Teenagers' pornography and sexual experiences—fewer differences than expected

Although a greater proportion of teenage boys than girls watch and fantasise about sex they have seen in pornography, there are no differences between the sexes when it comes to what types of sex they fantasise about. This is shown in a new study from Uppsala University that is published in Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

Using questionnaires, Magdalena Mattebo, researcher at the Department of Women's and Children's Health at Uppsala University, investigated the sexual experiences and pornography consumption of more than 800 Swedish upper-secondary school students, 16 years old. The study also shows that there are no differences in the proportion of and boys who think that their sexual behaviour is influenced by pornography to a great extent. Boys and girls who watch pornography have a more favourable attitude to pornography than those who do not.

"It was unexpected that more than every tenth girl in the consumption group stated that they watch pornography less than they would like to. It was also unexpected that there was no difference between girls and boys regarding fantasies about sexual acts, and that an equal proportion of said that influences their ," says Magdalena Mattebo.

The girls in the study were more sexually experienced than the boys when it comes to oral, vaginal and anal sex, but there were no differences between the sexes concerning various types of sexual partners, such as buddy sex, one-night-stands and group sex. Based on traditional stereotyped gender roles it was not surprising that the adolescents in the study had a more favourable attitude to boys having many different sex partners compared to the attitude towards girls having many different sex partner.

"However, an interesting finding was that among the most sexually experienced adolescents, there was a perception that girls and are equally interested in sex, which is a positive finding from the perspective of gender equality," says Magdalena Mattebo.

More information: Mattebo, M., Tydén, T., Häggström-Nordin, E., Nilsson, KW., Larsson, M. Pornography and sexual experiences among high school students in Sweden, Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 35: 179-188, 2014, DOI: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000034

Magdalena Mattebo presented her doctoral thesis "Use of Pornography and its Associations with Sexual Experiences, Lifestyles and Health among Adolescents" last month. Read it online here: uu.diva-portal.org/smash/get/d… 96130/FULLTEXT01.pdf

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