The scientific study of young people’s sexuality is, understandably, increasingly addressing the role of social media. Social media as well as the related research are rapidly evolving. Any final conclusion on these moving targets would be inappropriate. Nonetheless, it may be useful to keep score where we’re heading. This article considers the recent literature related to social media and young people’s sexuality. The research discussed relates, among others, to the role of social media in sexual development, to the extent of (self )sexualisation on social media, to the effects of social media on young people’s (sexual) behavior and cognitions and to the empowering effects of social media. It may be concluded that there definitely is progress in our understanding of (sexual) behavior on social media and its consequences. Questions related to determinants of differences among young people, in behavior and use of social media as well as effects and experience thereof, are an important area of future research.
The article discusses some trends that took place over the past decades in the research field of young people and sexuality. Thereby reference is made to four articles that have been published in the Tijdschrift voor Seksuologie (TvS) between 1984 and 1989. These articles deal with the following topics: framing sexual problems of young people from a development perspective, questions about relations and sexuality for which young people seek help, young people’s concerns about masturbation, and the link between sexual norms and sexual behavior among young people and young adults. Concretely, the article discusses three trends that took place since the publication of these articles, thereby making use of the national and international research literature. Firstly, becoming sexually active is increasingly considered a normative development task rather than an avoidable risk. Secondly, changes in sexual behavior of young people can be linked to changing sexual norms. Thirdly, the article discusses possible shifts in the needs of young people regarding their sexual development.