Catlin Cole

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Communication, Media and Theatre Arts

First Advisor

Dennis O'Grady

Second Advisor

Donald Ritzenhein


This exploratory analysis creates a framework for better understanding sexting behavior within romantic long-term romantic relationships. Articles reviewed successfully laid the foundation to this study, including those regarding flirting within short-term and marital relationships. The specific reasons of this behavior, shown to occur in different relational dynamics, helped to prove the importance of flirtatious behavior for multiple purposes. Expanding upon a different dynamic of flirting as well as a previously under-studies relationship, interviews were conducted to better understand the input and output concerns of sexting behavior within the population. Eight participants were asked various questions regarding their personal experiences, reasoning, and motives for partaking in such behavior. Common themes emerged, including that of privacy, trust issues, long-distance relationships, boredom, and sexting as a precursor to a physical sexual encounter. The discussion offers practical interpretations and rationalizations of the provided reasoning, along with suggestions for future research.

Included in

Communication Commons