But up until this study there hasn’t been a whole lot of information on how the internet affects their sexual health and sexuality.
So researchers surveyed 150 young adults aged 18 to 25 from different parts of Mumbai and interviewed another 31 to look at their online habits.
There’s something exciting and flattering about flirting with a stranger who’s sent you a friend request, they confide, and in posting sexy profile pics, whether it’s wearing tight-fitting jeans or posing like a Bollywood star.
Plus, there’s the very real hope that a connection online could turn into a friendship, or something more, in real life (see box).
Flirting with a stranger For some, filling out their profile is a family affair, and it’s not uncommon for clashes to arise between traditional values and modern realities, for example when it comes to how a woman dresses in the picture she uploads.
Young women looking for casual relationships are more likely to turn to social networking sites like Facebook or Orkut.
The work was part of the EROTICS study which looked at sexuality, the internet, and the rights of those who use it in five countries around the world.
Text: Sarah Moses Image: sam74100 Learning about sex, flirting, and searching for romance are some of the ways the internet and sexuality cross paths for young women in Mumbai, according to the findings of a major study from India’s largest city.In India, internet use has skyrocketed among the under 25s, and at 27 percent, the state of Maharashtra including Mumbai has more female users than anywhere else in the country.So it’s no surprise that finding casual romance by social networking and searching for a spouse on matrimonial sites are very popular online activities for young Mumbai women.Everyone seems to know someone who met their husband on a matrimonial site – whether the match worked out wonderfully, or not quite – and almost all of the women interviewed said they’d visited the most popular, Shaadi.com, even if it was only to satisfy their curiosity.
Surfing the web in secret to find out about emergency contraception?Or maybe you’ve just uploaded a new sexy profile pic on Facebook and you’re counting how many likes you get?