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Pornography and Sexual Experiences Among High School Students 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: April 2014 - Volume 35 - Issue 3 - p 179–188
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000034
Original Article
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Objectives: The study investigated the differences between high school boys and girls in: (1) the use of pornography, (2) sexual experiences, (3) experience of sexual abuse, and (4) perceptions of sexuality and pornography. It also examined the possible predictors of experiencing sexual activities, such as sex, sociodemographic factors (high school program, household, and ethnic background), pornography consumption, experience of sexual abuse, perception of sexuality, and perception of pornography.

Method: A population-based classroom survey of 16-year-old boys (n = 477) and girls (n = 400) from 53 randomly selected high school classes in 2 towns in mid-Sweden.

Results: Almost all boys (96%, n = 453) and 54% of the girls (n = 213) had watched pornography. Regardless of sex, pornography consumers had a positive perception of pornography. There were no differences between pornography-consuming boys and girls regarding fantasies, and they had attempted sexual acts inspired by pornography. A higher proportion of girls (15%) than boys (6%) had experienced sexual abuse. Predictors for being sexually experienced (oral sex, intercourse, and anal sex) included: being a girl, attending a vocational high school program, living with separated parents, having experience of sexual abuse, stating that boys and girls are equally interested in sex, and having a positive perception of pornography (Adj. R2 = 0.166).

Conclusion: Boys had more experience of and a more positive perception of pornography, but there were only a few differences between boys and girls in the pornography-consumer group. Girls were more sexually experienced than boys. A positive perception of pornography predicted being sexually experienced.

This article has supplementary material on the web site: www.jdbp.org.

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

Center of Clinical Science, Uppsala University, 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, Center of Clinical Science, Central Hospital, Uppsala University, Entr 29, Västerås 721 89, Sweden; e-mail: magdalena.mattebo@kbh.uu.se.

Supported by the European Society of Contraception and Reproductive Health, Uppsala-Örebro Regional Research Council, and Uppsala University.

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions this article on the journal’s Web site (www.jdbp.org).

Received August , 2013

Accepted December , 2013

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins