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Men’s magazine article associated with sexual aggression

By Darin Watkins, Edward R. Murrow College of Communication

mens-fitness-magazinePULLMAN, Wash. – A recent article in Men’s Fitness magazine, “How to Turn a ‘No’ into a ‘Yes,’ ” has attracted angry messages on Twitter from readers who argue this approach encourages men to be sexually coercive. Research at the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication and the Department of Human Development at Washington State University shows why that’s true and why stories like this can promote sexual aggression.

A recent study published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence by Stacey J.T. Hust, associate professor in WSU’s Murrow College, and her colleagues found exposure to men’s magazines, in addition to the acceptance of rape myths, was associated with college students’ intentions to be sexually coercive.

“Our results suggest that exposure to such content in men’s magazines may reinforce beliefs that sexual coercion is normative and acceptable,” said Kathleen Boyce Rodgers, associate professor in the Department of Human Development and coauthor of the study.

In another study published in the Journal of Sex Research, Hust and her team found exposure to men’s magazines was associated with participants’ lower intentions to ask their partners for sexual consent and lower intentions to adhere to their partners’ sexual consent decisions.

Taken together, these studies may explain why avid readers of men’s magazines don’t find a problem with articles like “How to Turn a ‘No’ into a ‘Yes,’ ” Hust said. Therefore, she said, “Media literacy interventions are needed to help men and women critique and resist magazine messages like this.”

Find more at


Stacey J.T. Hust, WSU Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, 509-335-3696,
Kathleen Boyce Rodgers, WSU Department of Human Development, 509-335-2973,
Darin Watkins, WSU Edward R. Murrow College of Communication director of communications, 509-335-4456,



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