Entries in Sexting (12)


Sexting Linked to Increased Sexual Activity in Teens

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Teens who "sext" are more likely to have sex, a new study finds.

The study probed the texting tendencies and sexual activity of more than 1,800 Los Angeles high-schoolers. Of the teens who used cellphones, fifteen percent reported sexting -- sending and receiving sexually explicit text messages. And teens who sexted were seven times more likely to report being sexually active, according to the study.

"This study is the first to show what teens are doing with their cellphones and what they're doing with their bodies," said Eric Rice, assistant professor at the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California and lead author of the study, published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Sexting doesn't occur in isolation. More than half of the teens in the study knew someone who sexted, and teens who sexted were seventeen times more likely to have friends who sext, the study found.

"There are some groups of teens who are sexting and some groups of teens who are not," said Rice. "If their friends do it, they're going to do it. The teens who are sexting are in peer groups in which sexting is a normal part of their behaviors."

Rice said parents should be aware of the effect of their teen's social group on sexting.

"Parents have understood for a long time who their kids hang out with impacts whether or not they get involved with drugs or try hard in school," he said. "Now parents should be worried about who their kids hang out may affect whether or not they are sexting."

If teens talk about their friends' sexting, there's a good chance they're doing it too, Rice said.

And "if that teen is sexting, there's a really good chance that that teen is sexually active," he added.

But sexting doesn't necessarily lead to teenage sex, the study authors cautioned. It could be, rather, that sex leads to sexting. Or the two might happen independently at roughly the same time.

The authors also stressed that the findings in Los Angeles teens may not hold true for teens across the rest of the country. More research looking at sexting and sexual behavior of teens nationwide is needed, they wrote in their study.

But why are so many teens sexting? Because teens like to show off and watch others show off, one expert suggested.

"When we reach adolescence, we are hardwired to become sexually aware and engage in sexual behavior," said Karen North, director of the Annenberg Program on Online Communities at the University of Southern California, who was not involved with the study.

North said sexting is no different than playing games of doctor or strip poker, or sharing pornographic magazines between friends.

"That behavior, which is completely normal for adolescents who are coming of age, is now being facilitated today by technology that can make this type of behavior accidentally become public," she said. "It is not just teens who fall victim to the unexpected publicity of their private acts due to social media... We even have high profile public figures, such as Anthony Weiner, who after years of appearing at public events found his biggest audience ever when his seemingly private sex related text became a worldwide spectacle."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sexting Among Teens on the Rise, Says Study

Goodshoot RF/Thinkstock(GALVESTON, Texas) -- Nearly 30 percent of high school students have sent sexually explicit messages via their cellphones, according to a new study published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.  The latest finding marks a rise over previous studies.

Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston surveyed seven Texas high schools and found that 28 percent of nearly 1,000 students had sent a sext, and 31 percent had requested one from someone else.  More than half of the students surveyed had been asked for a nude photo.

Most teens surveyed said they were at least somewhat bothered when asked for a sext.  Twenty-seven percent of girls reportedly felt very bothered by the invitations versus 3 percent of boys.

Kids who sexted were more likely to be having sex, and girls who sexted were more likely to participate in risky sexual behavior, including having multiple sexual partners and using drugs or alcohol before sex, the survey found.

"Sexting may be a fairly reliable indicator of sexual behaviors," said Jeff R. Temple, lead author of the study and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at University of Texas at Medical Branch.

Temple did emphasize that sexting is not necessarily a cause or a consequence of risky sex, but just an associated behavior.

"Relative to sex, sexting may be a less tension-filled or scary topic to bring up with teens, and thus could provide an opportunity to discuss sexual behaviors and safe sex," he said.

The researchers suggested that pediatricians consider screening for sexting behaviors as an opportunity to talk about safe sex.  Parents should also talk to their children about sexting, as it may be a good transition into a talk about sex in general.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mom and Dad Are Sexting: 18 Percent of Adults Send Lewd Messages

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- And you thought it was just the younger generation and Anthony Weiner sending explicit text messages -- or sexts. According to a survey conducted by Lookout, a mobile safety company, 18 percent of American smartphone owners say they sext.

