Sexting profiles in the United States and Canada: Implications for individual and relationship well-being


Recent advances in mobile technology have allowed individuals to engage in sexting (i.e., sharing sexual words and images via technology). Researchers have examined the prevalence and correlates of sexting, but differences in samples and definitions make it difficult to develop a cohesive picture of adult sexting. This study extends our understanding of sexting behavior by using binationally-representative data from 615 Americans and Canadians in committed heterosexual and same-sex couple relationships from The Couple Well-Being Project. Using latent profile analysis, we explored how individuals' patterns of sending and receiving explicit word and/or picture text messages illustrated distinct profiles of sexting behavior. The analyses revealed 4 distinct groups of sexters: non-sexters (71.5%), word-only sexters (14.5%), frequent sexters (8.5%), and hyper sexters (5.5%). We then compared these groups on various relationship factors, indicators of individual well-being, and technology-related behaviors. Frequent and hyper sexters reported greater sexual satisfaction but were not significantly different from non-sexters or word-only sexters in relationship satisfaction. Further, frequent and hyper sexters scored more poorly on other relationship variables (i.e., attachment security, commitment, ambivalence, and conflict) than non-sexters or word-only sexters and showed greater media and pornography viewing, technoference in face-to-face interactions with their partner, and infidelity-related behaviors on social media.

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Computers in Human Behavior

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