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Sexting: Is There Sexual Gratification In Texting?

Submitted by on June 21, 2011 – 12:38 pmOne Comment

There’s been a lot of talk in the news lately about a phenomenon that more or less didn’t exist just 10 years ago: sexting.  Back in my day all we had was “696969” or “143” on the pager.  Those options are a lot less complicated than those faced by the likes of Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, or Anthony Weiner.  Despite all of Oprah’s warnings, many are still using text messaging and pix messaging (not to mention the advent of Apple iPhone‘s FaceTime) to communicate their lust, fantasy, desire, or history. So why do we do it? Why does it feel so good?  Why do we keep doing it despite the many negative consequences?

As a sex therapist, I’ve prescribed sexting as homework. Not as strange as it sounds—assuming it’s among consenting parties—it’s a healthy and fun way of expressing desire for someone and connecting to them, with or without the promise of physical contact at some point in the future.  It can serve multiple purposes in relationships: kindling a flame to create excitement for later in the day/week, making your partner feel loved/cared about/attractive, and exploring topics that are difficult to talk about in person. And a picture’s worth a thousand words, right?

People have gotten particularly up in arms about the sexting young adults are doing these days.  Eighth graders texting photos of themselves naked leaves plenty of room for information getting into dangerous hands (think pedophiles). Some think sexting is a gateway to kids getting physically involved. Really, it all comes down to parental supervision. Would you rather your teen be sexting for sexual excitement or actually having sex? The question is difficult and the answer isn’t simple.

All that said, there can be some pretty negative consequences to broadcasting your sexual fantasies (and/or most recent bathroom-mirror photo shoot) on cell phone networks, public wifi, or the Interwebs: public humiliation, bullying, being labeled the slut of the 9th grade forever, having to resign from public office, and potential problems with relationships.  Most non-celebrity non-politician types correctly assume no one really cares much what kind of panties they’re wearing or what position they want it in later.  However—and pardon my paranoia—who’s to say that information isn’t being stored somewhere and will come back to bite you in the ass (not in the good way)?  Choose carefully.

By Dr. Laila

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