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Moreover, the US is the only developed country in which the rate of teenage pregnancy has increased in recent years. This does not reflect greater rates of sexual promiscuity; sexual activity among teenagers in the US is comparable to that among teenagers in other industrialized countries.
Less than half of teens older than 14 said they've had intercourse, a sharp drop from rates in the '80s, a new CDC study found.
Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. Data were collected online between and with 3, randomly selected to year-old youth across the United States. Seven percent of youth reported sending or showing someone sexual pictures of themselves, where they were nude or nearly nude, online, via text messaging, or Teens Mitchell for sex, during the past year. Although females and older youth were more likely to share sexual photos than males and younger youth, the profile of psychosocial challenge and sexual behavior was similar for all youth.
After adjusting for demographic characteristics, sharing sexual photos was associated with all types of sexual behaviors assessed e. Adolescents who shared sexual photos also were more likely to use substances and less likely to have high self-esteem than their demographically similar peers. Whether there are adolescent health implications, however, is less well understood. In a study of high school students across 7 schools in Texas state, youth who reported sharing sexual photos of themselves were more likely to be dating and to have had sex [ 3 ].
This would suggest that sharing or posting sexual pictures is reflective of typical sexual expression in romantic relationships among adolescents. Sexual relationships are normative, age-typical experiences for adolescents, and these relationships have ificant implications for health, adjustment, and psychosocial functioning [ 1112 ]. Sexually curious behavior is reflective of typical sexual development during adolescence [ 13 — 15 ]. Sharing or posting sexual pictures may therefore be reflective of usual sexual expression in romantic relationships in adolescence. We also examine how this behavior relates to psychosocial functioning, as this is less well understood.
To examine whether potential differences in findings are perhaps related to age differences, correlates are examined for younger and older youth separately. Because the focus in this paper is on the general population of adolescents, the current analyses are restricted to the HPOL sample. Members were recruited through a variety of methods, including targeted mailings, word of mouth, and online advertising. Qualified respondents were: 1 United States residents, 2 13—18 years old, 3 in 5 th grade or above, and 4 those Teens Mitchell for sex provided informed assent.
The median survey length was 23 minutes. Recent survey response rates are noticeably lower than in the past [ 1718 ]. It was calculated as the of individuals who started the survey divided by the of invitations sent, less any invitations that were returned as undeliverable. Sexting was defined as sexual photo-sharing through any mode. We are talking about times when you wanted to do these things. Please keep in mind that these things can happen anywhere including in-person, on the Internet, and on cell phones or text messaging.
Youth who had shared pictures online were asked follow-up questions about the most recent incident, including whether they knew the recipient offline and the age difference between the respondent and the recipient. A range of sexual activities ever engaged in were also queried. Depressive symptomatology was measured with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale-revised item version Teens Mitchell for sex adolescents [ 20 ], social support with the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support [ 21 ], and past year substance use using measures from the Youth Risk Behavioral Survey [ 22 ].
Further detail is available upon request. Next, a validity check was applied i. Finally, missing responses i.
The final analytical sample was 3, youth. Statistical ificance was determined using F statistics, which are chi-square statistics that take the weighting scheme intofor categorical data and linear regression for continuous data. Differences were again tested for statistical ificance, using F statistics for categorical data and linear regression for continuous data. Differences were quantified using logistic regression.
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Odds ratios were adjusted for demographic characteristics: youth age, biological sex, sexual identity, ethnicity, race, household income, region, being born again Christian which may relate to sexual behavior [ 25 ]school type i.
The percentages by mode were similar to the overall sample. As shown in Table 1male and female youth who sent or showed sexual pictures were ificantly older and more likely to be Hispanic as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or other non-heterosexual identity LGB. Males who sent or showed sexual photos were more likely to be living in a small town compared to males who did not send or show sexual pictures. Females who sent or showed sexual photos were less likely to Teens Mitchell for sex born again Christian.
Aside from age and sexual identity, differences were not noted between youth who did and did not send or show sexy photos among younger youth Table 2. Among older youth, those who sent or showed sexual photos were more likely to be female, Hispanic ethnicity, or LGB and were less likely to be born again Christian.
Ninety-five percent of female youth sent or showed sexual pictures to males; five percent to other females. In all cases when the age differed Teens Mitchell for sex more than four years, the recipient was older, not younger. For all youth, high self-esteem was negatively associated, whereas alcohol and marijuana use were positively associated, with having sent or showed sexual pictures.
