Sexting can be a fun way to flirt but be wary that once an image is out of your hands it can go anywhere. Doug has some ideas about how to stay safe when sexting.
No one wants to find themselves hanging out naked in cyberspace against their will.
Imagine this: you’ve been flirting with someone by text and they’ve asked you for a shot of your bits. You think, alright, I’m up for that, and you work to get a good shot. You choose the recipient from your recent contacts and hit send. Why does it say Mum at the top of the screen? NO. WAIT. You didn’t. It’s all fun and games until you accidentally sext your mum. But really – there are bigger things to think about when sexting than just choosing the right recipient.
What does sexting even mean?
When you share nude or sexual images through your phone or online, it’s called sexting. It’s a way of expressing sexuality and getting to know someone sexually, and it usually happens between people of a similar age. A lot of people say it’s fun – and it’s definitely popular – but things can get out of hand pretty easily.
Most of the time the images remain private, but sometimes content can get into the wrong hands and end up in places more public than you ever would have felt comfortable with. No one wants to find themselves hanging out naked in cyberspace against their will. Here are a few things to consider before you snap and send.
When is it legal?
In Australia, sexting is generally ok if it's between two consenting adults, but if you're not 18 and you're sending sexy texts (or if you're receiving sexy texts from someone under 18), you could get in a lot of trouble. Any naked or sexual images of people under 18 are considered child pornography, and there are some really serious legal consequences for people who distribute or possess child porn. Check out Lawstuff for more info on what can happen in your state, before you snap or send anything.
Don’t feel pressured into sexting
When you're 18, you can sext up a storm if you want to, but you shouldn’t ever feel like you’ve been pushed into it. This happens sometimes, but it’s never okay for someone to force or guilt you into taking and sharing photos of yourself. It’s not a condition of being in a relationship that your partner gets to keep compromising photos of you on their phone – that’s always up to you.
Just like sex itself, consent is important to consider when sexting – for both the sender and the recipient. When someone shares a sensitive photo of you without your consent, it’s a form of cyberbullying. It might be worth figuring out what you feel comfortable doing and what gives you the heebie jeebies before diving in head first.
Once it’s taken, a photo or video can go anywhere – messaged to other people or even posted online. The thing is, if the photo, video or message doesn’t exist then there’s no chance of harm. It can’t be shared if it doesn’t exist. If you’re thinking about sexting, make sure you’re prepared for what might happen if the content gets into the wrong hands.
What can happen?
If things go right, then you and your partner or hook-up have a great ol’ time sexting each other. It’s actually a form of flirting – just with a little technology to help things along.
But if things go wrong and your photo or message gets shared with more people than you expected, it can be pretty hurtful and distressing. It’s a breach of your privacy and at the time you might feel distressed, angry, humiliated, and like you just want to never face anyone you know again. It’s okay – it will blow over – but it’s never a nice situation to be in.
Have fun but stay safe
In a nutshell, sexting can be a fun way to flirt but be wary that once an image is out of your hands it can go anywhere.
- If you’re not comfortable with the risk that your photo could be shared with others, just don’t take and share a photo.
- Just like sex, consent is important in sexting. Do both the sender and the recipient consent?
- It’s up to you to take part in sexting – you have a right to refuse.