Teens Who Sext 7x More Likely to Engage in Other Sexual Behaviors

C. Price

Written by: C. Price

C. Price

C. Price is part of's content team. She writes advice articles, how-to guides, and studies — all relating to dating, relationships, love, sex, and more.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Discuss This! Discuss This!
Advertiser Disclosure

Younger teens who sext are more likely to engage in other sexual behaviors, according to a newly published study.

Sexting, or sending out sexually explicit text messages, has been shown to predict sexual behavior in older teens in other studies.

Now researchers from the Hasbro Children’s Research Center and the Rhode Island Hospital have found adolescents engaging in sexting are more likely to engage in additional sexual behaviors. These included kissing, oral sex and intercourse.

Seventh-graders were interviewed for the research, with certain participants classified as “at-risk” based on their availability to a text-ready phone and certain social situations.

One in five at-risk participants were found to either be sending or receiving sexts. A quarter of those were found to exchange photos along with the text.

Those in the group who sexted were found to be seven times more likely to engage in some additional sexual behavior. Those who sent photos were found the most likely to engage.

“Those who sexted were more likely to

engage in additional sexual behavior.”

“Although any sexting appeared to be a marker for sexual risk,” the study concluded, “sending photos was associated with even greater likelihood of early sexual activity.”

More than 400 young people participated in the study, each between the ages of 12 and 14. They were asked about their experiences for the six month period prior to the research.

Several direct questions called for a simple yes or no response, such as “In the last six months, have you texted someone a sexual message to flirt with them?”

Those who sexted in the group were found to have a higher level of intent to engage in sex acts compared against non-texting counterparts.

Likewise, they were more likely to believe their friends and family members would approve of the behavior.

The team behind the research, headed by Christopher D. Houck, recommends parents and professionals pay closer attention to the electronic communications of teens and recognize it as a potential marker for risky behavior.

The report was published in the journal Pediatrics:

Advertiser Disclosure is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation from many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across the site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.

Our Editorial Review Policy

Our site is committed to publishing independent, accurate content guided by strict editorial guidelines. Before articles and reviews are published on our site, they undergo a thorough review process performed by a team of independent editors and subject-matter experts to ensure the content’s accuracy, timeliness, and impartiality. Our editorial team is separate and independent of our site’s advertisers, and the opinions they express on our site are their own. To read more about our team members and their editorial backgrounds, please visit our site’s About page.