Tagged Terrible Sex Tips
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Every so often—like every other week—I read a sex tips column that has clearly been written for a very, very specific audience, and that audience ain’t me, but I don’t know it right away, because they write as if, “Duh, everyone knows this is the way things are!” Only we don’t all know it, and that disconnect makes me feel like a clueless idiot for just a split second, before I snap out of it and realize, no, actually, the problem is that the writer is an insular, privileged posh nob.
In the case of this week’s Terrible Sex Tips, I don’t know fully 75% of what they are talking about, because they are talking to a whole internet full of people who still get wound up about family shit. I have so many questions about this approach!
“No matter how old you are, there's something about having sex in your parents' house that makes you feel like a kid again. For one, you still have to hide it — because, you can't get caught! It's illicit. You're breaking the rules. And as a result, it can actually make the entire process pretty hot.”
Wait, why do you have to hide it? You mean, hide it like no one can know that you are a sex-having individual? No sex in the living room with other people around? That seems sensible. Are there other rules? If you still have to leave the bedroom door open, even if you and your spouse have been married for years, then you have other problems. Deal with those first, before strategizing about your next fuck session.
“And going home for the holidays will almost undoubtedly make you feel like a kid again. … It all just transports you back to a time when life was simple, unfeathered (sic) and wholesome.”
What is this mythical time when life was simple, unfeathered (I suspect she means unfettered), and wholesome? Who the hell is she kidding? Teenagers’ lives are entirely fettered, until they have a chance to get OUT.
“Back to that getting caught thing, although you won't get grounded this time, it's just as awkward should you get found out.”
Why does this writer think it must be awkward? Is your family very conservative, with the echolocation skills of bats? Do your parents live in a traditional Japanese house or other places with thin walls? Is this the sixth person you’ve brought home as your “significant other” in the last year? Because seriously, there is no reason why grown-ass adults in acknowledged relationships shouldn’t be banging away properly in a proper bed, if they want. Or an air mattress, or a futon on the floor. Lock that door. If there’s no door, then you know, you could try to keep it in your pants for four days and make homecoming, to your own home, that much more exciting. No? You gotta get laid? All right then, let’s see what the author says about:
1) Your childhood room
"This doesn't even necessarily have to be on your childhood bed. It can be on the floor, preferably on the side of the bed that's obstructed from view. If you do opt for the bed, just make sure to get rid of any stuffed animals. Creepy."
What’s creepy is if your parents haven’t taken that childhood room and immediately turned it into an office or a painting studio or a dungeon. Or moved out of that oversized family home into a cheaper condo in a neighborhood where they don’t have to care about how good the school system is.
2) The attic/basement
"Let me specify, this is for those homes with somewhat built-out versions of these. Because let's be honest, a tryst in a crawl space could be dangerous... although you would by lying down already. Same goes for basements; bonus points if you have a ping pong table you can utilize for this non-ping pong purpose."
Attics and basements always will have splinters or loose tufts of insulation, just FYI. And ping-pong tables, those edges, man, don’t be daft.
3) Your car
"Let's bring it back to high school, guys and gals! Here's the best part: when you don't have to use your car as a sex vessel, like you did when you were actually living under your parent's roof, an impromptu tryst in one can actually be fun. Maybe even have car sex right before your previous "curfew" to really get back into character."
When you don’t have the actual urgency to find a place to have sex—when you could actually have sex in your proper bed-type location—then trust me, car sex isn’t that appealing. Its only appeal is when it is the only option.
4) The laundry room
"It's perfectly legitimate to want to do some laundry when you're home, and maybe while you're waiting for your clothes to dry, you can just hop up on top of it and enjoy your own little spin cycle."
Laundry room?! Who has a laundry room any more? Are you living in the Brady Bunch house? What the hell?
5) Your favorite secluded spot
"Everyone had this place in their home town — the abandoned parking lot where you would throw back Natty Lite's before high school pep-rallies... or that one spot in your yard that can't be seen from any vantage point, and therefore was the perfect place to make out with your junior high boyfriend."
Someone has been watching Grease too many times. "Pep rallies"? Those "secluded spots" were all built over years ago. And again, what kind of posh yard do your parents have where you can just get lost in it?
6) Your parents' room
"Come on... you know you've always wanted to."
Um, no? I was just curious about the bookshelves. If you've always wanted to, that's worth mentioning to your therapist.
If you don't have a therapist, here's my non-Terrible Sex Tip: get one, or write in a journal. Learn how to talk with your parents and set boundaries. Do whatever it takes to get over the obvious charge that your childhood home and family dynamics still have in your life, and do it before you go back and do any fucking.
