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Lots of Cyber Monday deals are still lingering on Nov. 29

2023-03-19 01:24:22

Lots of Cyber Monday deals are still lingering on Nov. 29

We've rounded up all the best Cyber Monday deals still live on Nov. 29 — here are our top picks:

  • BEST HEADPHONES DEAL: Samsung Galaxy Buds Live(Opens in a new tab)$49 $169.99 (save $121)

  • BEST TV DEAL: LG 50-inch NanoCell 75UQA Series LED 4K UHD Smart webOS TV(Opens in a new tab) — $369.99 $549.99 (save $180) + 3 months of Apple TV+ for free

  • BEST FLOOR CARE DEAL: Eufy Clean G32 Pro(Opens in a new tab)$98 $299.99 (save $201.99)

  • BEST KITCHEN DEAL: Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Deep Round Oven (5.25-quart)(Opens in a new tab)$199.95 $249.95 (save $50)

  • BEST STREAMING DEAL: Paramount+ Essential(Opens in a new tab) — $24.99 $49.99 (save $25) for your first year

  • BEST FITNESS DEAL: Echelon Connect Sport-S Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike(Opens in a new tab)$297 $799 (save $502) + a 30-day free membership trial

Attention Cyber Monday shoppers: Lots of deals from the big day are still live on Tuesday, Nov. 29. You could attempt to sort through everything yourself, but we saved you some time and rounded up many of the best deals you can still shop. We even categorized them for you.

Sure, many of those too-good-to-be-true deals are no longer around — like the $1 per month Peacock subscription — but there are plenty of ways you can still save money this holiday season. Here are our top picks for the best Cyber Monday deals still live on Nov. 29.

Best tech deal

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Credit: Samsung
Our pick: Samsung Galaxy Buds Live (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
$49 at Walmart (save $121)
(opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

See our full review of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live.

We still can't get over this insane deal on the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. Cyber Monday savings dropped the price of these buds from a previous low of $69 down to just $49 — and at the time of writing, the deal is still live at Walmart. The Buds Live are a solid choice for Samsung lovers looking for AirPods Pro alternatives, complete with excellent sound quality, a snug fit, and in-app customization options. While not the latest and greatest in Samsung's lineup, they still shine where it matters.

More tech deals

Headphones and earbuds

  • Samsung Galaxy Buds Live(Opens in a new tab)$49 $169.99 (save $121)

  • Beats Studio Buds(Opens in a new tab)$89.95 $149.95 (save $60)

  • Apple AirPods Pro(Opens in a new tab)$159 $179.98 (save $20.98)

  • Bose QuietComfort 45 Bluetooth Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones(Opens in a new tab)$229 $329 (save $100)

  • Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II(Opens in a new tab)$249 $299 (save $50)

  • Sony WH-1000XM5(Opens in a new tab) — $348 $399.99 (save $51.99)

Computers and monitors

  • LG 34-inch UltraWide Monitor 34WN650-W(Opens in a new tab)$249.99 $349.99 (save $100)

  • HP 15.6-inch Touch-Screen Laptop (Intel Core i5, 12GB RAM, 256GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$399.99 $629.99 (save $230)

  • 2020 MacBook Air (M1 chip, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$799 $999 (save $200)

  • ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (AMD Ryzen 7, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$899.99 $1,399.99 (save $500) + get 6 months of Webroot Internet Security Plus with Antivirus and 1 month of Xbox Game Pass for free


  • LG 50-inch UQ75 Series LED 4K UHD Smart webOS TV(Opens in a new tab)$299.99 $379.99 (save $80)

  • LG 50-inch NanoCell 75UQA Series LED 4K UHD Smart webOS TV(Opens in a new tab) — $369.99 $549.99 (save $180) + 3 months of Apple TV+ for free

  • Hisense 58-inch U6 Series ULED TV(Opens in a new tab)$469.99 $599.99 (save $130) + $50 Amazon credit for free

  • Amazon Fire TV 65-inch Omni Series QLED 4K UHD smart TV(Opens in a new tab)$599 $799 (save $200) + 4 months of Amazon Music Unlimited for free

Amazon device deals

  • Echo Dot (3rd Gen)(Opens in a new tab)$14.99 $39.99 (save $25)

  • Fire TV Stick Lite(Opens in a new tab)$14.99 $29.99 (save $15)

  • Fire TV Stick 4K(Opens in a new tab)$24.99 $49.99 (save $25)

  • Fire TV Stick 4K Max(Opens in a new tab)$34.99 $54.99 (save $20)

  • Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen)(Opens in a new tab)$34.99 $84.99 (save $50)

  • Blink Mini (2-pack)(Opens in a new tab)$29.99 $64.99 (save $35)

  • Blink Video Doorbell(Opens in a new tab)$34.99 $49.99 (save $15)

  • Echo Show 5 Kids (2nd Gen)(Opens in a new tab)$39.99 $94.99 (save $55)

  • Blink Video Doorbell System + Sync Module 2(Opens in a new tab)$54.98 $84.98 (save $30)

  • Fire HD 8 Plus (32GB)(Opens in a new tab) — $54.99 $109.99 (save $55)

  • Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)(Opens in a new tab)$69.99 $129.99 (save $60)

  • eero 6+ mesh WiFi system(Opens in a new tab)$194 $299 (save $105)

Best home deal

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Credit: Le Creuset
Our pick: Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Deep Round Oven (5.25-quart) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
$199.95 at Amazon (save $50)
(opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

We're big fans of Le Creuset Dutch ovens(Opens in a new tab) here at Mashable. While they do run a bit pricey, they stand the test of time. Seriously — we bet you'll find Le Creuset cookware from decades past in your grandma's kitchen. Still on sale in over 10 different color varieties for $50 off, this 5.25-quart Dutch oven is a soup season staple.

More home deals


  • Keurig K-Compact Single-Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker(Opens in a new tab)$49 $89 (save $40)

  • SodaStream Terra Sparkling Water Maker(Opens in a new tab)$59.99 $99.99 (save $40)

  • Keurig K-Duo 12-Cup Coffee Maker and Single Serve K-Cup Brewer(Opens in a new tab)$99.99 $189.99 (save $90)

  • Ninja Kitchen System with Auto IQ Boost and 7-Speed Blender(Opens in a new tab)$99.99 $199.99 (save $100)

  • PowerXL Dual Basket Air Fryer (10 quarts)(Opens in a new tab) — $99.99 $199.99 (save $100)

  • Ninja Foodi 14-in-1 (6.5-quart)(Opens in a new tab)$109.99 $279.99 (save $170)

  • Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Deep Round Oven (5.25-quart)(Opens in a new tab)$199.95 $249.95 (save $50)

Floor care

Check out all of the robot vacuum deals still live for Cyber Monday.

  • Eufy Clean G32 Pro(Opens in a new tab)$98 $299.99 (save $201.99)

    Eufy 25C(opens in a new tab)$99 $249.99 (save $150.99)

  • iRobot Roomba 676(Opens in a new tab)$174 $269.99 (save $95.99)

  • iRobot Roomba 692(Opens in a new tab)$174 $299.99 (save $125.99)

  • iRobot Roomba 694(Opens in a new tab)$179 $274 (save $95)

  • iRobot Roomba i7+(Opens in a new tab)$499.99 $899.99 (save $400)

  • Dyson V12 Detect Slim(Opens in a new tab)$499.99 $649.99 (save $150) (read our thoughts here)

  • Roborock S7+(Opens in a new tab)$679.99 $949.98 (save $269.99 with on-page coupon)

  • Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra(Opens in a new tab)$1,059.99 $1,399.99 (save $340)

Best streaming deal

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Credit: Paramount
Our pick: Paramount+ Essential Annual Subscriptions (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
$24.99 at Paramount+ (save $25)
(opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

It may seem like a fluke since the home page says this Paramount+ deal is only live until Nov. 28, but sure enough, on Nov. 29, you can still score 50% off Essential and Premium annual subscriptions. It's one of the best streaming services for live sports, but offers plenty more for subscribers. Usually, Essential plans cost $49.99 per year, but you'll pay half that if you take advantage of this Cyber Monday special. Premium subs are typically $99.99 per year, but you can sign up for only $49.99 if you act fast.

More streaming deals

  • Amazon Prime Video(Opens in a new tab) — $1.99/month $8.99-10.99/month for 2 months of select channels, including Starz, Showtime, AMC+, and Paramount+; save up to 50% on select purchases and rentals(Opens in a new tab)

  • AMC+(Opens in a new tab)$1.99/month $8.99/month (save $14) for 2 months

  • Lots of Cyber Monday deals are still lingering on Nov. 29(图1)

    HBO Max (With Ads)(Opens in a new tab) — $1.99/month $9.99/month (save $24) for 3 months

  • Paramount+ Premium(Opens in a new tab) — $49.99 $99.99 (save $50) for your first year

  • Sling TV(Opens in a new tab)$30 $40 (save $10) for your first month + free Amazon Fire TV Stick

  • Starz(Opens in a new tab)$5/month $8.99/month (save $11.97) for 3 months

  • Vudu(Opens in a new tab)save 30% on your first purchase or rental

  • YouTube TV(Opens in a new tab)$54.99 $64.99/month (save $139.98) for your first 3 months

Outdoor deals

  • Hydro Flask(Opens in a new tab)save 25% sitewide

  • BioLite Holiday Sale(Opens in a new tab)save 30%

  • Columbia(Opens in a new tab) save up to 50% off on snow gear, outerwear, and more, plus get a free $25 gift card with purchase of $125 or more

  • Solo Stove(Opens in a new tab)save up to 40% on fire pits and up to $225 on pizza ovens

  • Oru Kayak(Opens in a new tab)save up to $400 on kayaks and 50% on accessories

  • Isle paddle boards(Opens in a new tab)save up to 50%

Fitness deals

  • Echelon Connect Sport-S Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike(Opens in a new tab)$297 $799 (save $502) + a 30-day free membership trial

  • Echelon Sport Exercise Rower(Opens in a new tab)$297 $597 (save $300) + a 30-day free membership trial

  • NordicTrack GX 2.7 U Exercise Bike(Opens in a new tab)$320.99 $799.99 (save $479)

  • Theragun Pro(Opens in a new tab)$399 $599 (save $200)

  • Lululemon Studio Mirror(Opens in a new tab)$745 $1,495 (save $750)

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  • A guide to getting off to your own sexual fantasies and imagination

    A guide to getting off to your own sexual fantasies and imagination

    They say the mind is the biggest, most powerful sex organ in the body. But, uh, don't try visualizing that mental image too vividly or literally, unless you're into that sorta thing?


    Instead, imagine your favorite fictional crush pressing you up against a wall, or think back to the hottest sex you ever had in your life. Now stop imagining, because this magical place where all your desires are possible and acceptable exists. And literally anyone can tap into it.

    While sexual fantasies are by definition not "real," their effects on your sex life (especially when explored during masturbation) are — shall we say — palpably physical.

    "Engaging your imagination rather than relying on visual porn for example helps to build, enhance and strengthen your erotic mind," said Dr. Britney Blair, co-founder and Chief Science Officer of the sexual wellness Lover(Opens in a new tab) app. "You can bring that imagination to life when you want to prime the pump on your desire or push yourself over the edge to climax while solo or with a partner."

    "It's incredibly liberating, recognizing our own power to design the scenes and situations that turn us on."

    To be clear, there's nothing wrong with porn or other forms of erotica. But there's something especially powerful in orgasming to smut that couldn't be more personally tailored to what you like.

    "In our minds we're not confined to our studio apartments or our current sexual partners. There are no rules or judgments. Not even the laws of physics apply," said Gina Gutierrez, co-founder of the popular audio erotica app Dipsea(Opens in a new tab). "It’s incredibly liberating, recognizing our own power to design the scenes and situations that turn us on and to scrap the ones that don’t work for us."

    Don't take our word for it, though. There's science to show exactly how real the effects of a healthy erotic imagination are.

