Online Sexual Behaviours and its effects on dating relationships

School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Sciences
Marika Guggisberg
Nicola Cheyne, Heather Lovatt


Online dating and sexuality have received increased prominence in recent times, particularly with the emergence of COVID-19, whereby online dating behaviours appear to be the new normal. Young women and men report using online dating apps to interact and engage in sexual contacts, which is commonly referred to as 'cybersex'. The internet provides a newfound anonymity that increases individuals' motivation to embrace sexuality and engage in the so-called 'online hookup culture'. Online dating behaviours and dynamics through social media and/or specific dating platforms require further empirical investigation. While the internet provides opportunities for sexual expression and freedom to explore one's sexuality, it also provides an avenue for unhealthy sexual pursuits. For example, recent research indicated an increase in sexual victimisation by offensive text and image messages that were sent without consent. Online sexual harassment of young people, sometimes teenagers and adults aged 18 – 35 years is only one way of sexual victimisation. Given that children, young people and other vulnerable individuals tend to find themselves in situations that they are at risk of being sexually exploited, there are possibilities to examine different contexts, circumstances and ways someone is either lured into a vulnerable exploitative victimisation situation, or that people are using the internet to target specific groups of individuals for sexual purposes. Much research is to be done in the realm of cybersexuality and how dating behaviours are influenced and impacted by the online opportunities that present themselves. Quantitative, qualitative or mixed-methods approaches are suitable to investigate specific research questions around online dating, sexuality expression and their benefits/dangers.

Technology| Studies in Human Society
sexuality, internet, dating
Spring 2021
Perth| Online

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