Well Being

Cosmopolitan’s 75 Sex Moves Men Crave: Setting Sexual Health Back 75 Years

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Magazines like to teach us weird sex positions, most of which we'll never try. But when Cosmopolitan recently found its way to my table in a cafe, I was still surprised by what was inside. The cover alone made me laugh: Currently, it features a young starlet I don't recognize (nothing like a magazine to make you feel old), and headlines that sound like a joke: Look Sexy! Makeup That Flirts For You and This Sex Position Increases Female Orgasm by 56%. (I realize their headlines need to be catchy, not scientific, but what does that even mean?) The header that really caught my eye was 75 Sex Moves Men Crave; frankly, I was skeptical they could deliver the goods. (75? Come on.) The article raised my eyebrows, but not because of groundbreaking news about sex. Instead of explicit diagrams of sex moves I'll never do, it was full of quotes from men (aged about 18-35) about what they wish their exes had done better in bed. It wasn't just useless; it was actually damaging for sexual health. Instead of giving me 75 great tips, Cosmo set set me back about 75 years.

If you're thinking that I'm the last person on earth to discover that Cosmopolitan sucks, sorry, but you're wrong. Sure, I'm not the first to point out that it's not a tome of wisdom and positive self-esteem messaging. But it is still in print, which means that people are reading it, and those people aren't all a bunch of unenlightened 16-year-old girls. In fact, according to their media kit, about 26% of their readers are aged 35-49, and another 26% are between 25 and 34. So even if some of us roll our eyes at their headlines and have no interest in taking advice that's written for teens, plenty of women still take it seriously (because if you're paying for it, then by my count, you're taking it seriously.)

But advice like this doesn't deserve to be paid for. In fact, friends shouldn't let friends read this crap. The quotes are silly, useless, and slightly stupid —I'm sorry, but the sex positions that an 18-year-old craves should not be featured in a cover story for a magazine that really respects women — but they're also actively bad for women. One man wishes his ex had granted him sex in the middle of the night when he was horny; another wishes she would have licked his “cut lines” (groin muscles, essentially) that he worked so hard for at the gym. And ladies, one man would like to let you know that when you groan every time he thrusts, he knows you're faking it, and it's not cool. Only one of the guys mentioned that he would have liked to communicate better in bed, and one wishes his ex had been more open to trying new things. But for the other 73, it was all about them, and a good portion of them can be boiled down to a simple: “It's too bad my last girlfriend wasn't a porn star.”

Some of their ideas about sex seemed misguided (fellas: porn isn't all bad, but it's also not the most accurate sex-ed), but most were basically selfish and showed a lack of maturity or communications skills. But it's not surprising that Cosmo found those kind of men; it's surprising that they printed their complaints about women and billed it as “advice” for being better in bed. We hope that all women find better resources than this to learn about sex, but even if they can; articles and headlines like this just reverse all the positive messages that people are trying to put out there about sex. Feeling good about yourself is hard when you have 75 men pointing out that what women do wrong in bed, and learning how to improve your sexual health isn't easy when advice is framed in the voice of disapproving men.

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