    In a landmark 2016 study(Opens in a new tab), Dr. Nan Wise — neuroscientist, sex therapist, and author of Understanding the Neuroscience of Pleasure for a Smarter, Happier, and More Purpose-Filled Life(Opens in a new tab) — mapped the brain's response when subjects merely imagined pleasurable stimulation on their genitals. Just by thinking about it, the pleasure centers in their brains "lit up like a Christmas tree," Wise said.

    "The mind is really the recipient of all the body's sensations. So there's this empirical evidence of a huge connection between the mind and pleasure," she said.

    While everyone can benefit from using their imagination as a sexual aid, it's an especially potent practice for women and others who society has conditioned to feel ashamed about their sexuality.

    "We have to do more work to lay down the connections, the neural pathways, between the genitals and the brain's sensory reward regions," said Wise. "Using your imagination to masturbate not only gives us the information about what stimulation we need, but also actually strengthens the connections between our genitals and the brain."

    SEE ALSO: Why some people masturbate about people they hate

    Beyond that, getting off to our own sexual fantasies tackles another negative effect that patriarchy can have on women's sexuality.

    "We're socialized to think of ourselves as the objects of other people's desires, like we need to borrow someone else's idea of pleasure" said Wise. That's why learning how to be the subject of our own desires, to embody the pleasure we conjure up in our own mind, can be so empowering.

    Everyone with a brain, genitals, and desire is already equipped to masturbate to their own sexual fantasies. And while the practice does come more naturally to some, it only takes little guidance and patience to unlock the endless possibilities tucked inside your erotic mind.

    Set the right environment

    Set that phone to night mode, but make it sexy. Credit: bob al-greene / mashable

    A major key in setting your mind up for erotic success is to ensure your environment allows your brain to feel fully relaxed, safe, and free from distraction.

    Pick a time and place where you'll have full privacy without needing to worry about any interruption, whether from roommates or notifications. For most people, that place will naturally be the bedroom. But put some effort into also making it a true fortress of sensual solitude, like by locking the door, setting your phone to airplane mode, putting on an eye mask, or maybe even using some essential oils and putting on your favorite sexy playlist.

    Blair even recommends purposefully scheduling these more exploratory kind of session and making them habitual. So maybe it can be something you add to your nightly ritual before bed: Brush your teeth, do the skincare routine, put on some pajamas, then let your mind wander as you touch yourself.

    Create a safe space in your mind

    Of course, priming yourself with the right mindset is vital to unlocking your brain's full fantasy potential.

    One of the biggest hurdles to exploring our erotic imaginations is actually the engrained social shame many of us have picked up (even subconsciously) through sexism, homophobia, social stigmas, religion, etc.

    "It’s important to know if that is coming up for you, you’re not alone. But there is no such thing as a wrong or right fantasy." said Blair.

    SEE ALSO: Am I the only one who's horny for podcasts?

    Treat your imagination as a judgement-free zone. To be fair, clearing or redirecting your mind away from feelings of shame is easier said than done. But certain exercises can help (which we'll get into more in the mind-body connection section below).

    Blair suggests that, while exploring sexual fantasies in your mind, try to distinguish between when you're having a reaction versus a judgment to a certain scenario. Judgments often come from values imposed on you by something or someone else, while visceral reactions can be an indication that your mind wants to explore it further — especially if it's something your never thought you'd be into.

    It's easy to get scared off by an intense response to a fantasy, and write that off as being too weird or outside the norm for your taste. But if you give yourself a second to assess where that response is coming from, you might actually find that the intensity comes from a part of you that you've never tried tapping into before.

    "Everything is okay in the world of fantasy. No fantasy is a crime."

    Or maybe not, and that's fine too. The point is, if you feel safe doing it, just try leaning into parts of your erotic mind that feel challenging and see where it goes.

    "Everything is okay in the world of fantasy. No fantasy is a crime," said Blair. "Whatever turns you on in your mind is totally healthy. Your fantasy doesn’t say anything about you except that you are lucky to have a rich imagination that you can use to have an exciting and enduring erotic life."

    That's another major benefit of sexual fantasies versus traditional porn, too. You don't have to worry about any ethical concerns, because your imagination can't hurt you or anyone else. You're in total control.

    "You imagination is a completely safe space," said Dipsea's Gutierrez. "We can play out fantasies that are risky or illicit that we would never actually want to happen in real life. In our minds we’re free to experiment without consequences."

    Familiarize yourself with (but don't feel limited by) common sexual fantasies

    While the whole point is to tap into the unique potential of your own mind, a good jumping off point is to explore whether the most common sexual fantasies(Opens in a new tab) spark your interest. Researchers have labeled them into different categories, though there's a world of possibilities within those labels as well.

    Dr. Blair described these categories as multi-partner sex like group sex or threesomes; power, control, or rough sex; novelty, adventure, and variety; taboo and forbidden sex; partner sharing and non-monogamous relationships; passion and romance; and erotic flexibility like homoeroticism or gender-bending.

    Jess O'Reilly is a sex educator, author of The New Sex Bible(Opens in a new tab), and Astroglide's resident sexologist. She explained that through each of these fantasy categories you can help identify the specific core erotic feelings that get you into a heightened state of arousal.

    "Oftentimes, they relate to fantasy, escapism or subverting otherwise 'negative' emotions. You might find that sex is really hot when you feel powerful, submissive, challenged, mindful, or playful," she said. "You may also find yourself aroused by feelings that you don’t naturally associate with pleasure, like jealousy, inadequacy, fear, and even humiliation can be exciting."

    What our brains often gravitate to most is pure novelty. What gets you off in a fantasy can actually be the total opposite of your real-life sexual orientation or even completely removed from you, as an abstract scenario happening to someone else entirely.

    Let your spank bank be a place where your freak flag flies. Credit: vicky leta / mashable

    So don't be weirded out if you learn that you're as horny for that fish-god monster from The Shape of Water as the Academy Awards were in 2018. Or maybe you're one of the many women who enjoys a rape fantasy — which, as Dr. Wise points out, in a fantasy context is the opposite of a real-life rape since, "you're choosing to have the fantasy and who's overpowering you. You're in complete control."

    One other general rule of thumb Wise found is that while men tend toward more visually-oriented fantasies centered around preferred body parts, women tend to focus on overall scenarios. However, it's impossible to distill the endless possibilities of human sexuality into neat categories. Which is why you also shouldn't get discouraged or ashamed if none of these common fantasies do it for you.

    "Our capacity for imagination is limitless," said Wise. Don't feel pressure to confine yours to a specific label.

    Related Video: I built my own vibrator at CES

    Start building your erotic imagination through fiction, porn, memories... anything!

    The truth is that, while other obstacles might make it hard initially to give yourself permission to explore sexual fantasies, using your imagination is a very natural and innate part of being human. Who doesn't fantasizing about getting up from their desk in the middle of a hard work day and quitting, or spend time daydreaming about how they'd furnish their dream apartment?

    "We make Pinterest boards and save Instagram photos, collect and catalog all these things that we like. I recommend starting to do that for your sex life," said Gutierrez. "Become more mindful observing what attracts you to someone. The moments where you feel sexiest. What you want to say out loud during sex but hesitate to. Then the next time you want to use your fantasy for pleasure, you know exactly where to draw from."

    Everything in your life can become part of your horny mood board.

    Everything in your life can become part of your horny mood board.

    We all have that one fictional character or public figure — whether from books, tv, movies, video games, or even politics and the internet — that just does it for us. Begin there, expanding into a specific sexy scene that got you going or whatever comes to mind when you think of that person. Heck, maybe you're like me and realize that a silky, authoritative voice is actually your kink, leading a bunch of non-erotic popular podcasts to become your go-to spank bank material.

    Audio erotica can be a great place to start if you don't want to take the training wheels off yet to explore sexual fantasies of your own making. Unlike visual porn, audio erotica still exercises the muscles of your erotic imagination, asking you to fill in the details and paint the full picture. While we always recommend Dipsea, there's also plenty of free ways to try audio erotica like r/gonewildaudio(Opens in a new tab) and Girl on the Net(Opens in a new tab).

    Once you're ready to bring yourself more to the forefront of the fantasy, begin with a memory of the hottest, most visceral sex you've ever had. Really ground yourself back in that moment by recalling your senses: What position were you in? What did the person's lust feel like? Were you sweating? How exactly did they touch you?

    Touch yourself while pulling from all the erotic mental material you've curated, and don't be afraid to really get your whole body involved in mimicking the sensations you're creating through your mind. Maybe that means masturbating while you're on all fours, or matching the tempo of the fantasy, or even dry-humping a pillow. Don't put any pressure on yourself to orgasm throughout any of this, though, and instead just zero in on embodying the experience of your imagination.

    "It's about giving yourself full permission to explore all our internal pleasure places, and how we experience them in both our minds and bodies at the same time," said Wise.

    It's like writing fanfiction, but in real-time Credit: vicky leta / mashable

    Try these exercises to strengthen your mind-body connection

    Through her research and other studies in the field, Wise has ultimately found that, "This distinction we make between the mind and body is really a very arbitrary one."

    One of the best ways to embrace this in a way that engages your erotic fantasy life in is through something called mindful sex.

    This increasingly popular branch of sex therapy describes a bunch of different practices and exercises that add a layer of sexuality to mindfulness, to help you stay present in your body while experiencing pleasure, train your mind to focus on whatever arouses you, and engage in a non-judgmental curious sexual mindset. Try out basic exercises like pleasure mapping (which Dipsea has a guide for), mindful masturbation (which you can read about here), and sensate focus (which you can read about here).

    Wise also suggests a very simple exercise for getting your imagination more connected with your genitals on a neurological level: Just start by tapping or pleasurably touching your genitals, then stop, then think back on the sensations you felt while touching them. Try to recall and summon them back in your body: What did it feel like in your body when the stimulation was building, then dissipating?

    At first, it might not feel like much at all and the pleasure may be pretty mild compared to what you're used to while using more immediate erotic visual aids like porn.

    “But you’ll slowly start to develop a better connection to that pleasure sensation channel in your brain,” she said.

    Use your imagination during partnered sex

    While sexual fantasies are a great way to enhance self-love, learning how to engage with them during partnered sex can also do wonders to get people over the edge and into orgasm.

    At this point though, you might be wondering: Is it even OK to fantasize about other situations — or maybe even other people — while having sex with a partner?

    “It doesn't matter where you get your appetite, as long as you'd come home to eat.”

    “Yes, it’s an unequivocal yes! Because thinking about stuff is not the same as doing it,” said Wise. As the famous saying goes, “It doesn't matter where you get your appetite, as long as you'd come home to eat.”

    It’s totally normal for your mind to desire novelty, especially if you're not in a new relationship anymore. In fact, Wise found that one of the best ways to ensure a couples’ longevity is precisely this kind of openness and understanding that people need to fuel their erotic imagination with new stuff.

    “If we can get over these kind of hang ups, get past this fear of our partners having a fantasy about somebody else while they’re with us, and instead use it as an opportunity talk about: What would you like? What haven't we tried? What are you afraid to tell me? Because that's hot. That's really hot,” said Wise.

    Or maybe instead of thinking about someone else, you'd simply rather use your imagination during partnered sex to transport you both to a setting or scenario that heightens your arousal even more.

    In the end, what you do with your erotic imagination is up to you. You can share it if you'd like — or keep it all to yourself. That’s what’s so great about sexual fantasies you cut from your own cloth: They’re all yours, and no one else's.

  • Social media is the new bodycam

    Social media is the new bodycam

    Childish Gambino warned us in 2018. This is America, right?


    It's been a brutal week for anyone who doesn't live with their eyes closed. The proof is right there on Twitter and other social platforms. It used to be that we relied on police bodycams to hold officers accountable for their actions. But in this difficult moment, citizen journalism is carrying that bucket instead.

    Something snapped in the United States as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against George Floyd's neck until he died on May 25. Floyd was black and Chauvin is white. It was a sadly familiar scene of what looks to rational observers like a clear case of police brutality.

