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Quordle today: Here are the answers and hints for November 14

2023-03-19 06:19:42 author:dointy.com
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Quordle today: Here are the answers and hints for November 14

Welcome to the workweek once again. This week, you're going to do things differently and focus on work, but first you need your morning Quordle. To, uh, stay focused.

Quordle today: Here are the answers and hints for November 14(图1)

If Quordle is a little too challenging today, you've come to the right place for hints. There aren't just hints here, but the whole Quordle solution. Scroll to the bottom of this page, and there it is. But are you sure you need all four answers? Maybe you just need a strategy guide. Either way, scroll down, and you'll get what you need.

What is Quordle?

Quordle is a five-letter word guessing game similar to Wordle, except each guess applies letters to four words at the same time. You get nine guesses instead of six to correctly guess all four words. It looks like playing four Wordle games at the same time, and that is essentially what it is. But it's not nearly as intimidating as it sounds.

Is Quordle harder than Wordle?

Yes, though not diabolically so.

Where did Quordle come from?

Amid the Wordle boom of late 2021 and early 2022, when everyone was learning to love free, in-browser, once-a-day word guessing games, creator Freddie Meyer says he took inspiration from one of the first big Wordle variations, Dordle — the one where you essentially play two Wordles at once. He took things up a notch, and released Quordle on January 30(Opens in a new tab). Meyer's creation was covered in The Guardian(Opens in a new tab) six days later, and now, according to Meyer, it attracts millions of daily users. Today, Meyer earns modest revenue(Opens in a new tab) from Patreon, where dedicated Quordle fans can donate to keep their favorite puzzle game running. 

How is Quordle pronounced?

“Kwordle.” It should rhyme with “Wordle,” and definitely should not be pronounced exactly like "curdle.”

Is Quordle strategy different from Wordle?

Yes and no.

Your starting strategy should be the same as with Wordle. In fact, if you have a favorite Wordle opening word, there’s no reason to change that here. We suggest something rich in vowels, featuring common letters like C, R, and N. But you do you.

After your first guess, however, you’ll notice things getting out of control if you play Quordle exactly like Wordle.

What should I do in Quordle that I don’t do in Wordle?

Solving a Wordle puzzle can famously come down to a series of single letter-change variations. If you’ve narrowed it down to “-IGHT,” you could guess “MIGHT” “NIGHT” “LIGHT” and “SIGHT” and one of those will probably be the solution — though this is also a famous way to end up losing in Wordle, particularly if you play on “hard mode.” In Quordle, however, this sort of single-letter winnowing is a deadly trap, and it hints at the important strategic difference between Wordle and Quordle: In Quordle, you can't afford to waste guesses unless you're eliminating as many letters as possible at all times. 

Guessing a completely random word that you already know isn't the solution, just to eliminate three or four possible letters you haven’t tried yet, is thought of as a desperate, latch-ditch move in Wordle. In Quordle, however, it's a normal part of the player's strategic toolset.

Is there a way to get the answer faster?

In my experience Quordle can be a slow game, sometimes dragging out longer than it would take to play Wordle four times. But a sort of blunt-force guessing approach can speed things up. The following strategy also works with Wordle if you only want the solution, and don’t care about having the fewest possible guesses:

Try starting with a series of words that puts all the vowels (including Y) on the board, along with some other common letters. We've had good luck with the three words: “NOTES,” “ACRID,” and “LUMPY.” YouTuber DougMansLand(Opens in a new tab) suggests four words: “CANOE,” “SKIRT,” “PLUMB,” and “FUDGY.”

Most of the alphabet is now eliminated, and you’ll only have the ability to make one or two wrong guesses if you use this strategy. But in most cases you’ll have all the information you need to guess the remaining words without any wrong guesses.

If strategy isn't helping, and you're still stumped, here are some hints:

Are there any double or triple letters in today’s Quordle words?

One word has a letter occurring twice.

Are any rare letters being used in today’s Quordle like Q or Z?

No.

What do today’s Quordle words start with?

F, M, W, and R.

What are the answers for today’s Quordle?

Are you sure you want to know?

There’s still time to turn back.

OK, you asked for it. The answers are:

  1. FRAIL

  2. MANIA

  3. WRUNG

  4. RAINY

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    “I think the news and even some YouTube creators are incredibly biased,” Wallace said. “News stations and YouTubers can take the footage and later edit them to fit their personal agenda.”

    Similarly, Celina Juarez, a 21-year-old restaurant employee in Los Angeles, felt that news outlets weren't focusing on what mattered. Juarez lives with her grandparents and didn't want to risk spreading the coronavirus to them, since the elderly are at high risk.

    "I feel that the news is showing more of the looting and less of the police brutality against peaceful protest when, based on every livestream I've tuned into, it's really the opposite," Juarez said in a Twitter DM.

    While the protests have been associated with looting and rioting, multiple videos(Opens in a new tab) show black protestors shutting down white agitators attempting to graffiti storefronts and steal merchandise. When the protests began in Minneapolis in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by a white police officer, Juarez and Wallace felt that news coverage focused on the looting rather than law enforcement escalating violence against peaceful protestors.

    In addition to presenting a clearer picture of the the protests in support of Black Lives Matter, livestreams also provide crucial information for those who attend.

    Elijah Daniel, a YouTuber with 568,000 subscribers and 446,000 Instagram followers(Opens in a new tab), attended numerous protests in Los Angeles last week. He's also been broadcasting the protests on Instagram Live, where tens of thousands of viewers watched police tear gas gatherings, shoot rubber bullets into crowds, and arrest peaceful protestors who were out after Los Angeles' controversial curfews.

    I watched Daniel's protest livestream last week because I had several friends who were also marching in Hollywood. It seemed peaceful from wherever Daniel was marching, but the chants of "No justice, no peace" were broken up by panicked comments warning viewers that police were tear gassing protestors a few blocks ahead. Madison Beer, another influencer who's been actively attending protests and was marching ahead of Daniel, tweeted that cops were beginning to block in protestors well before curfew.

    As soon as I read the livestream comments, I called everyone I knew at the protests to warn them. One narrowly avoided the gas and rubber bullets, which law enforcement began deploying just minutes after he decided to take side streets out of Hollywood.

    This weekend, I attended the massive candlelight vigil for George Floyd and other black victims of police brutality, which took place only blocks from where police had arrested(Opens in a new tab) thousands of peaceful protestors the week before. During the drive over, I watched the livestream broadcasted by Black Lives Matter Los Angeles to keep tabs on police presence. Watching the protests live is a matter of safety.

    Watching protest livestreams is a matter of public safety. Credit: David McNew / Getty Images
    "I know it's easy to watch a video on the internet, but to watch it in real time is on a whole other level."

    Daniel's viewers are also using the livestream to open up conversations about police brutality and privilege with their families. Claire-Louise, a 21-year-old customer service agent in Belfast, Ireland, can't attend protests in Ireland because there aren't any close enough to be accessible. She's been showing Daniel's livestreams, as well as other screen recorded livestreams, to her family members who she claims are "a bit backwards in their mindset."

    "I know it's easy to watch a video on the internet, but to watch it in real time is on a whole other level," Claire-Louise said in a Twitter DM. "I get happy when I see the peacefulness but I get angry and anxious when I see the brutality and just blatant racism."

    Influencers and celebrities continue to fall out of public favor through this period of civil unrest. From posting well intentioned but ill informed black squares to their Instagram accounts to getting arrested for looting(Opens in a new tab), as Jake Paul did, celebrity culture is cracking. But those who use their platforms for activism, as Elijah Daniel and Halsey have, are inspiring a generation of viewers to join the Black Lives Matter movement.

    "Even though I can't actually be there, it at least makes me feel like I am," Wallace said. "Seeing how many people are at the protests, plus thinking about how many people are watching livestreams, makes me think that in time something may actually happen."

