Exposure to sexually explicit Web sites and adolescent sexual attitudes and behaviors (2009)

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J Adolesc Health. 2009 Aug;45(2):156-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2008.12.004.
 

Source

Division of Adolescent Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA. debra.braun@mssm.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Mass media play an important role in the socialization of youth. Given its expanding nature and accessibility, the Internet may be at the forefront of this education. However, the extent of the Internet's impact on adolescent sexual attitudes and behaviors is not yet known.

METHODS:

A total of 433 adolescents completed an anonymous survey at a health center in New York City. The cross-sectional survey assessed Internet accessibility, exposure to sexually explicit Web sites (SEWs), sexual behaviors, and sexually permissive attitudes.

RESULTS:

Of the participants, 96% had Internet access, and 55.4% reported ever visiting a SEW. Logistic regression analyses revealed that adolescents exposed to SEWs were more likely to have multiple lifetime sexual partners (OR=1.8, CI=1.2, 2.9), to have had more than one sexual partner in the last 3 months (OR=1.8, CI=1.1, 3.1), to have used alcohol or other substances at last sexual encounter (OR=2.8, CI=1.5, 5.2), and to have engaged in anal sex (OR=2.0, CI=1.2, 3.4). Adolescents who visit SEWs display higher sexual permissiveness scores compared with those who have never been exposed (2.3 vs. 1.9, p <or= .001), indicating a more permissive attitude.

CONCLUSIONS:

Exposure to Internet pornography has potential implications for adolescent sexual relationships, such as number of partners and substance use. SEWs can serve an educational purpose and create an opportunity for adults to engage adolescents in discussions about sexual health and consumption of Internet material. Longitudinal research is needed to evaluate how exposure to SEWs influences youth attitudes and sexual behaviors.


Comments from this review - The Impact of Internet Pornography on Adolescents: A Review of the Research (2012)

Braun-Courville and Rojas’ (2009) study of 433 adolescents indicated that those who use sexually explicit material are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors such as anal sex, sex with multiple partners, and using drugs or alcohol during sex. This study was supported by Brown, Keller, and Stern (2009) who indicated that adolescents who witness high risk sexual practices in sexually explicit material in the absence of education on the potential negative consequences, are more likely to engage in some form of high-risk sexual behavior themselves.

Finally, in the United States, Braun-Courville and Rojas (2009) posit that adolescents who are more frequently exposed to sexually explicit material are more likely to accept the notion of casual sex.