Cybersex in the “Net generation”: Online sexual activities among Spanish adolescents (2016)

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Computers in Human Behavior

Volume 57, April 2016, Pages 261–266

Rafael Ballester-Arnala, , ,Cristina Giménez-Garcíaa, ,María Dolores Gil-Llariob, ,Jesús Castro-Calvoa,

Highlights

  • The online sexual behaviors are frequent among Spanish adolescent boys.
  • Gender seems to play an important role in adolescent cybersex.
  • The use of pornography and the oral sex may associated with adolescent cybersex.
  • In some adolescents, the internet could facilitate the experimentation of stigmatized behaviors.

Abstract

The internet offers several opportunities to explore sexuality among adolescents. However, some studies have also revealed problematic effects of cybersex in earlier stages. Despite this, few studies analyze the online sexual behavior among adolescents, even less in Spain where there is very little data. For this reason, our aim is to examine the use of internet for sexual purposes among Spanish adolescents, including gender differences. Three hundred and twenty-two adolescents completed an ad-hoc questionnaire and the Spanish version of the Internet Sex Screening Test.

In general, boys report more cybersex than girls do, for example, in masturbating while the Internet (60.6% of boys and 7.3% of girls). In addition, internet sex interferes with lifestyles more frequently in boys (12.7% of them) than in girls (4.7% of them). Moreover, according to linear regression, variables such as general pornography use or oral sex seem to be connected to cybersex for both groups, while same-sex behaviors are more associated with cybersex for boys and masturbation for girls. Therefore, these findings support the existence of cybersex among Spanish adolescents (ranging from 3.1% to 60.6% in boys and 0%–11.5% in girls for some online sexual activities), including certain problematic behaviors (8.6% of boys show a risk profile), and the relevance of gender in its analysis. These results should be considered in prevention and support strategies.

Keywords

  • Cybersex;
  • Adolescence;
  • Spain;
  • Sexuality;
  • Internet

Corresponding author. Departamento de Psicología Básica, Clínica y Psicobiología. Universitat Jaume I. Avda. Vicent Sos Baynat s/n. 12071, Castellón, Spain.