By Crystal Becerril > Senior > English and Journalism > Boston University; Photo by AR > Sophomore > Graphic Design > UMBC
By now everyone has heard of so-called “sexting,” featured on MTV’s “thin line” commercials and said to both intensify a relationship and destroy someone’s reputation. In fact, you’ve probably received a “sext” yourself.
But what do people get out of sexting besides perhaps a quick fix or sneak-peek?
Benjamin Karney, a social psychology professor at UCLA accredited sexting to human nature; “There has never been a communication technology ever in the history of humankind that hasn’t been used for flirting. Sex motivates early adoption of technology,” he said. “When people learned to write, they wrote flirtatious messages.”
Professor Karney said that we are forced into a realm of speculation about this matter since there is not much research on sexting, but that much of the motivation behind it seems to be in “the desire to connect with someone sexually.”
Heather Batson, a student at Villanova University, said that sexting serves the same purpose as phone sex. “If you haven't seen your significant other in a while, it's nice to keep things heated by talking a little dirty,” she said.
It seems that the innate affection between partners, or potential ones, leaves many willing to drop suggestive hints and intensify the growing chemistry.
Batson added that “once you start sending dirty pictures with your phone, that's when things can get out of control,” and as many know, a trail once left behind to entice a partner into bed can quickly turn into an open path for all eyes.
Professor Karney explained that there is really nothing new here. He compared sexting to writing erotic poetry and slipping it under someone’s door—both actions lead to potentially embarrassing situations. He said that text messages are just an additional form of communication, not necessarily replacing old ways of flirting.
So why take the risk?
“People don’t think that relationships are likely to change,” said Karney. “We want to give ourselves completely to somebody but that’s why we are often surprised when things go bad,” he added.
In relationships, it’s almost too easy to overlook the long-term effect of things; the desire to share intimate information often overtakes our evaluation of consequences. However, it is important to remember that everything today can be tracked – and whether you choose to share messages or pictures with someone, there is no guarantee that a certain ghost of relationship-past won’t come back to haunt you later on.