Defining Female Self Sexualization for the Twenty-First Century

Dooyoung Choi, Marilyn DeLong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


In Western society sex appeal has become greatly valued and young women actively and publically expose their sexualities in a variety of ways. Those women who embrace and participate in the hyper-sexualized cultural trend are called self-sexualizers. Despite the growing number of empirical studies related to self-sexualization, there is lack of consensus around a definition of self-sexualization among researchers. The concept of self-sexualization needs to be clarified and explained. The primary purpose of this examination is to address the self-sexualizing phenomenon and to define self-sexualization by building upon previous researchers’ approaches. In this research, self-sexualization is defined as the voluntary imposition of sexualization to the self. We adapted the four aspects of sexualization presented in a task force report issued by the American Psychological Association in 2007 to propose the four conditions of self-sexualization. (1) The first condition of self-sexualization is favoring sexual self-objectification. (2) The second condition is relating sexual desirability to self-esteem. (3) The third condition is equating physical attractiveness with being sexy. (4) The last condition is contextualizing sexual boundaries. Description of each condition and related concepts are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1350-1371
Number of pages22
JournalSexuality and Culture
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Self-objectification
  • Self-sexualization
  • Sexual desirability
  • Sexual subjectification
  • Sexualized culture


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