And there it was at the top of my Facebook newsfeed, in all its sugary, sprinkled-pink sweetness: a donut.
The average person would simply have continued scrolling through the never-ending barrage of more relevant confessions, click-baity listicles and snaps of healthy salad lunches.
But the instructions accompanying this particular donut – issued by US Cosmopolitan, of course – could halt even the most skeptical of link-clickers in their tracks.
My immediate thoughts were, but what if you’re gluten intolerant?, closely followed by, fuck that shit, there’s no chance in hell I’d let crumby pink food within fifty metres of my expensive, white linen.
My immediate reaction went more like, “!!! these twisted people just do not take their responsibility seriously enough and they must be stopped.”
I was not surprised to learn that many male Twitter users (I tweeted a pic of the Facebook post) were equally stunned by Cosmo‘s suggestion.
“Practical questions: How many men could fit a donut around their penis? Why would Cosmo buy crappy donuts?” came one response.
“teeth and down there… no thanks,” admitted another.
But this is not the first time Cosmo’s outrageous sex tips have been publicly ridiculed.
I’m still LOLing at Ben Reininga’s coverage of Cosmo’s 44 Most Ridiculous Sex Tips published last year.
“Cosmo remains the ne plus ultra of usually implausible, occasionally unfathomable, and invariably hilarious sexy tips for sexy sex,” Reininga wrote, before proceeding to parody the most baffling sex advice Cosmo had ever published.
Some personal favourites include:
3. “Think of his shaft… like the outer curve of your breast. …Take his shaft between your open palms and tap it back and forth, almost like you’re volleying a tennis ball. The quick movements are a fun way to wake up his nerves.”
First, do women like their breasts to be “volleyed” like tennis balls? Also: stop hitting me.
7. “Fifty-six percent of unmarried men prefer receiving head while lying down as opposed to standing up, while the numbers are exactly reversed for married men.”
I think that means you are one married man and two standard deviations from overthinking foreplay.
15. “Dip your breasts in edible body paint, and use them to ‘sponge paint’ his entire body. Then lick it off.”
How big a bucket of edible body paint would you need to dip your breasts in it? And what sort of weirdly dexterous breasts allow for painting? Doesn’t this just involve lunging at him like a brightly-colored walrus?
As I retype them here, I’m wiping tears from my eyes. Good tears and sad tears.
Because nothing makes me squirm more than knowing entire generations of young women have emerged on other other side of their teen years believing that wearing a donut during sex is as normal as wearing a condom. I’m sure most women just as soon dismiss these bizarre (not to mention messy) behaviours as they encounter them, but gosh, if it doesn’t leave at least a few of us with niggling questions and symptomatic insecurity.
It must be said that so many women have grown up referring to Cosmopolitan magazine as their sole sex education provider. In fact, that was former Cosmo editor-in-chief Helen Gurley Brown’s dream when she first joined the magazine in 1962. Until then, sex – especially for women – was a topic we went to great lengths to conceal. In those days, the pill was still fresh on the scene and women were beginning to embrace their right to control their bodies; they had sexual needs just as men did and understandably, they scrambled for as much information as they could get their hands on.
As many women have since agreed, Cosmo empowered women to live life on their own terms, and that was a wonderful thing. What an accolade. But what a ginormous responsibility.
Along the way, sex education became secondary to an unbalanced, unfeminist focus on men’s pleasure, and presumably to ensure women kept buying copies, weird and wacky sex tips – including those involving our friend, the donut.
I was overjoyed to find that Amanda Hess had traced the history of Cosmo‘s “doughnut trick” at Slate this morning. Turns out the infamous donut has cropped up numerous times over the years, perhaps most notably in a June 2003 feature entitled, 99 Ways to Touch Him: These Fresh, Frisky Tips Will Thrill Every Inch of Your Guy.
Hess also notes that since Joanna Coles became editor in 2012, Cosmo has made an effort to abandon sex tips “where pleasing the guy is the main priority”, while also introducing a fresh, new tone to the sex pages.
“We’ve been making a concerted effort to write the sex tips with more voice and humour,” said deputy editor Marina Khidekel. “We want it to be good for her. We want her to laugh and to have fun. And we want her to have as good a time reading the sex tips as she’ll have enacting them.”
At least they’ve nailed the ‘humour’ part.
Eating donuts of his penis?
What an absolute joke.