Let's not beat about the bush*, this article is unfortunately going to be an absolutely squalid affair. A tawdry collection of some of the filthiest smut that I was able to dredge up from the darker, more shameful recesses of the internet. My computer has now undoubtedly been blacklisted by our workplace internet server after visiting some of the seedier depths I've been forced to plumb in service of this article, such are the lengths that I've been forced to go to.
The over-riding thing that I've taken away from all this is that, according to every Cosmopolitan-esque online publication - and Cosmopolitan itself - we are all doing sex wrong. You, you reading this now, you apparently do sex with all the grace of a newborn fawn skittering about on a frozen lake; with all the poise and composure of one of those dances Anne Widdicombe was forced to perform during her ill-advised appearance on Dancing with the Stars - all jitters and apologetic limbs; you do it with the finesse, skill, composure and allure of a hungry labrador eating a massive flan. You are woefully, despicably, utterly inept at getting funky.
Cosmopolitan and their ilk hate this. They can't bear it. The thought of you out there, living your life, doing your terrible, unsightly, unashamedly awful sex eats away at their soul. It is the poisonous thought they can't shake; that keeps them lying awake each night. And it is for this, for their own quest for peace of mind, that they seem compelled to assail you with pointers, tips and tricks to avoid coital embarrassment.
Unfortunately, most of their sex advice seems to either be unflinchingly awful or powerfully creepy. It's hard to believe that this stuff is written by composed, functioning human beings employed by these publications and is not just compiled from the bemused ramblings of a suspicious man waiting at a bus stop.
In no particular order here are some of the more bizarre pieces of advice that I've collated from various online publications whose entire raison d'etre is for you to do better sex. It is all they want in this world.
1) Pretend to be someone else:
We're off to an audacious start here. This was on a list specifically targeted at couples, it was not implying that you ought to subscribe to some witness protection programme to create an alter ego to make you untraceable, that is a rubicon of awful advice that they will not cross. This is however perhaps the most damning indictment of the state of any relationship. Imagine, approaching your long-term partner to say, "Hey, I know what'd be fun for us to do this evening, what'd really get my rocks off. How about you pretend to be someone else. Anyone, literally anyone, other than you. A postman with a gammy knee, a depressed Alec Baldwin impersonator, I don't care. Literally anyone. Please, just not you."
2) Put temporary tattoos of his name around your nipples, and give him a peek when you bend forward in an undone button-up:
Things have taken a turn. We're into the first of these which occupy the section of 'ill-advised seduction techniques'. Perhaps I've been out of the temporary tattoo game for too long, but from what I remember, if you were looking for a rub-on tattoo depicting anything other than a selection of dinosaurs or cartoonish emergency services vehicles, then you were setting yourself up for disappointment. Somehow I can't imagine strategically placing a series of diplodocuses and stylised fire-trucks around your cleavage is going to attract anything other than scorn or maybe people with very, very niche sexual interests.
Or you could have some rub-on tattoos bearing your love interests name custom-made. Ya know, like how a serial killer would.
3) Bring your lover on your food shopping excursion: View it as a bit of sensual foreplay. You can have a lot of fun caressing and gently squeezing the foods and inhaling their aromas. The conversation should be entertaining, too:
This one largely makes the list due to the heinous description associated to it. At no point between the set up, 'bring your lover on your food shopping excursion' and the centre-piece of this entry, 'you can have a lot of fun caressing and gently squeezing the foods and inhaling their aromas', does it mention that you have bought this food and taken it home. It is, in essence, recommending that you take someone who you are hoping will at some point want to have sex with you, and, in order to help bring this state of affairs about, go to a supermarket and stand at the fresh produce aisle, handling loose vegetables that you have no intention of purchasing.
'The conversation should be entertaining, too'. Yes, I imagine it should be. I also imagine the tense conversation you will end up having with the very-disgruntled store owner will be quite interesting too.
4) Have sex literally anywhere in your house but the bedroom:
Here are just a few reasons as to why this is absolutely impractical in my own case - yours may vary: Windows facing onto road; a quite old dog who may not respond well to seeing that; have quite a comfy bedroom; still live with parents.
5) Get it on in your minivan:
This entry didn't even come from an article that was specifically doling out sex advice to mini-van owners. I don't, and have no plans to, own a minivan**. Next point.
6) "Hide your turned-on vibrator in his sock drawer. When he figures out where the buzzing is coming from, tell him he gets to experience its pleasure power.":
There is nothing that quite works anyone into a passionate frenzy like realising someone has wantonly wasted most of the life in a pair of double AA batteries. I also imagine that if the vibrator was set to one of its higher settings, let loose, it'd cause havoc in any reasonably well-organised sock drawer.
7) Covertly flash him in an empty stairwell before a party, during a hike, in your car in the parking lot...:
For those looking to truly understand the word 'oxymoron', they need look no further than the above sentence. It begins with the word 'Covertly' - its pivot, the verb 'flash' follows immediately, before going on to list a series of incredibly public places where there is a strong chance someone else might see you. We can sense the struggle, the contrast, the juxtaposition between the opening 'Covertly', imploring discretion, subtlety and tact and the phrase 'stairwell before a party'. They live in disjunct, irreconcilable and utterly at odds.
8) "My woman made an audio recording of the sounds she made while pleasuring herself and then downloaded the track onto my MP3 player.":
This is an entry that, aside from having its own issues in being a thoroughly creepy thing to do, has also technologically dated. While Mp3 is still the dominant format for storing tracks, streaming services have made file storage devices near irrelevant. You may as well hand over a phonographic wax cylinder that you've screamed at mid-orgasm. If this entry wants to see itself removed from this list then it ought to get with the times. What the woman, mentioned above should do instead, is register herself as an artist on Spotify, upload the file as a track there and allow her beau to awkwardly have it come up in his playlists at inopportune moments.
9) When you're feeling sore around your period, wrap a refrigerated raw lettuce leaf around each breast and hold it there until it wilts:
This seems less sex-advice and more an extract from a 16th century health pamphlet. If you are having PMS pains, why not eat three owl beaks under a full-moon?
*This is not yet part of the sex advice.
**I suppose renting is an option?