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Pornography Consumption, Sexual Experiences, Lifestyles, and Self-rated Health Among Male Adolescents in Sweden

Mattebo, Magdalena RNM, MSc; Tydén, Tanja PhD; Häggström-Nordin, Elisabet PhD; Nilsson, Kent W. PhD; Larsson, Margareta PhD

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: September 2013 - Volume 34 - Issue 7 - p 460–468
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e31829c44a2
Original Articles

Objective: 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.

Methods: 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.

Results: 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.

Conclusions: 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.

*Department of Women's and Children's Health, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden;

Center for Clinical Research, Uppsala University Västmanland County Hospital Västerås, Sweden;

Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden;

§School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Mälardalen University, Västerås, Sweden.

Address for reprints: Magdalena Mattebo, RNM, MSc, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Center for Clinical Research, Uppsala University, S-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden; e-mail:

Disclosure: This investigation was supported by the European Society of Contraception and Reproductive Health, Uppsala-Örebro Regional Research Council, and Uppsala University. The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Received January , 2013

Accepted May , 2013

Copyright © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.