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Sexting: What is really hidden behind sexual messages

Sexting: What is really hidden behind sexual messages

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Sexual messages are often not about sex

Sending sexual innuendo or images via technical devices such as smartphones is common among adults. The recipients usually suspect a direct reference to sex based on the content, but in around two thirds of all cases, such messages have no sexual background at all, as a recent study shows.

Researchers at Texas Tech University showed through psychological analysis that messages with sexual content are often not based on sexual considerations. The researchers were able to use surveys to identify the three most common reasons behind sexual messages. The results were recently presented at the meeting of the "Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality 2019".

What is sexting?

Behind the English term "sexting" is the private communication between two people about sexual topics, which takes place via modern technical devices. This can include, for example, WhatsApp news with sexual allusions or the sending of erotic images of your own body.

It's not always about sex

A sexy picture of the relationship partner or a suggestive saying about Whatsapp -
Even if most people suspect that such sexual messages express the desire for sex, there is no direct sexual background behind two thirds of all cases.

Survey uncovered possible motivations

The Department of Psychological Sciences researchers showed in a survey that there are other reasons behind the majority of such news. The team came to this conclusion when evaluating a survey of 160 participants between the ages of 18 and 69, who often send such messages.

The three most common reasons for sexual messages

As the survey showed, there are three common reasons why someone is motivated to send a message with sexual content:

  1. As a prelude to later sex or to arouse sexual interest.
  2. To confirm or strengthen the bond with the relationship partner.
  3. As a favor in the hope of later receiving a non-sexual consideration.

Sexting as a means to an end?

"It was fascinating that two thirds of the people who sent messages with sexual content did so for non-sexual purposes," reports Dr. Kassidy Cox from the research team. This shows that many individuals use sexual messages as a means of, for example, receiving confirmation of their relationship or something in return that has nothing to do with sex, such as a dinner in a restaurant.

Another surprising point

The researchers were also surprised that the results were reflected in all age groups and genders. There was no significant difference between men and women in the distribution of motivations.

Expressing sexual desires has become more normal

"As it becomes more and more an accepted method of communicating one's sexual desires, we wanted to highlight how adults use this behavior in their relationships," added Joseph M. Currin, who was also involved in the study.

Results related to couples only

The researchers point out that only the sexual messages that were exchanged within partnerships were examined. The team emphasizes that outside of relationships, such messages can also be subject to sexual harassment or bullying. (vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Texas Tech University - Department of Psychological Sciences: Despite what you might think, sexting isn't just about sex (accessed: November 26, 2019), eurekalert.org

Video: You and j hope sexting so hard (December 2022).