    But this time, we hit a breaking point. The gruesome reality of Chauvin's actions as captured on camera is certainly part of it. He held his position on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes, until after the restrained man died. The camera captures it all in vivid, horrifying detail. Add to that the ongoing pandemic, and historic levels of unemployment. People's nerves are frayed and the callous inhumanity of Floyd's death was a last straw.

    So cities exploded over the weekend with widespread protests and grim scenes of violence. Even as much of the country outside of major cities continues to hunker down behind stay-at-home orders, social media has brought all of us to the front lines through citizen journalism and shared news reports.

    These ongoing protests are about stopping racial violence and police brutality, and they're hundreds of years in the making. I think the images and videos, and the actions of the people portrayed therein, tell the whole story. Thank you to all of the protesters and members of the press who are out there doing your part to make sure the realities of this moment won't soon be forgotten.

    It hasn't all been as completely terrible as the above visuals suggest. Protesters are out in force and many of them are skipping the violence in favor of working to send a message, lift up the people in their community, and generally just keep the peace. Many others are just doing the best they can to peacefully work through the days, weeks, months, decades of pent-up anger they've been carrying.

    They've even been joined in a few cases by police officers and departments that have managed to maintain a level of trust with their local communities.

    SEE ALSO: How to demand justice for George Floyd and support Minneapolis protesters

    I don't know what else to say. Take care of yourselves, folks. And please, keep on documenting this moment in any way that you can.

  • Police scanner app catapults to the top of the App Store

    Police scanner app catapults to the top of the App Store

    Protesters just made a police scanner the most popular paid iOS app in the country.


    On Monday, 5-0 Radio Police Scanner(Opens in a new tab), which costs $5, was the number one paid app in the App Store. A pared-down version with ads was the number two paid app, surpassing TikTok and second only to the suddenly popular Zynn app. Vice first reported(Opens in a new tab) on the app's rise.

    Protesters clashed with police in Minneapolis, Louisville, Los Angeles, Philadelphia(Opens in a new tab), and other U.S. cities over the weekend. They are demanding an end to police brutality after George Floyd was killed by a police officer.

    A look at the top paid apps. Credit: screenshot / mashable
    Also popular as a free app. Credit: Screenshot / mashable

    Scanner apps let protesters listen to live police radio feeds. App analytics firm Apptopia found the top five police scanner apps, such as 5-0 Police Scanner(Opens in a new tab) and Police Scanner(Opens in a new tab), were downloaded 213,000 times over the weekend. That's a 125 percent increase from the weekend before — a record for police scanner apps. 5-0 Police Scanner was downloaded 40,000 times between Friday and Sunday in the United States.

    Other related apps saw download surges as well, like the encrypted messaging app Signal. It was downloaded 37,000 times this weekend, a record for the app. Same for community alert app Citizen, which was downloaded 49,000 times during the same period, according to Apptopia(Opens in a new tab).

  • Elizabeth Warren and her very good dog Bailey joined the Washington D.C. protests

    Elizabeth Warren and her very good dog Bailey joined the Washington D.C. protests

    Less than half an hour before the official curfew started in Washington D.C., thousands of protesters were still walking peacefully in the streets of the capital. Among them were Sen. Elizabeth Warren, her husband Bruce Mann, and their dog Bailey.


    Dressed in sensible beige shorts, sneakers, and a basic blue face mask, the last female candidate to suspend her campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination was quickly spotted by her fellow protesters as she joined the throng in Lafayette Square. Many were clearly thrilled to see her, cheering as she told reporters President Donald Trump had been "wrong" to deploy the National Guard in the city.

    "He is imposing violence on our people," she told one reporter(Opens in a new tab). "People are here to protest peacefully.

    Warren also called for Attorney General Bill Barr to resign after reports that he had ordered the violent removal of protesters near the White House, and tweeted her support for her colleague Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's bill to criminalise the use of chokeholds by police. Gillibrand was also in the presidential race until last August.

    Widespread protests have emerged in cities across the U.S. in a furious response to the death of George Floyd — who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes — as well as other recent police killings, including Louisville woman Breonna Taylor and Florida man Tony McDade. These names are only the latest to be added to a shamefully long list of black Americans killed by police.f

    Trump's response to the protests, in particular the order to disperse peaceful demonstrators near the White House using tear gas and rubber bullets for a Trump photo op, has drawn criticism from members of both parties(Opens in a new tab).

    Other politicians who have appeared at protests include Reps. Ayanna Pressley(Opens in a new tab), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(Opens in a new tab), and Joyce Beatty, who was pepper sprayed by police at the Columbus, Ohio event(Opens in a new tab), as well as Sen. Kamala Harris (Opens in a new tab)

  • Every police department should have to hear our rage via Zoom call

    Every police department should have to hear our rage via Zoom call

    Yesterday, the Los Angeles Police Commission held a Zoom call with citizens — of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas, as well as some former residents — and watched with blank faces as citizens berated them mercilessly for eight hours.


    The call came not only after several nights of protests in Los Angeles, but also after LAPD chief Michael Moore blamed the death of George Floyd(Opens in a new tab) on the city's protestors and looters. (Moore walked back on the comments(Opens in a new tab) after backlash.)

    But that's just the tip of the iceberg: LAPD has a long history of violence against black people — next year will be 30 years since LA officers beat Rodney King(Opens in a new tab).

    After many people were initially left out of the call(Opens in a new tab) because it capped at 500 people — and after the boomers on the commission figured out how to work Zoom — the commission said their statements.

    Then, the real show started. The public unleashed their fury on the LAPD for hours on end. They demanded Moore's resignation or firing, as well as to defund the LAPD and support the people's budget(Opens in a new tab). Some spewed incredible insults(Opens in a new tab), while others broke down in tears. Several impassioned callers, like this one, went viral:

    After watching this call, I'm convinced that every police department needs to have a Zoom call like this one.

    While the LAPD is notorious for its racism, so are many other departments across the country — including the Minneapolis police(Opens in a new tab), who are responsible for the killing of George Floyd. He died after three police officers pinned him down, one kneeling on his neck for nearly 9 minutes.

    Police departments across the nation should be subjected to people's rage. In many cities, they're beating up peaceful protestors who they are sworn to protect, all while we — the taxpayers — pay their salaries. Police commissions are supposed to be working for us, the civilians, and we should be able to scream and cry and drag our cops just like the residents of LA did yesterday. (And then I think we should defund the police(Opens in a new tab), but that's a different story.)

    Public meetings with police departments aren't new. As some activists mentioned on the call, they've been raising the same concerns about the police for years. But now thanks to technology not afforded previous generations, these meetings can be online (and the current pandemic pretty much mandates that, anyway). Virtual meetings can not only be more accessible to people who can't make them in-person, but allows these meetings to go viral and be seen by thousands, both in the department's jurisdiction and beyond.

    The total impact of the LAPD call has yet to be seen. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti didn't make any promises about changing the budget(Opens in a new tab), and as of publication the LAPD chief has not resigned.

    But that doesn't mean this call didn't have an impact. Hundreds of people were able to express anger that has possibly been pent up for years. People around the country — like me, in New York — stayed tuned for hours and are now inspired to tell our police departments our similar demands (and probably insults). Like protesting, donating money, and calling our reps, being able to rip into our respective police departments can be just another action to elicit change, and it's a cathartic one at that.

    Police commissions and departments have a duty to their citizens to let their voices be heard. We are all owed a more modern-day public forum. Americans everywhere should be able to call out their police chief's racist eyebrows.

    Mashable has reached out to LAPD for comment and will update if received.

  • Even Piers Morgan thinks Rudy Giuliani sounds completely barking mad

    Even Piers Morgan thinks Rudy Giuliani sounds completely barking mad

    Listen, let's not give Piers Morgan — a British TV presenter who's dabbled in racist tropes(Opens in a new tab) and transphobia(Opens in a new tab) — a gold star. But even he has realized Rudy Giuliani seems a little off.


    Giuliani, the former NYC mayor and current personal lawyer for President Donald Trump, appeared on Thursday on ITV's Good Morning Britain, which Morgan co-hosts. The appearance, which took place in the middle of the night in the U.S., turned into a shouting match between two old white guys about who was more discredited.

    The fight began when Morgan criticized Trump's tweet about "when the looting starts the shooting starts" in regards to the protests surrounding the police killing of George Floyd. But the argument soon devolved into a barrage of personal attacks.

    "You sound completely barking mad, do you know that?" Morgan said.

    Giuliani fired back, "No, I don't. You sound like a big liar."

    But Morgan kept going after the former mayor, firing off wonderfully British insults.

    "You've lost the plot. And it's sad to see," the host said.

    Taking a page from his boss's playbook, Giuliani stumbled through a few insults about Morgan's failed CNN show and its poor ratings. At some point, Giuliani either tells Morgan he "sucked up" or "fucked up" — it's tough to tell because Giuliani's words are a bit slurred — but either way Morgan apologizes for the language before twisting the knife further into his guest.

    "When I used to interview you, you were an intelligent, reasonable man and you've gone completely mad," he said. "And you sound deranged. You're abusive. And it's really sad to see what's happened to you."

    A viral clip from the interview goes on in a similar fashion for a few more minutes. It does represent a shift from Morgan — a former winner on Celebrity Apprentice who had a largely friendly (if bonkers)(Opens in a new tab) interview with Trump this time last year.

    But definitely watch the entire clip from Thursday, if only to see co-host Susanna Reid deliver an absolutely perfect, "OK," to end the wild segment.

  • Fox News host says John Lennon — who was killed in New York — wouldnt be safe in the city right now

    Fox News host says John Lennon — who was killed in New York — wouldnt be safe in the city right now

    Days after an NYPD car floored it into a group of protesters(Opens in a new tab) — just one of many instances of police violence in the city(Opens in a new tab) — New York City mayor Bill de Blasio responded with...John Lennon lyrics.


    "I don't mean to make light of this but I'm reminded of the song 'Imagine' by John Lennon," said de Blasio, according to journalist Jack Mirkinson. He went on to say that defunding the police, a rallying cry of the George Floyd protests, was "not the way forward."

    De Blasio was subsequently roasted by social media(Opens in a new tab) and traditional(Opens in a new tab) media(Opens in a new tab) outlets(Opens in a new tab), and then Fox News got ahold of the quote. On Fox & Friends Thursday morning, Brian Kilmeade thought he was delivering a brilliant zinger about the mayor:

    "John Lennon wouldn't be safe in this city right now," said Kilmeade. "He'd be hiding in his apartment."

    For those who are unaware (like Kilmeade, apparently), John Lennon was murdered in New York(Opens in a new tab) in 1980. His killer, Mark David Chapman, shot him four times outside his luxury Manhattan apartment. He's still in prison and his eleventh parole hearing is scheduled for this August(Opens in a new tab).

    Maybe Kilmeade should do some fact-checking. Imagine that?

  • Singer performs Bunker Boy, a catchy tune about Trumps time in the bunker

    Singer performs Bunker Boy, a catchy tune about Trumps time in the bunker

    There's a new song inspired by Donald Trump's recent and somewhat confusing trip to the White House bunker, and honestly? It's catchy as hell.


    On Monday, days after it was reported that Secret Service rushed the president to the White House bunker(Opens in a new tab) amidst D.C. protests, singer Courtney Jaye (@TropicalJaye(Opens in a new tab)) penned and performed the tune, titled, "Bunker Boy."

    Jaye shared a video of herself performing the song to social media, and on top of her gorgeous guitar playing and sweet-sounding vocals, the lyrics are truly something.

    "Bunker Boy, don't lie. You got scared and hid in the basement in the middle of the night," Jaye sings. "You're not so tough, no. It's a sorry sight. So take your bible, shove it up your ass, and turn on the fucking lights."

    Jaye ends the song with the lyrics, "Bunker Boy, Bunker Boy, November's coming and we hope you're terrified, Bunker boy," before taking a big exhale and letting out an exhausted eye roll. A real mood.

    SEE ALSO: Stephen Colbert slams Trump's hypocritical Bible photo op

    For those who haven't been closely following Trump's bunker saga, let's recap.

    On Friday night, hundreds of people gathered outside the White House gates to protest racism, police brutality, and the death of George Floyd, a black man who died on May 25, after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes.

