The Public Health Agency of Sweden, Solna, Sweden; Department of Public Health Sciences, Division Global Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online arenas may facilitate sexual encounters. However, to what extent finding sexual partners online is associated with sexual risk behavior and sexual health outcomes is still not fully explored.
A stratified randomized population based study on sexual and reproductive health and rights of 50,000 Swedes was conducted in 2017. The final sample consisted of 14,537 women and men aged 16-84 years. We identified sexual health factors associated with finding sexual partners online and estimated prevalences thereof.
Having used the internet to meet sexual partners was reported by 11% (95% confidence interval: 10.1-12.3) of men and 7% (95% confidence interval: 6.0-7.4) of women and was most common among men aged 30-44 years (13.7%). After adjustment, those reporting a non-heterosexual identity were most likely to meet sexual partners online. Meeting sexual partners online was also associated with reporting several sexual risk behaviors: condomless sex with temporary partner during the past 12 months, adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 5.1 (3.8-6.8) for women and AOR: 6.0 (4.5-7.9) for men, and having had a test for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) generated a 4-fold AOR for both sexes, STI diagnosis showed a 2-fold AOR, ever having paid or given other compensation for sex AOR: 4.8 (2.7-8.8) for women and AOR: 4.2 (2.9-6.1) for men as well as ever having received money or other compensation for sex AOR: 4.0 (1.3-11.9) for women and AOR: 6.0 (2.4-15.1) for men.
Meeting sexual partners online was associated with sexual risk behaviors, which is of importance in tailoring sexual health interventions and STI/HIV-control activities.
Few studies of online sexual behaviors are based on population-based surveys of the general population with results stratified by sexual identity. However, the use of lifetime prevalence of ever having used the internet, smartphone, or app to meet sexual partners has limitations.
Meeting sexual partners online was associated with sexual risk behaviors in a randomized sample of the Swedish population, which is of importance to tailoring sexual health interventions. Deogan C, Jacobsson E, Mannheimer L, et al. Meeting Sexual Partners Online and Associations With Sexual Risk Behaviors in the Swedish Population. J Sex Med 2020;17:2141-2147.