Sexting is shockingly common, and the places people do it will surprise you

Sending racy texts to love interests or significant others has become an integral part of 21st century dating culture.

The concept is called “sexting,” and as it turns out, it’s not just used by hormone-charged teenagers: more than 80% of adults do it too.

To see just how integral it’s become, psychologists at Drexel University surveyed 870 heterosexual men and women (a little more than half of participants were women, the findings noted) aged 18 to 82 about their experiences with sexting.

In findings presented at the American Psychological Association’s annual convention, the researchers reported that 88% of those surveyed said they had at some point in their lives received a sexually explicit message on their cell or smart phones, while 82% had done so in at least the past year.

And most of the people in relationships found it a positive experience for their sex lives. The more people sexted, the researchers found, the more sexually satisfied a couple tended to be, regardless of how long they’d been together.

However, sexting appeared to have a more nuanced link with how satisfied couples said they were with the relationship overall — for couples who said they were not in “very committed” relationships, sexting appeared to play a positive role: the more they sexted, the happier they were. Yet in couples who said they were in “very committed” relationships, sexting didn’t play much of a role at all.

While three-quarters of those sexting did it from the comfort of their own homes, close to 30% said they sexted from the office or while they were more ambiguously “out and about.”

But there’s another variable the researchers didn’t account for: Photos. “Not all sexting is equal. Like most types of communication, content and intent matter,” doctoral candidate Emily Stasko, who was one of the psychologists conducting the study, told Gizmodo.

We’ll keep an eye out for further research.

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