28 June 2018
Is sexting a good thing, because it’s sexually liberating, or a bad thing, because it’s objectifying?
Separate research groups have put forward both arguments. But according to a new study of college students in Hong Kong, it’s both.
It’s estimated that roughly half of US college students (on which most research in this area has been done) send nude or sexually provocative images by phone or the internet. In the new study, reported in the Journal of Sex Research, the proportion was lower (13.6 per cent), perhaps because Chinese culture has a lower level of sexual permissiveness, but sexting was still relatively common, with almost one in five men and one in ten women saying they do it.
As the authors Mario Liong at Ritsumeikan University in Japan and Grand H.L. Cheng at the Duke-National University of Singapore, point out, some researchers have argued that sexting promotes objectification – the presentation of the body as an object to be judged, generally by prevailing cultural standards.