Indiana University Study Finds Unsolicited Sexting Has Increased During the Pandemic

A new study led by Alexandra S. Marcotte, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, finds that mandatory stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant increase in “sexting” or the sending of sexually explicit photographs by text message.

A survey of more than 2,000 women found that nearly half of all women had received a sexting message since the onset of the pandemic. Among those who had ever received nude photos, nearly all – 91 percent – had received an unsolicited image. Some 70 percent of women reported predominantly negative responses to these unsolicited nude images, commonly feeling “grossed out” and “disrespected.” Only 16 percent of women in the study reported a positive response.

“Given that dating is happening online more than ever before, particularly in the time of COVID, it is vital to understand how sexual communication and consent happen on digital platforms,” said Dr. Marcotte.

Dr. Marcotte is a graduate of Vanderbilt Unversity in Nashville. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in gender studies from Indiana University.

The full study, “Women’s and Men’s Reactions to Receiving Unsolicited Genital Images From Men,” was published on the website of the Journal of Sex Research. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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