The act of sexting is nothing new. In fact, people have been sending each other sexy messages and images since the dawn of the mobile phone. But in recent years, it has become more mainstream, and way more people do it than you might think.  For those that don’t know, sexting is simply sending and receiving sexually explicit messages or images electronically. In a world of social media and dating apps, there are so many opportunities to get down and dirty in the virtual world. From Facetime sex to cheeky Snapchat messages, sexting is everywhere.

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There’s no doubt that sexting can be a fun and naughty way to spice up your sex life. But there’s also been a lot of debate about whether or not it is harmful to our body image. Some people feel it is objectifying, while others believe it can be sexually liberating.  Well, according to a study published in The Journal of Sex Research, it can be both.  Among the 361 Hong Kong-based college students surveyed, researchers found that those who frequently engaged in sexting had a more positive body image than those who didn’t sext at all. Although, those same people also agreed that body shame was more likely to arise in their day-to-day lives.

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Those who would sext would question their body image or would feel ashamed if they didn’t put enough effort into making themselves look good. So in a way, sexting can be seen as a way of objectifying yourself.  Mario Liong, associate professor at Ritsumeikan University in Japan and co-author of this study, noted to Psypost that he “noticed the contradictory ideas about sexting – that it is reproducing objectification of women’s and girls’ bodies.” But then he continued to say, ”that it acts as a platform for individuals to experiment with their bodies and sexualities and to look at their bodies in a way different from the mainstream media representation.”

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sexting

The idea that sexting could be seen as sexually liberating makes perfect sense and is not new information. It can be empowering when you can control who sees your naked body and when, so long as you trust them.  Sexting may also help you feel more confident in your body and appearance, allowing you to see yourself in a new sexy light. Because of this finding, Liong stated, “Therefore, we should not just focus on the negative consequence of sexting but should acknowledge that sexting can be empowering too.”  Of course, with every study comes some limitations. But it does open up conversations about how sexting can be viewed in different lights and that, ultimately, it’s up to the individual.

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While some may feel that sexting is objectifying, it may be a form of liberation and self-expression for others. So if you feel confident and empowered by sending some nudes, go ahead!

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