Dear Cosmo Magazine, Thanks for Almost Killing My Marriage With Your Awful Sex Advice
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So there I was, married to someone I loved. And since that person was a man, according to you he should have been perpetually frantic to get into my panties. Instead, he wanted to do things like cuddle, and give me a back massage. At first I saw this as a sweet but utterly unnecessary ploy to have sex with me, and so upped my whole Cosmo sex game. I consulted you to make sure my blow-jobs were world-class and that I was offering him sex that was nothing short of Cirque Du Soleil Gone Wild. I struck out—badly and humiliatingly.
Meanwhile, my husband kept asking for crazy stuff like kissing gently in the dark or taking a shower by candlelight. I panicked and forgot that we had amazingly good chemistry before we started having intercourse (which, not incidentally, was where your wonderful advice had entered the picture.) For a little while, I worried that he might be gay or that he had a kink he couldn’t bring himself to tell me about. But thanks to you, I was always fairly certain that the real problem was that I was just not attractive enough.
In fairness, my husband does differ from the men you write about in one fairly significant way: He is a real live human being, not a gendered stereotype. As it turns out, his desire to nurture me and show me affection does not stop at our bedroom door nor is it drowned out by the noise of his libido. He gets turned on by love, kindness, romantic gestures, and affectionate touch, not the ability to do a full 180 without dismounting.
And here are some other amazing facts: There really is such a thing as making love and it is different from sex. And some men really are into cuddling and most need romance. In fact, those things, not gratuitous boob flashes in public, are what turns my husband on. And, what he wants from a partner is someone who asks for what she wants, not who pretends to want things just to turn him on.
This is where your advice has led us. After 15 years of marriage, we have to start pretty much from the top. We now know that our problem isn’t my husband’s libido. It is his preference for making love and his disdain for Cosmo sex. I have to figure out how to stop being a Cosmo girl and how to romance a man.
Clearly, you have been wrong about almost everything as our experience and the research clearly show. It seems incredible to me that you could be so wrong so often and never have to issue a retraction, let alone be held accountable for the pain and suffering that your advice has caused.
It is equally obvious to me that you are not going to do the responsible thing and publish articles called “Men Are Complicated And Have Feelings” or “Nine Sex Tips That May or May Not Work With Your Lover.” So how about if instead, you put a disclaimer on your relationship articles like the ones found in ads for phone-psychics: “Intended for entertainment purposes only.” At least then we would know that your articles are as scientifically and factually grounded as a 2am reading from Madam Zelda. And I, for one, will do my part to make sure that no one ever again mistakes you for a legitimate source of sexual education.
*This paragraph contains research results and a quote from the book: The Normal Bar: The Surprising Secrets of Happy Couples and What They Reveal About Creating a New Normal in Your Relationship. The book reports on an international study of more than 25,000 happy relationships. Thankfully, the researchers did not confine themselves to straight married couples, and their results reflect the diversity of loving relationships.