Updates | Submissions

Updated Sexography Guidelines November 2023

Updates, revised submission guidelines, and much more.

Joe Duncan
Sexography
Published in
8 min readOct 30, 2023

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It’s been quite the year, and both Medium and Sexography have seen some big changes. With

at the helm, Medium has transformed itself with the introduction of the Boost program, which promotes human-created stories hand-picked and given a special “boost” to reach more readers. It is our view that this has been a much-needed and very welcome change.

We all remember the “old Medium,” which, in many ways, was unique but was also similar to other platforms. Algorithms were the sole dictators and expediters of “quality” stories. Unfortunately, the reliance on algorithms has led to some strange incentives.

Writers sought to capture attention, garner clicks, and churn out as much content as possible to make as much money as possible. But writers failed to acknowledge and respect the reader on the other end of the conversation — which is what a story is, a conversation.

Here at Sexography, we had our own issues with this. You may remember a couple years ago, we banned “sexual self-help” after getting an onslaught of stories like 5 Ways to Please Your Lover (and not in those words). This content was repetitive, uninformative, and didn’t make for compelling, human stories. So, it had to go.

Now, we’re embracing the winds of change again.

Boost Has Entered the Chat

After some wonderful talks with Medium, Sexography is thrilled to announce that we will now be nominating outstanding stories for the Boost program.

Make no mistake: we want to clarify our intentions upfront to reward standout writers for producing important, human-created stories that enrich the reader’s life in some way.

We want stories that resonate with people, stories that take them on an internal emotional voyage, that help them relate, laugh, think, and even cry.

Write About Your Life — Not Your “Sex Life”

This might sound unusual, but going forward, we’re asking writers not to write about sex. If that sounds strange for a publication like ours, hear me out. Over the years, Sexography has hands down produced the top-performing stories on the topic of sexuality, and we absolutely intend to continue doing so.

But we noticed the best stories focused more on people, not sex.

Looking at the best-performing stories across Sexography’s lengthy history, we’ve noticed a pertinent theme — the writers who got the best results didn’t write primarily about sex. They write about their lives as they pertain to all the messiness of love, dating, relationships, marriage, and yes, sex too. They wrote about sexuality.

Sex and Sexuality

I sense a distinction is in order, so I’ll turn to philosopher Sarah LaChance Adams who speaks about the distinction between sex and sexuality:

Sex, viewed biologically, is a matter of friction and synapses; Sexuality, by contrast, involves urgent and pressing matters of personal identity. Sex is simple; desire is not.

There’s a difference between writing about sex and sexuality. The best-performing Sexography writers write about life first — sex is an afterthought, a mention rather than the sole or central focus of the story. We’re looking for stories about people, after all.

Ask yourself, does this story really represent me as a person? Is this story really about “urgent and pressing matters of personal identity,” or is it about “simple” sex?

We’re looking for standout stories that have depth, character, personality, and identity, stories that touch the murky profundity of the conscious human experience, not stories about the mechanics of sexual activity.

Expertise and Examples

But you aren’t limited to writing about just your life. We want to hear expert voices — thoughtful and well-articulated stories full of passion. The kind of stories that make you feel such overwhelmingly strong emotions you absolutely must tell someone. We want to hear from people telling well-crafted stories based on relevant knowledge and experience.

You don’t have to be a Ph.D. to write one of those (though we welcome and consider anyone’s credentials).

Here are some examples of what’s performed especially well within the last few months:

What you’ll notice about all of these stories is how human they are and how much depth they have. These writers aren’t writing to fill the space between their latest article and the next paycheck. They’re writing about their experiences and everyday experiences that we all share — human experiences.

Hold the Provocative Stuff

Over the years, we’ve seen no shortage of writers trying to submit provocative material to us, like headlines that aim to garner clicks with strong, even profane language. Since the beginning, we’ve had a policy against the overuse of profanity, and we’ve never accepted erotic fiction. There’s a reason for this. When you’re trying to tell human stories, trust is an essential ingredient.

Provocative and fictional content designed to arouse and garner clicks or shock readers unquestionably degrades that trust.

We understand that many readers might be okay with provocative content, but many others might not. At least one of our editors has read the collected works of Marquis de Sade. We see the value in that kind of writing. But we also realize its limitations, especially on a wide-open platform like Medium.

