This digital change in romantic behaviors among youth has implications for public health and sexual health programs, but little is known about the ways in which young people use online spaces for sexual exploration. An examination of youth sexual health and relationships online and the implications for adolescent health programs has yet to be fully explored. Although studies have documented increasing rates of sexually transmitted infections and HIV among young people, many programs continue to neglect online spaces as avenues for understanding sexual exploration. Little is known about the online sexual health practices of young people, including digital flirting and online dating. This study explores the current behaviors and opinions of youth throughout online sexual exploration, relationship-building, and online dating, further providing insights into youth behavior for intervention opportunities. From January through Decemberan exploratory study titled TECHsex used a mixed-methods approach to document information-seeking behaviors and sexual health building behaviors of youth online in the United States. Data from a national quantitative survey of youth and 12 qualitative focus groups 66 youth were triangulated to understand the experiences and desires of young people as they navigate their sexual relationships through social media, online chatting, and online dating.
This study uses two methods to examine whether online daters looking for a long-term relationship behave linguistically different in their profile texts compared to daters seeking casual relationships.
Like many people my age, I am on a major online dating site where I have communicated with some wonderful people. I have been talking recently with one woman who is about my age. We seemed to hit it off, messaging each day for a couple of weeks about our interests, dreams, families, etc. I finally asked if she would like to meet up on a specific date.
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