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The practice of sexting can be an arousing affair for those in a committed relationship, but new research has now shown that more and more young teenagers are now sending and receiving sexts.

According to a study of 100,000 teenagers under the age of 18 carried out by researchers at the University of Calgary, the Daily Mail reports that almost one-third (30 per cent) of this group claimed to have received a sexually-charged text message.

"We weren't surprised by the findings because the exploration of sexuality is a normal part of adolescence," commented Dr Sheri Madigan, assistant professor in the department of psychology at the University of Calgary.

"What was most surprising is that we found that approximately one in ten teens are reporting that they have forwarded sexts without the consent of the sender."

Previous studies have shown a link between underage sexting and an increase in risky sexual behaviours, so educating young people on the dangers of sexting and safe sex in general is important.

Overall, the research argued that the widespread nature of sexting among teens means the sharing of sexually explicit images and messages should be included in education around safer sex for young people.

It is an especially important issue for this demographic, as relationships between individuals at this age tend to be very short-lived. The practice of sexting could therefore be leaving many young people open to risk.

According to the research, 12 per cent of teens said they had circulated naked images of another person without their permission, while 8.4 per cent said they had experienced images of themselves being distributed without consent.