The Connection between Young Women's Body Esteem and Sexual Assertiveness

Beth A. Auslander, Jaqwiana Baker, Mary B. Short

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Study Objective: Healthy sexuality includes having positive feelings about one's body and developing positive romantic relationships. Previous research predicts that women dissatisfied with their bodies may be less likely to enforce their rights of sexual autonomy (i.e., sexual assertiveness). Design: We assessed whether the body esteem of young women was related to their reports of sexual assertiveness. Young women from local colleges (N = 127) completed a questionnaire that included demographics, self reported weight and height, sexual history, along with body esteem and sexual assertiveness. Results: Overall, body esteem was related to sexual assertiveness regarding condom use when controlling for other variables. Women with less body esteem were less likely to insist that their partner use a condom. Individual components of body esteem did not independently predict insistence of condom use. Body esteem was not related to initiation of sex or refusal of unwanted sex. Discussion: The current study found relationships between body esteem and sexual assertiveness regarding STI prevention behaviors. Given these findings, implications for STI prevention programs are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-130
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Body esteem
  • Condom use
  • Sexual assertiveness
  • Young women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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