What exactly is sexting? Even if you’ve never heard of it, you can probably guess what this word means just by looking at it. Namely, it refers to the electronic sharing of sexually explicit text messages, images, and videos. And while this is common in long-term relationships, sexting can become an illegal activity as soon as it starts involving people under 18, or any non-consenting person, regardless of their age.
And according to recent sexting statistics, the activity has been on the rise, especially among teens. However, most parents are still unaware of this controversial internet phenomenon. But can sexting cause harm to one’s privacy? What do you need to be aware of when sexting? What social groups sext the most? Take a look at the stats below to find out.
Top 10 Sexting Statistics and Facts
- Statistics reveal that 63% of teens use sexting to appear funny or flirtatious.
- 8 in 10 adults aged between 18 and 82 admit doing it at least once.
- 62% of millennials sext at least once a month, while 48% do it at least once a week.
- Statistics indicate that 1 in 12 teens has forwarded a sext without consent.
- Sexting in cohabiting couples mostly consists of sexy or intimate talk (29%), whereas only 12% engage in sharing sexually explicit photos or videos.
- Statistics reveal that more than 27% of teens have received at least one sext.
- Two-thirds of women have sent naked or semi-naked photos, compared to about one-half of men.
- Stats on texting show that 52.3% of adults have reluctantly engaged in sexting behaviors.
- One in four US teenagers are sending sexually explicit videos, photos, and text messages.
- Underraged and non-consensual sexting is a felony in 6 US states.
General Sexting Facts
1. Statistics reveal that 63% of teens use sexting to appear funny or flirtatious.
(Intoxicated on life)
A recent survey of 23,000 high school students from the Boston area reveals that those who had sex are five times more likely to engage in sexting than virgins. Another study shows that most teens sext to appear funny or flirtatious (63%). Moreover, 43% reported they did it as a present for their partner, while some sexted to get their crush’s attention (25%), or just to feel sexy (24%).
2. According to facts about sexting, the activity, when it involves underraged or non-consenting persons, is a felony in 6 US states.
(Intoxicated On Life)
Sexting becomes legally enforceable with the involvement of underage people or any unwilling participants. Even teens can be registered as sex offenders if they engage in creating or distributing sexualized images or videos of young persons. When it comes to US legal regulations on sexting, some states have downgraded it to a minor offense, while six states still regard the activity as a felony.
3. Teenagers are peer-pressured into sexting.
(U Know Kids)
Revealing facts about teenage sexting indicate that some teenagers sext because they are interested in investigating their sexuality. However, others may be peer-pressured into engaging in this activity. Unfortunately, teens usually aren’t able to approach sexting carefully, so regardless of the reason they engage in it, sexting is still a highly risky behavior that might get them into trouble.
4. Teen sexting facts suggest that sexting might eventually result in sexual bullying.
(Very Well Family)
Once they send a sext into the virtual world, the sender loses control over its content—anyone can see it, share it, and use it for blackmail. If a teen engages in reckless sexting, their peers might find out and bully them for their sexual activities. Therefore, this potentially fun activity can turn into public embarrassment and humiliation.
5. When it comes to dangers of sexting, statistics have shown that even sexts sent via Snapchat aren’t safe.
(Very Well Family)
Some teens and adults believe that a message recipient will only see photos sent through Snapchat (which reportedly deletes all shared images). But when it comes to sexting, safety depends on the actions of the recipient. Once sent, these images are in another person’s possession. Therefore, tech-savvy users can save copies of the media before the deletion.
Sexting Statistics in Teenagers
6. One in four US teenagers are sending sexually explicit videos, photos, and text messages.
A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that one in four US teenagers are sexting. This may sound scary, especially when you consider that, according to relationship stats, only a third of teens have experience with relationships. However, scientists have concluded that this is an emerging and regular part of sexual development and behavior. However, sexting between people under 18 is still illegal in six US states, including Utah, Florida, and Georgia.
7. Sexting statistics from 2014 suggest that girls send sexually suggestive messages slightly more than boys do.
Sexting is more common among teen girls. Reportedly, 22% of teenage girls send images of a sexual nature, while this is true for 18% of boys of the same age. Overall, 70% of teens who have sexted do it with their boyfriend or girlfriend.
