Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 419–427

Online Sexual Activity Experience of Heterosexual Students: Gender Similarities and Differences

  • Krystelle Shaughnessy
  • E. Sandra Byers
  • Lindsay Walsh
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10508-010-9629-9

Cite this article as:
Shaughnessy, K., Byers, E.S. & Walsh, L. Arch Sex Behav (2011) 40: 419. doi:10.1007/s10508-010-9629-9

Abstract

This study compared male and female university students’ experiences with online sexual activity (OSA) and tested a model explaining gender differences in OSA. OSAs were categorized as non-arousal (e.g., seeking sexuality information), solitary-arousal (e.g., viewing sexually explicit materials), or partnered-arousal (e.g., sharing sexual fantasies). Participants (N = 217) completed measures of OSA experience, sexual attitudes, and sexual experience. Significantly more men than women reported engaging in solitary-arousal and partnered-arousal OSA and doing so more often. However, the men and women who reported having engaged in partnered-arousal activities reported equal frequencies of experience. There were no significant gender differences for engaging in non-arousal OSA experience. These results support the importance of grouping OSAs in terms of the proposed non-arousal, solitary-arousal, and partnered-arousal categories. Attitude toward OSA but not general attitudes toward or experiences with sexuality partially mediated the relationship between gender and frequency of engaging in arousal-oriented OSA (solitary and partnered OSA). This suggests that attitude toward OSA specifically and not gender socialization more generally account for gender differences in OSA experience.

Keywords

Online sexual activity Gender difference Sexual attitudes Sexual socialization Sexually explicit material 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Krystelle Shaughnessy
    • 1
  • E. Sandra Byers
    • 1
  • Lindsay Walsh
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of New BrunswickFrederictonCanada
  2. 2.Department of KinesiologyUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada

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