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Dear Cosmo Magazine, Thanks for Almost Killing My Marriage With Your Awful Sex Advice

I have to figure out how to stop being a Cosmo girl and how to romance a man.


The following story first appeared on Role Reboot. For more Role Reboot content click here. 

Dear Cosmopolitan Magazine,

Imagine my shock when this week I discovered that you have been lying to me and American women for decades now.  Ninety percent of young women in America look to you as a significant source of sexual education, and now we discover that you have just been making stuff up.

You told us that the best way to show a man that we care is to give him lots and lots of recreational sex in every imaginable place, position, way, and orifice. But you never once told us that men need romance. In fact, you heavily implied that even a whiff of romance can  make a man go psycho or send him running from us like a horse from a snake. I believed you when you told me that lovemaking was a childish euphemism for good old fashioned fucking, that sex and love were two very different things, and that letting them overlap could only lead to pain and heartbreak.

Now we have real research* about relationships, not just marriages, but all kinds of loving, happy relationships. And guess what? Men need romance. In fact they are more distressed by its absence than are women. And they aren’t just using the word romance as a euphemism for sex. They want candlelit dinners, back-rubs, hand-holding, massages, and baths. And what is more, having “efficient but not romantic orgasms” is far less effective in producing a happy relationship than “making love—a deep physical and emotional connection.”

Do you have any idea how much trouble you have caused? I am sure there are millions of relationships with “Cosmo advice” listed as the cause of death. In fact, the combination of your sex tips for women and advice for how to satisfy a man nearly killed my marriage to a man I deeply love and who dearly loves me.

As ridiculously stupid as it seems in retrospect, I got much of my education about how to be sexual from your pages. I was young and thought that anything that didn't tell me to keep my legs closed and encouraged me to act in some ways like a man was feminism. So I looked to you as the authority on how to have a liberated and happy sex life.

You taught me that men like “low-maintenance women” who do not require things like cuddles and romance. And you assured me in hundreds of articles, that what would truly blow my guy’s mind and make him hanker for me every day for the rest of his life was showing sexual assertiveness. That last one could have been helpful had you really meant for me to find what made me sexually tick and then ask for it. As one researcher put it: The kind of sexual assertiveness you suggest is “performed deliberately to gratify, entice, or arouse male partners or to prevent male partners in monogamous relationships from cheating.”

I have to give you credit for one thing: I had some pretty great sexual moves. You will be happy to know that when I run into old lovers years after we have broken up they often tell me that sex with me was some of the best they ever had. As much as that gives my ego a boost, and I am very happy to have given guys so much pleasure, Cosmo sex has taken an enormous toll on my psyche, my love life, and my marriage.

Thanks to your advice, I was doing live sex shows for an audience of one. And when I met my husband, Pete, he saw right through my performance. He was not, as you predicted, aroused to distraction. He was unamused and completely turned off by what he called “sex as service.”

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