In a landmark move, Cosmopolitan magazine recently published a compilation of lesbian sex tips in an online slideshow called “28 mind-blowing lesbian sex positions”. The guide is Cosmo‘s first article on lesbian sex in the magazine’s 50 year history.
Responses have been across the board. James Nichols at huffpost women writes, “These moves are promising, especially in the wake of Rosie O’Donnell’s recent claims that Cosmo stopped her from coming out in 1992.” And while the daily mailnotes, that “the guide marks an increasing inclusion of homosexual relationships in mainstream media,” other commentators have been less enthused.”Lesbians, we have been mainstreamed — and I suppose we should be thankful. But, as any indie-rock fan will tell you, popularity is a double-edged sword.”Naturally, lesbian responses to these tips have been varied (and quite often, humorous). I asked a lesbian friend if she would try any of the tips with her girlfriend, and her response was full of the hilarious questions she found herself asking upon reading the guide.
My girlfriend and I looked at the sex tips together for our amusement, and out of curiosity: what could Cosmo, with its terrible sex tips for straight sex, possibly have to offer to lesbians? Let’s just say we read the tips cackling all the way through. What was with all the hair pulling? (It has now become a running joke, where she tries to pull my nonexistent long locks.) And why were they wearing really high heels most of the time? And why was the darker skinned woman usually the partner doing the servicing and the very visibly white woman usually the partner getting serviced? And what was with all positions that required supporting your body weight in acrobatic ways? Was Cosmo trying to get its readers to all engage in pilates as well?
Ultimately, her feeling was that this was “a nice gesture” on Cosmo‘s part to try to reach a wider range of readers, but the tips “didn’t read at all like an actual gay or queer woman had written them.”Slate columnist June Thomas, however, reflecting on the glaring lack of queer sex advice in pretty much any mainstream outlet, for pretty much ever. “I remember madly searching for any kind of written content about gay people and desperately inhaling news magazine cover stories and any other mention of homosexuality.”She continues, “Ogling, mocking, and largely ignoring Cosmo’s sex advice has been a venerable tradition for decades now. Nevertheless, the rag has surely made a positive contribution to Americans’ sexual satisfaction. I don’t know if, after studying this slide show, women around the world will attempt the Rockin’ Rockette, the Hot Hair Salon, or even the Lazy Girl’s 69, but I’m certain that a few women will feel more confident in their first same-sex encounters. And that really does blow my mind.”As for the actual quality of the tips — not just the good-naturedness of the gesture — The Daily Beast‘s Samantha Allen finds them laughable, concluding that the magazine does not understand “real life lesbian sex.”When trying out the Kinky Jockey position, Allen struggles.
While rubbing my clitoris on my partner’s coccyx, I faced an impossible choice between resting my entire weight on my vagina or squatting like I’m trying to pee in a dirty gas station bathroom. A few fleeting flashes of clitoral pleasure were not worth the energy I spent just trying to remain on my mare.
She found many of the positions reductive, particularly the Passionate Pole Dancer:
The “Passionate Pole Dancer” is less like grinding on a stripper pole and more like sitting at a sexy pottery wheel with a thigh for a pot and the female equivalent of a hunky Patrick Swayze right behind you. I had fun grinding on my partner’s thigh and, after my stint as a jockey, I enjoyed that I could sit down on her lap when I needed a rest. But ultimately the Passionate Pole Dancer, like so many of Cosmo’s lesbian sex positions, reduces the experience of lesbian sex to clitoral grinding.
The hope is that Cosmo‘s forward-thinking gesture will inspire more mainstream attention paid to the varied and incredibly diverse sex lives of queer and lesbian women. While the guide may not fully capture that diversity, the move is promising, and has, at the very least, provided many lesbians with a few laughs. As Allen puts it, “Bad sex advice is finally equal opportunity. … Now lesbians can read the bad sex tips we never asked for.”