Couples in long distance relationships or those who have busy schedules may turn to mobile technology to help with intimacy. A snapshot of a racy silhouette or a proactive exchange of words has become increasingly common among young couples, becoming a new form of sexual expression. But it's not always good for both partners; according to a recent study, couples in committed relationships frequently “requisext" — send X-rated messages and intimate pictures unwillingly — to please their partner or to avoid an altercation.

Sexting has come a long way from the era of “A/S/L?” messages that were typically seen in chatrooms during the nineties. The increased availability and flexibility of smartphones and tablets has led to a much more mainstream acceptance of raunchy texts. However, that doesn't mean it's not still risky social behavior. Scientific American notes the positive expectations associated with the outcome in sexting may prompt an individual to overlook the possible consequences in favor of doing something that will make the sender feel excited and sexy. The powerful feelings felt by the individual may minimize the stigma surrounding sexting, which includes feelings of shame and embarrassment — at least at first. Later on, negative feelings might emerge.

One problem that researchers have found is a surprisingly high rate of men and women engaging in requisexting has steadily increased. In a study, which will be published this coming February in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, researchers sought to examine the extent to which a group of college students from Indiana University-Purdue University for Wayne had consented to unwanted sexting in committed relationships and what motivations that are affiliated with this behavior. One hundred and fifty five undergraduate students — 62 men and 93 women — who were or had been in committed relationships were recruited to be polled on their sexting habits.

About half —55 percent — of the female respondents reported previously engaging in unwanted sexting, while 48 percent of men had done the same. These survey respondents were then asked what made them feel the need to requisext. The participants had to rate ten possible motivations for unwanted sexting ranging from “I was bored” to “I was taking drugs.” Most sexters admitted to engaging in unwanted sexting because they sought to flirt, engage in foreplay, satisfy a partner’s need, or foster intimacy in their relationship. Those that were insecure in their relationships reported engaging in requisexting because they feared abandonment or alienation from their partners. “Digital communication could be especially challenging,” for insecure lovers who might increase sexting in an attempt to make distant lovers seem closer, the researchers said.

This type of sexual co-victimization is not new. In fact, the findings of this study reflect data in a 1994 report which found 55 percent of women and 35 percent of men had at some point engaged in so-called "compliant sexual activity," The Huffington Post reports. But all that means is that young couples may be engaging in new ways to hurt themselves while in an intimate relationship. The researchers are currently developing a follow-up study that will include commonly-used measures of physical abuse and sexual coercion to explore these relationships more directly.

Source: Drouin M and Tobin E. Unwanted but consensual sexting among young adults: Relations with attachment and sexual motivations. Computers in Human Behavior. 2013.