Avoidant People Are More Likely To Sext, But Won't Answer A Text, Says Study, So You Probably Don't Want To Date Them

Looks as though avoidant folks are less likely to send a text message just to say hello, but more likely to send a sext, with or without a photo. This is especially true of avoidant men, according to a study of 750 college students that analyzed texting, sexting and attachment, as reported by the Science of Relationships. And it turns out, avoidant people sext to avoid emotional intimacy.

Attachment theory posits that there are four styles of attachment in adult relationships: secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant and fearful-avoidant. If you’re dating someone who falls in the last two categories, watch out for a dearth of “sup” messages and smiling selfies and a proliferation of “what are you wearing right now” texts and sexy pics.

Dismissive-avoidant types are the kind of people who might quote Paul Simon’s “I Am an Island,” while fearful-avoidants are mistrustful and tend to shut down their feelings in hopes of not getting too close. If you’re involved with someone who is always up for a long late-night sexting sesh, but takes hours to write back to a simple salutation, you might be dealing with the avoidant sort.

"People high in avoidance, and especially men who are high in avoidance, send more sext messages and sexually explicit pictures and videos than those who are less avoidant,” said the Science of Relationships of the study published in Computers in Human Behavior. “The authors suggest that that sexting is a way of avoiding emotional intimacy or as a substitute for other forms of in-person’ closeness and intimacy that make them uncomfortable.”

Though neither source made any suggestion in regard to what to do if you find yourself in such a relationship, allow me to take this moment for a brief hop atop a soapbox to point out that if you’re dating someone who is always down for a sext but can’t respond to a text to save his or her life, you might want to rethink your options.

Similarly, if you see yourself dashing off sexts willy-nilly but feel scared to text about workaday subjects, you might be avoiding intimacy or gunning toward sexual intimacy and mistaking it for real affection. If that’s truly what you want, cool, but it’s always smart to have awareness around one’s behavior.

Men in general are more likely to sext, and women have what's been termed stronger "negative sextpectancies" in regards to such exchanges. Though various theories have been proposed as to why this is, including the idea of double standards — a leaked sext from a woman might be more embarrassing to her than the same for a man, one researcher suggested — it's also possible that this discrepancy can be chalked up to avoidant behaviors.

Who knows. While this is one mystery I'd rather not touch with a 10-foot pole, it's safe to say that if you're getting lots of sexts but not many texts, you might be dealing with this phenomenon of sidestepping. It's up to you as to what to do next, but I will say: Avoidant sexters, beware. We're on to you.

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