We find ourselves incessantly glued to our phones for a variety of reasons. According to statistics, 81% of Americans own a smartphone. This only shows how much technology is already a huge part of our lives. People use smartphones for different purposes such as work, emails, chatting with friends, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or maybe checking out the latest trendy app. But there’s one smartphone activity that has become quite popular: sexting.
It might surprise you to know that 74% of Americans confessed that they are most likely to engage in sexting. And that 67% of global respondents have engaged in sexting. While some people believe that there’s nothing wrong with sending consensual sexual messages, there are also people who admitted that they have been addicted to the act.
Sexting: Why people do it
It’s harmless. This is probably one of the most common excuses of people who engage or who have engaged in sexting before. Sexting is a term that refers to the act of sending sexual or explicit messages through text messaging. With instant messaging becoming more advanced, sexting has progressed to include images, emojis, videos, and voice recording.
Sexting is different from the old-fashioned “phone sex”. With phone sex, you have to give your phone number, arrange a mutual time to speak, and then speak to the person. If you live with other people, like in a dorm or if you have roommates, having phone sex may be inconvenient or difficult to arrange.
Sexting, on the other hand, is much easier. Because you’re sending messages, you can be inconspicuous. You can do it anytime and anywhere without really thinking about anybody around you finding out. You don’t even need to provide your personal phone number because there are now many apps that can facilitate instant messaging by just creating a profile. Unlike phone sex, sexting does not require you to commit to a particular time. Usually, people send sext messages at their availability and convenience.
People engage in sexting to gain sexual gratification. It’s similar to watching porn but instead of being a one-way sexual activity, the involvement of another person makes the act more exciting. Some people refer to sexting as personalized porn, especially if the other party is willing to send explicit images.
Sexting is often used as a convenient sexual outlet for partners who are in long-distance relationships. Of course, people also sext just for fun, to pass the time, or to find new partners. If you’re on an app like Tinder or Grindr, it’s even possible to message multiple people.
Is sexting addiction a real thing?
How do you know if you are already addicted to sexting? Some experts believe that sexting addiction is a form of sex addiction, which is a behavioral addiction. While you’re not physically engaging in sexual intercourse, the type of “high” or “euphoria” that you get from sexting can influence you to keep on doing the activity.
Just like porn addiction, you can tell if sexting is becoming an addiction if it is already interfering with your normal routine, affecting your personal relationships, or causing you to be unproductive. For example, would you rather engage in sexting for hours instead of studying for your final exams, even if you are aware that this will cause you to fail? Or maybe you are spending more time sexting with strangers rather than attending a get-together with your family. Another example is if you keep on sexting secretly behind the back of your spouse or real-life partner, even if it will risk your relationship.
Aside from the time spent on sexting, another sign of addiction is sexting with multiple partners simultaneously, without the intention of developing a personal relationship. There are instances when sexting is a natural progression when you meet a new person online. But if you look for people just to sext, without really caring who they are as long as you’re getting your “fix” then this could be a sign that you’re hooked.
How to cope with a sexting addiction
Sexting is a form of a behavioral addiction and it can be challenging to stop doing it because the act taps into the pleasure centers of your brain. Another factor why you can’t stop is because you’re stuck to your smartphone all day, and let’s face it, it’s not possible or even practical not to have a smartphone with you in these times.
So what can you do to control your sexting addiction? Here are some suggestions that could help if you really want to control the habit.
- Delete the dating and messaging apps on your phone.
- Sort out your contact list and delete you’re sexting partners
- Keep your phone away from your bedroom when you’re about to sleep
- To avoid sexting out of boredom, engage in physical activities like sports, exercise, or outdoor activities
- Find a wholesome pleasurable activity that you enjoy like watching your favorite TV program, eating out with friends, starting a new hobby, etc.
If your condition is related to substance abuse, contact Adult & Teen Challenge MidSouth today.