A whopping two-thirds of sexts - that’s ‘sexy texts’- are sent for ‘non-sexual’ reasons such as to gain reassurance or request a favour, a recent study has revealed.
According to research from the Sexuality, Sexual Health & Sexual Behaviour Lab at the Texas Tech University’s Department of Psychological Sciences, many people have something other than sex on their mind when they fire off a flirty message.
In the study, assistant professor Joseph M. Currin and doctoral student Kassidy Cox explored sexting as a modern relationship phenomenon by collecting data online from 160 respondents aged between 18 and 69.
They found there were three main motivations behind sexting, with respondents split almost equally into the following categories:
sexting as foreplay for sexual activity
sexting for relationship reassurance
sexting as a favour, with the expectation to be rewarded non-sexually with something like a dinner date
“It was intriguing that two-thirds of the individuals who engaged in sexting did so for non-sexual purposes,” said A. Prof. Currin.
“This may actually be demonstrating some individuals engage in sexting, but would prefer not to, but do so as a means to either gain affirmation about their relationship, relieve anxiety or get something tangible - non-sexual - in return.”
Interestingly, the researchers found no significant differences based on gender, sexual orientation or age, with the three separate sexting motivations being common among all these groups.
“This study highlighted the main reasons to date that individuals are motivated to sext, and it actually normalises all three types of motivations,” said Cox.
What is sexting?
Sexting is a broad term that can involve the consensual sending and receiving of anything from graphic messages to images, or even simply using a suggestive emoji such as an eggplant.
According to A. Prof. Currin, the practice is ‘becoming a more accepted method of communicating one’s sexual desires’ and can be seen as the modern version of handwritten love letters or raunchy black-and-white ‘boudoir photos’.
“This tells us that sexting among adults is an evolution of how we have communicated our sexual desires to our partners in the past,” he said.
“People used to write love poems and steamy letters, then when photography became more commonplace, couples used to take boudoir photos for each other,” he added.
It’s important to note that, as stated on the Australian Government’s eSafety Commissioner website, sexting can have serious social and legal consequences.
“Sexting or sending nudes can put you at risk of image-based abuse, which is the sharing of intimate images without your consent. It can also put you at risk of sextortion, a type of blackmail when someone threatens to share intimate images of you unless you give into their demands,” the site reads.
Also, creating, possessing or sharing nude images of people under 18 may be a crime - you can find out more about the law at Youth Law Australia.
Additional reporting by Francesca Specter.
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