How the Taboo Practice Improves Relationships
Picture this: You’re at lunch, eating and casually chatting in the break room with your coworkers. You hear a familiar ping alerting you that you have a new text, so you take your phone out of your pocket. It’s from your partner. Not expecting much, you open the message. Your face flushes. You’ve seen this person sans clothing numerous times, but this catches you off guard. Your pulse rises and the room gets a little warmer. You respond back with a quick tease. One thing leads to another and before you know it, you’re in the bathroom stall snapping pictures of your… um, eggplant and peach emojis.
The majority of the public has sent a steamy text, a nude photo, or a video that would make all of the aunts clutch their pearls. According to NY Daily News, 54 percent of adults in America regularly participate in sexting. You may find that a little shocking, but researchers at Drexel University believe that number is much, much higher: 88 percent, in fact. By this logic, you can pretty much assume that at least half of the people you interact with daily are sexting. Is it hot in here?
Let’s be real. Sex is a completely natural, normal, and healthy part of adult life, and giving in to our biological urges in a safe and consenting environment can be a wonderful experience. So it still baffles me: How can we live in a culture that sells sex ad nauseum, while simultaneously pretending that it doesn’t exist? Why is sex such a taboo topic?
It’s not that people don’t like sex – or sexting for that matter. It just gets a bad rap. But it’s time to put the misconceptions to rest. It’s time we start taking pride in those text messages that require a certain level of wit, those photos that you spend an hour getting just right, and those videos that involve a little bit of risk and a whole lot of trust. Why? Sexting is more than just a fun and exciting addition to flirty communication — it might actually be a key component in maintaining a healthy, thriving relationship. According to Science Alert, the majority of sexting takes place between people who are in committed relationships with each other. Moreover, couples who sext report a higher overall satisfaction with their relationship over couples who don’t.
Safe & Secure
Because our culture generally disapproves of sexting, misperceptions about risks and misuse often overshadow the glowing benefits. But even with the sinful stigma, psychological researchers are increasingly interested in studying the popular trend. Research samples are still pretty small, but a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health concluded that while sexting most often happens with younger co-habitating couples, married couples also frequently participate. Married couples tend to prefer text-only conversations, while younger unmarried couples are more likely to send sexually explicit images and videos.
Sexting also provides couples with a sense of security about the relationship. While this is true with most partners, it’s heightened in people who developed an anxious-ambivalent attachment to their caregivers as children — an attachment style characterized by a constant seeking of approval (that is often never received) and an anxious disposition in the absence of the caregiver.
The attachment style you develop as a young child can offer a context for behavior in adulthood. An anxious-ambivalent attachment style is often observed between a person and their intimate partners throughout their adult life. In anxious-ambivalent types, the security and connectedness that sexting brings to the relationship is beneficial in reducing unnecessary worry and in boosting self-esteem and confidence.
Quick & Dirty
While certain people may be more drawn to sexting, everyone can benefit from it. When we are in committed, monogamous relationships for a long time, we get comfortable. There’s nothing wrong with that; it’s important for couples to feel secure and comfortable. But it’s also important to sprinkle in a little passion and unpredictability now and then. Sexting is a fun and safe way to remind each other that you’re more than just buddies.
In our fast-paced, tech-driven world, sexting provides over-booked and distant couples a chance to maintain focus on each other and express their desire for their partner. Between work, school, family, and social commitments, there isn’t a lot of time left for grand gestures or — on our busiest days — to really show affection for those we lust over and love. Sexting gives us a convenient opportunity to spice up the day even in our modern, over-committed lives.
And if you’ve never received an erotic text message, photo, or video, let me enlighten you. Sexting can serve as a great replacement for pornography sites. Goodbye, worries about your browser history and sketchy malware! Getting turned on by sexually explicit photos and videos of your partner can establish a unique trust and boost their self-esteem while boosting your… mood.
When practiced in a safe, mutually consenting environment, sexting has the potential to really improve your sex life. It can be a lot of fun! If erotic texts lead to erotic pictures or even videos, enjoy it. Let go of your inhibitions, and reignite the spark in your relationship!