Online Invited Seminar Talk

Sexuality Education in the Digital Age

Laboratory of Digital and Computational Demography
Online Invited Seminar Talk, March 17, 2021

Emmanuel Olamijuwon from University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg South Africa discussed how policymakers can increase engagement with sexuality information. He leveraged data from a peer-led Facebook group for sexuality education and an online survey to answer this question.


The use of social media is gaining intense interest in sexual health communication. Simultaneously, the sexual health intervention that resonates with its audiences' needs is known to have the most significant benefit. So how can policymakers increase engagement with sexuality information and why? I leveraged data from a peer-led Facebook group for sexuality education and an online survey to answer these questions in three distinct studies.

Study 1 showed that rich message features like multimedia use, storytelling, and neutral tone predict high levels of engagement with sexuality information. Consistent with the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology, study 2 also identifies individual characteristics such as performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence, and facilitating conditions as significant predictors of the intention to interact with sexuality information on social media. Engaging with young people also has the potential to uncover dominant misconceptions. As highlighted in study 3, young African adults interpret virginity as a gift - an idea that poses important implications for marital bliss if untamed.

Overall, these findings emphasize the need to consistently engage young adults in sexuality issues on a platform that offers bidirectional information communication. Such an opportunity may help gain insights into deep-rooted stereotypical attitudes and correct misconceptions.


Emmanuel Olamijuwon is a PhD Candidate in Demography and Population Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa), where he is examining opportunities for advancing sexual health information for young African adults in the digital age. His broad research interest revolves around the social determinants of health and well-being as well as opportunities to illuminate these using digital sources of data.

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.