But even more revealing are the age breakdowns. The data show that one in five moms and dads of children under 18 use their smartphones to text. Additionally, 25 percent of women between the ages of 35 and 44 send sex text messages from their phones.

And there’s also data on what sort of content are in these messages. Eleven percent of Americans admitted that they have recorded explicated videos on their phones; five percent of moms have done so and 18 percent of dads have.

But the most surprising part? Not many of them are worried about the photos or videos being exposed. Only three percent of American adults said their biggest concern about losing the phone would be that the inappropriate pictures or text messages would be revealed to a stranger.

“The survey results were especially interesting because we found that even though people are sharing extremely private content on their smartphones, many do nothing to prevent an embarrassing exposure,” Alicia diVittorio, mobile safety advocate at Lookout, told ABC News.

The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, surveyed 2,097 adults over the age of 18 in the United States. The survey was conducted online and variables of age, sex, race, education, region, etc. were weighed to reflect population breakdowns.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Few Teens Involved in Sexting, Study Finds

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DURHAM, N.H.) -- The practice of “sexting” nude photos by phone and online by teens is not as widespread as people think, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire asked 1,560 Internet users between the ages of 10 and 17 whether they had sent or received sexual photos in the past year.  Just one percent of the kids said they were involved in sending graphic photos or sexually explicit photographs.

Seven percent of the kids polled said they had received nude or nearly nude photographs of others, while close to six percent said the photos they had received were sexually explicit.

Kimberly Mitchell, an associate professor of psychology at the University of New Hampshire and the study’s author, says she finds the survey results “somewhat reassuring.”  Mitchell says the media has portrayed sexting as a “big problem” but chances are your kid is not involved in the practice.

In a related study, researchers found law enforcement agencies respond to approximately 1,750 cases of sexting each year in the U.S.  Both studies were published in the journal Pediatrics.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Teen Sexting Linked to Depression, Study Finds

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock edit Delete caption LikeUnlikeViews: 0(NEWTON, Mass.) -- High school students who send and receive sexually suggestive or explicit images are more likely to have symptoms of depression, according to a new study from the Education Development Center in Newton, Mass.

The preliminary results of the study, announced recently at the American Public Health Association's annual meeting in Washington, D.C., do not provide any information on whether sexting might be causing the depressive symptoms or vice versa.

But the results were especially interesting to Dr. Jill Murray, who runs a private practice in Laguna Niguel, Calif., specializing in adolescents, teen dating abuse and domestic violence.

"I have two girls who have made suicide attempts and several had to switch schools because of sexting," she said, adding that other patients of hers who sexted and then watched their picture get distributed to other teens, started cutting themselves. "I don't know any 16-year-old boy who's going to keep a naked picture of a girl to himself."

Lead researcher Shari Kessel Schneider and her colleagues at the EDC analyzed data from the 2010 MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey which included responses from more than 23,000 high school students located in the western suburbs of Boston.

Overall, 10 percent of the students said they had sent a sext message in the past year and 5 percent said someone else had sent a sexually suggestive photo of themselves.

One of the questions in the survey asked the teens if, during the past year, they ever felt "so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row that you stopped doing some usual activities?" They were also asked if they had ever attempted suicide.

Those involved in sexting were not only more likely to report a suicide attempt, but they also had twice the odds of reporting depressive symptoms as students who weren't involved in sexting.

The students surveyed in Schneider's study -- which has not yet been published -- were predominantly from middle or upper middle class neighborhoods. In addition, 74 percent of them were white, so the results of her research are most applicable in communities with similar demographics.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Is Sexting Mostly a Woman's Game?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(KEARNEY, Neb.) -- "Weinergate" has popularized the trope of powerful men who feel the need to text women pictures of their junk, but in the world of everyday Joes, sexting might be more of a woman's game, at least according to preliminary research published in the journal Sexuality & Culture.

