In the summer of 2003, Cosmopolitan published what would become its most infamous “sex tip” of all time: An anonymous boyfriend, sourced alongside other anonymous boyfriends to offer 99 “Fresh, Frisky Tips [to] Thrill Every Inch of Your Guy,” spoke effusively of a technique in which his girlfriend would slip a glazed doughnut around his penis, and slowly nibble it off. For more than a decade, the suggestion has been regarded as the most deranged one that Cosmo has ever published — which is saying a lot, as the magazine generates an unparalleled quantity of sex advice, often slipping into the delightfully absurdist. But in late November, the magazine published a new tip that rivals the infamous doughnut in both ingenuity and surprising use of props. It is titled “The Leave No Trace,” and it goes like this:
If you are staying at someone’s house over the holidays and need to avoid certain seminal evidence, make the easiest masturbator ever by filling a plastic sandwich bag with lube. Put a sock around it for a better grip and stroke up and down your partner’s penis while they rub you. Afterward, seal it up then hide the living hell out of that baggie.
What’s most immediately striking about this magnificently rich text is its title, which is wildly at odds with the advice it offers: Why does a tip that’s all about leaving no evidence behind require so many material objects? Whatever happened to that good old-fashioned bedroom standby, the condom, which is pretty great at trapping sperm? Lube: Sure, that’s fine. But about that sock. Why must we involve a sock in this? And a sandwich bag?
The suggested cum receptacle raises a host of questions as well: What type of closure should this bag have: a seal or zipper top, or is it a fold-over one? (A main concern here has to do with the ridges.) Also, is a sandwich bag really big enough?
But the part of the tip that’s most perplexing is the last step, which instructs the hand-job giver to “hide the living hell out of that baggie.” Why not say “push it to the bottom of a deep trash can?” Because it does not explicitly propose that one throw away the cum- and lube-filled sandwich bag, it brings to mind the image of someone surreptitiously sneaking out, carrying a slimy bag, to a hole they’d pre-dug in their aunt’s backyard, where they will bury it deep under the earth.
Plus, this definitely isn’t the most sustainable sexual act. Single-use plastic? In this climate?