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What modern sex advice gets wrong.

what modern sex advice gets wrong.

We’re fortunate to be living in a time where open conversations about sex and sexuality are increasingly part of our cultural fabric. But as Open University lecturer Meg-John Barker revealed earlier this year, when it comes to many sex advice resources, there are a lot of old-fashioned beliefs still being peddled.

As part of research for a new book (and so we don’t have to), Barker took it upon herself read more than 60 sex manuals. Spoiler alert: She doesn’t recommend it, but she did discover five problematic messages that such manuals perpetuate.

Here’s a quick rundown on what modern sex advice gets wrong.

1. There’s one proper way to have sex.
Most resources championed vaginal penetration as their definition of sex, and their illustrations generally only featured heterosexual, able-bodied, slim, young, white people.

2. Not all bodies are sexy.
Yep, those manuals are still telling people that their bodies need to look a certain way in order to be sexy—marginalizing a majority of the population.

3. If you’re not having good sex, it’s your fault.
Most sex advice books don’t take into account how our sexual desire and pleasure can be influenced and restricted by cultural messages and social structures.

4. Pleasure equals orgasm.
That old chestnut again—if you’re not orgasming, you’re just not doing it right. (Clearly, we disagree.)

5. Consent—what’s that?
Alarmingly, very few sex manuals address the topic of consent, even when discussing the importance of communication.

Read Barker’s entire article here