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The majority said they were pressured into going further with someone intimately.
This is obviously worrying, and it’s the sort of thing Mumsnetters should be talking about - preferably to their own teens.
That’s great, because they know it’s normal for people their age to have sexual urges.
But when they go ahead and act on those desires – in a way that doesn’t involve actual sex – they’re criticised and condemned by everyone from academics to the media. We can’t expect teenagers to not want to “feel sexy or flirty”; they’re going through puberty with hormones aplenty, and it’s only a couple of centuries ago that it was normal for teenage girls to marry and produce children. However, it's worth remembering that not much has changed biologically. All we need to do is try and remember the intensity of having a crush and desperately wanting to experience every single one of the bases, to know exactly how today’s teens feel. “That young people are going into it on an equal basis and aren’t being coerced, and they’re aware of the risks of [the images] not being seen by other people and unfortunately by people they really wouldn’t want to see them, like paedophiles.” It comes back to what we, at Telegraph Wonder Women, been calling for now for months: better sex education.
It might be a way for young people to explore issues possibly more safely. In their school sex education classes they’re told that masturbation and sexual exploration is normal.
Whenever a study about the numbers of teen girls ‘sexting’ comes out, it’s inevitably accompanied by cries of shock.
How can it be that one in four teenagers is sending sexual images and messages to each other?
But it wasn’t the only news in the report, which found that England beats four other European countries when it comes to sexting rates, as almost half of our teen girls have sent sexual images. Up to 51 per cent did it to “feel sexy or flirtatious”.
It’s the sort of news we should be smiling about – for once we aren’t being told that young girls are the victims of sex.
It’s something we need to accept, not be shocked by.