How Teens’ Texts Lead to Unsafe Sex

Teenagers who engage in sexting—sending sexually explicit texts—are far more likely to begin having intercourse at an early age and engage in other risky behavior, a new study has found.
The study of 1,800 Los Angeles high school students shows that one in seven has sent a “sext” message, and that those who have are seven times more likely to be sexually active. Teens who sext—especially girls— are also more likely to have unprotected sex, sleep with multiple partners, and use drugs or alcohol before having intercourse.
“What we really wanted to know is, is there a link between sexting and taking risks with your body? And the answer is a pretty resounding ‘yes,’” study author Eric Rice, a researcher at the University of Southern California, tells Reuters.com. The fact that some teen girls have suffered humiliation when ex-boyfriends widely distributed photos of them naked doesn’t seem to be registering.
“There is an emerging sense of normalcy around sexting behavior,” Rice says. Some 54 percent of teens say they have a friend who sexts, which makes them 17 times more likely to try it themselves. “If their friends do it,” Rice says, “they’re going to do it.”
- As seen in The Week
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