In a 2013 study conducted by Drouin et al., it was found that sexting is also associated with attachment styles, as those with attachment avoidance are more likely to engage in sexting behaviours (just as these individuals are also more likely to engage in casual sex).Thus, instead of increasing intimacy in these types of relationships, sexting may act as a buffer for physical intimacy.A widely cited 2011 study indicated the previously reported prevalence was exaggerated.

Perhaps shedding light on the over-reporting of earlier studies, the researchers found that the figure rose to 9.6% when the definition was broadened from images prosecutable as child pornography to any suggestive image, not necessarily nude ones.

has received wide international media attention for calling into question the findings reported by the University of New Hampshire researchers.

Those sending photos over Snapchat believe they will disappear without consequences so they feel more secure about sending them.

There have been several cases where teens have sent photos over these applications, expecting them to disappear or be seen by the recipient only, yet are saved and distributed, carrying social and legal implications.

The study had a small sample size, so more research needs to be done surrounding sexting and motivation, but it is clear that sexting is a phenomenon that is not constrained to simply unattached individuals looking for fun; it is used by those in intimate relationships to increase feelings of intimacy and closeness one's partner.

For teens, sexting can also act as a prelude (or in lieu of) sexual activity, as an experimental phase for those who are yet to be sexually active, and for those who are hoping to start a relationship with someone.

Sexting has been promoted further by several direct messaging applications that are available on smartphones.

The difference between using these applications and traditional texting is that content is transmitted over the Internet or a data plan, allowing anyone with Internet access to participate.

In the University of Utah's study, researchers Donald S. Sustaíta, and Jordan Rullo surveyed 606 teenagers ages 14–18 and found that nearly 20 percent of the students said they had sent a sexually explicit image of themselves via cell phone, and nearly twice as many said that they had received a sexually explicit picture.