8. According to teenage sexting statistics, more than 27% of teens have received at least one sext.
Teens today have a great deal of their lives lead over texts. They connect, they date, they break up over text, and so it’s no surprise that they also communicate in a sexual way over texts.
Based on 20 studies on sexting, the number of teens that received a sext is considerably higher than the number of teens who sent one. The researchers said this discrepancy results from the fact that one person can send a message to multiple recipients. It’s also possible that teens are more comfortable admitting to receiving a sext than sending one.
9. Sexting statistics from the UK show that there were more than 4,000 problematic sexting cases from 2013 to 2017.
Statistics collected by the BBC indicate the authorities spoke to around 400 minors under the age of 12 that sexted someone in the period between 2013 and 2017. Sexting is illegal in the UK for anyone under 18. Moreover, sexting facts coming from the UK reveal that the youngest person ever investigated by the police for sexting was only five years old.
10. Statistics indicate that 1 in 12 teens has forwarded a sext without consent.
According to statistics from 2018, one in 12 of the examined teens confirmed having distributed a sext they had received from someone else, without asking for their permission first, thus engaging in practice labeled as “non-consensual sexting.” Studies also reveal that older kids are more likely to be involved in sexting.
Sexting Statistics in Adults
11. When it comes to adult sexting, some studies indicate that women might be sexting more than men.
While there are (slightly) fewer women than men using dating apps, sexting is a bit different. According to a recent study at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, women are even more likely to initiate sexting than men. But how common is sexting in women? As per this extensive study, two-thirds of women have sent naked or semi-naked photos, compared to about one-half of men. However, this study might not reflect reality to the fullest extent, since it limits the survey to those that were cheating on their partners.
12. Teens are not the only ones engaging in sexting—8 in 10 adults aged between 18 and 82 reports having done it at least once.
While parents who catch their teenage children sexting believe that they do it due to lack of life experience, studies indicate that adults sext even more. According to sexting facts and statistics, eight in 10 adults have done it, which supports the hypothesis that sexting is perhaps just a natural occurrence and an integral part of modern exploration of sexuality. This should also encourage the parents to talk to their children about it, even if they didn’t do it when they were teens themselves. Better late than never!
13. 62% of millennials sext at least once a month, while 48% do it at least once a week.
It seems that sexting has become a norm for adults (especially according to long-distance relationships statistics), but it doesn’t necessarily make a relationship better. According to sexting stats published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, too much sexting can cause trouble in your relationship, even if it improves your libido. Yes, sexting can be great entertainment, but only as long as other components of a relationship are great as well. If you and your partner are quarreling, sexting can only do you harm, making your partner think you’re not taking them seriously.
14. Stats on sexting in married and cohabiting couples show that these couples sext as well, but less than those not living together.
This study examining the prevalence of sexting among cohabiting couples (including a sample of 180 wives and 175 husbands) has shown that married adults do sext each other but significantly less frequently than young adults in relationships. According to sexting statistics, their sexting mostly consists of sexy or intimate talk (29%), while only 12% engage in sharing sexually explicit photos or videos. Additionally, they reported that sexting improved their relationship satisfaction. Specifically, it alleviated attachment anxiety in women, while men experienced higher relationship satisfaction.
15. Stats on texting show that 52.3% of adults have reluctantly engaged in sexting behaviors.
It’s challenging to determine what level of sexting people are comfortable with and what is considered as consensual. However, statistics reveal that some adults still find sexting embarrassing and are reluctant to admit they find pleasure in it. Their reasons for sexting include flirtation, foreplay, and pleasing their partner.
Distributing sexually explicit content can be risky, especially for the younger population. So why do people sext? The newest data suggest that it is slowly becoming a normal part of the modern exploration of sexuality. Nevertheless, it is still a controversial topic, persistently drawing the attention of both lawmakers and researchers.
There are various conflicting opinions on sexting among teens and adults. The research has shown it can lead to adverse effects on well-being, such as low self-esteem and depression.
Sexting statistics reveal that it’s certainly not acceptable to engage in sexting if you are under 18 or exposing someone else without their consent. But if the recipient is your long-term partner, and you’re sexting cautiously, it just might be the perfect way to overcome relationship challenges and have fun with your significant other.