Sexting during social isolation: Predicting sexting-related privacy management during the COVID-19 pandemic

Abstract

During the global COVID-19 pandemic, many people were physically separated from their romantic or sexual partners and added sexting to their sexual repertoire. Sexting involves the exchange of sensitive data and thus necessitates personal and interpersonal privacy management strategies such as information control and privacy boundary communication. This study investigates the psychological predictors of sexting-related privacy management. In an online survey with 494 young adults, we tested demographic, psychological, and behavioral correlates of sexting-related privacy management. Negative binomial regressions revealed that age, gender, and asynchronous sexting frequency positively predicted sexting-related privacy management. COVID-19-related social isolation moderated the positive effect of asynchronous sexting frequency: Asynchronous sexting frequency had a positive effect on sexting-related privacy management only in individuals with low or mean COVID-19-related social isolation. For those who perceived high COVID-19-related social isolation, asynchronous sexting frequency had no positive effect. This suggests that in a context of social isolation, even frequent sexters are willing to sacrifice their privacy. Relationship status, privacy concerns, rejection sensitivity, and synchronous sexting frequency were not related to sexting-related privacy management. The results highlight the various effects of COVID-19-related social isolation.

Bibliographic citation

Thomas, M. F., Binder, A., & Matthes, J. (2021). Sexting during social isolation: Predicting sexting-related privacy management during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 15(3), Article 3. doi:https://doi.org/10.5817/CP2021-3-3

Keywords

Sexting; privacy management; sexual privacy; COVID-19; social isolation; Communication Privacy Management theory

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