Newsflash: Summer Flings Also Appropriate for Fall, Winter, Spring.

For those of you enjoying your Labor Day weekend with some end-of-summer sexytime, Glamour has a "helpful" article in their latest issue that helpfully promises "6 ways to turn your summer fling into the real thing."

I'm a big fan of flings--I wrote about my own vacation flings for Harpyness a few months ago--and I don't know about you, my fellow bitches, but I think they got off to bad start with that title. Who says flings aren't "real?" I get real orgasms and real fun and real companionship from them. But of course, in ladymag land, the only "the real thing" is a monogamous relationship that ends in marriage and happily-ever-after.

This is yet another example of the kind of relationship mission-creep that our culture--and ladymags in particular--are always trying to feed us. Magazines like Glamour and its brainless bimbo sister Cosmo are happy to give 101 blowjob tips and cheer us on as we fling ourselves into sexy trysts with hot dudes after only one date (and yes, they're always hot dudes, because ladymags are nothing if not bastions of heteronormativity). But their allegedly "sex-positive" message is always a mixed one. One article will tell you to have a fabulous, frisky time, and then turn around and slag that frisky time in the next issue--or hell, in the next article--by pushing the notion that even casual sex is just auditioning the guy to see if he's "real" relationship material. God forbid you have sex just because you're happy or curious or bored or horny or just find someone really, really, hot. The underlying message is always the same: it's okay to have a sexy fling...but women should always be hoping that it'll turn into something more. That something more should always be our real goal.

Aside from the painfully mixed message, the advice ranges from:


The best strategy is to enjoy what you have now without focusing too much on the future. Think of your summer romance like you would a vacation. Relax and savor every single moment."

to Downright Ridiculous:

A study conducted by the University of Chicago found that men associate the scents of vanilla and cinnamon with love. "Fortify your position in his mind by wearing a perfume with a hint of these scents," says Daily. "Burn cinnamon- or vanilla-scented candles when you're together, or toss some ready-to-bake cinnamon rolls into the oven for a cozy Sunday brunch. Cinnamon is the perfect scent to bring a summer romance into the fall because it's so prevalent in autumn—think spiced apples and pumpkin pie.


to Advice Malpractice.


And if all else fails…be honest.

"I think it's about communication, as corny as that sounds," says Kristen Tomaiolo, 23, of Brooklyn. "At some point you have to be forward about what you really want. Being honest could be the first step you take toward a more serious relationship."


Wait, wait, wait, wait. HOLD UP.

"If all else fails?" Since when was honesty the last resort? You're supposed to be honest THE WHOLE FUCKING TIME in a relationship, even a fling (even if that honesty merely consists of "Wanna go back to my place?"). The implication here is that women should hold off being "forward about what you really want" until the last minute, because if you had the temerity to be forward or even just yourself at the start of the relationship, that man would be out the door in a cloud of dust, since no man wants to have an honest, open conversation with the woman he's fucking.

One of my pet peeves about our media culture is that while it's made huge strides in recognizing women as sexual beings and destigmatizing unmarried sex, it still holds on to the damaging retro notion that even if women want sex for pleasure, they're really looking for commitment. Once Labor Day arrives, a fun summer romance has to be soberly assessed and turned into the "real thing", lest we just be seen as sluts looking for a good time. Because you know what happens to them... Wait, you don't? Well, it's never anything good.

Ladies, enjoy your summer flings. If they turn into a committed relationship, great. If not, the beautiful thing about flings is that there's always another right around the corner...and fall starts on Tuesday.

by Rachel Kahan
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6 Comments Have Been Posted

death to the ladymags!

I hate, hate, HATE ladymags. I utterly DESPISE them. It's actually reached a level of minor neuroticism. I really shouldn't care that much, I should probably just ignore them and get on with my life, but I can't pick one up or see someone reading one without being filled with self-righteous, yet also defensive anger. I especially hate the ones aimed at my age group ("Teen Vogue" "Seventeen" and the like), mostly because I know there are thousands of girls my age who eat that shit up like candy, and really, do teenage girls need yet another voice constantly telling them they're dumb, fat, ugly, and just not good enough, and that they should spend money to make themselves feel better?

It's also worth nothing that along with mixed messages about sexuality, almost all of the articles about sex in such publications focus on male pleasure. Which certainly has its place in a heterosexual relationship, but it's never (or very, very rarely) "reach your G spot" or "explore your pleasure spots" or anything like that - it's always "25 great tricks to make him go crazy in bed!" or "Top 10 HOT ways to please your man!" One time I saw an issue of Cosmo that had several pages on masturbation tips sent in by readers, but that was definitely an anomaly. And I'm pretty sure it went along with some kind of blurb about making yourself feel good "when your guy is away." Then there was the article about "getting a little kinky without scaring him away or making him think you're some kind of freak." Topics covered included "tying his hands together with a scarf." They always need some kind of disclaimer, don't they, lest their advice begin to stray outside the confines of heteronormativity! Ugh...


Awesome. My thoughts exactly. Except I'm not in the Seventeen demographic. I'm unfortunately in the brainless bimbo Cosmo demographic. So many shitty magazines of low, if any, quality, that women lick up like doggies. Why are there no magazines like this for men? Oh, wait, there is. Men's Health. But there are no similar magazines for teen boys. Why?


Teen boys LOVE it. The articles are even MORE brainless and misogynist than Cosmo. Plus it doubles as wank material!

I know, right? ('scuse me while I head/desk, BRB...)

Becky Sharper

How sad.

I haven't looked at Glamour for awhile, but didn't it used to be somewhat less ridiculous than most the mainstream ladymags? It was actually the publication that, years ago, introduced me to Jennifer Baumgardner's work, but the above is clueless enough to be in Cosmo (alongside its encouragement to pull your toes during sex or what have you.)

I think Glamour is overall

I think Glamour is overall less toxic than Cosmo. They do have some worthwhile content about politics and women's health, but then they throw something like this out there, as though they realize that they're a ladymag and they have a recommended daily allowance of bullshit to purvey.

Becky Sharper

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