The best source of HIV info may be your doctor, but many men and women still get the lowdown on lovemaking from newsstands. A team of POZ staffers scoured six recent issues of five men’s and five women’s periodicals—poring over 60 issues of some of today’s top zines—and gave their sexual content an STD screening.
Details “The essential men’s magazine for looking good and living well...”
Sample cover line: The Ultimate Sexual Fantasy
This men’s lifestyle magazine had some great advice on what kinds of clothes to wear—but was light on how to protect yourself when the clothes come off.
Men’s Journal “Live the adventurous life”
Sample cover line: Sex, Drugs and Board Wax: Surfing’s Fiercest Rivalry
Packed with travel advice and stories about adventures outside the bedroom, this mag offered little other than a heads-up on the cost of condoms in the world’s most expensive city, Oslo (“A Global Consumer Price Index,” June 2007).
Maxim “Your life made better”
Sample cover line: Secret Sex! The Ultimate Guide to Quickies
Maxim packs plenty of orgasm advice (see “Sex Myths Shattered!” July 2007) and may give you an edge between the sheets, but look elsewhere for sexual health info.
King “The illest men’s magazine ever!”
Sample cover line: Oh Yeah, Plenty o’ Panties
The magazine may call itself “ill,” but with stories examining the benefits of selective celibacy (“Just Say No,” June 2007) and defective condoms in Harlem (“It’s a Wrap,” September 2006), it must have health on its mind.
Men’s Health “Tons of useful stuff”
Sample cover line: Sexy Women: A Scientific Exploration
MH prides itself on bringing men the best health advice and doesn’t slouch in the sexual health department. Need great advice on proper condom use? Check out “Condom Excuses,” March 2007.
Women’s Health: “It’s good to be you”
Sample cover line: Less Stress, Better Sex!
Though it’s relatively new, WH has moved quickly on stories about the importance of HIV testing (“Testing, Testing!” March 2007) and dating sites for people with STDs (“Full Disclosure,” July/August 2007).
Essence “Where black women come first”
Sample cover line: Simple & Sexy Hair
This publication for black women keeps sex content to a minimum on its cover, but it still packed the most HIV info, with articles on unsafe sex among black women in the Mississippi Delta (“Unsafe Territory,” July 2007) and the likelihood of HIV transmission among young African Americans (“Risky Business,” March 2007).
Self “You at your best”
Sample cover line: Bring Sexy Back to Your Relationship
With a strong focus on fitness, this magazine featured minimal sex advice on topics like energizing your sex life and sex text messaging. Info on preventing HIV and other STDs? Just as slim.
Cosmopolitan: “Fun fearless female”
Sample cover line: 99 Sex Facts You’ve Never Heard Before
A veritable sacred text for many young women, Cosmo packs in the sexy tips but still leaves room for features about the importance of HIV prevention, learning about STD transmission and condoms (“The Sneaky Threat to Your Fertility,” April 2007).
Glamour: ”Style and substance...”
Sample cover line: Your Sex Drive: 8 Weird Things That Are Very, Very Normal
A piece entitled “Your Love and Sex Bill of Rights” (February 2007) tells women that they have every right to know the sexual history of their partner. “It’s not interrogating,” they write. “It’s being safe.” Write on.