  • OKCupid adds Black Lives Matter badge and profile questions about racial inequality

    OKCupid adds Black Lives Matter badge and profile questions about racial inequality

    On Thursday, OKCupid announced that it's rolling out a #BlackLivesMatter(Opens in a new tab) badge in a dozen countries. Users can obtain the badge by answering yes to the question, "Do you want to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement by adding a badge to your profile?"

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    Since badges won't actually do anything to solve racism, OKCupid has also donated $50,000 to the ACLU, Black Girls Code, Fair Fight Action and the NAACP. The app will also donate a million dollars in advertising space to black civil rights organizations.

    SEE ALSO: How single people have been dealing with the 'sex ban' in England

    In addition to the badge, OKCupid has added matching questions related to racial injustice and inequality. Users can answer whether they protest; whether it's okay to silently support racial equality; how they plan on addressing racial inequality (say by donating or protesting); and whether they find it important that their date supports racial equality.

    OKCupid racial inequality question Credit: okcupid
    OKCupid how will you address racial inequality question Credit: okcupid

    In the past week, over 100,000 users have responded to the new questions. The majority said it's not okay to silently support equality, according to OKCupid's blog post. Seventy percent are protesting for racial equality.

    This isn't the first time OKCupid has created badges and questions around social justice. They did so with supporting Planned Parenthood(Opens in a new tab) and marriage equality as well(Opens in a new tab). While the badge could be seen by some as virtual signaling, the questions do allow users to dig deeper into a potential match's commitment to racial equality — which is a step in the right direction.

    Related Video: Want to donate to help the Black Lives Matter movement? Here's how.

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  • Whats in Tablos watch history? NewJeans, AI, and the fall of FTX.

    Whats in Tablos watch history? NewJeans, AI, and the fall of FTX.

    In the weeks leading up to his group Epik High's new album Strawberry, 42-year-old Tablo has been marketing the project with the zeal of a chronically online millennial. "I've been making memes since before memes existed, for a good 15, 16 years," he says, explaining why he's chosen to whip up dozens of them to promote Strawberry across his Instagram and Twitter accounts. "I have hundreds of memes ready to go. I'm ready."

    Tablo and bandmates Tukutz and Mithra are architects of Korean hip-hop, and Tablo's tech nerd-dom may have helped them get there. "I think it's one of the reasons why Epik High has had longevity. We were one of the first artists in Korea to be on Twitter, to put our content on YouTube." And when we asked him to send a list of videos he recently watched, he took the request literally. "I'm assuming that other [Watch History guests] curate it. Maybe that's what I was supposed to do, but I went straight into my actual history. These were five that I had literally downloaded from YouTube."

    From a crypto collapse to K-pop newcomers, here are his top picks.

    1. "Sam Bankman-Fried Interviewed Live About the Collapse of FTX"

    Mashable: Hey Tablo! You went to Stanford I'm wondering if your interest in FTX is a result of a subconscious affinity with Silicon Valley.

    Tablo: Hey! Yeah, it's possible. When I was there I went out of my way to distance myself from all the tech stuff that was going on around me. My first year roommate, Steven Chau, was one of the early people at Google. He helped make Google Maps and invent Street View, and then he moved on to [product management] at Uber. At the time, Google was setting up a table in the Stanford quad and giving out flyers that said "use Google." That's how early and exciting it was. But I had already defined myself as an artist. I was very aware of how entrepreneurial Silicon Valley was, and I was worried that my artistic side would naturally conform. These are thoughts that only an 18-year-old would have. Like, "I don't want to be like swallowed up by this startup world and become a billionaire."

    God forbid!

    Yeah, God forbid I go with my roommate and do this Google thing and make millions of dollars. I need to protect myself from that and become the poet or whatever I'm meant to be. Luckily, it worked out, but I do regret it sometimes. And I think it's seeped into me because I have a huge interest in tech.

    I watched this [interview with failed FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried] in its entirety, waiting to get on a plane in Bangkok. What I was interested in was that this guy was clearly lying. And he had literally destroyed the life savings of ordinary people. When I heard that the New York Times was going to do an interview with him, it sort of messed with my brain. I was like, "I have yet to see a single interview of the victims, all of the people who were affected by this." But this guy was all over the media.

    I felt like, "Are we gonna just keep listening to this guy lie? OK, let's see how they approached this interview." It was fascinating watching him in front of an audience from a sociological, human level. Leading up to this interview the headlines about this dude were glowing. Instead of "this many people got hurt [by this exchange]," the headlines were like, "the failed dream of a young man." How are these headlines even real? Innocent until proven guilty applies both ways. You can't have glowing headlines that sympathize with someone.

    It's a little bit of like, did you keep up with what happened with Theranos?

    Of course! WeWork and all of those companies

    The myth of the founder that was supposed to be a genius and then fucked it all up. Maybe that's a result of the media attention paid to previous fraudsters or scammers.

    I don't even think the word fraud or scam cuts it. This guy just literally took people's money and used it as his own. So he just stole. Theranos, WeWork, Bernie Madoff — these people are in our collective cultural consciousness. There's this fascination I have about why we're fascinated. I've had this theory [that we're] interested in the fall of people we deem to be stars because the perfect examples don't really teach us much. Law abiding citizens going for their dreams and living happily ever after — that's what everyone wants [for themselves], but I don't know if there's much to learn from that other than being inspired. But there is a lot to learn from watching people fall. Our most most loved or stories are about heroes falling. Even in the Bible, Lucifer, all the Greek heroes. Now we get it in real life, in documentary form.

    2. "Bob Dylan San Francisco Press Conference 1965"

    If that's one type of press conference for one type of idol, Bob Dylan's press conference is a similar format but a completely different type of dialogue. What intrigues you about it?

    This is a video that I watch every six, seven months. Bob Dylan is very at odds with everyone else in the room. He's there to promote his thing but unhappy to be there. You can see him sort of detached, watching this and laughing at it. I liked this press conference so much that we did a parody of it introducing our new album [on the track "Strawberry"(Opens in a new tab)].

    What about Bob Dylan were you trying to emulate?

    I think it's less about emulating. I identified with [Dylan] because I have been in rooms like that where I was put on a stage and people are treating me like I'm of some importance. But at the same time, I'm feeling a lot of disdain [from them]. In those situations, some people panic or get angered or frustrated. But usually I laugh. In my life, in my career, I've gone through absolutely horrible things. It's really hard to find humor in it, but I somehow do. I think that's my natural disposition. That's what I recognize about what Bob Dylan is doing in this press conference. He's the only one in that room aware of the ridiculousness of the whole thing.

    The poet Allen Ginsberg, Dylan's friend, is in the audience. It was interesting to me that Ginsberg acted almost like a co-conspirator, lobbing funny questions at Dylan and laughing along with him. They're in on the joke together. Just like you and Mithra and Tukutz. You have your own people in the room that get you.

    That's a great point. I think I watch it to remind myself to never take myself seriously. Young Bob Dylan was, at least in my eyes, the master of that. He's often in rooms where everyone is overly serious about his art, and the guy at the center of it is somehow able to recognize how ridiculous it is. Epik High has always been like that. And sometimes I need to remind myself to keep that going. Because that's the only way you're gonna stay sane in a world where Sam Bankman-Fried is sitting in shorts, chillin' on an island [and being interviewed by the New York Times]. We need to always recognize how surreal and how ridiculous it all is.

    3. "The Real Danger Of ChatGPT"

    How do you feel about a potential future where songwriters use AI tools like ChatGPT to write music?

    There's a video I posted to my Instagram where I asked ChatGPT to write a rap in the style of Epik High. I posted it because it was funny but, of course, it's not great. Something ChatGPT wrote is not going to be as good as if I write it. But we have to be aware that these things get exponentially better. I posted the video with a caption like, "I quit my job today."

    Science fiction is only a fiction until it becomes actual science. To not be replaced, you've got to figure out some way to utilize [AI] where you're still a part of the equation.