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First of all, the writer’s name is Nick Hardwick. That sort of name hasn’t really been in play since Chaucer, and for good reason: it makes you look like a twit. It also completely removes you from the field of people who should be giving anyone any serious advice about sex. Sorry, Nick, your sex tips in this article are invalid. No, actually, they’re Terrible!
For starters, I firmly believe that, when assessing sex tips, we need to start at the very beginning. The writer presumably considers the first paragraph to be the important point of the article. With this piece, we have the following:
Stringing together a series of intense multiple orgasms that keep your woman coming all night long is one of the most entertaining and empowering ways to make her sexually addicted to you.
When I make this blog post into a Terrible Sex Tips video—and I most certainly will—I will ask the editor to add an ominous echoing effect right there. Being stuck in text format for now, I’ll just repeat it for emphasis:
“… make her sexually addicted to you.”
“… sexually addicted to you.”
“… addicted to you.”
Creepy, right? Never mind that the author thinks it’s entertaining to get someone dependent on you for sexual satisfaction—ha ha, look at that slut, slobbering and begging for all those multiple orgasms!—but they also picture physical compulsion as the only way to keep someone coming back. This is someone who doubts the attractiveness of their own personality, is what I’m saying. It smacks of PUA (pick-up artistry), and at the very least it is a shitty fucking conceptual framework for sexual chemistry.
This article also promotes overriding your partner’s verbal, conscious participation in sexual pleasure. I’m not overstating this.
If your girl believes she can’t have multiples, and she thinks you’re trying to give them to her, her subconscious brain will team up with her body and work together to keep it from happening.
But, like, what if she notices that you are in fact forging forward over her recovery time? She’s just trying to catch her breath, and you keep going and she just, like, shuts down. Maybe this is not her being afraid of her own majestic orgasmic power. Maybe she just needs a rest! Eh, who cares, right? Clearly you know her body better than she does, so go on ahead!
This attitude is also very aggressive and narcissistic; her orgasms are all about proving how “skilled” you are, presumably
to keep her from ever wondering if anyone else could do it better to show her what a prime catch you are!
Here, and look at this:
Let’s say you just finished using your favorite fingering technique to give her a glorious g-spot orgasm that sent her out of orbit… but you’re just getting warmed up. You still want to make her come some more, you stud.
You. STUD. Don’t ask her what she wants. Make her come!
The advice that follows? It’s not problematic in any way, except that it reads like a very specific road map to one woman’s very specific pleasure points. It reads like a checklist, right down to when to kiss her and when to “tell her how sexy she looks.” (After she comes, apparently, is the prime time.) This article reads like the perfect sex storm—and I mean that in the negative sense—a nightmarish convergence of pick-up artistry and overachiever and hipsterism and egotistical asshattery. It is the brash confessional of a writer who made it big with one girl and thinks that means he is qualified to dole out the step-by-step manual.
Or do a video of 67 ways to make her come. That’s what Nick Hardwick is doing with his terrible sex tips. Don’t buy that video. It may have some useful sex tips, but it’ll leave you feeling so battered by his attitude you won’t be able to get it up again for months.
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Sometimes sex tips aren’t uniformly bad. Sometimes they aren’t even that bad at all, except for the title, which manages in just a few words to shift one’s whole sexual psyche into a state of confusion and inexplicable angst. The title doesn't match the content, and worse, it casts a terrible shadow over the whole.
So it is with this week’s Terrible Sex Tips: “seven sex positions to make you more uninhibited in bed.”
Did you see that? These positions will make you more uninhibited in bed. As in, do these positions and “poof,” you’re uninhibited!
Of course, no one would argue out loud that that’s what the author meant, but that sure is what it sounds like, and no position or activity can "make you" do anything or be anything other than what you are in that moment. You can look as though you're more uninhibited; that's acting, and I can tell you how that should look. But actually shucking your inhibitions, shifting them out of your body and your head, takes at least a little bit of focus, more than you can get in a half-hour of sweaty, semi-verbal shagging. I do happen to agree with the writer, that many sexual inhibitions stem from poor body image and/or fear of appearing ridiculous. But you can’t just do some really vulnerable position and flip that switch. Hell, if we’re going to use an electrical apparatus as metaphor, this is not a switch, it’s a slider along the whole goddamn body positive spectrum.
Yes, some people can bulldoze through discomfort, and for some things, “fake it ‘til you make it” is absolutely an awesome approach. I would like to humbly suggest, however, that naked sexing is a fairly advanced arena in which to start dismantling one’s body insecurities. What about the rest of us? How about some truly useful activities that can help edge us along?
