Advice

Sex Advice From . . . Women’s Magazine Editors

Pin it
 REGULARS


Sex advice...

promotion

Erin, 27
Beauty Director, Jane

What’s one thing you should edit out when disclosing your sexual past to a new partner?
My first instinct is to say “everything,” because no one wants to hear about your sexual exploits with anyone but them. Unless you have a disease to disclose, it’s perfectly okay to let them think you were a virgin before you met them.

What childish "I like you" move (like teasing someone on the playground) still works for adults?
It sounds sort of masochistic, but cutting the other person down a little bit. Especially when you’re dealing with young, successful people who are used to people sweating them all the time. In a weird way, saying something a little subversive always makes somebody a little more interested.

A co-worker caught me blatantly checking out her boobs. Should I apologize or just let it go?
Just let it go. If you call it out, it’s only going to be more embarrassing for both of you.

I’m a twenty-one-year-old man who’s almost exclusively interested in older women. Most of them brush me off as a child. How can I get an older woman to take me seriously?

Confidence. Just imagine that you always date older women and you’re used to them responding to you. If a woman is even slightly interested, persistence can work really well, as long as it’s not psycho territory, She might not take you seriously because you’re young, but if you show that you can follow through, she’ll know you’re serious.

I haven’t been in a relationship for months and don’t really desire to be in one anytime soon, but I’m getting a bit . . . frustrated. Who can I ask to mess around with me? I’m not sure if I’m attracted to any of my friends, and I’m reluctant to put in the effort with a stranger.
That’s a tough one. I think that the best thing is to go online and use MySpace or Friendster. The people may be strangers, but also you know them. They’re usually the friend of a friend of a friend. I know a lot of people who do casual hook-ups that way, and it really is great because they’re held accountable by someone. On that note, put out the word to all your friends, "Hey, I’m looking to hook-up with someone casually." Chances are, someone knows someone else who is single.

I ache for a man who has a girlfriend. When we hang out with mutual friends, I feel like he’s interested but holding back. I think that if I were to I kiss him, there’s about a 70% chance he’d kiss me back. Should I make a move?
Don’t make a move. You never want to be the third party in someone else’s relationship, unless he has broken up with her of his own volition. But even then, you have to factor in the "getting over someone" time. Dating somebody who’s on the rebound always leads to no good. You should probably focus your energy on someone who’s available.

What’s the usual grieving period?
Well, there’s that old saying: if you dated someone for three years, it will take you three months to clear your head. It’s not always right-on, but anybody who jumps from one relationship to another is going to have problems in the new relationship, because they didn’t take time to develop themselves in between. And you’d never want to go out with a guy who would cheat on his girlfriend. You’re always going to be wondering if he has another girl on the side.

My friends don’t like my girlfriend. What’s worse: she senses it and is upset. It’s not like they passionately hate her, they just don’t think she’s very interesting. I’m trying not to make a big deal out of this. Is there any way I can subtly bridge the gap?
Well, if they don’t like her purely because they don’t think she’s interesting, and you do, then it really doesn’t matter. They should just get to know her a bit better. Maybe she feels self-conscious when you guys are hanging out, which totally makes sense. One thing you could do: think about the things that make her interesting, and subtly bring them up when you guys are together. Maybe she can riff off that. You can even do it when she’s not around, just to offer up some different facets of her personality that might surprise them.

How do you get an editor to go home with you?
Tell them you read their magazine and you’re really into the work they do. Most editors are really devoted to their jobs, and it’s always really disappointing when someone says, “Oh, I’ve never heard of that magazine.” Act like it’s your favorite.

Laurie, 34
Glamour

What sexual characteristics would you attribute to someone who writes:
Personal essays?
Up for anything. They’ll be looking for good material.
Investigative reports?
Thorough as a gynecologist. Lights on, lots of anxious questions.
Book reviews?
Apt to criticize your performance. Unlikely to reciprocate.
Celebrity gossip?
They’ll kiss and tell.

I recently started an email correspondence with a flirtatious acquaintance, only to discover that she can’t spell. I found myself so obsessed with mentally correcting her mistakes that I barely got the message that she wants to hook up. Am I being petty? Or do I need and deserve someone who won’t misspell "deserve" three different ways in one email?
Well, I understand screwing up words like "definite" and "independent" — and I’ve been known to type "hte” while on deadline, though my AutoCorrect catches that. But there is such a thing as Spellcheck. This has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a writer. I’ve hated that type of thing since I worked as a grocery bagger at Finast Supermarket in the ’80s. It seriously drove me crazy that the place was called "Finast."

What’s one thing you should edit out when disclosing your sexual past to a new partner?
Anything that creates a mental picture your new partner won’t be able to shake: the time you and your boyfriend switched underwear in the walk-in cooler at work; had sex in his childhood bed surrounded by beat-up stuffed animals; fooled around in the service elevator of, well, this very building. As any editor knows, it’s all in the details.

What’s one thing you can’t edit out no matter how much you’d like to?
STDs, illegitimate children, sex tapes you starred in that were accidentally leaked to the Internet.

