Recent research suggests that sexting, sending nude photos or sexually explicit messages, is a normal part of modern dating and nowhere as risqué as the media describes it to be.

The rapid advance of technology, with smartphones being used by almost everyone, has increased the number of sexts, researchers said.

A research team from the University of Michigan analyzed the sexting practices of more than 3,400 men and women aged between 18 and 24. They found that more than half, 57 percent, were non-sexters; 28 percent were two-way sexters; 12 percent were receivers and 2 percent were senders. The researchers didn't find any relationship between sexting groups and the number of sexual partners.

According to the researchers, sexting isn't associated with either risky sexual behavior or psychological health and is apparently a normal part of modern dating.

"Our results suggest that sexting is not related to sexual risk behavior or psychological well-being," the authors said.

Previous research has shown that teens who engage in sexting are largely unaware of the consequences. Researchers say that most of the studies published on sexting have been associated with teenagers, while the present study focused on the impact of sexting on health in adults.

"For younger age groups, legality is an issue. They are also in a very different place in their sexual development," said Debbie Gordon-Messer from the University of Michigan and co-author of the study, in a statement.

Researchers found that sexting is more likely to happen between romantic partners and many people who received a sext more often than not sent sexts to their partners.

"We have to keep paying attention to how technology influences our lives, including our sexuality and our sexual behavior," said Jose Bauermeister, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and one of the principal investigators of the study.

The study was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.