COLES ON SEX AND COSMO: A day after she was named the new editor in chief of Cosmopolitan, Joanna Coles was in Charlotte, N.C., moderating a town hall that featured Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Florida congressional candidate Val Demings and Ashley Judd. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Sen. Patty Murray were in the crowd of the Knight Theater.

“Some of you may know — I didn’t — that Cosmo has an app for sex position of the day,” Coles said at the start. “And someone asked me what my sex position of the day was.” Beat. “Frankly, if we’re both awake, that’s good enough for me.”

This story first appeared in the September 6, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Then, “If Republicans get in, none of us will be having sex, so it won’t matter.” Rimshot!

The panel doubled as a preview of Coles’ Cosmo. She’ll keep the girl-friendly tone that’s always been its trademark without giving up the socially aware features that were commonplace at Marie Claire.

Limits to women’s health care, Todd Akin, “gender inequality and the patriarchy,” as Judd put it, were all discussed during the hourlong panel.

Cosmo could even get more political. “I don’t think you can have a magazine that’s about confidence and sex without referring to the politics around women’s health care,” Coles said after the panel. Like several women’s magazines — Glamour and Seventeen, among them — Marie Claire is covering the conventions — it has two editors and a blogger in Charlotte. Cosmo does not have a presence here. “It might have a bit more breadth,” Coles said of her new magazine. “What I’d like to do is introduce a wider range of subjects on the contents page.”

Coles has a reader in mind, and she’s not just a Millennial — the audience Cosmo’s competitor Glamour is targeting lately.

“The 20s and 30s for young women is a very interesting, challenging time,” she said. “You have the expectation of a great, expansive life where you can have a great career, and you can find a partner and you can have children, be it with gay friends or be it with a surrogate or on your own. Cosmo needs to cover all those issues.”

Marie Claire and Emily’s List co-sponsored the town hall, and Coles said she hopes Cosmo can move in the direction of branded events as well.

Besides a shift in tone, and some staff swaps, she did not anticipate other major changes. Marie Claire’s publisher, Nancy Cardone, with whom Coles has a good rapport and delivered the magazine’s best September, is expected to stay put.