Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is often used to initiate, maintain, or terminate intimate relationships and recently, such platforms have been considered an outlet for sexual communication. This has led to the emerging trend of sending sexually suggestive messages via computer devices in what is known as “sexting.” The current study expands the definition of sexting to include different types of sext content (i.e., non-sexters, less explicit, explicit, and very explicit) and modes of transmission (e.g., cell phone, social networking). Our primary goal was to determine whether sexting behaviours, risky health behaviours, attitudes and subjective norms, sensation seeking, and motivations for sexting differ across separate sexter groups (N = 511). Individuals who had never sent a sext message were classified as non-sexters (n = 117), those who had sent sexy word-based messages were classified as less explicit sexters (n = 135), semi-nude photo or video senders were classified as explicit sexters (n = 87), and individuals who had sent fully nude photos or videos were classified as very explicit sexters (n = 172). Results revealed that participants who report very explicit forms of sexting had higher positive attitudes toward sexting and engaged in riskier sexual behaviours relative to explicit, less explicit and non-sexters. In general, sexters perceived more social pressure to engage in sexting and demonstrated a higher need for sensation seeking compared to non-sexters. Higher rates of alcohol consumption were found among the very explicit and explicit sexter groups compared to less explicit and non-sexters.


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pp. 205-214
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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