Sexting is a healthy part of dating?

Sending sexually explicit photos of yourself apparently is not the aberrant behavior we thought it was.

University of Michigan researchers say it may just be part of our crazy modern mating ritual!

The university today writes:

For young adults today who were weaned on iPods and the Internet, the practice of “sexting,” or sending sexually explicit photos or messages through phones, may be just another normal, healthy component of modern dating.

University of Michigan researchers looked at the sexting behavior of 3,447 men and women ages 18-24 and found that while sexting is very common, sexting isn’t associated with sexually risky behaviors or with psychological problems.

The findings contradict the public perception of sexting, which is often portrayed in the media and elsewhere as unsavory, deviant or even criminal behavior, said Jose Bauermeister, an assistant professor at the U-M School of Public Health and co-principal investigator of the study.

The researchers are quick to point out that their research involved adults 18 to 24, people “considerably older” than the pre-teens and young teenagers that have drawn much of the negative sexting press.

The researchers found that nearly half of the study respondents participated in sexting. Most people who reported receiving “sexts” also reported sending them, which suggests that sexting is reciprocal and likely happens between romantic partners.

The researchers asked study participants about the number of sexual partners with whom they have had unprotected sex. The participants who “sexted” did not report riskier sexual behavior than those who didn’t. Nor did they report more depression, anxiety or low self-esteem.

OK, this is the part where I acknowledge that I am older (50) but that even in my wildest days I never felt compelled to fax prospective mates pictures of my private regions.

— Paul Tosto

  • Tyler

    Next thing you know, video games will be mainstream, rather than the bastion of murderers, stalkers, and rapists!

  • Snyder

    I would caution against perceiving “sexting” as just sending explicit photos.

    It could be something as simple as a text about how you can’t wait to see your partner for whatever you have planned that evening. Expressing your attraction and appreciation for one another *is* healthy behavior, isn’t it?

  • Jim Shapiro

    I remember when we used to send crudely drawn pictures of our naughty bits via carrier pigeon.