Ten terrible ‘sex tips’ and how to completely ignore them

Almost all of the ‘sex tips’ I have received in my life have been atrocious.

To be fair, the source hasn’t always been overly qualified. The occasional drunk uncle, who thinks he’s bonding through a nudge-nudge wink-wink reference to ‘the extra finger.’ Giggling teenage talk of something called ‘spoofing.’ The poorly-spelled but extravagantly worded missives scratched into the toilet door in The Golden Ball pub.

I didn’t learn much from these (except to stop shaking hands with Uncle Chris), since none of them were particularly eye-opening or indeed practical (though I’ve never looked at Auntie Rita quite the same). Many of them seemed desperately impractical, or at the very least… unlikely. You learn to treat lad banter and graffiti and potentially apocryphal rumours with the same heaped tablespoon of salt.


I might have been tempted, though, seeing as some of the sex tips I’ve received from more ‘legitimate’ sources have been spectacularly bad too.

The promotion of better sex is a laudable aim, and I applaud any publication, website or individual that strives toward it. But dang, there’s a lot of ridiculous advice out there.

Part if this is down to volume. If you bring out a magazine every fortnight, and every fortnight you feature an article on ‘mind-blowing’ sex tips, then there are only three options. The first is that you have an inexhaustible supply of mind-blowing sex tips already, some limitless kama-sutra (unlikely). The second is that you’re inventing entirely new mind-blowing sex tips every fortnight (even more implausible, but should such an individual exist, man or woman, I want to date you). The third and most likely outcome is that, well, some of the sex tips you’re peddling as mind-blowing are decidedly average.

I guess it’s hard to come up with new ones all the time. And many are so useless or unworkable that they’re probably never put to the test by anyone. So you see the same advice recycled, sometimes over the course of years. The ones that do have some merit are repeated so often as to achieve mantra status, often far beyond their actual pleasure-inducing capacities (many a sharp-nailed finger has been jabbed into my perineum by some well-meaning lass, convinced by Glamour that it was the launch button for my personal orgasm rocket).

In the spirit of public service, therefore, I would like to give a rundown of the top (or bottom) 10 pieces of sex advice I see all the time.


10. Inglorious Food

Food can be sexy, but the obvious choices aren’t always the best ones, and you won’t know until you try. Champagne is very sexy, but unremittingly fluid, so unless you’ve got a fast tongue it’s going to get on the sheets (do it in the bath instead). Chocolate sauce is delicious, but doesn’t interact with body hair particularly well. Whipped cream is easily deployed, but I can think of few sounds as singularly unerotic as the sound of pressurised gas being released. Plus it’s dairy, so unless you clean it all up, it’s going to turn to cheese at some point. Basically, foodsex (patent pending on that term) is easy if you’re the kind of hairless sex robot you see in porn, bumping uglies on a rented bed. Other wise it takes a little forethought. I’d spare your sheets, and save it for the Travelodge.


9. Erroneous Zones

Erogenous zones you should be paying attention to: neck, lips, ears, nipples, stomach, boobs and bum, your respective junk, that sweet spot just inside the thigh. That’s nine right there, plenty to be getting on with in my opinion. You can’t tweak them all simultaneously unless you’re some kind of sex-squid. Finding new ones to shoot for is not necessary, so you can go ahead and discount (and this is just a sample of the ones I’ve seen suggested): noses, elbows, inside of the knee, armpits.



8. Imperfect Positions

Most of the sex positions explored in the kama sutra are fairly standard, and there’s a reason for that. If you’ve ever seriously put the positions into practice, you’ll know that even a minor adjustment can do wonders for the pleasure of those involved. The more difficult positions are usually suggested for when no other option presents itself. The standing up positions are for rogering milkmaids. Or sex under waterfalls. The athletic ones are great if you’re in an enclosed space or trying to diddle each other on horseback, but they’re not something you’d want to try if you had sufficient space available. So I’m deeply suspicious of positions with names like ‘the wheelbarrow’ or ‘the gymnast.’ Who in the hell puts these to good use? How can you maintain them for more than 5 seconds without injury? I’d also question whether we need to move on to these positions at the expense of what we’ve got. If you’ve got doggystyle down, and I mean down – you’re a level 10 doggystyle wizard with a PhD in applied thrusting and and Open University qualification in manual stimulation – then maybe you can move onto ‘the rolling cartwheel’ and call it a practical use of your time. Till then, stick to the basics, Gandalf.


7. Itching Powder

I was going to call this segment ‘mucous membranes’ but decided that was too gross. I appreciate that I’ve said it anyway but I feel it’s important that I tried. There are certain substances that are occasionally suggested might be introduced in lovemaking, usually to stimulate or heighten sensation. I’m not going to list them all (I read about pepper recently, and yesterday a female friend swore that chilli – chilli – was suggested in a copy of More she read in her teens), but I would like to posit a hard and fast rule that has always stood me in good stead. Imagine handling the suggested substance. Now (hypothetically) wipe your hand clean on your trousers/skirt/the arm of your sofa. Now imagine you have an itchy eyelid. Would you consider scratching it having handled the aforementioned substance? If the answer is no, then that substance has no place near any of your mucous membranes, your genitals in particular.


