Sexting, Literally By the Numbers
Sexting might be a particularly hands-on kind of thing. Like any topic, there are some things you can only learn about it through careful study. Luckily for you, we won’t make you do it yourself. We’ve pulled together the answers to some questions you might have about sexting. The who, what, when, where, and why of it. We did this using the latest statistics available to get a better understanding of this incredible pastime.
When did sexting start?
It’s hard to trace the exact time period in which sexting was invented. But, despite its intimate link with technology, we know it isn’t new. We know for a fact that people were sexting through handwritten letters as far back as the 1930s. They had sexy acronyms and everything! This is evidence that indirect sexual experiences are normal. Sexting with modern mobile phones is just another way of doing this. And, it offers the kind of convenience that would make proto-sexters green with envy.
How many people engage in it?
The short answer? A lot. A survey by a sex toy company Adam and Eve revealed that 31% of people worldwide are willing to admit that they sext. Think of how many might just be too shy to admit it! Some studies suggest that the numbers are actually higher. A survey done by Drexel University found that a whopping 82% of their 870 respondents (aged 18-82) had sexted at some point in the past year.
When do people sext?
The time at which the most sexts are sent is not the stereotypical late night time period you’re probably imagining. According to Retina-X Studios’ extensive sexting study, most sexting is done on Tuesday mornings between 10 A.M and 12 P.M. Given that most people are probably at work in that time frame, this is unlikely to be because they are uncontrollably sexually aroused. Rather, this might be an indication that people turn to sexting when they need that extra boost of excitement. Or, confidence to make it through the often-difficult start of the week. That, or maybe they’re just bored. We can infer that this sexting goes on due to a conscious choice to do so, not out of desperation.
How old are they?
Take note, older people who prefer younger partners – sexting is an activity primarily dominated by the young.
According to the Pew Research Center, the most prolific sext senders are between 25 and 34 years of age (34% of them do it), followed by 18-24 year-olds at 15%, 34-44 year-olds at 11%, 45-55 year-olds at 5%, and people aged 55 and above at less than 1%. This means you’re over 35 times more likely to secure a partner from one of the two lowest age groups than one from the highest. A significantly appealing fact if age matters to you.
Am I too old to get into it?
If you’re afraid you might be too old to handle the technological aspects of sexting or really connect with the abstract eroticism at play, don’t be. In spite of its obvious trend toward youth, many older people who are willing to stay open-minded and learn a little have picked up sexting too. While 32% of those who sext started in their 20s, 22% started at age 40 or older. It may take a little more work for someone who isn’t as immersed in the online world, but sexting is more intuitive than it might seem at first glance. If you don’t let it scare you, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll build up your skills.
What’s the gender breakdown like?
It might surprise you, but a survey taken by over 5000 visitors of the popular website AshleyMadison.com found that women are more likely to sext than men; about a third of their female respondents did, as compared to only about half of the male ones. Then again, given women’s documented penchant for involving imagination in their sexual pleasure, maybe this isn’t so shocking. The cerebral nature of sexting is right up their alley.
Who are their partners?
Most people will only sext with a dedicated romantic or sexual partners (48% of women and 45% of men), but some do it with acquaintances (16% and 25% for men and women, respectively) or even strangers. This usually only takes place on platforms dedicated to sexting similar to this one. (a full 10% of people overall admit to doing this). This is a useful information to keep in mind. It indicates that the chances of scoring the partner you want are better if you don’t approach them with a cold proposition. Try to get to know them a little first, and you might boost their receptiveness when you bring the topic up later. Want to know more about how to sext with strangers, read our blogs.
How often do they sext?
One of the great things about sexting is that you have a lot of control over your level of involvement in it. Recent research has found that most people send 3 sexts per month, or even less. This is proof positive that sexting can be just a casual hobby. If that’s all you want from it, don’t be afraid to try it .
What do they send?
The most common form of sexting is SMS text-only, with 95% of people involved with sexting choosing to send their sexual thoughts and ideas. This might include typical roleplay scenarios, suggestions for in-person couples to try out later, or even just a simple sexually-inflected ‘thinking of you’-style note. If someone is going to send anything visual, though, they’re nearly as likely to send something truly racy as they are a tamer selfie! Yes, it is true, 36% of sexters report having sent what were deemed to be ‘explicit’ images, as opposed to 38% of sexters who report having sent a simple sexy selfie.
It would seem that gathering up the initial courage to send a picture at all is most of the battle!
What does sexting do to your psyche?
Sexting, even in its more extreme incarnations, is proven to be a very effective tool for personal growth. 91% of those who have sexted nude selfies say that it’s been a highly positive experience for them, helping them to gain sexual confidence and feel good about themselves, their bodies and their skills in bed. That’s the kind of boost that pretty much anyone could use, and which probably has multiplicative effects on the health of the person’s relationship and their overall happiness levels too.
Is all sexting strictly truthful?
A study from the journal Computers in Human Behaviour found that 45% of sexting women have stretched the truth a little during a sexting session (in contrast, only 24% of men say the same). Despite how it sounds, though, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Reported motivations for twisting the truth during sexting are generally good and unselfish. 67% of respondents who say they did this claim that they did so in order to provide a better experience for their partner. A little elaboration can go a long way, after all. You might even say that being able to manipulate reality a bit is one of the best parts of sexting. If you can enjoy a more intense sexual payoff without needing to work as hard to get it, why wouldn’t you want to?
Are my sexts private?
Like most things, sexting isn’t a risk-free activity, particularly when nude photographs are involved. It’s so exciting to receive these kinds of things that many people have trouble keeping them to themselves. A Match.com singles survey found that up to 23% of people who have received a sext will share that photo or message with at least one other person. Even worse, almost half of men who do this will show it to three or more other people. This stat drives home the importance of choosing a trusted and responsible partner or using a service that protects exchanges such as SnapChat and Arousr. Then again, maybe you’re into that sort of thing. If so, we won’t judge!
Sexting is just starting to become a real focus of statistical study, and the prospect of learning even more about its practices and demographics is quite enticing. Every bit of information we can glean from reports like this helps enthusiasts really get a handle on this industry. The more we know, the more fun we’ll all have.