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Results

More than 1750 people responded to Relationships Australia’s online survey in March 2017.  Three-quarters (75%) of survey respondents identified as female, with more females than males responding in every age group (figure 1).  Eighty-five per cent of survey respondents were aged between 20 to 59 years, while more than one-third (37%) of respondents comprised women aged between 30 to 49 years (inclusive).

As for previous surveys, the demographic profile of survey respondents remains consistent with our experience of the groups of people that are accessing the Relationships Australia website.

A substantial majority of survey respondents reported that they were married (35%) or in a long-term relationship (28%).  Fewer than one-quarter of respondents reported that they were not in a relationship (23%) and a small number of people reported that they were in a casual relationship (4%) or had just started seeing someone (4%).

More than half of women (54%) and fewer than half of men (45%) reported that they had sent a sexually suggestive message, picture or video of themselves (figure 2).

The main reason cited by both men and women for sending a sexually suggestive message, picture or video of themselves was to be fun or flirty (men 65%, women 58%), consistent with previous studies examining sexting behaviour.  The second most common reason reported by men for sexting was because they had received one, while women were more likely to report that they had sexted as a ‘sexy present’.  Women were more likely than men to report that they had sexted in the past to get or keep a person’s attention (men 6%, women 7%) or because they were pressured to send it (men 1%, women 6%).

Thirty per cent of women and twenty-six per cent of men reported having received a sexually suggestive message, picture or video from one person in the last three years (Figure 4).  Fewer than one-fifth of survey respondents reported receiving a ‘sext’ from two to five people while just under half of survey respondents reported they had not received a sexually suggestive message, picture or video in the past three years.

Men and women who were in a long term relationship were more likely to report (39%) that they had sent a sexually suggestive message, picture or video than married people (27%).  Men and women in a casual relationship or who had just started seeing someone were more likely report they had sent a sexually suggestive message, picture or video than they had not sent a sexually suggestive message, picture or video (Figure 5)

Relationships Australia State and Territory websites