    Reports stated that when protests escalated Friday night, Secret Service ushered Trump — along with Melania and their son Barron — to the underground presidential bunker, where they allegedly remained for nearly an hour(Opens in a new tab).

    After Trump received some backlash for retreating to the bunker amidst a national state of unrest, he said that he didn't go to the bunker to get away from the protests, rather he was merely inspecting the bunker.

    "I was there for a tiny, short little period of time," Trump told Brian Kilmeade on Fox News Radio. He then stated his bunker visit was "more for an inspection," and that he'd been been to the bunker previously. He said he's gone "two and a half times," whatever that means.

    Trump's bunker comments sounded a bit absurd to many people, including Jaye, which is why she decided to use the gift of song to hilariously call the president out on his suspicious story.

    Jaye tweeted her video and made sure to tag Trump's Twitter handle — and the song has been quite a hit since. At the time of writing this piece, Jaye's tweet had more than 60,000 likes, and celebrities like Sophia Bush have even praised the blunt and catchy tune.

    Jaye is no stranger to writing songs about President Trump. On June 1, she also shared another potential hit, called "fuck this fucking president," which has been viewed 174,000 times.

    In it, Jaye shares her true feelings about the president, and urges people to get out and vote for the November election.

    I only wish Jaye had been cranking out these political hits back in 2018, when former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was hiding in (or among) bushes. I bet "Bushes Boy" would have been a real banger.

  • Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, resigns to make room for a black board member

    Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, resigns to make room for a black board member

    The co-founder of Reddit just put the rest of the tech world on notice.


    Alexis Ohanian announced Friday(Opens in a new tab) that he was resigning his Reddit board seat, and "urged" the rest of the board to fill his spot with a new black board member. He will also be donating all future gains on his Reddit stock to "serve the black community," and is immediately giving $1 million to Colin Kaepernick's racial justice charity.

    Yes, take that in. Ohanian just set the bar for using power and privilege for racial equity by transferring not only resources, but also power to people of color.

    The tech world has been looking for ways to support racial equality amid Black Lives Matter protests across the world. The leaders in efforts to promote diversity in tech say that one of the best ways tech leaders in particular can help is by investing in black businesses and venture funds, hiring black employees, and putting black people in positions of power within the tech world.

    "Tech companies should be hiring [people of color] at all levels, from the board room to the boiler room," Rodney Sampson, a leader in tech diversity and founder of the accelerator OHUB(Opens in a new tab), said. "If you’re a venture-backed tech company, you should be looking to put someone black on your board of advisors."

    Ohanian called his move "long overdue." He explained that he had made his decision so that he could answer his black daughter (Ohanian's wife is Serena Williams) when she asked: "What did you do?"

    Williams expressed support for her husband in a tweet that may have made this reporter choke up.

    In the background of Ohanian's actions are the stark realities of Reddit, which Ohanian said he founded "to help people find community and a sense of belonging." Anyone who has spent even a passing moment on Reddit knows that it can be a quagmire of divisive vitriol. Amid the protests, some Reddit communities protested what they see as Reddit's failure to take stronger action against hate speech on the platform by making their communities private. Ellen Pao, a former VC, and one-time interim CEO of Reddit who now runs a tech diversity organization, called out Reddit's hypocrisy on Twitter:

    There is, of course, no guarantee that Reddit leadership will take Ohanian up on his request to fill his seat with a black board member. But this is an opportunity to set an example for the rest of the tech and business world. Currently, around 11 percent of Fortune 100 board members are African American, according to a recent study(Opens in a new tab) by the Alliance for Board Diversity.

    Mashable has reached out to Reddit to learn whether it intends to follow through with Ohanian's call to action, and Reddit said it would be responding "later today."

  • Trump lies about elderly protester injured by police, hits another new Twitter low

    Trump lies about elderly protester injured by police, hits another new Twitter low

    Every time you think Donald Trump has hit a new moral low, he manages to outdo himself.


    On Tuesday morning, Twitter users saw yet another exceptionally distressing and unpresidential display from Trump. The president tweeted outlandish lies about Martin Gugino, the injured protester who was shoved to the ground by Buffalo police officers last week. Even for someone prone to spreading false conspiracy theories, this was a shocking thing to say.

    After video of the Buffalo police officers pushing the 75-year-old man to the ground went viral, public outrage led to the suspension of two officers directly involved and the resignation of the 57 other officers(Opens in a new tab) from Buffalo New York's emergency response team. Those officers who resigned from the team remain on the force.

    As Gugino — whose head could be seen smacking the pavement in the video and then was bleeding from his ears — remains in serious but stable condition, Trump suggested to nearly 82 million Twitter followers that the 75-year-old man was "an ANTIFA provocateur" who was trying to tamper with police equipment and exaggerated the severity of his fall.

    "Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?" Trump tweeted.

    SEE ALSO: Protesters turned Donald Trump's #BabyGate fence into something beautiful

    The tweet not only publicly targets a citizen, but also attempts to destroy his reputation as a peaceful activist(Opens in a new tab). And though Trump continually flings insults and spreads misinformation on Twitter, many people were genuinely taken aback by the harmful nature of this conspiracy theory.

    Trump seems to have gotten this conspiracy theory in his head from One America News, the conservative, far-right news network that previously claimed Dr. Fauci had ties to the Deep State, George Soros, Bill Gates, and the Clintons(Opens in a new tab).

    Trump has proven time and again that he's not above lying to rile up his base and change the conversation. So it's imperative now more than ever that you research whatever he says before you even consider believing it.

Random articles


  • Twitter users get creative with emoji thanks to the If I text you meme

    Twitter users get creative with emoji thanks to the If I text you meme

    Wonder why your timeline is flooded with random emoji? We've got you covered.


    The latest Twitter meme combines two of my favorite things: emoji and wordplay. Users are tweeting "when I text you [insert emoji] know it means..." followed by a clever or outlandish meaning for that emoji.

    The trend treats emoji as a jumping off point to make a joke, and some of the most popular examples reference the internet's best inside jokes. It also spotlights many underutilized emoji, and we all know the weirder the emoji, the better.

    According to Twitter, the phrase "when I text you" has been tweeted over 200,000 times in the past week. This isn't the first time emoji have been reclaimed for something other than their intended use. Emoji have become their own language with each generation and various social circles assigning emoji different meanings. Gen Z famously uses 😭 and 💀 for laughing rather than the more Millennial 😂. Not to mention, all the emoji that have become synonymous with thirst and horniness.

    This meme allows chronically online wordsmiths to show off their creativity and will hopefully spark a renaissance in bizarre emoji use. Here are some of my favorite examples of the meme.

    A calendar has never been more threatening

    Finally, a use for the accordion emoji

    Brb sending everyone I know mangos

    For the TwiHards

    Lights, camera, action!


    Yeah we are

  • Watch this nurses moving response to Trump telling America Dont be afraid of Covid

    Watch this nurses moving response to Trump telling America Dont be afraid of Covid

    It has been a hellish year for healthcare workers. The COVID-19 crisis has put them on the frontlines of a deadly crisis.


    So it makes sense a nurse would be angered by President Donald Trump downplaying the seriousness of the virus.

    Cristina, a TikTok user with the handle @foleyfriends(Opens in a new tab), relayed her anger in regards to specific Trump tweet that read: "Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life."

    It's a moving video. Cristina is visibly upset and hurt that the nation's leader would tell folks not to be afraid of a virus that has killed more than 200,000 Americans.

    "How dare he undermine all of the work that we have done as nurses and healthcare providers," she said in the now-viral TikTok(Opens in a new tab). "I'm sorry I'm having a mental breakdown over this but I have done compressions on intubated patients. I have seen hundreds of people suffocating to death. And for him to say 'do not be afraid of COVID' is astounding. I cannot compute."

    @foleyfriends(Opens in a new tab)

    I can’t make a coherent thought because of how angry I am. Maybe more on this later, right now I need to breathe. ##nurse(Opens in a new tab)

    ♬ original sound - Cristina(Opens in a new tab)

    In a follow-up video(Opens in a new tab), Cristina relayed her shock about going viral, saying she had no idea it had blown up until her mom called her at work.

    "I just want to thank everybody who showed their support, thank you so much," she said. "And thank you for spreading the word about Trump's ignorance. I hope that you all stay safe."

  • My partner tested positive for an STI, but Im negative. Why?

    My partner tested positive for an STI, but Im negative. Why?

    Attending sexual health screenings can be a nail-biting experience. But, what happens when you test positive for a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and your partner doesn’t? 


    You may automatically assume that this is because of cheating, that your partner may have slept with another person or had sexual contact outside of your knowledge, prior to testing. This might be true, but it's also not the only possibility. You should know that you can still test positive and negative as a couple when cheating didn’t take place.

    Historically, this has been known as a discordant STI result, and it refers to a situation where a sexually active couple receives different negative and positive diagnoses after taking an STI test. The term is often used referencing long-term, harder-to-treat STIs, such as HIV, but can also be applied to other STIs like chlamydia, gonorrhoea, genital warts, and more.

    Now, with efforts to try and destigmatise STIs, new language is arising. Katie Nambiar, medical director of HIV and sexual health charity the Terrence Higgins Trust(Opens in a new tab), tells Mashable that "discord" implies a conflict or clash. Instead, medical professionals are trying to move towards the term "sero-different." "The two are interchangeable, but we're just trying to move towards kinder language," she says. 

    How can one person get an STI and the other not?

    Everyone's body is different. The same goes for our immune system. Some people’s network of cells, tissues, and organs are better than others at fighting infection and disease. This can be one reason why you might obtain a sero-different or discordant result. Simply put, your body has already fought off the virus before it’s had a chance to settle in. 

    Another reason can be that it is lying dormant. While most people experience symptoms from STIs almost instantly, others can remain symptomless for years. This is known as a latency period.

    Dr. Melanie Bone, an OBGYN and member of menstrual wellness company Daye's(Opens in a new tab) medical board, tells Mashable that some STIs like syphilis and genital herpes can go unnoticed for several years. "Once you have caught it," she says, "you may never get a flare of herpes ever, may get one episode, or get recurrent episodes. You may even get your first flare ten years after catching it."

    This is why regular testing is important, but also why cheating isn’t the only possibility when it comes to understanding why you may have sero-different results. 

    What if you (or your partner) receive sero-different HIV results?

    Bone explains that if you or your partner receive a sero-different STI result, the first and most important thing is to get tested again in four weeks, and then in eight weeks. This is partly because of the time it can take for symptoms to rear their head, but also because you can still catch an untreated STI from your partner. 

    "Having received one discordant STI result doesn't mean that you are forever immune to catching your partner's STI," Bone explains. "If you are in possession of such results, it is more important than ever to practice safe sex. Do keep in mind that condom-protected sex cannot protect from every STI — monkeypox, syphilis, and genital warts can still be passed on during protected sex."

    SEE ALSO: Can you take an STI test when you have your period?

    Safe sex can mean multiple things, too. Like having no genital or fluid contact, using dental dams, mutual masturbation and much more. It can also mean taking medication to prevent infection. In instances where HIV is found in sero-different results, couples will be given a full rundown on how to move forward and live with the condition.

    "In the case of HIV, if follow-on screens come back positive, both partners will be asked to take antiviral medication (such as PEP or post-exposure prophylaxis)," Bone says. "The couple will also be instructed on how to practice protected sex going forward, and they might receive counselling on their fertility options going forward if they are in a long-term, committed relationship."

    Either way, couples can live, full, happy and long lives together (filled with all kinds of amazing sex), as long as they’re both taking antiviral drugs and using protection. 

    "HIV is a treatable, manageable condition," Nambiar explains. She says that early detection and knowing your status is crucial if you’re to manage the virus successfully. "If you pick it up and treat it early, then the impact to your life is actually very, very minimal," she says.

    Can sero-different couples have biological children?

    For people in a sero-different relationship, fertility can feel like a minefield. While some couples (or throuples) might feel like having children isn’t the right thing for them, others may face fertility struggles from medical conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) or a low sperm count. That doesn’t mean, however, that natural conception is impossible, even with a positive HIV diagnosis. 

