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June 19, 2013

What Would You Do If You Caught Your Significant Other 'Sexting'?

By Jamie Epstein, TMCnet Web Editor

While a majority of us out there turn to text messages as a way to quickly get a message across to our spouse, family, friends and even colleagues, others leverage this communication channel in order to get a tad frisky with others in an increasingly popular trend known as “sexting.” Interestingly enough, this term has made its way into the Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia and is defined as “the sending of sexually explicit messages or images by cell phone.”

Have you ever engaged in “sexting?” Wait, don’t answer that, I’d rather not know. A better question is: Would you stay in a relationship if you caught your lover “sexting”? I know in my own case my boyfriend would find himself homeless with all of his items thrown on the street. Yet 5,000 men and women ages 18 and over who responded to a recent online survey from sex and relationship website Good in Bed, in conjunction with Men’s Health and Women’s Health magazines, are proving otherwise. In fact, according to findings, only one in five people would terminate a relationship if they uncovered “sexting” going on between their partner and someone else.

Another key finding unveiled is that a third of respondents say they wouldn’t even bother to confront their partner’s misbehavior if they were to uncover it. In regards to this fact, sex counselor Ian Kern, founder of Good in Bed and Men’s Health Contributor, said that “most people would forgive a sloppy ‘sexter,’” which is "consistent with the fact that a lot of people want to overlook infidelity or want to downplay or avoid partner confrontation. As much as we hear in the media about confronting infidelity by going to a couples’ therapist or debating whether to stay or cut bait, a lot of times people really will ignore it.”

Image via Technorati

With recent headlines being made by those in highly regarded positions like Anthony Weiner, a case which was actually coined “Weinergate,” the Democratic U.S. Congressman used Twitter (News - Alert) to send a pretty racy set of pictures to a 21-year-old woman from Seattle. After being caught and then finally admitting that he did send the various photos, Weiner also revealed that he never actually had met or had a relationship with this woman and resigned from his position on June 23, 2011.

This leads me to ponder the question: Do you consider the sending of images as cheating even if your lover never actually meets the recipient of the message in the flesh? According to Kristen Mark, Ph.D., survey director for Good in Bed and director of the Sexual Health Promotion Lab at the University of Kentucky, “Technology introduces a gray area because there's no physical contact. People may not be familiar with how to integrate it into relationships."In a separate study from just about a year ago, it was highlighted that teens who participate in “sexting” are found to be up to 82 percent more likely to having sex compared to the non-“sexting” teens, while nearly 28 percent openly admitted to having sent a naked picture of themselves via text or e-mail.

So, while text messaging has brought countless benefits to business and individuals alike, it is vital to think about what effect this channel is having not only on monogamous relationships but on how fast adolescents are growing up. As is clear in the case of Anthony Weiner, one publicly made “sext” can put an “X” on your chances for a successful career or long term partnership. 

Edited by Alisen Downey
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