How Often You Sext Might Depend On Your Personality, Study Shows
Sexting is fairly ubiquitous among The Youth nowadays, but like most things, how often you sext depends on a number of factors: your personality, your ability to take a sexy selfie (which is harder than it sounds), and according to a study published in the Journal of Sex Research, how secure you are in your relationship with the recipient of your sexting. Although you'd think that people who are confident in their relationships would be more likely to sext their partners, researchers have shown that the opposite may actually be true — and it has something to do with what psychologists call "attachment styles," or the ways we form romantic relationships as adults.
The concept is fairly intuitive: People with high attachment avoidance tend to steer clear of forming close relationships with others, while people with high attachment anxiety tend to worry that their partner will leave. (People with low attachment anxiety and low avoidance tend to be more secure in their relationships.) In an effort to prevent their partners from leaving, people with high attachment anxiety often engage in behaviors they think will keep their partner happy — like, say, snapping a quick lingerie selfie.
According to the Science of Us, researchers at California State University and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne hypothesized that people with high attachment anxiety wouldn't just sext more frequently, but they would also be quicker to do so. Basically, researchers predicted that people with high dating anxiety would need less commitment before sending off a sext than people who are more secure.
To test this, researchers asked more than 450 heterosexual college students a series of questions in an online survey designed to measure their attachment styles, dating anxiety, and sexting habits. Some of their predictions came true: According to the results, high dating anxiety and high fear of negative evaluation from their partner predicted whether someone would send a suggestive text or picture. The study couldn't draw any causal conclusions, but it's not hard to see why someone who is less secure in a relationship might use sexting as a way to maintain their partner's interest.
But here's where things get particularly interesting. Low attachment avoidance, which is linked to happier relationships, also predicted sexting. Presumably, however, people in more stable relationships aren't sexting out of a place of insecurity. This led researchers to suggest that sexting might just be more popular these days — as they put it in the paper, the finding could be the "result of a cultural shift."
It's worth noting that the study was skewed toward young people; researchers only surveyed people between the ages of 18 and 25 years old. However, other studies have indicated that sexting might be catching on among adults of all ages, and it's even been linked to greater sexual satisfaction in some relationships. In short, sexting is just like any other form of communication: It's neither inherently good nor bad, and people use it for a variety of reasons.
Also, some people are way better at it than others.