Can Sexting Improve Relationship Satisfaction?

Two people texting while sitting next to each otherA new study finds more than 80% of adults admit to sending or receiving sexually explicit text messages—a practice commonly known as sexting—and for many couples, it may increase relationship satisfaction.

Stories of sexting gone wrong—including leaked or altered photos—usually dominate news coverage of the practice. When private photos or videos go public, many people have little empathy for an activity that some find taboo. Some think a loss of privacy is a predictable outcome of sending or receiving sexually explicit text messages. However, the findings presented at the American Psychological Association’s 123rd annual convention indicate that sexting is common, especially among couples.

Sexting and the Effect on Satisfaction

To explore sexting behaviors, researchers from Drexel University in Philadelphia gave 870 Americans a 20-minute online survey. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 82 with a median age of 35. More than 80% of participants were white, and nearly 6 in 10 were women. All were heterosexual. Forty percent were currently married, while an additional 40% had never been married. Twenty-six percent were currently single. Researchers asked participants about their sexting habits, as well as their relationship and sexual satisfaction.

Eighty-eight percent of participants said they had sexted at least once, and 82% had sexted in the last year. Seventy-five percent reported sexting with a committed romantic partner, while 43% said they sexted with casual partners.

Both men and women who engaged in frequent sexting also reported higher levels of sexual satisfaction. However, for couples who reported to be in “very committed” relationships, sexting seemed to make no difference in sexual satisfaction. Sexting also had little effect on sexual satisfaction for single respondents.

Researchers also uncovered some differences between men and women. Men were more likely than women to describe sexting as an enjoyable and expected part of a relationship. On average, women were slightly more likely to prefer sending sexts to receiving them.

Not All Sexting Is Equal

Revenge porn websites, unwanted sexts from online strangers, and similar occurrences often raise concerns about the potential danger of sexting. The research team found sexting was not always positive. While 60% of respondents said they only sexted when they wanted to, 40% said they sometimes sexted when they did not want to.


  1. Mozes, A. (2015, August 10). Many U.S. adults sext, and it may even help some relationships. Retrieved from

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  • Janna

    August 12th, 2015 at 4:19 PM

    My husband and I, we do a little frisky texting every now and then and it has been a great boost to our relationship! Just be careful about what you out out there and know who you are sending it to!

  • Anthony

    August 12th, 2015 at 6:33 PM

    It’s a pretty harmless thing when carried out by two consenting adults, not so cute when your teenage daughter is sending inappropriate texts and pictures to guys who will then turn around and plaster them on social media.

  • Lane

    August 13th, 2015 at 4:18 PM

    Who is gonna do this just because they think that this is what, expected of them or something ?

    No thanks

  • sherwood

    August 14th, 2015 at 9:53 AM

    I don’t really know of anyone who could actually be opposed to a little flirting and fun on the phone, especially if the two ADULTS are consenting and they are aware that this is information that is only meant to be shared with one another, no one else

  • Sabrina

    August 14th, 2015 at 6:37 PM

    My husband and I both do a lot of travel with our jobs, and there are times that weeks seriously go by without us being together. Thank goodness we don’t have kids yet or it would just be a nightmare. But this is the one thing that we can do to be playful and meet each others needs even when we can’t always be at home together. It might not work for some people but for our relationship, it helps to keep us together even when we can’t really be together.

  • cal

    August 15th, 2015 at 11:41 AM

    whatever floats your boat

  • Rayne

    August 16th, 2015 at 1:11 PM

    I guess that for the most part I would be all for this, except when unrealistic expectations are then nurtured and one part of the relationship or another becomes dissatisfied if what goes on in the texts isn’t the reality of their life in the bedroom. I just don’t want it to set anyone up for promises that they are not ready to keep or unwilling to go through with. Those two things could actually bring a lot of dissatisfaction to the table.

  • Belinda

    August 17th, 2015 at 9:43 AM

    Do you really think that partners in a relationship where there is already love and trust need this too?

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