Can you start having an open relationship with someone after having a long exclusive relationship with him or her?

Not unless you’re into psychological S&M. I once saw this documentary about suburban swingers called The Lifestyle, which consisted of a group of saggy middle-aged couples mingling and having sex. It was strangely disturbing because of how incredibly unsexy it was — like watching a naked Tupperware party — and throughout the whole thing my friend Patty kept saying, "Ew" aloud, and I had to keep shushing her. Anyway, a young married couple was profiled in the film. At the party, the guy was thrilled, panting, looking around. Meanwhile, his wife — the youngest woman there by about forty years — was backed up against a stove, smiling wanly at the three or four sixtysomething men who’d zeroed in on her. It was clear she had no interest in swinging but had allowed herself to be talked into it by her husband. That’s a good example of what it means to have an open relationship after having a long exclusive relationship: One person is bored but not ready to leave, the other is desperately trying to hang onto him or her. Doesn’t work.

What’s something you should always keep in your sex drawer, other than condoms and lube?
An array of vibrators and a set of batteries you have to keep switching from vibrator to vibrator because you’re too lazy to buy new ones. What item would send me running: a ripped-up photo of their ex, or, for that matter, a lovingly preserved photo of their ex.

What’s the best way to get an editor to go home with you?
Be rumpled in a way that says, "I’m bookish and smart and didn’t give five seconds thought to this outfit." Smile shyly when you’re both standing by the bar. Admit to loving America’s Next Top Model and Britney & Kevin: Chaotic. Then, when she invites you to sit down with her, say, "Oops, I almost sat on this," and pull out a rolled-up copy of The New Yorker from your back pocket. Proceed.

Marty, 41
Health Editor, Marie Claire

What’s sexier — writing or editing?
[Whispers] Writing.

Why? And I like that you whispered that, by the way.

Well, maybe that’s not true. Maybe editing is sexier, because when it’s done well, it’s lean and sexy and gets to the point.

I recently started up an email correspondence with a flirtatious acquaintance, only to discover that she can’t spell. I found myself so obsessed with mentally correcting her mistakes while reading that I barely got the message that she wants to hook up. Am I being petty? Or do I deserve someone who won’t misspell "deserve" three different ways in one email?
You definitely deserve somebody who won’t misspell "deserve" three times in one email. It’s the little things that tend to destroy a relationship, not the big things. And if she doesn’t care enough to run Spellcheck, will she care enough to pay attention to everything else?

What’s one thing you should edit out when disclosing your sexual past to a new partner?
Cheating. You should be over it and determined not to do it again anyway.

What’s a classy way to say "thanks for a good time" after amazing sex? (And also, is it just me or is the word "classy" so frequently used in unclassy ways that it’s no longer classy?)
Yeah, it is kind of cheesy isn’t it? As for non-cheesy ways, I’ve got to say a well-written email is great — actually, it doesn’t even have to be well written. Just make sure it’s not sent from your work email.

I’m a twenty-one-year-old man who’s almost exclusively interested in older women. Most of them brush me off as a child. How can I get an older woman to take me seriously?
I wonder if it’s useful not to think of her as an older woman. Talk to her the way you’d talk to everybody else. But definitely bring out your smartest stuff. She’s sort of over small talk, she’s heard it all.

I’ve slept with very few people. Should I exaggerate the number when telling a prospective partner?
Only when you want to. I don’t think anybody takes numbers seriously anyway. Everyone knows there’s some play in the numbers. But the flipside is that low numbers can be a turn-on, because they’re so rare.

What’s an often-ignored tip on how to keep a long-term relationship fresh? And how honest should you be about the lack of freshness when it rears its ugly head?

We once did a piece called, "Could you have sex in front of a therapist?" And a couple did. It definitely spiced up their sex life.

Really?
Seriously. She was in the room.

Did she offer tips? How honest should you be about a lack of relationship freshness?
Afterward, not during. And it was pretty funny because they brought out their best stuff, and it was oddly rejuvenating for them. How honest should you be about it? You don’t have to have "THE conversation," there are ways to be funny and hint at it that can solve the problem without being terminally earnest.

My friends don’t like my girlfriend. What’s worse: she senses it and is upset. It’s not like they passionately hate her, they just don’t think she’s very interesting. Is there any way I can subtly bridge the gap?
You know, sometimes it’s really great to just go out with your friends on your own. You don’t have to force it. She’s going to be happier, they’re going to be happier.

What’s the best way to ask someone if they’ve been tested? Is it funny to display my test results in a frame above my headboard?

There are definitely more subtle ways to do that. The when is easy: before you’re intimate. How? Just be straightforward. Everybody should be prepared for any answer and know how to deal with it. That’s the reason people don’t tell people about STDs — they’re afraid of how the other person is going to react. We need "other person" training. The burden shouldn’t be on the person with an STD. When the person tells you, it’s your job to know how to deal with the situation and not freak out.

Don’t make them wear the scarlet letter.
Yeah. Don’t freak. Be calm. Decide how to deal with it.

