The Problem With Cosmo’s Lesbian Sex Guide

I think it’s safe to say that there’s a large population of people who welcome sex advice. Or at least are open to the idea of spicing things up a bit. And that’s exactly what Cosmopolitan magazine prides itself on—offering sex advice to people who are looking for it. Well, usually offering it to straight people who are looking for it. Cosmo has been around for about 40 years, and has always been geared toward straight women. This month, for the first time ever, Cosmo is offering sex advice to non-straight women—lesbians, bisexuals, and any women who are interested in having sex with women. Its cartoon-y, 28 Mind-Blowing Lesbian Sex Positions guide promises to do just that—blow minds.

So, that’s great, right? Lesbians enjoy reading about sex advice just as much as straight women do. Except, here’s the problem—whose minds are they trying to blow? The minds of straight women? The minds of men? Certainly not the minds of lesbians. Lesbians’ minds are typically aware that sex position advice probably needs to be on the realistic side for it to actually have an affect at all. Like, real people should actually physically be able to maneuver into the moves they are suggesting. Instead, the pictures and advice Cosmo chose to include in their tutorial seem to be taken directly out of a straight man’s fantasy of a lesbian Cirque du So-sex performance.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Don’t get me wrong, it’s really great when any publication recognizes that gay people read their magazine, and that they should probably gear some content towards them. But why did it take so long? Lesbians aren’t a new thing, and neither is Cosmo. It’s as if they put out this ridiculous picture tutorial as a way to make up for lost time. When really, it is just proving how not lesbian-inclusive Cosmo actually is.

But they’re trying, and that’s important. Cosmo has recently started featuring more gay-friendly content. In the past year, the magazine published two pieces titled 14 Things You Should Never Say to a Gay Man and 8 Things Not to Say to a Transgender Person. Both are important for people to know. Progress is progress.

I certainly don’t speak for all lesbians, but if a magazine like Cosmo wants to reach lesbians in a positive way, they should do it in a way that doesn’t degrade or cater to a lesbian-fantasy world. Make the content real. Make it worthwhile. And make the publication a safe place for lesbians to come to without worrying about feeling mocked or completely misunderstood.

(Featured images via Cosmopolitan)

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