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Introduction

Sexting is a term that originated in the media by collapsing the terms sex and texting.  It is generally defined as the digital recording of nude or sexually suggestive or explicit images and their distribution by mobile phone messaging or through social networking platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat (Lee et al. 2015).  In this study, the term sexting also extends to the sending and receiving of sexually suggestive texts.

Legislators, policymakers and the media have noted and responded to the risks associated with sexting including child pornography, non-consensual use of images and coercion.  However, despite this, in a recent Australian study of young people the majority of sexting was found to occur without negative consequences and within existing relationships. It also suggests that while a significant number of young people engage in consensual sexting, only a small number do so frequently.

In March 2017, Relationships Australia’s monthly online survey asked visitors to our website to report on their experiences of sexting.  The study sought to determine whether the trends and potential risks of sexting identified in previous research were confirmed for an older cohort of men and women accessing the Relationships Australia website.

Relationships Australia State and Territory websites