Young people’s positive sexual experiences

Sexual health is more than the absence of sexual coercion, unintended pregnancy, sexually transmissible infections and other sexual and reproductive health problems. Nevertheless, research into positive aspects of sexuality remains scarce and understanding of what young people consider positive sexual experiences is limited. Moreover, many potentially pleasurable sexual experiences, such as having sex with a casual partner, are typically seen as risky behaviours. In this study we drew on data previously collected in the ‘Speak up now!’ study of coercive sexual experiences and behaviours of young people in The Netherlands. Using secondary analyses, we assessed risk and resilience factors related to sexual practices that are typically seen as ‘risky’, including having one-night-stands, engaging in threesomes and having sex over the internet. In particular, we assessed whether young people who report these practices can be classified as vulnerable, as is often done, or as resilient and actively exploring their sexuality. In addition, we also drew on young people’s narrative responses to explore what, and why, they consider their most positive sexual experiences. Two research reports have been produced and two manuscripts have been produced for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

Funding Agency

Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development

Partners / Collaborators

Social Psychology Unit, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Rutgers WPF, The Netherlands

Organisational units