So many different factors play heavy roles in our sex lives. It is almost impossible to not be affected by these influences. Whether it is your own daily struggle, or the role media plays, or a significant political revolution, our sex is frequently at the mercy of the world around us. In this week's Sex Stories We Love, we'll take a look at some of the things that influenced our - and other people's - sex lives this past week.

The New Submission

Well, who’d have thought Donald Trump would be good for any part of the sex business? I certainly didn’t see that coming. Yet it seems that since the election and inauguration, business for purveyors of BDSM and related services has significantly increased. Are folks despondent and needing a release? Are they discovering newfound pleasure in power exchange and want to explore it further? Is a new type of hedonism on the rise because of a general sense of uncertainty? Whatever the cause, it will be interesting to see whether this continues. It has been long-acknowledged that conservative and fascist regimes provide tremendous inspiration for the arts...seems it might do the same for our sexual selves as well.

More Than a Lip Lock?

Do you remember this iconic poster image, The Kiss? It was staple in the early 2000s, popping up everywhere. However, I had no idea about the story behind it or the controversy it caused at the time. I was always under the impression that it was a rallying cry of queer representation, particularly for lesbians, who were generally only depicted through porn. I thought this tender moment was meant to capture the human nature of two people, who, at that time, were still struggling to be seen. Nope. It was shrewd marketing for a financial company aimed at the LGBT community. Fortunately, more happened - including unprecedented dialogue - and The Kiss became a valuable addition to the queer rights movement.

Reconciling Fantasy

When we are young, we are taught that our imaginations are limitless, that fantasy is a tremendous way to explore and expand tender minds. However, as we get older and travel through school and into life, fantasy and imagination are replaced with the the cold, hard facts of life that we need to learn to successfully navigate the world around us. Yet, we hold on to one type of internal wonderland through the daily slog of everyday life: our sexual fantasies about people other than our partners. Unfortunately, many folks find challenges when they consider their sexual inner monologue - most notable among them being whether it should remain inner and whether it should become a dialogue with others. Our sexual fantasies are, in one sense, entirely simple. They are thoughts that turn us on. However, they can become very complex when you have intimate people in your life. Sexual fantasies are definitely something to think about.

All Work & No Play

Finding a work/life balance can be really hard. Knowing when to put the laptop away and focus on other aspects of your being can be really tricky when big bosses remind you deadlines are looming or your ability to pay rent depends on getting a couple more freelance assignments. However, if you can pull yourself away and get yourself some sexy fun time, you may end up being more productive - and have better job satisfaction to boot. The study behind this idea might be somewhat small, but it does point to a trend of not being able to unplug from work, which leads to not plugging into our partners and playmates. Sure, the life/work balance can be pretty hard to manage, but it is important to try.

Sex and Death

The past decade has seen significant advances in understanding the sexual interests and needs of older people. Once a cringe-inducing topic, seniors and sex is now an important discussion, probably because many of the folks who have been at the forefront of sexual liberation are getting up there in age! However, much of the discussion has been focused on maintaining sex lives - not what to do when you no longer have one fllowing the death of a partner. In our society, we cherish and applaud the idea of coupling and celebrate those who reach milestones of togetherness. When people are together for so long and one of them dies, the effects can shatter many parts of the remaining person’s life, including their sex life. While this particular article focuses on women, I’d be interested in learning more about how the loss of a partner affects men as well.

Grey Matter?

Finally, have you wondered if Christian Grey’s, ummm, unusual behavior would cause underwear to drop in real life? This guy tried some of the fictional flogger’s moves on his wife. Guess what? It didn’t work.