How Often Are People Sharing Your Sexts?
A recent study found a worrying statistic.
BY KATHRYN LINDSAY | Aug 5, 2016 | Sex & Relationships
It's 10:00PM Do you know where your sexts are? According to a recent study conducted by the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, published in the journal Sexual Health, the answer could be "literally anywhere." After surveying 5,805 single adults between the ages of 21 and 75, 23 percent reported sharing the sexts they received with an average of more than three different friends.
The reasoning for this is unclear, but sex therapist Dr. Chris Donaghue has an idea. "I work with some people who actually get off on sharing their own private sex photos that they've taken of them and their partner, with other people," he explained in a recent episode of the Cosmo Happy Hour podcast. "I think it's really case by case."
However, there's hope that humanity isn't all one big garbage pile. The study found that of the 21 percent of participants who claimed they sent sexual text messages, 73 percent reported "discomfort" with the idea sharing of photos beyond whoever they were intended for.
"It raises the question that if someone sends something to you with the presumption that it's private and then you share it with others—which, when it comes to sexting, nearly 1 out of every 4 single Americans are doing, what do we want to consider that type of violation?" says Justin Garcia, Ruth Halls assistant professor for gender studies and research scientist at the Kinsey Institute, who led the study. "Is it just bad taste? Is it criminal?" While on the surface, sharing sexts with a friend might seem less of a violation than posting revenge porn for the world to see, they both raise the same question of what's a reasonable (and legal) expectation of privacy in the online world.
"The real risk is not the sending of sexual messages and images per se, but rather the nonconsensual distribution of those materials to other parties," Garcia concludes. "As sexting becomes more common and normative, we're seeing a contemporary struggle as men and women attempt to reconcile digital eroticism with real-world consequences."
Bottom line? Careful what you send—the internet, unlike certain people, is a lifelong commitment.