Things to think about before sending nudes

Sending nudes is a super common way to flirt, but it can be risky, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you hit ‘send’.

Infographic with the title What To Think About Before Sending Nudes. There are six illustrations each with a sub-heading. From left to right the headings read: Ask for consent, set the ground rules, have a game plan, make sure it's legal, de-identify your pics, talk to your friends.

Why do people send nudes?

A good place to start is knowing your ‘why’. People generally send nudes because they see it as a turn-on and a normal part of flirting or dating. But there’s a big difference between sending a nude to someone who is consenting and involved, and sending one to someone who hasn’t consented or wasn’t expecting it. It’s not okay to send nudes to someone just to shock them or guilt them into sending one back.

In some instances, people may send nudes to try to trick the recipient into sending a nude back, so they can then share it around or use it as blackmail material. This is a really serious issue and is never the sender's fault, but it can help to be aware of the signs. Before you send a nude back, ask yourself: 

  • How well do I know this person?

  • Do I trust that this person is who they say they are? Have we only ever talked on an app or online? 

  • Do I have a plan in case the nude is used against me? Do I know where I can go for support? 

Having your nudes shared can feel really awful and even scary, especially if someone is harassing you. Read our guide on what to do if your nudes have been shared to learn about your options. 

Just like in real life, no one should ever feel pressured to do anything sexual. Being pressured into something you’re not comfortable with is definitely not a turn-on! If you feel even slightly uncomfortable with sending a nude, it probably means it's not for you right now. 

You can shut down the convo by being honest and saying you’re not into it. If they are still pushing despite your saying ‘no’, it might be time to reflect on the relationship and ask for support from someone you trust. 

On the flip side, you should also make sure the other person is 100 per cent into the idea before you start sending off your own steamy pics. This means an enthusiastic ‘yes’ from both parties before you send anything. And remember: it’s fine for either of you to change your mind at any time. Consent needs to be mutual, enthusiastic and ongoing!

Set the ground rules

Have a chat about what you both want beforehand, to avoid any misunderstandings. Be clear about what you expect the other person to do with your nudes. Here’s some things to bring up in the chat:

  • What you’ll do with the nudes after. Should they be saved (if so, where will you keep them?), deleted, or taken off the cloud?

  • Who can view the nudes. Are they just for our eyes only? If we’re okay with others seeing them, who exactly can view them and who can’t? 

  • What you’ll do with them if you’re no longer together. Are we okay with us still keeping them even if we aren’t together, or would we want them to be deleted? 

Try to talk about this stuff before you send anything. If things move a bit too quickly and you miss having the chat, aim to have it as soon as possible after the fact. It’s important to be on the same page about this, even though it may feel a little awkward in the moment. Remember that either of you could withdraw your consent at any time, so at the end of the day it all comes down to trust.

Have a game plan

You might also want to talk about how you want to send each other nudes. There’s no definitive way to safely send your nudes online, but there are some platforms that are safer than others. However, these rules will only keep you feeling safe if you actually trust the other person. No app can protect you against screenshots (or the old-fashioned version, physically taking pics of the screen), so you can never know for sure where your nudes will end up.

If you or the person you’re exchanging nude pics or vids with is under 18, it’s illegal. No matter what age you are, it’s against the law to harass anyone for nudes. Check out LawStuff to learn more about the laws in your state or territory. 

It’s never okay to share someone’s nudes without their consent. If you’re planning to share someone else’s nudes, you both need to have agreed to your sharing them and they should be aware of who you’re sending them to and how you’re sending them.  

Sharing nudes without consent is a huge breach of trust and privacy – not to mention unlawful in most states and territories. Think about how your actions will affect the other person. Having intimate pics shared online can damage their self-esteem and cause them anxiety, panic attacks, or feelings of humiliation and shame. It could even get them fired or cause other people to verbally or physically harass them. If you’ve shared someone's nudes and you’re unsure what to do, visit eSafety to see how you can limit the damage.

If someone forwards you a nude, and you don’t think it was meant for your eyes, delete it. If you feel confident, you can tell the sender that you think it’s a pretty bad move to share people’s private pics.

De-identify your pics 

Despite what the news or your parents say, not every nude ends up plastered all over the internet. But, it’s worth considering how you’d feel if one went public. Once nudes are uploaded, it’s super easy for them to be saved and shared, which means the pic you took for your partner could end up in anyone’s hands. If you’re still keen to send the nude, it’s a good idea not to include your face or other identifiable features (such as tattoos or birthmarks) so that you can’t be identified if they do end up online.

Talk to your friends

Chances are, your mates have been in a similar situation. It might be a good idea to talk to them about whether they’ve sent nudes before and what they’ve done to keep safe.

What can I do now?

  • If someone has shared your nudes without your consent, read this article to find out your options.

  • Read up on sexual consent and remember: whether it’s online or in real life, both of the people involved need to give their consent.

  • If you’ve got nudes on your phone or computer that you’re unsure about keeping, delete them. If this has made you rethink previous nudes you sent, reach out to the recipients and ask them to delete your nudes.