6. Under Pressure

Here’s a great article, and each entry has a similar theme. Human beings are delicate beings, and the delicate parts of such delicate beings require… delicacy, I guess. The penis is not a joystick. The vagina is not a catcher’s mitt. Any column that suggests you be forceful and rough while holding on to the genitalia of another person does not really have your best interests at heart. Rough sex can be great, but you’re being rough with parts that have evolved to be robust. Despite what you might read, the average person does not have a robust willy or fanny. And we can tolerate a lot in terms of pressure and speed from our own manual stimulation, because our bodies are used to it and we have far better control over our own movements. You can give yourself a rough handshake and feel great, but asking the same from another will result in manly tears before bedtime. But this leads us on to our next bit to watch out for…


5. Steve (30), Guildford

Or Jaleera (24), Kettering. Or Paolo (33), Barcelona, for that matter. Magazines often use what’s called a vox pop to add credibility to a piece of information – it’s come from a real live man or woman in the street, so it must be true. Even if we treat that statement as accurate, I would stick a warning on there: boring sex advice isn’t going to make the column.

If a magazine asks 25 people about the thing that really drives them wild in the bedroom, the 20 people who reply that they really like to cuddle aren’t going to see their name in print. The 4 that like a little slap and tickle have a better chance, but it’s the one guy that likes having his pubic hair tugged that is going to be inside that little pink box next to the main feature. This is not an excuse to tug anyone’s pubic hair.


4. 50 Shades of Argh

There are different types of pain. Some can be erotic, some not. A few – a very few – may find all pain sexy, but even then it’s dependent on context. Think carefully before you put into practice any advice that suggest inflicting pain during sex, unless you think the author knows what they’re talking about, or has even endured said pain themselves. Someone at sextoys.co.uk told me they remembered Cosmo stating that during oral, they should try biting the penis of their partner. I suspect the exact wording might have been ‘bite gently,’ but seriously ladies (and men), don’t bite people’s penises. The man who wants you to bite his penis will communicate his needs after serious bonding, after a deep trust has developed. He is not simply waiting for you to read about it in Cosmo. Men who like having their penises bit are in the absolute minority (trust me on this), so to just bite the penis of every man you go down on, on the off chance that he likes it because Cosmo said so, is a low percentage strategy.


3. ‘Sexy’ Textures

Blindfold her and then sensuously stroke her with various textures. It’ll drive ‘er wild. Silk, cotton, feathers, and… um. Whatever you can think of!

No, very old issue of Loaded that I found while cleaning out the garage, not whatever you can think of. Actually, the list of textures that your embarrassed work-experience boy came up with is perfectly sufficient. It features most of the substances that can be easily acquired and feel sexy across skin. ‘Whatever you can think’ of is just asking for trouble. Empty crisp packet? Brillo pad? Newspaper? Both sides of velcro? Few of us live in exotic harems, be-draped in the finest silks and satins and furs. Stick to things you know feel good, rather than advising people to try anything they can find lying around.


2. Make sure she…

The wording for many sextips seems to imply that only one person in the equation has any knowledge of what’s going to happen. An illustrative example. Say you’re trying for the elusive (and possibly illusive) female ejaculation. I’m looking at a ‘modern kama sutra’ feature in a men’s magazine right now, and the advice in this sections reads: “make sure she’s been to the loo before you begin, as the sensations are very similar to those she might experience before and during urination.”

Sound advice. I would suggest an intermediate step, one that might not need stating, but certainly isn’t mentioned in the article (I don’t know what I expected from a feature titled ‘How to make her squirt’). Tell her what you’re trying for before you start. If she thinks she’s going to pee she’s naturally going to want to stop. If you tell her to carry on regardless, she’s going to think you want her to pee on you, Sherlock. It doesn’t matter whose pleasure you have in mind unless you’re honest about it.


1. Role play

Acting is tough. Improvisation is even harder. So while a fantasy can be much more than just a costume (truth be told, most police uniforms aren’t actually that sexy, that’s why the ones you can buy for naughty usage are usually a little skimpier and feature more vinyl than normal), just saying “let’s pretend” is a recipe for some stilted silences, some corpsing and if you’re really unlucky, some heckling from your partner.

I guess this last one is representative of the whole concept. Sex tips – as magazines would like them – don’t really exist. You either need some very graphic specifics (something most publications still shy away from) or a long and serious discussion (something most publications are incapable of). You aren’t going to get ‘mindblowing’ sex from a collection of vox pops and bullet points, it’s all too… neat. Good sex is a skill than can be practised and expanded, and like most skills you can’t go from amateur to master just by reading a few hints from a stranger. The only quick advice that ever did me any good?

Find someone you don’t hate.

Don’t get too drunk.

Prepare to giggle a bit.

It’s not a race, so finishing isn’t the point.

Practice, practice, practice.

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