Why Sexting has got us Hooked

I have previously had the pleasure to fully engage in a Skype interview with Amy Hassinhoff (Author of the forthcoming book ‘Sexting Panic’ 2015 and previous thesis: ‘Sexting as Media Production’ 2013. An vague overview of our Skype interview, conducted in late June 2014, will soon be released, however I currently more interested in understanding just why Sexting has got us, as the consumers, hooked?

Sextng has become addictive. A choice of expression, according to Karaian 2012. Its no longer just men engaging in this activity but a high number of women (though this tends to be unrecorded as women are more worried about protecting their ‘chastity’). Men are also affected by sexting, which will also be another area I wish to explore and intrigues me.

We no longer have a singular concept of privacy norms, thanks to the amplification that technology brings. Is this the reason why we are so addictive to reading and viewing sexually explicit messages? Or is it the rush of excitement one would receive when sending or receiving a considered X-Rated message that keeps them hooked, like a mobile-drug? When an explicit image is leaked, specially when considering youngsters, adults tend to become quick to dismiss the sender as ‘risky’ ‘slut’ ‘attention-seeking’ because, to elders, they are breaking a norm that used to be considered a private and intimate issue, years previous.

However, the ‘selfie’ has increased the tendency to sext, in my opinion. This is because we no longer need to wait until our idol shares a tweet of their new clothing range or their new ‘sexy shoot’ – we are more than capable to ‘reenact’ these types of images ourselves – anywhere !
Selfies can be shared to multiple viewers in an instant – through apps such as ‘Snapchat’, which, I must admit, is addictive because it is so visual and you can change the filters of your image to the most flattering before sending. Which thus builds a sense of competition between friends – who is looking their best everyday, at anytime ?

Regarding the issue of ‘sexting’, on the other hand, presents to us benefits and problems. Privacy, as previously mentioned, is a common issue and seems to affect women more so than men. Though this may be because of the male ability to be a ‘mans man’ and do not want to appear weak if others’ were aware that they had been emotionally affected by a image of their selves publicly distributed. Despite privacy being an issue with the advancement of technology, there is still that option of controlling what you publish, as a digital author. Not being able to share private information/ images with a large group of people is unrealistic for the majority of us, in the modern age.

Nissenbaum, 2011 suggests that activities we engage in, in the modern day mirror pre existing consumer orientated and public relations, which relates back to my previous point of being able to capture ourselves as ‘celebrities’ in everyday life situations…

I wish to progress further and uncover if men are affected by sexting and if so are there any issues they would like to change to avoid being mentally affected – which I believe they can be more so mentally affected than women.

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