How many times have you been at the library – or the dining hall, in class, at a party – and seen a friend take a nonchalant glance at their phone, only to be followed by a snicker and a devilish smile? Chances are, they’ve just received the lewdest, raunchiest, sexiest form of electronic communication – the sext.
Sexting is fun, sexy and comes in handy during those times when your significant other is further away than you’d like them to be. In an article for the Iowa Law Review, Elizabeth M. Ryan cites Miller V. Skumanick’s definition of sexting as, “the practice of sending . . . sexually suggestive text messages and images…via the text-message or photo-send function” of a cell phone. There’s nothing quite like unlocking your phone to find one of these “sexually suggestive” surprises, whether it be a selfie of your guy or girl’s hot bod, or an in-depth description of what you’ll do to them later tonight.
But a harmless sext can easily get you into a sticky situation. In a thesis for the Michigan State University College of Law, Melody Sabadera noted that past sexts are often used for revenge after a breakup. It’s not uncommon for a bitter ex to send an old sext to people for whom it was not originally intended, a situation that could be humiliating and potentially affect a person’s future. According to Sabadera, in order to prevent the potential negative aftermath of sexts, “some states are prosecuting teenagers for transmitting, receiving, or possessing child pornography, either of themselves or of others, under draconian child pornography statutes.” In other words, that nudie shot you sent to your girlfriend while she was abroad could come back to bite you in the ass.
Despite these dangers, sexting is still a major part of our social lives. In a discussion for the National Institute of Justice, Mirandi Jolicoeur and Edwin Zedlewski claimed, “When sexting was defined as sending a sexually suggestive message, 38 percent of the teens said they had sent sexts, nineteen percent of teens said they had sent nude or semi-nude photos.” With numbers like that, it’s clear that our generation, with its love affair with smartphones and its obsession with instant gratification, is not ready to give up the scandalous sport of sexting. So how do you sext without risk?
If you feel the need to express your coital urges to your beau but are worried about the implications of photographic evidence, sticking to the text-only variety of sexting is a bit less risky than sending nude photos. Instead of showing your guy or girl how much you want him or her, tell them. Keeping it classy is a good way to avoid potential embarrassment as well – think of your sext as a Shakespearian love sonnet, rather than the lyrics to a Pitbull song. It doesn’t have to be 50 Shades of Gray to be sexy.
If you’re nervous about an unwanted stranger coming across your significant other’s cell, make an agreement ahead of time to delete all sexually explicit messages. Erasing the evidence now helps avoid accidentally (or intentionally) leaking your private messages in the future. Just make sure the both of you actually follow through with the deal.
If you just can’t help yourself and you’re craving a shot of your guy’s chiseled six-pack, then SnapChat is your friend. For those of you who have been living in a cave for the past few months, SnapChat is a mobile app that allows you to send photos that the recipient can see for a designated period of time before they disappear. In other words, it’s the ideal way to ensure sexting security. Download this app and sext to your heart’s content, with no consequences.
However you choose to sext, keep in mind that there’s always an element of risk involved. If you want to entirely avoid internet embarrassment or awkward conversations with potential employers, the most secure option is to not sext at all. Besides, a nude pic is hot, but real life nudity is even hotter.