Attitudes toward online sexual activities

Special issue: Internet and Sexuality

The goal of this study was to extend our understanding of attitudes toward three types of online sexual activity (OSA) among both students and members of the community: non-arousal OSA (N-OSA), solitary-arousal OSA (S-OSA), and partnered-arousal OSA (P-OSA). In Study 1, 81 male and 140 female undergraduate students completed a paper and pencil survey. In Study 2, an age and sexually diverse group of 137 men and 188 women recruited from the Internet completed an online survey. The results from the two studies were more similar than different. Attitudes toward the three types of activities were neutral to slightly positive on average. The three types of attitudes were significantly related but also distinct. The men’s attitudes toward S-OSA and P-OSA were more positive than were the women’s; the men and women did not differ in their attitudes toward N-OSA. Sexual minority individuals had more positive OSA attitudes overall. Individuals who were less traditional tended to have more positive attitudes. These results are discussed in terms of the growing acceptance of online sexuality.

online sexual activity; pornography; cybersex; sexual minority individuals; gender
Author biographies

E. Sandra Byers

Author photo E. Sandra Byers, Ph.D., L. Psych. is Professor and Chair in the Department of Psychology at University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. She is the author or co-author of more than 130 journal articles and book chapters on aspects of human sexuality. She is a fellow of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality and the Canadian Psychological Association, a member Advisory Board of the Sex Information and Education Council of Council, and a consulting editor to a number of scholarly journals. She has won several awards for her research including, most recently, awards from the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality and the Canadian Psychological Association.

Krystelle Shaughnessy

Author photo Krystelle Shaughnessy, Ph.D. is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in clinical psychology at the University of Waterloo in Canada. She completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of New Brunswick in Canada. Her research is focused on two key lines of inquiry: 1) social and sexual uses of the Internet and their impact on functioning and well-being; and, 2) evidence-based treatments and interventions that promote functioning and well–being.

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