    "It is possible that couples conceive through the use of 'sperm washing' — a method whereby individual sperms are separated from the semen, allowing for conception to take place without infection," Bone tells Mashable. 

    SEE ALSO: Everlywell now has an STI test subscription. Is it worth it?

    Whether you are male or female with HIV, you can still conceive naturally, but it is important that antiretroviral therapy (ART) is used to lower the chances of passing on HIV to your child. This is because, without medical intervention like antivirals, passing on HIV can happen quite easily at any point throughout pregnancy or through breastfeeding.

    However, sero-different parents may find that their child is born HIV-negative, but regular checks and consistently taking prescribed antivirals are enthusiastically recommended by doctors. "Be reassured if you're on treatment, then you can’t pass it on, there’s zero risk," Nambiar says.

    What should I do if I'm HIV positive?

    "First off, do not panic," says Bone. "Modern medicine has advanced to a point where you and your partner's relationship can largely continue undisturbed."

    "Second, make sure you receive detailed guidance on re-testing, PEP, and antiviral drugs, as well as fertility," she advises. "If you feel that any of your questions are not being adequately answered, seek a second opinion."

    "We are moving to eradicate HIV transmission, something we couldn't have dreamed of not that long ago. Times are changing for the better."

    If you or your partner are affected by HIV, or are looking for support as a discordant or sero-different couple, there are some fantastic resources that can be found at the National Aids Trust(Opens in a new tab)

    "People believe the myth that people that have HIV/AIDS are in a bad way. That it is a terrible condition that leads to a shortened lifespan, or to having to take oral medications with horrible side effects. But we've moved past that," Nambiar explains. "Now, we are moving to eradicate transmission, something we couldn't have dreamed of not that long ago. Times are changing for the better."

    Nambiar reiterates that for people living with HIV, the only and easiest way to live with it is to know early on that you have contracted it. Don’t suffer in silence, because there is so much that can be done to help you live a happy, good life.

  • Lips is a new social network where sexual expression is welcome

    Lips is a new social network where sexual expression is welcome

    There are fewer and fewer places for sex workers, sex educators, and adult content creators to find a home online.


    Lips(Opens in a new tab), a new social network geared towards free sexual expression, aims to provide that space. Founder Annie Brown and her team want users — sex workers, erotic artists, queer people, activists, and more — to post without fear of censorship or harassment.

    It's a much needed alternative to mainstream social networks. While Facebook was busy splitting hairs(Opens in a new tab) about nipple photos in 2015, it took insurrectionists storming the Capitol for Mark Zuckerberg to ban Donald Trump(Opens in a new tab), who spouted misinformation on the platform for years. But Facebook is far from the only network that bans basically any type of adult content like (gasp!) an uncensored nipple.

    Tumblr banned adult content in 2018(Opens in a new tab) after being a beacon for sex/sexuality education and porn gifs. Instagram, which Facebook owns, changed their terms of use in December; sex educators are already saying their content is being censored(Opens in a new tab). TikTok is "purging" users with OnlyFans(Opens in a new tab) in their bios. If one isn't straight-up banned, they could be shadowbanned, or blocked from advertising.

    Regardless of the flavor, these actions by social networks silence marginalized voices and hurt them financially.

    How Lips is different from any other social network

    While some statistics of social media shutting out certain voices are public — such as how 73 percent of neutral or positive LGBTQ news(Opens in a new tab) from LGBTQ publishers is incorrectly flagged due to brands' blacklisted keywords — it's difficult to get a true sense of just how far it goes. Trying to tease out quantitative (and qualitative) measures of censorship and its impact is part of Lips's community manager Val Elefante's role. This includes deleting posts, shadow banning, and removing accounts and hashtags totally.

    "A lot of these issues...are hard to understand and wrap your head around just how grave they are," said Elefante. "The number of accounts that are shadowbanned — you can't just Google that."

    In her research, Elefante is trying to prove something many adult content creators already know: Censorship is rampant on social media.

    Gabrielle Alexa(Opens in a new tab), author of the upcoming How to Live With the Internet(Opens in a new tab) and sex-positive content creator, said she's had posts removed from TikTok and had her Instagram account banned (though unlike others, hers was quickly restored).

    SEE ALSO: Sex workers fear targeting under Instagram's terms of service

    TikTok has been the most aggressive in Alexa's experience. As an example, she described a video she made for online sex shop Honey Play Box(Opens in a new tab). As a part of the "old fashioned" TikTok trend, Alexa kneaded dough and said it was like how she feels using her hands to masturbate instead of a toy. TikTok removed it.

    "It was only sexual verbiage. It wasn't even sexual in the action I portrayed," she said. "I didn't realize it was such a conservative platform that even [that video] would be removable."

    Honey Play Box, like many adult brands, isn't able to advertise on Facebook or Instagram. This means that they rely on influencers and organic posts for social media marketing. When platforms like TikTok remove their content, it hurts their livelihoods.

    "We always have near-constant fear that our platform can be removed at any second," Alexa said.

    Tech giants may be quick to blame FOSTA-SESTA(Opens in a new tab) legislation as the reason for their puritanical guidelines. FOSTA-SESTA is anti-sex trafficking in theory, but has hurt sex workers and others in practice(Opens in a new tab).

    "[FOSTA-SESTA] has caused so much collateral damage onto sex workers, women, LGBTQ people," said Elefante. "'We can't differentiate this type of content expression from exploitation and therefore we need to just ban it all.' That's been the policy most of the platforms have adopted."

    Nudity, sexuality, queer love, kink, body positivity — platforms like Instagram remove it all in the wake of FOSTA-SESTA, seemingly lumping sexual exploitation with anything sexual.

    "Reducing all of that as equivalent to illegal trafficking and child porn...It's not fair or right. It's not healthy or helpful," said Elefante.

    lips shadow banning Credit: lips
    lips hashtags Credit: lips

    Brown attributed these mass deletions to laziness on the part of huge platforms. "It's easier just to delete everything," she said.

    What's more is that these companies don't value certain voices. "Playboy's account never suffered shadowbanning or deletion," said Brown. "Kim Kardashian has never suffered those things. Trojan or male erectile dysfunction medications don't suffer the same shadowbanning."

    People and brands with deep pockets, it seems, get different treatment than everyone else.

    "Instagram thinks it's in their best interest monetarily to 'clean up' their feeds, that more mainstream brands will advertise on Instagram if it's more 'family friendly,'" Brown said.

    "Playboy's account never suffered shadowbanning or deletion."

    FOSTA-SESTA is providing cover to do things these platforms would've done anyway, according to Brown. "There's a combination of bias that FOSTA-SESTA increases," Brown explained, "because it gives those who want would already rather have this stuff off their platform justification to do so."

    The UX helping to achieve free sexual expression

    Of course, deplatforming isn't just limited to sexual content or FOSTA-SESTA. Barbara Bickham, founder and CTO at Trailyn Ventures(Opens in a new tab) and Lips's technical advisor, was partly attracted to the platform because she witnessed people in the blockchain and cryptocurrency worlds be deplatformed and demonetized in late 2018 and early 2019.

    "It didn't matter if you weren't selling anything, didn't matter if you were just trying to educate people," Bickham explained.

    She later met Brown at a blockchain summit in Los Angeles in 2019 (where Brown was trying to understand how to utilize blockchain in creating a new social network) and learned about her mission to help marginalized communities who had also been deplatformed. Knowing deplatforming was already happening in other spheres, Bickham knew how much of a problem it was.

    "She was visionary in that way," Bickham said of Brown.

    When Bickham came in, she suggested that Lips be a progressive web app. The site's functionality matches one of an app, and when opened on a phone a pop-up tells the user how to add it to one's home screen. Once downloaded and onto the home screen, it opens like any other app.

    The reasoning was multifold. For one, creating a progressive web app is more cost effective than an iOS or Android app. For another, thousands upon thousands of apps release on the App Store(Opens in a new tab) each month. Bickham wanted Lips to cut through all that noise — to not even deal with the App Store.

    Even if Lips had decided on an iOS or Android app, though, they may not have gotten past the stores' approval processes. Apple banned sexual content from the App Store in 2010(Opens in a new tab), so the team knew early on that spending resources on creating an app may be for nought.

    "This is our way of circumventing the Apple Store and Android Store monopoly," said Brown.

    The progressive web app is just one way Lips's mission has seeped into its backend. The team held co-designing sessions, such as with queer youth, to discuss what features were important to them.

    Julija Rukanskaitė, UX designer for Lips, said, "What seemed simple at first — having a main feed, an explore page, and a profile and a way to post became more and more complicated the more we worked on it, in a good way," she said.

    SEE ALSO: TikTok's algorithms knew I was bi before I did. I'm not the only one.

    One feature Rukanskaitė said is unique to Lips is their consent-based pre-defined tag system. When using the platform, a user can autogenerate their photo-based feed or they can choose tags themselves. The first option is pretty typical: picking what topics you like. Then, Lips asks the user what they don't want to see.

    Further, trolls aren't allowed on Lips. In theory, they're not allowed anywhere, but Lips has taken steps to assure this in their UX. Everyone who wants to post on Lips needs to be approved, and the application process is meant to "scare off" some of the trolls, according to Rukanskaitė.

    Related Video: How influencers are ruining OnlyFans for sex workers

    "We want people to submit examples of what they'd like to post and why," Rukanskaitė explained. "Otherwise they can't do anything but follow and 'lips' (like) other people's content."

    As of now, Lips doesn't have comment or messaging features which makes direct trolling not possible, but Rukanskaitė and the rest of the team has a plan for when it is. "We do hope that through approval, the content on the platform, reporting and possibly hate-speech detection we can discourage trolling as much as possible in the future," she said.

    In terms of mass trolling — such as many people reporting one account to get it banned — Rukanskaitė said that the backend of larger platforms (i.e. Instagram) doesn't seem to differentiate between trolling efforts to remove an account and a genuine effort to remove harmful accounts.

    To that, Rukanskaitė said, "We hope that through distinguishing troll reporting versus reporting done by, for example, approved accounts, and informed human moderators on the other side, we can prevent such attacks from happening as we grow."

    What Lips users are saying so far

    In the face of Instagram's new terms, Alexa, the sex-positive content creator, saw that peers were building private servers to house their content. That route didn't appeal to her — but Lips did.

    "When I saw that people were actually frolicking to Lips, that felt like a safer bet," said Alexa, than starting from scratch with a private server. "I can create content over there and lift people from my Instagram as a, 'if you want the full version of this, you can check out Lips.'"

    Lips allows Alexa the freedom of being able to post what she wants while maintaining her Instagram audience of almost 30,000.

    Other users have expressed a similar feeling of freedom. "This space to create and express in such a creative and empowering community is like a breath of fresh air," said one user. "No explaining, no shame, no second guessing or feeding harmful constructs about my body or [its] expression. Unapologetically Me."

    Feedback from a Lips user. Credit: lips
    Feedback from a Lips user. Credit: lips

    "A chronologically feed-based app that has one goal and achieves that — I think that's really nice," said Alexa. As a user, she hopes that more people of color start utilizing the platform, and for more features in the future.

    The Lips team has similar hopes. Elefante said they will continue to build with users' feedback at every stage; users are already sending ideas for the future. Brown said that they're aiming to do a marketing push, as well, which will hopefully introduce more people to the platform.

    Now is the time for a niche social network like Lips

    "At this point in time and history...this is a grand opportunity to be rolling out a new social network," said Bickham.

    For so long, companies like Facebook have focused on growth, on getting as many people as possible on the platform. This has been detrimental in terms of content moderation, as evidenced by the very reasons Lips now exists.

    Bickham believes niches are the way moving forward, citing the success of Facebook groups and Clubhouse rooms as well as Substack and Patreon, where people pay for specialized content.

    One takeaway Elefante has gotten in working with Lips is similar: A social network for everyone isn't realistic. Instagram has its value — like connecting to old friends, for example — but Elefante believes people want a digital community like their small, safe communities in the physical world.

