Over half of teenage girls feel pressured to send explicit photos to boyfriends, survey finds

Girls have called for more education about sex in schools 

Over half of teenage girls feel under pressure to send boys sexual photographs of themselves, a new study in Australia has shown.

The survey of females aged between 15 to 19 by global development group Plan International also showed that over 81 per cent said it is “not OK” for a boyfriend to ask for naked images.

The organisation also interviewed young girls to uncover their thoughts on online sexual harassment. Seven out of ten of the 600 girls polled said they felt that sexual harassment and bullying online is endemic. 

One 18-year-old girl, only identified as Josie to protect her identity, called for a “crack down” on violent pornography.

“This is influencing men’s attitude towards women and what they think is acceptable,” she argued. 

Mia, aged 16 years, said that schoolchildren must be “taught too that if we are respectful and have better attitudes we can feel safer and have better relationships, and less pressure about us growing up.” 

The poll comes after a study published in 2014 found that anal sex among heterosexual teenagers was “painful, risky and coercive, particularly for women”, with boys describing how they expected to persuade reluctant partners. 

The research published in the journal BMJ Open said that anal sex is more prevalent among young people, but is not spoken about in mainstream sex education and remains a taboo. 

The 130 teenagers aged between 16 to 18 who were interviewed by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine rarely spoke of anal sex “in terms of mutual exploration of sexual pleasure”, while condoms were also often not used.

Dr Cicely Marston, who led the study, said she hoped it would encourage discussion about mutuality and consent, and cut the rate of couples engaging in “risky and painful techniques and challenge views that normalise coercion.”

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