Whether it's a subtle(ish) eggplant-peach emoji or straight-up full-frontal nudie shot, you've probably sent a sexy digital something to a love interest. But have you ever considered how many other people have seen those sexts? Just the guy you sent it to, right? Try at least three. That's the average number of people who see any given sext, according to a new study published in Sexual Health. And it's not just men showing off for their friends, us ladies are just as guilty.
Indiana State researchers surveyed 5,805 single adults from 21 to 75-years-old about their sexting habits. Nearly a quarter of those people had sent sexts and almost a third had received them. And those numbers might be low, considering that a previous study found that over half of American adults send erotic texts, with even higher numbers among younger people. But even though sexting is super common, nearly everyone said they'd feel uncomfortable if their sexts were shared with anyone other than the person they sent them to, citing serious concerns about the impact on their social lives, careers, and mental health.
Yet one in four recipients did exactly that. And they weren't just giving their best friend a quick peek at their screen. They confessed to forwarding the text to an average of three other people. If you logically extend this conclusion and assume that those three people are also likely sharing your sexy pics, it's easy to see how fast your privates become not so private.
There's not a whole lot you can do to prevent this, according to the researchers, but we suggest sticking to words over pics until you really get to know and trust each other. More: 5 Sexting Tips Every Woman Needs to Know