    "In terms of the 'next phase' of social media, at least what I'm envisioning, is one where people are taking care of themselves better and looking after each other," she said.

    "This is a grand opportunity to be rolling out a new social network."

    Going into 2021, Brown and her team want Lips to be a space where its community thrives. They're currently fundraising, something that has historically been a challenge for sex tech entrepreneurs such as Cindy Gallop. Considering that toy brand Lora DiCarlo(Opens in a new tab) and audio erotica platform Dipsea(Opens in a new tab) secured millions in funding in recent years, however, the tide may be turning for sex-driven startups.

    In terms of features, Brown wants to launch a Lips marketplace. As with the platform itself, they want the marketplace to be where shops that Instagram has stymied can find a home. They'll also implement a machine learning system that Brown hopes will collect smarter data about online sexual content.

    Overall, however, they just want Lips to be a respite for those who've been shut out of other social networks.

    "We hope for 2021 is to see Lips go from this infant stage to an Instagram alternative," said Brown. "If someone's being deplatformed, or before they're deplatformed, or they feel like social media is a mental strain on them, that they'll know the name Lips and that they'll be able to come to us and have this space where they can finally be themselves without fear of trolling or bias censorship."

  • How to feel safe kissing as the Delta variant is on the rise

    How to feel safe kissing as the Delta variant is on the rise

    In this latest, nebulous phase of the pandemic for some parts of the world, Kim doesn't believe she's on the same page as other daters. The 28-year-old UK resident isn't yet vaccinated, and she isn't ready to date again due to COVID fear.


    Kim isn't alone. Amid COVID and the rising Delta variant, some singles are still afraid to physically connect with others — vaccinated or not.

    The Delta variant is now the dominant strain worldwide(Opens in a new tab)delta-plus(Opens in a new tab), which contains a protein mutation like the alpha variant, is on its heels — and with it comes a surge in hospitalizations and deaths among the unvaccinated. Vaccinated people are generally protected against serious illness, but infection is still possible. In fact, 1 in 17,000 vaccinated people(Opens in a new tab) need to be hospitalized with COVID, according to NBC News.

    But despite breakthrough cases (a 1-in-900 chance(Opens in a new tab) according to NBC), it's still possible to feel safe kissing amid the Delta variant (for the vaccinated, anyway).

    Kim, who chose to be identified by her first name only for privacy reasons, is on the dating app Inner Circle(Opens in a new tab) despite her wariness to meet people. Many, she said, are sick of COVID and acting less cautious than they have in previous COVID waves. Cases have been dropping in the UK(Opens in a new tab) — where 75 percent of adults(Opens in a new tab) have received two shots — since their mid-July reopening, but Kim wants to remain careful as she's not vaccinated.

    Ambivalence in the time of Delta

    Dr. Ashwini Nadkarni, associate psychiatrist and an instructor at Harvard Medical School, told Mashable that people are often ambivalent in times of uncertainty. In COVID times, that could look like worrying about the Delta variant, but going out anyway.

    We know that the best way to fight COVID is with vaccines, social distancing, and masks; the latter two aren't compatible with physical closeness, especially making out. At the same time, people who maintained frequent in-person social and sexual connections had better mental health(Opens in a new tab) over the pandemic, according to a study Nadkarni cited.

    The complexity of a situation — say about whether to go on a date when the Delta variant is on the rise — can prevent someone from making a decision. Fear of making the wrong decision can also cause this paralysis.

    Further, choosing how to navigate dating now can impact potential relationships, as Dylan Arnold experienced. Arnold is a resident of Sydney, Australia, which is currently under lockdown(Opens in a new tab) due to a spike in COVID cases(Opens in a new tab). A recent date was offended when he wouldn't kiss her, Arnold told Mashable.

    Arnold, who was partially vaccinated at the time of publication, assumed the meetup would just be walking around. His date wanted more.

    "She seemed to take this [not kissing her] as me being uninterested with her," Arnold said, "when it wasn't." Arnold lives with his mother and grandmother, and was concerned about their safety — especially given that only around 15 percent of Australia's population was vaccinated(Opens in a new tab) at the time of the date, though it's since risen. Sydney's strict lockdown rules(Opens in a new tab) do allow someone to exercise outdoors with one other person, which has led to a boom in walking dates, according to Arnold. He was comfortable with a walking date, but not with kissing his yet-unvaccinated companion.

    Despite explaining these reasons for declining a kiss at the end of the date, Arnold said the brush-off "basically ended things."

    SEE ALSO: How do I flirt in person again?

    Even after vaccination, breakthrough cases(Opens in a new tab) are causing people to reevaluate their actions.

    Jen, a Bay Area resident who requested a different name for the sake of privacy, is fully vaccinated — but caught a breakthrough COVID infection. She called the experience an emotional rollercoaster, because she was diagnosed as the Delta variant began to pervade the news.

    Now, Jen is unsure about what to do moving forward in terms of being around others. Her boyfriend didn't catch COVID from her despite being around her (perhaps because he's fully vaccinated as well), but she remains on the fence about connecting with others. On one hand, she wants to be more cautious; on the other, she has more COVID antibodies and believes her body is at peak defense against it for the next few months.

    More than anything, Jen believes her breakthrough case serves as a warning to others. "My friends...told me they are being a bit more cautious after learning that I had a breakthrough infection," she said. Her friends who are dating are now moving their activities outdoors, and will think twice before kissing.

    COVID caution may win out with Jen's single friends, as it has with Kim, and that's understandable. Despite pressure she feels to find a partner before "the next COVID wave," Kim also worries about how the mental and emotional toll of the pandemic will impact searching for a partner in the future.

    No matter your reasons, you — like Kim — can choose to bow out of the dating game right now. Another option is to stick to video dating, as marriage and family therapist Christine Kederian(Opens in a new tab) suggested. Consider front-loading the dating process with virtual meetups, Kederian said, and only move to in-person if — and when — you're comfortable.

    What if I definitely want to date in-person?

    "The best way to navigate such complex decision-making is to be as informed as possible so as to understand the tradeoffs," said Nadkarni. If you're aware of the non-zero COVID risks when hanging out with others, you can decide accordingly. Perhaps you'll decline to see that Tinder match you're wishy-washy about, or choose an outdoor date with someone you're excited to meet.

    At the same time, try not to overconsume news, said psychologist Aura Priscel(Opens in a new tab). This is easier said than done — especially with push notifications and Twitter — but you don't have to be privy to every article about breakthrough cases, or every statistic. Stay informed, but take news breaks too.

    Set your own boundaries for how and whom you want to date, as Arnold did by refusing to kiss a match. Arnold also said he probably won't consider dating someone unvaccinated once vaccines become more accessible in Australia. (The country has a shortage of Pfizer vaccines(Opens in a new tab) but an abundance of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which many refuse to take because of the small risk of a blood clot.) His Tinder bio states that he's half-vaccinated — and he will update it once fully vaccinated — to let potential matches know, and to signal that he wants future dates to get vaccinated as well.

    Should someone not respect your boundaries, as with what happened to Arnold, they simply won't get a second date. If both you and your partner are open about your vaccine status and decide you want to have physical contact, however, go for it. You can weigh the benefits of intimacy against the risk of infection.

    COVID isn't gone yet, and we have to remain vigilant while continuing to live. If you're informed of the potential risks and you want to connect in-person, you're well within your right to do so. Feel free to give safe — informed, boundary-respecting — kisses.

    Related Video: We asked over 1,000 people about their post-COVID dating plans

  • On Tumblr, a GIF can make you believe in love

    On Tumblr, a GIF can make you believe in love

    As a sophomore in college, I was on Tumblr every minute that I wasn't in class or watching YouTube. And as a fan of One Direction, I couldn't avoid the platform's No. 1 ship(Opens in a new tab) of 2015: Larry Stylinson, the pairing of band members Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson. Larry supporters scoured videos of the group for "evidence" of their romance — a lingering gaze, a gentle brush of an arm — and transformed those moments into GIFs that were reblogged tens of thousands of times. 


    At first, I found the conviction of Larry truthers fascinating. And then something strange happened: I began to believe in Larry, too. in a new tab)

    Larry content was everywhere, blooming across photo edits, blog posts, fan art(Opens in a new tab), and fanfiction. However, it was the GIFs that did me in(Opens in a new tab). They re-framed a fleeting moment as significant, as romantic, then suspended it in time. Scholars Dr. Dominik Maeder and Dr. Daniela Wentz(Opens in a new tab) have written that in a GIF's "infinite loops of human and animal gesture… meaning eventually surfaces." For me, and for many Larry shippers, that was true. Styles and Tomlinson denied(Opens in a new tab) the romance(Opens in a new tab), but the hypnotic carousel of their small, silent moments made it feel completely possible, maybe even real.

    Kayla, who now works as a social media consultant in the entertainment industry and requested we change her name to maintain her anonymity, used to make shipping edits of Arrow's Olicity (Oliver and Felicity) and The Old Guard's Joe and Nicky. GIFs were her way of showing others something she saw that they might not have picked up on. "When you slow these things down, you're noticing smaller moments that you didn't see live, that you wouldn't see otherwise," she explains. "That's really special when you're talking about romanticizing these couples and their chemistry. It increases the investment of fans in that relationship because they can see it in a new way." Fans share those interpretations through creative edits, sometimes leveling up a romance to be on par with a Disney love story(Opens in a new tab) or the fiery passion of The Notebook's Allie and Noah(Opens in a new tab) or the tragedy of Titanic(Opens in a new tab).

    [GIFs] re-framed a fleeting moment as significant, as romantic, then suspended it in time.

    During her time on Tumblr from 2014 to 2018, Kayla mostly posted sets: collections of GIFs or photos that capture shorter frames of a larger moment, like storyboards. Sets were native to Tumblr, and have now been co-opted by fans on Twitter. "With GIF sets you break the moment down a lot more to see the evolution of it in a way that encapsulates almost all of the emotion or all the chemistry." They can also capture dialogue exchanges that are too long for a single GIF. "Sets to me are a little bit more emotional, a little bit more palpable," she says "and I think really tugged at the heartstrings of the moment more than a single GIF would."

    In a 2013 interview(Opens in a new tab), Tumblr's founder and then-CEO David Karp called this kind of GIF editing and remixing "a really clear example" of a way that Tumblr gave creators "room to do something that they couldn't really do anywhere else." In contrast to nascent social platforms of the day, which he said had "gotten more and more restricted — [with] square photos, 140 characters, six-second videos," Tumblr gave creativity a "place to flourish. We didn't want to define the medium," he says, "we wanted to leave it wide open." in a new tab)

    According to researchers Kate M. Miltner and Tim Highfield(Opens in a new tab), the GIF is "an ideal tool for enhancing" what they call "the performance of affect" or the way we process and react to experiences. Basically, GIFs are like stand-ins for our own experiences, allowing us to analyze, replay, and potentially portray the actions they depict.

    This is especially significant for queer communities on Tumblr. Other academics(Opens in a new tab) suggest that while sharing GIFs are the “smallest and most innocuous of Tumblr practices," for LGBTQ users specifically, GIFs are a way to "trade in affect across the site.”

    "Millennials kind of paved the way for queerness on the internet, and a lot of it happened through Tumblr," says Amanda Brennan, who dug into the data behind Tumblr's fandoms over her seven years at the company. "The way that we talk about gender and sexuality now wouldn't be here if Tumblr hadn't laid that path. It's a space where you could be yourself and support each other, and the queer community is the cornerstone." And GIFs can be a vehicle for discovery in the same way that "we use memes as a way to talk about things that we may or may not want to be vulnerable about," she says.

    That visibility helps queer users see themselves in stories historically centered on heterosexual relationships, and celebrate their identity.

    Brennan points to data from 2013(Opens in a new tab) showing that more than 76 percent of the most reblogged ships on Tumblr were slash, or same-sex pairings. That visibility helps queer users see themselves in stories historically centered on heterosexual relationships, and celebrate their identity. It's important "to be able to see these queer relationships and queer joy when you're just trying to figure yourself out," to be able to say, "'I see the way this person looks at this person. And I know that feeling and I'm going to dive into it because it brings me joy.'"

