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July 15, 2011

What he secretly doesnt want in bed?

We're used to women's magazines like Cosmo selling its readers generalizations about men and sex... but when we find that kind of article in Redbook (aimed at a slightly different demographic of women) it's a bit of a surprise. Perhaps Aaron Traister's "What he secretly doesn't want in bed" (August 2011) isn't as offensive as the typical Cosmo fare, but we couldn't help but notice how... wrong... this one seemed.

The article opens up innocently enough:
I feel like everywhere I turn, someone's telling me that my sex life isn't exciting enough. From the oversharing nature of social media to hypersexual ads for places like American Apparel to the onslaught of sex scandals involving politicians, celebrities, and that guy at American Apparel, I sometimes feel like I'm the only man not having Rick James-style sex (may he rest in peace), filming it, and uploading it for strangers to watch online. I can't help but wonder if the rest of the world is busy re-creating Cirque du Soleil in the bedroom while I'm simply having sex with my wife of 10 years on the couch.
Obviously we support all types of sex (including the choice to not have sex at all) so there's nothing wrong if you prefer things a little bit more "vanilla". In fact, we think it's good that Traister has opened up about this fact, because the world needs to know that it's okay to want what you want and like what you like, regardless of what it is. So if he wants to be the spokesman for men who just don't want or need all the "extras" in the bedroom, that's great.

But where he crosses the line for us, is where he suggests that his point of view is the typical, usual, normal one. He gives a list of common "twists" you can add to your sex life (we won't go so far as to call any of it "kink" because most of it is pretty tame vanilla stuff to begin with) and claims that "a lot of women think" guys want them but "most" of them don't. We find this "most" point hard to believe (in fact, we think most women would find it hard to believe) because nothing he mentions is really that outrageous and it has been our own personal experience that most guys do want a lot of these things - and often a hell of a lot more.

So let's take a look at the stuff Traister claims men don't want in bed:


1. Aggressively sexy lingerie.
Leg Avenue Women's Strappy Spandex Tube Dress, Black, One SizeDon't get me wrong, I'm all for sexy clothes, but sometimes lingerie goes too far. Formfitting and revealing is awesome - so much better than manky old sweats. But I don't need elaborate Rorschach tests of lace patterning, and I don't want snaps, zippers, triggers, and stuff you're supposed to eat.
Okay, sure. Some men may not "need" elaborate lingerie, but some do need it and a lot of them want it. There are so many varying styles of naughty outfits a woman can wear in bed. Who is to say that men don't sometimes like it a little... complicated. These kind of outfits wouldn't exist if someone didn't buy them...

2. Role-playing.
I'm not pretending to be a pizza man, a merchant marine, a European football star or an evil clown. It feels ridiculous, and it's hard to get in the mood when you feel ridiculous.
Okay, if you feel ridiculous doing something, that's a perfect reason not to do it. But a lot of people find role-playing anything but ridiculous. What is a bit ridiculous is Traister's closed-minded description of what role-playing actually is. Maybe for some it is about pretending to be an evil clown, but more often than not, it's quite different. Also, as many of us already know, there are many varying degrees of role-playing. While sometimes it can mean the actual detailed portrayal of a specific character, quite often it can only mean assuming or acting out a different "role" than usual. That can be as simple as giving your personality a minor tweak (such as being a little more submissive or dominant than usual).


3. Watching porn during sex.
[...] a lot of women admit to watching porn with their significant others while having sex. I'd be lying if I said Karel and I have never tried this, but for me it sorta ruins the moment. It's distracting. I like being totally focused on the woman I'm with.
Now that's a really nice sentiment, not wanting porn to distract you from being totally focused on the woman you're with. But it's really unfair to say that just because he finds it distracting, that therefore a lot of men feel the same way. (In fact, it's a little bit offensive to imply that if you do happen to add a little something extra to the bedroom, that you're not into being "totally focused" on your partner. That's not true.) He said it himself, a lot of women admit to having done it. Well, are we supposed to believe that all of the men that they've been doing this with don't actually like it? Oh those poor guys. Listen, some people like to watch porn during sex, some like to watch it before sex, some like to watch it instead of sex... it may be distracting to some, but it's also a turn-on for others.


4. Making homemade porn.
I like the idea of the finished product, but the reality of making that product seems overly complicated to me. It's a lot of equipment to hold. Sure, I could use a stationary camera, but crappy cinematography really bothers me. Also, I get a little obsessive bout creative projects. I can imagine myself trying to be the Terrence Malick of homemade porn: "Karel, we're going to lose our light if we can't do this in one take. Now let's go over our marks again. Remember, I'm starting with a tight shot on the grasshopper in your hand. We need the grasshopper for the metaphor I'm trying to make; otherwise the entire picture won't make any sense. Also, the script calls for your boobs to have an 'extraterrestrial sheen' on them. Can you figure out how to make that happen? Finally, we're $50,000 over budget -- just something to think about as we work."
I actually quoted this one in its entirety because it was just that annoying to me and I needed everyone to know that I wasn't exaggerating it when I described it. Okay, yes, it's funny. Ha ha. But while this article is supposed to be humorous, it's not a satire piece. It's meant to be helpful, no? Traister's recurring column is called "Whys Guy" because he's supposed to be the readers' source for decoding male behavior. So how about he gives at least one genuine reason why "most" men allegedly don't like making homemade porn mixed in with the jokes? It's fine if you don't like the idea of making a sex tape... maybe "most" men really feel that way. But I really doubt that any of them feel that way because they hate "crappy cinematography".


