10 Golden Rules Of Safe Sexting
Lesson #1: Keep things vague af.
We could sit here and tell you that sexting is a terrible idea. It’s guaranteed to end in disaster. You absolutely, 100% should not ever even think about getting cheeky with your texting. We could remind you of the endless stories surrounding sexting scandals and warn you that revenge porn is now illegal, but still very real.
But let’s be honest, you’re gonna do it anyway. Sending personal pictures and steamy texts is all too tempting when you get chatting to someone that you like, and that’s okay - the numbers speak for themselves. Nearly 40% of teens admit that they’ve taken part in sexting at some point, and it’s now a very normal part of the dating game, whether the older folks like it or not.
If you’re gonna do it and you’re into it, then you need to learn the golden rules first. Here’s the ten handy (and actually important) bits of advice you need to follow every time, to make sure that sexting stays fun, private and above all, safe.
1. Firstly, get clued up on the actual, official law.
Because going to prison for sexting would just be plain embarrassing. Sexting is such a huge part of relationships and online life now that there are full-on laws surrounding it. Technically, it’s illegal if you’re under the age of 18.
If you’re younger than that and you send a sexual picture of yourself to someone, it counts as distributing indecent imagery of children - even if that child is you. Forwarding on photos to others (even if they’re pals)? Also illegal. Sending unwanted naked photos if they’ve said no, or hasn’t agreed to receiving them? Yep, that’s illegal too.
It might sound OTT, but even if you think the whole thing is just a bit of a laugh, the person on the receiving end might be taking it much more seriously, and you could end up in a whole lot of trouble. Just sayin’, do your research.
2. Do not feel pressured into doing anything.
Perhaps the golden rule of any #sexprobs. f the idea of telling someone your intimate thoughts or sharing pictures of your body makes you feel uncomfortable, then you absolutely, 100% catagorically should not do it - and should NOT feel bad about it. Shout it so the people in the back can hear.
Nobody will think any less of you for not sexting, and if they do then they’ve shown themselves to be the type of person that you don’t want to be involved with anyway. In fact, having the confidence to say no and stand your ground would probably be pretty attractive to a lot of people.
3. Make sure you absolutely trust the other person.
It's easy to fall for the "I swear I won't show anyone" and "come on, babe” texts, and in the heat of the moment, sending intimate messages will seem like the hottest, best idea your brain has ever created. But let’s be honest, it always comes with the risk that the person on the other end could violate your privacy by sharing it - no matter how well you think you know them or how long it’s been.
Don’t rush into all of this with someone you barely know or just trying to impress - remember that it means you’re pretty much laying yourself bare. And if you’re confident, feel free to specifically state first that you don’t want your messages to go anywhere other than their eyes only. Don’t leave anything up to interpretation.
4. No one wants surprise genitals.
Generally a good life rule to live by, but particularly when it comes to sexting. Sending someone an unsolicited picture of your dick, vag, boobs and lord knows what else is a pretty shitty thing to do - not to mention illegal. It’s basically the online version of being a pervy flasher IRL, and a lot of people would find this upsetting and a huge invasion of privacy - not to mention the fact that they will instantly think you’re quite a weirdo.
Studies have found that an unwanted naked image is much more likely to be shared in a “Oh my god, this creepy dude/girl sent me this”, kind of way too. Always make sure that you’re both on the same page when it comes to how far you’re going to take the sexting.
5. Keep things vague af.
If you’ve decided that you’re going to go ahead and do illustrated sexting (that’s our fancy way of saying send nudes), then please be clever about it. Even if you trust the other person with your life, there’s no failsafe guarantee that your pics won’t end up in the wrong hands, so be smart and keep things vague.
Think about keeping your face out of the photo, or try to conceal anything distinguishable about your body. Got a distinctive tattoo or a birth mark everyone knows about? Hide it. It might sound like a mood killer, but let’s be honest - it just makes sense and might help you sleep at night after it’s all done and dusted.
6. Implied nude is also pretty hot.
Although sexting is becoming more and more common, let’s not forget the fact that sending naked photos of yourself to someone is a HUGE deal. If you’re not quite ready to do it but still want to share something with the other person, you can be sneaky and a bit less ‘HERE’S MY VAGINA’ with your picture-taking, if you want.
Instead of anything explicit or fully-naked, implied nude is just as (if not MORE) sexy. An arm across your boobs, topless from behind, side boob or even a towel covering anything too major could all be a better suited choice that will make you feel more comfortable and less exposed.
7. Words are good too, y’know.
They always say that a picture paints a thousand words, and while a picture might be pretty awesome, a thousand words are a hell of a lot safer. EL James made about ten bajillion pounds from getting people off with her words (proof that it definitely works just as well as images), so try letting their imagination do all of the hard work if you’re worrying about sharing photos.
Plus, it means that you don’t have to shave, find your nice undies in the back of the drawer or pull some weird, slightly straining poses. Hoorah.
8. Delete everything as you go.
Ahh, last night’s little sexting sesh was very lovely, you think to yourself. Ten seconds later, your phone gets stolen with all the compromising, nudey pictures still very much on your camera roll - not ideal, so be a good pal and delete them afterwards.
You’d hope that someone else would do the same for you, as protection in a sexual relationship works both ways. You never know when someone might get their hands on your photos, so do bae a favour and clear incriminating photos from your phone once you’ve um… finished? Shout out to the pesky ‘Recently Deleted’ folder which also needs clearing, btw.
9. There’s actually proper apps to help you out.
Worried that someone’s gonna borrow your phone and discover the heated chats you’ve been having a 2am? There’s an app for that. Try something like Bleep, which sends text and images directly through a peer to peer comms system, meaning that the messages stay away from servers or clouds that can be hacked.
Or Disckreet, which locks everything up under a password that’s needed by both you and bae for any access. Changed your mind and don’t want them to see it all anymore? Just don’t enter the password from your end - sorted. Also very handy for making sure you don’t swipe one pic too far when showing off cute photos of your dog. Phew.
10. Snapchat is a pretty good option.
So you’re feeling up for it and you’re convinced that this is what you wanna do? Cool, now it’s time to think about how you’re gonna go about it securely. One of the easiest and most common apps used for sexting these days is of course, good old Snapchat. 10 seconds of sexy booby/willy action and it’s gone forever. That doesn’t mean however that you need to be less careful - the screenshot button is still a thing and this has happened to celebs SO MANY TIMES that you should be aware that people leaking pics from the app is a very real fear.
Basically, it all goes back to number 2. Trust and respect are the single most important things when it comes to sexting, so bare everything in mind, get your eggplant emojis out, stay clued up and you should be good to go.
- Words by Lucy Wood.
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