When was the last time you saw the penis of your BFF's most recent sexting buddy? Last week? Yesterday? You're literally looking at it right now because she forwarded you his latest dick pic five minutes ago?
A new study out of Indiana University confirms what many people already know to be true: a significant number of people out there are sharing the sexts they receive with their closest friends.
The study's big takeaway is that one in four sexts are being shared with people other than the recipient, whether the sender realizes it or not. In fact, the average number of friends to view any given shared sext is 3.17.
To arrive at these numbers, researchers interviewed 5,805 single adults from the ages of 21 to over 75. And it wasn't just dick picks that were covered: it was all types of sexts, as the sample was split almost evenly between men and women.
The researchers found that 21% of participants had sent sexts, 28% had received sexts and just over 73% of all respondents said that they'd be uncomfortable if they knew a sext of theirs had been shared with someone who wasn't the unintended recipient. And yet, they found that 22.9% of people who received them were doing just that.
"[Participants] reported concern about the potential consequences of sexting on their social lives, careers, and psychosocial wellbeing," the researchers wrote. They ultimately concluded that "views on the impact of sexting on reputation suggest a contemporary struggle to reconcile digital eroticism with real-world consequences," which basically means that people are sending sexts without GAF about who's seeing them.
While people may be concerned about their reputations being tarnished by a leaked sext, past studies have concluded that over half of American adults engage in the act of sexting, so it's probably not going anywhere anytime soon.
And while there's of course nothing wrong with sending a sext or two in the heat of passion, it is probably a good idea to make peace with the fact that once you hit send on a text, it is entirely out of your hands. Your junk could very well be on full display at brunch the next morning!