The Role of Media with Sexual Content on Adolescents’ Sexual Risk Behavior and Pleasure & the Mediation of this Association by Adolescent SDS-Stereotypes
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Sex and sexual relationships are commonly portrayed in media and adolescents are frequently exposed to these kinds of content from various media types (i.e., social media accounts, reality television, online pornography, and music videos). Previous research suggested associations between exposure to sexual content and adolescent sexual behavior as well as adolescent sexual double standard (SDS) stereotypes. To gain deeper insight into how media with sexual content may be associated with adolescent sexual behavior, the current study investigated the relationship between the level of exposure to media with sexual content and adolescent sexual risk behavior and sexual pleasure, and whether adolescents’ SDS stereotypes mediated these associations. Data were collected through an online survey at schools in the Netherlands (aged 16-20 years, N=257). No significant associations were found between the level of exposure to media types with sexual content and adolescent sexual risk behavior and sexual pleasure. In addition, adolescents’ SDS stereotypes did not mediate the associations between the level of exposure to media types with sexual content and adolescent sexual risk behavior and sexual pleasure. However, some individual significant associations were identified based on specific media types; (1) the level of exposure to reality TV was associated with higher levels of adolescent sexual risk behavior, and (2) the level of exposure to pornography was associated with higher levels of sexual pleasure. One of the important practical implications of this research include informing sexual education programs about factors that could be taken into account when creating the content to prevent sexual risk behavior and stimulate sexual pleasure in adolescents.
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