THE BLOG

Are Health and Fitness Magazines for Men Only for Straight People?

03/02/2015 09:08 am ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

The covers of health and fitness magazines for men often catch my attention. The optimistic titles get me, although, admittedly, pictures contribute substantially. At the gym, at the barber or visiting the home of a fitness enthusiast, I pick up these magazines captured by the promise of defined abs in two weeks. Truthfully, I end up reading columns about cocktails and lifestyle, flimsily glancing proposed workouts only to decide that -- nope -- I don't have it in me.

The articles that receive the least attention, however, are about relationships and sex, fundamentally due to in-your-face heteronormativity and heterosexism.

These are actual titles appeared on covers:

Her Secret Sex Thoughts.
Seduce Any Woman Any Time.
Best-Kept Sex Secrets She Doesn't Want You to Know.
Speak Her Sex Language.

One can't help but wonder: Are these magazines for straight men only? I am unaware of their average reader's sexual orientation, however, at least statistically, surely conjecturally, a portion of the readership must identify as gay or bisexual. Why aren't there articles about gay relationships and sexuality? Is it because publishers factually know that most of their readers are straight? Or is it because these magazines are de facto straight in essence? And, if that's the case, a legit possibility, would publishers admit it?

From a brief search of your archives, it seems that most articles about sex and relationships are written thinking about straight guys. Is this a fair assumption?

Do you anticipate including articles of that nature for gay men?

Alas, my questions went unanswered, with one exception. A representative from Men's Health wrote:

On background, according to our surveys, our gay readership is more interested in our sexual health coverage and advocacy (Banned for Life) than nitty-gritty sex and relationship service. I've attached two quick links below that you might be interested in for your research, as well.

It's great to hear that Men's Health values its gay costumers by collecting surveys and following up with related coverage.

Still, do two gay-themed articles amongst hundreds really make Men's Health inclusive? And while I believe that most men can live without sex and relationship tips from a magazine, is it possible that gay readers are solely interested in blood donation and advocacy?

Seduce Any Woman or Man Any Time.
Best-Kept Sex Secrets Your Girlfriend or Boyfriend Doesn't Want You to Know.

Besides driving graphic designers and copywriters insane, titles of this nature could push some readers away; an understandable concern for publishers facing a changing industry.

At the same time, it is reasonable for gay readers to demand more and to avoid spending money on publications that, whatever the reason, do not acknowledge defining part of their lives.

In conclusion, if you are the editor-in-chief of a magazine geared toward men and you care about maintaining your gay readership, it's time to tweak pronouns and topics. If you are a gay man, consider spending your dollars on publications that recognize you or, at minimum, that don't deny you.

This Blogger's Books and Other Items from...