, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 1015-1025,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 10 Jul 2010

The Use of Sexually Explicit Internet Material and Its Antecedents: A Longitudinal Comparison of Adolescents and Adults


An implicit assumption in research on adolescents’ use of sexually explicit internet material (SEIM) is that they may feel more attracted to such material than adults, given the “forbidden” character of SEIM for minors. However, systematic comparisons between adolescents’ and adults’ SEIM use and of its antecedents are missing. We conducted a two-wave panel survey among a nationally representative sample of 1,445 Dutch adolescents and a nationally representative sample of 833 Dutch adults. Adolescents’ and adults’ SEIM use was similar. When significant differences in the SEIM use occurred, they indicated that adults used SEIM more often than adolescents. Male adults were the most frequent users of SEIM. No difference in the antecedent structure of SEIM use emerged between adolescents and adults. In both groups, males, sensation seekers, as well as people with a not exclusively heterosexual orientation used SEIM more often. Among adolescents and adults, lower life satisfaction increased SEIM use. Our findings suggest that the frequency of SEIM use and its antecedents are largely the same among adolescents and adults.