Turns out sexting isn’t just for rebellious teenagers. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ve done it once or twice. According to a new study presented at the American Psychological Association’s annual convention, 87.8 percent of adult respondents reported sexting in their lifetime—and 82 percent sent a racy text in the past year.
Researchers from Drexel University asked 870 (heterosexual) participants, between the ages of 18 and 82, to complete a short survey about their attitudes, habits, expectations, and realities of “sexting,” which they defined as “sending, receiving or forwarding sexually explicit messages, images, or photos through electronic means.”
The findings? A spicy text every now and then might actually be good for couples: The researchers found sexting in a casual or committed relationship (where about two-thirds of the behavior takes place) brought on greater levels of sexual satisfaction. (The one exception? Those who reported being in “very committed” relationships.)
Haven't sexted? You’re probably afraid of a cloud leak or have a moral hangup. Researchers found that those who saw it as a fun habit or beneficial to their relationship were more likely to engage in the behavior, while those who focused on the risks were less likely.
Researchers want to use the study's findings to focus on sexting's positive effects in modern relationships, rather than the reckless connotations that associate the behavior with political scandals, adultery, and unplanned pregnancies.
“This research indicates that sexting is a prevalent behavior that adults engage in for a variety of reasons,” lead researcher Emily C. Stasko, MPH, said in a statement. “These findings show a robust relationship between sexting and sexual and relationship satisfaction.”