The University of Texas Medical Branch released a study on U.S teenagers that shows almost 30% are sexting, sending nude photos via email or text. Although there has been other polls and studies along the same lines, the Texas study, besides being the most recent, is also the most comprehensive.
The study found that more than half of all teenagers polled had been asked to send a nude photo of themselves to someone. Additionally, 31% had requested a naked picture to be sent to them. Researchers say the sexting behavior is a fairly good indicator of actual sexual behavior.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Jeff Temple, an Associate Professor of obstetrics and gynecology, says “I think it is an indicator of what teens are doing in their offline lives.” The resulting sexual behavior can lead to unwanted issues, from unwanted pregnancies, multiple sexual partners, or to drug and alcohol abuse.
The study was based on a survey of over 1,000 southeast Texas public high school students. The study results were publishes in the “Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.” The students in the study ranged in age from 14-19 years, with most being between 15-16 years old.
When it came to taking the initiative, by asking the other to send a nude picture, boys were more apt to ask first, boys by 42% and girls by 21%. What was interesting though, was that most students, both sexes, were uncomfortable in asking and going through with actually sending a naked picture.
Dr. Temple was more interested in sexting and the resulting sexual behavior. His question seemed to be, which came first, or did one lead to the other? His final conclusion though was to call for softer penalties rather than stiffer ones. He suggested that with our limited resources, more could be spent on educating teenagers on the risks involved and safe-sex.
It seems too that with the promiscuity that is possible with sexting, teenagers could become desensitized to the issue of intimacy. After all, where is intimacy when multiple sex partners are involved? Something else comes to mind with the study, and this writer did not find it mentioned, so it is questionable if it was addressed.
The study showed that most students were uncomfortable with asking someone else to send a nude photo, and were uncomfortable sending the nude photo to someone. Could it be “peer pressure” behind all this sexting? That would be interesting to find out. Nothing in a teenagers life is more important than being accepted by his peers.