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Have Second Thoughts About Sexting? You're Not Alone

While studies have shown that many of us sext with regularity, some of us apparently don’t feel so great about it the morning after.

A recent study of college students found that about 10 percent suffer remorse or worse after sending sexually explicit photos and messages ― sometimes as soon as they’ve hit the send button.

Women and people in casual relationships who sexted were more likely to report negative emotional and sexual outcomes, according to the report published in the scientific journal Computers in Human Behavior. Study author Michelle Drouin of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and her colleagues analyzed the results of an online survey of 352 undergraduates.

Sixty-two percent of the students acknowledged sending or receiving a sext. Men were more likely to report sexting with a casual partner, while women were more likely to sext with a committed partner.

About half of those who had sexted said that it led to positive sexual or emotional consequences.

The students appeared to be motivated to send sexually explicit messages “because they think it is fun or flirtatious or they want to please their partners,” Drouin told PsyPost.

But she added, “many people experience regret or worry” after they sext.

An online survey of college undergrads can’t simply be generalized to older groups. Researchers don’t know if couples in long-term committed relationships find sending sexually explicit messages “to be beneficial,” Drouin told PsyPost.

A recent report from the security software firm McAfee report, titled “Love, Relationships, and Technology,” found that 49 percent of people overall sent or received sexually explicit emails, texts, photos and videos. Seventy-seven percent of them sent the sexy messages to their significant others, while only 16 percent did so with strangers.

The age group most likely to sext was 18- to 24-year-olds ― 70 percent of them have done so, according to the McAfee report. Older adults may be having a go, too, but are just less willing to admit it.

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