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    The way I approach technology is: The minute you know about it, it's a waste of time to sit around and discuss whether or not it's good. Because it's there. We have to discuss how to handle it. Chat GPT is going to fundamentally change the way we communicate and create, and it can't just be a cheat.

    I would rather anybody doing creative work at all say "how can I use this to heighten what I do?" instead of "it will never be as good as me." Because it could be. Science fiction is only a fiction until it becomes actual science. To not be replaced, you've got to figure out some way to utilize [AI] where you're still a part of the equation.

    And I mean, some people are just terrible writers. They're gonna need some help.

    4. "11 Great Movie Monologues"

    I would talk to you about that for another 20 minutes, but I have to move us along. Tell me about the 11 greatest movie monologues.

    It's funny that we're talking about this right after Chat GPT. Classic monologues, well-written soliloquies, and dialogue have always been a favorite genres of mine. I always was interested in writing, and I imagined that I would become a filmmaker or a screenwriter at one point in my life. And it was because of these great speeches, both in the real world and the fictional world. I'll listen to the YouTube video as I'm cleaning the house. All I'm doing is vacuuming, but a monologue comes on and I'm like, "I'm vacuuming with a purpose!" There are all kinds of these compilations on YouTube, and I watch them frequently when I need some kind of encouragement or assurance.

    I noticed all 11 were men. I need one from a powerful woman!

    It just tells you that we need better written female characters, right?

    Absolutely, and you said earlier that you used to want to write scripts.

    I've been working on one for a couple of years. It's a scripted show with Scooter Braun's company based on my experiences, my story. Maybe later if things work out I can tell other stories as well.

    Would you also compose the music for that show?

    I mean, if they wanted me to.

    It might be nice to hear how someone else interprets your story.

    Right, that might be cool, too. I recently did the music for a Korean series that's going to be on Netflix, though I don't think I can say the name yet. I'm more interested in making music for another person's project.

    5. NewJeans (뉴진스) "Ditto" Official MV (side A)

    My watch history is basically videos I watched alone at an airport or videos I watched with my daughter. What I really liked about this NewJeans project is that there's a larger story that they're telling [about] a young person that is feeling alienated. It very poetically expresses what someone of that age is going through. My daughter will be entering that age pretty soon. She's 12 right now, and she was like "Dad, you've got to check out this video. The story of the girl in here really got to me."

    I love that people that are still innovating. Whatever perception we have of what K-pop looks and sounds like, they're clearly widening the envelope. And I'm hoping to see more of this. Judging by the video, I think they're literally working with like a short film kind of [director]. One of the artists that wrote on "Ditto," The Black Skirts, used to be an artist that was signed to me. I love that someone who people would think is like an indie musician who's distanced themselves from K-pop is writing on a K-pop song. In another NewJeans video, one of the members is Siri, and that sequence is amazing. I think there's someone [behind it] that is also aware of things that are unique to current times. 

    Have you looked into the lore of how the group's music videos connect?

    My daughter explained it to me. I was like, "Oh, this [project] has a worldview." A lot of the money behind K-pop and a lot of the people making decisions seem to underestimate young people, which is ironic because that's where their power and wealth comes from. I sense a little bit of that disrespect because the some of the content that they're putting out... I'm not saying it's bad! It's good. Everything in K-pop is done well. But I can see that whoever was making decisions is underestimating the 12-year-old, like my daughter, or the 15-year-old teenager, thinking that this is the extent of what they want.

    I feel like [the NewJeans team] respect[s] that my 12-year-old daughter can think about issues like alienation and anxiety and technology and the deeper lore behind things. They don't think that just excellent dancing and singing and pristine looking videos are going to be enough.

    I would argue that's what made BTS so successful. So much of it was down to their storytelling of friendship throughout death and loss. It's really wild as I've been reporting on this over the last couple of years to see some other companies not catch on. When I talk to them, they really don't get it.

    They don't get it. And when they see that that [strategy] works and try it, you can totally see they don't actually get it. So it becomes this horrendous mess of not understanding what it is. BTS is a great example. They were able to deliver visuals and music and lyrics in a way that allowed their fans to feel like they understood that they were complex beings. That factor is underestimated by a lot of others in the industry.

    That's sort of what made Epik High what it was. When we first launched into the stratosphere, I think it was because of that whole thing, the lore and the thinking involved. I have always perceived my audience — no matter what age they are, no matter who they are — as complicated and complex as I am. And that my content needs to be as honest as I can be. I always have people around me asking, "Will they get it, though?" And I think that's the worst question to ask. Of course they'll get it — they are alive, aren't they? Anybody that's living a life is super complicated and complex and is capable of so many different emotions. They're just not given an opportunity to feel them.

  • How to use Tinders new Explore feature

    How to use Tinders new Explore feature

    Tinder just added an Explore page to its app, part of an attempt to be more Gen Z-friendly that includes videos in profiles and a generally more interactive experience aimed at drawing in younger users. The Explore feature drops in all English-speaking countries Wednesday, Sept. 8, and will be available worldwide by mid-October.

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    The Explore page is a new tab represented by a window-like icon; it's an addition to the usual swipe mode, messages, and (if you're a paid user) people who've already liked you. The feature is an opportunity to be more targeted with your swipes and, if successful, easily find a match that shares your interests.

    Explore, like the rest of the app, is pretty intuitive to use. Tap the window icon to see Explore, then tap whatever feature you'd like to try. You can See Only Verified Members, a new capability to swipe only on users with verified photos, and discover by interest (or Passions, as they're called on the app).

    The latter is catered to you and includes a range of topics from food to gaming to music. For example, my Explore page lets me discover by interests like social causes and travel:

    The author's Explore page in the Tinder app, with catered interests. Credit: screenshot: tinder

    I must've been in Tinder's testing group, as I was able to see the Explore tab for a few days before launch. As the app stated in its press release, nearly 80 percent of test members felt compelled to use it before its official release — including me.

    If it's your first time using an Explore feature, a prompt will confirm you want to try it.

    Tinder's Explore page prompt to see users interested in travel. Credit: screenshot: tinder

    From there, Tinder only serves up profiles whose bios contain relevant Passions. (In the case of the verified member option, only verified profiles are shown, i.e., those that use the Tinder security feature that allows a user to be more sure of a match's identity.) You can exit out of the experiences anytime, though, and go back to the wider Tinder pool by tapping on the fire logo on the bottom left.

    Explore is also home to familiar experiences like Vibes, a compatibility test; Swipe Night, a choose-your-own-adventure game to potentially match with others; and Hot Takes, a recently-released, timed game where users chat about their unpopular opinions and decide if they want to match.

    Tinder continues to emphasize that yes, people actually do want to play games on the dating app: Swipe Night drew in 20 million users and resulted in a 26 percent increase in matches when the game aired compared to a typical Sunday night, according to Tinder's communications spokesperson Sophie Sieck.

    SEE ALSO: How to block your ex on Tinder

    Hot Takes, meanwhile, was released earlier this year and has already been used by millions of users, said Sieck, though she couldn't confirm exactly how many.

    According to its press release, more experiences will be added to Explore in the future.

    As for my test of the new features, I was only privy to swiping by Passion, not the games. It was fun for a few minutes, but hasn't really enhanced my experience so far. Given that Explore is fully available now, however, I'll give it another shot before reverting to regular swiping.

    Tinder claims this is its biggest update since the invention of the swipe in 2012. Now, nearly a decade later, it's evolving to better serve the younger crowd. With video and games, the app (or at least this section) will have more of a TikTok or Snapchat feel. Tinder also believes Gen Z users want features that align with their values — hence the ability to swipe by interest.

    "A new generation of daters is asking for more from us in the post-COVID world," said Jim Lanzone, CEO of Tinder in a press release. "More ways to have fun and interact with others virtually and more control over who they meet on Tinder."

    Time will tell if this new feature proves to be just as enduring as the swipe — or whether users will just want to continue exploring in their other social media apps.

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

  • Masturbation isnt cheating. Its actually a really important part of your relationship.

