• Sexting

Sexting means using your phone, computer, or camera to take or send sexy messages or images — usually selfies,” according to plannedparenthood.org.1

An upside to sexting is that you can’t get a sexually transmitted infection from it, but there are other things to consider before sending a sexy message or image that could potentially be seen by others or the public.

There are also potential legal ramifications for people under the age of 18 for sexting or receiving nude or other sex-related photos of themselves or others. Adults handling or viewing the sexting of those under 18 could also face legal issues.

Adults may be less likely to be concerned about the legal significance of their sending, showing or releasing sexted images to the public, but such releases could still be embarrassing to both or either party involved.

The sourced articles below provide more information for those actively engaged in sexting, or those who are deciding whether or not to embrace digital flirting.

  1. How Sexting Can Be Used As Enthusiastic Consent

    “‘Sexting can be great for negotiation because you can talk about all of it without looking directly into their eyes. And for many people, that lessens the fear of rejection or feelings of shame,’ said psychologist, author, teacher, and sex coach Liz Powell.”

    Jess Joho, mashable.com, 3/21/2019

  2. How To Use Sexting To Improve Your Marriage

    “While any couple can reap the benefits of spicing up their text messages, some may be more likely to feel it’s positive effects than others. Studies show that while the majority of men can experience positive feelings as a result of sexting in both casual and committed relationships, most females need a higher level of emotional commitment to feel comfortable partaking. Experts hypothesize that women use sexting as a way to achieve emotional closeness, which explains why they feel most comfortable doing it in committed relationships — and why married couples may just be prime candidates for experimenting with some explicit messages.”

    Taylor Davies, nbcnews.com, 4/21/2018

  3. Teenagers Are Sexting — Now What?

    “‘The average age of first cellphone ownership is 10.3,’ said Dr. Madigan, who holds the Canada research chair in Determinants of Child Development at the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute in Calgary. Her advice to parents is to start talking about sexting — as with so many topics — younger than you think you need to.”

    Perri Klass, MD, nytimes.com, 3/12/2018

  4. Ten Things You Should Know About Teen Sexting

    “Either way, many experts believe that sending and receiving sexually explicit messages is becoming ‘the new normal’ for teens. A new report in the journal JAMA Pediatrics attempts to bring some clarity to this situation. Child development researcher Sheri Madigan of the University of Calgary and her colleagues scoured all the data they could find about sexting behavior among teens. They defined sexting as ‘the sharing of sexually explicit images, videos, or messages through electronic means.'”

    Karen Kaplan, latimes.com, 2/26/2018

  5. Does Sexting Have Benefits For Your Relationship?

    “When the researchers examined this in terms of relationship status, they found that those who sent sexually explicit pictures to partners to whom they were committed reported more positive consequences (sexual and emotional) and fewer negative consequences (worry and regret) than those who engaged in sending sexually explicit photos to more casual partners.”

    Martin Graff, PhD, psychologytoday.com, 2/22/2018

  6. The Ultimate Guide To Sexting

    “For beginners and anyone looking for pointers, Scalisi and two other sex experts share their best tips below: the pleasure coach Tyomi Morgan, and Emily Morse, a sexologist and host of the podcast Sex with Emily. After reading, you might also enjoy our definitive emoji-sexting glossary.”

    Candice Jalili, thecut.com, 1/1/2018

  7. 5 Surprising Marriage Benefits Of Sexting

    “According to research presented at the American Psychological Association’s 123rd Annual Convention, the more you sext the more sexually satisfied you’re likely to be in your relationship. But the benefits don’t stop there. Here are five other surprising perks of getting your sext on with your S.O.”

    Elizabeth Mitchell, brides.com, 10/17/2017

  8. Sexting

    “As mobile technologies such as cell phones, computers, and tablets became ubiquitous in the early 2000s, many individuals started to use these technologies to initiate and maintain social relationships. This was particularly true for teenagers and young adults, who tended to be more dependent than other groups on mobile phones for social activities such as texting (text messaging) and social networking. Some individuals also began using these technologies to navigate sexual relationships.”

    Michelle Drouin, britannica.com, 10/16/2017

  9. Sex And Technology Make A Hot Pair, Kinsey Study Suggests

    “One of the most surprising findings out of a new study from the sexperts at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute and the Berlin-based women’s health startup Clue is the number of respondents who report having sexted someone — 67 percent. That’s a fairly staggering jump from an earlier Kinsey study conducted in 2012. For that poll, only 21 percent of respondents reported having traded racy texts with someone.”

