8 in 10 Adults are ‘Sexting,’ Study Shows
A new study finds hormone-crazed teenagers aren't the only ones who are "sexting" these days.
Researchers at Drexel University conducted an online survey and found 82 percent of adult respondents reported sending someone a sexually suggestive photo or written text within the past year, while 88 percent indicated they had sexted at least once in their lifetime.
Rutgers University Sociology Professor Deborah Carr said sex and communication are essential parts of any relationship.
"But oftentimes people are reluctant to have these kinds of conversations, suggestive conversations face to face, so the texting might allow shyer people to share their feelings with their partner, and really open up lines of communication that might not have been available to them previously," she said.
Carr said sexting can, in some ways, be good for relationships.
"(Sexting) can be a way to communicate that partners are attracted to each other, that they find each other sexually appealing, and with committed couples who trust each other, it might help bolster their feelings of union in their relationship," she said.
Carr stressed it's important to remember sexting pictures are not necessarily naked pictures, they might be suggestive lingerie pictures and sexting can also include suggestive text messages.
"Both the pictures and words have this desire to kind of set up a future sexual encounter, or to really send a sign of appreciation for the physicality of the relationship," she said.
Carr also said sexting can take on several different forms.
"If you're using crude language that's a little bit different than using romantic language. I suspect that shy people are still not going to send a photo of themselves, cause as much as they trust their partner they might worry that photo might fall into somebody else's hands," she said. "Words at least are a little bit more subtle somehow, they give you a little bit more room to say what you're feeling."
Carr added "some people were raised to never discuss sexuality, and for those people who feel kind of confined, the cell phone and the sexting might actually free them up."
"The downside is that we shouldn't be having really private relationships through a phone, in person would probably be more effective," she added.
Carr also said it's important to remember this was an online study, which suggests the participants are technologically engaged, and that means the numbers in the survey of people who are sexting are probably higher than the overall percentage of adults who are sexting.