Skip to main content
Log in

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

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
Archives of Sexual Behavior Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Albright, J. M. (2008). Sex in America online: An exploration of sex, marital status, and sexual identity in Internet sex seeking and its impacts. Journal of Sex Research, 45, 175–186.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Banks, J. (2010). Regulating hate speech online. International Review of Law, Computers and Technology, 24, 233–239.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Baumeister, R. F., Catanese, K. R., & Vols, K. D. (2001). Is there a gender difference in strength of sex drive? Theoretical views, conceptual distinctions, and a review of relevant evidence. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5, 242–273.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Black, D. (2000, June 25). Cybersex: Internet chat rooms can become virtual boudoirs…but the fantasies they offer might not be healthy. Toronto Star.

  • Boies, S. C. (2002). University students’ uses of and reactions to online sexual information and entertainment: Links to online and offline sexual behavior. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 11, 77–89.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bond, B. J., Hefner, V., & Drogos, K. L. (2009). Information-seeking practices during the sexual development of lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals: The influence and effects of coming out in a mediated environment. Sexuality and Culture, 13, 32–50.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Byers, E. S. (1996). How well does the traditional sexual script explain sexual coercion? Review of a program of research. Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, 8, 7–25.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cooper, A., Delmonico, D. L., & Burg, R. (2000). Cybersex users, abusers, and compulsives: New findings and implications. Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity, 7, 5–29.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cooper, A., Delmonico, D. L., Griffin-Shelley, E., & Mathy, R. M. (2004a). Online sexual activity: An examination of potentially problematic behaviors. Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity, 11, 129–143.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cooper, A., Galbreath, N., & Becker, M. A. (2004b). Sex on the internet: Furthering our understanding of men with online sexual problems. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 18, 223–230.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Daneback, K., Cooper, A., & Mansson, S. A. (2005). An Internet study of cybersex participants. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 34, 321–328.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Daneback, K., Ross, M. W., & Månsson, S. (2008). Bisexuality and sexually related activities on the Internet. Journal of Bisexuality, 8, 115–129.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Douthat, R. (2008). Is pornography adultery? The Atlantic Monthly, 302(3), 81–86.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goodson, P., McCormick, D., & Evans, A. (2001). Searching for sexually explicit materials on the Internet: An exploratory study of college students’ behavior and attitudes. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 30, 101–118.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Griffiths, M. (2001). Sex on the internet: Observations and implications for internet sex addiction. Journal of Sex Research, 38, 333–342.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Grov, C., Gillespie, B. J., Royce, T., & Lever, J. (2011). Perceived consequences of casual online sexual activities on heterosexual relationships: A U.S. online survey. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 429–439.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hald, G. M., & Malamuth, N. M. (2008). Self-perceived effects of pornography consumption. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 37, 614–625.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Holmberg, D., & Blair, K. L. (2009). Sexual desire, communication, satisfaction, and preferences of men and women in same-sex versus mixed-sex relationships. Journal of Sex Research, 46, 57–66.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hynes, F., Taylor, N., & Linehan, F. (2007). The role of the mental health professional in cases of online sexual activity. British Journal of Forensic Practice, 9, 19–23.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kubicek, K., Carpineto, J., McDavitt, B., Weiss, G., & Kipke, M. D. (2011). Use and perceptions of the Internet for sexual information and partners: A study of young men who have sex with men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 803–816.

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Lawrance, K., & Byers, E. S. (1995). Sexual satisfaction in long-term heterosexual relationship: The Interpersonal exchange model of sexual satisfaction. Personal Relationships, 2, 267–285.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McKenna, K. Y. A., Green, A. S., & Smith, P. K. (2001). Demarginalizing the sexual self. Journal of Sex Research, 38, 302–311.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Moor, P. J., Heuvelman, A., & Verleur, R. (2010). Flaming on YouTube. Computers in Human Behavior, 26, 1536–1546.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Petersen, J. L., & Hyde, J. S. (2010). A meta-analytic review of research on gender differences in sexuality, 1993–2007. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 21–38.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Schneider, J. P. (2000). A qualitative study of cybersex participants: Gender differences, recovery issues, and implications for therapists. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 7, 249–278.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schneider, J. P. (2003). The impact of compulsive cybersex behaviours on the family. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 18, 329–354.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schwartz, M. F., & Southern, S. (2000). Compulsive cybersex: The new tea room. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 7, 127–144.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shaughnessy, K., Byers, E. S., & Walsh, L. (2011). Online sexual activity experience in heterosexual students: Gender similarities and differences. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 419–427.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Smith, A., Rainie, L., & Zickuhr, K. (2011). College students and technology. Research Report. Retrieved April 9, 2013 from Pew Internet and American Life Project website http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/College-students-and-technology/Report.aspx.

  • Stephenson, K. R., Ahrold, T. K., & Meston, C. M. (2011). The association between sexual motives and sexual satisfaction: Gender differences and categorical comparisons. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 607–618.

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Wiederman, M. W. (2005). The gendered nature of sexual scripts. The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families, 13, 496–502.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to E. Sandra Byers.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Shaughnessy, K., Byers, E.S., Clowater, S.L. et al. Self-Appraisals of Arousal-Oriented Online Sexual Activities in University and Community Samples. Arch Sex Behav 43, 1187–1197 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-013-0115-z

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-013-0115-z

Keywords

Navigation