Eating Disorders

"First Time" Linked to Better Body Image in Men - Not Women

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According to Penn State researchers, having sex for the first time can improve or degrade your self-image depending on whether you are male or female. What researchers are finding is that for men it boosts their body image and for women they become less satisfied with their body image. The age group the researchers were examining where high school and college students.

Research Results

The researchers surveyed 434 students asking them about their "attitudes and experiences in relationships with other people." All students were traditional freshmen age 17 to 19 years at the start of the project. The researchers administered the same survey to these students four times over the course of their college careers. Of the students surveyed, 100 engaged in sexual intercourse for the first time during the four-year study period.” “Overall the researchers found that women became happier with their physical appearance from first to fourth year in college, and men became less satisfied with their appearance over the same time period. However, the researchers found the opposite directly after students had sex for the first time males were more satisfied with their appearance and females were less satisfied.”


Researchers believe that what makes a male and female have different body image feelings after sex is key to understanding how it is related to body image issues that can and often do result in eating disorders.

Source: Journal of Adolescence