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Sexting Leads To Increased Sexual Behavior Among Teens: Study

Update Date: Oct 06, 2014 10:24 AM EDT

Sexting may be the new "normal" part of adolescent sexual development and is not strictly limited to at-risk teens, suggests a new study. 

Findings of the study are based on the relationship between teenage sexting, or sending sexually explicit images to another electronically, and future sexual activity. 

The study suggests that sexting may precede sexual intercourse in some cases. It also cemented the idea that sexting behavior is a credible sign of teenage sexual activity. 

Further the study did not find a link between sexting and risky sexual behavior over time, which may suggest that sexting is becoming a part of growing up. 

 "We now know that teen sexting is fairly common," said Jeff Temple, an associate professor and psychologist at UTMB, in the press release. "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."

"Despite this growing body of knowledge, all existing sexting research looks across samples of different groups of young people at one time, rather than following the same people over time," said Temple. "Because of this, it's unclear whether sexting comes before or after someone engages in sexual activity."

The study has been published in the journal Pediatrics. 

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