“Sexting” on Increase Among Adolescents

New research shows the prevalence of "sexting" among teens is on the rise. Sexting is the act of adolescents sending nude photos of themselves or other text messages through SMS that are sexually explicit.

This practice is known to be a marker for risky, sexual behavior, according to a recent news article. Researchers say that over one in every four adolescents has sent a nude photo of themselves by electronic means.

About half of those have been asked to send a nude photo and about a third of them have asked for one to be sent their way. Boys were the most likely to ask for a "sext" while girls were more often the ones to send it.

Jeff Temple at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX says they studied 948 high school aged students between 14 and 19 years of age. They evaluated the frequency of sexting and how it related to sexual behavior in students there.

Twenty-eight percent of students reported sending a nude photo of themselves by email or text and 31 percent asked for one. Over half of students (57 percent) were asked to send one and most of them were bothered by the request.

Those students, both girls and boys, who partook in sexting, were much more likely to date, have sex or participate in risky, sexual behaviors than the ones who had never become involved in sexting.

Even more specifically, all of those who had "sexted" had then began dating as compared with the almost 90 percent of those who hadn’t. Similarly, almost 78 percent of those who sexted had actually had sex as compared to the only 43 percent who hadn’t.

Risky, sexual behavior is defined by having more than one sexual partner in the past year. It is also more common among those who have "sexted" versus those who had not.

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