To describe patterns of pornography use among high school boys and to investigate differences between frequent, average, and nonfrequent users of pornography with respect to sexual experiences, lifestyles, and self-rated health.
A population-based classroom survey among 16-year-old boys (n = 477), from 53 randomly selected high school classes in 2 towns in mid-Sweden.
Almost all boys, 96% (n = 453), had watched pornography. Frequent users of pornography (everyday) (10%, n = 47) differed from average users (63%, n = 292) and nonfrequent users (27%, n = 126). Frequent users versus average users and nonfrequent users had more sexual experiences, such as one night stands (45, 32, 25%, respectively) and sex with friends more than 10 times (13, 10, 2%). A higher proportion of frequent users spent more than 10 straight hours at the computer several times a week (32, 5, 8%) and reported more relationship problems with peers (38, 22, 21%), truancy at least once a week (11, 6, 5%), obesity (13, 3, 3%), use of oral tobacco (36, 29, 20%), and use of alcohol (77, 70, 52%) versus average and nonfrequent users. One third of frequent users watched more pornography than they actually wanted. There were no differences between the groups regarding physical and psychological self-rated health.
The boys, defined as frequent users of pornography, were more sexually experienced, spent more time at the computer, and reported an unhealthier lifestyle compared with average and nonfrequent users. No differences regarding self-rated health were detected even though obesity was twice as common among frequent users.