Is it pride in pulchritude? Is it pressure from the opposite sex? Or might it even be that not so many people like to see men naked?
In an intellectually titled piece of research--"Let My Fingers Do the Talking: Sexting and Infidelity in Cyberspace"--Diane Kholos Wysocki, a professor of sociology and women's studies at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and Cheryl D. Childers, a professor of sociology at Washburn University, create a snapshot that some might find intuitive and some might find depressing.
Their numerical conclusions appear clear: two-thirds of the women surveyed said that they sexted. Only half of the men did. And women were more likely to send nude pictures of themselves out across the Internets. One might imagine that this correlates just vaguely with the preponderance of images of naked women in magazines wrapped in plastic, or that appear on the Web's vast number of sexually explicit sites.
These are bald numbers. Might there be nuances?
Well, let's start with the researchees. They were all culled from Ashley Madison.com. Many of you might be familiar with this site. It offers a carnal outlet for those whose marriages might not be sexually fulfilling. It offers the fine modern motto: "Affairs Guaranteed."
You might conclude that those who have mustered the courage to leap onto this site might have fewer inhibitions about sending disrobed images of themselves, along with textual sweet nothings.
You might also conclude that being people who volunteered to respond to an online survey, they might not be entirely representative of the population at large. (Ashley Madison's clientele is richer and wrinklier than the average human being.)
Our two professors, however, feel excited that their work seems to point out not just a technological tendency but some deeper vein in our culture.
"Cheating is alive and well, and sexting is on the rise." Dr. Wysocki told The New York Times. "But I don't believe the Internet is causing people to cheat. There seems to be something going on with marriage that's the bigger social issue. Before, people would just get a divorce. For some reason, people are staying and cheating instead."
Might I offer one suggestion that could explain such a troubling social trend?
Lots of married couples took out very large mortgages. Rolling in the glee of wealth, they then took out home equity loans. Both husband and wife have to work in order to support those mortgages and loans. Should they try to accept that they don't like each other anymore, they might try to sell their house. Sadly, by doing that, they would lose money.
So they turn to their phones and laptops in order to show off what they believe are their finest assets to those who might offer them temporary relief from their deep suffering.
Relationships are all business these days. And if you want to profit from these relationships, the simple fact is that, like any other business, you have to advertise.
Do women advertise more than men? Perhaps we need a little more research to tell us that.