    GIFs capture these ephemeral moments in a way that is immense and interminable. A GIF lives on in perpetuity, as eternal as love itself. Brennan points to one of her favorite femslash ships: Waverly Earp and Nicole Haught (Wayhaught(Opens in a new tab)) of Wynonna Earp. "I love seeing love, wherever it is," she gushes, "Like, fuck yeah, I want to look at every GIF of the way that Nicole gives Waverly heart eyes."

  • The enduring appeal of what are you listening to videos

    The enduring appeal of what are you listening to videos

    Ten years ago Ty Cullen uploaded the original "Hey You! What Song are you Listening to? NEW YORK" video to YouTube(Opens in a new tab). Today we are once again asking, what are you listening to?


    When Cullen's video was first posted, it inspired filmmakers all over the world to take to the streets to ask strangers what they are listening to(Opens in a new tab).

    With more people back on the street, it's only fitting that what are you listening to videos are more popular than ever before.

    Three months ago Cullen's video popped up in 22-year-old YouTuber Shan Rizwan's YouTube recommendations. Inspired by Cullen, Rizwan filmed his own "what song are you listening to video" and posted it to YouTube(Opens in a new tab). In mid-September he sliced up his YouTube video and repurposed the content on his TikTok where it went viral. His what song are you listening to New York edition TikTok(Opens in a new tab) now has over 10 million views and almost two million likes.

    The tag #whatsongareyoulisteningto has roughly 96 million views as of Wednesday and #whatareyoulisteningto has 67 million.

    Every what are you listening to videos follow the same structure. The interviewer approaches an unassuming stranger and asks them what they are listening to. Then there is an awkward moment where the stranger registers what the interviewer has asked and takes out their headphone to answer. After they answer, a snippet of the song they're listening to plays for the viewer, so you get an idea of the song's vibe.

    Different creators make these videos in different cities. Rizwan has made what are you listening videos in NYC and at college campuses like Harvard and UC Berkeley.

    The most popular location for these videos is overwhelmingly NYC. Creator @harry.carlisle (Opens in a new tab)has made 12 videos walking around NYC asking what people are listening to.

    Watching these videos you can try to guess what the stranger is listening to. Credit: Tiktok / harry.carlisle
    The reveal is satisfying. Credit: tiktok / harry.carlisle

    "It’s sort of a guessing game. You look at them and before they answer you have a preconceived notion of what they are listening to and once you hear what they say, it’s interesting to compare. This guy was wearing this and I didn’t expect him to listen to this genre," said Rizwan.

    In the 10 years since Cullen posted his YouTube video, the way we consume and share music has changed in big ways. Long gone are the days of loading up tunes to an iPod. Five months after Cullen posted his video, Spotify became available in the US. It now has 365 million active users.

    Because Spotify is both a streaming and social media platform, what people are listening to is more accessible than ever before. Not only can you follow your friends on Spotify and see what they are listening to in real time, but speaking from experience you can easily find most people you meet on Spotify and see their public playlists.

    You might think the social media side of Spotify would scratch the same itch as what are you listening to videos, but alas these videos are as popular as ever.

    "I think everyone wonders what other people are listening to, but it’s a bold question to ask. Most people don’t go up to strangers and ask what they are listening to," said Rizwan on these videos’ popularity.

    People love to share and talk about the music they listen to, so these videos are also incredibly joyful and leave you with a smile on your face.

    "For the most part people take me asking what they are listening to as a compliment. It's a good way to make someone's day," concluded Rizwan.

    These videos are also a way to discover new music that is more personal than the algorithm fueled playlists on Spotify.

    "I get a comments saying things like you put me onto this song," said Rizwan.

    After so much time inside isolated from strangers, maybe what are you listening to videos are exactly what are stranger deprived brains need.

    UPDATE: October 7, 2021, 10:30 a.m. EDT An earlier version of this story referred to Shan Rizwan as Shan Rizman.

  • Rachel Hollis, paid relationship pro, doesnt know a lot about relationships

    Rachel Hollis, paid relationship pro, doesnt know a lot about relationships

    Rachel Hollis is back.


    The self-help author and Christian influencer is creeping back onto social media after her latest controversy in April. Hollis compared herself to Harriet Tubman(Opens in a new tab) and other world-changing women of color by saying they're "unrelatable" like her — when: 1. She is certainly not like any of those women and 2. Her entire Brand™ was built on being relatable.

    In addition to returning to Instagram with photos of dandelions(Opens in a new tab) and sidewalk chalk(Opens in a new tab), Hollis also quietly dropped a YouTube video this week that raised alarm bells to those familiar with her work. The video contains a seemingly innocuous story about Hollis's first kiss since her divorce:

    But at around 6:22 in the video, Hollis says, "I don't know a lot about relationships."

    This is coming from someone who charged couples $1,800 for a relationship retreat(Opens in a new tab).

    Hollis, author of the bestselling advice books Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing, isn't a stranger to the cycle of getting into hot water and wading in it until she thinks the internet forgot about it. Throughout her career, Hollis has been criticized for being a bad boss(Opens in a new tab); plagiarising Maya Angelou(Opens in a new tab) and others(Opens in a new tab); aligning herself with multi-level marketing(Opens in a new tab) (MLM) schemes; and spewing toxic positivity(Opens in a new tab).

    These separate instances — plagiarism, MLMs, toxic positivity, "unrelatable" — coalesce into critics proclaiming Hollis a fraud. Even her most diehard fans questioned her credibility when Rachel and Dave Hollis filed for divorce(Opens in a new tab) in 2020 after years of offering and charging for marriage advice.

    "We have worked endlessly over the last three years to make this work and have come to the conclusion that it is healthier and more respectful for us to choose this as the end of our journey as a married couple," Hollis said in her caption(Opens in a new tab), insinuating that she and her husband had relationship difficulties since 2017.

    Meanwhile in 2018, the couple hosted the $1,800 Rise Together couples conference, where the event description(Opens in a new tab) states attendees would "learn some tangible advice for improving their relationship." They dropped a marriage advice YouTube video(Opens in a new tab) and began the Rise Together podcast(Opens in a new tab), where they dispensed advice just weeks before the split announcement. (Dave has subsequently hosted alone.)

    Neither Rachel nor Dave Hollis are licensed marriage therapists, nor do they have any professional qualifications. In their Facebook video announcing the 2018 Rise Together conference, Rachel Hollis said: "What you're thinking is, 'I didn't know you guys were counselors or therapists, that you had special training in order to guide other couples."

    The camera zoomed in on her face when she admitted: "We don't."

    SEE ALSO: TikTok's white girl dancing is pure joy

    As reported in the New York Times, the breakup shocked both Hollis's employees and her fans(Opens in a new tab); in public, they appeared to be in a happy relationship. But not only was Hollis untruthful about her marriage, she also profited off it. She doled out advice and made people pay for it as if she was qualified.

    With her latest video, Hollis once again shines a light on her actual ignorance of the subject. Should someone who doesn't "know a lot about relationships" charge $1,800 for a couples' weekend? Should she host a marriage advice podcast?

    The answer is obvious: No.

    Rachel Hollis has built her career off of being an unattainable type of relatable, of having a marriage that only had small, fixable problems but was outwardly perfect. As time went on, however, the cracks in her perfect life — and therefore the cracks in her trustworthiness — have started to show.

    The mask slipped in April, when Hollis admitted she didn't want to be relatable. Now, months later, it seems the mask slipped once again.

  • The 20 best sex, erotica, and relationship podcasts

    The 20 best sex, erotica, and relationship podcasts

    The inherently personal quality of audio makes podcasting one of the best formats for conversations around sex, relationships, and dating. In some cases, podcasts even offer free erotica, with audio porn specifically designed to get you off.


    Admittedly, I might be the only weirdo who's horny for podcasts that aren't even about sex and relationships. But I'm certainly not alone in recognizing the podcasting medium as a uniquely intimate experience.(Opens in a new tab)

    That's probably why sex and relationship advice has been a staple of radio for decades, with a select few making the transition from broadcast into podcasting. Podcasts have opened up new possibilities for auditory sex-positivity by offering more diversity in hosts and topics covered.

    SEE ALSO: Inside Quinn, a new site for audio erotica

    Many folks are still not comfortable with openly talking about sex IRL, or don't have lots of access to others who are. But podcasts fix the access problem while providing a digital buffer to ease you into discussing these taboo subjects with partners in real life. Tuning in to many of the podcasts on our list feels like just hanging out with very sexually wise and experienced friends. It also removes the pressure from listeners to actually participate by contributing their own personal stories.

    Our list includes a diversity of perspectives, identities, and orientations that cover as much of the vast spectrum of human sexuality and intimacy as possible. If you live in a place dominated by cis, heterosexual, white male sex and dating culture, podcasting can be crucial role in expanding your understanding of what you're really into.

    SEE ALSO: Am I the only one who's horny for podcasts?

    On top of all that, audio is just plain hot and a deeply underrated format for porn. Erotica podcasts tap into all the benefits of auditory porn, which can be much more welcoming to marginalized identities and bodies. Your imagination gets to dictate what you get off to, so you can cater to your exact wants, desires, preferences, kinks, etc.

    Here's a comprehensive list that spans everything from interviews and advice to polished narrative explorations of intimacy to hot-and-heavy erotic storytelling. Regardless of how you identify or where you are in your sex and relationships journey, there's something for everyone to get into.

    1. The Heart

    What it is: Various forms of auditory narrative art exploring intimacy from all angles, especially the experiences of women and LGBTQ folks.

    Why it's great: Audio artist Kaitlin Prest brings you in closer than any other host on this list. Covering all things intimacy from an achingly human perspective, each episode feels like falling asleep on your lover's chest, listening to the unique rhythm of their body. Often spotlighting LGBTQ and women's perspectives, the podcast features many guest hosts and formats spanning from poetry to fictional stories to personal essays. The Heart is a feat of auditory storytelling that journeys into every artery of human relationships, from romantic to family to friendship to our meta relationships with larger cultural issues. While the show took a couple years' break, it will be coming back with a brand new season in 2022. [Adapted from our Best Podcasts to Fall Asleep to roundup]

    2. Whoreible Decisions

    What it is: A hilarious, informal conversation between two friends getting into the down and dirty of all things racy.

    Why it's great: We could listen to hosts Mandii B & WeezyWTF shoot the shit about literally anything. But in Whoreible Decisions, they grace us with all the very explicit details of their enviably adventurous sex and love lives. Like the WAP of podcasts, they are unapologetically bold and audacious. By leading by example and giving very legitimate advice with the help of special guests including doctors and porn stars, they open listeners up to parts of sex no one else dares talk about.

    3. Embodied

    What it is: Like Radiolab, but for sex.

    Why it's great: A lot of the sex and relationship podcasts out there follow the conversational, interview, or call-in advice format. But Embodied stands out for bringing the polished structure and intellectual rigor of scripted public radio — like Radiolab — to the topics of sex and the bodies that have it. Host Anita Rao dives into topics like porn from unique angles, looking at things like its ethical concerns, lesser-known erotica formats, art projects inspired by porn, and even a conversation with her parents on whether they watch it. Embodied brings analytical journalism into the space without ever losing sight of the humanity at the core of any discussion around sex.

    4. Dying for Sex

    What it is: Two friends face the terminal cancer of one of them through a journey of unadulterated horniness.

    Why it's great: Most people think sex and disease couldn't be more diametrically opposed to one another. But Dying for Sex is all about host Nikki Boyer's best friend Molly telling her story of wild sexual exploration after she was diagnosed with terminal Stage IV breast cancer. While mostly told through conversational retellings of said escapades, there are also reenacted journal entries and text exchanges — and even interviews with some of the people on the receiving end of her sexual journey. While this limited series ended back in 2020, it's a story full of life and love — which go hand-in-hand with the frank discussions around dealing with the realities of dying. [From our Best New Podcasts of 2020 roundup]

    5. This Is Love

    What it is: Expertly told and surprising stories of love, from human intimacy to far more abstract concepts of relationships and adoration.

