Teen Vogue has posted an article online entitled: ‘Anal sex: what you need to know’, complete with diagrams, sexual health advice and information on how to talk to your partner about consent.
While the article has been praised by some for offering teens access to sex-education that isn’t part of any high school’s curriculum, social media has been ablaze with people calling for a boycott of the magazine.
One Facebook user wrote: This is an absolute abomination!!!! What on earth!! To protect our children we teach them about biology and how their body should be respected, which is ABSTAINING from sex altogether to focus on learning themselves before having someone penetrate them and vice versa, not HOW to have ANAL SEX!!!!"
Another said: ”Teen vogue WTF?! How to have anal sex the right way??? This is geared towards not just children, but young children.”
One person wrote: “Absolutely disgusting and uncalled for in a teen magazine. There is a time and place to learn things and this was not it.”
There has also been criticism that the article “defined women by the men around them” , as many believed that the article was referring to women as “non-prostate owners” in one diagram.
"What is this teaching the audience of a magazine aimed at teenage girls? It tells them their identity is not ‘woman’, but rather ‘non-man’,” JJ Barnes wrote in an opinion piece for the Independent.
“It tells them that should they consent to anal sex, their body is just a hole for the man to penetrate, and the part of their body that is most sensitive and reliable for the female orgasm is so irrelevant that it doesn’t even warrant a label,” Barnes continues.
“It tells them that consenting to anal sex is not about their pleasure, but about their partner’s.”
However, many supporters of the article have pointed out that the use of the term 'non-prostate owners' was not specifically to refer to women, but rather to be inclusive of transgender, intersex, and non-binary readers - because not all that identify as a man will have a prostate, and not all women will be without one.
The Teen Vogue article—written by sex-educator Gigi Engle—includes a step-by-step guide to anal sex but also adds that it isn’t for everyone.
“Anal (like all sex acts) is not enjoyed by everyone, and that’s totally OK,” it reads.
“You should do what you feel comfortable with and what feels pleasurable for you. There is no wrong way to experience sexuality, and no way is better than any other.”
Despite the torrent of criticism the article has received, the teen mag has also been praised for offering young people an educational perspective that isn’t offered anywhere else.
One person wrote on Facebook: “Amazing how some people would literally rather teenagers remain totally ignorant about their bodies than learn about safer sex practices (and not just for this either).
“Hot news flash y'all - LGBTQ teens exist and so do straight teens who engage in sex acts other than PIV. If you would literally rather children be ignorant about best practices for their bodies well into adulthood than have them informed and empowered, well, you're part of the problem.
“Props to Teen Vogue for cutting through the BS and getting sexual health info out there accessibly and without moralising. (It's not like our schools are doing the job so it's fallen upon a fashion mag to educate the coming generation).”