    Masturbation isnt cheating. Its actually a really important part of your relationship.

    If you masturbate, are you cheating on your partner?

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    This question, along with other popular Google search queries, reveals a great deal about the prevalence of myths and misinformation about masturbation. Other top questions include: Is it healthy to masturbate? (yes, very!); Do women masturbate (yes!); and Should you masturbate before sex (if you want to!). It's only natural that we turn to the internet for help with these burning questions given that many of us received little to no sex education(Opens in a new tab) at school.

    SEE ALSO: What is the virility myth? Read an extract from Sophia Smith Galer's book 'Losing It'

    Is masturbation cheating? When our partners are out for the night, and we crack open the box of vibrators, does it count as a betrayal? To clear up any confusion, I spoke to Gigi Engle, ACS certified sexologist, resident sex educator at 3Fun(Opens in a new tab), and author of All The F*cking Mistakes: a guide to sex, love, and life(Opens in a new tab). "Cheating is betrayal. Cheating is physically having sexual contact with another person(s). It is deception. Cheating is getting yourself off," Engle told me. "You cannot cheat on your partner with yourself."

    "The whole concept is just silly," she added. "There are so many other, grander relationship concerns you’ll deal with during the course of your relationship. Don’t put masturbation on that list." While questions like this might frame masturbation as a negative in a relationship, it can actually have the opposite effect for couples. "In fact, studies have shown(Opens in a new tab) that masturbating in relationships can actually increase overall libido, leading people to more frequent partnered sexual play," Engle added.

    "You cannot cheat on your partner with yourself."

    Engle went on to explain that masturbation is often shrouded in shame and wrongly positioned as a less important sex act than penis-in-vagina sex. It's also framed as something that you shouldn't "want" or "need" if you're in a happy, healthy relationship. "As if your partner were some magical unicorn who could fulfil all your sexual needs on a dime. Again, wrong," Engle said. "Not only is it unreasonable to expect one person to satisfy every single sexual whim, the very notion of this takes away from the beauty of masturbation. It's a literal human urge and it is completely normal and healthy to do it."

    Megwyn White, certified sexologist and director of education at sexual wellness brand Satisfyer, told me that people often believe that masturbation is just for single people and a way to compensate for the lack of regular sex a long term relationship might bring. She added that some people believe that sexual pleasure comes from a partner only and that it's unnecessary to pleasure yourself while in a relationship.

    Couples that masturbate together...

    While we've established that masturbation while in a couple isn't cheating, nor is it anything to be ashamed of, let's dig into the benefits of embracing masturbation as an important element of your relationship. "Masturbation can teach us the importance of taking pleasure into your own hands and not relying on anyone to do it for us, which is so important," said White. "Masturbation helps us learn what we like and what we don’t like, which in return helps us communicate with a partner and achieve even more satisfying sexual relationships. In fact, a study in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy(Opens in a new tab) revealed that not only is masturbation common in most women, but women who masturbated more frequently also experienced greater satisfaction in their overall sex lives."

    If we aren't able to explore as individuals what makes us come, what we like, and what turns us on, it can be difficult to find satisfaction during partnered sex, White added. "There has been some research(Opens in a new tab) on the fact that women who masturbate regularly also report greater satisfaction with a partner. This can be attributed to a variety of different factors including an increased awareness of what turns them on, as well as the fact that orgasms will naturally increase libido and desire by increasing levels of testosterone," White explained. "Not to mention the increase of fantasy when one masturbates which often helps to motivate seeking a partner."

    As well as solo masturbation, introducing mutual masturbation into your relationship can be a lot of fun — and also great for showing your partner how you like to be touched and what works for you. As Mashable's Anna Iovine recently wrote, you can even give it a go over FaceTime. Dr. Justin Lehmiller, a research fellow at the Kinsey Institute and author, told Iovine: "Mutual masturbation can also be a helpful teaching tool for showing your partner what you like and/or the kind of stimulation that helps you to reach orgasm," he said. "In other words, it can be a sexy 'show-and-tell' of sorts and a potentially helpful form of sexual communication."

    As Engle told me: "Masturbation, like pretty much all consensual sex acts, has its place inside and outside of relationships. And not only does it have its place, it can even spice things up between the two of you. Namely, when you masturbate WITH your partner. Mutual masturbation is a very fun way to have one off the wrist without all the energy is takes for more intense sex acts."

    SEE ALSO: Mutual masturbation can bring you closer to your partner, even over FaceTime

    Communication is key, of course. If there's anything you're not comfortable with in your relationship, talk to your partner, set boundaries and assert hard limits for anything you do not want to try.

    A vibrator is not a sentient being and your partner using it (or their hands) to get off is not the same as being cheated on. Your ability to bring yourself sexual pleasure is part of your bodily autonomy and your relationship status shouldn't interfere with that.

    Remember: The longest sexual relationship of your life is the one you have with yourself.

  • Separation anxiety in dogs can be difficult. Heres how you can help.

    Separation anxiety in dogs can be difficult. Heres how you can help.

    If you have a dog you're probably familiar with the term separation anxiety. 

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    Over 23 million households in the U.S. welcomed a new pet into their home during the pandemic, according to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals(Opens in a new tab). With many of us spending way more time at home, it's no surprise that our dogs may be having a hard time as we start to leave the house more.

    Separation anxiety can be a serious issue for pets and their owners, but with the right training and resources, it doesn't have to derail you or your dog's life. Here's what you need to know about separation anxiety in dogs.

    What is separation anxiety?

    Separation anxiety is a condition where a dog becomes extremely stressed when they are separated from their guardian, other close humans, or sometimes even another pet. In a 2019 study(Opens in a new tab) of over 4,000 dogs published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 13 percent were reported to exhibit overt separation anxiety.

    Dogs are inherently social animals, which is what makes them great pets and prone to separation anxiety, said Joanne Basinger, director of Andrea Arden Dog Training in New York City. "All dogs have the propensity to develop some sort of separation intolerance or separation anxiety, because they don't want to be left alone," she said. "A healthy well-balanced dog is going to prefer being with its people versus without."

    SEE ALSO: Dog anxiety is real. These products can help calm your anxious pet.
    • How TikTok helped me and my dog deal with separation anxiety

    • I got a dog. My online life changed overnight.

    • The WOpet Sprite automatic feeder is a good low-tech option, with some caveats

    In a 2014 webinar(Opens in a new tab) presentation, Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a renowned veterinary behaviorist and representative of the Humane Society, said separation anxiety stems from a combination of factors, but "by far and away, the most powerful force is environmental." He goes on to say that just like babies, puppies need to be given lots of love and affection which makes them independent and secure as they grow up. This is why many dogs with separation anxiety tend to have a "shelter or stray background.

    What causes separation anxiety?

    Dogs experience separation anxiety when something happens that "disrupts the social bond," according to Dodman's webinar. This could be moving homes, children going back to school after vacation, or changing up daily routines. 

    What are some signs of separation anxiety?

    The most common signs of separation anxiety are vocalization, destructive behavior, inappropriate elimination, and not eating while you're away. But separation anxiety is not always so straightforward. "The owners aren’t there to observe the behavior in person, and some of the symptoms can seem like problems with housetraining or boredom," wrote Carly Loyer, PhD, Research Manager on the ASPCA Behavioral Sciences Team, in an email. 

    Dodman's webinar lists the following as signs of separation anxiety:

    • Following (Velcro dog)

    • Pre-departure anxiety

    • Vocalization (barking, whining)

    • Destructive behavior

    • Inappropriate elimination 

    • Pacing 

    • Houdini Syndrome (trying to escape)

    • Self-destructive behavior

    • Salivation

    • Vomiting

    • Psychogenic anorexia (not eating while you're gone)

    • Exuberant greeting 

    Make sure you rule out whether or not it's just puppy behavior or boredom. Credit: Getty Images

    What should you do if your dog has separation anxiety

    1. Consult with your veterinarian

    These symptoms could indicate a variety of issues, so just because your dog is behaving a certain way, doesn't mean it's definitely separation anxiety. That's why it's important to get an official diagnosis for your vet so you can rule out other behavior or medical issues. 

