Love, sext, magic: The good and bad views of sexting

Love, sext, magic: The good and bad views of sexting

In today's technology centered world, sex is becoming an ever more digital practice.

CW / Caroline Japal

It’s unclear, however, what the affects of sexting are on overall sexual health. On the one hand, media that skews toward young people often present the practice in a postive light, or as a fact of modern life. However, there are arguments against the practice, and there are stories about the detrimental effects of sexting on the news.

According to an article by Robert S. Weisskirch, Michelle Drouin & Rakel Delevi titled ‘Relational Anxiety and Sexting,’ 80 percent of emerging adults aged 18-25 said they have sent a “sexually suggestive text,” and 55 percent have sent a “sexually suggestive photo or video”.

“Given the advancement of technology in recent years, sexting is part of the communication repertoire of many young adults in romantic relationships,” the article read. “However, sexting may also come with unintended consequences (e.g., messages may be forwarded), particularly for those in less committed relationships.”

Kirk Hanson, a junior majoring in electrical engineering, said he thinks sexting is dangerous for college students because the world is more “media-laced” now than ever.

“Sexting is risky among college students because many relationships or flings in college haven’t had time to strengthen in trust, as would married couples in their 30s that sext,” Hanson said. “Images could easily be leaked and spread, especially today.”

Drexel University professors Emily C. Stasko and Pamela A. Geller conducted a study titled ‘Reframing Sexting as a Positive Relationship Behavior’ and argued that sexting is not always a bad thing, and is in fact, more common than many people think. Out of their 870 participants aged 18-82, 88 percent reported having sexted before.

“If [sexting] was only a bad thing, people wouldn’t do it as much as they do,” Stasko said in an interview with National Public Radio.

Sexting arguably can be healthy because it does not actually involve the act of sex itself. Couples and partners can receive sexual satisfaction without the worries of contracting STDs or becoming pregnant.

According to TeenSafe, a program that allows parents to see their child’s texts, calls and activity on social media, Kik, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Tinder and ooVoo were the main apps used to sext anonymously. Often times, sending photos to strangers or people you don’t trust is what leads to photos ended up on the screens of many instead of the intended person.

This includes using your social media platforms to add filters before using the photo for another purpose. The problem with this is accidentally posting photos that were never meant to be on social media. There are apps that are specifically made to help enhance your photos or add filters, which is much less risky.

Another safety precaution many use is to never include your face in photos. Make sure distinguishable features such as tattoos or are hidden in your photos as well.

Weisskirch, Drouin and Delevi’s article suggested that because communication is almost universal in romantic relationships, sexting is a common thing for young adults. They also concluded that couples in long-term relationships who feel more secure are more likely to share sexual messages or images.

They also concluded that often times young adults and teenagers can feel pressured by their peers or partner into sending suggestive messages. Approximately one-fifth of undergraduates, both men and women, said that they had been coerced into sexting in some way.

An idea can also be to delete photos after viewing them, which protects both parties involved. Be cautious not to save photos on phones that can easily be accessed by someone else.

Alabama currently does not have any laws specifically defining sexting, its implications or any consequences. However, under the Alabama Code, sexting minors can result in prosecution under child pornography laws. Though sexting is not just through photos. Suggestive messages can be seen as sexting, and may be more comfortable for individuals.

“I think most people would be against sending nude images, but would be more okay with sending sexual messages,” Hanson said.

Despite research, Stasko and Geller say there is still much to learn about sexting, especially as technology enhances and ways to sext become easier

“This research indicates that sexting is a prevalent behavior that adults engage in for a variety of reasons,” the article read. “Although the relationship between sexting and relationship satisfaction requires further attention, these findings indicate a robust relationship between sexting and sexual satisfaction.”

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