In a survey of married and single people looking for noncommittal flirtation and hookups online, researchers found that two-thirds of women reported sending sexually explicit texts or photos of themselves via phone or email, while only half of the men did.

"Of course, this is a self-selected population, but I've also observed that women are more likely to show pictures of themselves than guys are.  I think that may be changing though -- evening out," says Diane Kholos Wysocki, co-author of the study and a professor of sociology at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Anecdotally, several men voiced similar gender-biased experiences to ABC News.  One journalism student from Savannah, Georgia noted that all his sexting, which occurs frequently, takes the form of pictures that women send to him.  He says he never sends photos of himself.

This possible imbalance in the photographic world of sexting may have to do with the target audience, sex experts say: that is, men may be more receptive to close-up body shots than women are.

In another upcoming publication on cybersexual activity, Wysocki analyzed a website where people go to seek out sexual partners, and found a similar gender divide: "It was striking to us that women didn't go for the crotch shots as much as many men who were posting them would like: 'Here it is, this is what you want.'"

It's not that sexting can't be enjoyed equally by both sexes, but men and women, as with many other sexual activities, may take a different approach.

Christine Laplante, a sex educator in New Hampton, New York, who encourages sexting as a form of sexual communication among her clients, notices that women tend to be more descriptive in their sexts, drawing things out in a kind of virtual foreplay, whereas men will dive right to the hardcore stuff.

"By nature, men are known to be visually stimulated, and women are definitely visually stimulated but are known to be turned on in a creative fantasy sense.  So, I would say stereotypically, men are more interested in receiving the photos," says Amy Levine, a certified sexuality educator in New York and founder of Sex Ed Solutions.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Does Your Sex Life Measure Up?

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- A new survey commissioned by the condom manufacturer Trojan claims the average American adult has sex 120 times a year.

The survey also found that Americans in the Northeast engage in sex most often, while residents in the South have sex the least often.

Additional findings from Trojan:

  • 71 percent of men say they want more sex, compared with 55 percent of women.
  • 19 percent of Americans have engaged in sexting.
  • 18 percent of Americans have had sex with someone they met online.
  • 10 percent of respondents have chatted with others about sex on Facebook, Twitter, or both.
  • Men are more likely to discuss their sex lives online than women, 15 percent to 6 percent, respectively.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rep. Weiner May Feel Symptoms of Grief After Resignation

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- While the jury is still out on whether just-resigned Rep. Anthony Weiner is addicted to sexting and other lewd Internet behavior, experts say his fall from grace may take a toll on his mental health, addiction or not.

Weiner, 46, announced his resignation on Thursday, 10 days after the news conference where he admitted to lying about sexual behavior with strangers, including a former porn actress, through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Weiner's crotch shot seen 'round the world was the first of dozens of photos he shared with online strangers to surface.  After he admitted to sending the initial photo at a news conference, political leaders across party lines pressured the congressman to resign.

"The extent to which this might impact an individual depends a great deal on their personal coping resources, personal support system and overall resilience in the context of their pre-event psychological make-up," said Dr. Martin Binks, clinical director and CEO of Binks Behavioral Health.

Binks said the theme of loss may play a part in Weiner's decline and possible recovery, especially if there is a loss of respect and reputation that may play a large role in his sense of self-worth.

"The fall from grace can be far more devastating if one's sense of self relies too heavily on these external factors," said Binks.  "In other cases, where something that is seen as out of one's personal control causes personal and emotional devastation, we fall back on the love and support of those closest to us to be our staunchest allies.  These close personal supports are the rock in our emotional foundation."

Binks noted that when that devastation alienates a person's support system, as could possibly have happened in Weiner's case with his wife Huma Abedin, he may lose that support, and the feelings of loss and grief can become amplified.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Are Anthony Weiner's Online Trysts Adultery?

