Men’s Health Magazine: The Straight Man’s Cos

Last week I bashed Cosmopolitan for its laughably dreadful flirting tips, yet I realize now that I forgot something. I completely neglected another vital publication: Men’s Health. The male version of Cosmo, Men’s Health is almost as ridiculous when it comes to giving advice. I realize that it may be tricky to compare this macho magazine with something so shamelessly girly, but the two publications have more in common than one might think. With articles like “Six Phrases to Get Her In Bed Tonight” and “Seduce Any Woman in the World,” it appears that Men’s Health is just as ballsy—not to mention absurd—when it comes to giving advice on impressing the opposite sex.

For starters, the magazine prides itself on delivering essential “guy wisdom,” but its intense focus on having the perfect body is enough to cause anxiety in even the fittest guy. The editors seem to think that getting buff and having sex are the only things standing between you and complete life satisfaction. Of course, they assure you that you will only be able to have sex if you’re already “getting built.” In addition, the magazine adheres to the idea that the female gender is just one of life’s many mysteries—but hey, if you can unlock the secrets to a woman’s mind, then you can probably get her to sleep with you.

In “Six Secret Ways to Turn Her On,” one suggestion is for men to read books in order to impress women. The article asks, “Do you have any idea the mass quantity of ass you could get by reading one book?” (Bonus points for reading a book that’s on her reading list!) Whoa…seriously? Sorry guys, hate to break it to you, but the fact that you’ve read Pride and Prejudice doesn’t make me want to get in your pants.

Another article details ways to determine whether or not she’s into you. Apparently, if you ask her for the time and she “answers with anything other than the time, she’s interested.” The next tip suggests that the man should attempt to maintain eye contact with the target woman for longer than what feels natural in order to gauge her interest. Very creepy.

If you already have a girlfriend, don’t worry, because the advice doesn’t stop there. In “Have Sex Eight Times This Week,” you will learn how to vary your weekly routine with everything from the “before-dinner quickie” to multiple rounds of romping on the kitchen counter. After all, variety is the spice of life. Spoiler alert: Wednesday is now “Dry-Hump Day” (pun definitely intended).

When it comes to dealing with your girlfriend’s body image issues, Men’s Health basically suggests that you recognize that chicks are moody and give her compliments when she’s PMS-ing. The editors imply that compliments will temporarily soothe her body-related insecurities, so she’ll be way more likely to have sex with you—and if that doesn’t work, try candles. To that, I will simply say that advice like this will make a woman’s thighs snap shut faster than head lice can spread through a kindergarten classroom.Some of the articles are actually written by women, and yet they are still pathetic. Often times, it’s just some chick talking about that trick that her boyfriend used that one time in Cabo last year which drove her wild—not exactly prime advice because it’s usually way too specific to actually work. However, unlike Cosmo’s raunchy tips involving whipped cream, stilettos, and other select household items, the pointers in Men’s Health are usually far more reasonable. They won’t ask you to transform into an acrobat of the bedroom or become versed in Tantric sex, although one article does advocate trying sex in new locations. Suggested hot spots include the elevator, the vault at your bank, or the dressing rooms at Victoria’s Secret. Classy, right?

In the end, a close reading of both Men’s Health and Cosmopolitan reveals that there are only so many ways to talk about pleasuring your partner. Both magazines will keep on using the “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” logic when addressing such issues, which is no fun for anybody. They will continue to constantly promise “more sex, hotter sex,” but what they really mean is that they will somehow manage to manipulate the four fundamental sex positions into 365 variations. This, of course, will just leave readers feeling inadequate for not having a wild and crazy sex life. After all, doing it Reverse Cowgirl-style on top of a moving vehicle with whipped cream in hand is the only way to achieve true satisfaction.

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