What’s the best way to get an editor to go home with you?
I think you would have to definitely not use the same old lines. We’re word people.

Stacy, 36
Editor-in-Chief, Redbook

What are ten ways to please my man?
Oh God.

Just kidding. How about the top three?
My first rule is, please yourself first. Every man loves a happy, satisfied woman. Being selfish has worked wonders for me. Number two: be aggressive. That works for you too, and men always love the surprise of that. Number three: vary things; be daring. I’m not a big fan of tricks and effects; I think just being committed and into it is the best. My husband and I always joke that we’ll know we’ve been together too long when we bring in the livestock or something.

What sexual characteristics would you attribute to someone who writes:
Personal essays?
They might cry at orgasm. It’s just a profound spiritual release for them. They might be a little selfish in bed and focused on their own pleasure. They need to write about it later, so they have to get it all.
Investigative reports?
I figure they’d approach sex like a science project: they have to figure out the maps and the charts. But the good part about having sex with someone like that is that each time could be in a different country. I would sign up for that. If they’re going to ask the tough questions, they’ll be a little experimental and know how to keep things moving.
Celebrity gossip?
You’re going to get the same thing, no matter what. It always looks a little different, but at the end of the day it’s the same — same position, same delivery, same thing.

I recently started an email correspondence with a flirtatious acquaintance, only to discover that she can’t spell. I was so obsessed with mentally correcting her mistakes that I barely got the message that she wants to hook up. Am I being petty? Or do I deserve someone who won’t misspell "deserve" three different ways in one email?
I think it’s okay to know your limits, and if good grammar is one of them, then good for you. But if it was somebody who was really kittenish, I think you’d be able to get over it. If her emails weren’t interesting enough to distract you, I’d say take a pass.

I’m an editor with an alternative quarterly. I recently started dating a great guy, who is — you guessed it — a writer. He submitted some fiction to my publication, and it was terrible. How can I let him down easy? Is there any way this won’t affect our relationship?
Having been tangled in those situations before, I have to say the answer is no. There is no way this will not affect your relationship. But honesty is a virtue. And you’ve got to find a way to sell it: that’s an editor’s job. Wrap it up in a good smoochy kiss, and maybe you won’t have to undo anything.

Can you start an open relationship with someone after having a long exclusive relationship?
Yes. I think you figure out how to be honest after a while, and honesty always leads to better sex, no matter what. Whether that person will go for it, only you can tell. But you never know. Some people are interested in finding a new horizon.

What childish "I like you" move (like teasing someone on the playground) still works for adults?
For girls, it’s that gentle punchy-pat in the bar — "Oh, you!" and you deliver that little swat to the upper bicep. He instantly gets the signal. It never fails. Please, we all pulled that out when we were thirteen years old, and it still works today.

Any excuse to touch someone’s arm.
Exactly. Physical contact of any kind gets the message across.

A co-worker caught me blatantly checking out her boobs. Should I apologize or just let it go?
I think you’ve got to let it go. Chicks who have nice boobs know that guys like to look at them, so it’s probably not that surprising to her. Just make sure that during your next two or three conversations, you keep your eyes above the fold, and you’ll be in the clear.

I haven’t been in a relationship for months and don’t really want to be in one anytime soon, but I’m getting a bit . . . frustrated. Who can I ask to mess around with me? I’m not sure if I’m attracted enough to any of my friends, and I’m reluctant to put in the effort with a stranger.
Well, gosh, you’ve got to pick one of those two: it’s either friends or a stranger. I always say there’s something really nice about having a friend you can be intimate with in that way. Only you can call the vibe. For me, sex with friends was a great part of growing up. Have a glass of wine with your closest friend and talk to him about how you’re feeling low and lonely, and see what happens there.

My girlfriend and I are in that distracted phase of the relationship where nothing but each other seems to matter. This is all well and good — fabulous, even — only I’m pretty sure I’ll be fired soon. How can I turn the heat down on workdays without allowing things to cool off entirely?
That’s tough. Boy, I remember almost being fired once because I was so lost in lust. My only tip for you is that you have to do the most important thing you do everyday, first thing in the morning. Get it out of the way. That way when your daydreams interrupt you, they won’t screw with your workflow as much. Your brain’s going to keep going back to that lovely thing.

What’s a question you wish I’d asked?
I think my favorite sex-advice question is, "How do you keep things interesting after the ten-year mark?"

What are your tips there?

I think you have to be totally honest about the lack of freshness. Because I have been in a relationship for a long time, I always say to my friends, "You need to build in early how you talk about how your sex life is going." And it’s not that hard. You talk about what movies you like, "Do you want to get Chinese food or not?", "Hey, I was thinking we might try something different in the sack, are you up for it?" It sure helps when you get a little further down the road.

What’s the best way to get an editor to go home with you?
Promise them a book contract with Random House.
 

Next week: Men’s magazine editors.

Interviews by Kate Sullivan. Sex Advice From… appears on Thursdays. Do you have questions for the general public? Send them to sexadvicefrom@nerve.com.


Previous Sex Advice

 


©2005 Nerve.com, Inc.