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Love etc

“It’s just 10 minutes of your life. Or 15”

American model Caprice Bourret. Matt Frost/ITV/Shutterstock

The “maintenance shag” is crucial to a healthy marriage, says Sarah Ditum in The Times. Last week American model Caprice Bourret, 49, told OK! magazine: “Girls, my advice – even if you aren’t in the mood because it’s been a long day – it’s just 10 minutes of your life. Ha-ha, or 15!” She added: “If the sex goes in the relationship, it’s done and dusted. You have to keep it alive. And if you can settle down from your day and enjoy it, it’s fricking awesome.”

This advice has attracted criticism. Daily Mail columnist Bel Mooney described it as sexist, ignorant, and “positively medieval”. However, says Ditum, “you underestimate Bourret at your peril”. The maintenance shag is an investment: it “stokes the embers” to ensure “the possibility of fireworks to come”. Psychotherapist Stella O’Malley says many people don’t feel desire spontaneously, but can have great sex once they get started. The more you have, the more you want. What’s more, “the desire to make your partner happy – and the knowledge that they’ll do the same for you – is the essence of love”.

Don’t hide your hickeys

Patryce Bak/Getty Images

Hickeys get a bad rap, says Sadaf Ahsan in Buzzfeed. For decades, the reddish-purple love bites have been a symbol of embarrassment. When I was a teenager, people wore scarves and turtlenecks to cover them. As an adult, I took a sickie to dodge questions at work about the string of hickeys around my neck. These days teens are more savvy. The hashtag #HickeyRemoval has been viewed 27.8 million times on TikTok, as Gen Zs teach each other how to magic their love bites away. The answer, apparently, is to beat your hickeys with a kitchen whisk.

Enough with the shame. Hickeys embody reckless young love, “overtly sexual, shameless, eager”. And what’s so bad about that? Yes, a love bite is silly and a little like marking your territory. “Sometimes, though, it can feel like a sweet reminder of pleasure.”

This app wants you to consent before having sex, says Wired. Following Denmark’s criminalisation of any sex without consent, iConsent allows users to send a request for consent to their hook-up’s mobile; if the recipient responds positively, an agreement pops up on both phones, validating one act of intercourse and expiring after 24 hours. Either partner can withdraw consent at any time, and both can keep track of their hook-ups by scrolling through their history.

But the app has been met with consternation: the agreement refers only to “an act of intercourse”, so where does that leave, um, everything else? “And what happens if a user wishes to withdraw consent in the act, but doesn’t have their phone handy – or the phone’s battery has run out of juice?” The company says it is there to facilitate conversation around the topic, not to replace it.