Sexting among adults might be more common than many people believe. More than 8 in 10 respondents to an online survey said they sent sexually explicit messages or images electronically during the prior year, according to research presented this weekend at the American Psychological Association's annual convention in Toronto.
The survey polled 870 participants in the United States between ages 18 and 82. Researchers found that 88 percent of respondents said they have sexted in the past, and 82 percent said they had done so within the prior year.
"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, who presented the research at the convention, according to a news release. Stasko co-authored the research with Pamela Geller, an associate professor of psychology, ob/gyn and public health at Drexel.
The poll looked to study sexting behaviors, motives for sexting and relationship/sexual satisfaction. Just more than half the survey respondents were women. Most of the people who said they said sexted, nearly 75 percent, did so in the context of a committed relationship. Forty-five percent sexted in a casual relationship. Sexting was defined as, "the sending or receiving of sexually suggestive or explicit content via text message, primarily using a mobile device," Stasko said.
Those who did sext apparently were more pleased with their sex life, especially if they were in a relationship. Those who were single reported lower overall scores for sexual satisfaction. "These findings show a robust relationship between sexting and sexual and relationship satisfaction," Stasko said.
The survey found that people who sexted more often saw it as a carefree behavior and even expected it to be a part of their relationships. The dangers of sexting, especially among young people, have been well documented. But Stasko said that many times the "potential positive effects of open sexual communication with a partner," are lost in the discussion surrounding sexting.