Young Women’s Reasons for Sexting Are Not Clear Cut

The motives for young people’s”sexting” are not as straightforward as some people may think, particularly when it comes to young women, researchers report.

From Alexis Blue-U. Arizona

In an internet poll, Morgan Johnstonbaugh, a doctoral student in sociology at the University of Arizona, asked over 1,000 school students–20 years old on average–from seven US universities to describe the last time they sent a naked or semi-nude picture of themselves to another individual electronically. The investigators then asked why they shared the photograph. Presented with a list of 23 possible motives, participants could check as many or as few as they desired.

DOUBLE STANDARD?

In her evaluation of their responses, Johnstonbaugh discovered that the chances were four times greater for women than men to state they sent sexually explicit pictures of these in order to stop the receiver from losing interest or to prevent the receiver from taking a look at pictures of others.

“The sexual double standard is the idea that is perpetuated in society that women and men have different kinds of sexuality–that men have uncontrollable, voracious desires, whereas girls are capable of making moral decisions and acting as the gatekeepers to sexual activity,” Johnstonbaugh states.

“With this idea in mind, women may feel pressured to share pictures with their boyfriends to be able to keep them to please their appetite.”

However, Johnstonbaugh found that the chances also were four times greater for women than men to state they sent sexually explicit images as a way to feel empowered, and girls were twice as likely as men to say they sent these pictures to improve their confidence.

“Women might find sexting to be really empowering because it’s possible to create a space where you feel safe expressing your sexuality and researching your own body,” she says.

MIXED MOTIVATIONS FOR SEXTING

It wasn’t unusual for female respondents to choose both empowering and disempowering motives for sexting, showing how complicated their motives can be, Johnstonbaugh states.

“The fact that girls are more likely to feel both empowered and disempowered–which they are selecting these two options when thinking about exactly the exact same event–highlights the fact that women have more to benefit from a possibly beneficial interaction, but they also have more to lose,” Johnstonbaugh states.

Further analysis is essential to better understand other potential motivations for sexting, in addition to which motivations may be more common for guys, Johnstonbaugh states.

She says she hopes her findings help provide a more nuanced comprehension of sexting for scholars, teachers, and policymakers interested in reducing harmful sexting practices.

“In this study, my goal was to disentangle the pressures young men and women are experiencing, and to get a better understanding of why they’re sending these pictures and what possible benefits they could be hoping for,” she says. “This gives us a bit more perspective.”

Johnstonbaugh presented her study, which will bring about her dissertation on sexting practices among college students, throughout the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting in nyc.

Source: University of Arizona

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The motives for young people’s”sexting” are not as straightforward as some people may think, particularly when it comes to young women, researchers report.

The article Young Girls ’s grounds for Sexting Aren’t Clear Cut appeared on The Great Men Project.

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