More than one-quarter of Texas teens have sent naked photos of themselves through text or email, according to the latest study on "sexting."
Researchers found 10th and 11th graders who sexted were more likely to have had sex, and girls who'd sent naked photos of themselves also had a higher chance of engaging in risky sex, including having multiple partners and using drugs and alcohol before sex.
In a survey of 948 teens from seven different Houston-area schools, 28 percent said they had sent a naked photo of themselves via text or email and 57 percent said they'd been asked to send one. Most teens, especially girls, said they had been at least "a little bit" bothered by a request to send a naked picture.
More teens who reported sexting had also had sex: 77 percent of girls and 82 percent of boys who'd sent a naked photo of themselves had started having sex, compared to 42 percent of girls and 45 percent of boys who'd never sexted.
Jeff Temple from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, who led the new study, found that it was impossible from the surveys to tell which came first, the sexting or the risky, in-person sexual behavior. But they add that asking teens about sexting might give pediatricians and parents a hint about their other sexual behaviors as well as help to start a conversation about safe sex.