For female youth, depressive symptomatology was additionally associated with elevated odds of having sent or showed sexual pictures of herself. Similar but non-ificant trends of depressive symptomatology were also noted for younger youth.
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Additionally, Teens Mitchell for sex younger youth, high social support was associated with decreased odds of having sent or showed sexual photos of themselves. Fewer than one in ten youth sent or showed sexual photos of themselves online, via text messaging, or in-person in the past year. Text messaging is the most common mode used to share sexual photos: half as many report sending or sharing sexual photos online, and half as many again, in-person.
They also are much more likely to be engaging in sexual behaviors as well some risky sexual behaviors, particularly having concurrent sex partners for male youth, as well as older and younger youth, and increasing s of past year sexual partners for male and female youth, as well as older youth.
Not all youth who send and share sexual photos are necessarily engaging in problematic behavior. For some teens, taking and sending sexual pictures of themselves plays a role in a healthy sexual relationship. Certainly, from a public health perspective, the risk of sexually transmitted infections is lower for couples who are sharing sexual photos of themselves in place of vaginal or anal sex. In the current study, almost all youth who share sexual photos of themselves with someone of the same sex self-identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual LGB.
Perhaps LGB youth are sharing sexual photos as a way to create intimacy in the absence of being able to be publicly intimate with their romantic partner. Although females are more likely than males and older youth more likely than younger youth to Teens Mitchell for sex sexual photos, the profile of psychosocial challenge and sexual risk taking behavior is remarkably similar for all youth.
Thus, while the likelihood of sharing sexual photos varies by biological sex and age, the characteristics of these youth are otherwise similar. Extensive tailoring of prevention efforts does not appear warranted. Although the majority of youth who share sexual pictures online did so with recipients they knew offline, almost one in three youth share pictures with recipients they know online but not in-person.
Much of the research attention to date has focused on exchanges between friends or romantic partners [ 10 ]. Little is known about the motivations and nuanced experiences of exchanges between people only known online.
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Perhaps this is an opportunity for some youth to explore their sexuality in ways that they are not comfortable doing with people they know. Whether this le to further sexual exploration and perhaps risky sexual behavior offline may be an important future inquiry.
Among youth who shared or sent a picture online, two in five intended recipients are at least one year older than the respondent. Of those who report an older recipient, one in five indicate that the person is more than four years older.
Such cases that come to police attention typically involve adult offenders who have developed relationships and seduced victims. Without further information, it is unclear whether the situations in the current study involve criminal elements or not. Age differentials between the sender and recipient seem to be a particularly important aspect of the situation that could contextualize whether the behavior is a marker for greater cause for concern and thus in need of a more systematic intervention. However, the sub-samples are not large enough in the current sample to examine this further.
This could represent a broad range of behaviors, ranging from being in a revealing bathing suit or shirtless to being completely nude. Mitchell and colleagues used a similar definition and then asked a follow-up question about whether the picture was sexually explicit i. This narrower definition cut the rate by more than half: 2. Because the data are cross-sectional, directionality cannot be determined. The degree of sexual explicitness in the photos may possibly relate to different odds of negative consequences or harmful impact.
Certainly too, sexual behavior can be sensitive to discuss and youth may under-report their engagement with these behaviors. And, we thank the study participants for their time and willingness to participate in this study.
The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Publisher's Disclaimer: This is a PDF file of an unedited manuscript that has been accepted for publication. As a service to our customers we are providing this early version of the manuscript. The manuscript will undergo copyediting, typesetting, and review of the resulting proof before it is published in its final citable form. Please note that during the production process errors may be discovered which could affect the content, and all legal disclaimers that apply to the journal pertain.
Conflict of interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare. Michele L. Kimberly J. National Center for Biotechnology InformationU. J Adolesc Health. Author manuscript; available in PMC Dec Teens Mitchell for sex. MitchellPhD. Author information Copyright and information Disclaimer.
Copyright notice. The publisher's final edited version of this article is available at J Adolesc Health. See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Methods Data were collected online between and with 3, randomly selected to year-old youth across the United States. Keywords: Sexual behavior, adolescents, media, sexting, sexual risk, psychosocial functioning. Measures Sexting was defined as sexual photo-sharing through any mode.