A Sext-ual Revolution: IUSB students polled on nude selfie participation

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Do you know who’s looking at your photo texts? PHOTO/KENDALL ASBELL
Do you know who’s looking at your photo texts? PHOTO/KENDALL ASBELL

Staff Writer

Since the sexual revolution in the 1960s, young people have invariably found ways to express their sexuality. Throughout the intervening decades, technology has often served as a vehicle to achieve this freedom.

There is no doubt that the Internet—with ready access at our fingertips—has opened up a whole new world with regards to sexual expression. Explicit, high definition selfies and videos can be sent in flash. This major new trend, which has become increasingly more prevalent in just the last five years, is called sexting.

Many people reflexively scoff at that word. As a relatively new medium for sexual expression, older adults might be weary of this new technology. But what if I told you that sexting among adults is actually quite common? According to a study conducted at Drexel University in 2014, 88 percent of adults surveyed admitted to sexting in their lifetime.

Research suggests (according to Indiana University and The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor) that sexting, within the context of a romantic relationship, is actually quite normal and healthy. The naughtiness of it adds a kind of exciting flare to the relationship.

To establish just how prevalent sexting is at IUSB, I conducted a sample survey of 223 students: 120 women and 100 men, and three participants who did not indicate their gender. A 223-student sample size put the study at a 99 percent accuracy rating with a margin of error of just 8.5 percent. Interestingly enough, the final question that I posed to students in my survey was whether he or she lied in filling out the previous answers. Surprisingly, 8 percent admitted that they had (82 percent of them being women).

Of the remaining truthful students, 63 percent admitted to sending a sexual picture of some sort to another person. Surprisingly both women and men had similar scores between 60 and 65 percent, respectively.

With regard to sexual selfies sourced from men, perhaps the most commonly known one is the dick pic.

The name pretty much says it all, but if you need clarification, a dick pic is a picture that focuses on the male genitalia, and not much else.

The dick pic inquiry yielded the most interesting results of this poll. Here, 68 percent of women reported that they had at one point or another received a dick pic message. Which is interesting because only 36 percent of men admitted to ever having sent one. This stark contrast in results is notable, but could have a plausible explanation.

A study done at the Kinsey Institute at IU reports that approximately 21 percent of people shared their received sext messages with an average of three or more other people. Although 21 percent is not a particularly high number, it can help explain the variance in results. Or there is always a possibility that the same guys are just sending different girls the same dick pic messages.

As the results of my study indicated, sexting is a fairly common phenomenon. This reality brings us to a corollary question about this new trend: Is it possible to keep sexting consensual?

How do you know where your pictures will end up years after their original send off? Perhaps you sent a drunken sext to a fling whose name now escapes you. Only to later find yourself filled with a sense of embarrassment, wishing that there was some way to get that message back.

Indeed, a vengeful person could publicly share your photo, perhaps posting it on a public online forum like reddit.com. Or maybe that picture will simply circulate among a small group of friends. Either way, the damage has been done and you’re likely embarrassed.

Yet still, of the 61 percent of women who had sent explicit pictures, 76 percent of them expressed concern about who still had or could acquire these pictures. This was a strikingly different result compared to the only 25 percent of men that expressed a similar concern.

Interestingly, 80 percent of the men who were concerned about where their picture could end up were men who had sent dick pics.

But what about the other 75 percent of men who were not concerned? According to the results of the survey, roughly half of these men still sent pictures with full nudity. The other half only sent sexually suggestive yet clothed pictures. This means that only one out of every four men surveyed were concerned about their explicit pictures being circulated. But research seems to indicate that they should perhaps worry more, since other studies cited show 21 percent of adults admitted to sharing their received nude pictures.

Sexting pictures are clearly popular phenomena among students at IUSB. Yet it remains shrouded in potential embarrassment and negativity. When I went around to ask people to fill out this survey, many respondents giggled or asked confusedly what it was for. While students filled out their surveys many of the women walked away and completed them in private. Many of the men, on the other hand, filled theirs out in clusters and audibly read each other’s answers out loud.

Sexting has become a normal part of our culture. And while it is easy to laugh at someone who may be embarrassed by sending a picture sext message that gets out, remember how easy it is for you to end up in a similar predicament. Most, if not all, IUSB students want to be free to express themselves. At a time when many of us are maturing sexually, sexting is becoming a common reality. Just remember, whether you send or receive a sext message, or if one of your sexts were to ever get out, remember, you are certainly not alone.

-Students Enrolled: 7574
-Students Surveyed: 223
-Every one student in this survey represents 34 students at IUSB
-99 percent confidence level
-8.5 margin of error
-Of the 223 students eight percent admitted to lying on survey.
-80 percent of the people lying were women.
-63 percent of all students at IUSB have sent a sexually charged picture message
-61 percent of all females
-74 percent of these pictures involved nudity
-65 percent of all males
75 percent of these pictures included the male’s penis
-68 percent of females reported yes to receiving a dick pic
-36 percent of males reported yes to having sent dick pics
-46 percent of these men admitted to still sending a sexual picture
-57 percent of students worry that the wrong person will see their pictures.
-76 percent of all females
-25 percent of all males
-80 percent of these men have sent dick pics.

Picture caption: Do you know who’s looking at your photo texts? PHOTO/KENDALL ASBELL

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