First, I think it’s safe to assume that Molly Triffin is really a woman, and Jason Torchinsky is really a man. They have a lot in common: an easy-breezy magazine-y tone, and they want to make their audiences laugh. The Jalopnik article wants to inform as well as entertain. On the surface, the Cosmo article also wants to inform, but the writer’s main focus is humor – and most people who have read more than three Cosmo issues recognize that the sex tips are really kind of a joke.
The Cosmo article makes a lot of assumptions about their readers, and role that gender plays in the minds of the readers. It recognizes that a lot of women’s sexual pleasure comes from titillating the partner. But they make the assumption that 1) the man is just happy to have sex, and 2) there is no chance of failure because even if a sex tip doesn’t work, the guy is still ecstatic that he got some.
Torchinsky calls bullshit on the Cosmo assumptions. He basically says men do like sex, but they don’t want to play a lot of stupid games to have it. Being a car geek, he’s particularly offended by the uncomfortable, unrealistic part the car plays in these scenarios.
I think it’s a well-established meme in pop culture that men are also very invested in pleasing their partners. Look in the back of certain magazines, and you’ll find ads telling him how to “drive women crazy”. Also, in the movie “Hope Springs,” the Tommy Lee Jones character tells the Steve Carell therapist that he feels his wife is just enduring sex, and says something like, “It’s not a lot of fun having sex with someone who doesn’t want it too.”
The Cosmo tips look male-centered, but they are very much about the woman – as well they should be. It’s a women’s magazine. But they don’t tell the whole story, and I think it goes without saying that they shouldn’t be your only source when you are researching human sexuality for your book.
Cosmo, I think, assumes that the Cosmo boyfriend wants the same kinds of things the Cosmo girl wants – sensory stimulation, a rich fantasy foreplay, and a sense of naughtiness. Looking through some of the comments at Jalopnik and on the sister site Jezebel in an article about different Cosmo sex tips, we can see that the Cosmo writers don’t think the sex tips are going to leave the page. They are meant to provide a pleasant fantasy for women.
An escapist fantasy doesn’t necessarily mean that details have to work in real life. It’s wonderful if fantasy could survive a closer look, but in general, this kind of reader wants escape. In the case of Cosmo sex tips, they want to leave behind the good-girl hang-ups, and have naughty, thrilling sex that drives their partners crazy with lust and desire.
But, I have to admit, it’s terribly funny when someone takes a good, hard look at the tropes underpinning the fantasies. This is one of my favorite devices in fiction – the vampire that can’t stand blood, the werewolf who is afraid of cats, the hero who says, “OK, how about this time we *don’t* go running through the door yelling and screaming and tipping off the enemy?”
Two different roads to Oz. One requires a hefty suspension bridge of disbelief; the other, knowledge of that bridge’s struts and supports.