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As a result of sexting being a relatively recent practice, ethics are still being established by both those who engage in it and those who create legislation based on this concept.
Whether sexting is seen as a positive or negative experience typically rests on the basis of whether or not consent was given to share the images.
In a 2013 study conducted by Drouin et al., it was found that sexting is also associated with attachment styles, as those with attachment avoidance are more likely to engage in sexting behaviours (just as these individuals are also more likely to engage in casual sex).As seen in Table 1 of their publication, Mitchell et al.found that among the quarter of their sample that were ages 10–12, [less than] 0.6% 'appeared in, created, or received a nude or nearly nude image' while among those age 15–17, 15% of participants reported having done so.According to Albury and Crawford, sexting was not only an activity occurring in the context of flirtation or sexual relationships, but also between friends, as a joke or during a moment of bonding.” Reportedly, hedonism played a role in motivating sexting, and the length of relationship was negatively correlated with sexting behaviors.The study had a small sample size, so more research needs to be done surrounding sexting and motivation, but it is clear that sexting is a phenomenon that is not constrained to simply unattached individuals looking for fun; it is used by those in intimate relationships to increase feelings of intimacy and closeness one's partner.
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Thus, instead of increasing intimacy in these types of relationships, sexting may act as a buffer for physical intimacy.