The Frisky Feminist

“Surprisingly Possible”: Magazine Sex Advice Reviewed (Part 1)

In the absence of any new questions to answer, we present to you a social/sexual experiment. We seek to explore as many facets of human sexuality as possible, even those that any reasonable person would avoid at all costs. That’s right: we’re going to actually follow the sex and dating advice of Cosmopolitan and Men’s Health. Proceed with caution.

If you’ve ever read through some of Cosmo‘s cumulative collection of (at last count) 43,836,267 Ways to Pleasure Your Man, chances are you have wondered, well, who the hell does that? We’ve always assumed the answer is women who lack the ability to actually talk about sex without resorting to cute alliterative puns and men with two-foot-long rubber penises, both with a very loose definition of “pleasure.”

Men’s Health is no better when it comes to their sex and dating tips, which tend to concede about as much agency and free will to women as one might expect of a blow-up doll. It’s worth mentioning that they do have “sex professor,” researcher, and sex educator Dr. Debby Herbenick responding to online questions in a thoughtful and informative manner, but the bulk of the magazine’s advice is more along the lines of “How to Win at Sex.” Also, Twitter.

Manhood: Everything is a competition.

In the interest of furthering our and our readers’ sexual education, we have embarked on the terrifying journey of actually following these tips. The first comes courtesy of Cosmo‘s “30 Things to Do With a Naked Man”:

“Enlighten Him

Tantra is the exotic art of prolonging your passion to reach new levels of satisfaction. Launch your night of lust by gently massaging his ear with your fingertips, working your way down the outer fold. Then run your pinkie along the crease where his ear connects to his head and ever-so-slowly prod the middle of his sexually susceptible inner ear with the tip of your tongue.”

Without going into whether it’s even necessary to cast this move as an “exotic” Tantric technique (no), the phrase “sexually susceptible inner ear” is just cringe-worthy. This is also a prime example of Cosmo‘s tendency to map out, step by step, the necessary components of eroticism in a manner just shy of programming code (10 MASSAGE EAR 20 GOTO OUTER FOLD 30 GOTO CREASE 40 TONGUE TO SEXUALLY SUSCEPTIBLE INNER EAR) while removing any sense of spontaneity or exploration.


Ms.: It’s not really bad advice, ears can be quite sensitive – it’s just terribly, cheesily written.

Mr.: It actually was quite pleasant. But then, I was blindfolded at the time, as per another tidbit of Cosmo advice, so I didn’t get to see her rolling her eyes / retching at the thought of my sexually susceptible inner ear, which surely would have taken me out of the moment.

And from the same article (it’s the gift that keeps on giving):

“Break Out the Blindfold

Once you have him going crazy not knowing where your next lick, kiss, or stroke will land, treat your blindfolded boy to a slew of new sensations. Three to try: the feel of your hair, silk panties, or a string of pearls rubbed gently against his member.”

In and of itself, the blindfold is a fun accessory to add to one’s sex life (though Cosmo‘s tone seems to suggest it is waaay out there and sure to turn you into a Wild Thing Sex Goddess) – it’s a simple way to begin to play with power and submission, plus the sensory deprivation can enhance other sensations. But then they go the extra mile and add this tip to their Stuff On My Dick series, which has in the past included scrunchies, fruit, and doughnuts. We didn’t have a string of pearls, so we made do with a clay bead bracelet. Hell, if he can’t even see it, what’s the difference?


Ms.: I felt pretty goofy rubbing a bracelet on your bits, but you couldn’t see me giggling to myself. I mean…if you thought it was awesome, I’d do it again, but it didn’t make me feel like a wild and edgy sex goddess.

Mr.: Again, pleasant enough. I shudder to think of the possibility of any skin getting pinched between the beads, but fortunately there was no unwanted physical pain involved, which is more than can be said of a lot of Cosmo‘s foreplay tips.

Next, from “The 50 Best Men’s Health Sex Tips Ever,” we picked a tip that must have fallen through the editorial cracks, as it was clearly intended for their “Worst Sex Tips Ever” sidebar:

Vary the Stimulation

When you’re all the way inside her, add side-to-side movement or up-and-down pelvic pressure against her clitoris to vary the stimulation.”

We can see what they were going for with this suggestion; many women enjoy clitoral stimulation during penetrative sex and find those additional sensations key to having an orgasm. But if you’re going to attempt this method to achieve that end, we’d recommend keeping the blindfold close by, as the sight of a man bouncing and wiggling around like a low-rider with faulty hydraulics might kill the mood.


Mr.: My body is not supposed to move that way.

Ms.: Yeah, you wiggling back and forth cracked me up. And I had no idea that was supposed to give me any kind of clitoral stimulation; all I felt was you poking around at awkward angles – did they forget that moving your pelvis around also meant that your dick would be moving all over the place too? Because it did.

And for the grand finale:

And you wondered what we meant by "two-foot-long rubber penises."
What, what, WHAT are you doing

This is position #75 (out of 77) in the Cosmo Kama Sutra, known for some reason as the Electric Slide. We learned that dance in elementary school music class and are pretty sure this step was not involved. According to Cosmo, this move is perfect for guys who like taking charge in bed as it lets them become “your passion pilot” while you relax with your ass in the air. As with many of this magazine’s positions (especially all of the ones in swimming pools), we were doubtful that this was even physically possible to do. Look at it. Several body parts would have to be double-jointed to pull this off, parts that aren’t even single-jointed in the first place. And its “Carnal Challenge” rating is 4/5. Presumably, attaining a 5/5 would involve advanced stages of polydactyly and maybe skydiving lessons.


Mr.: Surprisingly possible, though I certainly didn’t feel like I was taking charge of anything. Things bent at a slightly uncomfortable angle, I had no idea how I was supposed to move, and I achieved maybe a grand total of six thrusts before giving up. So, yes, “possible” is the highest praise I can give this position, which frankly is more than I was expecting.

Ms.: Seriously. It was just really boring – you could hardly move, I couldn’t move because you were over my legs, and we couldn’t touch each other because we were holding ourselves up. Rear-entry positions can really be a great way for the person doing the penetrating to be in command and control the action, and this didn’t provide that in any way.


Got a ques­tion or subject you’d like us to dis­cuss? You can e-mail us at, and we’ve also set up a Tum­blr for the sole pur­pose of receiv­ing com­pletely anony­mous ques­tions at paperispa?tient?sex?qanda?.tum?blr?.com.

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