So, in the same way I hate prescriptive “52 Guaranteed Sex Secrets to Blow Your Partner’s Mind” kind of advice, I really hate the “These are Universal Turn-Offs, so Everyone Stop Doing These Now” kind of articles.
Can we please just realize that sex and sexual pleasure is a deeply personal thing? We’re all turned on and turned off by different things. What works for one person may not for another. What fell flat with a previous partner may well rock another.
Wanna be an awesome sex partner? Then be a partner to the person you’re actually having sex with and, if it’s not the person who wrote the prescriptive article, maybe don’t listen to that writer. Because their opinion really doesn’t matter in this situation.
Besides, these so-called advice pieces are often filled with really bad advice. I love the paradox these demands leave her lover in. Don’t be silent, but don’t talk too much. Talk dirty to me, but only the way I like, using only the words I like in the exact right frequency I like. Ask for my consent, but don’t ask permission for everything you do. And, please, for the love of whatever God you subscribe to, know all this without having to be told because, duh, this all should be obvious, right? How is a person supposed to accomplish this?
Don’t get me wrong, you are allowed to want whatever you want and you should tell your partner what those things are. But do not treat your personal preferences like they’re universal or obvious. They’re not. Because, looking at this list, not all those are cringeworthy to every person. Everyone is different. What people ought to do is remember that. Talk about what you like. Talk about what you don’t. And don’t assume that just because something worked—or didn’t work—in the past with someone else that it’s the same with the person you’re now with.
My problem with this piece is that it feels dismissive of sexual diversity. It makes it sound like there’s only one good way to have sex and anyone doing it any other way is doing it wrong. And that’s just not the case.
Other than acting without active consent—which is always wrong—there isn’t anything on this list that strikes me as necessarily or automatically bad.
Maybe you don’t like it. And that’s okay. Then tell your partner what you do like. And, like Dan Savage always says, you can do that in a sexy way. The conversation does not need to be a scolding laundry list of don’t do’s.“Let’s do this” or “I really like it when you do that” are better ways of getting a partner to change their approach or techinique than complaining after the fact about how bad a kisser or lover they are. Especially when, for all you know, the person that came before you—or the person who may come after you—really likes to kiss or scratch or suck that way.
“Content mills (who invariably are the major source of these low quality internet hooks) need to get a bit smarter. I know that these ‘OMG! All men do this and think that!’ articles are wonderful click-bait, but please. Stretch your imaginations a little further. Respect your readers.”. You are allowed to want what you want and to ask for it—it’s something that ought to be normalized and encouraged—but this feels less like encouraging people to ask for what they want than it does shaming people for the stuff you don’t.