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.
So, there’s something I’ve never shared with you guys: once, in the early '90s, I went undercover as part of a mob-busting sting with NYPD. I assumed the identity of a virginal high-school girl with big journalistic ambitions. I used my drag name, Sharon Needles, and, to make the ruse that much more credible, I enrolled in a local private school and got an internship at Cosmopolitan. At the time, Ridiculous Tips was nothing but a gleam in young Sharon’s eyes, but my subterfuge did offer me a chance to see firsthand how Cosmo’s newsroom works.
Cosmopolitan is a front ― a pink, perfumed cover for a cabal of powerful women who run a sinister and influential online conglomerate, controlling brands like Amazon, Obama’s Twitter feed, the FuckYeah! Tumblrs, and Babble.com. They all dress like Trinity in The Matrix and spend their time stretching, practicing nunchaku, and coding.
Which leaves little time for the actual writing of articles, a task they outsource to the interns. And that’s how I learned the formula for writing a Cosmo feature: toss some darts at the naked man hanging on the wall to select a body part, pick a female insecurity out of the Bag of Loathing, root around for some household objects, and type the damn thing up. If you were lucky, you’d have it done by lunch and could spend the rest of the afternoon sparring.
Why, you might ask, do I bring this up now? Well, let’s take a look at Cosmo’s marquee sex column this month:
“The Thing He’s Dying to See in the Sack: It’s a little raw and wild, but give him this irresistible eyeful and you’ll rule the bedroom… not to mention his entire universe.”
Sexy adjectives! “Girls Rule” metaphors! Hyperbole! What could it be?
“Experts are learning that there’s something else guys really want to see in the sack.”
Brace yourself: it’s a penis going into a vagina. No, I’m not joking.
“Dudes find this image so hot, clips featuring close-up shots of penetration are getting millions of hits on the web lately.”
Lately? As in, “Human history is just a blink of Mother Gaia’s eyes” sense of “lately?” Because I’m pretty sure that as soon as prehistoric man was able to fashion rudimentary tools, he used them to carve dirty pictures.
[I looked that up ― it’s true: the first example of erotic art is from the Paleolithic Age, which was the first period when early humans had tools, 35,000 years ago. Need further proof? In that very same cave, they also found a bone flute. Which is either an early musical instrument made of tusk, or civilization’s first euphemism.]
“At first it might seem a bit shocking that he actually wants to fixate on his own package during sex. But when the experts explain, the idea makes sense. “It taps into a guys craving for sexual power…. Seeing his penis inside you affirms that he’s giving you immense pleasure.”
Now, I might not be an expert on pleasing the ladies, but I did a straw poll, and it seems that just putting the ol’ p’s in the v does not actually make “immense pleasure” for the woman. In fact, the part of the male sexuality that’s into watching close-up penetration in porn is the part that’s least focused on “immense” lady pleasure.
Instead, we get some tips from a lady named Jamye Waxman. (An aside: if you give your kid the first name “Jamye,” she can pretty much has to be a rollerderby coach or write sexy books.) Tips like “Get on all fours and put your head down on the bed,“ which will help him realize his jack-hammery sexual power, and, they guess, could be fun for you too. And if you start feeling lonely or rug-burned down there, try to grab a peek yourself. Using, I dunno, a periscope or something.
In addition, we’ve got a sex survey, which, obviously, is generated by robots, and a little info box, which takes a couple of crass and recycled ideas about stuff ladies love (shopping, eating, backrubs, and bitchiness) and suggests that they’re “better than sex.”
4 Ways to Release Your Rage That Are Almost as Good as Sex:
– Retail Therapy: Those pink jeans aren’t going to buy themselves, are they?
– Indulging in a very tasty, very caloric adult beverage
– A massage, preferably from the hunkiest therapist the spa employs
– Finally defriending your most obnoxiously opinionated FB friend
Pro tip: if you really enjoy shopping more than sex, there’s something wrong with your ideas of sex (see above). Or there’s something really wrong ― and potentially illegal ― about the way you shop.
And that’s it. Finito. P-in-v, a survey, and a shopping-beats-sex listicle.
And that’s what brings me here. I know we don’t exactly expect groundbreaking rigor from Cosmopolitan, but this is surprisingly thin. Almost like a joke, except those ladies don’t joke. Which leads me to one of two conclusions: either the long arm of the recession has finally taken its toll and there have been some serious cutbacks… or they’re up to something so huge it’ll make Pinterest look like a big dumb online bulletin-board.
We’ll have to wait and see.
On the other side of things, we have Maxim. I've never been to the Maxim offices (they actually have a moat!), but I’m willing to bet it's a bunch of Yale-grads swimming in bathtubs of money and having circle jerks in the no-homo room. This month, we've got:
“Sexting school: Bone up, Gents”
And what’s better than the invective “Bone up!” As in, “Bone up baby, it’s my birthday!” So much more colloquial than “Arouse thyself!”
"Last year the term sexting was added to the dictionary, so why not heat up the springtime by introducing it to your smartphone? In an age when a Facebook poke can equal foreplay, a sext can get downright kinky. Yes, more than a few high-profilfe wieners (not to mention Wieners) have shown that this hobby can be hazardous to your career, but don't let that deter you ― woman want it!"
Cautionary tales abound, but ignore them. Women demand sexy texting. It's to the teens like chest-hair waxing was to the aughts. Like khakis and the nineties! In all seriousness, I don't know anyone who sexts, and I've certainly never heard a good sexting story to counter the cautionary tales ("Last year, she was just the girl I sent dick pics to, and now she's going to be my lady wife!"). In fact, I'm pretty sure that Cosmo invented sexting in some sort of Faustian deal with Steve Jobs… but, onwards!
"The first dirty text is always the hardest part…. So make sure to tantalize the power of memory”… says Jane, 26: "So when my boyfriend and I are texting late at night and he starts recounting dirty memories, I get so aroused! He'll start by telling me how hard he got while undressing me, then get to how hot my wet pussy felt sliding against him…"
I'm legitimately unsure as to whether this article is supposed to be teaching me how to sext my girlfriend or if it's actually trying to sext me.
"Don't feel like you need to sound like a porn star. Most women say they want their guys to sound natural."
Natural, exactly unlike any of the quotes in this article. And also, “But baby, my magic wand is gonna make you feel super-natural.”
"I would usually meet my boyfriend after seven o'clock class," says Sophia, 21. "But one night my phone kept vibrating with texts about how horny he was and how the only thing he really wanted to do was fuck me in the backseat of his car. We skipped dinner that night."
In sexting, like journalism, context is everything. I'm glad things worked out for those love birds; I really am. But blowing up your lady friend's phone with a bunch of texts about how crazy DTF you are while she's in class can just as easily end in a "watch sum porno b4 dinnz lol." Or a restraining order.
"Good news: Girls are as turned on by taking pictures as you guys are from receiving them. "I get really aroused when my boyfriend asks me to take a pic of myself while I'm out somewhere unexpected, like out shopping or at a restaurant."
And who am I to deny Karen, twenty-one, her illicit thrills? I do truly believe there are ladies like Karen who get a kick out of taking sexy photos. But there's also something a little suspicious about a men's magazine hiring a bunch of fake women to tell men that women are actually super turned-on by taking pictures of their lady-bits.
But do let us know, sexters of the world, and check back next month, for whatever new fake thing all the nubile twentysomething women of the world are doing!
Are you undercover at Cosmo and desirous of a Maxim intern to share war stories with? Try Nerve Dating.