- Mirror gaze with self-touch. Start by getting comfortable in front of a mirror. Standing, sitting, reclining… your position is not important as long as you can see most of yourself. Beginning at the top of your head, look at your body in the mirror. Just observe it: the shadows, the dimpling, the hair, the texture of your skin, the coloring, the shape. If you find yourself avoiding one part of your body, or feeling a strong negative reaction to it, just make a mental note of it, say “I’m not comfortable, but I can come back to that”, and move on. As you view your body, trace the path of your own gaze with your hands. Observe what those shadows and dimples feel like, what the skin feels like where it’s rough or smooth, where the muscles lie under the skin, where the weight of flesh falls.
- Fetishize my elbow! Prepare by making a short list of external body parts that feel relatively neutral to you, and writing those down on scraps of paper, which you put into a hat. Sitting across from your lover, take turns drawing items out of the hat, spending a few seconds appreciatively eyeballing that part of your lover’s body, and then lustfully describing that part or touching it, if they’re okay with it. Maybe it is what you can do with it or to it, maybe you focus on the visual aspect, or the tactile component, or all of it. Get super specific and stay positive. In fact, go ahead and get absurdly lavish in your praise! The person receiving this adoration of their elbow or whatever just needs to sit back and murmur “you know you want it” at regular and appropriate intervals.
- O FACE! This is something for you and your partner(s) in the heat of the moment, when you’re about ready to come. (Do discuss beforehand!) Instead of what you normally do when you orgasm (sounds or faces), do something entirely different, something COMPLETELY wacko like, oh, I don’t know, bleat like a goat when you come, or stick your tongue out and cross your eyes. You may not be able to keep your erection or reach an orgasm like this, you may bust out laughing, but keep it up for a few times, and keep O Face in your regular rotation of sexy-time games. It’s an important and hilarious reminder that no O face that you naturally make can ever be as silly as goat noises.
I just made those sex tips up, but I can pretty much guarantee that they’ll be dramatically easier on the psyche than anything in the problematically titled article. You can work up to keeping the lights on. You can ease into body-part appreciation, starting with elbows and gradually ramping up to bellies. I do think most people will catch more hang-ups with silly games than with straight-up sexing.
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I want to see more information about female dominance in the land of sex tips, not because I want to do it myself, but because I am highly suspicious of the fact that the most promoted sexual dynamic—that is, female submissive—dovetails so neatly with the way things actually ARE out in the world. Like, how much of this is just a naturally gendered occurrence, and how much is collective grooming? (Am I paranoid, or paying attention?)
Whatever it is, girls and women aren’t really taught that things could be any other way, and I have to wonder how things would look if D/s dynamics were brought up more in adult sex ed, if not actually included in sex ed curricula at a much earlier age. I want this to be explored in mainstream outlets decently, something beyond just “ride him, cowgirl.” I want this to be a real thing, as thoroughly deconstructed and articulated as female submission was at the height of the 50 Shades of Gray frenzy. I want this option taken seriously. But alas… we just get more crap from my arch-nemesis in sex tips.
Today's Terrible Sex Tips do not start out well:
Chances are, your man wants you to take charge in the bedroom.
NO. You don’t leave power dynamics up to chance, nor do you do what Jameson seems to prefer, which is passively-aggressively trying things without doing any actual verbal discussion or negotiation first. Any fem-dom 101 piece should start out: “Ask your man if he wants you to take charge in the bedroom. If he says no, then you can close this window in your browser and go catch up on current news or whatever. Hopefully both of you will have been using your words, so your man will feel comfortable about letting you know if he changes his mind and wants to try it after all. In the meantime, there are some very good classes running down at the sex toy store, where you can go and find other ways to enhance your sex life.”
Let’s continue on, using the numbered list order that Jameson provides:
1. There is both a physical & mental aspect to dominance.
This is certainly a whole lot of fun when dominating your partner, but it's not always necessary and is actually on the extreme side of domination.
That phrasing, “not always necessary,” is so oddly cautious, but actually, it’s NEVER necessary. I mean, whips-n-chains are an obvious stereotype to debunk, but there is a whole world of impact and bondage play out there, involving so many other pieces of equipment, and some requiring no equipment at all. Spend some time in that rich in-between, Jameson.
2. Start with a dominant sexual position.
Probably the easiest way to introduce a more dominant side of yourself in the bedroom is through new sex positions.
This may be true, but the author once again displays his utter lack of imagination. Whether cowgirl or straddling, it’s STILL ABOUT THE DICK. Honestly, female dominant should be about the pussy. Where are the oral-fem-dom positions, like sitting on his face, or standing legs wide for being eaten out while he kneels?