    Ry Crist, cnet.com, 8/11/2017

  10. For Principals, Student Sexting A Speeding ‘Freight Train,’ Full Of Peril

    “Such activity is nothing new — Education Week has covered the dilemmas that youth sexting poses for schools going back almost a decade. Nor is sexting limited to students. Teachers and administrators at a number of schools have landed in their own trouble for taking and sharing sexual imagery. But it’s hard to find solid recent data on the prevalence of the practice nationwide. … Among the potentially problematic administrative actions he described: a principal who confiscates and holds a device containing sexual images, forwards or saves such images to his or her own files or accounts, or even shows sexted images to a fellow administrator as part of trying to figure out an appropriate response.”

    Benjamin Herold, pbs.org, 7/28/2017

  11. Benefits Vs. Risks Of Sexting: Why Sending Explicit Sexual Messages Works Better For Committed Couples

    “A study now published online in Computers in Human Behavior has found that when sexting is conducted in a casual relationship, it has fewer positive emotional and sexual consequences, and results in more regret and other negative emotions, particularly among female sexters. Lead researcher Michelle Drouin told PsyPost that although in some relationships sexting can be seen as ‘fun or flirtatious,’ her new research shows that it can also incite emotional pain, which is why sexting may be best left for committed couples.”

    Dana Dovey, medicaldaily.com, 7/13/2017

  12. All About Sexting

    “Sexting can cause serious problems whether you send them or share them. The pics might get sent around or posted online, where people like your family, teachers, and friends could see them. Sharing these pictures or messages without permission is a serious violation of privacy and isn’t ok. And if the pictures you send or share are of someone under 18 (even if that’s you), you could even be arrested for child pornography, which is a serious crime.”

    Planned Parenthood Federation of America, plannedparenthood.org, 5/10/2017

  13. For Better Or Worse, Snapchat Changed Sexting Forever

    “When Stanford University student Reggie Brown told his classmate in 2011 that he wanted photos he’d sent to a girl to disappear, he uttered aloud a thought that had crossed the minds of countless others. But this time, his assertion would lead to the creation of an app that would change the nature of photo messaging and — crucially — sexting, forever. That app became Snapchat. … The normalisation of sexting is a double-edged sword. For consenting adults, removing the stigma and judgement around sexual expression is a positive thing. But for younger people, it poses a risk. That risk is augmented by the fact that almost a quarter of Snapchat users are still in high school.”

    Rachel Thompson, mashable.com, 2/7/2017

  14. How To Sext, According To Some Sexperts

    “But sexting is, in many ways, an art form, and some people’s paint palettes are more colourful than others. To help you expand your range we asked a few sexperts for their sexting tips. Spoiler: there’s a lot of stuff about how you shouldn’t send a sweaty, grainy photo of your turgid boner, the skin pulled back to the base to emphasise the length. Oddly, people don’t want to see that sort of thing.”

    Joe Bish, vice.com, 1/28/2017

  15. Sexting Not Just For Kids

    “Sexting is a practice often associated with teenagers. But the reality is that more and more of the 50-plus set, both single and married, routinely use text messaging to send tantalizing pictures and provocative words to their partner, according to relationship experts. … Whether they’re single and casually dating, married, or in long-term relationships, ‘Boomers want sexual activity,’ Blake explains. ‘They want to flirt. It makes them feel lively and young.’ … But beware, the experts warn. Sexting has its dangers, too. For one thing, it can be easy to send a text to a wrong number, and that can be embarrassing — or worse.”

    Jessica Leshnoff, aarp.org, 8/29/2016

  16. How Sexting Is Creating A Safe Space For Curious Millennials

    “Firstly, sexting is often a safer alternative to physical sex, without the risks of STIs and pregnancy. And, importantly, my research has revealed that it is primarily a feminist space: when used correctly it offers both partners equal power to start, stop and direct the interaction. Young women felt comfortable with sexting because it diminished their risk of being overpowered or pressured into non-consensual sex.”

    Melissa Meyer, PhD Candidate at the Centre of Criminology, UCT, University of Cape Town, theconversation.com, 3/21/2016

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Footnote

1. plannedparenthood.org, accessed on 5/30/2018