Sex Doesn’t Sell in Women’s Magazines

A quick glance at the cover of most glossy women's magazines any given week or month reveals lurid sex-related headlines ostensibly designed to intrigue and attract more readers.

According to last Tuesday's Washington Times, an examination of recent women's magazine covers found these headlines:

• “Explosive Sex! The surprising turn-on you can't ignore” (Redbook)

• “What turns good sex into great sex” (Glamour)

• “Lust Lessons” (Cosmopolitan)

• “Make your crush like you in that way” (Cosmo Girl)

• “Hair Lust” (Mademoiselle)

With such wall-to-wall coverage of sex, you'd think that's what the ladies want to read, wouldn't you?

If you thought that, you'd be wrong. According to the Times, a 1999 Within survey found that 73 percent of Americans thought such provocative content was “inappropriate” and 60 percent said the covers should be hidden in public marketplaces, just like Playboy is. Of women polled, 81 percent disapproved of the headlines.

Many critics and magazine analysts alike often refer to many women's magazines as little more than soft pornography.

Another survey suggests that consumers are sick of seeing so much emphasis on sex.

A recent American Demographics magazine poll found that 61 percent of the respondents said “sexual imagery” in a product advertisement would make them less likely to buy it, and a third were downright offended by the whole idea, the Times reported.

Here's the real kicker though, but in a good way. The same survey found that most surveyed preferred images and depictions of typical romance.

“The survey found that 53 percent said they would buy a product that emphasized the imagery of traditional romance, proving that heart rather than libido influenced consumers,” the newspaper said, quoting the magazine poll.

Once again the elitist pinheads running these magazines are demonstrating that they are not interested in what their core audiences really want. Rather, they are demonstrating that they are interested in publishing material they find compelling.

Yet in a capitalist society, such elitist media arrogance usually translates into falling readership, which translates into falling advertising sales, which translates into unemployment.

I can only hope that American women continue to vote with their pocketbooks and send the message that they will buy traditional romance but are not interested in paying for risqué material – stuff that only the editors of the magazine find “engaging and fascinating.”

A few years ago, I read a survey that said most mass market media is comprised of editors, writers and reporters whose lifestyles are not reflective of the majority of those they are supposedly serving. This latest information seems to suggest that mainstream editors and publishers haven't learned anything.

(This article courtesy of

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