Rafael Ballester-Arnal

Salusex. Jaume I University of Castellón, Spain



Sexuality plays a key role in the psychosocial development of adolescents. This is a stage of discovery that has to do with the most biological dimension of the human being, but also with the cognitive, emotional, social and cultural dimensions. It is obvious that the adolescent’s way of constructing his or her sexuality has to do with his or her environment, and not only with the social environment but also with the technological one. The emergence and rapid development and spread of information and communication technologies represent a different scenario from that of just a decade ago, a scenario in which new possibilities for sexual and personal growth emerge, but also new risks. In this symposium, four papers will be presented that revolve around two phenomena that constitute a challenge for psychologists and educators: sexting and cybersex, phenomena that are intended to be analysed in depth, making clear not only their prevalence but also other related factors. In the case of sexting, the influence of gender and the myths of romantic love shared by many adolescents will be analyzed. And in cybersex, in addition to the influence of gender and sexual orientation, there will be a presentation on how it constitutes a mirror in which to observe the affective-sexual diversity of our adolescents.

Rafael Ballester Arnal is Professor of Clinical and Health Psychology at Jaume I University of Castellón (Spain), and he is the director of the research group “Health Psychology: Prevention and Treatment”, and the director of the Research Unit on Sexuality and AIDS (Unisexsida) from 2003. His scientific interest is mainly focus on health promotion and more specifically in the field of sexual health. He has participated in more than 30 research projects, and is author of 20 books, 100 articles published in prestigious journals such as “AIDS and Behavior”, “Journal of Health Psychology”, “Journal of Community Health” or “Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy”, and 250 presentations at national and international conferences. Many of these studies focus on topics such as sexual behavior among adolescents and youth, sexual prevention of HIV, homosexuality and homophobia, male sex workers, and sex and cybersex addiction, among others.