A 2009 study claims that 4 percent of teens ages 14–17 have claimed to have sent sexually explicit photos of themselves.
Fifteen percent of these teens also claimed to have received sexually explicit photos.
In addition, of those who had sent a sexually explicit picture, over a third had done so despite believing that there could be serious legal and other consequences if they got caught.
In 2013, it was found that sexting is often used to enhance the relationship and sexual satisfaction in a romantic partnership.Sexting thus can be considered a "behaviour that ties into sexuality and the subsequent level of relationship satisfaction experienced by both partners".Sexting has been promoted further by several direct messaging applications that are available on smartphones.The difference between using these applications and traditional texting is that content is transmitted over the Internet or a data plan, allowing anyone with Internet access to participate.The study had a small sample size, so more research needs to be done surrounding sexting and motivation, but it is clear that sexting is a phenomenon that is not constrained to simply unattached individuals looking for fun; it is used by those in intimate relationships to increase feelings of intimacy and closeness one's partner.
For teens, sexting can also act as a prelude (or in lieu of) sexual activity, as an experimental phase for those who are yet to be sexually active, and for those who are hoping to start a relationship with someone.
Young adults use the medium of the text message much more than any other new media to transmit messages of a sexual nature.
As a result of sexting being a relatively recent practice, ethics are still being established by both those who engage in it and those who create legislation based on this concept.
This suggests a consent issue of people receiving photos without asking for them.
This is enhanced with Snapchat, as the person receiving snapchats will not be aware of the contents until they open it. In a 2011 study, 54% of the sample had sent explicit pictures or videos to their partners at least once, and ⅓ of their sample had engaged in such activities occasionally.
most media coverage fixates on negative aspects of adolescent usage.