Mmmm Essay

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Psychology of Men & Masculinity 2006, Vol. 7, No. 1, 27– 41 Copyright 2006 by the American Psychological Association 1524-9220/06/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/1524-9220.7.1.27 Average Joes: Men’s Relationships With Media, Real Bodies, and Sexuality Deborah Schooler and L. Monique Ward San Francisco State University Although numerous studies have examined women’s body attitudes in relation to media and sexuality, fewer studies have explored these relations among men. Accordingly, the authors investigated the contributions of media to men’s body attitudes and examined how such attitudes relate to sexual decision making. One hundred eighty-four male undergraduates reported media use, body attitudes, and sexual behaviors. Regular media use was related to greater acceptance of the shape and performance of one’s body but decreased comfort with aspects of one’s real body, such as hair and sweat. Comfort with these aspects of one’s real body predicted greater sexual assertiveness and risk-reduction behaviors. Furthermore, comfort with similar aspects of female partners’ real bodies was related to greater intimacy in sexual relationships. Keywords: body image, media, sexuality People live their lives in bodies, and comfort with one’s body can play a central role in one’s experience and well-being. Currently, many in this country struggle with clinical eating disorders, more experience nonclinical body dissatisfaction, and countless others struggle with obesity. Although women and girls constitute a majority of those with eating disorders, body image concerns and disordered eating are prevalent among men and boys as well (Cohane & Pope, 2001; Sondhaus, Kurtz, & Strube, 2001). Indeed, whereas some studies find higher levels of body dissatisfaction among women than among men (Cooper & Fairburn, 1983; Franzoi & Herzog, 1987; Franzoi, Kessenich, & Sugrue, 1989; Furnham & Calnan,

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