Sexting scripts in adolescent relationships: Is sexting becoming the norm? (2018)

Symons, Katrien, Koen Ponnet, Michel Walrave, and Wannes Heirman.

New Media & Society (2018): 1461444818761869.


This study offers empirical insight into adolescents’ norms around sexting. Informed by sexual scripting theory, we investigated the extent to which young people perceive sexting as being a likely behavior in the context of a romantic relationship (the “sexting script”). A distinction is made between what adolescents find likely among same-aged peers (the general sexting script) versus what they find likely in their personal situation (the personal sexting script). Data were gathered through questionnaires from adolescents aged 13–18 years (N = 357, 45% male). The results show that sexting scripts are gendered and that adolescents perceive sexting as being more likely to occur among peers than in their personal situation. The personal sexting script is related to the general sexting script, sexual experiences, and the use of online pornography. The results of the study are useful for the design of sexting education and sensitization messages toward youth.

Keywords Adolescence, sexting, sexual behavior, sexual scripts


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