Sexual behaviors associated with meeting sexual partners online in adolescence

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  • Nine percent of sexually active youth (2% of all youth) reported meeting one of their two most recent sexual partners online. LGB youth (4.8%) are more likely than non-LGB youth (1.7%) to report meeting one of their two most recent sexual partners online (p=0.0002).
  • Amongsexually active LGB youth, 12% of lgb youth and 8% of non-lgb youth have met one of their two most recent sexual partners online (p=0.16)
  • http://eurout.org/2010/03/24/studying-lesbians-being-ignored-and-excluded-non-targeted-research

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  • 1. American Public Health Association Boston, MA Tuesday, November 5, 2013 Sexual behaviors associated with meeting sexual partners online in adolescence Michele L. Ybarra MPH PhD, Center for Innovative Public Health Research Kimberly J. Mitchell PhD, Crimes against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire
  • 2. Disclosure The authors have no conflicts to declare.
  • 3. Acknowledgements The project described was supported by Award Number R01 HD057191 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development or the National Institutes of Health. We would like to thank the entire Study team from the Center for Innovative Public Health Research, the University of New Hampshire, the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Latrobe University, and Harris Interactive, who contributed to the planning and implementation of the study. We thank the study participants for their time and willingness to participate in this study.
  • 4. Study Motivation  Given the ubiquity of youth Internet use, it seems likely that the Internet is a tool used by young people to explore their sexuality.  Previous research has noted that the Internet is used by some teens to explore their sexuality (Subrahmanyam, Greenfield, Tynes, 2004). More recently, “sexting” has been of interest (Rice, Rhoades, Winetrobe, et al., 2012; Temple, Paul, van den Berg, et al., 2012).  What is noticeably absent from this discussion is whether and how young people are using the Internet to find sexual partners. Examining this by sexual orientation identity is important because of differential risk for HIV and other STIs.
  • 5. Teen Health and Technology survey methodology Fielded August 4, 2010 - January 17, 2011 IRB approval from CIRBI , UNH IRB, and GLSEN IRB  Parental permission waived  Eligibility criteria:   ◦ 13-18 years of age ◦ Living in the United States ◦ Informed assent Participants identified through Harris Poll Online (n=3,989) and GLSEN outreach efforts (emails, FB ads; n=1,918)  The survey was self-completed online  The median survey length was 23 minutes for HPOL respondents and 34 minutes for GLSEN 
  • 6. Research questions 1. How many adolescents 13-18 years of age have met someone online that they subsequently had sex with offline? 2. Is meeting an online sexual partner associated with risky sexual behavior (condom use, concurrent sexual partners) or other indicators of concern (partner ever having an STI)?
  • 7. Measures: Sexual behavior “Have you ever had oral sex (we mean stimulating the vagina or penis with the mouth or tongue) when you wanted to?”  “Have you ever had sex with another person that involved a finger or sex toy going into the vagina or anus when you wanted to?”  “Have you ever, when you wanted to, had sex where a penis went into a vagina?”  “Have you ever, when you wanted to, had sex where someone's penis went into your anus?” and “Have you ever, when you wanted to, had sex where your penis went into someone's anus?” 
  • 8. Measures: Sexual orientation “Below is a list of terms that people often use to describe their sexuality or sexual orientation. How would you describe your sexuality or sexual orientation? Please select all that apply.”  Response options included: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Straight/heterosexual, Questioning, Queer, Other, or Not Sure.  Youth who endorsed “straight/heterosexual” exclusively, were compared to youth who endorsed any other sexual orientation identity 
  • 9. Teen Health and Technology survey sample characteristics (n=5,680) Male nonLGB (n=1506) Female non-LGB (n=1887) Male GB (n=889) Female LG (n=1398) Age (M: SE) 15.4 (0.5) 15.7 (0.04) 16.1 (0.1) 15.8 (0.08) White race 73% 66% 62% 65% Hispanic ethnicity 17% 19% 29% 17% Lower than average income 27% 27% 32% 32% Small town / rural setting 40% 44% 29% 36%
  • 10. Meeting a partner online (among all youth) 95% Female LG 5% 89% Male GB 11% Female non-LGB 98% 2% Male non-LGB 99% 2% 0% 10% 20% 30% No Design-based F(2.64, 14592.17)= 25.9418 40% 50% Yes P = 0.0000 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
  • 11. Meeting a partner online (among youth who have had sex) Female LG 89% Male GB 11% 86% 14% Female non-LGB 91% 9% Male non-LGB 93% 7% 0% 20% 40% No Design-based F(2.65, 4642.94)= 6.8262 Yes P = 0.0003 60% 80% 100%
  • 12. Condom use at last vaginal / anal sex 100% 85% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 72% 77% 60% 53% 45% 45% 45% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Most Most Most Most Most Most Most Most recent recent recent recent recent recent recent recent partner partner partner partner partner partner partner partner not met met not met met not met met not met met online online online online online online online online (n=410) (n=103) (n=542) (n=51) (n=265) (n=14) (n=346) (n=27) LGB Males LGB Females Non-LGB Males * Non-LGB Females
  • 13. Concurrent sexual partners 35% 31% 30% 25% 21% 20% 15% 11% 10% 9% 10% 10% 7% 6% 5% 0% Most Most Most Most Most Most Most Most recent recent recent recent recent recent recent recent partner partner partner partner partner partner partner partner not met met not met met not met met not met met online online online online online online online online (n=410) (n=103) (n=542) (n=51) (n=265) (n=14) (n=346) (n=27) LGB Males * LGB Females Non-LGB Males Non-LGB Females
  • 14. Non-LGB Females Most recent partner met online (n=27) Non-LGB Males Most recent partner met online (n=14) 7% Most recent partner not met online (n=265) 25% 73% 2% LGB Females Most recent partner met online (n=51) 27% 73% 1% Most recent partner not met online (n=542) 22% LGB Males Partner has had an STI (ever) Most recent partner met online (n=103) 27% 70% 4% Most recent partner not met online (n=346) 25% 70% 5% 34% Most recent partner not met online (n=410) 40% 0% Don't know 93% No 0% 75% 53% 57% 3% 12% 3% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Yes
  • 15. Limitations    As with all self-report measures, some youth respondents may not have accurately disclosed sensitive topics. The representativeness of the sample is based upon the weighting. Findings should be replicated. Measures of sexual risk refer to the most recent partner, whereas indication of meeting a partner online includes the two most recent partners. Indicators are therefore proxies of sexual behavior rather than one-to-one measures of risk for online versus offline partners.
  • 16. Conclusions  Although meeting partners online is somewhat more common for LGB youth, it is still reported by 11% or fewer youth. ◦ Sexual health education should integrate online scenarios but not necessarily over-emphasize this as a way to meet partners, even for LGB youth.  Findings do not support a hypothesis of risky sex associated with meeting partners online. ◦ The rates of risky sexual behaviors are concerning across all sexual orientation identities. More needs to be done to invigorate preventive behavior.
  • 17. Thank you Michele@InnovativePublicHealth.org http://eurout.org/2010/03/24/studying-lesbians-being-ignored-and-excluded-non-targeted-research