Reminder: Don't Get Your Sexual Health Info from Cosmo

i found this little nugget in one of my newsfeeds today, forwarded from Cosmo Magazine's website.  "12 Anal Foreplay Tips for Beginners".  In my never-ending quest to correct sexual health misinformation everywhere, I thought I should take this one on.

Admittedly, Cosmo seems to be stepping up its game on the sex stuff.  I haven't seen as much horrible advice coming from them as I used to and occasionally now I see them being very inclusive of all genders and sexual preferences which used to never be the case.  This article is not an example of that.  This was updated from a previous article in 2014.  It doesn't note what they changed.  They didn't go far enough.

First of all, the title was what caught my attention.  We need to rid the English language of the term 'foreplay'.  There is no such thing as foreplay.  Play is play.  There is no 'real sex' or 'main event'.  The idea that there is causes all kinds of problems -  people trying to decide whether something 'counts' or not and disregarding all kinds of wonderful, pleasurable activity as just being a leadup; even thinking that what they are doing, what they love most, or what they feel comfortable doing is not enough because it's not 'real sex'.  Let's bury that term once and for all.  This article talks a lot about getting ready for the main event even while it discusses all kinds of awesome things that could themselves be the main event.  Rimming, playing with toys, using fingers, massage - all that jazz - is sex in and of itself.  It does not have to lead to having a penis in your butt.

There is such a thing as prepping for a sex event.  If your a planning to put a penis into a butt - or really anything into a butt (and actually anything into a vagina) - you should not start there.  There should be some preparation as these things are much more pleasurable, comfortable, and safe when all of the parts involved are relaxed, warm and excited.  But prep is different than foreplay.  The word foreplay implies that there is something coming next and it's better than what's happening now.  Prep is being considerate and thoughtful and engaged with your own and your partner's body - thinking about whether you're ready to do something before you do it.

Speaking of putting a penis in a butt, this article does not acknowledge at all that for some people reading it, there might not be a penis involved.  It associates body parts with genders - addresses itself to women and assumes all those women have a vagina.  The writers don't even have a disclaimer noting that they are focused on a particularl type of activity - the tone sounds universal but it's actually very specific.  There are lots of us who have all kinds of anal play where there is no penis involved or where that penis doesn't go in a butt.  There are also people who have penises who enjoy something in their butt.  Some of them have sex with people who have vaginas, some of them don't.  I'm over this kind of writing - it's time to do more to include as many people as possible in the way we write sex advice.  It's easy to do this by just talking about body parts and not attaching them to genders - and not including reference to or making assumptions about partner(s) body parts.

So with those huge things out of the way, is there a problem with the advice?  Most of it is okay except for these things:

1.  "A good way to tell if you're dating someone ass-centric is if they request belfies, always want to have sex doggy-style, or try repeatedly to touch your asshole"  Really not.  People like all kinds of things for all kinds of reasons.  And some people like the way butts look but they don't want to put anything in them.  The best way to tell if a partner wants some sort of anal play is to ask.

2.  "Make sure your partner doesn't use the same butt finger in your vagina afterward.  Baby wipes should be mandatory on every nightstand."  Yes, bacteria from the anal canal can cause problems in the vagina but a baby wipe is not going to solve the problem.  A hand hastily wiped with a baby wipe can still have lots of bacteria on it.  Do you wipe your hands with baby wipes after you go to the bathroom?  No.  Fingers (and anything that wants to go into a vagina after it's been in an anus) needs to be washed with hot water and soap.

3. "You don't need to get a wax. "Most women don't get Brazilians simply to engage in anal foreplay," says Kerner, (Ian Kerner - author) based on his research."  I'm really confused by this one.  Nobody 'needs' to get a wax.  This makes it sound like you need a Brazillian for other types of sex but not anal.  This is also sexist.  Even bringing it up is sexist.  Would we ever think a man needs to get a wax before anal play? Probably not.  but women should be concerned about whether their hair is acceptable.  You never need a Brazillian.  Get one if you like it but don't do it because you think you have to be hairless for certain types of sex.  Most adults have hair on their genitals and that's totally cool.

Yes, most of the actually advice in this article is not so bad.  There's a lot about communication and taking things slow, which is great.  It's the assumption that all of this is definitely leading up to man's penis in a woman's butt that bothers me most.  To bastardize the catchphrase of an older Jedi 'there is no foreplay, only play'.


Tags: anal anal sex cosmo cosmopolitan sex advice