‘Sexting’… So what is it anyway? Crisis for Relationships ‘Sexting’ by definition is sending or receiving sexually explicit messages or photos by mobile phones or other social media. This is a trend that has increased steadily through the years as more and more people have utilized phones as their main method of communication. In fact, 88% of adults have engaged in some kind of ‘sexting’ within the context of a relationship according to a paper called: “Reframing Sexting as a Positive Relationship Behavior.” 2
Is ‘sexting’ more common than we believe or are these research studies just turning up coincidences with this type of behavior? Emily Stasko, at Drexel’s University in Philadelphia, SharekAlomre.com surveyed 870 heterosexual individuals and found that more ‘sexting’ was associated with a higher level of sexual satisfaction. 2
These are just two studies, you might say, and don’t represent the population at large. Well, another way to look at this is that technology is something that most people (in larger cities or suburban areas) concentrate on daily. People are very involved with social media on mobile phones, computers & tablets. They are using these social media applications for various reasons (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, Tumblr, Vine, Snapchat, etc). Is there any reason to think, even for a minute, Crisis for Relationships that people are not using technology to date or enhance their present relationships? People all over the country (and the world) have access to texting/messaging, social media, and video chatting (Facetime, Viper, etc.). It is extremely easy to use any of these modalities in the context of a relationship.
So How Do People View ‘Sexting?
The problem is that not everyone defines ‘sexting’ the same way. Is it the sending of sexually explicit or provocative messages? Is it primarily the sending of sexual images? Some people see it as one, the other or even as both. This has been unclear because there have been various opinions about the subject. ‘Sexting’ may not be limited to just messaging but could also include the use of Twitter, Facebook, Skype and Facetime, as well as, other social media platforms. This could also mean sending sexually explicit video or showing nude body parts while video conferencing. This complicates matters even more and broadens the current definition.
Most people have really warmed up to the idea of ‘sexting’ and according to the research, previously cited, a very high number of people have engaged (and continue to engage) in this behavior. These research studies and surveys have focused on how ‘sexting’ can improve relationships and rekindled sex lives. However, there is a darker side as well. This article focuses on those individuals that use ‘sexting’ as a way of seeking excitement, sex, and/or attention outside of their present relationship. The lines are sometimes blurred with regards to virtual or internet relationships because they are not viewed as being “real.”
Is ‘Sexting’ outside of a relationship considered cheating?
That is a good question. We already know that ‘sexting’ or sending these sexually provocative messages can really enhance a committed relationship. However, what happens when people send these types of messages outside of a committed relationship? How is ‘sexting’ viewed among the general population?
“A 2013 Huffington Post article of 1,000 U.S. adults found SharekAlomre that 85 percent of women and 74 percent of men consider ‘sexting’ a form of cheating.” 1
‘Sexting’ outside a relationship can be exciting especially for those individuals that are looking for ‘that extra something’ in their lives. Perhaps these individuals love their spouses or partners but seem to have ‘lost’ the passion or excitement in their relationship. For other individuals, maybe they are looking to find someone else online or in a virtual sense (i.e. via texting, online websites or other media) that they can flirt with and is considered “safe.” That could fall into the “grass is greener on the other side of the fence” scenario. A person may be very happy or mostly satisfied with their partner but think that they might be able to find something better outside their relationship.
Other scenarios could include men or women that seem to feel as if they are invisible to their partners or spouses due to over demanding careers, children, mental illness, physical illness, alcoholism, etc. These individuals may find that through ‘sexting’ with a 3rd party that they can feel loved, Crisis for Relationships desired and even sexy. It is through this media (and possibly other reasons) that people justify their actions and tell themselves that they are not cheating because there is no physical relationship.
Is This Behavior Wrong? Crisis for Relationships
Is it cheating? There are various reasons why an individual may decide to engage in ‘sexting’ outside of his/her relationship but what is the intention exactly? Some people may believe that due to the virtual nature of ‘sexting’ that it isn’t necessarily wrong. ‘Sexting’ doesn’t have to involve physical contact and it could just be chalked down to a simple fantasy (or something that they don’t intend to pursue). It may have started as something very innocuous (like work-related messages sent to a colleague, coworker or fellow student) but then it moved forward to a more sexual type of relationship.
However if a person is deleting texts, hiding cell phone bills. Or being secretive about this virtual relationship. Then it seems that he/she has become more involved with someone. Other than a spouse or partner. This person is now thinking about another person. Sending pictures to that person, and possibly wishing he/she could spend. Time with that other person. If we are looking at the health of a marriage or relationship. Any time someone else becomes involved, that health has now been compromised. Crisis for Relationships We could also argue. That the commitment toward the relationship or marriage has waned because of the 3rd party. That is now part of the equation.
RELATED ARTICLE: Is Internet Dating Safe?
Case Examples: Crisis for Relationships
Maria and Thomas (not their real names) have been married for 3 years but have been together. For about 12 years. Thomas had been dealing with anxiety. Issues for his whole life but had developed a drinking habit to numb. The intense feelings that he dealt with on a daily basis. Crisis for Relationships This drinking problem had become so bad. Where Maria had found him passed out on the couch a few times. After work and he spent a good amount of time drinking with colleagues. This situation caused her to feel very detach and distrustful of Thomas.
She didn’t feel as if Thomas love or desired her and that his drinking. Had become his new relationship. Maria decided to contact a former male friend from school. With which she began a ‘sexting’ relationship. She never sent any sexually explicit photos of herself to this other. Person but the messages they shared were very provocative.