Sexting isn’t just for teens, recent research shows.
A new study has found that out of the adults they surveyed, eight out of 10 had previously engaged in sexting. The researchers also found that sexting was associated with higher levels of sexual and relationship satisfaction.
Sexting, as defined by the study, is sending or receiving sexually explicit or suggestive text messages or photos usually via a cell phone.
“Most of the research on sexting relates to teens and young adults,” co-author Emily C. Stasko, a graduate student of psychology from Drexel University in the U.S., told CNN. “We wanted to see the role sexting plays in relationships between adults.”
Given sexting’s bad reputation, the research also aims to “reframe sexting as a positive relationship behavior,” said Stasko.
The study involved surveying 820 adults aged 18 to 82 years old. A little over half of the participants were female and 74% of all participants were in a relationship. The survey asked the participants about their sexting behavior, as well as the status of their relationship and the satisfaction they get from it.
Results showed that 88% of the participants had sexted before, and 82% had sexted in the past year. 75% said they sexted their partners who they were in a committed relationship with and 43% said they sexted people who they were in a casual relationship with.
Aside from the participants who described their relationship as “very committed”, researchers also found that higher levels of sexting led to higher levels of relationship satisfaction.
“Given the possible implications, both positive and negative, for sexual health, it is important to continue investigating the role sexting plays in current romantic and sexual relationships,” said Stasko.
The research will be presented at the American Psychological Association’s 123rd Annual Convention in Canada.
If you’re in a committed relationship and sexting doesn’t do much for your and your partner, take some advice an expert has shared to Smart Parenting.
The road to sexual satisfaction is through intimacy, said Josie Colmenares-Valderrama, senior marriage counselor from the Center for Family Ministries.
“Intimacy is a longing to be one with someone, to be completely understood, loved, and appreciated. Sexuality is just one expression of intimacy,” she says.
“[Sex] becomes more enjoyable when your relationship with your partner is completely transparent and vulnerable. The more things you hide from each other, the more it will not work out,” she adds.
Also, remember that it’s quality over quantity when it comes to sex. “A happy sex life is not measured in terms of frequency. You can have a lot of sex, but it wouldn’t mean anything to the marriage. It’s the quality of the sex that counts,” says Colmenares-Valderrama.
Sources: Aug. 8, 2015. "Can Sexting Have Benefits for Couples?". livescience.com Aug. 9, 2015. "More than 8 out of 10 adults admit to sexting, study finds". medicalnewstoday.com Aug. 9, 2015. "Online survey finds 8 in 10 adults have engaged in sexting". cnn.com