Cleo -Miranda Kerr Cover JPEGSex sells? Apparently not in 2013 to young women.

News has come out today of Australian young women’s magazine Cleo dropping sex from the cover of its magazine due to its readership being more conservative than previous generations.

In 2013? All the sex we are sold would often tell us the contrary.

But according to research done by Bauer Media sex isn’t a selling point for young women anymore.

1500 girls aged 14-26 were interviewed across Australia over a three-month period, through video diaries and focus groups. Results from the study found that 69% per cent are living at home with their parents, 41% of total respondents have not had sexand only 7% per cent have had a one-night stand in the past six months. 66% per cent of participants are single.

This has been put down to finances – increasing rents and costs of living mean that young people are living with their parents for longer. Drug, alcohol and cigarette use is down since 2010 (drugs were 16% in 2010, now 2%; alcohol was 73%, now 61%; cigarettes were 24%, now 14%) while consumption of fast food has risen 4% since 2010. Many young women are saving, where perhaps previous generations were more about having fun – 97% want to buy a property by the time they’re 27 years old.

Editor Sharri Markson says of the change that “we saw that girls were more conservative than they’d been previously, more of them were living at home; they didn’t want to wear sex as a badge. Its just not cool to walk around with a magazine that has sex on the front of it. Of course there’s still sex content in the magazine, but it’s just not the main pillar, and we’re not going to use it as the main selling point on the front cover.”

Perhaps this follows the trend in entertainment away from sexually oriented sitcoms towards reality television cooking shows and talent quests.

Yet at the same time young women are unashamed to read books such as 50 shades of grey and google sexual content. Oral sex is still one of the most searched terms on the Cleo website. Perhaps these can be publicly hidden in their smart phones, e-readers and iPads. Content is increasingly able to be private, yet a magazine is not.

So perhaps this is just as much a mark of a magazine coming up to date with the effects of technology, as much as a trend of a generation of society.