Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Learning Sciences and Human Development

Committee Chair

Kristin L Moilanen

Committee Co-Chair

Lesley Cottrell

Committee Member

Carol A Markstrom


The current study examined the link between sexually explicit media use and the different forms of sexual risk-taking among emerging adults. The study focused on emerging adults aged 18 -- 25 years. This is a critical stage for sexual risk-taking which has not been adequately investigated by prior studies. Using online data collected from 146 American based young adults (45.1% female; 74.6% European American, 9.7% Asian /Asian American, 6.7% Black/African American, 0.7% Native American and 8.2% Multiethnic, mean age = 22.89 years), sexually explicit media use was analyzed in connection with sexual risk-taking variables (i.e., multiple sexual partners, condom use and high risk sexual behavior). Bivariate analyses revealed no significant correlations between sexually explicit media use and the three different forms of sexual risk-taking. Consistent with the study's second hypothesis, males reported higher levels of sexually explicit media use and higher levels of high risk sexual behavior than the females. In addition, regression analysis revealed that sexually explicit media use was significantly associated with a person's number of sexual partners as well as their engagement in high risk sexual behavior. The findings of the current study are a reflection of inconsistent findings in the existing literature and evidence that the link between sexually explicit media use and sexual risk-taking might not be as direct as assumed.