Sexual intensity of adolescents' online self-presentations: Joint contribution of identity, media consumption, and extraversion

Piotr S. Bobkowski, Autumn Shafer, Rebecca Ortiz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Adolescents produce and distribute a vast quantity of digital media content. A growing literature examines the sexually explicit (i.e., nude) content that adolescents share online. Because adolescents' sexual content need not be sexually explicit, however, this study examined the sexual intensity with which adolescents choose to present themselves in the context of a social media platform. Exemplifying the variability of adolescents' online sexual self-presentations, survey participants (N = 265; age range: 13-15 years) constructed social media profiles using components (e.g., photos, fashion brands) that varied in sexual intensity. In accord with predictions drawn from the Media Practice Model, the study found that the sexual intensity of adolescents' online self-presentations is a product of the sexual self-concept, a relationship that is partially mediated by sexual media diet and moderated by extraversion. This study bridges emerging research on sexual self-presentation with established literature on adolescents' sexual media uses and effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-74
Number of pages11
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
StatePublished - May 1 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • Adolescents
  • Mass media
  • Self-concept
  • Sexting
  • Sexual media diet
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology(all)

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