May 5, 2005

Smoldering Retardation

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Writing about sex is like trying to explain it to an eight-year-old: you just can’t say what you really mean and even if you can, explaining is never as good as acting it out. In Cosmo’s new interpretation of the classic Kama Sutra, many of the suggested positions rely heavily on hilarious euphemisms: “member,” “entering,” “riding.” I can just imagine the ensuing sex: “Ooh, please insert your joystick! Enter me! Enter me! But don’t forget to put on a slapjacket!” Besides, The Cosmo Kama Sutra sounds more like a manual on body posture than a doorway to spicing it up in the bedroom. If I gave you sample phrases like “Lie faceup, bringing your knees to your chin” or “Start by lying on your side with your arms above your head” or the variation “Both of you lie down,” you probably wouldn’t be immediately turned on. Instead of adding fun and excitement, I could see how this book only makes things more boring; when sex is reduced to a series of instructions, or should I say in Cosmo lingo, “erotic instructions,” what’s the fun in experimenting?

Don’t even think about reading this book if you’re a man. While some positions — “X Marks the Spot” or “The Wanton Wheelbarrow” are geared for “our pleasure” — it’s clearly written by and for women. “Erotic Accordion” looks really uncomfortable and awkward for males and females alike, as does “Pinwheel.” We’re also portrayed as heartless and sex-starved. There are tips on getting “your guy” to stay, since biological evidence is cited as our reasons to pack up right after a one-night stand. But don’t worry about your makeup getting mussed — you can just wipe it off with a towelette the next morning!

Cosmo, in an attempt to distinguish their advice from the already huge selection of sex books available, adds the “Carnal Challenge” to the heading of every position. I don’t think sex should ever mean risking a pulled ligament or sprained muscle, which is implied with the challenge factor. But while you’re stuck in the hospital as a result, the campy writing can be quite a laugh. Why does Cosmo think everything needs to be alliterated at the cost of making sense? The most hilarious might be “Torrid Triangle.” I can’t help thinking that if your sex is ever torrid it probably won’t be that great for even the kinkiest fetishist. Then again, if you need a book to tell you what to do, you’re probably going about it all wrong. –Elliot Singer

How many girls have had their boyfriend playfully peek at her issue of Cosmopolitan and even open to the monthly Kama Sutra article. You can put your hands down now, girls. Inevitably, an issue of Cosmo left on a coffee table will elicit some sort of response, and usually it is a raised eyebrow with a smirk.

The Cosmo Kama Sutra, Cosmo’s new book that has 77 — count ’em — 77 “mind-blowing sexual positions” has been sitting around the Daze office just waiting to be picked up and elicit that same response. After perusing though it, I am more offended than intrigued.

First of all, the fact that this book was sent to Daze at all, unsolicited, makes me wonder about where they think our minds are. I guess there’s no denying that college students are having sex on a regular basis, but there is something about being discreet (versus displaying it on your bookcase in neon colors).

The book is clearly geared towards females, with its bright pink cover and its reference to “Your N-Zone” (read: nipples). Apparently, we women are sexual idiots. Lust Lesson #4, for example, tells you how to find your G-Spot with questions like “What is it exactly?” and “Where Can I find Mine?” College women are usually not afraid of sex, in my experience, and after Sex and City, no one’s afraid to talk about it. So why doesn’t Cosmo get that?

Of course, I can’t get through this review and completely ignore the positions. Some of the positions look downright impossible; then there are the ones that require some sort of appliance (shower head, stairs, recliner … the list goes on) and others are just offensive.

Take “Head over Heels.” Basically this involves a woman doing a handstand with the crown of her head on a pillow while she and her guy apparently participate in a wheelbarrow race. And I’m supposed to “Love It?” I have never liked wheelbarrow races. And this position doesn’t even require the maximum five flames on the book’s “Carnal Challenge” scale.

Isn’t it better if these things just happen? I don’t think I ever want to be caught in a situation where I say, “Hey, can we do the ‘See-Saw’ tonight followed by the ‘Stand and Deliver?'” That is so not hot. (Don’t worry you can still use that phrase without paying royalties to Paris Hilton). –Logan Bromer

Archived article by Logan Bromer and Elliot Singer
Sun Staff Writers