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January 17, 2013

Cosmo's Ky Henderson Continues to Give Bad Advice

Cosmo's horrifying "guy guru" Ky Henderson gives more terrible advice in the January 2013 issue in Ask Him Anything...
On Vacation, my guy always wants to have hotel sex first thing. Why is that?
Guys pretty much want sex no matter where they go--work, the mall, funerals, etc. It just so happens that having sex when they get to a hotel room is socially acceptable and won't potentially lead to their arrest. That, plus the naughty factor of doing it in a new place, is why doing the deed, not a walk tour, is priority number one.

Now, we get what he's saying about hotel sex... but it's 2013, can we please get past the stupid, sexist stereotype that men want sex constantly and are always ready. It's not always true, so not only is it offensive to label all men as sex-crazed... but it also puts an unfair, unrealistic expectation on men to always be ready for sex. And then when they're not ready (at a funeral? really?) we're supposed to feel confused and rejected.
I am traditional and won't have sex until things are really serious. How do I handle the third (or fourth or fifth) date and let him know that even though I'm really attracted to him, I'm not there yet?

There's a two-prong approach to getting the message across. Drop not-so-subtle hints, and avoid situations that'll make him assume sex is imminent. Let's talk about the first point. I'm not saying you need to tell him on the first date that he's not getting any until 2017, but do be open about the way you feel, especially after the first date when it's clear that you have chemistry and you're both sussing out LTR potential in each other. When you're sharing your dating histories, make sure you tell him that you've always had long-term relationships and aren't really into flings. Or just come out and say, "I'm pretty traditional when it comes to waiting to have sex." Now, it's very likely that initially he'll think he'll be able to turn you into a sex fiend by date three--it's that kind of bravado that allows men to change into battle during war and approach women in bars during happy hour--which is why you them need to back up your words with action. Or, really, a lack of action. Cut off make-out sessions at a point when most of your clothes are still on so that tings never come to a head, so to speak, and so that it doesn't seem like you're just torturing him for fun.
Huh. Okay, well there's some good advice hidden in there but there's a lot of problematic shit in there too. Starting with "avoid situations that'll make him assume sex is imminent." We all know that Ky Henderson has a problem understanding consent, so it's not surprising that he'd suggest that it's ever okay for a man to assume that sex is "imminent". (And it's not surprising that he'd imply that it was up to the woman to make sure the guy doesn't make that assumption instead of putting the responsibility on the guy to not assume that sex is "imminent".)

Then there's the phrase "I'm pretty traditional when it comes to waiting to have sex." This could actually be misleading. What does "traditional" really mean nowadays? Does that mean waiting until marriage? Or waiting until you're in love? Or waiting until you're exclusive? Or waiting until you're just ready? It's probably better not to use buzz-words like "traditional" because we all have different definitions and connotations of what that means. I think a lot of men are open to waiting to have sex, but waiting until marriage is very different than waiting until things are "serious", so it's probably better to be specific.

Then there's the suggestion that the guy will likely try to change your mind. Ugh. Not only is that fucking obnoxious, but it's not something that should be accepted. If you are open and honest with the guy you date about what you are or aren't ready to do, then he should respect that. If he pressures you or tries to turn into a "sex fiend" by date three, then he's a jerk. But for some fucked up reason, Henderson thinks this is a good thing! "It's that kind of bravado that allows men to charge into battle during war and approach women in bars during happy hour." Ugh. I'm not really comfortable with associating the same impulses that drive men to kill opposing soldiers to those that encourage a man to pressure you into having sex. I also don't agree with the idea that this is something we should feel good about.

Henderson has repeatedly tried to make this point - guys are just like, super horny, all the time, so women should, like, feel totally flattered, even if they're being assholes - barf. It's really problematic. There's just something very wrong about encouraging women to view unwanted advances from a man as compliments. Trying to push someone's sexual boundaries isn't "bravado" it's harassment.

Then there's also his advice to cut off make-out sessions "at a point when most of your clothes are still on". Why? Because if you take off your clothes, then he's entitled to sex? And then if you deny him, you're doing something wrong because you totally led him on? (Even though you already made it clear that you wanted to wait.) And it also suggests that if you don't want to have sex that automatically means that you don't want to do anything but make-out fully clothed. (When really, there are a lot of varying degrees of physical intimacy that can take place before intercourse happens.)
On a first date, I'll always do the wallet grab, even though I'd be turned off if he wanted me to pay. Do guys know it's an act? 

Yes...but that doesn't mean you should stop doing it. Why? Because it shows that you're not a princess who needs everything done for her and that you understand the value of money. There is a trick to doing the wallet grab without giving him the wrong idea that you actually want to split the bill. What not to do: Say something like "I'd really prefer we split this." If you do that, a guy who had every intention of paying may panic and fear that you'll be annoyed if he doesn't let you pay for half. Instead, let him make the first move for his wallet. When he does, reach for yours, and silently continue going through the motions of paying until he stops you. Most guys will.
This advice isn't terrible, but what I object to here, is that he never calls her on the fact that she would be "turned off" if he accepted her offer to split the bill. Why is it such a turn off to pay for yourself? Why does it have to be an act? The idea is not to seem like a "princess who needs everything done for her" but it's totally cool if you are a princess like that?
I get hit on when I'm not dressed up, but when I wear a cleavage-baring top, I'm ignored by guys. What's the deal?

Do you have a giant skull and crossbones tattoo between your boobs? If you do, I'm guessing that's a pretty big factor. If you don't, then it's probably a combination of how a low-cut top changes both a guy's perception of you and your own behavior. Hitting on women can be extremely stressful, so men will often choose women who look approachable. I'm guessing you're not wearing sweatpants with your cleavage-baring top? So while you may look fantastic, that right there could be the problem -- because guys may assume you'll need a lot more than a friendly hello to be impressed. In other words, they're intimidated by you and your sexy top. On the other hand, if you're not comfortable with your look and are wearing it to get guys' attention, it probably shows. Your body language will come off as self-conscious, which turns guys off. Dress in a way that makes you feel confident--no need to bust out the Sofia Vergara costume.
Okay, first of all... what's wrong with a giant skull and crossbones tattoo between your boobs? A lot of people might think that was pretty fucking hot. Like this woman. Don't be so judgmental Ky.

I will give Henderson a tiny bit of credit on this one, that it wasn't nearly as slut-shamey as I expected it to be. Of course there's a little bit of subtle slut-shaming innuendo hidden behind "how a low-cut top changes both a guy's perception of you and your own behavior", but I'm actually really impressed that he didn't outright say something like "he'll think you're a slut" this time.

However, that doesn't mean that his answer isn't still a bit problematic. In an earlier question he went on about how men think about sex constantly and likened the "bravado" that helps them approach women in the bar to going to war. But now they're intimidated by a low-cut top? And the Sofia Vergara reference is odd. She's gorgeous, but what exactly would a "costume" of her look like? A low-cut top? His phrasing just rubs me the wrong way.

Overall, this isn't the worst advice Ky Henderson has given... but it's not good advice either. We're still not sure what qualifies him to be Cosmo's "guy guru" other than the fact that he allegedly has a Y chromosome. All we can say is, Cosmo, please, stop trying to make Ky Henderson happen. It's not going to happen. The only guy that would be a worse choice for Cosmo's resident guy expert would be Hugo Schwyzer (although we think he's well on his way... more on that soon. Ick.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

He might have been a bit off the mark at times, but I actually think he was the least slut-shaming, most sensible of the writers in the last edition... I mean the women writers were way worse.