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Although there may not have been any physical contact between Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y. and the women with whom he confessed to having inappropriate online relationships, some psychologists consider the married congressman's conduct as nothing short of adultery.

"Nonphysical sexting relationships are similar to emotional affairs that are highly sexualized," said Nadine Kaslow, a psychology professor at Emory University in Atlanta.

"Technology has opened up whole new avenues for cheating," said psychotherapist Bethany Marshall. "The motivation is the same, but the pathway is different."

Weiner attributed his behavior to "terrible judgment and actions," and he apologized to his wife.

"I should not have done this, and I should not have done this particularly when I was married," Weiner said at a press conference.

Philadelphia psychologist Marion Rudin Frank calls online relationships "betrayal[s] of the partner" and says people who engage in them often believe there is no risk involved if there is no sex. Weiner and others who get involved in online relationships often do so because of a need for quick and casual sex, experts say. People often carry on multiple affairs and engage in compulsive sexting because that desire for sexual satisfaction becomes like an addiction.

"It can be and usually is addictive and actually out chemistry," said Frank. "Like any addiction, it is self-defeating. [A person] cannot do just a little, and it makes people act in ways they regret."

"Online porn addictions and compulsive sexting are quite linked, as they often relate to sex that is objectifying and not very personal," said Kaslow.

"Social media often makes us less mindful of our actions because we think that if it is in cyberspace it doesn't count as much or we are less likely to be found out or held accountable for our actions," said Kaslow.

Sites like Facebook and other social networking sites make relationships seem less daunting, since they eliminate the need for physical and emotional intimacy, Kaslow said. Texting and other types of online contact often lead to what she calls "faux intimacy."

"We are more prone to lie to ourselves [and say] 'It's not really action,'" said Frank.

In the end, though, experts say relationships carried out on social media sites are very likely to be uncovered.

"I am deeply sorry that I lied about this, but at the end of the day, I lied because I was embarrassed. I was ashamed of what I had done and I didn't want to get caught," Weiner admitted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sexting a Growing Headache for Adults

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Sexting, a growing problem among teens, has become a headache for politicians such as Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York and Hollywood starlets such as Blake Lively embroiled in controversies about questionable pictures.

Both Weiner and Lively say they are victims.

But despite pointing to an unidentified hoax, Weiner admitted last week that a lewd photo sent to a Seattle student from his Twitter account could have been him, though it might have been manipulated. Weiner, who has denied sending the photo, said his Twitter account had been hacked. "It was someone sending a picture of a weiner on Weiner's account," the Democrat told ABC News. The congressman has hired a private security firm to investigate who tweeted the photo -- as rumors of new pictures and text content concerning the embattled politician have hit the blogosphere.

Sexting -- sending sexually explicit messages or photographs via electronic devices -- was once considered primarily a teen issue, with parents and even MTV warning of the consequences. MTV aired messages saying, "Sexts can take on a life of their own."

It seems adults might need some warnings of their own too. "Adults, particularly those in positions of power like politicians, sext because they want even more power," said Bethany Marshall, a marriage and family therapist in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Married Rep. Christopher Lee, R-N.Y., resigned in February after he reportedly sent a bare-chested image of himself to a woman on Craigslist.

Gossip Girl actress Lively is the latest Hollywood starlet to get caught up in a nude photo scandal. She said the iPhone pictures that surfaced last week are 100 percent fake.

The FBI is investigating a ring of hackers accused of releasing photos of young celebrities including Vanessa Hudges, Scarlett Johansson and Miley Cyrus.

Football player Brett Favre denied in the fall texting a lewd photo of himself to Jenn Sterger when he was playing for the New York Jets in 2008. The National Football League investigated the incident and fined Favre $50,000.

Sexting scandals aren't reserved for the famous and powerful. A 41-year-old English teacher from New Hampshire admitted to texting nude photos and sending inappropriate emails to a 15-year-old student.

"Basically, people are engaging in the same fantasies and behaviors that they always have," therapist Marshall said, "but now they have the technology to back it up."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio