The world is awash with horrible sex tips. From the absurd (butterfly kissing the undersides of a woman’s breasts will get her hot) to the downright dangerous (pull on a man’s earlobes for leverage while riding him), much of the advice we get is at best forgettable.
But now and then interviewers intentionally or inadvertently solicit direct or indirect sex advice from celebrities. Because they’re famous, these insights into stars’ sex lives or bits of big-name advice gain greater media traction than a Cosmo canard. And because many people seem to think that fame merits emulation, consumers are probably far more likely to heed this advice as well.
To their credit, many celebs give solid sex advice: When John Stamos says the secret to a good romp is to be communicative and selfless in bed or when Sofia Vergara tells people to listen to themselves rather than rely on sex how-tos, that probably does real good. Other celebrities just over-generalize based on their preferences: Patrick Dempsey may like spanking and Jennifer Lopez may hate nipple play. Not everyone shares those tastes, so stating their experiences as absolutes is irksome — but not necessarily damaging. Then you find celebrities peddling recommendations that, in big or small ways, can be harmful. These are eight of the worst such tips we've ever come across, ranked roughly from the least to the most troubling:
1) In 2012 Rashida Jones told Nerve that one ought to consider sex with an ex only if there’s no ambiguity about the relationship being over for both parties — and preferably then if it’s hate sex or sex to show your ex how sexually advanced you’ve become since that relationship ended. Jones is right that it’s probably best not to mix sex with ambiguous feelings. No one needs life to get messy. However the notion that there’s nothing ambiguous or potentially confusing for either party about hate sex is itself a little confusing. And the idea that you would use sex as a tool to spite or one-up someone, rather than as a mutually pleasurable experience, is a little worrying. Maybe it works for Jones, but it is certainly not a standard for relationships to spread as a new norm.
2) In 2009 Jada Pinkett-Smith told Redbook that one of the secrets to keeping a relationship spicy was to indulge in fantasy — like getting busy in, say, a guest bedroom at a party. In the abstract, getting creative isn’t a bad idea. Nor is mixing up where you have sex, or even experimenting with a little social risk. But having sex in someone else’s bed or on their things is just rude. Fantasy can be indulged without infringing upon other people’s personal space, sense of comfort, and sanitation.
3) In 2008 English pop star and TV personality Cheryl Cole told The Mirror that men prefer little breaths during sex to loud screams or other vocalizations, because those sound too porny. If Cole meant this as a very oblique condemnation of making fake noises to ape pleasure one isn’t having, that’s a good piece of advice. But sadly, it seems more like she was spreading shame on people who do vocalize more than others. Neither being vocal nor non-vocal is bad — it’s personal.
4) In 2007 Christina Aguilera shared one of her secrets to a healthy relationship on The Ellen DeGeneres Show: naked Sundays, in which one spends a day doing everything in the nude with a partner — including cooking. There’s nothing wrong (nor anything inherently sexy or good) with a little recreational nudity. However cooking in the nude is never advisable. Needless to say that anything dangling and sensitive should not be exposed around an open flame or burning-hot surface.
5) In 2011 Robin Thicke told Essence that his goal in sex is to get his partner into double-digit orgasms. That sounds good at face value, but this sort of advice promotes a mathematical rather than an interpersonal view of sex. For those who have trouble achieving orgasm, the failure to meet what Thicke here dubs an attainable and definitively good sexual goal can be psychologically harmful. And seeking to emulate his self-reported numbers can push both parties toward over-exertion, while distracting from the moment because one or two people are keeping score.
6) In 2015 Ronda Rousey told Maxim that anyone who needs lube for sex is doing it wrong. If Ronda Rousey never needs and does not wish to use lubricants, then good for her. But this advice does a good amount to shame people who for whatever legitimate reason need a little help overcoming friction. Shirking lube is her loss — but it shouldn’t be all of her fans’ loss as well, and many of their shames for no good reason to boot.
7) In 2013 an indirect anecdote on Chelsea Lately revealed that, when angry with a partner, Gwyneth Paltrow advised that you ought to defuse an argument by coming at him with love — which is to say with a blowjob. Some people will likely embrace this advice. It sounds like a pornographic fantasy and an effective way of calling freeze on an uncomfortable situation. But using sex as a tool to distract from tension does nothing to defuse the underlying tension. It does turn physical intimacy into a tactic — a means of buying yourself emotional distance — which is denigrating to the sexual experience in many ways.
8) In 2006 Sharon Stone told ContactMusic that she’d recently advised a young girl that if she was getting pressured into having sex, she should just give the boy pushing her oral sex to reduce her chances of HIV infection. This is mind-boggling bad advice. First of all, oral sex is not entirely safe when it comes to HIV transmission, and it's still a vector for a whole host of other sexually transmitted diseases.
Beyond health considerations, Stone’s ultimate advice was that it’s best and easiest to give in to sexual pressure. Abstinence is impractical for many people, and it’s right to promote safe sex. But there’s nothing safe about promoting submission. Stone's time would have been better spent helping the young girl in question to assert herself, teaching the boy in question to back the hell down and respect his partner, and then providing them with the resources they need to stay safe if consensual and enthusiastic relations of any sort were in the cards at the end of the day. But that’s not quippy advice.