Maxim tells you how to have Internet Sex, Men's Health tells you what women are thinking, and Cosmo tells you to shut up.
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.
"Most people think of Valentine's Day as a celebration of the burning of a Catholic loudmouth, but it's also about love." — Kenneth Parcell
How was your Valentine's Day, friends? It doesn't matter. Everything sucks in the world of sex: we're having a national conversation about contraception, a man named after anal leakage is the GOP frontrunner, and the blond barista at my coffee shop with the soccer legs and the pretty mouth introduced me to his stupid girlfriend.
Our friends at the print magazines are with me this month: love and sex are hard.
Let's get to work:
Maxim's monthly sex feature is cynical, sneaky, and love-free, just in time for Valentine's Day. It's about how to use online dating to find women who only want sex — and then how to trick them into having it with you. I was hoping at least for something related to real adult relationships — like, five gifts to buy your sweetheart this V-Day, each ranked for efficacy on a scale of one to "Blowjob City." But alas:
"When 27-year-old Lisa signed into her OKCupid account, a message appeared from a guy who was visiting Boston for the night and wanted to meet up. A few hours later… they ended up screwing in the private bathroom of the Harvard bookstore… Lisa, like a growing number of women, didn't join a dating Web site to find the man of her dreams… They wanted one thing only: casual sex. Read on to learn how to decode their profiles…"
Three things: 1. Her real name isn't Lisa. It's Harold. 2. If you really want to meet the woman of your dreams, go to Nerve Dating (they do pay me, but seriously, it's really nice).
Anyway, here are the three steps to having Internet Sex, according to Maxim:
"Just because some women are strictly seeking sex doesn't mean that they're always up front about it. They want you to use your brain. Lisa's profile reveals that she just wants 'lighthearted fun.' Sneaky, right? … Rose, on the other hand, only answers questions ‘about my sexual preferences…'"
Now, some girls who say things like "lighthearted fun" really do just want to have filthy sex in the filthy bathrooms of the future upper-middle-99%. But some of them are just trying to convey that they're actually easygoing.
The stupid part is imagining that there are two classes of women — the normal chat-chat-chat ones who want to marry you and the secret dirty sexy kind — and that you need a decoder to figure out which is which. Women like having sex, and some will on the first date and some won't — there's no way to figure out except by going out with them. (Except for "Rose." She probably is kind of a floozy.)
"… Start by referencing something you read on her profile, then get a little flirty."
Their example is a guy who responds to a girl's profile with a funny message, asking specifically about her interests. The result? "Sex loud enough to wake his roommate."
That's not bad advice. In fact, it's good advice — be funny, go with specifics, etc. It's just stupid to make that seem like some sort of carpool lane on the superhighway to Pussy Town. (It's just three exits from Blowjob City.) It's actually just a good first step to getting a date. Plus, if you think you've cracked the sex code with a clever opening message, you're probably going to act like it, and that's off-putting.
"Once you nail your message, you're well on your way to getting it on."
And then they jump to stories about people having sex in London, in fishnets, and in a threesome. Because here's the thing: Maxim actually didn't figure out the actual sex part. That part still depends on your ability to meet someone who you connect with, or who you don't connect with, but who's DTF regardless. This article is actually just three decent rules for online dating interspersed with porn-y stories. And that, my friends, is why I named this column "Ridiculous Tips." [I actually named this column — Ed.] [Don't embarrass me in front of my friends, Pete — Ben]
On the lady side, we've made it a little further: Cosmo assumes you've got a boyfriend you love this V-Day. But, they also assume that you annoy the living shit out of him — so much so that your only chance to keep him is to stop talking. It's a common trope in the pages of Cosmo, practically Step Three in the formula for love: leave him a voicemail while you're masturbating, follow it up a with a "stealth hummer," and then shut up forever. It's like the bend-and-snap, only a little harder on your self-worth.
"Shhh. What he doesn't need to know."
"It's basically in our DNA to want to share everything with him, but hold up. According to the latest relationship intel, keeping some stuff hidden is key to making him even hotter for you."
"Secret 1: What you do on nights apart"
"Maybe you're just hanging with the girls, but for all he knows, you're out having crazy adventures."
I'm with you on nights apart — great for relationships. Not so much for the "lie about what you do" part. That sounds like a great way to get dumped for cheating — without the cheating sex.
"Secret 2: Some of your cool skills"
"Every once in a while, reveal a new thing about yourself. For example, don't explain that you took piano as a kid. Spring it on him — maybe you plop down at the baby grand in a hotel lobby and start playing. Or maybe you've been taking an online Spanish class. Keep it quiet, plan a date at a Mexican restaurant, and blow him away when you order in Spanish."
Nothing says "reigniting our sexual chemistry" like "Nosotros queremos los nachos." But regardless, let's forget the bad idea that is sex after Mexican food, and stick to how strange it would be, in the context of an actual relationship, if your girlfriend revealed amazing piano skills in a public place after you'd been dating for a year. Even rom-com Zooey Deschanel does that by date five.
"Secret 3: Your skinnies don't fit"
"Look, sign up for a Spinning class, read self-help books about the trait you want to work on, or enlist help from your friends but don't involve your guy."
When you've got problems, don't tell your boyfriend. He'll stop wanting to have sex with you. And yes: my dream girl lies to me and reads self-help books.
Healthy Men, on the other hand, do want to know what women are thinking, which is why Men's Health Magazine has bubbled up this classic and thrown it onto the front page of their website for the last week or so.
"What The Woman in Your Life Is Really Thinking"
"The Night You Met"
"Are you actually hot, or have I just made that up so I won't get bored and eat all this bread, which is awesome? I can't believe I have to be nice to your friend's girlfriend, who is phenomenally stupid, in case I want to date you… Finally! You're looking at me. Chin's okay. Nice eyes, mouth… wait. Is your hair kind of gay? Oh. You looked away. I didn't like you anyway. I'm bored. I want more bread."
Lesson: women are like little birds: they think a lot about bread.
"On Your First Date"
"Wait a minute: You like the hostess! It was dark when we met. Did you remember me as younger, or blonder, or thinner? Like the hostess? I was lying when I thought I didn't want you to look at my breasts. Stop reviewing the wine list and look at them… We're such a good couple. It's totally cool if your friend's dumb girlfriend wants to be in the wedding. But she can't be a bridesmaid. She can do the guestbook or something."
They also think a lot about marriage. And whether or not you're looking at their breasts.
"Our First Time in Bed"
"Should I put my legs up in the air, or is that too much? Why am I having sex with you? Oh… why not? I remember when I was younger and thought I was going to be a virgin when I got married. Now that is funny… I am so glad I didn't eat any carbs or sugar for three days. My stomach is so flat! I like looking down at it while you're on top of me. It's so weird that I'm always thinking about getting married."
…and bread and marriage again! Women want to eat bread and marry you. In fact, that's almost all they think about — even while they're having sex with you.
I look forward to a later issue of MHM combining a woman's love of bread with MHM's love of incorporating food into sex. Perhaps something like "Slip a whole crusty baguette onto your shaft and ask if she'd like some of your ‘manwich.' Then simmer in anticipation as she eats her way down the loaf towards your johnson." Double bonus: not only does she love bread more than anything, the carbs will give her extra stamina — you know, in case you need her to perform any activities for a long time.
And that's where we'll leave it. If the internet, not-talking, and bread don't get you on the road to Pussy Town (if not their noted rivals, Blowjob City), then the glossy specialty magazines have failed to help you, and you're doomed to life on Celibate-ville. Until next month, at least.