"It's Kind of a Funny Story...": Exploring Sexual Storytelling Among College Students



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Sexual health among college students is in jeopardy. College aged men and women face risks associated with sexuality because of college attendance and gender. Through storytelling, college students convey their sexual experiences to their friends and peers, though this process is predominantly focused on the narrator rather than the listener. I investigated how this storytelling influences those who listen to stories through focus groups, using the theory of Communication Privacy Management and grounded theory to understand focus group results. The results revealed themes regarding the context in which storytelling occurs, how storytelling affects listeners, and how listeners interpret the motivation of the narrator. Communication context and communication influence were similar for males and females while perception of narrator motivation differed based on gender. Participants perceived motivation to be highly related to reputation, truth, and relationship status. Additionally, participants reported being impacted by listening to their friends and non-friends share their stories.