Self, Sex

Feeling Ugly Hurts More Than Just Self-Esteem

bad body image means risky sex

It shouldn't come as a surprise that a woman's body image is linked to her sexual habits. But a new study done at the University of Pittsburgh among teenage girls offers some eye-opening figures as to how the woman we see in the mirror affects our sex lives. 

According to the results of the study, a young woman's ethnicity combined with her actual weight or perception of her weight may influence her to engage in risky sexual behaviors. Is the Pill Harmful?

"Those girls who were both sexually active and overweight, or who thought they were overweight, were less likely to use condoms than normal-weight sexually active girls. Underweight girls also were less likely to use condoms." Diary Of A Former Fat Girl: Sex And The Scale

The researchers compiled this information from interviews with 7,200 high school girls about their sexual activity. Here is the break down by race:

• Caucasian girls who believed that they were underweight, whether accurate or not, were more likely to have had sex and to have had four or more sexual partners. Overweight Caucasian girls were less likely to use condoms.

• Underweight African-American girls also were less likely to use condoms while overweight African-American girls reported four or more sexual partners.

• Latina girls of all weights were more likely to engage in a wide variety of sexually risky behaviors—lack of condom or oral contraception use, sex before age 13, greater than four sexual partners and use of alcohol.

The root of the problem, it seems, is the insecurity many of these girls face. Their body image issues lead them to look for acceptance and validation from sexual partners. Come to think of it, the issue may not be exclusive to teens. We have a sneaking suspicion that a poor opinion of one's body has led to many meaningless hookups, just for the sake of feeling attractive. 5 Cardinal Fashion Rules According To Men

What do you think, readers? Have you been more sexually irresponsible at times when you've been insecure?