Young Americans are widely presumed to be sexting constantly — in class, at home, on a plane, on a train, while eating green eggs and ham. But, according to a new study, not all those dirty messages are sent out of an overabundance of hormones. Turns out there are a lot of unenthusiastic sexters out there.
The Huffington Post reports on the results of a forthcoming study in the journal Computers in Human Behavior. Researchers set out to document the rates of young adults engaging in "consensual but unwanted" sexting. Upon polling 155 undergrads, they found 52 percent had, most commonly "because they sought to flirt, engage in foreplay, satisfy a partner's need or foster intimacy in their relationship."
It was especially common for women who "feared abandonment by or alienation from their lovers" — i.e., getting dumped.
This simply isn't a case of boorish dudes demanding porn-on-demand from their reluctant girlfriends, though. The phenomenon was almost equally common among men and women, at 48 vs. 55 percent. This caught the study's authors by surprise, because they expected a gap that'd more closely match the one in "compliant sexual activity." They suggest gender roles might influence the difference:
Men might be more likely to agree to undesired sexting because doing so is "relatively easy and does not require them to invest more into the relationship." Women in turn might be discouraged from virtual sex because it fails to help them attain their relationship "goals," the authors hypothesized.
Is there anything sadder than a sext sent out of duty rather than desire?