Should You “Send Nudes”? Psychology Of Sexting

Not too long ago, eggplants and peaches were just ordinary plants. But now, in the world of screens, they’ve taken on a whole new meaning. With technology breaking down physical barriers, getting intimate with your partner is just a few taps away. However, before you surprise someone with a spicy photo, there are important things to consider. Stay tuned as we explore what you need to know to decide if sexting is the thing for you.

The Third Party

Sexting can be a great way to connect intimately with your partner, or spice things up on dating apps. But no matter how fun it might be, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and consequences involved. One of the risks is something that researchers call secondary sexting – the possibility of images or messages being shared to others without your consent. One study published in 2015 found that this can lead to embarrassment, harassment, extortion, legal sanctions, or even offline sexual abuse. That’s why, before you hit send, you need to make sure you trust your sexting partner 100%!

In Your Own Skin

After you make sure that conversations won’t end up on someone else’s phone, take a moment to evaluate how at ease you are with your physical self and expressing your sexuality. That’s an important step because researchers are still debating whether sexting is objectifying or sexually liberating. A 2019 study showed that both can be true – some sexters, compared to non sexters, are more likely to feel shame and scrutinize their bodies, but some actually end up feeling more comfortable with nudity after sexting. This suggests that sexting might combine both objectification and empowerment. Reflecting on your level of comfort with your own body can provide valuable insights into how your sexting experience might unfold.

What’s In It For You?

Understanding why you want to participate in sexting is another way to make an informed decision. Are you seeking validation, intimacy, or connection? Sometimes young people turn to sexting as a means to avoid negative emotions when they lack other resources for effective emotion regulation. A 2016 study found that anger, loneliness, and attention-seeking tendencies predict risky sexting among young people. But in other cases, sexting can be a way to seek connection with your partner or to explore your own sexual needs. By considering your motivations, you can better understand the underlying drivers behind sexting and make choices that align with your emotional well-being.

The Art Form

When you’ve decided that you want to sext, you should also think about how you want to sext! In a study done in 2018, researchers identified various sexting styles based on the type of media you use and the frequency of your exchanges. It’s not just about sending explicit photos – you can also be a words-only sexter, engaging in passionate written exchanges without sharing nude pictures. On the other hand, if you enjoy exchanging a wide range of sexy words and photos on a daily basis, you might fall into the hyper sexter category. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to sexting, so choose the style that aligns with your preferences and makes you feel safe and comfortable. Whether it’s through visuals or engaging in enticing conversations, find what suits you best and enjoy the experience.

Emotional Fortress

Finally, it’s important to prioritize open communication about consent and boundaries. A 2018 study has shown that when sexting is done under pressure, it can be associated with aggressive behaviors in relationships, specifically teen dating violence. To make sure you’re safe, take the time to have explicit discussions with your potential sexting partner. Talk about what you are comfortable with, what you are willing to share, and establish clear boundaries that ensure both parties feel respected. 

So, what do you think? Is this form of playful messaging your cup of tea? Sexting can be a powerful tool for self-expression and intimacy, but only when it’s approached with mindfulness and consideration. So take the opportunity to reflect on your body confidence and how sexting aligns with your desires and boundaries. Thanks for reading, and safe and curious!


Bianchi, D., Morelli, M., Nappa, M. R., Baiocco, R., & Chirumbolo, A. (2018). A bad romance: Sexting motivations and teen dating violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 36(13–14), 6029–6049.

Dir, A. L., & Cyders, M. A. (2015). Risks, risk factors, and outcomes associated with phone and internet sexting among university students in the United States. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 44(6), 1675–1684.

Galovan, A. M., Drouin, M., & McDaniel, B. T. (2018). Sexting profiles in the United States and Canada: Implications for individual and relationship well-being. Computers in Human Behavior, 79, 19–29.

Liong, M., & Cheng, G. H.-L. (2019). Objectifying or liberating? Investigation of the effects of sexting on body image – PubMed. Journal of Sex Research, 56(3).

Ševčíková, A. (2016). Girls’ and boys’ experience with teen sexting in early and late adolescence – PubMed. Journal of Adolescence, 51.

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