If you think that nude photo you've sent your special someone is for her eyes only, you've got it all wrong.
A team of researchers from Indiana University conducted a study on "sexting" and polled more than 5,800 singles aged 21 to 75. While nearly 75 percent were uncomfortable with the idea of unauthorized "sext" sharing, the remaining 25 confessed to sharing such messages with at least three friends.
Other findings also indicate that majority of sexting happens between couples, and 66 percent of men and 78 percent of women admit that they do it "to flirt with their relationship partner."
Research also shows that sexting is more prominent among the younger population—where men are 1.5 times more likely to send a sext than women.
"For some, sexting may lead to positive outcomes such as increased partner intimacy and satisfaction. For others, it may lead to negative outcomes such as lowered self-esteem or damage to reputation," says Justin Garcia, lead researcher of the study and scientist at the Kinsey Institute.
In an interview with Science Daily, Garcia suggests that although sexting is becoming more mainstream, people still don't fully understand the risks. "The real risk is not the sending of sexual messages and images per se, but rather the nonconsensual distribution of those materials to other parties. As sexting becomes more common and normative, we're seeing a contemporary struggle as men and women attempt to reconcile digital eroticism with real-world consequences."
"It raises the question that if someone sends something to you with the presumption that it's private and then you share it with others—which, when it comes to sexting, nearly one out of every four single Americans are doing, what do we want to consider that type of violation? Is it just bad taste? Is it criminal?" he asks.
So next time you think of sharing that dick pic with your girl, make sure you wouldn't mind three of her pals seeing your schlong as well.