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Journal: Journal of Addictive Diseases


In the early 2020s, the world was challenged by the COVID-19 emergency. Due to the dangerousness of the virus, the main intent of each country involved was to limit the diffusion in order to contain the damage caused by the pandemic. An aspect that has been deeply changed by self-isolation -used as a measure of containment of the virus- is related to sexuality. A practice that assumes importance in this sense is sexting, i.e., the act of sending/receiving sexually explicit messages, photos or videos via device. This practice allows a certain level of intimate behavior while eliminating the possibility of contagion. This study aims – through a qualitative survey – to investigate whether sexting is perceived as a potential addiction or adaptive sexual behavior to social distancing and lockdown policies by COVID-19. In order to do this, 37 subjects aged between 19 and 39 years were recruited – through probability sampling. We used the semi-structured interview method and then, through thematic analysis of the interviews, it emerged that, according to our sample, sexting was perceived to be more of an addiction than an adaptive behavior; despite this, it is possible that the practice of sexting has changed with the current societal situation.