Thanks to the years upon years that Cosmopolitan has been in print — well, that and the explosion of sexperts this past decade (sexplosion? too much? too ridiculous?) — it’s easy to find the most common pieces of sex advice out there:
• watch porn together
• try sexting
• ease into dirty talk
• pile on the lube
• use your favorite toys during couple play
•swap sexual fantasies
In fact, at one point or another, I have given each of these snippets of advice to someone in need.
The thing is, no one piece of sex advice is one-size-fits-all, and what works beautifully for one person may go horribly wrong with someone else.
Take the sex toy tip, for example.
I’m a huge proponent of vibrator use, though I often hoard alone time with my favorite vibe in much the same way I hoard the chocolate that’s at this very moment hidden away in my desk drawer. Still, at one point, I was obsessed with the idea of finding a sex toy made exclusively for couple play… something that would help me with my arousal issues and give sex with my husband a much-needed boost.
We tried a vibrating cock ring for Women’s Health, but the results were meh. We tried under-the-bed restraints, but it wasn’t our thing. So after exhausting the limits of my own, sexy knowledge, I turned to other experts for advice.
What I found was that almost all of the sexperts out there — the writers, the educators, the sex toy reviewers, and the female-friendly sex shops — were celebrating this one, new couples sex toy, the We-Vibe, as the ultimate, most sublime and shining paragon of all couples toys. With so much unanimous praise, I felt only the slightest twinge of anxiety when plunking down nearly $100 for the toy.
Unfortunately, wearing the We-Vibe felt awkward and uncomfortable. And though I tried to ride out the discomfort, it just wasn’t worth it. The vibrations didn’t hit my clit or my g-spot. As for my husband, he just thought it felt weird. Long story short, the results were meh. $99 worth of meh.
And I’m not the only one who’s been led astray by bad sex advice.
Jay*, a frequent contributor to Money Crashers, told me of how the advice of one sex therapist actually led to personal injury. “I once had a sex therapist suggest that my spouse and I try out a few different sex positions,” he said. They were both looking to spice up their sex life, so they were game. Instead of suggesting they pick up a copy of the Kama Sutra and see which positions caught their eye, however, their therapist decided to endorse a few of her own faves. One of the positions she suggested was The Big Dipper, which is not exactly a beginner’s position. In fact, it’s downright precarious. So precarious, in fact, that Jay ended up slipping off the couch and throwing his back out.
“After recovering from that disaster, we did some Internet research and were able to find a few new positions,” he said. But he confessed that they never saw that therapist again.
Then there’s Jasmine*, a single lady who’d had a crush on her friend’s older brother since she was a pre-teen. “I had the biggest crush on him, and so did my friends,” she said. So when she had the chance to catch up with him later on in life, she jumped at the opportunity.
They connected on Facebook, started up a regular correspondence, and he eventually came into town for a visit. Their connection seemed strong and, because she liked him so much, Jasmine decided to take things slowly. “I kept things PG-13,” she said. Eventually, he left town to go back to work, after which things just didn’t seem the same. “He closed off,” said Jasmine. “I was devastated.”
She contacted a dating coach, who told her that she hadn’t given him enough incentive to come back. “You didn’t have sex with him,” her coach told her. “Get down there, go to D.C., and have crazy-ass sex with him.”
Jasmine followed her coach’s advice, planned a trip to D.C., and even went so far as to send her crush a text message her coach had crafted. Her crush was responsive. They met up, had a lovely evening out, went back to his place… and then they had awful, awkward sex. In the morning, he awakened Jasmine with a “Hey — can you suck my cock?” At this point, it began to dawn on Jasmine that the guy she adored was some kind of player.
In hindsight, she saw that the advice her coach gave her wasn’t aligned with her own values. Jasmine wanted a relationship. Her coach wanted Jasmine to have an action-packed single life that involved dating and sleeping with a multitude of guys. Fun for some. But not if you’re looking to settle down.
I was at a small house party the other month and ended up cornered in the kitchen, recommending sex toys to some of the ladies there. I told them about my very first clit vibe, which I considered to be a great option for sex toy noobs. I mentioned a high-end vibrator I’d reviewed for another site. I gushed about my favorite vibrator, a simple smoothie vibe.
At about this point, our hostess walked in and, after gathering the gist of the conversation, she turned to me. “I’m just not interested in all those bells and whistles,” she said. She sounded dismissive… not even open to the idea of trying toys. But then again, she was enjoying sex without them.
The stories I share as a sex writer are personal and, often, the advice I share is based upon these personal experiences.
But the off-hand comment made by my hostess that night reminded me: just because it worked for me doesn’t mean it’ll work for you, too.
So when you’re reading my stuff — or when you’re reading content from any self-proclaimed sexpert — only follow this advice:
Take what resonates with you. And screw the rest.
*names have been changed.