Sexting can’t substitute physical, face-to-face sexual relationships

Last Updated: Jun 21, 2011, 16:31 PM IST

Washington: The way people get involved in and develop sexual relationships with others has changed dramatically over the last 20 years due to the increased availability of devices such as computers, video cams and cell phones.

But at the end of the day there is no substitute for physical, face-to-face contact in our sexual relationships, according to a new study.

Diane Kholos Wysocki from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and Cheryl Childers from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, investigated the behaviors of infidelity on the Internet and sexting - sending sexually explicit text messages and photographs via email or cell phone.

Sexting is a fairly new phenomenon, where adults send their nude photographs and sexually explicit text messages to another adult to turn them on and increase the likelihood of a sexual relationship.

At the same time, the Internet has made the act of infidelity much easier.

In order to explore both sexting and infidelity and understand how people use the internet to find sexual partners, Wysocki and Childers placed a survey on a website aimed at married people looking for sexual partners outside their marriage (AshleyMadison.com).

A total of 5,187 adults answered questions about Internet use, sexual behaviors, and feelings about sexual behaviours on the Internet.

In particular, Wysocki and Childers found that respondents were more interested in finding real-life partners, both for dating and for sexual encounters, than online-only partners.

“While social networking sites are increasingly being used for social contact, people continue to be more interested in real-life partners, rather than online partners. It seems that, at some point in a relationship, we need the physical, face-to-face contact. Part of the reason for this may be that, ultimately, humans are social creatures,” the researchers concluded.

Their findings were published online in Springer’s journal, Sexuality and Culture.

ANI