How common is teen sexting?

Shawn Edgington
Thirty-nine percent of teens have admitted to sexting (sending a sexual text message or sexually explicit photo by text message) and 51 percent of teen girls feel pressured to send explicit photos, with the numbers increasing at an alarming rate. "Not my child" is what parents want to believe. But the statistics show there are many teens participating in this racy and growing trend of sexting.

A couple of studies have been released on the commonality of teen sexting. Here are their findings:

The first is from the University of Utah’s Department of Psychology. Researchers surveyed 606 teens ages 14-18 and found that approximately 20 percent of the teens said they had sent a sexual image of themselves via cell phone. About twice as many teens admitted to receiving a sext. Plus, of those who reported receiving a sext, over 25 percent, admitted to forwarding it to someone else.

This study can be found at:

The second study was published in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine. Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch found teens who "sext" may be more likely to engage in sexual behaviors. Their findings include:

  • 28% of teens admitted to having sent a sext.
  • 76.2% of teens who were propositioned to sext, admitted to having had sexual intercourse.
  • Girls were asked to send a sext (68%) more often than boys (42%).
  • The peak age of sexting is around 16 and 17 years of age.
  • Sexting seems to decline in individuals 18 and older.

This study can be found at:

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.