Here's How Many People Share Sexts With Friends

by Kristine Fellizar

It’s time to get real about sexting. A 2014 study titled, “Love, Relationships, And Technology” by security software company, McAfee, found that nearly 50 percent of adults send sexts. According to a 2015 study conducted by sex toy company, Adam and Eve, 56 percent of people who sext say that it’s actually helped improve their relationships. While sexting is so common today and pretty much everyone I know personally does it, it’s sometimes hard to forget that it’s still a very personal thing that’s meant to stay between sender and recipient — ONLY. But as a new study found, that’s not typically the case. According to a study published in the journal Sexual Health, 23 percent of people say they share the sexts they get with an average of three different friends.

The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University conducted a study of 5,805 singles between the ages of 21 and 75-years-old. As sad as it is to say, nearly one in four people say they share the sexts they get with at least three friends. “I have to agree that the findings of the study sounds very accurate given what I see, hear and read — especially from the people who write in for advice on my relationship advice forum,” New York–based relationship expert and author April Masini tells Bustle. “The problem with sexting is that a sender may not know the recipient well enough to understand their response. The sender may think the sext is private and be horrified to learn it was shared,” Masini says.

Why a recipient chooses to share it could happen for any number of reasons, says Masini. "Discomfort that is quelled by sharing, uncertainty of how to respond, or needing validation that this person is either crazy, breakup-material, or marriage material.”

Overall, the range of reasons people share anything is huge, the range of reasons people share sexts is just as wide. But it’s not all bad. The study also found that 73 percent of people felt “discomfort” with the mere idea of sharing photos or sexts to others who had no business seeing it.

Sometimes, people will text you the strangest things in an effort to get you excited. Sometimes it works and sometimes it’ll just make you laugh. But that’s OK. Not everyone’s a professional sexter. What’s not OK (along with unsolicited sexts) is sharing it with a bunch of other people, especially if the sender is not aware of it. “Sexting can be a great tool in a relationship. It’s a way to express feelings, share intimacies, and keep a relationship hot,” Masini says. “But when you send a sext meant for your partner’s eyes only, and it’s shared without your permission or knowledge, there can associated shame, feelings of betrayal and relationship breakdown.”

So what should you do if things are getting hot and heavy over text message? “My advice is not to send any sext that renders you in any way identifiable — until you really know the person you’re dating and feel that their character is such that they will respect your privacy,” Masini says. “And if you have any doubt, don’t sext. Have all the crazy sex you want — but do it privately, not over the internet.”

Images: Fotolia; Giphy(2)