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Has Sexting Become Mainstream for Young Women?

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'Sexting' isn't just for political scandals. Romance publisher Harlequin polled a group of women aged 18 to 40 to see how they felt about the marriage of love and technology. Their findings in their 2012 Romance Report showed that 43% of the women admitted to having engaged in 'sexting.' Taking it a step further, it appears that 'sexting' came with benefits, as 65% of those women will 'sext' only while in a serious relationship. Casual daters came in second at 36%, admitting to sending a risqué message after just a few dates.

How are social networks contributing to the shift in romantic relationships? According to the survey, 52% of the women were using Facebook as a research tool to find out information about a prospective date, but the women weren't happy when their boyfriends weren't untagging and removing photos of ex-girlfriends in their Facebook timeline.

Still, today many women won't even accept a date via text message and some traditional values do still exist, as over half of the respondents felt the pressure to be married or in a committed relationship.

"Cross cultural studies show that the most sought after male traits are kindness, intelligence and resource potential," said relationship expert Dr. Wendy Walsh. A good sense of humor in-real-life still ranks high, with or without technology.

Three out of five dating deal-breakers in the survey did include technology, as women felt that men were too dependent on their mobile phones or were grammatically challenged. In a day where you use spell-check to proof read your resume and professional correspondence, why wouldn't you do the same as it relates to your digital love life?

Dr Walsh said, "Men who are addicted to their smart phones may be too disconnected from real world relationships or may have a tech induced attention-deficit-disorder that could impair kindness and intelligence." She added, "Men who display too many photos of themselves with their ex's on Facebook may be showcasing their prior conquests to indicate that they are a player and out for sex rather than love. It may also indicate a lower intelligence associated with insecurity."

As far as sexting, texting, posting, and tagging goes, remember, we're creating a permanent digital footprint every time we push the send button. At the end of the digital day, when in doubt, don't.

Julie Spira is an online dating and netiquette expert. She's the CEO of CyberDatingExpert.com and creates irresistible profiles for singles on the dating scene. Julie is the author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating and The Rules of Netiquette. Follow her @JulieSpira on Twitter and on Facebook.