Differences Between Gender and Relationship Status in Motivations and Consequences of Consensual Sexting Among Emerging Adults


As sexting continues to develop as a facet of sexual behavior among emerging adults, it is important to examine precursors and outcomes of such behavior. Current research is beginning to examine potential positive outcomes of consensual sexting in addition to negative consequences, as well as the motivations and contexts in which these consequences manifest. The purpose of the present study was to examine motivations for consensual sexting across gender and relationship status, as well as a range of perceived consequences of sexting in undergraduate emerging adults (N = 536; 77.2% women). With regards to motivations for sexting, men and those in committed romantic relationships more frequently reported that their sexting was incited by relational motives compared to women and those in casual sexual relationships. In examining consequences of sexting, women reported higher levels of punishment compared to men. A significant interaction was present between gender and relationship status, revealing that women in casual sexual relationships reported the highest amounts of negative consequences. These findings highlight the complexity of sexting behaviors and suggest the need for more nuanced research to accurately conceptualize and contextualize the motivations for and the consequences of sexting as a function of relationship status and gender.

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Sexuality & Culture

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