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Study: Sexting is Normal Dating Behavior for Young Adults

A new study, entitled 'Sexting Among Young Adults,' by the University of Michigan and the Prevention Research Center of Michigan studied the sexting behavior of 3,447 men and women ages 18-24 and found that sexting is very common, and isn’t associated with sexually risky behaviors or psychological problems.

The researchers found that nearly half of the study respondents participated in sexting. Most people who reported receiving “sexts” also reported sending them, which revealed that sexting is often reciprocal and happens between romantic partners.

Jose Bauermeister, an assistant professor at the UM School of Public Health and co-principal investigator of the study, said the results contradict the public perceptions of sexting, which is often portrayed as sleazy, deviant or criminal behavior.

Study co-author Debbie Gordon-Messe said that most of the negative sexting stories involve sexting among pre-teens and teenagers, while this study group was older: “For younger age groups, legality is an issue. They are also in a very different place in their sexual development.”

The participants who “sexted” did not report riskier sexual behavior than those who didn’t. Nor did they report more depression, anxiety or low self-esteem.

The results will appear in an upcoming issue of Journal of Adolescent Health.


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