Let’s Talk about Sext

Renfrow and Rollo found that students in support of sexting say when sexting is between adults in a relationship and is consensual, there is no harm. In fact, some college students claim sexting benefits their relationships. Access to portable communication options and the ever-increasing opportunity for people to move from one college to another creates an increasing number of long-distance relationships. The college students in this study point out those individuals who are geographically separated from their partners can maintain intimacy and strengthen their connection by sexting.

A Permanent Record

One aspect of sexting that older teens and young adults may tend to overlook is the long-term impact of posting sexualized images. Once information is uploaded to the internet, it is there to stay. College acceptance committees, potential employers, even future mates or future children could go online and find images you posted during a more reckless time in your life.

Additionally, the Federal Child Pornography Statute is being used to incarcerate minors who post or exchange sexually suggestive photos of themselves. Of course, there is legitimate concern for minors who are growing up in our oversexualized world, but we are shocked when we read about minors going to jail for posting or resending nude or otherwise sexually suggestive photos of themselves. Sabbah-Mani reports concerned adults are speaking out in favor of letting the public schools incorporate sexting information into the already existing K–12 sex education curriculum.

She suggests community service or light jail time should replace the now-mandatory five-year sentence imposed on minors caught sexting.

No matter what any of us thinks about sexting, it is likely here to stay. As long as humans have existed, older adults have looked upon the behaviors of younger generations as risky and unacceptable. We want emerging adults to feel they can seek information about this topic from caring mentors at their university’s counseling department and at home, church or doctor’s office. Adults should inform themselves about this topic and give all young people the balanced counsel they seek.

About Pine Grove: Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services is an extension of Forrest General Hospital, located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Pine Grove’s world-renowned programs treat gender-specific chemical addiction, including a specialized track for co-occurring eating disorders. Additionally, Pine Grove offers a substance abuse healing program for adults age 55 and over. Other Pine Grove specialty programs include a dedicated professional’s treatment curriculum and a comprehensive evaluation center. Pine Grove also features a treatment program for patients with sexual addiction. Inpatient services, including an adult psychiatric unit and a child and adolescent psychiatric unit, and outpatient services are other components. Pine Grove was established in 1984 and has provided nationally and internationally recognized health care for more than 30 years. 

About the Gratitude Program:  Since 2004, Pine Grove has offered an internationally renowned program for sexual addiction, sexual anorexia and relationship compulsivity, as well as addiction interaction and trauma issues within this population. Pine Grove’s Gratitude Program features professional, caring and experienced staff members who guide patients through the most challenging and rewarding transitions of their lives. Gratitude offers hope, healing and unparalleled expertise from one of the most comprehensive treatment campuses in the country.

Written by Deborah Schiller

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