Ridiculous Tips for a Miserable Sex Life: September 2011

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Cosmopolitan analyzes your boyfriend's genetic makeup.

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.

Labor Day has passed, and the summer is coming to an end. And for Cosmopolitan readers, it's time to put away your bathing suits and sober up. Gone are the leisurely afternoons waiting naked in your apartment for your boyfriend to come home. It's time to refocus, stop eating carbs, maybe stop eating entirely, and get your life on track. In Cosmo, that means one thing: marriage. And fierce camel-colored pumps for fall. (Two things.)

"Are Some Guys Just Not Wired To Marry?"

Cosmopolitan is back at it, using research of dubious merit to make ladies nervous. This time, new studies out of Sweden's Karolinska Institute that says that your boyfriend might not want to get married. Ever.

"Scientists have discovered a common gene that's linked to men who just aren't down to get hitched. So are you totally screwed if your guy has it? Not exactly…"

It's a classic self-help formula. First, you establish the problem. (You, empowered twenty-two-year old, might die alone.) Then, you tell the reader it's not her fault. (It's his genes!) And then you offer the solution. (Call your readers "fierce" and suggest they learn how to give better blowjobs.)

"Here's the kicker: two out of five men have the gene."

That's almost half, ladies! On a separate note, more than half of couples will get divorced. I don't know why I'm bringing that up here, though. I'm just bad at staying on point. In a minute, I'm also going to smoke pot and drink a smoothie.

"While it's tempting to sign up your boyfriend for genetic testing ASAP after reading something like that, experts say that there's more to our attitude towards marriage than simple DNA."

I guess I like the offhanded reference to eugenics here. But mostly, I just want to point out that this is stupid. Real talk.

So, are you worried? Then "it's time for a talk." Here, in the fifth paragraph of a six-paragraph article, they broach the idea that you — a woman — might not want to marry your boyfriend. But they also advise you to have the talk anyway, since you're probably going to change your mind soon, when you turn twenty-three. So, ask him if he sees himself marrying you, and if he says no, "reevaluate what you want from your relationship… and maybe get out of it."

In the spirit of rigorous scientific discourse, someone should probably point out that there is another reason your boyfriend might not want to marry you, which is that you've been reading too much Cosmo. You give handjobs like you're chopping down a tree, you always leave orgasmic moaning messages on his voicemail, and you force him to play bizarre and contrived relationship games. Speaking of which:

"Fun Revealing Games to Play With Him"

This feature is made up of tear-out cards featuring the instructions for a series of games to play with your boyfriend. Gain precious insight into his inscrutable lizard brain by asking questions like "Which Body of Water Appeals To You?" Pray he picks the swimming pool, since that means he's "up for anything," or the lake, which means he's "as excited as you are about meaningful things, like your anniversary." It's like a big blue lake of projected meaning.

This section also features "Hot Q&A," or as I like to call it, "Desperation Dice." In this game, you make your boyfriend roll a pair of dice, and then use Cosmo's key to ask him questions laced with a tinge of anxiety:

"Describe your ideal Sunday — starting with waking up next to me."

I imagine that you make this demand in the same tone of voice you use to say, "If you don't marry me I'll kill myself."

"What physical trait of mine did you notice first?"

(Please say my spray tan. Is that a physical trait or a color? Spray tan, spray tan, spray tan.)

"What's the sexiest thing I could do right now?"

Somehow, when I read this, I imagined a girl gazing at her boyfriend with a weird sad gleam in her eyes… then the Scooby-Doo dream noises… and then a fat drug dealer screaming "Ass to Ass!" But that's probably just me.

"Guys Answer Your Sex Questions In 20 Words Or Less"

Maybe they do this because men are brief, to the point, and manly. Maybe it's the Twitter. Or maybe, someone worried that allowing twenty-five words would not be reductive enough.

"Do guys like to have their balls played with during sex? Do chicks like compliments? Of course we do!"

True fact: I once slept with a guy who didn't like that. Weird, huh?

"Do guys prefer our place or theirs? Guys would probably be at your place. It probably smells nice. Our place smells… Soviet."

Two thoughts here: I lived with girls in college. It was lovely… and they left their dishes in the sink and dirty clothes in big piles on the floor, too. Also, my editor brain really wants to point out that "our place" should be "our places," unless of course, all straight men do live in the same giant pad with huge TVs and a wolf-pack hierarchy established through the ancient art of Icing. In the mind of Cosmo, this may well be the case.

"Which do guys like best, us on top or them? You on top, going up and down. Grinding doesn't feel that great, but we know it works for you."

The universally preferred sex position, discovered! The strange thing about all these advice points is that they'd make perfect sense, if they just said "I like girl on top," and didn't pretend to speak for all mankind. But that might inadvertently expose the underlying problem with all of these lists: ninety percent of them could be replaced with "Have an honest conversation with your boyfriend about what he's into / whether he's cheating on you / into you shoving fingers up his ass."

But what fun is that? Better to shove now and see how it goes. If he dumps you, Cosmo will be around next month to help.