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A new study found some surprising benefits to sexting.

It's not just curious teenagers with Snapchat who are sexting.

A new study found some surprising benefits to sexting.

When you hear the word "sexting," what comes to mind?

If you're like many of us, you might think ... oh, let's see — naive high schoolers? Mortified parents? Possibly the word " REGRET" (note the bold, all-caps)? ... Am I close?


This face probably comes to mind. Photo via Thinkstock.

"Most of the conversations about sexting are about teens and young adults, and about the dangers," Emily Stasko, a Ph.D. student and researcher at Drexel University, told Upworthy. "But if sexting were only dangerous, it wouldn't be as popular as it is. People do it. Why is it that people do it?"

That question is why she started to do some digging.

Stasko found that the vast majority of adults are sexting — not just young people with raging hormones.

She co-authored the study " Reframing Sexting as a Positive Relationship Behavior," which surveyed 870 heterosexual American adults on their sexting habits ("sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually explicit messages, images, or photos through electronic means").

Her research, which was presented at the American Psychological Association's annual convention in Toronto on Aug. 8, 2015, found 87.8% of participants admitted to sexting at some point in their lifetime, and 82.2% had done it within the last year.

Photo via Thinkstock.

While Stasko admitted the study may not perfectly reflect America's adult population and its sexting habits — the sampling was disproportionately white (roughly 80%) and, seeing as it was conducted online, likely attracted more tech-savvy participants, she noted — it found a "surprising" number of adults used electronics for sexual pleasure.

The study also found that sexting has some surprising perks.

Stasko's research discovered positive links between sexting habits and both sexual and relationship satisfaction.

The results found that "greater levels of sexting are associated with greater sexual satisfaction" — especially for adults who are casually dating or in a relationship (as opposed to single folks).

And speaking of relationships, the more casual the relationship, the better the sexting: "Sexting [was] positively associated with satisfaction" when it came to adults who were in relationships that were not "very committed." As for adults who were in "very committed" relationships, sexting and satisfaction didn't really go hand-in-hand.

Photo via Thinkstock.

But hold your horses (and put down your phones). Stasko notes that her study doesn't endorse just any sexting.

Stasko made sure to mention "not all sexting is equal," and the research certainly doesn't support the idea that sexting is always a good thing. If anything, her preliminary research — which is in the process of being peer-reviewed and published — argues that we need to further examine all the positives and negatives of sexting before we buy in to the apocalyptic headlines that so often accompany stories on the subject.

It's also important to know that should anyone betray your trust by sharing your private photos against your wishes, you can do something about it.

While it's good to remember that there are definite dangers in ... um ... putting yourself out there...

...it might be nice to know you're not the only one (and definitely not the only one having fun).

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.