Cosmo, Men's Health, and Maxim on lesbians, talking penises, and — strangely — feminism.
Each month like clockwork, men's and women's magazines hit the newsstands, bursting with terrible sex and dating advice. And each month, we pick out the worst tips and mock them for your edification.
October. The leaves are falling. A crisp chill is in the air. Foot-long slabs of sandwich are available for only five dollars. Even better, sex is free. It does, however, remain complicated — which is why we turn to the print industry, to teach us how to do it right.
Cosmo's big sex feature this month is called "50 Things You Should Never Stop Doing in a Relationship."
Double negatives can work against you. Or, should I say, double negatives can't always not work against you. Grammatical wisdom aside, I bring it up for a reason: you could misread that title, if you were skimming through Cosmo while awaiting the dentist (or, say, while you sitting alone drinking seltzer water and watching Glee on mute trying to finish a goddamn article for the internet).
"50 Things You Should Never Stop Doing in a Relationship"
• "Swiping on some lip gloss even if you two are just running Sunday errands. We're not clutching our pearls and insisting you do up your whole face, but a little touch-up isn't exactly going to set back the whole feminist movement or anything."
There's nothing wrong with lip gloss on Sundays, if makes you feel pretty, or you like the taste of Raspberry Sex Explosion. But don't talk to us about feminism, Cosmo. You haven't earned it.
• "Screening his call and waiting ten minutes before returning it. Then be all mysterious about where you were when he asks why you didn't pick up."
Games and lies! Lies and games! Every time you write something like this, another bro-com starring Seann William Scott called Bitches Be Crazy gets the green-light.
• "Occasionally packing your weekend schedule with all sorts of activities that don't include him so he has (almost too much) room to breathe."
Also, don't introduce him to your parents, get comfortable around him, move in with him, or marry him. The spark will die and then so will you. Alone. Also, you can only have sex every third date.
• "Withholding your girl drama from him. Someone is not interested in the fact that Jill had the audacity to wear a cream-colored dress to Jen's wedding."
Listen to yourself, Cosmo. You don't care about Jill's dress either. Let it go.
• "Flirting with the cute waiter or bartender so he never forgets just how freaking doable you are."
Let's leave "freaking doable" alone, and just say something a little bit serious: if you need to keep your relationship at arm's length, lie and act weird, just so you guys can keep having fun sex, then it's actually not going to work. Your bootylicious vajazzled vajayay deserves better.
In their monthly sex column, Maxim takes on lesbian sex: "Think of them [the lesbians, not Maxim] as an educational tool far more accurate than the 'lesbian' porn on the Internet, full of straight girls fake-orgasming after forty-five seconds." Sounds legit.
• "By the time she finally put her tongue on me, I wanted it so bad I came almost instantly."
But, we do find out some of the positive aspects of lesbian sex: if someone gets insecure during sex, "since there are two girls involved, they're more than happy to have a big talk about it right then and there."
God, such a stereotype, Women always talking about their feelings. (Okay, actually, this is correct. Lesbians do do that a lot. Maxim: one. Me: still a bazillion).
Even if it's a fantasy of yours, don't assume all lesbians want to have sex with your girlfriend: "We can tell when the straight ones walk into a room… But if your lady wants to hop the fence for the night, there are always other straight girls there she can go home with."
And this is where the lesbian article ends. With the message that lesbians don't want to have sex with your straight girlfriend — but straight women do? Apparently porn is right after all…
Women's Health Magazine
This month's newcomer, WHM, caught my eye with an article called "The Package Deal: What every penis wishes you knew." The premise of the article intrigued me. What's better than pretending penises can talk? (Okay, I know the answer: pretending penises can talk when they're wearing an oddly small pair of sunglasses that for some weird reason you own and keep by the bed.)
• "Listen to what the male penis would say if it could speak up for its owner."
Google's best guess for "the male penis? seriously?" is "written by sex computer."
• "If you sense he's tensing up, encourage your guy to stop what he's doing and tell you about whatever anxiety he's feeling. It happens to all men, and your acceptance is going to mean a lot to him. Ninety-nine percent of the time, candor will improve the situation by defusing stress."
What are you, a lesbian? That's terrible advice. There is no percent of the time that, if you sense someone's boner is fading, stopping and saying "Hey, let's talk about your rapidly deflating junk. Is it a mom thing? Or are you just worried I'll think it's small?" is going to help. If there was a ever a time a for a "no big deal" and some low-key cuddling, that's it.
• "When it comes to penis superpotency, hot is better than cold."
Sex-computer speak wisdom. Cold penis = frowny face. Also, superpotency!
• "When your guy feels he is close to ejaculation, he should withdraw. Then — and here's where you get involved — grip his penis just below the head with your thumb and forefinger, and squeeze forcefully. This will delay his urge to ejaculate. The amount of pressure needed varies among men, but don't be afraid to give him a good grab — his erect penis can take it."
Okay, two things. Forceful squeeze? Is that like how you check a tomato for ripeness, or how you decapitate a dove? Also, arguably, there are a lot of unpleasant things you could do to a guy to delay his ejaculation ("Have naughty sex in the driveway. If he starts getting close, slam his fingers in the car door!") but some part of me (hint: it's the penis part) wonders if that's the right tack.
Men's Health Magazine
"Nine Tricks to Confidently Pick Up Any Woman"
I chose this article because it was the name of my favorite class in dance camp, right after Advanced Lunging. Also, because I've gone from seltzer water to whiskey and from Glee with sound off to The Sing Off with the sound on. We need to bed this beast.
• "Women want a man with steel balls," says R. Don Steele, without a hint of irony in his voice. "This desire is evolutionary. Females want someone who's not going to run from a fight, a man who is confident in his ability to provide and protect."
The last thing I read about the evolution of sex (Sex At Dawn) suggested that the whole "men just evolved to throw spears and fuck, don't ask anything more of them" line of sex advice was unfounded. But even at best, that line of reasoning is simplistic pop-psychology that would have us all acting like the leads in an '80s action movie. This jerk-off probably got his degree at the University of Guelph.
• "Emulate the look of a successful public man in your business arena."
This will keep her from knowing how you actually dress for as long as possible.
• When a woman gives you her phone number, "manage the cold call as you would a business call… If you fail, move on. It's not about personal rejection — it's the business of making stuff work."
This is like the time someone broke up with me and said, "Don't take it personally." As in, "I am no longer in interested, pleased, or charmed by you, person in front of me. But don't take it personally." I'm not going to feel better about being rejected because you also think I'm too dumb to understand my mother tongue.
• "Knowledge breeds confidence. Do you know where to sit during a dinner date? Always position yourself at a 90-degree angle to her instead of straight on… If she sits at the end of the table, sit in the first seat to her left."
This might be good advice if you live in Bruce Wayne's mansion. If not, it's stupid. Because you'll be totally invading her bubble, and there's going to all sorts of strange leg-intermingling and knee bumping. Also because it feels weird to have someone staring at the side of your face. And finally, because your waiter will hate you for being "same-side of the table" sitters. Jesus.
• "Kissing someone is an emotional thing, and asking [permission] diverts it into a cognitive realm instead… Women hate that."
Women. They hate thinking. They just wanna sex on you.
And that my friends, is the sex advice you've got to hold you over until November — when the apples will be dead, the air will be frozen, and the meatball subs back to an astronomic $6.99 a pop. God, TV shows about choirs really make me gloomy.