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Quebec Teen Sexuality Involves A Lotta Self-Love & Porn, A Study Found

But only around a third are engaging in sexual intercourse.

MTL Blog, Associate Editor
​A young couple embraces in front of Montreal's industrial site, Silo No. 5, in the Old Port on a cloudy day.

A young couple embraces in front of Montreal's industrial site, Silo No. 5, in the Old Port on a cloudy day.

Quebec teens are taking their sexual pleasure into their own hands. A new study on the sexual practices of young Quebecers gathered data from 1,584 adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18 in nine secondary schools. It found a third of teens engage in sexual intercourse (32.6%), including oral (32.6%), while a majority stick to self-pleasuring (81%), more than half the time while watching porn (53.6%).

The results were presented by clinical psychology researcher and Laval University doctoral student Judith Kotiuga as part of the ACFAS (French-Canadian Association for the Advancement of Science) symposium.

Kotiuga found a majority of teens have little sexual contact with one or more partners. In fact, the more intimate an action, the less common among study respondents.

"Self-focused sexual practices are the most common among adolescents aged 14 to 18," Kotiuga said in her presentation.

"The results are interesting because they show the early psychosexual progression from self-pleasuring to engaging in more intimate acts with a partner."

Most youths engage in sexual fantasizing (86%), looking at themselves naked in the mirror (86%), and masturbating (81%). More than half also reported holding hands (71%) and hugging a partner (71%). Mapping out the data by age showed that every year adolescents become progressively more intimate, following a linear progression of around 5%.

Separating the results by gender revealed some practices, like masturbation, drastically vary between boys (95%) and girls (68%), while around 85% of boys watch porn compared to around 40% of girls. Meanwhile, girls are more likely to sext than boys. All other sexual activities were on-par genderwise.

"Pornography consumption is most often accompanied by masturbating," said Kotiuga. "Previously, access to pornographic material was taboo and only available through magazines. Now it's extremely accessible."

The researcher found that technology has had a marked influence on the sexual development of teens. In addition to the high percentage of porn consumption, nearly half of youth reported sending texts of a sexual nature (41.3%) or, less commonly, filming/photographing partners in a sexual way (2%).

"It shows how important it is to develop educational programs that teach students how to safely develop sexually in the digital realm," she said. "That includes being able to differentiate between sexual expectations online versus in real life."

Overall, the study found that 98% of youth in Quebec are sexually active in some way. Around 75% reported having sexual contact with at least one partner.

Kotiuga said variability among teens is normal and while some respondents reported feeling behind their peers in terms of sexual progression, they were actually well within the average range of sexual practices for their age group.

Breakdown of research results

  • Fantasize sexually: 86.6%
  • Look at naked reflection in a mirror: 86.4%
  • Examine their body: 85.7%
  • Masturbate (solo): 81%
  • Hold hands with a partner: 71.7%
  • Cuddle a partner: 71%
  • Kissing a partner on the lips: 69.5%
  • Voluntarily view pornographic material: 68.4%
  • Masturbate to pornographic material: 56.6%
  • Kiss a partner on the lips (with the tongue): 53.6%
  • Rub against a clothed partner (dry hump): 53.5%
  • Caress or be caressed (buttocks): 53%
  • Fondle or be fondled (excluding genitals): 49.4%
  • Caress or be caressed (chest): 48.5%
  • Sext (text message): 41.3%
  • Get naked with a partner: 38.2%
  • Kiss or lick a partner's breasts/chest: 38.4%
  • Masturbate a partner: 37.6%
  • Oral sex: 32.6%
  • Vaginal intercourse: 32.6%
  • Sext (photo/video): 30.1%
  • Live video call of a sexual nature: 9.4%
  • Anal intercourse: 7.4%
  • Sexual activity with more than one partner at a time: 2.4%
  • Photograph/film a partner: 2.4%
  • Be photographed or filmed by a partner: 2.2%
  • Exchange partners: 0.8%
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