Science Says Sexting Isn’t Weird or Anything

Illustration for article titled Science Says Sexting Isn’t Weird or Anything

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.

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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."

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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.

For young adults, ‘sexting' just part of dating [Futurity]

Image via luca amedei/Shutterstock.

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DISCUSSION

Sending dirty pictures has been around forever it's just the ease and speed of dissemination that makes the older generations nervous. Anyone who doesn't get it needs to get in touch with their libido and give it a go! It's exciting and unfortunately too easy to pass up for teenagers with raging hormones and a smart phone. I think the fact that it's illegal if a kid takes a picture of themselves is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. I understand that some protection needs to be in place for stupid kids who are too naive to realize the consequence of the pic ending up circulating through their entire social network. But we need to stop making kids feel like sexuality is dirty and shameful. It's natural, it's gonna happen, better to accept that and teach them how to embrace it responsibly in a positive way. No one should feel ashamed or afraid of their sexuality and telling them to resist it is way too much of a forbidden fruit draw anyway.