    2. Consult with a trainer or animal behavioral specialist 

    If a veterinarian has determined that your dog has no underlying health issues and may have separation anxiety, Basinger recommends consulting with a trainer "so that they could have a consultation that's based on the specifics of their lifestyle, where they live, and their dog's specific behavior." There's a lot of information out there, so rather than having to parse through all of it, she said, "Find a person that they trust to talk through it and come up with a plan. That way, they're really getting the attention that they need for their particulars."

    While the pandemic may have contributed to a rise in separation anxiety, it doesn't have to inhibit its treatment. "Many professionals are still offering services virtually during this time," said Loyer, "and luckily separation anxiety is one behavior challenge that lends itself well to virtual coaching."

    There's no legal requirement for dog trainers to be certified, but there are several highly reputable qualifications that can help you parse out the good from the bad. Listing all the different certifications here would be like alphabet soup, but as a rule of thumb, look for a trainer that is certified in canine behavior consulting or has a good track record with testimonials from clients. 

    SEE ALSO: Dog anxiety is real. These products can help calm your anxious pet.
    Consulting with a behavior specialist can give you a specific plan that works for you and your dog. Credit: Getty Images

    Helpful tips to prevent or curb separation anxiety

    There are preventative measures that you can do to prevent separation anxiety in dogs or stop it from getting worse. 

    1. Practice healthy boundaries 

    Many people are still working from home in some capacity, which means now is a good time to start preparing your dog for a future change in routine. Loyer recommends designating some alone time throughout the day. 

    "Try to leave your home throughout the week – go for a stroll outside or do some yardwork without your pet. Practice with short durations initially so you can make sure your pet is comfortable with you being gone, gradually increasing the duration as much as possible to prepare for longer stretches of time," she wrote.

    For those in an apartment, Basinger suggests crating your dog or working in a separate room, "so there's alone time, with you, home."

    2. Set your dog up for success

    There are a few different approaches to separation anxiety. But for that critical period when you are out of the house, the experts interviewed all emphasized the importance of creating a safe environment where your dog will feel relaxed and comfortable. 

    What exactly this environment looks like is highly situational, but Dodman recommends a confined space with an open crate they can go into if they want. When creating this environment, he also says to think of the five senses. 

    For taste, use food puzzles or toys stuffed with high value treats, like peanut butter, liver, or frozen wet food so that it becomes a dog lollipop. Smell has some overlap with taste, and Dodman and Loyer both suggest hiding treats for them to discover like a scavenger hunt. Another idea from Dodman is to enrich a toy with an engaging smell like anise, vanilla, or… deer urine "if you can stomach it." 

    For vision, turn on the TV and give them access to a window, perhaps adorned with a bird feeder. Sound could be from the TV, or talk radio, as well as music designed specifically for dogs. Lastly, make sure your dog has a cozy bed and soft comforts. The idea, said Dodman, is to try and make it fun for them. "When you leave it's party time." There's also a ton of YouTube videos specifically made for relaxing dogs.

    Above all, remember the adage, "a tired dog is a good dog." Try and make sure your dog gets some exercise before you leave so they're mentally and physically calmer.

    Make the environment so inviting that they look forward to you leaving. Credit: Getty Images

    3. Don't ignore separation anxiety

    You may have heard that ignoring your dog or letting them cry it out will teach your dog to self-soothe or learn healthy boundaries, but for a young puppy this probably won't work and may have the opposite affect. "When you're in need of an attachment figure, you've been separated from your mom, lost your litter mates, your new owners should not be distancing you. Leaving a puppy to cry is precisely the wrong approach because, at this stage, newly adopted pups need all the care and attention you can muster," said Dodman.

    "They should be kept as close as possible, spoken to kindly and have all their needs met." That being said, Dodman continued it's important to strike a balance between loving them and being matter of fact, especially when it comes to departures. Being overly emotional when you leave will make them feel like it's a big deal and that they should panic. 

    To help find that balance, Basinger suggests thinking about it as "coaching them on how to learn how to self soothe and self pacify." If your dog is in their crate or in another room and starts to get upset, get closer to them, allow them to see you and talk to them. The key is to address it, not ignore it, because your dog's separation anxiety won't get better on its own. 

    Remember you're not alone

    "The most important thing is to get your ducks in a row in terms of who you can lean on," said Shoshi Parks, a professional dog trainer who specializes in separation anxiety. "Whether that's a dog care provider you trust that can walk your dog, or a doggy daycare that you can bring them to, or a trusted friend or neighbor that you can drop the dog off when you need to be somewhere." 

    Having a dog with separation anxiety can be daunting, so look to family and friends for support when you need them. Parks also wants dog owners to know that training can be flexible and tailored to fit particular lifestyles, so getting help for your dog's separation anxiety doesn't mean overhauling your entire life. "They can really do it on their own time, and that it really only takes a commitment of about 30 minutes a day."

    Resources and products to help with separation anxiety 

    There are tons of great resources and products to arm yourself with when taking on separation anxiety. Interactive toys like Kongs(Opens in a new tab), snuffle mats(Opens in a new tab), or food puzzles(Opens in a new tab) can keep your dog engaged for a while. Calming aids(Opens in a new tab) like treats with L-Theanine and melatonin or weighted blankets(Opens in a new tab) can also help.

    When in doubt, look to resources like the American Kennel Club(Opens in a new tab), the ASPCA(Opens in a new tab), and the Humane Society (Opens in a new tab)for trustworthy information. And be aware that while these suggestions may help, they shouldn't be substituted for actual training or advice. 

    UPDATE: Mar. 1, 2022, 12:00 p.m. EST This story has been updated to add additional context from Dodman and to reflect Carly Loyer's complete title. An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the ASPCA's statistic — 23 million dogs and cats, not just dogs, were acquired during the pandemic. This story has also been updated to correctly spell Nicholas Dodman's name.

  • Twitter is hilariously struggling to pronounce the new coronavirus treatment

    Twitter is hilariously struggling to pronounce the new coronavirus treatment

    The world is racing to develop a coronavirus vaccine so we can go outside without people dying, with Pfizer's recent trial looking particularly promising. In the meantime, U.S. pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly & Co. has developed an experimental antibody(Opens in a new tab) that could at least help treat patients exhibiting mild symptoms, preventing them from worsening to the point they need hospitalisation.

    (图1)

    Authorised by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the treatment is a hopeful step forward in the ongoing battle against the coronavirus pandemic. This is exciting enough, but what has really caught Twitter's attention is the medicine's delightful name: bamlanivimab.

    As many on the internet have noted, it looks a lot like a well-known earworm from African-American work song "Black Betty,"(Opens in a new tab) popularised through covers by Ram Jam and Spiderbait.

    "Black Betty" isn't the only song the tongue-twisting name has been inserted in. Twitter users have been grappling with bamlanivimab's complicated appearance, likening it to scat singing, puzzling over its pronunciation, and lamenting at how close it was to a palindrome.

    It should be stressed that as fun as bamlanivimab is to say, or attempt to say, it is still not a coronavirus vaccine. We still have a long way to go before one is available, so remember to continue wearing your mask, washing your hands, and keeping your distance from others.

  • Chrissy Teigen pens moving Medium post about pregnancy loss

    Chrissy Teigen pens moving Medium post about pregnancy loss

    Chrissy Teigen has written(Opens in a new tab) a moving Medium post about the death of her third child she was expecting with John Legend.

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    In the post simply titled "Hi.", Teigen begins by stating she "had no idea when I would be ready to write this." The cookbook author announced her pregnancy in August in Legend's "Wild" music video(Opens in a new tab). In September, Teigen shared that she was on at-home bed rest because of complications with her placenta and bleeding. Later that month, she was hospitalised at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles after the bleeding had worsened. On Oct 1., Teigen posted the news on social media that the baby had died.

