Sexting Is More Prevalent Than You Think

Flickr: Melina Manfrinatti

By Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D

Founding Editor,

CBS News recently reported on a study by Drexel University researchers on the behavior of sexting.  Sexting was defined broadly as any transmission of sexually suggestive content via mobile devices.

Researchers surveyed 870 adults ranging from 18 to 82 years old about their sexting habits, and what they found may surprise you.  What has popularly been relegated to teens and college students is highly prevalent among the adult population, with a whopping 88% of participants admitting to sexting at least once.

Interestingly, results suggested other correlates to sexting such as greater sexual satisfaction, particularly among “committed couples.”  Columbia University psychology professor Sari Locker was quoted as saying sexting “opens up sexual communication and it keeps the spark alive.”

However, sexting can have a dark side.  Dr. Locker noted security and privacy concerns among teenagers and young adults.  And don’t forget — once you hit that “send” button, there’s no telling where your message might end up.

What the study didn’t investigate, however, was the conditions under which sexting is most likely to occur. Moreover, under what conditions is sexting more likely to interfere with committed relationships and facilitate cheating or other immoral or even unlawful behavior?  Lastly, under what conditions is sexting likely maintained purely by positive reinforcement, versus the avoidance or escape from other aversive situations?

Be sure to check out the full article for the study’s limitations, and let us know your thoughts below.  Also don’t forget to subscribe to bSci21 via email to receive the latest articles, and free monthly issues, directly to your inbox!

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is President of bSci21 Media, LLC, which owns and  Todd serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management and as an editorial board member for Behavior and Social Issues.  He has worked as a behavior analyst in day centers, residential providers, homes, and schools, and served as the director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas.  Todd’s areas of expertise include writing, entrepreneurship, Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, Instructional Design, Organizational Behavior Management, and ABA therapy. Todd can be reached at [email protected].

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