Assessing Relationship and Sexual Satisfaction in Adolescent Relationships Formed Online and Offline Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Using the Internet to meet new people is becoming more common; however, such behavior is often considered risky, particularly for adolescents. Nevertheless, adolescents are meeting people through online venues and some are forming romantic/sexual relationships. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship and sexual satisfaction reported by teens in online- and offline-initiated relationships.Data were collected from 273 13-19 year olds visiting a publicly funded clinic through 2010 and 2011. Questions included where respondents met the partner (online vs. offline), time between meeting and first sex, how well they knew the partner, and relationship and sexual (R&S) satisfaction. Analyses consisted of descriptive statistics, t tests, and path analysis, exploring R&S satisfaction in online- and offline-initiated relationships.R&S satisfaction scores were moderate for adolescents who reported meeting partners online and in person but were statistically higher in offline-initiated relationships. There was an inverse relationship between having an online partner and both relationship and sexual satisfaction. Additionally, knowing partners for a longer period of time and feeling more knowledgeable about partners before having sex were statistically significantly related to higher R&S satisfaction.Teens in this study reported more satisfying relationships with partners met offline compared with online. Results suggest that encouraging teens to wait longer and to get to know their partner(s) better before engaging in sex may improve satisfaction with, and quality of, those relationships. These findings provide an important contribution to sexual health promotion among young people, with whom technology use is ubiquitous.

authors

  • Blunt-Vinti, Heather D
  • Wheldon, Christopher
  • McFarlane, Mary
  • Brogan, Natalie
  • Walsh-Buhi, Eric R

publication date

  • 2016