Cads, Dads, and Magazines: Women's Sexual Preferences and Articles about Sex and Relationships

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The framing of sexual content in women's magazines reflect two different approaches to the selection of a romantic partner: the selection of (a) a stable partner for a long-term relationship vs. (b) an attractive rogue for a fling. The effects of such framing on women's partner preferences were explored in this laboratory experiment. Women with different relationship goals were randomly assigned to read an article from a women's lifestyle magazine (Cosmopolitan) that framed sex in either relational or recreational terms before completing explicit and implicit measures of partner trait preferences. Article frame did affect the importance of appearance-related traits in a potential romantic partner as well as implicit preferences for frame-consistent partner traits. Results are discussed in terms of media framing effects.

Keywords: Framing; Magazines; Media effects; Sex; Sexual attraction

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2008

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