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A top psychiatrist reveals the many mental health implications of sexting

Updated on:29 April 2021, 13:58pm IST
Beware of what you are doing as non-consensual sexting can land you in jail.
Nikita Bhardwaj
Consensual sexting is always fun. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Have you ever tried sexting your partner? For those of you who are new to this term, we would like to tell you that sexting is basically sending, receiving, and forwarding sexually explicit content to your partner to sizzle and spice things up. This helps in breaking the ice and helps you get more intimate with your partner.

Sexting can help you feel aroused and make you feel better about yourself as well. However, be utterly careful and conscious while sending out these texts or photographs because of the many misgivings of the digital space. In short, while sexting may be fun, it can have many downsides as well.

Why should you indulge in sexting?

According to Dr Rahul Khemani, a renowned psychiatrist at Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai, sexting can definitely be a way to improve the sex life for couples who have been together for longer periods of time. Sexting opens up a more honest dialogue about sex life and can add to the excitement. In order for it to be effective, it has to be a two-way street though as sexting essentially comprises a vulnerable conversation, where partners share their fantasies which they are otherwise too embarrassed to verbalize. Sexting is also a source of comfort and excitement for couples in long distance relationships. 

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The key however is to build a solid foundation for the relationship before dabbling with such intimate ways to connect.  

Dr Khemani warned about the dark side of sexting as well

According to a study published in The Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied, sexting could also lead to depression.

Dr Khemani suggests that sexting is a very tricky terrain as the digital world is full of vulnerabilities which could be leveraged by malicious minded people, leading to jeopardizing the privacy and modesty of the people sexting with each other. He suggests that you have to be absolutely certain and sure about the person with whom you are sexting and that person should be trustworthy and the conversation/images etc. shared should stay between the two of you only. 

“There is no denying that there is a huge possibility of sexting going wrong. The online dating apps and social media has made flirting accessible and at your fingertips. Sexts might get sent to the wrong person by accident in the heat of the moment, shared with someone who proves to not be trustworthy later on, or they may be shared with friends or posted online to try to hurt or embarrass someone. When sexts are forwarded without consent it can definitely mess up with your mental health,” said Dr Khemani.

He added, “The person may experience betrayal, embarrassment, shame, shock, a sense of loss of power or control, fear and anger. It becomes imperative to be aware of these consequences and consider professional help.”

Sexting isn’t bad but you have to careful. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The negative impacts of sexting can add negative psychological baggage on the person, leading to social isolation, loneliness, feeling of constantly being judged, anxiety and depression. Some people may also develop bipolar disorder(s) to adjust with the world in the aftermath of a sexting case gone wrong. 

While sexting has become a common and popular way to connect intimately, it should be your decision to engage in it. Sexting should never be forced upon anyone and a certain degree of comfort has to be there before you take the plunge and hit the ‘send’ button. 

The bottom line is that it might be a fun thing to drop a sext but if gone wrong then it can be a real trouble maker. So, be responsible if you are indulging in it and be careful about its impact on your mental health.

Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.