UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Sexting among British adults: a qualitative analysis of sexting as emotion work governed by ‘feeling rules’

Macdowall, Wendy G; Reid, David S; Lewis, Ruth; Bosó Pérez, Raquel; Mitchell, Kirstin R; Maxwell, Karen J; Smith, Clarissa; ... Natsal-4 Team, .; + view all (2023) Sexting among British adults: a qualitative analysis of sexting as emotion work governed by ‘feeling rules’. Culture, Health & Sexuality , 25 (5) pp. 617-632. 10.1080/13691058.2022.2080866. Green open access

[thumbnail of Macdowall_Sexting among British adults_a qualitative anysis of sexting as emotion work governed by feeling rules_2022.pdf]
Preview
Text
Macdowall_Sexting among British adults_a qualitative anysis of sexting as emotion work governed by feeling rules_2022.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (166kB) | Preview

Abstract

Sexting has generated considerable public and professional interest with concerns centring on young people, and potential harms to mental and sexual health. Little research thus far has explored the practice among adults and none has focused on the cultural norms relating to the emotional experience of sexting across different ages and genders. We conducted 40 semi-structured interviews with a diverse sample of adults aged 18-59 years in Britain on the role of digital technologies in participants' sexual lives. In this paper, we draw on the accounts of 34 people with experience of sexting. We identified three main themes in participants' accounts related to the emotional aspects of sexting: (1) trust, (2) desire/intimacy and (3) shame. Under each theme, we identified motivations, 'feeling rules', and examples of 'emotion work' relating to the self, the other and the dyad. We conclude that there are shared cultural norms that constitute what appropriate sexting should feel like. Interventions aiming to minimise harms arising from sexting need to build on commonly held cultural conventions regarding the 'rules of the game' concerning feelings as well as behaviours.

Type: Article
Title: Sexting among British adults: a qualitative analysis of sexting as emotion work governed by ‘feeling rules’
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/13691058.2022.2080866
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/13691058.2022.2080866
Language: English
Additional information: This research was funded in whole, or in part, by the Wellcome Trust [212931/Z/18/Z]. For the purpose of Open Access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.
Keywords: Sexting, adults, emotion work, feeling rules
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health > Infection and Population Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10153768
Downloads since deposit
88Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item