Sexting – the word sounds so sinful, seductive, salacious! Yet with the media and academic research largely focusing on the negative consequences that make these liaisons dangereuses, like breaches in confidentiality, it’s tough for even the most shameless of sexters to see the silver lining of such sexual engagements. While the occasional Cosmo article or better sex book may highlight all of the believed benefits of sexting, few academic efforts have produced data proving that these seductions can be quite rewarding.
So you can imagine my delight when graduate students in counseling psychology at Argosy University approached me about supervising a study on the positive impact of sexting on relationships. With texting and camera phones enabling couples to send sexually suggestive correspondence and engage in sex play from almost anywhere, any time of day (or night), they wanted to know: How are lovers engaging each other via text messaging? And what kind of impact is that having on relationships? The students’ ultimate hope was to determine whether sexting practices can assist professional counselors working with couples.
In a presentation titled “Adults Who Sext: An Examination of Sexting Behaviors of Adults, Ages 25-40, and the Implications for Clinical Practice,” Rachael Madden-Connor, Leatha Huntington, and Michelle E. Wade reported out on their survey involving over 30 participants, most of whom were women, who were married or in a relationship, at the annual American Counseling Association conference.