Teenagers who are involved in sexting (explicit sex messaging) and those who send explicit photos and videos of themselves are ten times more likely to have sex following year, according to a new study conducted by Dr. Jeff Temple, an associate professor in the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Texas Medical Branch.
Researchers observed nearly 1000 second and third-year school students over a time span of six years. Twenty-eight percent of students accepted that they were engaged in explicit sex chat including sending of nude photos. Researchers found that most of the third-year students who had sexual interaction were into sexting previous year. However, researchers were unable to find a direct link between sexting and sexual behaviour. “I don’t think the behaviour is new by any means, but the means by which we’re doing it is new and scary I think to everyone because it’s new, and because it can possibly be shared instantly with billions of people” Temple said. “It does seem to be a part of this repertoire of sexual behaviours, and indeed I think that offline behaviours and online behaviours seem to mimic each other,” he added.
According to researchers, in most of the teenagers sexting preceded sexual interaction and was the first step towards sex. Sending explicit messages increases acceptance of going to the next level and getting intimate. Researchers raised the point that sending nude photos and videos can be dangerous as one can upload them on the internet that may foster feeling of humiliation in victim and can eventually lead to suicide. Recently, in a similar scenario, nude photos of famous celebrities were posted online by hackers in a mass photo leak.
However, sexting do have its positive, it may draw teens closer to their parents if they get caught. Parents can teach them about safe sex. “The most important thing that I find with this study and my studies on sexting is really that it offers an opportunity for parents or healthcare providers to talk to teens about sex and safe sex, and I think that’s what we need to keep our eye on,” Dr. Temple said.