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10 Scientific Reasons Why Sexting Can Be AMAZING For Your Sex Life

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Love, Self

Learn the benefits of textual healing.

Sexting is the spicy love letter of our digital age, the mobile booty call.

With Tinder or anonymous midnight trysts or a quick hookup with our partner during a lunch hour, we have an unprecedented promise of passion — access to seduction and allure is at an all-time high. And a recent study looked at the connection between sexting, relationships, and sexual satisfaction.

The researchers studied 870 people, ages 18 to 82. 82% said they had sexted in the past year. 75% sexted as part of a committed relationship, and 43% in a casual one. People who sexted more reported HIGHER overall sexual satisfaction in their relationships.

Though this study focused on sexting in healthy sexual relationships, in working with couples, I find that sexting can inspire better sexual connection. With couples who have sexual difficulties or who struggle with showing physical affection, I assign sexting as ‘homework,” helping them to let loose and play with each other, talk dirty with each other, leave each other kinky voicemails, talk on the phone, email — and sext!

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Couples either love this and meet the assignment with gusto or they’re apprehensive, cautious about what’s alien. For these couples, I encourage them to be curious about the experience as we begin their ‘assignment’ in the session.

I ask them each to take out their phones and text each other something relatively benign, e.g. “I love your mouth.” Or slightly edgy, “I love your tongue.”  Or slightly naughty, e.g. “I love what your tongue could do to me."

What is spicy for one couple will not be for another, and every couple has a different baseline. To minimize threat and avoid fear, I begin where they feel comfortable, skirting the edge of risk — this is the ‘safe zone’ and sweet spot. What makes it “sweet?” It’s where healing happens!

Sexting may include selfies, displaying either nudity and self-pornification. ‘Selfie sexts’ are a gazing game — participants are both the subject taking the photo and the observed object. This is especially fascinating and complex because the presentation of Self is based on empathy for the partner.

They put themselves in the place of the other, introducing their preferences, expectations, and evaluations. I see it as an awesome opportunity for partners to learn about and understand each other more deeply.

Why do we feel excited while sexting? Why the adrenalin rush?

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We generate a brainwave biorhythm unique to texting activity and that doesn't apply to voice calls, body movements, or cognition-based activities. This new waveform is highly specific to active texting — it’s a generalized frontocentral monomorphic burst of 5 to 6 Hz theta wave.

The cool aspect about this is that it seems to be evoked consistently by texting on a smartphone and is "intrinsically locked to an electronic stimulus.”

Granted, this study was a small sample size, didn’t control for drugs or caffeine, needs to be replicated... but the possibility that our brain adapts to technology is an exciting evolutionary discovery and yet another way for couples to connect.

If you're not yet convinced, here are 10 more hard-to-deny benefits of sexting:

1.   Sexting offers more safety than in-person interactions and gives us permission to go beyond our normal boundaries of volleying sensual, erotic exchanges.

2.   Sexting improves our erotic communication and intimacy, which leaks into in-person engagement, e.g. voicing desires and energy during sex.

3.   Sexting lowers inhibitions and promotes openness.

4.   Sexting helps us learn and practice socially proactive behaviors, e.g. flirting — remote sexual flirting can be safer than person-to-person encounters.

5.   Sexting allows us to access an inner sense of desirability and sexiness.

6.   Related to #5, sexting is a channel through which we can learn more about our own sensual needs and be comfortable with them, developing confidence in our own desires.

7.   Sexting helps us bypass or lessen guilt, e.g. religious judgments about sexual activity.

8.   Instead of using alcohol or drugs as social lubricants to ease nervousness and awkwardness, sexting is a safe way for us to transition into in-person flirting.

9.   For singles not wanting commitment but seeking a sexual connection, sexting serves as a further social bridge.

10. For those in a committed relationship, sexting is a way to ignite sparks and/or stoke the fire already there.

For many adolescents not ready for physical contact, sexting is the new ‘first base.'

Studies indicate it does not lead to risky sexual behavior and is an appropriate teenage segue into the next phase of a romantic relationship — for teens on the verge of sexual maturity, sexting is a form of safe sex: no penetration, no risking pregnancy.

It should be noted that what I'm referring to here is sexting with text only — no photos.

In the U.S. it is illegal to create, possess, or distribute a sexual image of a minor. “Sexual image” is now defined to include clothed images that a jury must decide if they convey sexual intent. When minors take and send naked selfies to each other, they are creating child pornography, which is a felony.

In 40 states, the age of consent is 16 or 17, but the age that determines “child pornography” is 18. It can be legal for two 17-year-olds to have sexual intercourse but they can be jailed for taking a photo of that sex —even if they only share the photo with each other

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So, while sexting is proven to have a hugely positive impact on a couple's sex life, it is ESSENTIAL to know the risks and dangers of sexting — particularly when it comes to images — before you start experimenting with sexts yourself.

Some caveats: Prioritize privacy and don’t send public sexts. Share only with each other (unless it's mutually agreed that it will be a group message), and only share sexts with individuals who have given their mutual consent.


Ranjan Patel, Psy.D., MFT is in private practice, in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to psychotherapy, she does mindfulness training, including meditation. She does media interviews on mental health topics and organizes free local monthly support groups for those living with chronic illness/pain. She is also a certified life coach. For more information: www.DrRanjanPatel.com  Find Ranjan on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

References:

Lasen, A. (2015). But I haven’t Got A Body To Show: Self-Pornification And Male Mixed Feelings In Digitally Mediated Seduction Practices. Sexualities. September vol. 18 no. 5-6 714-730.

Stasko, E.C. & Geller, P.A., (2015). Reframing Sexting As a Positive Relationship Behavior. Paper presented at the 123rd annual convention of the American Psychological Association, Ontario, Canada.

Tatum, W. (2015). “A New Waveform Identified During Video EEG Monitoring.” American Epilepsy Society; Abstract 3; 114.

Temple, J.R., & Choi, HJ.(2014). Longitudinal Association Between Teen Sexting and Sexual Behavior. Pediatrics, October 6, DOI:10.1542/peds.2014-1974.

Temple, J. R., Paul, J. A., van den Berg, P., Le, V. D., McElhany, A., & Temple, B. W. (2012). Teen sexting and its association with sexual behaviors. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 166(9), 828–833. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.

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