Is sexting good for your relationship? It depends …

Michelle Drouin, Manda Coupe, Jeff R. Temple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Our understanding of the prevalence, correlates, predictors, and outcomes of sexting is increasing; however, little is known about potential positive aspects of this emerging behavior, and whether the consequences of sexting vary by gender or relationship type (committed vs. casual). Using a sample of 352 undergraduate students (106 men, 246 women) the present study addresses this gap in the literature. Sixty-two percent of the participants reported that they had sent or received a sexually-explicit picture message. Of these, 56% reported that the sexting occurred with a committed partner, and 44% reported that it was with a casual partner. Men were significantly more likely to report sexting with a casual partner, while women were more likely to report sexting with a committed partner. Approximately half of young adults identified positive or neutral outcomes related to sexting; however, there were differences by relationship type and gender. For the most part, women and those who sexted with a casual partner identified fewer positive and more negative consequences than did men and those who sexted with a committed partner. Overall, findings point to the importance of considering individual and relationship characteristics in identifying and responding to teen and young adult sexting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-756
Number of pages8
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • Attachment
  • Gender
  • Romantic relationships
  • Sexting
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • General Psychology

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