• Mon, Apr 11 2011

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

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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  • andrea devon

    fantastic article blisstree… very smart!

  • Laura

    Great article.
    I’ve never been in support of Cosmo, simply for the fact that they have always written sexist articles pretending to “help” women in terms of relationships.

  • Jojo

    Come on ladies, do you want to know what men want or do you just want somebody to make you feel like your prude, boring, lack of adventure lives are worth a damn? Face it, after a while of the same old thing and acting like you are doing your guy a favor everytime he “gets lucky”, does not help a relationship and if he can’t get it from you, don’t be surprised when he steps out to get it from someone younger, prettier and willing.

    • Charles

      You didn’t read the article, did you? You have trouble reading in general, don’t you? The article isn’t about being a prude or doing things that might be a bit risque. You’re an idiot if you can honestly think it’s a list of way to stop your boyfriend/husband from seeing someone “young, prettier, and willing.” Seriously, an absolute moron. It’s a selfish, self-involved, narcissistic wish list. It’s a list of “wants” mostly from people who haven’t had sex before (or much of it), expect real life sexual relationships to be like an adult film, or expect their partner to admire them to the point of idolization and take nothing for themselves. It’s not mutual. It’s a list of childish, petty wants. Short of a few of the remarks, they’re the thoughtless sexually-deprived equivalent of YouTube comments. If you took your remarks away from the article, I suspect that you didn’t read it, skimmed this post, and went on a rant about your own insecurities.

  • Anna

    So men being honest about what they want is suddenly wrong? Oh yes, let’s sugarcoat it for us ladies, shall we? No. It doesn’t take a genius that an article from the statements of women would be just as “selfish” or “immature.” Most people enjoy being worshiped, in a sense, during sex. Apparently you haven’t had too much sex in your life to know this.

    • Charles

      I’m a male and I found the list narcisistic and moronic. If it’s so easy to understand that most people want “worshiped” during sex, then this article would be unneccessary (which it is, but for different reasons). Most of the “wants” were things that just aren’t mutual; they’re a self-involved wish list. Many are demeaning to the other partner, which is fine if they’re comfortable with that, but many people aren’t. Others are just petty or childish. One of the few non-silly ones other than simply suggesting more communication was wanting to be spooned after sex. Simple, slightly selfish (expected for any “want” list), non-demeaning and harmless. But the majority of the list is just tripe.

      By the way, suggesting anyone who disagrees with the article “hasn’t had too much sex” is just petty. Try having a valid argument.

  • Em

    “Feeling good about yourself is hard when you have 75 men pointing out that what women do wrong in bed . . .”

    Yeah, you’ll feel much better once a guy leaves you for someone who’s actually willing to talk about their sex life, or open to trying new things. Talking about what you want, whether you’re a man or a woman, is always a good thing.

    • Charles

      Again, did you even read the article, or this post? Few of the remarks were about communication, and blisstree commended those. Most were childish comments from oversized teenagers who haven’t had a healthy, real world sexual relationship and expect sex to be more like more, more about them (IE entirely), or both. No one is suggesting talking is a negative. These men aren’t talking, they’re complaining, and they’re not doing it constructively. Their complaints are as based on real-world sex and relationships as complaining that your new car doesn’t transform into a giant, fighting robot is rooted in real-world automotive standards.

  • Briana Rognlin

    For what it’s worth, I’m not trying to say that women shouldn’t be open to talking about sex. But I think there are healthy and unhealthy ways to do it; I find this article from Cosmo pretty unhealthy. The article is framed as sex advice, when it’s really just men complaining about women. (And in a lot of cases, the men don’t sound like they’ve done a great job of actually communicating their desires to past girlfriends, either.)

    I’m not saying that men should feel “lucky” every time a woman is willing to have sex, or that women shouldn’t be interested in what men really want. But to me, sex is a lot more enjoyable when the communication is a two-way street, and not just a load of expectations and criticisms dumped on a single party.

    Briana

  • Aroundthewaygirl

    Hi. I hope you don’t mind, but I liked your post to my post on the same topic. I didn’t want to link to Cosmo’s site because I didn’t want to advertise for them in anyway. I’m completely offended by that article. I hadn’t read Cosmo in ten years but decided to pick one up the other day and I couldn’t believe the garbage inside it. I mean, I knew there’d be garbage, but I thought it would be fun garbage, not the kind that sets women back 50 years. Anyway, I wrote about it on my blog because I was so mad, and linked this post to it. But if you want me to take it down, I’ll understand, just let me know. Thanks. Jamie http://www.aroundthewaygirl.com