In an article in the latest Sex Education journal, Petra Boynton of University College London reveals that little experience is needed to become an agony aunt or "sexpert" for magazines, television or the internet.
"If one were to write a few articles on heart disease, one would not suddenly gain the title of cardiologist," she said. "Yet within the area of relationships, it is not uncommon to see a journalist described as a relationship guru, after writing just one sex feature."
Academics have long encouraged teachers to use magazines in school as a means of stimulating discussion about sex. In April this year, Ofsted announced that lads' mags could compensate for poor sex education in school.
But Dr Boynton noted a trend for magazines to recruit celebrity agony aunts, such as glamour models Jordan, Jodie Marsh and Abi Titmuss.