You’ve heard of safe sex, but what is safe sexting? Its being smart with your phone while sending sexual texts or pictures to others. What is sexting?
Sexting is a result of advances in technology enabling new forms of social interaction. Messages with sexual content have been exchanged over all forms of historical media. Newer technology allows photographs and videos, which are intrinsically more explicit and have greater impact. A social danger with sexting is that material can be very easily and widely propagated, over which the originator has no control.
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So in other words, proceed with caution. Some people only use sexting with semi-strangers. In other words, with people across the country that they will never meet, but chat with online. They may feel safer sending explicit messages or pictures to someone who doesn’t know them and wouldn’t be able to send it around their university or community. Just remember, it is a small world, and I’m always amazed at who knows who no matter where they are from. Like its states above, once you send the picture off to someone, you lose complete control. You will never know how long that person will keep the picture on their phone and what they will do with it once they get it in their possession.
Other people tell me that they only send sexually explicit messages to their boyfriend or girlfriend. In other words, someone they trust. This may seem like a good way to spice up your relationship but be aware that people do fight and break up. If you have sent messages or pictures to someone who now wants to pay you back for something, you could be in some trouble.
Also be aware that if you are in a committed relationship with someone and you are sexting someone else, that is considered cheating. You can cheat with technology very easily. Even if the person lives across the world, if you do this behind your boyfriend or girlfriend’s back, this is considered cheating. If your boyfriend or girlfriend finds a naked photo on your phone that a same sex friend passed along, that could still look very bad for you. People do forward photos. You want to remove those ASAP if you are in a relationship. Keeping it on your phone even though it was sent from a buddy of yours, is not considered a smart idea.
Another way to be safer while sexting is to not send any pictures with your face also in the photo. Some people say it is a little less likely that someone will be able to identify you in case the picture gets out to others. You may want to set some ground rules before you engage in such behaviors as well. Sexting can start arguments because some people promise something through text that they can’t deliver in person. Be careful about what you tell someone you are willing to do. You could find yourself pressured later to go through with things that may be easier to say than to do.
Also, please don’t feel pressured to engage in these activities at all if they make you feel uncomfortable. You have the right to say no. It is also inappropriate to send naked pictures of yourself to someone who doesn’t desire to receive one. It is not a turn on to receive unsolicited texts or pictures of a sexual nature. It is usually a turn off. Don’t just assume someone is willing. Ask the person if they are okay with it before sending anything sexual to someone. If that person says no, be respectful. It is also not a turn on to beg someone for sexual material either. NO means NO. If you proceed after this point it is considered sexual harassment.
As a counselor, I recommend you educate yourself before engaging in sexting with anyone. It may seem fun, harmless and safer than having sex, but there are still consequences that can be devastating. Be aware of all the risks before deciding what is best for you. If you are over 18 it isn’t illegal to send sexual material over your phone to someone else that is over 18. You have to decide what you are comfortable with and be strong about setting a clear boundary with others who are trying to engage you in this behavior. If you start something and then feel uncomfortable, stop and let the other person know. If they won’t stop, find a way to block them from your phone if possible or report them for harassment.
Be smart and be safe. Safe sex isn’t just done with a condom anymore.