Shockingly, sexters aren't always wearing or doing
what they say they are, according to the new study.
"This already exists in face-to-face interactions, like with orgasms
it's common," lead author Michelle Drouin told Reuters Health. "I
expected people would also be 'faking it' in sexts."
Drouin worked on the study at Indiana University - Purdue University
in Fort Wayne.
She and her coauthors gave 155 college students who had been in at
least one committed relationship an anonymous online survey about
their sexting histories.
The surveys included questions about lying to committed relationship
partners via text about what they were wearing (or not wearing) and
what they were doing. There were also questions about the
participants' attitudes toward relationships and commitment.
Of those who had ever sent a sext, 48 percent had lied, according to
the results published in Computers in Human Behavior.
At the end of the survey, an optional fill-in-the-blank section let
the students explain why they lied: for themselves, for others or
Two-thirds said they lied to serve their partner and one-third lied
to serve themselves.
About twice as many women as men had deceptively sexted, which is
comparable to the research on lying during sex itself, Drouin said.
"Women are more likely to fake orgasm than men, for obvious reasons,
but more likely to pretend enthusiasm as well," she said. "Women lie
to serve other people more than men (do)."
We know that people can fake orgasms, or general enthusiasm, in
face-to-face interactions, but texting allows people to fake entire
sex, which is new, she said.
"The fact that deception can occur so easily over text, I think it
is a problem," Drouin said. "Especially because this generation uses
it for so much."
Based on the relationship attitude
questions, people who were more anxious about relationships or who
tried to avoid closeness were more likely to have lied in sexts than
those who were more secure.
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"Sexting is a way to avoid intimacy," Rob Weisskirch,
professor of human development at California State University
Monterey Bay in Seaside, said. He was not involved in the new study.
"These findings reinforce that sexting isn't' a behavior that people
who want healthy relationships are going to engage in," Weisskirch
told Reuters Health.
It's not the lying, but the frequency of the lying, that is
surprising, he said.
"One would think that by the time you're engaging in sexting, there
would be some relationship established and you would want to be
truthful with your partner," he said.
But sexting might in fact be a tool for people who don't want to
commit to relationships, he said.
"People could be lying about this a lot," Drouin said.
"People just need to not think that every time they want to sext,
their partners always want to," Drouin said. "They may just be doing
it to make someone else happy."
Computers in Human Behavior, online April 3, 2014.
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