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Online Sexual Behaviours Among Swedish Youth: Characteristics, Associations and Consequences
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Local Health Care Services in Central Östergötland, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Linköping.
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 [en]
Online, Internet, sexual behaviour, selling sex, sexting, youth, adolescents
National Category
Psychiatry Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-114542DOI: 10.3384/diss.diva-114542ISBN: 978-91-7519-128-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-114542DiVA: diva2:790967
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
List of papers
1. Voluntary sexual exposure online among Swedish youth - social background, Internet behavior and psychosocial health
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Voluntary sexual exposure online among Swedish youth - social background, Internet behavior and psychosocial health
2014 (English)In: Computers in human behavior, ISSN 0747-5632, E-ISSN 1873-7692, Vol. 30, 181-190 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Studies have described the phenomenon of voluntary sexual exposure among youth online but only a few focus on the typical young person who has this experience. The purpose of this study was to investigate Swedish youth with experience of voluntary sexual exposure online, with regard to Internet behavior, social background, and psychosocial health including parent-child relationships. A representative sample of 3503 Swedish youths in their third year of high school completed a survey about Internet behavior, Internet-related sexual harassment, sexuality, health, and sexual abuse. Out of those taking part in the survey, 20.9% (19.2% boys and 22.3% girls) reported experiences of voluntary sexual exposure online. Multivariate analysis showed a significant association between voluntary sexual exposure online and a number of different forms of harassment online. Neither poorer psychosocial health nor problematic relationships with parents remained significant in the final model. The results underlined the fact that voluntary sexual exposure online is associated with vulnerability on the Internet among both boys and girls and that there is a need for parents and professionals to better understand what young people do on the Internet and the risks they may incur.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2014
Keyword
Youth; Internet; Technology; Sexual exposure; Sexting
National Category
Clinical Medicine Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-104645 (URN)10.1016/j.chb.2013.08.005 (DOI)000330090900020 ()
Available from: 2014-02-20 Created: 2014-02-20 Last updated: 2017-12-06
2. Online sexual behaviours among Swedish youth: associations to background factors, behaviours and abuse
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Online sexual behaviours among Swedish youth: associations to background factors, behaviours and abuse
2015 (English)In: European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, ISSN 1018-8827, E-ISSN 1435-165X, Vol. 24, no 10, 1245-1260 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sexual activity online may result in positive experiences for young people, or lead them to engage in risky behaviours possibly resulting in sexual assault or abuse. The aim of our study was to investigate associations between online sexual behaviours among Swedish youth and background factors as well as aspects of well-being. The behaviours investigated were: having sex online with a contact met online, having sex with an online contact offline, posting sexual pictures online, and selling sex online. We used data from a representative sample of 3,432 Swedish youth who were asked about their lifetime experiences as well as their experiences within the previous year. We hypothesized that more advanced online sexual behaviours were associated with more problematic background factors, worse psychosocial well-being and riskier behaviours in general. Bivariate relationships were evaluated followed by a multiple logistic regression model. Our data suggested that most Swedish youth do not perform any of the assessed online sexual behaviours. Young people who reported online sexual behaviour showed a more problematic background, rated their health as poorer, had a more sexualized life and had experienced more sexual or physical abuse. Professionals who work with young people need to help them better evaluate potential risks online and offer support when needed. Youths who sell sex online are especially at risk and need extra attention, as they might be in greater need of protection and therapeutic support.

Keyword
Sexual risk taking; Online sexual behaviour; Sexting; Selling sex; Youth; Adolescent; Internet
National Category
Psychiatry Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-114538 (URN)10.1007/s00787-015-0673-9 (DOI)000362331400009 ()25589438 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2015-02-26 Created: 2015-02-26 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
3. "Without the Internet, I never would have sold sex": Young Women Selling Sex Online
Open this publication in new window or tab >>"Without the Internet, I never would have sold sex": Young Women Selling Sex Online
2014 (English)In: Cyberpsychology : Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, ISSN 1802-7962, E-ISSN 1802-7962, Vol. 8, no 1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Among Swedish youth with experience of selling sex, the Internet is the most common means of contact between buyer and seller. There are few descriptions of how these contacts are established, but studies have indicated that young people under the age of 18 seldom engage in open prostitution online. This study aimed to examine what role the Internet and the use of smartphones play in young women selling sex online, focusing on the method of contact and the characteristics of the communication online between buyer and seller. The study included 15 young women between the ages of 15 and 25 (M=18.9) who had sold sex online before the age of 18. Thematic analysis was used to identify similarities and differences in the narratives.

Two main themes were identified: (I) Internet use—Part of daily life, for good and bad, and Depending on mood. The young women described using the Internet on a daily basis. During periods of poorer psychological health they were more active on sites focusing on self-destructiveness and sex. During these periods, they also sold sex more frequently. (II) Patterns of contacts—Innocent/curious, Dating, and Advertising. The narratives about communication prior to a sexual encounter detailed differences ranging from being lured to direct negotiations. The results indicate that there is a group of young women who sell sex online that is not in the open prostitution. Police and other authorities working with young women selling sex need to better understand the coded sexual communication behind some of these sexual encounters and how different communication strategies might affect the young women

Keyword
young women; prostitution; selling sex; online; Internet
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-107658 (URN)10.5817/CP2014-1-4 (DOI)
Available from: 2014-06-18 Created: 2014-06-18 Last updated: 2017-12-05
4. Young women selling sex online: narratives on regulating
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Young women selling sex online: narratives on regulating
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
Keyword
Adolescent, women, affect regulation, selling sex, prostitution, online
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-114541 (URN)10.2147/AHMT.S77324 (DOI)
Available from: 2015-02-26 Created: 2015-02-26 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved

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