FRIDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- A new study finds that the practice of "sexting" -- sending salacious texts or nude photos over the Internet -- is now a key tool for Americans bent on infidelity.
Sexting, which notoriously cost former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner his job, is "alive and well," said sociologist Diane Kholos Wysocki, the study's lead author. In fact, she said, it's a part of the whole extra-marital mating ritual, according to Wysocki, who said adulterous interactions that begin online seem to follow a regular pattern.
"People meet, then they send pictures, then they send naked pictures, then they proceed and ultimately meet if they find that they're compatible," she said.
The study, based on a survey of almost 5,200 users of a website devoted to extra-marital dating called ashleymadison.com, doesn't say anything about the habits of the American population in general. And, as Kholos Wysocki acknowledged, its value is also limited because it only includes those people who volunteered to take part and were already using the site.
"Any time you get a group of people on the Internet, we can't say it's representative," said Kholos Wysocki, a professor of sociology, University of Nebraska at Kearney. However, she said the survey does offer insight into why people choose to stay married but still have affairs.
As of a year ago, the ashleymadison.com site, whose motto is "Life is short. Have an affair," claimed more than 6 million members. Working with the site, Kholos Wysocki in 2009 posted a survey for members with 68 questions. The results appear in a recent online issue of the journal Sexuality & Culture.
Those who responded tend to be upscale (with a median income of about $86,000), mostly married (64 percent) and highly educated (about 70 percent attended college, and 20 percent had advanced degrees). More than 6 out of
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