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Sexting Behaviour in Relationships: Risks, Benefits, Satisfaction and Cohabitation Status

Sexting Behaviour in Relationships: Risks, Benefits, Satisfaction and Cohabitation Status

Introduction & Objectives: Sexting, the sending of
sexually explicit text, picture or video messages, has
received both research and media attention in recent
years. Most of this attention has focused on adolescence
and the negative implications or outcomes of
sexting; however, little research has explored sexting
within young adults as a positive experience. This presentation
is the culmination of two studies examining
potential positive and negative implications of sexting
for young adults and adults in relationships (i.e., gratification,
relationship quality, communication, satisfaction,
trust, unethical forwarding, infidelity).
Cohabitation status was also explored.
Method & Sample: Study 1 consisted of 487
Canadian university students (Mean age =20.9; Range
17-50). Over 90% of the sample were in a committed
relationship (M= 27 months).
Study 2 consisted of 340 Canadian university students
and a community sample of 298 individuals
from MTurk. The overall sample had a mean age of
28.5 years (range 17-73). Over 85% of the sample were
in a committed relationship (M = 5 years).
Both studies utilized online surveys (i.e., Qualtrics)
to gather questionnaire date regarding sexting and relationship
variables.
Results: Sexual gratification, relationship benefits,
and sexual communication are related to sexting.
Those who sext frequently engage in more safer sex
behaviours than those who sext infrequently. Unethical
forwarding happen infrequently in the context of
intimate relationships. Lastly, some participants are
sexting secondary partners, and many consider this
behaviour infidelity. Individuals in long-distance relationships
were more likely to report recently sexting
and engaging in more frequent sexting than those in
cohabitation relationships; however, they did not differ
in their levels of sexual satisfaction.
Conclusion & Recommendations: Assessing benefits
as well as costs of sexting and understanding the status
of the relationship are critical to a better understanding
of sexting behaviour in young adults.
Keywords: sexting, young adults, relationship benefits
Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Statement: None

Speakers: Terry Humphries