Seven signs that the sex-tip article you’re reading is Terrible

I’ve been systematically dismantling Terrible Sex Tips for over a year now, flagging, reading, and shredding all kinds of sex and relationship pieces in an effort to really pinpoint why they are crap. This research uniquely qualifies me to speak out about how to become a more savvy consumer of such advice piece. How do you know when the tips are truly terrible? What red flags wave brightly from the pages of that women’s magazine or that men’s web site, warning you that what you’re about to read is going to be utter shite?

There are the obvious flags, like loading on credentials that turn out later to be from an online diploma mill, or calling something “kinky” or “adventurous” without discussing the subjectivity of desire, or calling a sex move “the best thing ever.” Oh, and hyperbole is fine when you’re just talking with friends, but I am not your friend, Sex Tip Writer, and your enthusiasm about an activity you just discovered gets in the way of my assessing the actual activity.

Here are seven more warning signs that the article you are looking at is probably Terrible:

  • It includes positions without giving you good reasons for trying them. Usually this is couched in language like “something to cross off the list” or “worth it for bragging rights,” some shit like that. The higher the number contained in the title, the more likely you’re going to have some filler positions in there.

  • It includes positions or activities for reasons that aren’t about sex or relationships at all. I get the whole interconnectivity of everything, and that we’re rarely “just” having fun. But there’s no need to add in exercises for maximizing your sweat time.

  • It talks about public sex without bringing up ethics. It’s not prudish to talk about not involving bystanders in a scene against their will; that’s called “consent”. Some discussion of public sex and indecency charges and the law is also in order, at least mentioning it as a possible concern.

  • It talks about BDSM without safety tips or safe words. How many “spice up your relationship with kink” pieces have I seen that talk about trying out soft bondage, like scarves or ties, without having a pair of emergency scissors or shears on hand? How many advocates of spanking or rape fantasies don’t bother talking about safe words? <sigh> Fuck you very much, 50 Shades of Grey.

  • It pushes a product or specific skill/training as a solution. We understand that people putting themselves out there as experts—myself included!—are trying to drum up business for themselves in some way. But some “experts” are less expert than others, and a ham-handed link between writing and product/service just comes off as infomercial, and does not inspire trust. Also, you can tell when someone has gotten paid off by a PR rep.

  • It speaks generally about desire, usually about what men or women want, and doesn’t really spend any time at all on the real truth, that we are all different.

Why do I care about this stuff? Well, in my growing experience with Terrible Sex Tips, I find that the things that make them terrible often reveal gaps in our collective sexual awareness, or damaging assumptions or problematic myths. These seven signs of a Terrible Sex Tip piece are seven places where we need to do some work.


You help me tear down the terrible and build new foundations for sexual excellence when you become a patron of mine over on Patreon!

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