We gave 459 unmarried, heterosexual, undergraduate students an online questionnaire to learn more about how relational anxiety influences sexting behavior. It covered questions measuring their sexting behaviors, relationship commitment needed to engage in sexting, their fear of being single, their dating anxiety, and their attachment style (secure or insecure). Half of the people who took the survey were single, and about 71% were female.
We found that people in romantic relationships -- whether of long or short duration -- were more likely to have sexted than those who did not have romantic partners. There were no gender differences for engaging in sexting, except that males were more likely than females to have sent a text propositioning sexual activity.
We also found that, generally, dating anxiety from fear of negative evaluation from the romantic partner (basically, worrying about what your partner thinks of you) and having a more secure attachment style (i.e., comfort with intimacy and close relationships) predicted if someone had sent a sexually suggestive photo or video, a picture in underwear or lingerie, a nude photo, or a sexually suggestive text.