Campus: CSU Los Angeles -- June 14, 2004

ELLE/MNBC.com Survey Reveals New Stage in the Sexual Revolution

The Cybersex and Romance Survey is Conceived by Cal State L.A.’s Sociology Professor

ELLE.com and MSNBC.com recently announced results of their comprehensive online Cybersex and Romance Survey, completed by more than 15,000 men and women* and conceived by Janet Lever, professor of sociology at California State University, Los Angeles.

The survey results—published in the June issue of ELLE magazine and now available online on MSNBC.com’s health pages—reveal a new stage in the sexual revolution that is changing and challenging the rules of flirtation, commitment and intimacy.

According to Dr. Lever, personals and match sites have changed the way people are “hooking up,” and cyberporn is redefining how we see our bodies and our partners. The survey data provide an overview of how the Web has affected sex and romance in life. From the results, “it’s clear that the dire ill effects of Internet sex we hear about happen to just a small percentage of Web-sex users,” says Lever. “For most, online erotica does more good than harm, strengthening bonds between partners, easing their communication, and kindling the sparks that keep sex interesting.”

Some findings on use of PERSONALS include:
• Contrary to popular beliefs, the vast majority of people (72%) say they don’t lie about themselves online: a few women, just one in ten, say they lie about their weight or appearance, but one in five men commit the biggest lie—saying they’re available, when they’re not.
• Internet personals sites are revolutionizing how we meet and mate: People are reporting positive changes in their social lives, not just with more dates, but also new mates. Of the women who went on the Web seeking serious relationships, 38% are now in a committed or marital relationship with someone they met online.
• Contrary to pick-up rituals in real life, it appears that women are FINALLY in the driver seat: just like men, they can initiate a possible dating relationship, and women are more successful than men in exchanging emails, getting more dates, and moving into committed relationships with online partners.

Some findings on use of ADULT Web sites:
• It’s not just men logging onto these sites: 53% of women surveyed (vs. 81% of men) have logged on to see erotic images or engage in sexy talk.
• 70% of women and 61% of men said that erotic images online had affected their sexual self-image—more positive than negative changes were mentioned.
• A substantial proportion of both sexes, 37% of men and 28% of women, said that sex on the Net had expanded the boundaries of what they found erotic
• Six out of ten women and 44% of men who’ve revealed something first anonymously online subsequently told their partner about their sexual desires


This is the sixth mass media survey written and analyzed by Dr. Lever, who coauthored Glamour magazine’s “Sex and Health” column from 1991 through 1998. In 2002, ELLE.com and MSNBC.com posted Lever’s first click-and-tell survey researching sex and romance in the workplace. Dr. Lever, who received her Ph.D. from Yale University, is a recognized expert on sex and health policy issues whose work has been published in major social science and medical journals. For the past 30 years, Dr. Lever has taught sociology at Northwestern, UCLA, UC San Diego, and since 1990, Cal State L.A. She has been interviewed by numerous broadcast and print media throughout the country on the subjects of romantic love, human sexuality and intimate relationships.

Contact: Margie Yu, (323) 343-3047


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