This thesis explored the role of sexually explicit material (SEM) on the Internet in adolescent sexuality and education. Does SEM on the Internet affect adolescent sexual attitudes, behaviors, and other facets of sexual functioning, such as fantasizing, masturbation, and sexual self-esteem? In addition, is the Internet becoming the new sex educator? The sample consisted of 492 college students (340 females, 152 males) between the ages of 18 and 23 who took an anonymous, online survey. Among the sample, 98% had seen SEM before the age of 18, first exposure typically occurring around the age of 12. The most popular reason for seeking SEM on the Internet was curiosity. It was found that with more exposure to SEM on the Internet, there was more permissive sexual attitudes, higher levels of sexual behavior, and more sexual fantasizing. In addition, masturbation was more SEM-dependent and compulsive with more exposure. Further, more exposure was related to the twelve aspects of sexuality. For instance, more exposure was related to higher sexual self- esteem, higher sexual-preoccupation, higher sexual-satisfaction, and lower sexual-fear. While males were seeing more SEM on the Internet than females, both males and females were seeing SEM on the Internet for the first time around the same age, though females had more negative feelings about it, and their sexual attitudes and behaviors were similarly affected. It was concluded that SEM on the Internet is a normative adolescent experience and that the Internet is the new sex educator, as adolescents are using it as an informational resource.
|Advisor:||MacGyvers, Valanne L.|
|Commitee:||Breaux, Brooke O., Perkins, David R.|
|School:||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||MAI 58/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Sexuality, Developmental psychology, Web Studies|
|Keywords:||Adolescents, Internet, Pornography, Sex education, Sexual development, Sexually explicit material|
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