Once upon a time, I was an avid reader of Cosmo. I had a subscription that I kept up for five years, from ages 14 to 19, and every time the new edition was dropped off in my mailbox, I would run upstairs to my bedroom and read it cover to cover. And then I’d read it again the next day. It was my holy grail of magazines: beauty tips, fitness tips, and sex tips galore. I wasn’t their only #1 fan–it’s one of the most popular magazines worldwide and is sold in more than 100 countries.
Over time, though, I got bored with it. It was always the same thing: a celebrity reveals a deep, dark secret about themselves; a makeup artist tells me how to make my makeup last through a workout; and 75 or so men tell me what drives them wild in the bedroom. Every time.
The sex tips were my favorite part. Before I even had sex for the first time, I was obsessed with them. They gave me an unrealistic idea of what sex would actually be like – I came to expect fireworks and non-stop sex all through the night. Because those sex tips were guaranteed to make him unable to keep his hands off me. But when the time came, I never tried any of the tips.
I recently picked up a copy of Cosmo at Target and read through it. When I got to the sex tips, I skipped over it. Later on, I went back and read them… and saw three reasons why we’d all be better off just ignoring them.
I compared three copies of the magazine: one from 2002, one from 2006, and the one I bought earlier this year. The sex tips were all very similar to one another. Grab his head and moan gently, flick the tip of his penis under your tongue, wear stilettos, and the occasional way-out-of-my-comfort zone tip, like stick a fork in his ass:
It’s no wonder I got so bored with the magazine. Yes, Cosmo, we get it. High heels are sexy and the tip of his penis is very sensitive. Can we please move on, now?
They’re heteronormative… and cissexist
I find it very hard to believe that Cosmo’s readers are all heterosexual ciswomen, but the writers and editors evidently think so. The lists of sexy things that will drive your partner wild are always – always – focused on heterosexual couples. Assuming for a second that all of Cosmo’s readers are ciswomen, any lesbian women reading the magazine are left in the dust. There are no tips that entail pleasing a female partner. And the language used in the articles erases transmen, transwomen, and non-binary people from the equation. They are still working under the assumption that men have penises and women have vaginas and that is that.
They ignore you
Cosmo has been around as a woman’s magazine since 1965 when Helen Gurley Brown took over. She turned it into a magazine where women could talk openly about their sexuality. And yet, out of all the sex tips and sex articles that grace the pages of the magazine, they rarely ever focus on the sexuality of the women reading it. There’s the occasional “8 New Ways To Orgasm!” article, but that pales in comparison to “75 Ways To Please Your Man!”
Making your partner(s) feel good during sex is obviously important, but the experience is all but ruined if you’re not feeling good, too.
Cosmo and their sex tips aren’t going anywhere any time soon, and I don’t necessarily think they should shut down that section of the magazine. It’s definitely important to bring sexuality to the forefront and stop shaming people for being sexually active. But if they are going to continue to publish sex tips in every monthly edition, they really should rethink the way they are presenting them.
What do you think about Cosmo’s sex tips? What are some of the more out-of-this-world tips you’ve read? Share them with us in the comments!
Written by Alisse Desrosiers
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