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Young women selling sex online: narratives on regulating
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Clinical Sciences. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Center of Paediatrics and Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics in Linköping.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Clinical Sciences. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Local Health Care Services in Central Östergötland, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Linköping.
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Social Work. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2015 (English)In: Adolescent Health, Medicine and Therapeutics, ISSN 1179-318X, Vol. 6, 17-27 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The current study concerns young women’s life stories of their experiences selling sex online before the age of 18. The aim was to gain an understanding of young women’s perceptions of the reasons they started, continued, and stopped selling sex. The study included interviews with 15 young women between the ages of 15 and 25 (M=18.9). Thematic analysis was used to identify similarities and differences in the narratives. Three themes and eight sub-themes were identified in relation to different stages in their lives in the sex trade. The themes were organized into three parts, each with its own storyline: “Entering – adverse life experiences”; traumatic events: feeling different and being excluded. “Immersion – using the body as a tool for regulating feelings”; being seen: being touched: being in control: affect regulation and self-harming. “Exiting – change or die”; living close to death: the process of quitting. The informants all had stable social lives in the sense that they had roofs over their heads, food to eat, and no substance-abuse issues. None had a third party who arranged the sexual contacts and none were currently trafficked. They described how their experiences of traumatic events and of feeling different and excluded had led them into the sex trade. Selling sex functioned as a way to be seen, to handle traumatic events, and to regulate feelings. Professionals working with young people who sell sex online need to understand the complex web of mixed feelings and emotional needs that can play a role in selling sex. Young people selling sex might need guidance in relationship building as well as help processing traumatic experiences and ending self-harming behavior. Further studies are needed on the functions of online sex selling and on the exit process for young people, in order to prevent entrance and facilitate exiting.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Dovepress , 2015. Vol. 6, 17-27 p.
Keyword [en]
Adolescent, women, affect regulation, selling sex, prostitution, online
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-114541DOI: 10.2147/AHMT.S77324OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-114541DiVA: diva2:790940
Available from: 2015-02-26 Created: 2015-02-26 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Online Sexual Behaviours Among Swedish Youth: Characteristics, Associations and Consequences
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Online Sexual Behaviours Among Swedish Youth: Characteristics, Associations and Consequences
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Online sexual behaviours refer to sexual activities where the Internet and/or mobile phone are used. The aims of this thesis were to investigate young people and their experiences of different online sexual behaviours with regard to characteristics, associations and consequences, by using data from a representative sample of 3,503 Swedish youth (m= 18.3 years). In addition 16 interviews were made with young women who had sold sex online before the age of 18. Focus in these interviews were in which ways contacts between buyer and seller were established and the motivational factors for selling sex online.

In study I (n= 3,288), 20.9% (19.2% boys and 22.3% girls) reported experiences of voluntary online sexual exposure: flashing in webcam/mobile; posted partially undressed pictures or films; masturbated on webcam; had sex on webcam. Multivariate analysis showed a significant association between voluntary online sexual exposure and a number of different forms of harassments online. Neither poorer psychological health nor problematic relations with parents remained significant in the final model predicting voluntary online sexual exposure. In study II (n= 3,432) four online sexual behaviours were studied: meeting a person online for sex online; meeting a person online for sex offline; posted sexual pictures online; selling sex online. These were investigated in relation to socio-demographic factors, psychosocial wellbeing and risk behaviours. Bivariate logistic regressions were followed by multiple logistic regressions. The data suggested that most Swedish youth do not perform any of the assessed online sexual behaviours, but those who did (15.2%) reported a more problematic background, rated their health as poorer, had a more sexualised life and had experienced more sexual or physical abuse. This was especially prevalent among those who had sold sex online. In study III, young women with experiences of selling sex online before the age of 18 were interviewed. The interviews focused on the role Internet and mobile phone play and the methods of contacts and characteristics of the communication between buyer and seller. Two main themes were identified: Internet use - part of daily life for good and bad, depending on mood; Patterns of contacts - innocent/curious, dating, advertising. In the fourth study the interviews with the young women who had sold sex online before the age of 18 were analysed focusing on the women’s perceptions of the reasons why they started, continued and stopped selling sex. Three themes and eight sub-themes were identified in relation to different stages in their lives in the sex trade, each with its own storyline: Entering, adverse life experiences - traumatic events, feeling different and being excluded; Immersion, using the body as a regulating tool - being seen, being touched, being in control, affect regulation and self-harming; Exiting, change or die - living close to death, the process of quitting.

In conclusion, the results from this thesis showed that most young people use Internet and mobile phones for non-sexual activities. Sexual behaviours online were associated with a more problematic background and poorer wellbeing. More research, attention and support are needed, especially related to young people selling sex online.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. 100 p.
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1444
Keyword
Online, Internet, sexual behaviour, selling sex, sexting, youth, adolescents
National Category
Psychiatry Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-114542 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-114542 (DOI)978-91-7519-128-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-03-27, Berzeliussalen, Campus US, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-02-26 Created: 2015-02-26 Last updated: 2015-03-20Bibliographically approved

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Jonsson, LindaSvedin, Carl-GöranHydén, Margareta

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Division of Clinical SciencesFaculty of Health SciencesDepartment of Gynaecology and Obstetrics in LinköpingDepartment of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in LinköpingSocial WorkFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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Adolescent Health, Medicine and Therapeutics
Psychology

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