To Sext Or Not To Sext? This Is The Definitive Answer
In this world of dick pics, best filters for nude Snapchats and eggplant emojis, it seems everyone is getting bizay in the erotic cyber sphere.
Gone are the days when a suggestive text - "when I get home I'm going to do you like you were homework" - was enough to make you feel both a little naughty and rather tech savvy.
With sexting at best, it's easy to feel that you don't measure up. At worst, you may judge yourself a bit of a prude by comparison. We're certainly not ragging on those with the confidence to flash over an image of what's beneath your Victoria's Secret to a paramour. Or two. In fact, we kinda envy your confidence, sass and sometimes the skill of your waxer.
It's just that the rest of us, those who wouldn't be photographed naked - even if it was by Annie Liebowitz from four kilometres away through a metre of vaseline - wonder if we're missing out on an enhanced sex life as a result. It's the 4G manifestation of the fear that everyone is having better, more frequent, mattress buffeting nookie than we are.
Now research out of North Carolina State University has put some of those fears to bed. As it were. Having conducted a meta study of 234 pieces of research on the subject, they declared the correlation between sending sexts and subsequent sexual behaviour as "weak". Better still, there was zero evidence that a sweaty keypad lead to a sweaty bedroom. Nada. Zilch. Deal with that boastful colleague always on about their wild and tech-enabled sex life.
Better still - especially for parents who are wondering what kind of effect sexting is having on their teenagers or young adult children - the study found a negligible correlation between it and riskier sexual behaviour such as unprotected sex, an increase in sexual partners or an increase in likelihood of hooking up with someone.
In fact, and this may well come as a bit of a relief to all and sundry, the whole sexting thing may actually be somewhat of a beat up, a storm in a modem if you will.
This is mainly because researchers haven't actually settled on a definition of this phenomenon which is supposedly radically altering the sexual landscape (maybe) and what we do in the bedroom (probably not). Is it text based? Or does it involve images or video?
What's more, the North Carolina team stressed that much previous data has focused way more on the senders than the recipients and only 15 of all the studies were actually primarily interested on the link between sexting and subsequent behaviour.
In other words, although we're banging on about it and it's a neat little piece of cultural wordplay (see this very important story on doppelbangers), the reality of the sextuation is that those who are actually qualified to make a call on how it's affecting our lives are at this stage are stepping back and saying we just don't know enough to make the big calls.
And if they can't do so, perhaps maybe we also need to take our time on judging ourselves against what everyone else is supposedly doing.