According to a recent study conducted by the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, it was revealed that the sexts you send likely do not stay on the recipient’s phone. After surveying 5,805 single adults between the ages of 21 and 75, 23 percent of respondents reported sharing the sexts they received with an average of more than three different friends.
The reasoning behind 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. I think it’s really case by case.”
The study found that of the 21 percent of participants who claimed that they had sexted before, 73 percent reported “discomfort” with the idea of sharing photos beyond whoever they were intended for.
On the surface, sharing sexts with a friend might seem less privacy-breaching than uploading revenge porn for the whole wide world. However, they raise questions regarding what is a reasonable – and legal – privacy expectation online.
“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?” asks Justin Garcia, Ruth Halls assistant professor for gender studies and research scientist at the Kinsey Institute, who let the study. “Is it just bad taste? Is it criminal?”
“The real risk is not the sending of sexual messages and images per se, but rather the non-consensual distribution of those materials to other parties,” Garcia said. “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 consequence.”
In short, this is a nice reminder to think before you post. You never know what could come back and bite you – no matter how safe you believe you’re being.