Technology now plays a central role in modern culture and has defined the younger generation. Even though it has the potential to improve communication, socialization, and education, many people’s actual experiences with it have generally been negative. Social networking site use puts people’s sexual and social well-being at risk for a variety of reasons, including decreased self-esteem and the emergence of new, irrational social norms that promote riskier behavior.
Sex and Technology
Lou conducted a study on how the media affected adolescents’ sexual knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors in three Asian cities. She discovered that 45–54 percent of the adolescents got their sexual education online.
- Furthermore, teenagers who frequently visit websites with explicit sexual content are five times more likely to start a sexual relationship than non-users.
- Researchers from the Kinsey Institute discovered that the use of sex technology is growing and that users report feeling emotionally and sexually connected to virtual partners in a survey that surveyed over 8,000 Americans in late 2019.
- According to Justin Garcia, the Kinsey Institute’s acting executive director and Ruth Halls Associate Professor of Gender Studies, these results undermine the notion that romantic relationships are being replaced by technology and that love is becoming obsolete.
The Ugly Side of Technology
To investigate the role of the Internet in meeting sexual partners and its correlation to risky sexual behavior, a cross-sectional study was conducted on male college students recruited from colleges and gay organizations in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. The findings demonstrated that internet partner seekers had higher rates of casual, paid, and same-sex interactions, as well as higher rates of drug use and having more than two partners when compared to non-internet partner seekers. Despite knowing enough about HIV and STDs, meet partners online demonstrates higher levels of risky sexual behaviors.
Research indicates that male teenagers who watch pornography often feel compel to try out what they have seen in real life; the respondents’ mean sexual age at which they make their debut is 17.5 years.
There may be legal repercussions for risky online behavior in addition to the obvious high cost to one’s social and sexual well-being. In many states, laws meant to protect children are being used against them for working as pornographers. One particularly unsettling example involves a fourteen-year-old girl who was charged with possessing and disseminating child pornography after she uploaded naked pictures of herself on a social media platform. Though it makes sense that someone would suffer some sort of
consequence for making such foolish and frequently painful choices, not many teenagers realize that hitting “send” can have major consequences.
- Whether or not one is prosecuted, inappropriate online behavior can have lifelong consequences.
- Even more upsetting than the possible harm that social media personal disclosure may do to one’s career prospects is the reality that predators specifically target young girls and women who are impressionable and unaware of the consequences of using the Internet carelessly.
1) Online Dating
In a late 2019 Pew Research Centre survey of American adults, 48% of youths between the ages of 18 and 29 reported using a dating website or app. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people use this method especially frequently; 55% of this group say they have used it to look for possible partners. People can’t, however, ignore the drawbacks of online dating.
- Online dating services that give users a quick bio or profile to review can cause an excessive focus on appearances. Because online dating involves quick and sometimes superficial assessments, people may pass up partners who would otherwise make a good match.
- Online daters search for turnoffs rather than positive traits in potential partners. The abundance of potential partners that people can meet through online dating is one factor contributing to this trend. It’s simple to move on to the next partner if the previous one has too many shortcomings.
- Although there is always room for deception in relationships, there is a higher chance of misrepresentation when dating online, and some distortions are specific to this medium. For example, it is possible to lie about one’s gender and complete physical appearance only online, even though one could lie about their marital status or sexual orientation in face-to-face situations.
2) Virtual Reality
- In this 3-D virtual world, some people have incredibly satisfying romantic relationships and sex encounters. Many view this as a major benefit of virtual sex: it gives users the chance to experiment with various avatars, genders, and sexual orientations that aren’t possible in the real world.
- There is a Second Life virtual reality interface, but there are also companies producing virtual reality porn. These include more immersive choices that mimic video games and 3-D films.
- It should be noted that virtual reality options can be highly costly, necessitating the purchase of virtual reality headsets or systems if users do not already own them.
According to research, young romantic partners or prospective partners frequently engage in sexting, which is the sharing of sexually suggestive or explicit images or messages via cell phones or other mobile media. Teenagers are particularly prone to sexting because they are accustomed to utilizing digital devices like smartphones.
Research on the topic of sexting revealed that teens’ experiences with it are not always positive. Every year, the likelihood of sexting rises by at least 50% as one gets older. There is a correlation between the strong desire to send and receive text messages. According to Ybarra’s research, 51% of male participants who sent or displayed sexual images had engaged in sexual activity, whereas only 13% of men had never done so.
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Studies that have already been conducted on the topic of “technology and sex” take into account possibilities for increased self-discovery and sexual empowerment. There are a lot more possible risks associated with it, though.
- It highlights the risks: damage to kids and teenagers; and compulsive sexual behavior patterns.
- It might also lead to additional risks: Sexual abuse and harassment, especially against minors; compulsive or addictive overuse; encouraging adultery to sabotage current relationships; and, when offline interactions occur, the transmission of STDs like AIDS.
- Sexual subcultures have the capacity to effectively organize and exhibit themselves in public on the Internet. In the literature, this is viewed as a chance, provided that the problem pertains to sexually marginalized groups, who are deemed to be the targets of unfair discrimination.
- Marginalized groups whose sexual preferences and behaviors are deemed dangerous for them or others are classified as posing a societal risk due to their online presence.
Ethical & Privacy Considerations
- People need to be aware that sharing content online could result in it being intercepted and shared with third parties.
- Criminal charges may be brought for actions that are considered “lewd and lascivious.” Online, this kind of behavior can involve making unwanted sexual advances or sending explicit content to someone who hasn’t shown interest in it or given permission to receive it.
- The jurisdiction in which the crime was committed is one of the many variables that affect charges and punishments for crimes. Charges for computer-based sex crimes can range from felonies to misdemeanors. If found guilty, the offender might have to register as a sex offender, pay fines, and serve jail time.
In conclusion, the investigation of sexuality through cutting-edge technology can influence people in two ways: either positively or negatively by enhancing their understanding of the sexuality of the other sex or by encouraging risky or inappropriate sexual behavior.