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Porn May Affect Sexual Behavior In Teens And Young Adults

Apr 25, 2013 03:58 PM EDT

Pornography may have a small-to-moderate effect on the sexual behavior of teens and young adults, according to a cross-sectional study of Dutch youth published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Researchers found that in response to an online poll they posted, exposure to sexually explicit materials was “significantly associated” with “adventurous sex, transactional sex, and partner experience,” according to MedPage.

The authors defined “adventurous sex” as involving threesomes and same-gender partners and “transactional sex” as sex involving the exchange of money. “Partner experience” was defined as age of sexual initiation, experience with one-night stands and number of lifetime partners.

However, even more influential, the researchers said, were the personalities of those polled.

“Our data suggest that other factors such as personal dispositions – specifically sexual sensation seeking – rather than consumption of sexually explicit material may play a more important role in a range of sexual behaviors of adolescents and young adults, and that the effects of sexually explicit media on sexual behaviors in reality need to be considered in conjunction with such factors,” said Gert Martin Hald of the University of Copenhagen.

In all, 4,600 individuals between the ages of 15 and 25 were recruited into the online survey. Of that number, 88.2 percent of men and 44.8 percent of women reported having used sexually explicit materials in the past 12 months.

According to the results, men were much more likely to be involved with “hardcore” material, whether online, video or print while young women were more likely to engage in soft-core television pornography.

Furthermore, while male participants’ sexually explicit material consumption was not significantly associated with partner experience, researchers found this was not the case for women.

“These findings contribute novel information to the ongoing debates on the role of [sexually explicit material] consumption in sexual behaviors and risk, and provide appropriate guidance to policymakers and program developers concerned with sexual education and sexual health promotion for young people,” the authors wrote.

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