Courtesy of Cosmopolitan: 24 Big Bang Sex Tips

by Andrew Bertina

1. When he asks after your afternoon, wearing a tweed cardigan, tell him of your love of Foucault. Talk about the nature of power and its role in structuring society and relationships. Use words like patriarch, maleficent, discipline, and punish. Like most men, he will find this irresistible, and you’re likely in for a wonderful afternoon of tepid sex followed by a quick shower.

2. Buy a blow-up doll off the internet. When he’s out, pose with the doll in scenes reminiscent of a Rockwell painting. Post these pictures to Instagram. The doll should be middle-aged, mustachioed, and he’s going to look best in themed outfits: baseball player, ship captain, dancer, etc. Above all, always keep the doll hidden when your partner is around. Finally, after weeks, take the doll with the two of you on a picnic, reenacting a Pointillist painting with pink umbrellas, watery light, and the vague turquoise river running past you. If your partner is jealous, point out that he’s jealous of an inanimate object. When he goes to sleep, pack your bags and fly to Vegas with the doll, and take pictures of your wedding, after which, you may have tepid sex.

3. Keep things sexy by surprising him after a shower wearing all your clothes. Dig through the closet and into winter clothes, putting on sweatpants and shirts that say things like JV track on them. After seeing you, he’ll be surprised and probably want to talk about what kinds of times you recorded in the 400 meters.

4. Stand over him in the middle of the night, watching his chest rise and fall. If he wakes, startled, and asks what you are doing, tell him that you’ve been thinking about your 401K. Ask him if he thinks, in all honesty, if you’re vested enough to retire at fifty-seven. Wake him periodically to help you with the math calculations. Like most men, he will find this irresistible.

5. Put on a pair of really baggy pajamas and demand to watch Netflix and eat Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. If he says, “Tonight I just want to watch sports,” remind him that only one of you loves sports, but both of you love to eat ice cream. It is so cold, so rich, and sweet.

6. Take up the art of origami. Fold him a swan or whatever people are folding these days. Tell him that the swan or whatever you happen to fold is a paper packed with meaning. If he asks, “Why did you make me a swan?” say, “All of life is an act of interpretation.”

7. Read Tolstoy’s War and Peace and talk to him extensively about the decisions the characters are making, the possible impact on their lives and future happiness. Act as if they are real people, sitting in the next room, waiting for their lives to unfold like pages in a book while the tea steeps in the kitchen, leftover steam dissolving in the half-light creeping through white curtains.

8. Learn a foreign language. When your mother calls, use your new foreign language skills to speak in a tone that conveys complaint. Eye him significantly during the conversation and frequently shake your head in disgust. Remember, everything sounds like an argument in Italian. If he asks, say something in French, which will remind him of the bedroom because of all the episodes of Red Shoe Diaries he watched as a teenager in which French maids figured prominently.

9. Find a job that you are deeply passionate about. Prioritize the work; speak of it as something that helps you find meaning. Talk of your job often, taking brief breaks to reflect on what it means to make a difference in the world. Like many men, he will want to take up your passions and also sometimes have slow, sweet lovemaking sessions.

10. Make him a mix tape of your top all-time favorite songs from Celine Dion. When the one from Titanic comes on, move closer, fold your fingers into his, and say, “It’s okay to cry,” while making the sort of eye contact that conveys deep sympathy, deep understanding. Crying is an aphrodisiac for most men, especially when they are the ones crying. If this fails, feel free to try Adele.

11. After his body has warmed the sheets, find a cool pocket for your cheek to rest on, and tell him about a morning from your childhood. Do not leave out any of the details: he wants to hear about the ducks, the rust-colored leaves, the musty scent of that autumn morning, the wind brushing away the drops of dew.

12. Sigh deeply and meaningfully when he comes to bed. If he asks what you are thinking, roll away and say, “Nothing.” Then sigh again. Repeat this cycle until the repetition has washed over you completely and you are actually thinking of nothing. There are no dishes to be washed, no floors to be cleaned, no bills to be paid, no bosses asking for your progress on reports about Yemen. Let yourself fall into the moment slowly, like a snowflake from some very distant cloud, feel the immensity of the quiet.

13. Take up bird calls. As you are getting into bed, quiet him with a finger over his lips and repeat the slight hoo of a Bard owl. If he tries to speak, say “shhhhhh.” Now is the time to walk to the window, to feel the glass cool against your fingertips. Say, “If we are completely silent we might hear him.” Call quickly, quietly again and again, the harsh net of the screen scratching against your face. “Are you out there? Are you out there?” When the howl doesn’t respond, get back in bed and lie quietly. Do not begin sobbing. Everyone is alone.

