Why Cosmo’s “28 Mind-Blowing Lesbian Sex Positions” Blows My Mind


Detail from “28 Mind-Blowing Lesbian Sex Positions,” Comopolitan

Lesbians and gay men are used to “translating” material written for straight people so that it applies to us. Horoscopes that predict the reader will soon meet a dreamy person “of the opposite sex” or official forms that appear to define a family as mom, dad, and 2.5 kids are converted with a minimum of effort. But some things defy mental recoding—sex advice is one of them.

Queer readers can’t stare at The Joy of Sex—or straight porn—and easily extrapolate what to put where. Yes, there have been lesbian and gay sex guides on the market for many years, and queer porn is easily accessible, but buying these products requires something of a commitment to a gay identity. As a young woman, I remember madly searching for any kind of written content about gay people and desperately inhaling newsmagazine cover stories and any other mention of homosexuality. (My deep interest in a socialist magazine that had a “whither homosexuality” tagline on its cover had my mom worried I was about to join the Fourth International. Good job the story was so adamant that the gay struggle needn’t be addressed until the revolution was complete.) Buying a copy of Sappho Was a Right-on Woman while out shopping with my college roommate was one of my first tentative comings out. Purchasing a sex guide required a comfort level I didn’t reach for several more years.

The fortunate youth of today (and, indeed, the adults) who seek same-sex affirmation and practical sex advice need only turn to Cosmopolitan.com.* There, alongside “The 17 Greatest Ponytails of All Time” and “The 4 Worst Things About Jeggings” is a feature titled “28 Mind-Blowing Lesbian Sex Positions.” Using delightful but somewhat coy illustrations—when one woman’s head is buried between the other’s thighs, is it really necessary to hide all the nipples?—pairs of skinny, long-haired women get it on ecstatically while less bashful text provides precise instructions as to how to achieve these sometimes complicated positions. (“[P]ut your outside knee on the bed and hold her hands for leverage.”)

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.

*Update, July 28, 2014: This post has been updated to clarify that the slide show appeared on Cosmopolitan.com.