    Why it's great: Phoebe Judge's dulcet tones are probably best known for hosting Criminal, a true-crime interview podcast that tells unexpected and personal stories around criminality (which we covered in our Best True Crime Podcasts of All Time roundup). Judge takes a similar approach with This Is Love, unraveling the mysteries of strong connection by examining all the idiosyncratic forms it can take. She's one of the best storytellers in the game, covering everything from the more traditional stories of romantic hardship to a lifelong friendship sparked by a New York City woman's love for birds to the inhabitants of an Italian town that exclusively love ugly things.

    6. The Turn On

    What it is: Created explicitly for Black audiences, The Turn On uses literary erotica as a jumping-off point for discussions around getting off and sexual liberation.

    Why it's great: When you're part of a marginalized group, discussions around your sexuality tend to get politicized, often at the cost of more personal conversations around individual experiences. The Turn On is a counter to that, with sex educator Erica Easter and author Kenrya Rankin leading raunchy but still approachable conversations around what gets them off as two Black women. Some episodes are more freeform interviews with experts on topics like kinks, toys, sex education, and sexual difficulties. But The Turn On's bread and butter is its unique structure: First, one host reads a piece of erotic literature, then the two talk about what they did or didn't like about it. It's a podcast designed to spark the sexual curiosity of Black audiences seeking satisfaction that's uninhibited by the white male gaze.

    7. Modern Love

    What it is: Audio reenactments and readings of the seminal New York Times sex and relationship column.

    Why it's great: The Modern Love column in the New York Times features true stories of "love, loss, and redemption" and has become so popular that it has inspired both a podcast and an Amazon Prime show spin-off. The weekly podcast is simply a reading of their best stories, with regular performances from celebrities like Kate Winslet, Uma Thurman, Angela Bassett, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Sterling K. Brown.

    8. Death, Sex, & Money

    What it is: An intimate interview show centered around people's personal stories dealing with all the most taboo topics you're not supposed to talk about.

    Why it's great: As the title suggests, this WNYC podcast centers around openly talking about the most private parts of our lives. Host Anna Sale is a calming presence who dives into the most personal (often difficult) moments of a person's life with an incredible amount of compassion and delicacy. While it's not strictly relegated to relationships and sex, the two often come up as Sales interviews everyday people going through all the extraordinary experiences of this thing we call life.

    9. Where Should We Begin? With Esther Perel

    What it is: Like being a fly on the wall of an intense couples therapy session.

    Why it's great: Thanks to doctor-patient confidentiality and/or poor access to healthcare, we rarely get a glimpse into what therapy actually looks like. Where Should We Begin? With Esther Perel allows listeners into that black box, as the renowned Belgian therapist counsels a different couple through a major conflict in their relationship, sometimes over multiple episodes. By digging into the specificity of each situation, Perel offers universal insights into managing all the complicating factors that come with love, from family to infidelity to religion.

    10. Thirst Aid Kit

    What it is: A wholesome pop culture podcast that analyzes depictions of romance, love, and heartthrobs.

    Why it's great: While Thirst(Opens in a new tab) Aid Kit(Opens in a new tab)(Opens in a new tab) ended back in 2020(Opens in a new tab), its backlog remains a beacon of love, light, and (of course) unquenchable thirst. Through in-depth discussions on romance in pop culture, hosts Bim Adewunmi and Nichole Perkins dive into the bottomless pool of women's desires. While the conversation stays light and humorous, they also get to the heart of underlying issues surrounding representations of romance, from why it awakens our thirst to who it excludes. Adewunmi and Perkins create a beautiful space for normalizing the desire of women (particularly women of color), questioning social scripts while envisioning a world of healthier love with more unbridled passion. [Adapted from our Excellent Podcasts with Black Hosts roundup]

    11. F**ks Given

    What it is: Candid conversations about sex with two sex-positive women in film who interview a guest on their sexual history.

    Why it's great: Florence Barkway and Reed Amber are best known for their Come Curious YouTube channel, focused on breaking stigmas and normalizing conversations around horniness. On their F**ks Given podcast, they bring their trademark British charm to audio, feeding their sexual curiosity through interviews with a variety of diverse guests, ranging from doctors to sex magic practitioners. Each episode is structured around three questions that dive into said guest's sexual past: 1) Their first fuck, 2) their best fuck, and 3) their worst fuck.

    12. Erotic Audio

    What it is: Short, 10-minute excerpts of audio erotica stories for women.

    Why it's great: We here at Mashable love audio porn. But if you're not in a place where you can afford subscription-based audio erotica apps like Quinn or Dipsea, we highly recommend the short, free samples of sexy stories on Erotic Audio. They're geared toward women and couples, narrated by British actors, and often told from a first or second-person POV. However, be warned that these are roughly 10-minute excerpts best used to learn whether audio erotica works for you and what you specifically like. You'll have to go to Audiodesires(Opens in a new tab) website and pay for the full finish.

    13. Inner Hoe Uprising

    What it is: One of (if not the most) diverse sex and relationship weekly podcasts reclaiming sexual conversations for marginalized identities, orientations, and bodies.

    Why it's great: It's impossible for a panel of hosts to represent the full spectrum of human sexuality in all its infinite forms, orientations, intersections, and preferences — but Inner Hoe Uprising gets the closest. Many sex and relationship podcasts, while inclusive in subject matter and guests, are still predominantly hosted by white, cis, heterosexual, monogamous women. But it's the explicit mission of Inner Hoe Uprising to embed as many different identities and experiences of sex and love into the show's foundation. At the top of each episode, all four queer Black hosts (or "hoes" as they prefer to say) start with an intro on how they identify.

    Per a Salty World interview(Opens in a new tab): "Sam is a 'Black, polyamorous, feminist hoe living in New York City;' Akua is a cisgender, heterosexual intersectional feminist who 'specializes in all things mental health and all things carefree Black girl'; Rebecca, a 'fat, Black pansexual whose life is a series of coincidences that somehow landed her here'; and Rob, a 'pansexual agender feminist with a fatty.'" Everyone can learn something vital through the topics covered, whether it's new relationship energy, hypersexuality, fatphobia, ethical non-monogamy, or the impacts of racism on sex and motherhood. The rapport is as hilarious as it is welcoming and well-researched, structured around segments like Bae of the Week, Self-Care Tip of the Week, and a listener advice section called Fuck Me, and Fuck You.

    14. Sex With Emily

    What it is: A longtime favorite interview and advice sex podcast hosted by sex therapist Emily Morse.

    Why it's great: While the structure of this podcast is like many others, there's something especially comforting about Morse's approach. She's a great voice to have in your head whenever you encounter sexual difficulties or uncertainties in your real life, with advice that runs the gamut from medical expertise to astrology charts.

    15. Dyking Out

    What it is: Queer news and pop culture podcast centered on the perspectives of two lesbians.

    Why it's great: Dyking Out is one of the podcasts that incorporates more news and pop culture elements, covering whatever the hosts feel intersects with queerness. Hosted by comedians Carolyn Bergier and Melody Kamali, Dyking Out does, as the name suggests, focus specifically on the views of women who love women. But there's plenty of diverse guests who bring other perspectives from across the queer spectrum.

    16. Committed

    What it is: A well-crafted narrative podcast that tells inspiring couples' stories.

    Why it's great: Committed is great at what it does, but we suggest it with the caveat that it comes from a more traditional perspective on relationships that won't be for everyone. Stories of couples overcoming loss and hardship can hit right when you're in a place to hear them. But like seeing displays of affection from a loving couple in public, they can also feel sickeningly sweet to listen to at the wrong times. Regardless, host Jo Piazza does a great job taking you on each couple's journey, so it's definitely worth checking out — especially if you're feeling deprived of intimate connection because of the pandemic.

    17. Bawdy Storytelling

    What it is: "The Moth for pervs," as LA Weekly perfectly summed it up(Opens in a new tab).

    Why it's great: The Moth podcast popularized the format of storytellers (from amateurs to professionals) telling their nonfiction tales in front of a live audience. Then Bawdy Storytelling made it horny. With the appeal (but not the grossness) of the amateur porn category, real people are invited to perform stories of their sexual exploits in front of a crowd, and the results are as liberating as they are titillating. Some are hot, some are relatable, others are moving, and many are hilarious.

    18. Fangasm

    What it is: A home for smutty fanfiction readers.

    Why it's great: Many fans of erotica today probably got their first taste through fanfiction, and Fangasm honors those humble, horny beginnings. While it's more of a comedy podcast than a true titillating audio erotica experience, it never fails to entertain. Each season, hosts Allie LeFevere, Lyndsay Rush, and Danny Chapman read some of the nuttiest NC-17 fics they can find from popular fandoms like Marvel, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Game of Thrones. It's a wild ride each week, with seasons spanning about 6 to 12 episodes.

    19. Why Won't You Date Me? With Nicole Byer

    If hanging out with Nicole Byer (comedian and host of Nailed It!) doesn't instantly get you to a better mental space, we don't know what will. Her podcast launched in 2020 focuses on her dating life alongside a rotating roster of hilarious guests. It's one of the best Just Vibing-style dating podcasts around. At the end of each episode, Byer asks said guest if they would date her. Our answer is YES GOD PLEASE YES! [Adapted from our Best New Podcasts of 2020]

    20. Dear Sugars

    Listen, not all of us are ready to have unfettered, unabashed discussions of sexuality. So if you're looking for more of a traditional or modest approach to talking about relationships, sexuality, and dating, then WBUR's classic Dear Sugars advice podcast is right for you. While the podcast stopped releasing new episodes back in 2018 and may feature some occasionally outdated thinking, its backlog features pretty pioneering mainstream radio discourse around everything from understanding sexual fantasies to dealing with weight in romantic relationships.

    Honorable Mentions

    • Why Are People Into That?!(Opens in a new tab) (host taking a break)

    • Nancy(Opens in a new tab) (now canceled)

    • The Ersties Girls(Opens in a new tab) (now canceled)

    UPDATE: May. 10, 2022, 2:03 p.m. EDT This article was originally published in May 2020, then updated in May 2022.

  • Millennials are getting memed for stanning Gen Z queen, Olivia Rodrigo

    Millennials are getting memed for stanning Gen Z queen, Olivia Rodrigo

    God, it's brutal out here — especially if you're a millennial who loves Olivia Rodrigo.


    The 18-year-old singer and actor released her debut album, SOUR, on Friday, and as a 28-year-old millennial I must say, it freakin' rules.

    Throughout the album Rodrigo sings stories about getting her driver's license, being over life as a teen, and dealing with young love and heartbreak. Her words and experiences may speak directly to her fellow members of Gen Z, but her lyrics shot a whole bunch of millennials through the heart, too.

    CARD ID: 543816

    Millennials may not be teens anymore but we can still relate to Rodrigo's songs. We have insecurities, we get our egos crushed, we're tired as hell, we think about quitting our jobs and starting new lives, and some of us definitely still don't know how to parallel park.

    Rodrigo's larger themes of heartbreak and betrayal are super universal, but even if they weren't, you're allowed to like good music at any age! Rodrigo notes her love of Billy Joel in her single "deja vu" and you don't see millennials mocking her for liking Mr. Joel just because she's from different generation than him.

    The point is, while Olivia Rodrigo may be Gen Z's new musical sensation, people of all ages can drive to, rage-scream, and cry to her songs. We're all emotional, just like the old bros in that "driver's license" SNL sketch.

    If you are a millennial Rodrigo stan, however, you WILL have to endure some memes at your expense. You, like me, will see yourselves in the following tweets and that's OK. Just put "enough for you" on repeat and let it all out.

    CARD ID: 543815

    CARD ID: 543819

    CARD ID: 543817

    CARD ID: 543818

    CARD ID: 543820

    CARD ID: 543821

    CARD ID: 543822

    If you need more Olivia Rodrigo memes to soothe your crushed millennial ego, please enjoy these hilarious "good 4 u" tweets on us.