Flicking through a copy of Cosmopolitan at my local railway station – I would never buy it, it’s only for tutting at disapprovingly as I wait for trains – I saw they had interviewed some ‘real men’ about something to do with sex. I involuntarily rolled my eyes (and tutted disapprovingly) because I’ve noted that ‘real men’, according to Cosmo, are to be found not down mines or on construction sites but exclusively in professions that would never require them to break a sweat or develop calluses. They’re always in poncey occupations such as wine importing or commodities trading, exactly the kinds of places, in fact, where I am likely to find that species of smug, preening, self-congratulating male I would never dream of having sex with. Men with a manicure probably, Lord save us. A buffed fingernail near my clitoris? I think not.
Despite my misgivings I read on (six minutes until my train was due) and discovered that these ‘real men’ were opining on ‘what women do in bed to turn men off’. Thanks Cosmo, because as confident as I am in the bedroom I desperately need reassurance that I’m not actually causing revulsion in my playmates. As a rule, I think that any man lucky enough to be in bed with me in the first place should be spluttering his gratitude before I’ve even set to work, but tell me, Cosmo, what am I doing wrong?
The first ‘crime’ women commit in bed, apparently, is ‘giving bad head’. Well, boo-hoo, try communicating like an adult rather than lying there mutely indignant. And have the good grace to say ‘I’d really like you to do this baby’, rather than barking, ‘not like that!’ We women have perfected the art of tactful instruction in our sometimes interminable search for great cunnilingus, because although every man seems convinced he’s superb in this department he very often isn’t, and I, for one, am not prepared to endure something akin to a thirsty Labrador lapping at his water bowl so that I don’t hurt a guy’s feelings. Oh dear, I just conjured up a very weird image there. Try and erase that from your mind.
The second misdemeanour we gals are guilty of is ‘not allowing anal sex.’ Fine, if he takes his turn with a massive dildo up his arse. The point here being not that anal can’t be enjoyable but that a man should be prepared to try it himself before admonishing his partner for refusing. Fair’s fair. And let’s face it, he’ll probably like it. What’s a prostate for, anyway?
As I read through the article, however, there came this hitherto-unsuspected faux pas: ‘one girl I had a one night stand with’, whined Henry – who was probably a thoroughbred horse breeder although we weren’t told – ‘started grabbing my arse and shouting ‘fuck me harder!’ I was really shocked and I didn’t ask for her number afterwards’
Well, call me Kim Cattrall, but where did they find this pathetic specimen? What kind of warped notion of female sexuality is appalled by such natural, nay, healthy vocalisation during the throes of passion? And what did he expect on a one night stand? Jane fucking Eyre?
I confess it had never occurred to me that a man might be offended by explicit talk during sex. At lunch with his mother maybe – Oh, Mrs. Jones, your Paul licked my clit so damned good last night, do hope we didn’t wake you? – but not alone together, with his dick pumping away like Stephenson’s Rocket! ‘Fuck me harder’ is also, I would suggest, at the more restrained end of the bedroom-talk spectrum; if he’d been in bed with me, the poor lamb would have had a coronary. I love talking dirty. I don’t like ‘wholesome’ sex. What is that anyway, but some Mills and Boon fantasy for people who don’t know how to get their rocks off. I don’t trust a man who can’t handle my dirty mouth. If it’s that dirty then he won’t want his cock in it, will he?
As for Henry, why wasn’t he weeded out by the Cosmo editors and sent off to a good psychologist who could unravel whatever sorry psycho-drama led to such ‘Madonna/whore confusion? I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s still lamenting the fact that women no longer wear crinoline, or blush and swoon under the gaze of a gentleman with a rather fine moustache. I’d hate to break it to him, but ‘respectable’ women have always loved a good, dirty fuck. I’d bet even Jane Eyre grabbed Mr. Rochester’s tight English buttocks on her wedding night and urged him to ‘transport me to ecstasy’ as she hadn’t had an orgasm since Michaelmas.
I was so irritated by the article that when my train arrived I produced the most disapproving tut I could muster, stuck the offending Cosmopolitan back on the rack behind a copy of Car Mechanics (more useful to women) and gave a particularly hard stare to the City gent who smiled at me as we boarded. I’d noticed his manicured fingernails. Fuck him.