Parenting: Female College Students, Sex & Magazines

A 2012 study published in the Psychology of Women Quarterly found that when young college women (many of whom are still technically teenagers) read sex-related articles from popular women’s magazines like Cosmopolitan they are-get this-less likely to view premarital sex as a risky behavior. In addition, the young women who read these magazines were more likely to express support of sexuality that empowered them and focused on their sexual pleasure.

The authors of this study were Janna L. Kim and L. Monique Ward. They randomly assigned 150 female college students to read a set of articles about either women’s roles in sexual relationships or a set of articles about general entertainment unrelated to sexual relationships. As I mentioned above, the young women who were exposed to the sex-related articles endorsed more risky sexual behavior. Overall, the women exposed to the articles about sexuality experienced positive and negative effects. On the one hand they felt more sexually  empowered and on the other hand they were less concerned about sexual risk.

I am not sure what we do with these results. Perhaps, we talk to our daughters about what they are reading as a first step? I welcome your thoughts.