Towards a sociological understanding of sexting as a social practice: a case study of university undergraduate men

Steven Roberts, Signe Ravn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This article makes the case for understanding young people’s engagement with ‘sexting’ as a social practice. Moving away from the dominant focus on teenagers and (sexual) risk and instead approaching sexting as an ‘everyday’ practice sheds light on how sexting is perceived and situated as a normalised part of contemporary youth culture. Drawing on 10 focus groups with 37 undergraduate men in Melbourne, Australia, our data reveal young men’s significant emphasis on consent, mutuality and respect, marking out ‘appropriate sexting’ practices as distinct from harassment or image-based abuse. Nonetheless, the centrality of a transactional approach to sexting questions those seemingly positive dispositions. Social practice theory permits sophisticated understanding of these nuances, seeing them as bound up and produced in correspondence with the broader meanings, embodied skills and material artefacts that are associated with sexting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-274
Number of pages17
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • practice theory
  • qualitative methods
  • sexting
  • sexuality
  • youth
  • youth culture

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