Teens Respond To Tyra Show On Sexting

In response to Tracie's clip on Friday of the Tyra Show on teen sexting, the Washington Post asks: why do teens sext?

On Tyra several teens explained their reasons for sexting. In a preview for the show, fourteen-year-old Keaton explains: "Guys don't talk to you unless you do this. Like I know there are some percent of girls who are extremely gorgeous and they just happen to talk to them, but, I mean, you have to have a little more something."

The website for the Tyra Show has quite a few comments by teens about their feelings on sexting. There is a sad, but not unexpected, divide between girls like Keaton, who believe (or once believed) that sexting was the best way to get attention, and girls like "ell," who seem a little too willing to slut-shame the sexters (and since I don't want to write it again and again, [sic] for everything that follows):

ok so just a thought here— all of my guy friends (and the girls who have sent the pics) said that it's very unlikely that they would date a girl(or in the girl's case get a boyfriend) who has "sexted" via picture, because who wants to date a girl that has been seen naked by every other guy in the school.

On the other end of the spectrum, "Gavin Nichole" thinks sexting is "no big deal:"

I saw the episode today and i personally dont think "sexting" is really that big of a deal. I'm 18 years old and most of my peers do it. It's just normal.Most teens are sexually active/curious these days because it's more acceptable in society. Although it was disturbing that some of the girls were 13 and 14 and were sending very explicit texts. For girls that young to be doing things like that isn't okay . But for girls pretty much 16 and older i feel it's normal.I have mixed feelings about this topic but i definetly don't think it's wrong to express yourself in a sexual way through texting. that's my opinion.

Some former sexters like "toluwa" regret their earlier behavior:

i'm 16 and i know i'm very beautiful..not trying 2 sound vain or anything..just 2 clarify the fact that i dont have any self esteem issues whatsoever .... my boyfriend and i used to send sexy explicit messages 2 each other on facebook nd i evn made videos of myself masturbating and we used to sext about what we had done and what we were goin 2 do. It was his idea 2 send d photos of our naked bodies but it was my idea 2 make d videos we made 4 each other. we ended up having sex once after about 8months of being together. but we really do care about each other a lot. i was 15 wen this happened nd we r still 2gether but we do not do anything sexual anymore because, by God's grace, we were able 2 mutually agree not to because of all the consequences and also 2 preserve what is left of my innocence. nd i thank God that i agreed with him not to take part in such anymore because i was very stubborn at first but he told me that if we love each other as much as we say we do,,,then we should be able 2 wait till we r old and mature enough to make such decisions

Some of the comments reject the sexting trend but only because naked pictures are "sick" and "nasty." One 12-year-old commenter calls her body "disgusting". A few girls discuss the general pressure to be model-thin and actress-beautiful. However, the most interesting thing about the commenter debate is how well it represents the confusion and contradictions of teen sexuality. Many girls feel pressured into sexting, only to later regret it. Some look down on the "slutty" sexters. Some hate their bodies. Some even associate sexting with sexual abuse, like commenter "missykai": "are these teens asking to be put in a setuwaytion to be raped, kild, or kidnapped by a sexaual peter." While sexters obviously aren't asking for anything (except acceptance and attention), by giving teens the opportunity to talk about their sexting habits, Tyra has (unwittingly) revealed the incredibly complex combination of slut-shaming, victim blaming, body hating, and peer pressure that makes the sexting thing so difficult to pin down.

Why Teens Sext [Washington Post]
Sexting: A Teen Discussion [Tyra Show Website]

Related: Tyra Tackles Teen Trend Of Sexting, What's The Right Punishment For Teen Sexting?, Teen Girl Panel: "Sexting" Panic Is Overblown