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Sexting, for those not "in the know", is a neologism for sex and texting. It can mean a number of different things: sending dirty talk via text message, exchanging risqué photos or selfies from your cell phone, etc. It's growing popularity, especially by teens, has many parents concerned. A study from Deakin University found that 12 percent of teenagers send and receive dirty images via phone or email. Those numbers get much higher when look people a few years older: almost 49 percent of of young adults send and 57 percent receive sexts. We've all heard the horror stories about a private photo ending up in the wrong place, just ask former congressman Anthony Weiner. But beyond losing your job, you could get labeled a sex offender if the person you're communicating with is underage. Due to how anti-pornography laws are written, in most states, two consenting 16-year-olds can legally have sex but if they take photos of it, they're breaking the law.
But not all sexting sessions end up as a cautionary tale. In fact, most of them end up going where they're supposed to go. Under the right circumstances, sexy texts can lead to a sexy relationship. Drexel University's Emily Stasko and Pamela Geller recently completed a study of 870 adults between the ages of 18 and 82. Yes, senior citizens sext! They found that not only had 88 percent of their subjects try sexting at least once in their lives, but those who did reported having higher levels of sexual satisfaction. This relationship was stronger for those in committed relationships as long as the both wanted to dabble in some smartphone sexiness. If this finding continues to pan-out in future studies, sexting might get incorporated into couples therapy as a way of increasing intimacy.
Sexting is clearly here to stay. It's easy to do and our culture is beginning to change its views on nude images. The most important factor is consent: do both individuals want do it, or is it something one of the partners is being pressured to do? If both parties consent, than sexting is another aspect of normal human sexual behavior. What are your feelings about sexting? Let us know in the comments down below (just remember to keep it P.G., folks!). You can follow the host of this episode, Ali Mattu, here on Twitter.
7 Crucial Tips to Practice Safe Sexting (Mashable)
"Yesterday's love notes are today's sexts. While both show affection, one comes with higher risks."
Why Kids Sext (The Atlantic)
"An inquiry into one recent scandal reveals how kids think about sexting-and what parents and police should do about it."