14. Take up sailing on the weekends. Take the boat out over the water just after sunrise, when the light is green and the sea is calm. Become an expert on sailing, listening intently to the lonesome cry of gulls skimming along the water as if they are harvesting the morning light. Speak frequently of your love of the movie Double Jeopardy, in which Ashley Judd is framed for murdering her spouse on a sailboat. If he asks what the plot points are, sit down with him and watch it. After the movie is over, discuss life insurance policies, saying that he’s worth at least two million to you. Offer to take him sailing every weekend until he agrees. When you are finally out on the open water again, he’ll take off his shoes and ask where you’re sailing to, with a small grin creeping across his face. Hand him a cup of champagne that is drugged. As he slumps down against the siding, enjoy the quiet, the brine, and the slight breeze. Sailing was your thing. For a moment, you almost fucked that up.

15. Become a budding astrologist and deliver platitudes every time he walks in the door—be open to things, stay focused, today someone you love might be in need of you, someone you love may shut you out. Be watchful, be attentive, today is the first day of the rest of your life, be mindful, be. Eventually admit that it’s trash, but everything in life is trash; everything is just making things up until the day we die.

16. When the attractive waiter returns to the table to collect his tip, he will find bits of a poem scrawled on a napkin, something by Mary Oliver about the geese, the pebbles of rain, and the clear blue sky.

17. If you find yourself in need, talk to your lover about the philosopher David Hume. Tell your lover the truth—that despite all appearances to the contrary there really is no guarantee that the sun will rise in the morning. Let your bodies unfold in the eternity of the moment. Then flip on the television and watch an episode of BoJack Horseman that reminds you of despair, of cold, grey winter days, of afternoons underneath a blanket that turn into quiet lovemaking and long naps.

18. Draw him a detailed picture of the people you love, not forgetting a single detail, but falling short just the same. Nothing in life is ever as easy as it seems. In the evening, describe to him what each line and bit of shading on the page represents to you. Tell him what it means to have tried to capture something ineffable– an afternoon with your father on the lake when you were seven, his grey hair, his small quick hands on the fishing line or an evening spent with your mother when you were fifteen–the precise tenor of the light coming from a lamp as the two of you laughed and began to love one another again, as you had when you were a child. All your memories are like this, flickers of television shows that you watched in the ’90s.

19. Tell him about your passions, the sorts of questions that keep you awake at night, lying in the darkness, while the world spins and spins and your mind tries to keep up with the awful pace.

20. Sleep. At all costs, sleep. When you wake, the world will once again be full of wonder.

21. Draw an elaborate map that has a pathway to your heart. Include everything that you’ve loved since you were very little: a kitten named Speckles, Jem and the Holograms, a math quiz that you got 100 percent on in third grade. Make the map like a maze with an entry point but no exit. This is the way, if I’m being honest, to big bang type sex.

22. Read him a poem or a piece of literature that moves you deeply. Afterward, sit in the quiet of the room and think together, sinking into the moment like a body into water.

“The universe is a solitary space, and all its creatures do nothing but reinforce its solitude. In it, I have never met anyone, I have only stumbled across ghosts.” E. M. Cioran

23. There are hours comprising uncertainty. The I of the morning is not the same as the I of the evening. I am perhaps immortal as long as I am I, though one day the I will be extinguished, at which point I will no longer be immortal. You and I are both abstractions, paintings hung on the wall of some very dark cathedral, in a land far away, where no one can speak our names. This is merely a longish way, as some people are prone to, of saying: in all things, if possible, be kind.

24. Come summer, board a plane and fly to somewhere in the east. If you can afford it, unmoor yourself even from the dock of language, float through the serpentine streets, ducking into cafes for cafe au lait, or slip into the church to beat the heat of the day, sweat dripping from your nose, and amidst the dark and cool stone admire a fresco of Christ’s passion or Mary’s lament by an artist whose name you don’t know. And yet, there you are, face now tight with dried sweat encountering their name on a wall, five hundred years after they have died.

Keep a journal throughout the trip and write briefly about the activities of each day, but spend the majority of the journal reflecting on how everything makes you feel, your impressions, your thoughts, the way that you connected to the fresco and the dead painter’s name on the wall. When you return home, if he asks after the trip, the sunlight skimming through the windows, tell him that it is your own private journey, which you will talk about in due time. Say that if he sticks around for months or years perhaps you can begin to deliver bits and pieces of this trip, like glass washing up on the shore of some distant sea. In this way, we might achieve something like sex, or perhaps love.