Something inside me broke (in a good way) when I first read "Cosmo's Summer Sex Recipes" (July 1999, p. 116), and it clearly likewise made an impression on Dan Savage. But Dan has now several times (in the above-named podcasts and an earlier one) invoked and incorrectly characterized the article's tent-pole sex tip, describing it as follows: A sexual act, invented by Cosmo interns, wherein a lady, during al fresco vaginal intercourse, places a rock against (or even sorta poking inside) her man's anus. Dan has also noted that such sneak-attack buttplay would not be welcomed by most straight guys.
The article in question does not instruct the reader to place a stone against her man's anus; rather, the stone goes against the perineum. This is a little bit more sensible: less likely than unannounced anal stimulation to cause a freakout, more likely (though still unlikely) to produce a positive or neutral result. Let's examine the original text!
THE SENSUAL SCENARIO You're headed for a hike and a picnic with your honey, but little does he know, this is no ordinary day in the great outdoors. You'll bring out his back-to-the-wild side with in-the-mood foods and surprising tools. PASSION PROPS Soft blanket; iced tea; citronella candles; a clean, smooth rock; tangerines; extra-gentle baby wipes; citronella-containing lotion SMOOTH MOVES 1. Open the blanket and light the bug-repelling candles. 2. Massage your bodies with the lotion. Don't apply to your breasts or from his belly button to his penis—the lotion doesn't taste great. 3. Take a tangerine and squeeze the juice just below his navel and slowly lick it off, then ask him to do the same to you. (Use baby wipes to clean up any stickiness.) 4. Get in the missionary position. Use the rock to gently rub the area just behind his testicles at the moment he's about to climax.
OK, so nearly everything about this particular Summer Sex Recipe is even stupider and more off-putting than Dan has made it sound; I can't picture how the perineum rubbing would be physically possible (or, at the very least, comfortable for the rubber) in the missionary position. This certainly comports with other inexplicable Cosmo sex tips (and you know what's even riskier than springing a little unexpected taint-rocking on your man? taking him on a "hike" and a "picnic" for which the only fucking food you've brought is tangerines and iced tea). But here's something curious: "Summer Sex Recipes" was not written by an unpaid intern, nor was it some effluvium of the dread Cosmo hivemind. It was written by one ladywriter named Kristen Kemp. And in this week's Savage Lovecast, which Dan leads off by heaping scorn on Ms. Kemp's sex tip, he also takes a call from a woman who is suffering from pain during vaginal intercourse/dildonic self-penetration/etc. (Whether this is vulvodynia or vaginismus or just vag-pain, not totally clear.) He then calls in a guest expert, who refers the caller to the National Vulvodynia Association. Do you know who happens to have written an entire book on the personal agony of vulvodynia? Kristen Kemp. You could have had her on the podcast, Dan, and the great circle would have been complete! She probably would have had some expert advice for the distressed caller. And that advice would have been: Press a clean, smooth rock against your vulva.