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.
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.
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).
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.