    "We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote(Opens in a new tab) on Twitter and Instagram at the time, alongside a series of photos, including one of herself crying on a hospital bed.

    People who've experienced pregnancy loss thanked Teigen for generously sharing her experience with such rawness and honesty. The stigma surrounding conversations of miscarriage and stillbirth still persists, and many people go through this experience feeling unable to talk about what they've gone through. Teigen's pregnancy loss post also prompted a discussion about whether the term miscarriage should be banished(Opens in a new tab), as it carried connotations of blame and fault. Many suggested that pregnancy loss is a preferable term.

    SEE ALSO: Women are thanking Chrissy Teigen for sharing her heartbreaking pregnancy journey

    After taking a break from social media, Teigen published a Medium post on Tuesday sharing more details about her pregnancy loss experience, and thanking people for their kindness in their response to her grief.

    "The moments of kindness have been nothing short of beautiful," she wrote. "I went to a store where the checkout lady quietly added flowers to my cart. Sometimes people will approach me with a note. The worst part is knowing there are so many women that won’t get these quiet moments of joy from strangers." She implored people to tell their stories of pregnancy loss and grief, and for others to be kind to people doing so.

    Teigen explained in more detail the complications she suffered. "My doctors diagnosed me with partial placenta abruption," she said, adding that she had also had placenta issues when pregnant with Miles, her second child. She wrote about the hope she felt while undergoing treatment in hospital while the bleeding was happening, and how that hope eventually turned into acceptance of loss. "After a couple nights at the hospital, my doctor told me exactly what I knew was coming — it was time to say goodbye," she wrote.

    "These photos are only for the people who need them."

    She also addressed those who were critical of the photos she posted, and who opposed her public grieving. "I cannot express how little I care that you hate the photos. How little I care that it’s something you wouldn’t have done," she wrote. "I lived it, I chose to do it, and more than anything, these photos aren’t for anyone but the people who have lived this or are curious enough to wonder what something like this is like. These photos are only for the people who need them. The thoughts of others do not matter to me."

    Teigen finished by explaining why she wrote the blog post. "I needed to say something before I could move on from this and return back to life, so I truly thank you for allowing me to do so," she wrote. "Jack will always be loved, explained to our kids as existing in the wind and trees and the butterflies they see. Thank you so much to every single person who has had us in their thoughts or gone as far as to send us your love and stories. We are so incredibly lucky."

  • Heybaby is a new dating app for parents and people who want to be parents

    Heybaby is a new dating app for parents and people who want to be parents

    As you scroll through dating apps you start to spot trends, like fishing photos or mentions of The Office. Often a potential match has a photo with a child, and their bio says something akin to, "That's just my nephew." Or niece, or cousin, or whatever small relative one feels compelled to show suitors.

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    If you're only looking for hookups, it's somewhat justifiable to make it clear that you're not a parent. Children change the dating game entirely. While users may want future partners to see how good they are with children — hence the nephew photos — it's likely just to relate back to their sex appeal.

    But many people, including single parents and people who want to be parents, aren't on dating apps to hookup. For those who want to find a co-parent, the search can be difficult.

    That's why, amid the deluge of both broad and niche dating apps, three dads — Diko Daghlian, Chas McFeely, and Rene Van De Zande — founded heybaby(Opens in a new tab), an app for people with kids or who want kids.

    "Despite the popularity of dating apps, the reality is that talking about the desire for children or existing children from previous relationships remains a fraught topic that is tough to broach when potential couples are meeting for the first time or in early days of dating," said McFeely in a press release.

    There are over 13 million single parents(Opens in a new tab) in the United States, and half of people aged 20 to 45 report wanting children(Opens in a new tab) — but it's not exactly what you want to open a Tinder conversation with. Heybaby wants to take away the apprehension involved in trying to find a partner with similar life plans.

    The app will be available first in San Francisco, where the team is based, but it will expand eventually to everywhere in the United States. It's also iOS(Opens in a new tab) only for now (sorry, Android users).

    When a user signs up for heybaby, they answer questions about their family and what they want in the future, such as if they already have kids and if they want more. There will also be questions about lifestyle, such as work life and travel preferences, in hopes to find a good match on multiple levels.

    dating app for single parents Credit: heybaby
    dating app for dads Credit: heybaby

    "The key factors that determine whether a couple has not just short-term attraction but actual long-term compatibility are money, kids and religion," said Van De Zande in a press release. "While we’ve seen more specialized apps enter the market for people looking for serious relationships, they don’t address some of these crucial topics."

    Van De Zande continued, "The worst thing for someone who has kids or wants them is to enter a relationship, only to find out they don’t share a vision of the future with their prospective partner."

    Daghlian agreed, commenting in the press release, "It’s important to us that heybaby doesn’t just ask whether you have or want kids, but also connects people who will have compatible approaches to parenting."

    The team designed heybaby to not just match potential couples but also potential parents, according to Daghlian. "As much as we’re looking to create love between two people," he said, "we’re also looking to create happy and healthy families for life."

    Related Video: How to go on a virtual date during the coronavirus pandemic

  • Honestly, Im just tired.

    Honestly, Im just tired.

    2020 won't stop, and I'm exhausted.

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    Maybe I should have known this year would be cursed when the New Year's Eve party I attended missed the countdown to midnight by three minutes — the year has been a downward spiral ever since. On the personal front, my cat died on my 24th birthday, I went through a break up during the loneliest period of modern history, and my apartment flooded three times.

    The world, meanwhile, experienced a string of disasters: a global pandemic is forcing us to completely restructure our way of life, raging wildfires tear up the West Coast and confine those outside of the evacuation zones to our homes because the air is so toxic, and democracy could crumble at any given moment as the president wages war on an app infamous for dancing teenagers ahead of an election. 2020 has been marred by the losses of celebrities like Kobe Bryant, Naya Rivera, and Chadwick Boseman, whose deaths felt especially sudden because they were so young.

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death was icing on the cake of a profoundly shitty year.

    Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer for equality in the United States. She lived an incredibly full life, and leaves behind a powerful legacy of dignity and respect amid a divisive political climate. Justice Ginsburg was a fierce defender of reproductive rights, and her dedication was unmatched. She even participated in several Supreme Court hearings from her hospital bed; in May, she defended(Opens in a new tab) cost-free contraceptive coverage while recovering from a gallstone. Despite her age, battle with cancer, and judicial duties, she still managed to maintain a workout routine. Regardless of politics, Justice Ginsburg was an inspiration.

    While the news of her death is heartbreaking, especially for the women who looked up to her, I had been bracing for it for the last few years. Justice Ginsburg had fought colon, lung, liver, and pancreatic cancer. She was aging. It was inevitable. I thought I would be better prepared for the loss, but I still felt deflated.

    There are others who are experiencing grief more tangibly in wake of Justice Ginsburg's death, but as someone who's skeptical of worshipping public figures, I'm mostly just tired.

    The grief I'm experiencing isn't quite grief. It isn't quite despair, either. It's more a quiet, overwhelming exhaustion that creeps into every aspect of existing and clings to my day to day. It's grief compounded over the entirety of 2020, growing larger and stickier with every tragedy this year tosses at us. I've learned to stop saying, "It can't get worse than this!" because it does, in fact, get worse than this.

    Describing this sensation as depression doesn't feel right. I was diagnosed with major depression and generalized anxiety disorder in college, and have spent a majority of my adult life being treated for it. Major depression is characterized by(Opens in a new tab) a severe and persistent low mood, a loss of interest or pleasure in life, and an ongoing sense of despair. Exhaustion is a common symptom as well, but none of my depressive episodes have put me in a state like this before. This state of being seems to be a universal experience.

    I've been describing this feeling as the "hell zone," a sudden dip in mood and energy that's unique to existing through this pandemic. In April, comedian Dan Sheehan described the hell zone as an "anxious, semi-agitated state where you're just sorta 'off' for the whole day and time flows like you're wading through chili." It tends to follow an otherwise normal feeling period of a few days when you can almost forget about everything that happened this year.

    Despite promises of a vaccine and a return to normalcy, the last few months of 2020 are looking bleak, and the hell zones I've been falling into are more frequent than they were when social distancing began. My coworkers and I have been referring to the days of decreased productivity, gentle dissociation, and overwhelming exhaustion as hell zone days, because this is so widely felt.

    It's easy to wax poetic about honoring Justice Ginsburg's legacy by continuing her fight for equality. The sense of despair over possibly losing our civil liberties should galvanize all of us into activism if we haven't been doing so already.

    Following the news of her death, I checked my voter registration to make sure I'll receive my mail-in ballot in time for the election. I made sure my family had theirs all squared away, too. I donated to another bail fund(Opens in a new tab) for protesters fighting against police brutality and systemic racism, even though Justice Ginsburg had some outdated stances(Opens in a new tab) on race. I briefly considered getting a copper IUD, which is effective for 10 years, and stockpiling Plan B in case reproductive rights are stripped away by a conservative-led Supreme Court.

    Justice Ginsburg's last wishes were weighted by a similar urgency. In her last days, she told(Opens in a new tab) her granddaughter, "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

    But the morning after her death, I fell back into the hell zone. Time felt warped, moving both too fast and too slowly. I chugged a latte loaded with espresso shots and even though my heart was racing with the sheer amount of caffeine I consumed, I still felt tired. There was objectively nothing wrong, so why did I wake up so easily annoyed? It's just the hell zone.

    Existing in a constant state of crisis is exhausting. I am, of course, immensely privileged. I have a salaried job during some of the worst unemployment rates(Opens in a new tab) in American history. My home in California is not threatened by wildfires. While so much of the world struggles with loneliness during social distancing, I have a tight knit quarantine bubble that keeps me somewhat sane. I'm not an essential worker who has to interact with the public amid increasing COVID cases. My medications are covered by insurance, for now.

    That being said, I find it greatly comforting to let myself despair every now and then. This capitalist hell we live in encourages productivity and looks down on spending the whole day curled up in a depression nest.

    It's almost easier to ignore that sticky exhaustion that comes with the hell zone, and distract yourself with working and hobbies and organizing for progressive causes. But you'll have to take a break from it eventually, and you'll have to contend with the fact that everything just sucks right now. That's not to say that you can't find joy in this bleak quarantine — I've picked up new hobbies, adopted two sweet cats, and finally started medications to treat my mental health. That compounding grief, though, will continue to grow with each tragic event this year manages to spawn.

    During our weekly sessions, my therapist reminds me that it's perfectly fine to feel exhausted and defeated. Sometimes, it's all you can feel, and you have to let it wash over you before you can begin feeling anything else. Some call it self care, and others might call it laziness. For me, accepting the fact that I'm in the hell zone gives me a chance to recharge.

    Is it enjoyable? Not particularly. I'd rather not deal with it at all, but suppressing this ongoing exhaustion will only make it worse. You do not need to be on top of it all of the time.

    When I let myself really settle into the hell zone, I'll sequester myself in my bedroom for the night without doing the errands I planned for the day. I'll smoke enough weed to get cozy, burrow in my comforter, and play Animal Crossing until I fall asleep. I'll ignore messages until the next morning, and when I emerge from my self-imposed hermitage, I'll be ready for another handful of days without the hell zone. I think of these nights as controlled depressive episodes – if I indulge in these every now and then, I won't fall into an actual depressive episode.

    A lot of people don't have the luxury of hell zone nights like mine. I'm not responsible for small humans like many parents dealing with a lack of childcare are, and I don't work overnight. Sinking into the hell zone doesn't necessarily require blocking off a whole night. You can let yourself be in the hell zone in a variety of ways, whether it's having a good shower cry or indulging in a late night ice cream. The most radical thing about hell zone moments is that they're a rejection of productivity.

    If Justice Ginsburg's death sparked a fresh wave of energy and you're ready to take action, by all means do it. If you're dealing with this ongoing, dull exhaustion like me (and you probably are, given the state of the world right now) sit with it. Take a moment, or a few hours, to really soak it in. Maybe this year will get better. It'll probably get worse. Let yourself wallow in the hell zone for a bit. Once you emerge, you'll be ready to tackle whatever shit 2020 has in store for the rest of the year.

  • Why porn sex is all reverse cowgirl and arched backs

    Why porn sex is all reverse cowgirl and arched backs

    Welcome to Porn Week, Mashable's annual close up on the business and pleasure of porn.

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    We all know that a ton of art and artifice goes into crafting every movie, show, and half-decent YouTube or TikTok clip that we watch. So it should come as no surprise that almost every aspect of the vast majority of porn — even most amateur and reality scenes — is likewise carefully constructed(Opens in a new tab) in an attempt to maximize(Opens in a new tab) its audience appeal. Creators lean into specific tropes and scenarios(Opens in a new tab) (like those associated with the ubiquitous fauxcest genre), often repeatedly and farther each time, to charge or heighten viewers’ reactions to the sex they frame. They include or highlight key visual cues, like money shots(Opens in a new tab), at key moments to give a sense of navigable structure to their content. They even make sure that, when performers are going at it, they don’t fuck like they would in real life, but instead adopt specific positions, and contort themselves into odd angles that may not feel great, but yield ideal explicit imagery.

    "In 90 percent of the films we shoot, the sex is completely different than the sex you have in your personal life," says performer Ryan Driller(Opens in a new tab), "fully due to the need to play to the camera."

    Performers always need to make sure that the lenses trained on them can capture clear shots of all the action viewers want to see, explains adult actress Sofie Marie(Opens in a new tab). This is one of the reasons you see so many wild, acrobatic positions in porn that rarely translate well(Opens in a new tab) into real life(Opens in a new tab), like the pile driver, in which a receiving partner is placed upside down, neck and shoulders on the floor and legs up by their ears, while a penetrating partner squats over and plows down into them: It's great for getting a clean shot of every bit and bob of interest to the average viewer, every hydraulic pump, and every facial reaction. But, as performer Larkin Love(Opens in a new tab) points out, it's also "a ridiculous and miserable move" for many people. In fact, it's often "profoundly uncomfortable for both partners."

    The need to play to cameras, and ultimately viewer desires, also leads to the underrepresentation of some positions performers love in their offscreen lives, like good ol' missionary, which don't lend to clear shots.

    "Missionary hides a lot of what most of the viewers want to see," explains performer Alex Saint(Opens in a new tab). "Seeing a guy's ass bouncing up and down isn't usually what's wanted."

    Conversely, it leads to the overrepresentation of positions like reverse cowgirl, which performer Kimmie KaBoom(Opens in a new tab) explains "opens everything up" to the camera easily and inherently.

    "Boy, am I just bored with reverse cowgirl."

    "Boy, am I just bored with reverse cowgirl" at this point, grumbles performer Verronica Kirei(Opens in a new tab).

    Every sex act and position, whether under- or overrepresented, also has to be tweaked to favor visual impact over visceral pleasure. In practice, this often means that performers have to twist out towards a camera, and hold a dynamic pose, all while having what is often extremely athletic sex. As Marie succinctly puts it, "good camera angles usually mean an uncomfortable sexual position."

    "The best performers can make it look like their posture, body positioning, hand positioning, the way their hair falls, and everything else is natural," adds Love. "But it's not."

    In fact, these angular alterations are specialized, intense physical labor.

    To help viewers get a better sense of all the little positional tweaks and preferences at play in porn, I reached out to a handful of adult stars and asked them to break down everything they do for the sake of a good visual. I also asked them what, if anything, they or their fans can or should take away from the strange positional logic that dominates the porn world. Here's what they said:

    How do you play up cunnilingus for the camera?

    Bunny Colby(Opens in a new tab): Going down on a girl is the most edited one.