5. The A word.
Some guys want "all access" to various parts of the body -- okay, one particular part -- during sex. If this works for you and your partner, mazel tov! But I actually find it unpleasant, and I can only imagine how it feels to you. I'm going to leave it at that.
Yet again, Traister mistakes the article for "what I want in bed" instead of "what most men want in bed". That's totally fine if he's not a fan of anal sex, but he fully admits that some guys want this - so why is this included on the list at all? Also, I'm sorry.... but "The A word"? This isn't Seventeen. Redbook is a magazine for grown women. They can't say the word? Say it! ANAL! It's not a bad word. Anal sex! Anal sex! I know some people still consider this to be "taboo" but c'mon, can't we at least SAY the words? Now a lot of people are not fans of anal sex, but a lot of men - and a lot of women - do enjoy it.


6. Threesomes.
I know, I know. They're every man's fantasy. But not mine. First of all, I'm a terrible multitasker.
Again. He admits that this has nothing to do with what men want, and more to do with what Aaron Traister wants. He said it himself: "They're every man's fantasy." Now, I'm sure there are plenty of men who really, truly don't want a threesome... but I find it hard to believe that it's "most". Basing it on my own experience... I'd have to say that I've only ever come across one guy that didn't at least like the idea of a threesome, even if he wasn't actively trying to have one.


7. Bondage.
One of my first sexual experiences involved being handcuffed by a lovely young woman who went on to become a neurosurgeon. It felt forced, like we were doing it just because it was "kinky". That's less like sex and more like performance art.
Ah, bondage. Of course, he had to add that one to the list. Now to be fair, it's quite possible that a lot of people don't want to try this (or only want to try it because they think they should try something "kinky" - you know, like Cosmo suggests - and that's not a good enough reason). But on the other hand, bondage - you know, vanilla white bread bondage - is really popular right now. It's everywhere... Cosmo magazine, music videos, everywhere. So it's really not fair for him to say that this is something men secretly don't want in bed.

Traister follows up with this:
But listen, if handcuffs make you breathe heavy, by all means, whip them out. Your guy will probably play right along, because anything "extra" that authentically turns you on is a turn-on for him, too.
No, you don't just "whip them out". You have a conversation about it first. He may be happy to try it, but he shouldn't just "play right along" without a discussion about boundaries. Which brings me to my final point.

The real issue that I have with this entire article... it isn't just that Traister has decided that what he secretly doesn't want in bed are the same things that "most men" secretly don't want in bed. The real issue I have with it is the "secretly" part. Why oh why is anything about your sex life secret from your partner!?

What you like in bed (or what you want to try in bed) shouldn't be a secret. You should be talking about this with your partner! How else are they supposed to know what you want? Trial and error? By reading your mind? By reading it in a fucking magazine? No, I don't think so. Talk about it! But even more important than that... what you don't like in bed should never ever be a secret. If you really don't want to do something, don't do it. You shouldn't have to secretly suffer through it.

Now, yes, of course I understand that most of what Traister is trying to say here is that a lot of these things that women think men absolutely crave, are really not that important to them - often just you is enough. But the message he's actually sending is that our poor boyfriends and husbands are keeping secrets about what they really want. No. If that really is the case, the way to solve this problem is not to follow the directions of some schmo in a magazine. The solution is TALKING ABOUT IT. Ask your man what he likes, what he wants, what he doesn't want... and tell him what you like and you want. It's that simple.

If you can't talk to your man about sex... then you shouldn't be having sex with him.

3 comments:

reading. writing. revolution. said...

Lingerie is nice, but I prefer you naked. Bondage, dirty talk, being called "Daddy", grabbing, squeezing, spanking, slapping, groaning, biting -- all of that is all good, and I love it, but it's also nice to just be kissed and kissed and kissed.

I think this guy, like most men, doesn't have a clue what he wants in bed. They have a magazine, cheap porn-driven, suburban idea of what sex is supposed to be like. He brings up all this bullshit, most of which no one I know does, and when I see a woman bust out some wild lingerie and lubes and stuff she bought at a sex party, I can't help but giggle and think she's been reading too many Cosmo magazines, too, and thinks sex is suppose to be a big show.

In the end, it's just supposed to be about two people doing what feels good, whether they have to talk about it to figure it out or can just play it by ear and sense from the other person what is really getting them going.

It's ironic, isn't it, that Playboy is full of articles about politics and personal stories, with some fiction and some naked women thrown in, and it's considered "porn", but Redbook and whatnot are mainstream magazines yet they are inundated with articles on things like how to give the perfect blow job. One of these two is selling something, and way too many people are buying it.

abby said...

i wonder why he felt the need to specify that the girl he tried bondage with ended up becoming a neurosurgeon. would it have made more sense to him if she'd become a police officer?

Kelly said...

I love the last line -- I am going to use it myself if you don't mind. Communication and sex should go hand in hand!!