Lies Magazines Tell: Anatomy Of An Orgasm How-to Story

July Glamour's cover promises "Amazing Sex Every Time!" Yet the inside contains ... more of the same boring, unhelpful advice. We used this month's worthless wonder to break down the magazine orgasm how-to story into its crappy component parts.

The Masturbation Recommendation
Glamour's version of this comes from a woman who learned to stroke her own clit during sex. Not a bad idea! But not exactly revolutionary either. Nor are the zillions and zillions of variants on "get to know your own body" that magazines typically proffer. We get it: masturbation = good. But for the many women who can come by themselves but not with a partner, this may not be that much help.

The Pointless First-Person Anecdote
Glamour has loads of these. There's the girl who thought she could only come with a huge cock, but then met a man she enjoyed sex with despite his four-and-a-half-incher. The moral: everybody's different, and sex with one person is different from sex with anybody else. Thanks Glamour! Uh, but doesn't this mean that the ex-size-queen's experience won't apply to me? Shut up and move on to ...

The Relationship Explanation
Kierna Mayo tells Glamour that she didn't have regular orgasms with her guy until they were fully committed to each other. And sure, some women need to feel safe in order to climax, and some of those women need to be committed to feel safe. That said, plenty of women have great relationships and no orgasms, and an equal number have great orgasms and no relationship. The relationship explanation may be true for some women, but it's far from a panacea.

The See-Your-Doctor Sendoff
Most of these pieces end with the recommendation that, if nothing else works, you should talk to your gynecologist. Glamour includes the testimony of a woman who turned out to have a nasty-sounding but fixable problem called clitoral adhesions. Her story is a happy one (spoiler: they all are in this kind of article), and her example is good: if you're having sex problems, and nothing else works, it's smart to see your doctor. In fact, this is perhaps the best advice that magazine orgasm how-tos are capable of giving. That's because your doctor gets to talk to you in person, see your individual vagina, and hear your individual story. Which, unfortunately (or fortunately, I'm not sure I want Glamour up in my cooch), women's magazines can't do.

Orgasm advice is far from the worst advice women's magazines dish out (that would be, say, tips on the newest burn-your-face-off antiaging treatment, or perhaps how to conceal your too-large hips). But it is some of the most oversold. Hardly a month goes by without Glamour, Marie Claire, or (most often) Cosmo promising "Amazing Sex Every Time" or "Effortless Orgasms" or something equally hyperbolic. This can lead women who don't have orgasms every time — even with a magazine's supposedly helpful advice — to think they're doing sex wrong. But it's also just dumb. Everybody's different, and everybody needs to do something slightly different to achieve orgasm. Yes, it's possible to make certain generalizations — most people don't get off on looking at the Eiffel Tower, for instance, but some do! Point is, having a million orgasms after following a few generic tips is one of women's magazines' emptiest promises.

Glamour [Official Site]