According to a new study recently published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston state sexting might well be a new “normal” part of adolescent sexual development. It is also not an act limited to troubled or “at-risk” teenagers.
These findings are merely a part of a current six-year study of multi-racial adolescent participants from Southeast Texas. The teenagers involved complete anonymous surveys thoroughly detailing their history of sexting, sexual activity and other relevant, related behaviors over the six years.
Jeff Temple, an associate professor and psychologist at UTMB, said: “We now know that teen sexting is fairly common. For instance, sexting may be associated with other typical adolescent behaviors such as substance use. Sexting is not associated with either good or poor mental well being.”
Temple elaborated noting that teens who sexted as sophomores were 32% more likely to have had sex within the next year that those who didn’t have sex. He was also able to separate the different types of sexts primarily used by the students in the study.
He also further distinguished between those who actively sent naked pictures from those who solely requested and/or received them. Statistically- speaking, teens who only received sexts were not shown to be at a higher risk of having sex.
Teens who requested sexts were almost 10 times more likely to have sex. Teens who received sexts were 5.3 times more liable to send a sext themselves. Finally, teenagers who actually sent sexts were found to be the most likely to engage in sex the next year. Temple explained: “So basically if a parent saw his kid had asked for a sext, that in and of itself isn’t related to sexual behavior unless that kid also sent naked pictures of himself.”
Temple concluded: “If sexting does predate sex, then it’s of public health importance. It becomes a marker of sexual activity and it could be a good opportunity to talk to them about safe sex prior to them having sex and preventing early sexual debut and risky sexual behavior.”
Teen Sex And Sexting