3. Start to command.
One of the biggest hurdles to dominating your man is that he may feel emasculated. If this is the case, then he may try to rebel and try to regain control. The best way to prevent this is to take things slowly and build up your dominant behavior.
Oh my god. Don’t just “start to command.” Anything less than full discussion about in the parameters of power play is emotional manipulation. If you’ve talked about this, and you’re both on board with experimenting, NO ONE SHOULD BE FEELING EMASCULATED. This needs to be a joyful exploration for you both, not something you’re trying to slip under his radar. The example commands aren’t even mostly related to sex or bedroom dynamics, which, holy crap, if anything is extreme in relation to the current state of power play, it’s controlling someone’s wardrobe choices or what they eat. That is advanced-level shit.
(Another major omission occurs here: the author doesn’t talk about positive reinforcement, which is a useful tactic for any relationship but practically mandatory for power play. How do you reward your partner for actually doing these things? The writer is silent.)
4. Domination games.
At least we finally get at some potential fun-times activities, beyond P-I-V, woman-on-top sex, like controlling your partner’s verbal responses during sex (but again, what’s the punishment and/or reward?) or actually tying up…. <screeching noise of car brakes> Noooooo. No no no. Tying up isn’t a game. That needs its own post, if not one of the books or videos out there, plus some safety scissors.
To be fair, I knew this particular sex-tip article would be terrible. The author is incapable of creating anything else. But it really underscored the necessity for couples to be talking about this shit. You don’t actually know whether your man wants this at all. And if he doesn’t know whether he wants it, how are you going to test the possibility? The “domination games” could have been their own special blog post. Instead, it all left me feeling like, stay on the radar, for the love of god.
Stay talking, and stay on the radar.
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I’ve been systematically dismantling Terrible Sex Tips for over a year now, flagging, reading, and shredding all kinds of sex and relationship pieces in an effort to really pinpoint why they are crap. This research uniquely qualifies me to speak out about how to become a more savvy consumer of such advice piece. How do you know when the tips are truly terrible? What red flags wave brightly from the pages of that women’s magazine or that men’s web site, warning you that what you’re about to read is going to be utter shite?
There are the obvious flags, like loading on credentials that turn out later to be from an online diploma mill, or calling something “kinky” or “adventurous” without discussing the subjectivity of desire, or calling a sex move “the best thing ever.” Oh, and hyperbole is fine when you’re just talking with friends, but I am not your friend, Sex Tip Writer, and your enthusiasm about an activity you just discovered gets in the way of my assessing the actual activity.
Here are seven more warning signs that the article you are looking at is probably Terrible:
- It includes positions without giving you good reasons for trying them. Usually this is couched in language like “something to cross off the list” or “worth it for bragging rights,” some shit like that. The higher the number contained in the title, the more likely you’re going to have some filler positions in there.
- It includes positions or activities for reasons that aren’t about sex or relationships at all. I get the whole interconnectivity of everything, and that we’re rarely “just” having fun. But there’s no need to add in exercises for maximizing your sweat time.
- It talks about public sex without bringing up ethics. It’s not prudish to talk about not involving bystanders in a scene against their will; that’s called “consent”. Some discussion of public sex and indecency charges and the law is also in order, at least mentioning it as a possible concern.
- It talks about BDSM without safety tips or safe words. How many “spice up your relationship with kink” pieces have I seen that talk about trying out soft bondage, like scarves or ties, without having a pair of emergency scissors or shears on hand? How many advocates of spanking or rape fantasies don’t bother talking about safe words? <sigh> Fuck you very much, 50 Shades of Grey.
- It pushes a product or specific skill/training as a solution. We understand that people putting themselves out there as experts—myself included!—are trying to drum up business for themselves in some way. But some “experts” are less expert than others, and a ham-handed link between writing and product/service just comes off as infomercial, and does not inspire trust. Also, you can tell when someone has gotten paid off by a PR rep.
- It is seasonal in nature, fucking on the Fourth of July or “give thanks for the thumb up the bum!” The reader is just going to get a list of recycled sex tips that have been renamed in some cheesy fashion. This is where you get “riding the reindeer” jokes. http://www.camerynmoore.com/2015/12/21/terrible-sex-tips-five-christmas-sex-positions-for-a-really-happy-holiday/
- It speaks generally about desire, usually about what men or women want, and doesn’t really spend any time at all on the real truth, that we are all different.
Why do I care about this stuff? Well, in my growing experience with Terrible Sex Tips, I find that the things that make them terrible often reveal gaps in our collective sexual awareness, or damaging assumptions or problematic myths. These seven signs of a Terrible Sex Tip piece are seven places where we need to do some work.
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