03/11/2014 12:14 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

This Is The Crazy Sh*t Magazines REALLY Mean When They Give Us Advice About Love And Sex

Everyone's received their fair share of truly terrible love advice, whether from Internet forums, or over-enthusiastic great-aunts. But we'd argue that the advice printed in your run-of-the-mill drugstore magazines is often the most egregious. These magazines are often gender-oriented; but the bad advice is bestowed equally upon men and women. Sometimes this advice perpetuates outdated stereotypes, sometimes it encourages crazy behavior and sometimes it does both. Ultimately, the sweeping generalizations do both men and women a disservice.

Here's our translation of what magazines are really telling you when they give advice about love and sex:

On Attraction

What Cosmo says to women: "The best thing to say to a guy you just met on the beach: 'I bet you're wondering how I avoid tan lines.'"

What we're hearing:


What Men's Health says to men: "Can't take your eyes off her nearly-see-through dress? Don't -- she's scantily clad for a reason."

What we're hearing:


On "getting lucky":

What Cosmo says to women: "To separate yourself from the pack, you'll need to pull a move so wild, he won't be able to stop thinking about it the next day."

What we're hearing:


What Men's Health says to men: "Talk her into bed... get lucky tonight by choosing your words carefully."

What we're hearing:


On the ups and downs of relationships:

What Cosmo says to women: "New research claims that male sexual impulses, i.e. owning a penis, could be the main reason why guys just can't stop chasing tail. So, try to find a dude without one."

What we're hearing:


What Men's Health says to men: "Manage her paranoia -- stop the green-eyed monster rearing it's ugly head."

What we're hearing:


On communication:

What Cosmo says to women: "It can't be repeated enough: Guys have a low threshold for mindless chatter. If you're rambling on about your friends, coworkers, or anything you read on a gossip site, he's gonna feign interest, then fake an emergency doctor's appointment."

What we're hearing:


What Men's Health says to men: "Make sure she knows how beautiful she is and how sexually skilled she is, especially if she isn't -- sexually skilled, that is."

What we read:


On "wild" sex:

What Cosmo says to women: "Press a fork (firmly, but don't break the skin or anything) into different parts of his body -- his butt cheeks, his pecs, his thighs."

What we're hearing:


What Men's Health says to men: "Get naked! Pour peppermint schnapps in her belly button. Sip it."

What we're hearing:



It's startling to really examine the love lessons that are lurking beneath the cheerful quips and shiny stock photos we see in popular magazines. Some of the advice is too ridiculous to take seriously (we sincerely hope nobody was inspired to bring a fork into the bedroom...). But many of these tips contain echoes of persistent, insidious gender stereotypes that limit what we expect from ourselves and of the opposite sex. And that, my friends, ain't sexy.



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