Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 43, Issue 6, pp 1187–1197 | Cite as

Self-Appraisals of Arousal-Oriented Online Sexual Activities in University and Community Samples

  • Krystelle Shaughnessy
  • E. Sandra ByersEmail author
  • Sarah L. Clowater
  • Alana Kalinowski
Original Paper


Arousal-oriented online sexual activities (OSAs) are any activities on the Internet that involve sexually explicit and/or sexually arousing stimuli. These can be solitary-arousal activities, requiring only one person be involved. They can also be partnered-arousal activities that involve at least two people interacting (Shaughnessy, Byers, & Walsh, 2011). Most researchers have focused on the negative outcomes of arousal-oriented OSAs on users’ sexual life and life in general. Yet, these activities can also have positive outcomes. In two separate studies, we examined men’s and women’s perceptions of the positive and negative outcomes of their solitary- and partnered-arousal OSA experience. Study 1 included heterosexual university students (N = 191); Study 2 consisted of heterosexual and sexual minority individuals from the community (N = 316). Participants completed a background questionnaire and measures of their solitary- and partnered-arousal OSA experience and outcomes of these experiences. Overall, solitary- and partnered-arousal OSA was common among study participants. In both studies, participants reported significantly greater positive than negative outcomes of their solitary- and partnered-arousal OSAs, albeit the overall impact was small. We did not find significant gender differences or differences by sexual orientation in positive or negative outcomes of arousal-oriented OSAs. Our results suggest that, for most people, participating in solitary- and partnered-arousal OSAs has little impact on them.


Online sexual activity Gender Sexually explicit material Internet sex 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Krystelle Shaughnessy
    • 1
  • E. Sandra Byers
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sarah L. Clowater
    • 1
  • Alana Kalinowski
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of New BrunswickFrederictonCanada

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