Why Christian Girls Read Cosmo Magazine


I remember sneakily flipping the pages of Cosmopolitan Magazine in a nail salon waiting room. I turned the cover toward the wall so no one would see what I was reading, then voraciously flipped through the pages to fill in the blanks of my sexual education. I’m not the only Christian girl who’s done this. Thousands of us have furtively glanced through those pages.

We hate Cosmo for how it objectifies women, yet Cosmo – and magazines like it – draw us in. Why would a Christian girl read something like this? Three reasons:

The Questions Being Asked Aren’t Being Answered

The body of Christ has come a long way regarding sexual discussion. More churches are talking about sex than ever before, bringing to light the things formerly hidden in darkness. This is awesome! Unfortunately, the sexual discussion remains rooted in two contexts: marriage, or sin.

Christians talk about sex within marriage and they talk about sex when it’s sinful, but very rarely do we talk about sexuality prior to marriage in a positive, biblical light. Parents assume school and youth group will suffice for “the Talk”, and that’s simply not true. Hundreds of young women are entering adulthood with little to no understanding of their own sexuality. The questions being asked aren’t being answered by the church – and that’s where Cosmo comes in.

Cosmo fills in the blanks biology didn’t cover. It delivers specifics mom and dad were too awkward to discuss. Most Christian girls assume they can filter out the “bad stuff” when reading Cosmo’s sex columns, or perhaps ignore the sex stuff completely – but in the end, they’ve absorbed an alternate sexuality.

The consequences are dire. Because of a limited and/or unbiblical sex education, Christian women enter marriage not knowing what parts of sex are “good” and what parts are “bad”. They see sex as scary, evil, or gross. They are told to ignore their sexuality until they say “I do”, at which point they’re supposed to become some kind of marital vixen. They begin to dread sex – because they never understood it in the first place. They don’t understand their own bodies and they are embarrassed of their own desires.

The church has risen up to help these women. But how much of this could have been prevented if the church – and the families therein – were teaching sexuality from the ground up? Our sexuality is just as much a part of us as our emotions and our minds. We offer our minds, emotions, and bodies to the Spirit for His transforming work; why then do we ignore our sexuality?

Vague Sexual Discussion is Not Enough

Sexuality is a very personal subject. Because it relates to our most intimate selves, we refrain from talking about it publicly. There is certainly something to be said for respect and privacy – we should never discuss sex in a crass manner – but we need to remember something: everyone is born sexual. I’m not insinuating some Freudian perversion. We are born with a sex: male or female. We have the capability of acting on that sex once we reach a certain age. Whether we like it or not, to be human is to be sexual – which means the church needs to discuss sexuality in light of the gospel.

It’s not enough to simply say, “Save sex for marriage!” We are the church, the megaphone for God’s gospel. If we don’t start discipling young women regarding their sexuality, the world will.

Vague sexual discussion is not enough. Christian girls are turning to Cosmo because it answers their questions – “Is masturbation wrong?” “What is oral sex?” “Can I get pregnant if I don’t actually have sex?” These are their questions, and either the church can answer them, or Cosmo will.

The World Portrays Itself as the “Safe Place” From Shame

Our culture claims to be the “safe place” for the searching. Unsure about your sexuality? Ashamed of your past? They’ll give you comfort, acceptance, and tolerance.

They’ll also pat your back all the way to hell.

No, I’m not saying reading Cosmo sends you to hell. I’m not saying an unbiblical sexual worldview does, either. But when Christian girls regularly expose themselves to an unbiblical view of sex, it warps their perspective of God. It chips away at the foundation of trust. It drives a wedge between what they know about God and what our culture says about sex. Because they have no groundwork binding their sexuality to God’s purpose, many young women try to write “I love Jesus!” over a promiscuous lifestyle, unaware of the consequences. Some reject God completely.

The church should be the safe place from shame because Jesus is the safe place from shame. But we’ve relegated our sexual discussion to post-marriage or to sin. We are a scary place for the single girl. Until we have biblical answers to her sexual questions, she’ll keep picking up that magazine in the nail salon. We’ll lose a chance to proclaim the gospel for her sexuality, and she’ll lose the chance to proclaim the gospel through her sexuality.

We Need a Christian Cosmo

We need a Christian Cosmo. We need the answers to these questions, not from the perspective of a secular editor, but from the perspective of God’s Word. Because believe it or not, the Bible does give us wisdom on things like lust, masturbation, lingerie, and the wedding night. We just need to know where to look.

For years, I saw this need. I saw it in my younger self, flipping through those pages, piecing together a sexual worldview. I wish I’d learned sooner how to embrace my sexuality; how to use it to proclaim the glory of God instead of viewing it with shame.

That’s why I wrote Christian Cosmo.

This book is the sex talk many of you never had. In it, I write to you like the “big sister” who has been where you are – because I have, and I want to save you some pain. Chapters include:

  • How to Reclaim Sex from the Culture
  • Is Masturbation a Sin?
  • How to Celebrate Your Sexuality as a Single
  • What if I’m Not a Virgin?
  • How to Accept Forgiveness for Sexual Sin
  • What to Know About the Wedding Night
  • And much more!

The Sex Talk You Never Had is now available in print and in its original format as an ebook.

We’re going to change our view of our own sexuality. We’re going to reframe sex according to biblical principles and reclaim it from our culture – one woman at a time.

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