Sexting may be good for your relationship: study

Last Updated 09 August 2015, 08:19 IST

Sexting may be more common and more beneficial to relationship satisfaction than previously thought, according to a new US study.

The practice of sexting may be more common than generally thought among adults. More than 8 out of 10 people surveyed online admitted to sexting in the prior year, researchers said.

"Given the possible implications, both positive and negative, for sexual health, it is important to continue investigating the role sexting plays in current romantic and sexual relationships," said Emily Stasko of Drexel University.

Stasko and her co-author, Pamela Geller, associate professor of psychology, OB-GYN and public health at Drexel University, surveyed 870 participants from the US age 18 to 82 to assess sexting behaviours, sexting motives and relationship and sexual satisfaction.
Just over half the participants were women.

Sexting, for the purpose of this study, was defined as the sending or receiving of sexually suggestive or explicit content via text message, primarily using a mobile device, said Stasko.

Participants were asked if they had ever engaged in such behaviours.
The researchers found that 88 per cent of participants reported ever having sexted and 82 per cent reported they had sexted in the past year.

Nearly 75 per cent said they sexted in the context of a committed relationship and 43 per cent said they sexted as part of a casual relationship.

Additionally, the researchers found that greater levels of sexting were associated with greater sexual satisfaction, especially for those in a relationship.

Participants who identified as single (26 per cent) had significantly lower overall scores for sexual satisfaction.

The researchers also found that greater levels of sexting were associated with relationship satisfaction for all but those who identified their relationship as "very committed."

The survey also asked about attitudes towards sexting and found that people who sexted more saw the behaviour as more fun and carefree and had higher beliefs that sexting was expected in their relationships.

Sexting has received growing attention as a risky activity, associated with numerous other sexual risk-taking behaviours (eg, unprotected sex) and negative health outcomes (eg, sexually transmitted infections), said Stasko.

This perspective, though, fails to account for the potential positive effects of open sexual communication with a partner.

"This research indicates that sexting is a prevalent behaviour that adults engage in for a variety of reasons," said Stasko.

"These findings show a robust relationship between sexting and sexual and relationship satisfaction," Stasko added.

(Published 09 August 2015, 08:19 IST)

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