    Verronica Kirei: When I am eating a woman out, I can't necessarily be face deep in her pussy, [like I would be in real life].

    Johnny Goodluck(Opens in a new tab): You can't see a tongue if you're sucking a vagina.

    Ryan Driller: While the girl is on her back, with her legs spread as far as possible, I push the full side of my face opposite the camera and lighting, stick my tongue out as far as it possibly can, and barely graze her labia or clitoral-area. All the while, I spread her labia as far as possible.

    Bunny Colby: You need to make sure your face is pulled enough away for cameras to see all the action going on. You'll often barely graze a pussy with your tongue.

    What about blowjobs?

    Larkin Love: My blowjobs off-camera are far more intense and complex than the ones I deliver on screen. When the camera is rolling, I'm more concerned with giving good face, not with sucking in my lips and cheeks, or with a male partner's pleasure. I'm turning my head at specific aesthetic angles, regardless of what might feel best. When I stroke the dick, I do so with a flourish that adds nothing to physical stimulation, but shows off my manicure and makes the cock look as large as possible.

    The list goes on.

    Alex Saint: If it is a POV blowjob, the girl turns her face a lot more toward the camera… You're really just bumping your dick against the roof of her mouth.

    Rina Ellis(Opens in a new tab): You have to make sure your hair isn't covering your face, and angle your face so you don't have five chins.

    And missionary?

    Larkin Love: My favorite position in real life is missionary, with full body contact and French kissing. It's the most erotic, spine-tingling act in the whole repertoire for me.

    Sofie Marie: Smothering missionary is very romantic. I always have my biggest orgasms in missionary with my partner making a scooping-driving motion to hit my g-spot and cervix. Slow, deep, rhythmic pumping with hip action. Yummy.

    "My favorite position in real life is missionary."

    Larkin Love: However, you'll almost never see this in porn. The shot isn't interesting to look at. There's no room for the camera to get a view of penetration. You can't even see the girl's boobs.

    Johnny Goodluck: When you're in mish, you’re turning your hip and chest out towards the camera, thereby slamming the opposite hip into your partner, as opposed to what normal sex would involve: You slamming your pelvis against their pelvis for more orgasmic pressure.

    How do you show off doggy-style?

    Johnny Goodluck: We are generally adjusting one side of our body about 30 degrees away from the parallel of the other person’s body [to give the cameras a good view]. One hip hits their ass. The side towards the camera never even touches, so that you can see the penetration.

    Larkin Love: Point-of-view doggy style requires the receptive partner to bend her body severely at the waist, like a U, thereby putting both their face and pussy or ass on display simultaneously for the camera. You wouldn't believe the spinal flexibility this takes to pull off correctly.  It doesn't look weird in two-dimensional pics and videos. But it's a hideously unnatural way to fuck.

    How do you adjust cowgirl and reverse cowgirl?

    Sofia Marie: Cowgirl and reverse cowgirl are the easiest to pose for the camera. But I get the biggest workout.

    Ryan Driller: Cowgirl is a bit closer to the real thing at home, only as a guy you're pulling her butt cheeks apart to let the camera see the penetration — as opposed to at home, where you grab and almost push her butt cheeks together tighter for the added pressure and sensation.

    Rina Ellis: With cowgirl, you need to sit up straight or arch your back for it to look flattering.

    Alex Saint: For reverse cowgirl, the girl will often position herself higher on her knees so that the guy can really thrust his hips up and down, further and faster.

    Rina Ellis: Reverse cowgirl is a lot of work on the legs, so you need to be toned.

    Kimmie KaBoom: It is the most difficult and painful position. I like it least.

    Has working in porn ever introduced you to a camera-friendly position, or a positional adjustment, that you enjoyed enough to take back into your private sex life?

    Johnny Goodluck: I've learned new, interesting positions and how to perfect some positions. But I don't think I've learned any magic tricks from performing [that I wouldn't have from other experiences] — other than self-control and perfect posture. Experience gets you there, no matter what.

    Ryan Driller: Anything that we have brought home was not anything you've seen us do on camera. The tricks and tweaks we enjoy are discovered between takes, when your partner and you are still on set and the cameramen and directors are resetting or moving around a bit, so you get to real fuck to maintain the chemistry, erection, and enthusiasm. It might be that, for two minutes, after [a female performer] had been riding you while squatting over you, she gets on her knees and just grinds, and you discover that is a perfect g-spot massage, and an instant orgasm.

    The only times we bring this back to our own beds are on accident — when we've been working so much that we fall into a habit.

    What does all of this mean for people who watch porn to get ideas for new positions to try?

    Rina Ellis: Porn isn't sex education and shouldn't be used as a how-to guide for having sex.

    Larkin Love: If you are going to watch porn for inspiration, positions are one of the worst possible take-aways. Instead, draw inspiration from the themes and settings, or adopt a role-play scenario that you enjoyed on screen. Just make sure to take the idea and make it your own.

    SEE ALSO: Where to buy sex toys online (even at Target)

    Ryan Driller: Personally, I'd say to just get a Kama Sutra book and try those positions out. Or just let loose and have fun with each other. You'll find what works best for you two.

    Kimmie KaBoom: Everyone should try a bunch of new things they see in porn to see what works for them. Just don't be discouraged if it doesn't work out, or you can't do a position with your body. Sex should be a fun and exploratory playtime! Only do what you’re comfortable doing.

    Bunny Colby: Definitely check out and see some new stuff — but adjust positions for comfort!

    Verronica Kirei: If you see an act being done in one of your favorite pornos and want to try it out, don't focus on the position part so much. Use that as a general marker. Then do what feels good after. You don’t have a camera pointed on you.

    Keep reading

    • Porn games are ready for their big data money shot

    • The best alternatives to Pornhub and Xvideos

    • Pornhub deleted millions of videos. And then what happened?

    • Porn ushered in a golden age of TV dicks

    • Can't figure out what kind of porn to consume? This handy infographic can help.

  • You should watch the excellent John Lewis documentary, Good Trouble

    You should watch the excellent John Lewis documentary, Good Trouble

    Georgia Congessman John Lewis died on Friday at the age of 80. You should take some time to learn about his life and work in the Dawn Porter-directed documentary, John Lewis: Good Trouble.

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    The Civil Rights icon leaves behind the legacy of a fighter for peace who spent the bulk of his time on Earth working to ensure equal treatment for people of color in the United States. He was the last living member of the "Big Six(Opens in a new tab)" group of Civil Rights activists who helped organize and spoke at the 1963 March on Washington.

    Martin Luther King, Jr. was also a member of that group, and the March on Washington is where he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Lewis shared the stage that day, and was even asked by his peers(Opens in a new tab) to tone his own remarks down.

    That fight never left him. Lewis himself acknowledged as much in Dec. 2019 when he shared the news that he'd been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

    "I have been in some kind of fight – for freedom, equality, basic human rights – for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now," Lewis said in a statement(Opens in a new tab) released at the time. "I have decided to do what I know to do and do what I have always done: I am going to fight it and keep fighting for the Beloved Community. We still have many bridges to cross."

    Porter's documentary presents a picture of the man who found his voice during a politically and socially turbulent period in U.S. history. He was inspired as a young activist after hearing King, Jr. speak in the 1950s, and the movie charts his path through that time to the March on Washington and the political battles that would follow.

    Good Trouble also lives on as a worthy standard-bearer of Lewis's legacy as a defender of equal rights. It looks at his storied life and career in the context of our current moment, with a particular focus on the 2018 midterm election. Lewis worked as both an activist and a politician to protect the voting rights of Black Americans, and the documentary preaches that message in a way that the departed Congressman no longer can.

    The documentary's title, it should be noted, comes straight from Lewis(Opens in a new tab).

    "Do not get lost in a sea of despair," he wrote in June 2018, months ahead of the midterm election. "Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble."

    You can stream Good Trouble as a rental right now through a number of content providers(Opens in a new tab), including Amazon and YouTube.