won’t affect your actual match percentages, which are still based purely on your answers and desired match’s answers. But the people we recommend will be more attractive. Also! You’ll be shown to more attractive people in their match results.”

Hrmmm… Let’s take a moment to step back and wrap our heads around this one. What makes some goon over at OK Cupid qualified to pull HOT or NOT ratings out of thin air and decide who is in the top percentile of hotness? Is there some kind of advanced degree in Attractive Human Studies that one might obtain? Furthermore, does this reflect how we are increasingly DOOMED to live out our adult lives as if we were still in junior high, scribbling in slam books? Ugh. 

For the record, I met the love of my life by online dating. On JDate. Yeah, he was a total hottie in his photos, but they had been scanned, so the quality was grainy. For all I knew, the shots could have been taken in 1997. Who knows if he’d have passed OK Cupid’s Attractiveness test? Also, if I had based my decision to talk to him on his photos, I probably wouldn’t have been blissfully happy in love for the last three years. And what if someone Behind the Scenes at JDate decided I wasn’t hot enough to be in his search results? We’d be out of luck then, too.

Seems to me, if you’re looking for love and not just eye candy to shtup, serious online daters oughta get out of Cupid’s line of fire…

Thoughts? Do you think it’s just a marketing ploy? Is it totally legit, because we’re all truly superficial anyway? Should hotties only date hotties?

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So, this is right up TBL‘s alley… In a new survey from Cosmopolitan Magazine UK, reported in The Daily Mail, 73 percent of women claimed that their body image blues put the kibosh on their love life.

Almost 3,000 women, aged 18-40, were polled. And get this: Three out of four said that their body image woes—be that stretch marks, sagging breasts, too few curves, too many bumps or lumps—prevented them from being intimate, according to the survey. (Oh, also, three out of five ‘fessed to faking the Big O!) Agh!

In reporting these disheartening facts, The Mail hopes to assure readers by quoting a sexpert who basically says, Pat, pat, don’t worry, chickadees. Men aren’t looking at your full-fat cottage cheese thighs anyway! They’re just happy to be getting laid.

This is not helpful. We’ve all heard these stale words of wisdom since we were thirteen. Just stop fussing over your saggy, wobbly, chunky, curvy or non-curvy parts, because hey, he—or hey, maybe it’s she—doesn’t care. (Worse yet, we’ve also gotten really self-loathing advice like, “Just turn off the lights.”)

But trying to eradicate the problem by focusing on how our lover doesn’t care does nothing to address the core issue. So what? We still care! And it’s causing us crazy stress and costing us pleasure and intimacy. So, I think the solution, instead, is loving and accepting ourselves more, and kicking that negative self-talk to the curb! Yea, yea, it’s not that easy. I know.

Board-certified sex therapist Dr. Diana Wiley elaborates, “When a woman becomes fixated on the girth of her thighs or tilt of her breasts or cellulite, she can become unable to communicate what she wants, about her own pleasure. It can be a huge distraction, because you’re not present.”

"Shhh, stop telling yourself that you're fugly." (Photo via fanpop.com)

To axe your Mean Girls inner monologue and get out of your head in bed, Dr. Wiley suggests:

  • Thought-stopping. Consciously identifying that you keep thinking to yourself, “Wow, my butt looks so big!” Sometimes, once you’re simply aware that you’re mentally beating yourself up, you can curb it. It also helps to replace the negative self-bullying with positive self-talk. For instance, “My hair looks hot!” or “I really rocked those sexy black heels today.”
  • If you’re “spectator-ing,” i.e. mentally sitting on the sidelines and giving yourself a hard time about your appearance, it’s impossible to enjoy yourself. Get out of your head by focusing on the sensations you’re feeling and your breath.
  • Still having trouble? Try sensate focus, exercises developed to encourage partners to take turns paying increased attention to their senses (versus a mental thesis on your muffin top).

It’s not easy, I know, but it’s definitely worth it to be kinder to ourselves, especially in bed. Our bodies will thank us.

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As you probably know, I’m not a fan of the Pill for my own use, and I’m a firm believer that other women should get all the facts on the drug before taking it or continuing to use it year after year. Well, here are some more facts to add fuel to the anti-oral contraceptive fire. According to a story in the New York Post, actress Brenda Hamilton, who is an understudy in the Broadway musical Wicked, is suing Yasmin and Yaz manufacturer, Bayer. Why? She says that Yasmin caused her to have a stroke at the age of 27. Hamilton had no history of any health problems at the time of her stroke.

(Photo via youthnoise.com)

 

Apparently, Bayer and the FDA have cited studies (two of which were funded by Bayer), which claim that Yasmin doesn’t increase the risk of blood clots. However, a recent study in The British Medical Journal found that women using Yasmin or Yaz, both formulated with a synthetic version of progesterone called drospirenone, were 6.3 times more likely to develop venous thrombosis, or blood clots, than women who were not taking any Pill. (Those taking any birth control pill were five times more likely, on average, to develop blood clots.) The increased risk with Yasmin or Yaz may be due to drospirenone’s action as a diuretic that thickens the blood to promote clotting. 

It is important to note that in this study, the women taking Yasmin/Yaz may have had various risk factors (like being over 35 or carrying excess weight) that contributed to the finding. Other factors that may perpetuate blood clots include family history, high blood pressure or smoking. Nonetheless, Hamilton didn’t have any of these risk factors…

The actress is one of over a thousand Americans suing Bayer, claiming their birth control pills caused serious or life-threatening health problems. Two class-action suits were also filed in Canada.

I figure I don’t need to editorialize here – these are just the facts. And knowledge is power, right?

Further reading: Some info on the nonhormonal IUD, Paragard and critically-acclaimed condoms.

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