Saturday, January 30, 2010

99 Ways to Please Your Man.

Okay, readers. I have decided to start a smallish series on the evils of consumer media and culture, beginning with magazines and how they have defamed, de-faced, and de-valued women.

This is the first in the series.

99 Ways to Please Your Man was the approximate title of one of the articles selected for my reading pleasure in my "Cosmo experience".

I admit that when I first read the article, I tried to read it for humor. I tried to look at it and really picture people attempting to do these things in all seriousness - and I admit that this was, well, at times, hilarious, but by the time I finished reading the article I realized that mostly, it was just sad.

I can remember a time during study hall in middle school where I saw a friend who was reading Cosmo at her desk. She informed me that she had swiped the magazine from her mother's collection and that I HAD to read some of the articles inside. This was a big deal for us seventh grade girls. We were just starting puberty, for the most part. We barely knew what sex was, let alone "how to please [our] man", so this was big stuff: educational stuff. I can still remember some of the things in that article. In fact, I used some of them later, when the opportunity arose. The thing about all of this is, it's fake.

I'm not saying that the theories and ideas aren't scientifically proven - they well might be - I'm sure that there has been all sorts of research done regarding nerve endings and stimulation and everything else. What I am saying is, reading these things simply isn't healthy - for an adult woman - let alone a young teenaged girl.

Articles like this served me in my life only to make me do things that I otherwise would not have ever done or thought necessary. They made me think that there were certain things I had to do in order to keep a boy interested, in order to make him happy, in order to make him like me, to make him find me fascinating and beautiful. When things got stale with a boy, I'd think back to that article in Redbook or Cosmo or Seventeen, and I'd try a new trick. I relied on those magazine articles, on the movies I'd seen, on the television programs I watched, to keep a boy interested.

The results were that, sure, he would be sort of interested - but the problem with that is, he wasn't interested in me. Or my ideas. Or my personality. Boys who really DID like me for who I was had this warped idea of what I was into, what I was about, what I liked to do with my time - all because I thought that this is what it took to keep a boyfriend. To be honest, I think some of the stuff probably just scared them.

Why do we read these articles? Is it because we think that our instincts aren't good enough? Is it because we think we're lacking something essential when it comes to our sexual relationships all by ourselves? Is it that we feel we NEED this help in order to be attractive to our boyfriends? And no, ladies and gentlemen, these articles are NOT fashioned toward the old and married, they are fashioned toward the single and boyfriended. Is this truly what we feel will keep a man interested in us?

This hurts my heart.

I fell into this trap as a young girl. I tried all sorts of things to keep boys around. I think the saddest part was that I was trying these things on boys who really did love me. Who really did want to be with me WITHOUT all these tips and tricks that made me feel shameful and dirty. I think that most of my relationships ended because I wasn't confident in simply being myself. I was so worried about pleasing my boyfriend physically, so terrified that he would be bored with me - not because he had indicated that he needed these things, but because the media told me that this was what men are about.

What a huge disservice to men! To be labeled as solely sexual beings? To be told that you want nothing else in a woman except for her to be good in the bedroom? I am certain that men find this a nice attribute when the time comes, but really? How shallow to be defined by this!

But we buy it.

This is why Cosmo puts it in the 'zine.

We feel like we NEED these tips to keep men interested. We feel like we are NOT good enough all on our own. We feel like if we don't give in to sex with our boyfriend then we are going to be passed over for the next girl who will. We feel like there is NO MAN ALIVE who would want us for who we are and not what we can dish out physically. Wow, ladies, if I were a man I might be sort of offended. Do we really feel this way? And if that's true then why in the world do we want a man anyway?

No, there is more. We know that men are more than a body in the bedroom. We know that we are more than that too - but we're so afraid.

We're afraid of being alone. We're afraid of giving up our hearts and then having them shattered on the floor in front of us. We're willing to do anything to avoid that feeling - that shattering feeling when our broken heart is handed back to us, mangled and unrecognizable and we have to go back out and face the cold world with nothing...

This is a scary thing. It is a hard thing. It is hurtful and it breaks us. But we are better than this.

1. We do not need a man in order to have value.

2. In order to keep our man, we do not need a magazine to tell us new things to try in the bedroom.

It has taken me a long time to write those words, to be honest. I have never been very confident in myself. Not just me all by myself and alone. I was about twenty when I decided that I wasn't going to pretend to be someone I wasn't in order to get a boy to like me. That I wasn't going to spend hours getting ready for a CLASS that that hot boy shared with me just to hopefully gain his coveted attention. It has taken me even longer to understand #2.

I'm not huge into magazines, but I have let them and the media affect me. I have always felt inadequate, even since marriage (things don't magically change in this department when you get married, I was dismayed to find). It has taken me until VERY recently to understand that when you are married to someone, when you have a deep trust with someone, when you both know that breaking up isn't something you're laying out on the table over every petty argument - it is only then, with REAL trust, that you can open up to a person physically: sexually. It is only then that you can be creative all on your own.

When you have a relationship like this you don't NEED a magazine to tell you 99 new tricks to try on your man. You just need to know that you are loved unconditionally, and that you love unconditionally, and things just sort of... fall into place.

I know that many of my friends don't have marriages like this. I know that many of my friends are still dating, or engaged, and that it is very hard to believe. It is very hard to wait. I know. I have been there. I have wanted so desperately to do the right things to make a man love me. I have thought that I could figure it all out through research - that someone else could tell me what I needed in my relationship - that TV really showed me what my boyfriend wanted me to do and be like. The truth is, it's all lies.

Oh, readers, I have only just learned this. I think this is why the article touched me the way it did. I went through so much of my life trying to be someone I wasn't. I went through so much of my life doing things that made me feel ashamed and whorish and ugly just to get a boy to stay with me or love me more or to "make him happy". I wish I had just listened to myself. I wish that I could've avoided all of those things and that all the boys around me could have too. How much happier would we be if we could just trust one another and ourselves to know what to do when the time comes?

After all, sex is a holy command. One of the few given to us from the beginning, way back in the garden. God said "be fruitful and multiply": go and have sex. We KNOW how to do this, ladies and gentlemen. We don't need a magazine or a porno or a television program as a how-to. It's built in. When everything is as it should be. When there is mutual respect and trust and the knowledge that our marriage commitment is the REAL deal - not just a contract that can be broken, but a convenant commitment, then we'll know exactly what we're doing, and we won't have to be ashamed.


Missy said...

Gotta love how my ad sense feed saw "Cosmo" in this bog and posted a great big ad for women's magazines. Choose wisely, ladies.

Missy said...

Oooh, they took it down - must've read my comment. ;-)

Leni Ellwein said...

This is so true. Why my marriage ended? no deep trust.

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