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Young people not greatly affected by sexually explicit media: study

health-and-fitness Updated: Apr 26, 2013 16:03 IST
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A new study finds that viewing sexually explicit videos online affects the behavior of young people a little, but not very much.

While previous research has claimed otherwise, researchers set out to further explore the impact of sex in the media on young people living in the Netherlands. To reach their findings, Dr. Gert Martin Hald, of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and colleagues conducted an online survey of 4,600 young people aged 15 to 25 years.

The survey revealed that 88 percent of males and 45 percent of females had watched sexually explicit material through the internet, magazines, videos, television, and/or other media in the past 12 months.

While researchers did find an association between watching sexually explicit media and engaging in risky sexual acts, such as exchanging money for sex, it was more modest than they expected -- between 0.3 percent and four percent.

"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," Hald said.

Findings, announced April 25, will be published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

However in a US study published last year in Psychology Science, psychologists concluded that adolescents exposed to racy film scenes are more likely to engage in sex at a younger age, and with more people. Researchers from Dartmouth College in the US based their study on 700 popular movies -- including American Beauty and American Pie -- and found that teens who watch sexier titles become sexually active at younger ages, have a greater number of sexual partners, and are less likely to use condoms during casual sex.