sexting; sexual health; social media


Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Women's Studies


The present study explored associations between sexually explicit text messaging (sexting), social media use, and engagement in risky sexual behaviors among young adult women to determine whether online sexting and social media activity was associated with real-world sexual behaviors. Participants completed a self-administered anonymous, online survey that included 66 questions assessing demographic information, use of technology, sexting activity, and sexual behaviors. A greater proportion of participants reported sexting than in previous studies and results indicate sexting is used to maintain intimate relationships online. Results also suggest that, for young women, social media and sexting facilitate alternative intimate communication, without physical intimacy. As interactions in online settings become more common within intimate and committed relationships, attitudes toward conventional, unconventional, and riskier sexual behaviors may also become more positive. Thus, present findings are valuable for understanding technology’s role in young adult women’s sexual behaviors.