The mediatisation of young people’s intimate sexualities

An inquiry into courtship, desire and sexuality as digital media-related practices

Researcher(s) (CIMS)

Sander De Ridder

Supervisors (CIMS)

Sofie Van Bauwel

Funded by

Research Foundation Flanders (FWO)


This research project focuses on young people’s intimate sexualities related to the use of social media. Given the abundant opinions in society on how young people should live their intimate sexualities with digital media, this project focuses on these debates as emerging intimate media cultures. The aim of this project is an (1) exploration of media cultures in society related to young people, intimate sexualities and social media, and (2) an inquiry of how these intimate media cultures may affect young people’s media-related practices. Therefore, this project investigates the practices of experts, media institutions, and audiences. First, this project collects and analyses a wide range of expert documents through maintaining a database, combined with expert interviews. Second, this project will interview significant actors in the social media industry. Third, this project focuses on young audiences’ interpretations of intimate sexualities as lived with social media, combined with participatory observations and interviews in young people’s everyday life contexts. The interest will be in reconfigurations of intimate rituals into media-related rituals, and reconfigurations of intimate sexual spaces. This project accumulates and compares knowledge of experts, media institutions and audiences to understand the changing nature of young people’s intimate sexual life-worlds in current mediatised societies.