Comparing Sexuality-Related Cognitions, Sexual Behavior, and Acceptance of Sexual Coercion in Dating App Users and Non-Users

Abstract

Using dating apps has become popular for many young adults worldwide, promising the chance to meet new sexual partners. Because there is evidence that using dating apps may be associated with risky sexual behavior, this study compared users and non-users concerning their sexuality-related cognitions, namely their risky sexual scripts and sexual self-esteem, as well as their risky and sexually assertive behavior. It also explored the link between dating app use and acceptance of sexual coercion. A total of 491 young heterosexual adults (295 female) participated in an online survey advertised in social media and college libraries in Germany. Results indicated that users had more risky sexual scripts and reported more risky sexual behavior than non-users. Furthermore, male dating app users had lower sexual self-esteem and higher acceptance of sexual coercion than male non-users. In both gender groups, dating app use predicted casual sexual activity via a more risky casual sex script. Gender differences, potential underlying mechanisms, and directions for future research are discussed.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to Johanna Friedrich, Juliette Marchewka, Ariane Schaffner, and Jeanette Weise for their support.

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Correspondence to Paulina Tomaszewska.

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Paulina Tomaszewska and Isabell Schuster shared first authorship.

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Tomaszewska, P., Schuster, I. Comparing Sexuality-Related Cognitions, Sexual Behavior, and Acceptance of Sexual Coercion in Dating App Users and Non-Users. Sex Res Soc Policy 17, 188–198 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-019-00397-x

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Keywords

  • Dating app use
  • Sexual scripts
  • Sexual behavior
  • Acceptance of sexual coercion
  • Young adults