Watching Sexually Explicit Media Makes Teens (Ever So Slightly) More Likely to Have Sex

locked up laptopIf you've been wondering about whether watching "sexually explicit media" will speed up your teen's sex life, wonder no more: According to a study from the Netherlands, teenagers who are exposed to racy content are "more likely than other teens to have sex for money and to try new sexual behaviors." Aha! Numbers don't lie! And these numbers are ... wait a minute. Apparently only 0.3 to 4 percent of the differences in "behaviors" were linked to watching sexy media. Whoa, that's some staggering evidence right there. (And what's up with "sex for money" being an actual thing for teens in the Netherlands?!)

Look, I get it. No matter how pragmatic and/or progressive we might be as parents, none of us really wants to think about our kids having active sex lives. Or anything remotely close to active sex lives. So some of us go out of our way to try and figure out what we can do/avoid to stop that from happening.


But the truth is, shielding our kids from sexy TV shows or explicit videos or whatever else isn't going to stop the inevitable, uncomfortable concept from becoming a reality. As study researcher Gert Martin Hald said, "Our data suggest that other factors such as personal dispositions -- specifically sensation-seeking -- rather than consumption of sexually explicit material may play a more important role in a range of sexual behaviors of adolescents and young adults."

And there you have it. As ever, the "media influence" explanation falls apart under close scrutiny. Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying go out and buy your kid porn, I'm just saying ... don't kid yourself.

What do you think influences teen sexual behavior?


Image via Martin Clark/Flickr

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