Sex Roles

, Volume 55, Issue 5–6, pp 295–310 | Cite as

‘Most of Us Guys are Raring to Go Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere’: Male and Female Sexuality in Cleo and Cosmo

  • Panteá Farvid
  • Virginia Braun
Original Article


Women’s magazines are a popular site for analysis of socio-cultural messages about gender, sex, and sexuality. We analyzed six consecutive issues of Cosmopolitan and Cleo to identify the ways in which they construct and represent male and female sexuality. Overall, male sexuality was prioritised, ‘real’ heterosex was depicted as penetrative, and orgasm was given precedence. Two main accounts of male and female sexuality were identified. Men’s need for (great) sex positioned men as easily aroused and sexually satisfied, but women as needing to develop ‘great’ sexual skills to keep their men from ‘straying.’ Accounts of pleasure, performance, and the male ego represented men as concerned about women’s pleasure, about their own sexual performance and as sensitive about suggested sexual ‘inadequacies.’ We discuss the implications of these constructions for women’s gendered (sexual) subjectivity, sexual practices, and identities.


Women’s magazines Heterosexuality Male/female sexuality Sex Gender 



We thank members of the psychology department’s Gender and Critical Psychology Group and two anonymous reviewers for helpful feedback on an earlier version of this paper.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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