Almost all people between the ages of 16 and 19 say they have been in love at some point, but more of them than before believe sex and love do not necessarily go hand in hand.
The report from the Swedish National Institute of Public Health (Folkhälsoinstitutet) also shows that more young people are willing to have temporary sexual relationships. Group sex is seen as acceptable by a growing number.
The institute claims that changing attitudes to sex are partly due to the Internet and globalisation. The changes are greatest among girls.
Another influence is sexually explicit ‘docusoaps’ such as Big Brother. These are said to lead to sexual insecurity among viewers.
The report says that negative sexual experiences while under the influence of alcohol are not uncommon, and sexual harassment is common. 65 percent of girls in their last year at school (18-19) say they have had experiences that they would class as sexual violations.
The institute’s Kristina Ramstedt said the media was partly to blame.
“Young people live in a world with influences from soap operas and forbidden pornographic websites. Together with increased alcohol consumption, this leads to uncertainty about what is ‘normal’.”
“I am seriously worried about how the next generation is going to handle its sexuality if we don’t draw attention to this development,” Ramstedt said in a statement.
The report, Youth and Sexuality (Ungdomar och sexualitet), is based on nearly 90 studies from universities and research institutions.