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An exploration of male-to-female sexting behaviours and the digital mediation of intimacy, consent, risk, and trust

In line with the increasing digital mediation of our intimate lives, the creating, sending, and receiving of private sexual images and texts – also known as ‘sexting’ – has become a common means to perform intimacy. At the same time, sexting-related practices have generated new forms of abuse, like the act of sending unsolicited images depicting male genitalia to women (colloquially known as unsolicited 'dick pics').

Focusing on sexting in the context of male-female relations, this research project takes as its starting point the role of consent in sexting’s potential for both intimacy and harm. Exploring this topic from the perspective of adult men in England, the research will be grounded in semi- structured interviews, seeking to unpack men’s understandings of intimacy and consent as they sext with women. The research will also examine perceptions of risk and trust, and the role that such perceptions might play in shaping adult men’s heterosexual sexting practices.

The core question guiding this research project is: What can men’s accounts of male-to-female sexting practices tell us about the influence of digital mediation on the communication and construction of intimacy, consent, risk, and trust in heterosexual gender relations?

Project status: Starting

Principal Investigator


Funding Body: British Academy

Amount: £5837

Period: July 2023 - June 2025

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Twitter: @amundsen_rikke