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Melissa Carter: It’s not new love we should celebrate

VMelissa Carteralentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love — or at least the idea of how love could be. We see plenty of examples of young romance on television and in movies. But I wish there were more portrayals of couples still hot for each other after years together. Those are the couples who have figured out what true love really is and remind us that sometimes the secret is more simple than you would think. 

My parents were married for 50 years until my father passed away from cancer in 2001. Their unique and touching romantic gestures towards each other began when they were newlyweds and had no money. On their first anniversary she arrived home from her teaching job and checked the mailbox first like she did every day.

Inside was a letter informing her that her gift was upstairs waiting for her. When she got to her bedroom, there was my dad waiting for her wearing a bow. My mom is in her ‘80s and this story still makes her smile and blush when she tells it.

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Sex & Dating: First date disasters

Maggie Lopez

I’m by no means prolific in the romantic department; the quality of my relationships has always trumped the quantity. I’ve been legally married now for six years (in Connecticut and reciprocal states, anyway.) In my fifties, I can still count my romantic liaisons on one hand, with a few digits to spare. Thanks mostly to my wonderful spouse, our relationship is often the source of public admiration, seen as some effortless, meant-to-be union.

But truth be told, my road to romantic bliss is paved with a weird string of first dates that would easily pass for David Lynch vignettes.

While most of the world had a Y2K disaster contingency, I did not. And so, by the stroke of the new millennium, I found myself “suddenly single” and admittedly lonely after a 12-year relationship ended.

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Sex & Dating: The sex ed you never got

LGBT Sex Ed Tips

Great sex goes way beyond who puts what where, so we asked two local experts who get to spend their careers thinking about sex to offer their top 10 lessons for LGBT intimacy.

Steven Igarashi is gay outreach program coordinator for AID Atlanta, where he leads programs that offer a broad discussion of men’s sexuality. For more information, check out GO Atlanta at www.aidatlanta.org

Dr. Glenda Corwin is a licensed clinical psychologist and the author of “Sexual Intimacy for Women: A Guide for Same-Sex Couples.” Learn more at www.drglendacorwin.com

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Sex & Dating: Your big gay V-day

Shopping local makes Valentine's Day even sweeter.

Valentine's Day gifts from Chairs Books and More

Charis Books & More
Write your own love story with “Love Listography.” Get in the mood with “Best Lesbian Romance,” “Missionary No More” and “Black Fire” erotica books.

Tell her you love her with “Hearts for Madelene” note cards, which began as weekly gifts from lesbian Page Hodel to her partner, Madalene Rodriguez. Rodriguez succumed to ovarian cancer in 2006, but Hodel continued to make the hearts in honor of her partner, and a portion of the proceeds to go the Women’s Cancer Resource Center in Oakland, Ca. $9.55-$16.95.

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Sex & Dating: Date night dinners

One Midtown Kitchen

The restaurant can make or break the mood for a perfect memorable encounter. We’re lucky in Atlanta to have thousands of choices for date-night dining. Here are some of my favorites.

A noteworthy first date, second date or anniversary restaurant is One Midtown Kitchen. It’s more gay during the week and very busy with straight suburbanites on weekends. The décor is stunning with lots of ambient cylinder lights and a big-budget corporate architectural scheme. I’ll admit like most gays, I’m a sucker glamorous décor. It’s a good conversation piece on dates.

One Midtown Kitchen isn’t cheap so it’s a perfect special occasion place. The handsome chef Drew VanLeuvan’s open stainless steel kitchen turns out artisanal American comforts like crispy braised pork shoulder with collards, as well as elegant dishes like curried pan-seared Nantucket sea scallops. I love sword fish and had it grilled with foraged mushrooms and root vegetable confit. It was succulent, white and meaty and, no, I won’t make the gratuitous gay joke.

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Sex & Dating: Trendy toys to spice up your sex life

Popular adult toys that are sure to spice up your sex life

This is one Jack Rabbit you don’t want hopping off anywhere except to, well, your bed.

Perhaps the best-selling sex toy of all time among women, the Jack Rabbit is definitely a top seller in metro Atlanta as well. The Jack Rabbit’s basic model is a shaft with a clitoral stimulator that looks like rabbit ears, hence the name. The infamous toy made its way onto the sex toy scene in the 1990s and become even more popular when it debuted on an episode of “Sex and the City.”

“I’d say anything with the Jack Rabbit is the most popular toy with women,” says Karen Westfall, manager of the Love Shack on Roswell Road. The store caters mostly to straight customers but does include a range of gay porn.