Washington: Sexting or sending sexually explicit pictures in messages is just normal for today's young adult internet generation, a new study has found.
University of Michigan researchers who studied the sexting behaviour of 3,447 men and women aged 18-24 found sexting very common and not linked to sexually risky behaviours or psychological problems.
According to the study's co-principal investigator Jose Bauermeister, an assistant professor at the UM School of Public Health, the result contradicts the public perception of sexting, which is portrayed as unsavoury, deviant or even criminal behaviour, CBS Detroit reported.
Most negative stories involved sexting among pre-teens and teenagers. The UM study group was considerably older, said study co-author Debbie Gordon-Messer. "For younger age groups, legality is an issue," Gordon-Messer said. "They are also in a very different place in their sexual development," she said.
The researchers found that nearly half of the study respondents participated in sexting. Nearly half of the study respondents participated in sexting.
Most people who reported receiving "sexts" also reported sending them, which suggests that sexting is reciprocal and likely happens between romantic partners. "We have to keep paying attention to how technology influences our lives, including our sexuality and our sexual behavior," Bauermeister said.
This is the first known study to connect sexting with a behavioural outcome, Bauermeister said. Previous studies on sexting focus on demographic - who is doing the sexting, not how sexting impacts the health of the participants. The study will be published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.