Researchers at the University of Michigan have figured out that sexting isn't the deviant act of exhibtionism old people who remember the age of typewriters and phonographs seem to think it is. It's just, like, how young folks these days are exploring their sexuality.
The study, recently published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, examined the sexting behavior of 3,447 men and women between the ages of 18 and 34 and discovered that while sending genital snapshots is really common, it isn't linked to risky sexual behavior (other than the wide dissemination of private parts) or psychological disorders. Co-principal researcher on the study Jose Bauermeister said that the findings should help reverse the negative perception the news media-gobbling public has of sexting as a deviant or even criminal behavior.
Co-author Debbie Gordon-Messer admitted that the study group was considerably older than the preteen sexters often featured in the news. "For younger age groups," she explained, "legality is an issue. They are also in a very different place in their sexual development."
Though previous studies have focused on sexting demographics, this is the first study, according to Bauermeister, to connect sexting with behavioral outcome. Participants were asked questions about the number of partners with whom they'd had unprotected sex. Sexters, as it turned out, didn't report riskier sexual behavior than non-sexters, which means that people who sext aren't just power-drunk elected officials who want to show off their pectoral muscles or boxer brief bulges — they're just human beings trying to connect and find some meaning in this crazy, mixed-up world of indecent cell phone pictures.
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