Ever since we began this and built a readership of millions, we’ve known this is a line that needs to be delicately navigated.

We do not want:

  • Obscene headlines
  • Explicit content
  • Personal escapades in the bedroom that focus almost entirely on sex
  • Dear diary stories that aren’t deeply compelling
  • Stories that aren’t well-crafted, deeply enriching, and, or spoken from relevant knowledge and experience
  • Sexual self-help (unless speaking from expertise, and it must include a personalized, compelling story)

We understand this is an adjustment period. We’re taking other steps to give writers another outlet for more provocative stuff and a place to find it for the readers who want it. The email inbox of unsuspecting Medium subscribers is not that place.

We’re in no way against this kind of writing. We will be making other announcements related to this in the near future as we strive to better facilitate matched connections between writers and readers.

Sexography Pitch and Writer Submission Forms

We’ve created a new “pitch” form here so you can pitch us your ideas before you write them. Existing writers, this will save you time.

New writers, we have a form for you as well that can be found here. Let us know what your article is going to be about, and if approved, we’ll get back to you within a week.

Story Tagging

Please tag your articles correctly. If it’s about relationships, tag it in the relationships tag. If it’s about sexuality, tag it in the sexuality tag. If it’s about the themes of the columns below, tag it as such (e.g., OpenHearts).

We will be taking this very seriously going forward. It is essential for our organization as a publication that correct tagging is respected.

New, Thematic Columns

We’re thrilled to announce a few upcoming columns for our writers to submit to:

  • Alternative Love: This will be a column about alternative relationship styles, the stuff that challenges the heteronormative traditions of the old. Are you solo poly, polyfidelitous, polyamorous, or something else entirely? How do you define the way you love, and what does it mean to you as an individual living in a world where one standard of love is the default?
  • Digital Connections: Love in the Digital Age has presented some wonders and, yes, some challenges. What does it mean to you to build connections, love, and romance in the Digital Age?
  • Healing Power: Forgiveness is a force that heals relationship wounds. What does it mean to build or continue a relationship after tragedy, including your relationship with yourself?
  • Queer Talk: Queer is about so much more than “simple” sex. Writer bell hooks described queerness as “not being about who you’re having sex with (that can be a dimension of it); but queer as being about the self at odds with everything around it and has to invent and create and find a place to speak and to thrive and to live.” This includes a lot more people than “simple” sex does, and we’d like to hear from the people who have queer stories to tell.
  • Open Hearts: A column about relationship communication is long overdue. Closed hearts don’t build solid connections. So what does it mean to live in a world that so readily tramples on open hearts? And importantly, how do we maintain an open heart against all odds and in the face of a world that wants to shut us down and make us cold?
  • We also have a column about gender in the works.

These columns should be up and running soon.

New Editor, Who Dis?

has been added as an editor at Sexography and will be reaching out to some writers here going forward.

Give Carlyn a big welcome! She’s been among the best contributors to the publication and her wisdom, knowledge of the literary and publishing world, and incredible skills will all be extremely helpful to have as we progress into the future.

We Want Your Stories

This year, we’ve expanded Sexography to cover relationship content as well. We’d love to hear compelling stories from writers as we continue to build more than just a publication but a community.

For years, Sexography has been more than just a publication people read. It’s been a place countless people can call home, a safe space for people to have the honest, ecstatic, joyful, tearful, embarrassing, and hard discussions that need to be had about human relationships.

has written several well-performing articles from a scientific perspective, diving deep into the research and even inviting the individual researchers themselves onto his podcast, The Science of Sex, to talk about their findings. This “science first, sex second” framing has consistently produced content people want to read.

, , , and others have artfully and expertly navigated the line between sex and sexuality, and we’re looking for other writers who do the same.

Meaningful personal essays are always welcome.

We do hope you’ll join us on this journey into the messy, the beautiful, the cantankerous, the disorderly, the misunderstood, the helpful, the human, and the unknown.

, , &

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Joe Duncan
Sexography

I’ve worked in politics for thirteen years and counting. Editor for Sexography: Medium.com/Sexography | The Science of Sex: http://thescienceofsex.substack.com