It’s Only A Sext!
In last week’s post, I touched upon the seven different types of affair. One that is growing in increasing popularity is the social media, sexting or a ‘digital affair’. A study has found that 35% of Britons do not regard sexting as cheating. A law firm conducted this research as more and more people are citing sexting as a reason for divorce, but are you cheating on your partner if you send a flirty or sexual text to someone else?
Is Sexting The Same As Having An Affair?
Sexting is typically used to describe sending text messages or images of an explicit sexual nature to another person. Research shows that nearly 50% of people have used their device to share or receive a sext. It is more common in certain age groups with 70% of 18 to 24-year-olds sending and receiving sexts. Sexting can be fun, exciting and harmless when messaging your significant other or when you are single. However, what about people who are married and sexting someone who isn’t their spouse?
A study by Ashley Madison, a renowned dating website for infidelity, found that 60% of women and 50% of men had sent a sext to someone outside of their relationship. Furthermore, a study by Slater and Gordon found that a third of people who sent a sext to a third-party said it led to more compromising situations, such as meeting up and have sex behind their partner’s back.
The same study found that 49% of women and 34% of men consider sexting as cheating. With the increased use of technology in our day to day lives, the lines of what is acceptable and what is not, have become blurred. While cheating would have once been relatively black and white, the fact that people who sext may not be physically having sex behind their partner’s back makes the concept of cheating more tenuous. As the cultural norm changes, will the way we see infidelity shift too?
The ‘Virtual’ Orgasm – The Reasons Why We Sext
Research has shown that sending text messages, regardless of whether they are of a sexual nature, has the same effect as having an orgasm. This is because with an orgasm and with a text, the body releases a large amount of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the body that controls the brain’s pleasure.
Research has found dopamine has three main functions and that during an orgasm and the texting process, these three functions all work together at the same time which gives an even bigger dopamine hit. These three functions are;
- Controlling pleasure
- The seeking, desire and wanting behaviour
- The feeling of satisfaction.
Firstly, when we send a text or sext, we are putting ourselves in control of pleasure. The waiting for the reply and constant checking of our phones for a notification is the seeking behaviour. Finally, receiving a message provides us with the satisfaction.
When it comes to sexting, the dopamine is further stimulated from the unpredictability. When something happens that we didn’t expect, such as receiving a message or image we didn’t expect to see, we get yet another boost of dopamine.
Is Sexting The Same For Men And Women?
While it is not universal, it is generally believed that sexting is different for men and women. Men will typically sext to either eventually have sex with their sexting partner or for self-gratification material. However, women will generally want the recipient to have an interest in her as a person. Women will often sext for validation or to feel wanted.
However, it is also possible that both male and females are simply looking for no strings attached. Ultimately it’s about an excitement the current relationship doesn’t provide and the next hit of dopamine.
Is Sexting An Addiction?
As the rush of dopamine is so strong and full of pleasure, we want to experience the next hit. This quickly becomes an addiction or a ‘dopamine loop’. The more we receive, the more we want to receive and so forth. For some people, texting and sexting can become an addiction.
How To Stop The Sexting Addiction
If you feel that your sexting habit is becoming a problem or out of control, then there are ways to stop. If you are stuck in a dopamine loop and sexting someone who isn’t your partner and want to step back, then follow these three steps;
- Turn off your notifications
If receiving social media notifications or sexts gives you a dopamine hit, then the first thing to do is turn off the notifications. It is wise to cut distractions, perhaps putting an app to block checking specific social media sites or turning off your phone can help too.
- Understand why
It is helpful to understand why you are sexting. If you are sexting with someone who isn’t your partner, try to determine if this is because of being unfulfilled in your relationship, a feeling of boredom or perhaps an underlying issue with yourself that would be beneficial to address.
- Seek help, if you need to
If you need help to fix the root cause of relationship problems or combat an addiction, then hypnotherapy can help. One study found that hypnotherapy was 94% effective for treatment in addiction and control. My blended therapy sessions can help you to understand and overcome any issue and put the practical steps in place to provide you with a personal sense of power, clear focus and control.
Get started today with a free 15-minute consultation call me on 0207 971 7677 to book your first free consultation.
Dotinga, R. (2018). ‘Sexting’ Common for Those Who Cheat: Study. [online] US News. Available at: https://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2011/06/24/sexting-common-for-those-who-cheat-study [Accessed 2 Oct. 2018].
HuffPost UK. (2018). A Look Inside The Insidious And Adulterous World Of Sexting. [online] Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/02/sexting-cheating_n_6185288.html [Accessed 2 Oct. 2018].
LaFata, A. (2018). Texting Has The Same Effect As An Orgasm, That’s Why You’re Addicted. [online] Elite Daily. Available at: https://www.elitedaily.com/life/culture/receiving-text-message-like-orgasm/845037 [Accessed 2 Oct. 2018].
Psychology Today. (2018). Why We’re All Addicted to Texts, Twitter and Google. [online] Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/brain-wise/201209/why-were-all-addicted-texts-twitter-and-google [Accessed 2 Oct. 2018].
Scientific American. (2018). Sext much? If so, you’re not alone. [online] Available at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/sext-much-if-so-youre-not-alone/ [Accessed 2 Oct. 2018].
Tandfonline.com. (2018). [online] Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00029157.1984.10402575 [Accessed 2 Oct. 2018].
The Independent. (2018). Over a third of Britons don’t think ‘sexting’ someone else is cheating. [online] Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/love-sex/over-a-third-of-british-people-do-not-think-sexting-is-cheating-a7005326.html [Accessed 2 Oct. 2018].