Sexting

Isn't this just part of a good relationship?
Image by Nicki Varkevisser CC BY 2.0 Cropped

You could be put in a position to make a choice

Your choice can affect the rest of your life

The media offers a lot of 'helpful' support for sexting and how to do it effectively. This page presents a balancing cautionary view so you have a more complete big-picture to make informed decisions. Every story sounds correct until you hear the other side.

One of the primary problems associated with sexting is that material can be very easily and widely circulated, over which the creator has no control.

McAfee, the anti-virus company, did its own study and found that 60% of sexts get leaked. Scary!

It is amazing that one picture, which takes less than a few seconds to take, holds the power to change a person's life. One picture, one moment in time, too many consequences...It's just not worth it...

Today

We live in a sex saturated society in which sexting plays a part. The media does not help by promoting scantily clad celebrities sharing much more than their personality. They are the role models we have to deal with - role models who use exposed skin to become popular.

A lot of guys are aware of the potential consequences of sexting but think they have immunity - thinking the internet and messaging apps are a safe place. The unintended consequences however can be enormous as time goes on.

Definitions

Sexting
Sexting is sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually explicit messages, photographs or images, primarily between mobile phones. It may also include the use of a computer or any digital device. (Wikipedia) Notice the definition is not just images but also messages of a sexual nature - whether sending or receiving them.
Romance
An attraction or appeal to the emotions. (Merriam Webster)

Some concerns

  • I am pressured by friends to make a sext image and and send it to a girl I know.
  • Some girls have incriminating images of me and are threatening to share them.
  • I'm afraid my friends will not like me if I don't do what they want.

Legal position

In almost every country, it is illegal to possess and/or send sexual pictures of under-age people. It is this way to protect you from yourself as much as anything, because you don't have the maturity to understand the possible consequences. The first story is from USA, the second from England.

Back when he was just a young 16-year-old at Douglas Byrd High School in North Carolina who played on the football team, his girlfriend sent him a sexy photo. He responded with a sexy photo of his own, because he was a teenaged boy who had a girl showing interest in him. Neither party disseminated the photos beyond the intended recipient, which is great news for all involved. However, police found the photos when they swept up this guy’s phone in the statutory rape investigation where he was not a suspect, and this seemingly innocent exchange of stills escalated into five felony charges.

Although ‘sexting’ can be seen by young people as harmless, creating or sharing indecent images of a child (someone below the age of 18) is illegal, even if the person doing it is themselves a child.

Detective Superintendent Susie Harper said: "If a child's mobile phone contract is in his or her parent's name, then the parent can be liable for what the phone is used for, and any indecent material that is saved or sent from it.

Apps that make sexting easy

Any app that makes sexting easier will be full of predators posing as curious teenagers. Read one story below about how quickly it can all go wrong.

Enter Kik (and several other messengers that fly under the radar of parental controls because they are apps. And oh yeah, kids can delete the messages so they are no longer on their device although they can remain on the recipients).

She ( 12 year old daughter) didn’t know how to make him go away, and he kept telling her he would “upload her picture” and “ruin her life” and her “friends and family would disown her if they found out” if she didn’t comply with his demands. This all happened in two short days of her having a Kik account.

He (the detective) said pursuing this guy was a long shot. Kik normally doesn’t cooperate with US Law Enforcement (it’s a Canadian-based company), and he also said there are 10 cases just like this on his desk. He would keep the case active though.

My 12-Year-Old Was Blackmailed for Nude Photos via Kik Messenger [2]

Snapchat is usually regarded as being safer for teens to sext because the images are automatically deleted after a few seconds...or so you are led to believe.

This came on the heels of news spreading of applications available on most smart phones allowing a recipient of a “Snap” to actually take a screenshot of anything, therefore keeping the photo for good, that is the issue with snapchat and sexting.

...recent news demonstrate several security breaches hitting Snapchat users. First of all, according to the BBC, hackers have published thousands of “snaps” from snapchat users and most of the people in the pictures were between 13- 17 years old.

This goes to show that companies and developers are working and have succeeded in creating applications that save “snaps” for eternity, if that is not a red flag for teens using Snapchat, we don’t know what is.

What is Snapchat Sexting? [3]

What women think about sexting

Guys are turned on visually and we assume girls have brains wired the same way - not so. Girls respond more to romance.

'Sexy photos from guys are the biggest texting turn off for women'.

A thousand times yes. Dudes of the world, most people don’t want to see a photo of your disembodied boner. Think about what you’re doing. You’re sending a closeup shot of a single organ. That’s really weird.

...asked Dr. Fisher if part of the issue could be that men just have no idea what women find sexy. She agreed.

Less Is More: The Hard Data on Men & Women's Sexting Preferences Mulshine [5]

Nothing a guy has ever sexted me has made me hot and bothered. It might’ve made me roll my eyes at best. Men are generally bad at talking dirty in a way that turns on a woman because they don’t understand that what turns them on doesn’t necessarily do the same for us.

Used

In the ultimate picture, your body is a gift to your marriage partner for the other person to enjoy and vice versa. You will quickly get a reputation you don't want if the photos of you become public.

It also shows some personality issues are present if sexting is the way you treat your relationships.

The research on sexting and attachment style has indicated that those who send sexually explicit messages and attempt to initiate sex through texting also display either avoidant or anxious attachment styles with romantic partners.

Boundaries

It is a normal part of life to have 'boundaries' around you in your dealings with other people - especially when it comes to personal relationships and sexting.

if you lower your boundaries to please another person who wants a sext picture from you, effectively you are saying that the other person's wants are more important than your own.

Personal boundaries are the physical, emotional and mental limits we establish to protect ourselves from being manipulated, used, or violated by others. They allow us to separate who we are, and what we think and feel, from the thoughts and feelings of others.

It would not be possible to enjoy healthy relationships without the existence of personal boundaries, or without our willingness to communicate them directly and honestly with others.

What to do about it

Be decisive and take action. Stop sexting. Stop using the apps or other areas that put pressure on you to sext. Say 'no' to that partner who wants a picture of you. Try these ideas: (funny) 11 Ways to Shut Down Sexting Like a Champ [4]

If a partner leaves you because you will not send a sext - then you need to move on and find a partner that will not use you just for your body, but also respects you for the whole person that you are with feelings of your own and boundaries that are healthy.

More information

Psychology Today website
Common problems associated with teen sexting.
No Bullying website
Many great articles on sexting.

References

The following addresses cannot be hyperlinked (page will lose secure status) - copy and paste addresses.
  1. Raychelle Cassandra Lohmann MS, LPCS Teen Sexting - The Real Issue - Common problems associated with teen sexting.
  2. http://www.sheknows.com/community/parenting/my-12-year-old-was-blackmailed-nude-photos
    https://nobullying.com/kik-sexting/
  3. http://nobullying.com/sexting-on-snapchat/
  4. http://www.collegehumor.com/post/6991992/11-ways-to-shut-down-sexting-like-a-champ
  5. http://observer.com/2014/02/less-is-more-the-hard-data-on-men-womens-sexting-preferences/