Sex-texting – A walk through

  • By Sahana Rajan

Do you feel that you have fallen into the habit of sending sexually explicit messages to someone? Sexting addiction has entered the realm of medicines recently, with sufficient evidence of increasing number of sex-text addiction cases. This article will walk you through the mechanism of sexting addiction, and help you deal with it.

Sexting is the act of compulsively sending messages, which contain sexually explicit content. This could include images, videos or simple texts. Primarily found among young adults, medical studies have shown that those who text and use message plans are more likely to be prone to sexting than others.

The term 'sexting' was introduced in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary for the first time, in August 2012. A 2008 survey done by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy revealed that over 20% of teens (aged 13 to 20) and 31% of young adults (aged 20 to 26) had sent sexually explicit content of themselves over electronic devices.

Reasons for the addiction: The primary reason for this addiction is the lack of avenues where one can express and discuss their sexual urges, in a non-erotic way. Due to the absence of such opportunities, teenagers tend to resort to pornography, and to quenching their sexual urges through messaging, or taking videos and sending messages. This gives them what has been called- a 'kick' or 'turns me on'. The far-fetched reach of technology has also contributed to making it easier to stimulate, and continue this addiction. Another reason for a person to sext continually is peer pressure.

Symptoms of addiction: You will feel the irresistible need to keep sending sexually-expressive messages to people. It might range from panic, to anxiety attacks accompanied by high blood pressure, trembling, and sweating.

Diagnosis of the addiction: Addiction is evaluated on basis of in-depth psychiatric interviews and examination. Series of interviews with your psychologist will give her an idea of why and how your addiction perpetuated, and the ways in which it can be cured.

Treatment of the addiction: The first step towards treatment of your addiction is to schedule an appointment with a psychologist. Make sure you choose a psychologist who has adequate experience in dealing with addiction cases. While sexual urges are a natural occurrence, it is important that schools have a space where teenagers can express and discuss tendencies openly. You might go through psychotherapy sessions and can also join self-help groups dealing with the same problems. Sometimes, people are also prescribed antidepressants to reduce the impact of withdrawal from sexting.

Tips: If you have sent someone a sex-message, which you wish you hadn't, then here are some ways in which you can control the damage it might do. Talk to the recipient, and request them to delete it. If your request is refused, then approach your school counsellor, and talk about it. In case you find your objectionable photos online, or on social networking sites, report them for removal. Also, tell your friends to let you know in case they find any such content. In the situation where the sexually explicit material is spreading online, you should tell your parents, lest they come to know from any other sources. Lastly, once all of it is over, remember that people err, and it was simply a foolish mistake you would not commit again. Do not lose respect for yourself, and stay around people who understand your condition.