Have you ever wondered if posting sexual images or sexting makes you deviant, perverted , or  a little crazy? Or do you brazenly post without giving it a second thought . Perhaps you do stop to wonder if this is legal (ask Emma Sadlier please )  pornographic , within the bounds of monogamy. Or maybe  you accept this as normative communication ,  just a part of regular 2020  society.
What I am interested in  is:  what does sexting and posting  sexual images (PSI) do to your mental health ?
 Sexting is sending to a select person/s sexually explicit messages, photos, or videos via any digital device. It can include nudity, messages that discuss sex acts, or content simulating sex acts. Posting Sexual Images includes sending sexual images online to known  or unknown  people or  to the general public, such as porn,  sexual jokes, GIF’s.
In the dating world, once contact is made sending dick and female genital  pics , solicited and unsolicited, seem to be the calling card . A courting ritual if you like.
Sexting  is not just a teen thing, although it is a good for you to know the prevalence in teens :
  • At least 1 in 4 teens are receiving sexually explicit texts and emails
  • At least 1 in 7 are sending sexts
  • More than 1 in 10 teens are forwarding sexts without consent
  • About 1 in 12 teens have had sexts they’ve sent forwarded without their consent
Sexting  is a ritual  which is part of couple’s communication style , especially when apart from each other. and big time when rejection has occurred even accelerating into revenge porn #nasty #illegal.
1. As the recipient and as the sender how, if at all,  does this impact on your mental health ?? Does it feel as it enhances or diminishes your mental well being and equilibrium? 
2. What are your motivations for sexting ? 
3. Do you think it’s cheating ? 
4. Who and when do you sext? 
5. Do you keep it secret? 
6. Does it enhance your sexual /intimate relationships? 

Well imagine sending out a dick/butt/breast/genital pic and the recipient  mocks, ignores it or makes a negative comment about it.  Kind of humiliating . That leads to low self esteem and low body image, creating  a  cycle of not feeling good about oneself . And if these pics were coerced out of you or shown to others without your consent, or posted elsewhere, well, there goes your mental health into the bin. Shame, blame becomes part of your every day experience.

And we know what that does to one : isolation > disconnection > loneliness > depression.

What does it mentally do to you to open up a message on any social platform and see a woman masturbating for you- unsolicited- or receiving images of private body parts ?

Let’s see what science tells us :

The findings of a narrative review seem to point towards the presence of mental health symptomatology, particularly depression and anxiety, in the adolescent population when related to sexting behaviors.

However, the age of the adolescents also seems to play an important role,. As adolescents get older, mental health symptoms seem to be increasingly associated with aggravated sexting,(coercive, aggressive, unsolicited)  but not when related to consensual sexting behaviors whereby older teens have not been pressured (experimental sexting)

Therefore, it might be probable that the relationship between sexting and poor mental health, depression, and anxiety symptoms is mediated by coercion, victimization, and age.In other words for sexting to be fun, sexy, connective  and healthy, there should be no coercion, bullying and only happen when one is an older teen.

Younger teens are mentally harmed by sexting with increase in depression , anxiety, isolation and disconnection . Also they take higher sexual risks and have multiple sexual partners.

Let’s linger into the world of adults and sexting and mental health.

The Journal of Sexual Medicine published a study on digital sexual behavior in a group of military veterans. Previous research suggests that veterans who use social media to search for sex partners are at higher risk for mental health issues like hypersexuality, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In particular, the researchers analyzed two types of digital sexual behaviors:

  • Sexting involves sending sexually-explicit texts to another person.
  • Posting sexual images (PSI) involves posting sexually-explicit images or videos of oneself on the internet.

The participants were 283 post-deployment, post 9/11 military veterans in the United States.

About 53% of the participants had sexted at some point in their lives.

The researchers found that both sexting and PSI behaviors were more common among males, younger people, and those with lower levels of employment and less education.

They also concluded that neither sexting nor PSI was associated with psychopathology.

However, posting sexual images was linked to impulsivity and hypersexuality, according to mental health assessments. Sexting was not. People might impulsively post sexual images of themselves on the internet and later regret doing so.

“These results suggest that PSI and sexting may represent normative behaviors,” the authors said.

They noted that sexting behaviors may occur when people have just begun new relationships and may be “associated with feelings of wellbeing rather than psychopathology.”

Despite leading to negative consequences for some (e.g., harassment and unwanted dissemination), findings regarding sexting behaviors and mental health variables have been mixed.

A study  recruited  young adults (N = 444, M age = 20, ) to test the hypothesis that sexting might be associated with poorer mental health.

Results showed no association between receiving or sending sexts overall. However, receiving unwanted sexts, or sexting under coercion, was associated with higher depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms, and lower self-esteem,

The relationship between these sexting behaviors with poor mental health was moderated by gender, with poorer outcomes for males receiving unwanted sexts.

I love these  four key findings from the sexual science of sexting in committed relationships:

1. We sext less in committed relationships.

29 percent of married and cohabitating participants in a study reported sending sexts that consisted mainly of sexy or intimate talk, and only 12 percent reported sending nude or nearly-nude photos to their partner.

2. Sometimes we lie to our partner when we sext.

Woman had lied to their partners during sexting about what they were wearing, doing, or both.

Women were more likely to lie during sexting than men were. 45 percent of women and 24 percent of men indicated had lied during sexting with committed partners.

. Our attachment style impacts how (and if) we sext our partners.

Text messaging was more common among those with secure attachments, sexting was more common among participants who had insecure attachment styles, and particularly among those with higher attachment avoidance.

Specifically, individuals who had anxious attachment styles were more likely to send text-based sext messages, while those with avoidant attachment styles were more likely to send sext messages and erotic images. The authors also note that men with avoidant attachment styles were particularly likely to send sexts and sexual images to their relationship partners.

Sexting doesn’t appear to impact relationship satisfaction.

Married individuals tend to have a more negative view of sexting compared to individuals who are dating or single. As far as the impact of sexting on marital satisfaction, the authors reported that their findings did not suggest that sexting had any significant impact on relationship satisfaction (positively or negatively).

Married folk.. you need to sext more !

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