Sexuality & Culture

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 1–20 | Cite as

Twenty-one Moves Guaranteed to Make his Thighs go up in Flames: Depictions of “Great Sex” in Popular Magazines

  • A. Dana MénardEmail author
  • Peggy J. Kleinplatz
Original Paper


Previous research on sexual content in magazines has established that sexual advice is a commonly included feature but no study to date has identified the specific content of the messages that are being promoted regarding how to achieve good, better or “great sex”. The purpose of this investigation was to determine, using both qualitative and quantitative methods, the components of “great sex” as depicted (and promised) in a selection of men’s and women’s magazines. Five major components of “great sex” emerged from content analysis including technical/mechanical/physical factors, variety, relationship factors, psychological factors and pre-sex preparation. Frequency counts showed an overwhelming focus on technical, mechanical and physical factors and variety as the prescribed means to achieve “great sex” according to popular magazines. Advice on how to achieve better or “great sex” tended to be framed in ways that promoted sexual and gender-role stereotypes, enforced narrow sexual scripts and presented readers with contradictory and conflicting messages. Similarities and differences between men’s and women’s magazines are discussed.


Great sex Gender differences Lifestyle magazines Sexual advice Sex scripts Media studies Popular media 



We would like to thank Meghan Campbell, Psy.D., for her assistance in strengthening this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.OttawaCanada
  3. 3.Faculty of Medicine and School of PsychologyUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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