Sexting is ‘normal’, think 1 in 4 young women

A quarter of young women believe sending sexual pictures is a “normal part of relationships” while 16 per cent have felt pressure to send such images, a new poll has revealed.

The figures from Girlguiding also expose concerning levels of sexual harassment at school and a strong belief that the advertising industry should curb its use of sexualised images.

Nearly 2,000 girls and young women, ranging in age from 7 to 21, were questioned for the Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2017.

Sexual taunts

One in four 18 to 21-year-olds said they said they regarded sending and receiving sexually explicit messages as a standard aspect of romantic relationships.

Over a quarter of 13 to 21-year-olds told researchers they had found pornography by accident, while 41 per cent had endured sexual ‘jokes’ or taunts at school in the past year.

Among girls and young women aged 11 to 21, 27 per cent had seen or experienced skirts being pulled up by boys at school in the past week.

Sexualised images

Other findings among 11 to 21-year-olds included:

• 52 per cent have recently seen airbrushed images in the media that they felt pressured them to look different;
• 88 per cent think adverts should not use sexualised images;
• 34 per cent are more likely to “get advice from a YouTuber than their parents”.


The Girlguiding report also noted: “When asked what would make being online safer, younger girls said they expect their parents to have control over what they see and block inappropriate sites.”

A total of 1,906 girls and young women aged between 7 and 21 took part in the survey from around the UK, from in and outside of the guiding organisation.

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