1. LONDON (Reuters) - Love may be in the air but it is no longer in the mail, according to a new competition to revive the lost art of love letter writing.

    Run for the first time last year in the United States when it attracted 5,000 entries, philanthropist Henri Zimand's competition to find the best written love letters has now opened to entrants from Britain as well.

    "In this age of one-line e-mails and abbreviated text messages, the simple art of letter writing has all but been forgotten," he said. "Writing a love letter is a dying art and to me that is a real shame."

    The competition is dedicated to the memory of Zimand's wife Anda who died from breast cancer in 2003 aged 49.

    "No one should underestimate the power of a letter that truly comes from the heart and with every letter I receive, I am moved, and remember my Anda," Zimand said. [read more].

    Being wordy types here at Lovehoney, we think this is a cracking idea. The official site for the competition is at www.AndaSpirit.com. The way to make anyone feel sexy is to make them feel loved - so make sure you scribe something sweet to your Significant Other today. That's an order.

    India Knight writes a confused piece about sex toys in The Sunday Times, but she manages one piece of interesting information: "Not so long ago, if you wanted a sex toy, you had to head for a sex shop and brave the dirty-mac brigade. How things change: Catherine Gort, Durex’s marketing manager, said last week: “More vibrators are sold every year in Britain than washing machines and tumble dryers combined.”

    Blimey. Who knew? Call me old-fashioned, but I’d always assumed (completely wrongly, as it turns out) that sex toys were still a bit of a minority pastime.

    In my head the majority of Britons are still pretty buttoned-up, and the only people who keep a box of tricks by the bed are young women who know every episode of Sex and the City by heart, gay people, or seedy old pervs. But no: sex toys have become democratic, and everybody’s got them, or will have them very soon. They’ll probably turn up on The Archers next."

    Lovehoney, does, of course, have the whole range in stock for Durex Play. Who wants a washing machine when you can have some of these?

    BBC News: "Scientists believe they have worked out a formula to calculate how "beer goggles" affect a drinker's vision. The drink-fuelled phenomenon is said to transform supposedly "ugly" people into beauties - until the morning after.

    Researchers at Manchester University say while beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder, the amount of alcohol consumed is not the only factor. Additional factors include the level of light in the pub or club, the drinker's own eyesight and the room's smokiness. The distance between two people is also a factor. They all add up to make the aesthetically-challenged more attractive, according to the formula." [Read more]. So there you go - carry your calculator at all times…

    The Guardian: "It was the shower hose that clinched it. A passage from his debut novel, Winkler, describing a male character's genitalia as "leaping around like a shower dropped in an empty bath" won the 13th annual Literary Review award for Bad Sex in Fiction for food-critic-turned-novelist Giles Coren last night.

    Coren beat off heavyweight competition for the prize with an unpunctuated 138-word description of coitus, followed by the two-word sentence, "Like Zorro". Salman Rushdie, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Paul Theroux and John Updike were among the 11 contenders for this year's prize, with Rushdie, Theroux and Updike all boasting previous nominations."

    You can read every longlisted passage here in all their excruciating glory. And you can stock up on proper literary smut at the Erotic Bookshop too.

    A little culture, courtesy of the India Times: "Sex toys have been available for hundreds of years. The first documented use of a dildo comes from 3 rd century Greece, where merchants sold something called an olisbos. In Renaissance Italy, the olisbo morphed into the dildo probably from the Italian diletto, which means ‘to delight’. Modern rubber dildos, resembling the ones we see today, came into being in the mid-19th century." We've got scores of delights for you to browse online…

    Ananova: "Erotic furniture based on the female body with boobs for doors and bums for drawers is the latest fad in Holland". Yes, it's got photos. And there's a whole website full of pics of www.sexyfurniture.nl. Natch. We've got an Inflatable PVC Bondage Chair if you want something more…rubbery… as well as a whole bunch of harnesses and swings to spruce up your bedroom for extra fun

    Sightseers in Buenos Aires got a shock on Thursday when the city's most famous landmark, the obelisk, was covered with a giant pink condom on World AIDS Day, reports Reuters. Sadly no pics though. We've got pink condoms - and ones of every other colour too - if you want to decorate your partner's bits with suitably festive camouflage…

    What do you want for Christmas? How about a cuddly toy sporting an outsize erection? Thought so. A guaranteed conversation piece of the Christmas turkey, The Erection Collection has 15 different soft plush animal toys that all come complete with a suitably aroused appendage. Take your pick from "Masturgator" the Alligator, "Slowpoke" the Turtle and let's not forget "Orgazmatang" the Orangutan. You can even get a "Patriotic Donkey" which comes complete with an Uncle Sam striped hat and - you guessed it - an Old Glory striped phallus too. You really have to see it to believe it. The only soft toy we've got in stock is the Bad Boyfriend Voodoo Doll, perfect for putting the hex on errant Significant Others. It doesn't have an outsize erection, but it does come with 10 pins to stick in it. Ouch.

    HipTechBlog highlights an innovation from China - a spray on condom. They've got a picture of the packaging and note "This world’s first liquid condom went on sales this week in China, after China’s health and drugs administration formally gave the manufacturer the green light. The manufacturer claims that it forms a physical membrane inside the vagina, protecting it from infection, acting as a barrier to pregnancy and providing a lubricating effect."


    If you want something a little more tried and tested, we've got tons of condoms for all occasions ready for you to browse.

    "Reuters: Pablo Picasso, Lord Byron and Dylan Thomas had more in common than simple creativity. They also had active sex lives, which researchers said on Wednesday was no coincidence. Psychologists at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and the Open University found that professional artists and poets have about twice as many partners as other people. Their creativity seems to act like a sexual magnet. But Dr Daniel Nettle, a psychologist at Newcastle University's School of Biology, said it is a double-edge sword. "Poets and artists have more sexual partners but they also have high rates of depression," he said." So next time your Significant Other writes you a poem, get ready with the Viagra or the Prozac…

    More entries