Research Findings: (Young) Gay Chicks Are Looking Online To Learn About Gay Sex

Throughout the research period, I will post research findings in an academic format to show off my fancy knowledge. This Research Findings report is about the huge, Earth-shattering reality that lesbian, bisexual, and otherwise girl-on-girl inclined ladies are using the worldwide web to learn how to get closer to one another.

It’s no surprise to anyone that gay people, or really any people, are looking online to find sexual information and material. The Internet is a bastion of sexual content, be it fictional, pornographic, health-related, or personal stories.

Doctors Jane Brown, Sarah Keller, and Susannah Stern see media that includes the Internet as vital in the shaping of youth sexual culture, and chose to study its impact in “Sex, Sexuality, Sexting, and SexEd: Adolescents and the Media.” Because sexual attractiveness, romantic relationships, and sexual behavior are discussed and portrayed in media, they shape the perceptions and conceptions of sex for their viewers – and a majority of young people are viewing media in high numbers (12). They similarly found that the Internet contained sexual health information, sexually explicit images, and pornography in a mass that is greater than any medium’s capacity ever before (13).

Similarly, the authors pointed to gay and lesbian youth as a group using the Internet for experimentation and sexual self-definition online because of the difficulty and dangers of doing so in offline space (13). Young people as a whole rely on the Internet for sexual health concerns or problems they feel uncomofortable sharing with peers or adults, but for LGBT youth the Internet represents a singular space for them in the world where they can safely discuss their identities and politics (as well as find partners and talk about sex practices) (13). Queer youth also find that schools, where heterosexual students would normally bring their sexual health concerns during their early development, can be “difficult spaces to express their identity,” leading them to need a new mechanism for finding information; often their only option is to rely on some form of mass media (Threlkeld). Louisa Allen states in “‘They Think You Shouldn’t Be Having Sex Anyway'” that two-thirds of same-sex attracted youth designate the Internet as “important” or “very important” as a source of sexual health information (579).

As a sexual health education vehicle, however, the Internet provides many more facets than similar resources in the same space, including the ability to form relationships and participate in a community without supervision and on your own time (14). One in four teens are using the Internet to learn about sex, STDs, and other issues linked to sexual behavior and reproduction; this information is critical because it has been shown to change behavior in over 40 percent of young adults who access it online (14). Social networking is also a strong vehicle for sexual health information because it forms communities around sexual and gender orientation and therefore allows young queers to study their identity alongside their sexual education (MacIntosh, Bryson 138). For queer youth, information that does not confine them to traditionalized categories and expectations is more trusted and valuable as they go through their coming out processes and experience their sexuality, in many ways, for the first time (MacIntosh, Bryson 140).

Images always found innocently via Tumblr. Please let me know if it’s yours!

WORKS CITED

Brown, Jane D., Sarah Keller, and Susannah Stern. “Sex, Sexuality, Sexting, and SexEd: Adolescents and the Media.” The Prevention Researcher, 16:4, 12-17. November 2009.

MacIntosh, Lori and Mary Bryson. “Youth, MySpace, and the Interstitial Spaces of Becoming and Belonging.” Journal of LGBT Youth, 5:1, 133-142. Haworth Press. 2007.

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