How To Practice Safe Sexts, According To The Experts

You know what sucks more than your significant other living in your building? Your significant other living in a different city—especially if that city is in an entirely different timezone. You know why that sucks? Because it makes sending a sext incredibly difficult. Like, no I don’t want to hear what you want to do to me while I’m wolfing down Chop’t at my desk because you just got up and are feeling some type of way. But at the end of the day, sexting is all we long distance couples have when we can’t spend the night (or a few steamy minutes) together. And even if you’re not in an LDR, sexting can still be, dare I say, f*cking fun. Like, yeah, drugs are fun, but have you ever felt the rush of opening a steamy sext that’s meant for your eyes only? However, like with sex, there’s a way to be risky and a way to sext safely while still having fun. If your SO/FWB/person with whom you want to test the waters is down for some digital fun, keep reading for some helpful tips from Cassandra Corrado, an O.school sex educator and founder and CEO of MonsterCloud, Zohar Pinhasi

What’s The Point Of Sexting?

Here’s the thing, when I told my friends I was writing this story, I had mixed reactions because some thought sexting was sending nudes and some thought sexting was sending dirty texts. I mean, por q no los dos, right? Sexting can be whatever you want it to be, and before you think you’re above it, you’re not. Plenty of people do it and there should be zero shame in that. Corrado says, “People sometimes have the misconception that only teenagers sext, but that isn’t true—people of all ages do. People sext because it’s fun, it builds intimacy, and it is a way of communicating desire that isn’t touch-based.” That last part is important. Communication, even if it’s based in something physical and/or sexual is massively important in any relationship. Also, if you’re feeling a little awkward telling your partner what you want while you’re currently in bed together, being able to say it via sext may be a little easier. 

Is There a Right/Wrong Way To Sext?

Glad you asked! The biggest concern with sexting is having your photos get leaked. I mean, I have no shame in my body, but I don’t necessarily want anyone who isn’t the person to whom I sent my sexy photos to see them. I know what you’re thinking: just don’t send the photos then? And to you I say, no. I will not let the hacker/revenge porn-laden world we live in dictate whether or not I will have a Euphoria-inspired photoshoot. But on the real, cyber security is a legitimate concern (whether you’re taking sexy photos or just simply online banking), but there are steps you can take to protect yourself. If you’re feeling nervous about your selfies falling into the wrong hands, Pinhasi says, “Use a VPN when possible. A VPN simply creates a safe, encrypted connection to the web so that the prying eyes of strangers on the network can’t see what you see, in this case your sexts and nude photos.” Also, never sext using public WiFi, which I hope is obvious. If you send your nudes in a Starbucks, you can expect everyone in said Starbucks to stumble upon your nudes. 

Another point I’d like to make that I hope is as obvious as the WiFi thing: don’t start sexting without consent, which may sound like a given, but in a world filled with unsolicited dick pics, is anything but. Wouldn’t it be cool if all the dick pics you’ve ever received were preceded by a “Can I send you a gross and unscaled photo of my penis?” and then you would get to say, “Nope!” Read the room as much as you can, but if you’re unsure, there is truly no harm in asking. Corrado adds, “Sexting is an opportunity to practice telling someone, ‘Hey, I’m not actually that into that’ or ‘That’s a bit intense for me right now, let’s soften things up.’” Hopefully things don’t go too soft (wink), but you know what’s more off-putting than a limp d*ck? Feeling like you’re being forced to do something you don’t want to do. 

How Do You Establish Boundaries?

Boundaries are tough, because you while you want to say whatever you need to say to feel comfortable in the situation/conversation, you don’t want to kill the mood. Corrado says, “Be clear, and be aware of your own reaction. If it’s something that is a major boundary violation, like doing something you’ve previously agreed wasn’t on the table, then that merits killing the mood to have a conversation.” Very fair point. At the end of the day, sexting is fun because you’re enjoying yourself, and the moment you stop enjoying yourself it’s time to speak up! Standing up for yourself feels better than letting a weird moment linger.

Are There Any Risks To Sexting?

While no matter how dirty the conversation gets, you can’t get pregnant or contract STDs from sexting, there are still plenty of equally heavy risks to consider when you start snapping. Corrado says, “There are emotional risks, because sexting is something that is really vulnerable. You’re not only talking about your desires, but you’re also talking about them (or perhaps showing them) in a graphic way. That means that if your sexting partner decides to share those messages, your trust will have been violated.” Hopefully, you aren’t sexting with someone you don’t trust, but again, use caution. “I always recommend that people know their angles—make sure that if you send photos or video, you’re mindful that your backdrop is neutral and that you don’t show your face or any other distinguishing characteristics, like birthmarks, piercings or tattoos.” That’s the first thing I learned from watching SVU!

Also, there’s the risk that Mr. Robot may hack into your software/wifi and steal your images/conversations. Pinhasi says, “If you don’t want someone looking at your photos and videos, store them yourself. Don’t use someone else’s technology/systems. You’re never fully in control of your data if it’s stored in someone else’s ‘vault’.” Basically, if you’re not down for strangers to see your nudie pics, figure out a different way to show them to your person. Ever heard of WhatsApp?

Something else to think about: “Employees at Apple—some third party contractors, even—have access to the interactions you have with Siri in the form of actual voice recordings. These recordings have picked up sexual encounters, drug deals, crime, and personal conversations,” Pinhasi says. Well, f*ck! Don’t use Siri to sext, but I’m not sure who was doing that anyway.

Ok, so what have we learned? Sexting is fun and awesome, but like most things, it’s fun if you’re safe about it. And the minute you feel uncomfortable, *Jenna Maroney voice* shut it down.

shut it down

Images: nito / Unsplash; Giphy (2)