People who like sexting are more likely to be narcissists, says study

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People who like to sext tend to have narcissism and Machiavellianism personality traits (Picture: Getty)

Do you enjoy sexting?

If so, you’re more likely to have dark personality traits – according to a new study.

An international team of researchers have found that those who like to sext tend to have two personality traits that make up the famous ‘Dark Triad’ model – narcissism and Machiavellianism.

We’re all pretty familiar with the former – usually characterised as those who have an ego and a lack of empathy.

Machiavellianism, on the other hand, typically refers to people who manipulate and exploit others. 

Researchers conducted surveys of more than 6,000 participants across 11 countries and they distinguished between three different types of sexting – ‘experimental’, ‘risky’ and ‘aggravated’. 

‘Experimental’ was noted as the consensual exchange of sexual content. Pretty much your standard, everyday type.

Meanwhile, ‘risky’ sexting was defined as sexting alongside other behaviours – such as doing so while drinking or taking drugs and sending content to unknown people online.

Alternatively, ‘aggravated’ sexting referred to more harmful behaviours such as publicly sharing sexts of someone without their consent, as well as coercive sexting or under pressure by a partner or friends. 

The study looked into the relationship between Dark Triad personality factors and tendency to engage in these three types of sexting.

Researchers found that sharing experimental, risky and aggravated sexts was associated with Machiavellianism and narcissism – but not psychopathy (the other trait in the Dark Triad). 

There were also differences between men and women.

The team said: ‘Results showed that boys were more likely to be involved in risky sexting and in both forms of aggravated sexting.’

Likewise, males were involved in more sexting under pressure, such as from a partner. And older participants were more likely to be involved in sharing their own sexts and risky sexting, rather than younger ones. 

However, younger participants reported more aggravated sexting – the non-consensual type and doing so under pressure.

In the paper, researchers said: ‘Sexting is an increasingly common phenomenon among adolescents and young adults. Very few studies have investigated the role of maladaptive personality factors in sexting.

‘The present study provided empirical evidence that different sexting behaviours were predicted by Dark Triad personality traits.’ 

The study is important as it’s pretty much the first of its kind for understanding what personality types are most likely to engage in riskier and antisocial forms of sexting.

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Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.


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