Sexting is a relatively new phenomenon in which a person creates, sends and/or receives sexually suggestive text messages. Think of it as the less analogue version of leaving a suggestive Polaroid in your partner’s briefcase. When I first started thinking about this topic, I wanted to know more about the people who were sexters and whether there were differences in the personalities of those who sext vs. those who do not. Luckily for me, researchers AnaMarie Guichard, Teresa Madruga and Garrick Garcia had the same question.
They presented a poster at the 2012 SPSP conference which summarized their exploratory study examining predictors of sexting behaviors and factors relating to motives and intentions of sexting. Their findings were surprising:
- The most common form of sexting was sending suggestive text messages.
- When it came to sending a sexy picture, women were more likely to send pictures of their full body wearing undergarments, while men sent photos of their bare chest more frequently.
- Women were more likely to send a sext if they had a negative perception of their body attractiveness.
- Similarly, women were more likely to sext if they perceived themselves as having a larger body.
- In men, perceptions of facial attractiveness predicted the likelihood of sending a sext, such that the more attractive a man thought he was, the less likely he was to sext.
- No evidence suggested that demographic factors such as gender, age, and social status, were predictive of whether or not a person sexted.
- There was a gender difference in attitudes about sexting: men viewed sexting to be less serious than women viewed it.
These results surprised me. I always thought that if someone was confident enough to sext, they were probably confident with their bodies. Because the biggest predictors had to do with perceptions concerning one’s appearance, the authors suggested that perhaps sexting is a passive, less confrontational way of maintaining a sexual relationship. This makes sense – with texting or even taking pictures, you are able to edit yourself and control what the other person sees.
Whether you view sexting as a vital element to your relationship or you just think it is a fun way of passing time, it’s important to stay true to whatever works best for you. However, if you are hiding behind your phone in order to avoid rejection, remember that there are many people out there that will love you for you. One last tip: remember that whatever you send can be stored and potentially distributed to the wrong parties – so be sure you know your audience!
Like what you read here? Here is another post that might interest you:
To text, or not to text - When you are starting a new relationship, how should you use your phone? Should you call or text them? What kind of underlying signals are you sending along with your text message? Read here to find out.