And when you get that feeling, you want textual healing
Kisses and peaches and eggplants, oh my! Emojis and emoticons help people communicate. The 2015 Singles in America survey by Match found the top three reasons for using emojis were:
1. To give their messages more personality
2. To express their emotions more clearly
3. For convenience, as they are faster and easier to use
; ) vs. 😉
Emoticons and emojis are often interchanged, but they are still distinct from one another.
- Emoticons involve the use of punctuation to create pictures, which are often faces.
- Emojis are bright, graphic images.
The Singles in America survey found that singles who use emojis or emoticons are more likely to want to get married and want a partner who can express their wants and needs. Additionally, singles who are emoji users actively date more and are more sexually active. Specifically, those who send emojis are more likely to have had sex in the previous year and to be sexually active at least once per month.
Emojis and emoticons are used in more than just everyday conversations, as they can also be used when flirting and as innuendos. Dr. Mark McCormack found that these innuendo emojis or emoticons rely on shared norms, as different people use them in different ways, which can make them hard to interpret.
McCormack’s study, as well as a study commissioned by Durex, found that most young adults use emojis when discussing sex with friends and sexual partners. Additionally, Durex found that 84 per cent of young adults find it more comfortable to use emojis when discussing sex.
McCormack found that people sent smileys to imply sex that is likely to occur. Similarly, Emily Kluftinger’s graduate research presentation on sexting and emojis noted that 53 per cent of participants found using emojis led to sexually suggestive behaviours.
Emojis are also being used when sexting. Kluftinger found that 54 per cent of people report that emojis are part of their sexts sometimes, often, or always.
What is sexting? Well, it depends on who you ask. There are a variety of definitions for what constitutes sexting, but a general definition is that sexting is the sending of sexually explicit text messages, photos, or videos via mobile device. Sexually explicit photos can be split up further, including semi-nude, nude, and solo sexual acts.
Sexting is prevalent in young adults.
Is there an emoji that is missing? Durex thinks so! In 2015, Durex started calling for a condom emoji. Durex asked people to support them by using the #CondomEmoji. Tons of people and organizations showed support for Durex’s condom emoji, including the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, and various other media outlets.
McCormack’s study, “Young people’s attitudes toward and discussion of safe sex and condom use,” found that teens and young adults speak freely about their sexual activity and desires, but have difficulty discussing safer sex.
McCormack’s study, as well as a study commissioned by Durex, both indicate that most young adults think that a safe sex emoji would be a good idea.
The condom emoji could be useful for putting in dating profiles, like those on Tinder, to remind partners, and to make it easier to talk about safer sex.
Durex used their Twitter account to argue the importance of a condom emoji, stating “We don’t want to talk about #sex with fruit & veg #emojis… Safe sex calls for an official #CondomEmoji!” They furthered their point by saying: “Emojis make it easier to say anything… Let’s make the sex talk simpler and safer with an official #CondomEmoji!” They even went so far as to advertise a fake eggplant-flavoured condom to support their cause.
Unicode rejected the idea and has not yet made a condom emoji. While Durex may not have gotten the official condom emoji they were hoping for, many companies have made their own (although most are only available in the United States). Following a social media vote on World AIDS Day 2016, Durex designated this popular emoji as the unofficial condom emoji: the umbrella with raindrops. ☔
Emojis and emoticons are useful for being able to express yourself better over text in general, but especially when discussing sex. Just don’t use more than three emojis and emoticons per text with a potential date, as Match found that users consider it inappropriate : P ; ) <3
Graphic by Frances Esenwa/The Ontarion