How to be good at sexting

How To Be Good At Sexting

How to be good at sexting, how to deal with the risks and how to make sure it’s consensual. You have to be over 18 to take and send sexy pics (though you may not be prosecuted for this).

Remember the Law

As with all sex it’s important to try to reduce the risks, and with sexting, as in many other forms of sex, some of that risk can be legal.. Firstly about the law and sexting: from October 2016, even though it’s illegal to take a sexy image, receive an image and share an image of someone under 18 (yes, it’s legal to have physical sex when you are over 16, but not to take pics of it), you probably won’t get prosecuted so long as you are a similar age and any sharing of the image was consensual

“It would not usually be in the public interest to prosecute the consensual sharing of an image between two children of a similar age in a relationship. A prosecution may be appropriate in other scenarios, however, such as those involving exploitation, grooming or bullying.” Crown Prosecution Service

There’s more advice from me about how to reduce the risks of sexting here

Asking to sext

Just as with any kind of sex you really should make sure that it’s super consensual. So if you’re interested in sexting with someone it’s better to ask them in a way so that they can say no if they want to. It’s also better to assume that ‘um’, ‘errr’, ‘don’t know’ and silence mean no (because people rarely use the word ‘no’ when it comes to sex, so don’t just wait for them to say it). Open questions like “how do you feel about …” or “what are your thoughts about …” are good here.

It’s really important to remember that there are different risks of bullying and harassment for different people.

Some people face more risks from a sext going astray than others (e.g. women, people of colour, disabled people, LGBTQI folks). Also remember that men are under pressure to prove that they are always interested in sex all the time (when they may not be). Sexting can make other forms of bullying and discrimination even worse too. Remember the article I wrote about power in relationships? Totally relevant and important here too.

Annnnnd remember that pressure to sext (as with any form of sex) is not just from one person but it’s from society too. Depending on which social groups you hang out in there can be a lot of pressure to be flirty and to show that you are interested in sex.

So if it’s your thing, great, you do you. But try to make sure that everyone else is as enthusiastic about it as you. Key points:

  • No (or meh, maybe, don’t know, errr, um) means no (unless the other person specifically says otherwise
  • Don’t just send them a (e.g. dick) pic unless it’s really clear that you aren’t expecting a pic back
  • If they are interested in sexting generally, make sure they’re aware of all the options that they could do that would make them feel comfortable

What kind of sexting do you want to do?

The way that everyone talks about sexting makes it sound like it’s just pictures of what’s under your top or what’s in your pants. But, there are lots of different options:

  • Sending naked pics
  • Close ups of different parts of the body
  • Underwear pics
  • Pics in a favourite item of clothing
  • Face pics with different expressions
  • Telling each other where you like to be touched (and how)
  • Asking each other about turn ons
  • Talking or taking pictures whilst masturbating
  • Talking about what kind of sex you might like to have in person
  • Describing a scene that you would like to play out
  • Writing a sexy story together, or one person writing a sexy story for the other person
  • Fan fic/slash fic
  • Chatting about a sex scene you have both seen in TV, film or porn

So if you are asking someone if they want to sext, or if you are being asked, remember that you have options.

You could talk about which options you like the most or which you like the least. To get started about which you think you might like, put yourself on a scale of (really don’t want to do it) -10 ———- 0 ———- +10 (really want to do it) for each of the above. If one person wants to just send pics and the other person wants to say sexy things, that’s cool. By thinking about all the different ways you can sext you can make it more consensual.

What are you going to do with the sexts

You should probs have a chat about the rules. People find it hard to think about the break-up of a relationship when you’re in one and it’s going well, but what happens to your sexts if you do break up? Also, can you chat about whether it will ever be okay to show a picture or a story to someone else? Would it ever be okay for your sexting partner (SP) to share what you have sent to them to someone else? Are you going to have blanket agreements about this or are you going to check in every time?

How to get started

Whether you are taking pictures or typing things, it’s good to start slowly. It can be a bit much for the other person if you bombard them with up close pictures of your bits, or write an extended essay about your sexual fantasy involving boingy rubber balls. By starting slowly you can make it more consensual #consent but also you can build up the excitement a little bit. Also if you slow everything down a little bit then it’s easier to work out what your SP’s preferences are – like what words you use to describe your bits, what kind of pictures they like, or how long they want to chat for.

When and how long

So that you don’t leave one another (ahem) hanging, it can be a good idea to make it clear if you are doing live sexting or if you are going to tune in for the highlights at the end of the day. Imagine that you are knee deep in a conversation and the other person goes to get their dinner or watch Hollyoaks or falls asleep. That could be well frustrating. Many people just send each other their hot thing throughout the day with the expectation that their SP will check in when they have a minute/are feeling horny. Sometimes sexting can take up a lot of time (just like with any conversation) so remember that not everyone will be able to spend as much time on it as you.

Setting the scene

If you are interested in describing a scene that you might find hot, or describing something that has happened, or telling a sexy story then it might be a good idea to learn a few writing tips. Are you going to tell the story from your perspective, or theirs or someone else’s (first, second or third person – finally a use for that English GCSE). When you set the scene don’t just focus on what you can see, but also on all the other senses too. Maybe talk about: what each character was thinking before, during and after; what the sex might mean for them; how sexy they are feeling, how they are making sure it’s consensual (sorry/not sorry to keep banging on about that). What do they say to each other? How do they know each other are enjoying it? You might find this helpful, and this.

How to take a good picture

Okay so I’m not going to teach you how to take a good picture for sexting purposes. That would be a bit icky for me tbh. Remember that the law says you need to be 18 to do this. There are some good general tips on how to take non-sexy selfies in this article, which I think is great – it’s aimed at guys but could work for all genders.

I think the only thing I would say about taking pictures is that there’s absolutely no rush at all. Once you take one, take a second and think about whether you are happy with it before showing it to someone else. Be your own editor. Taking pictures of yourself means you get to control what you show. As well as being happy about how you look in it, take a moment to think about how happy you are someone else seeing it. Have you revealed more than you want to? Are you okay with this still?

Remember you don’t have to send pics at all. If you want to show a partner your pics you can show them IRL on your own phone. If someone is pestering you into you sharing pics and not taking your ‘um’, ‘errrr’, or silence as a no then they are not respecting your limits.

Pictures – go beyond basic

One of the risks with selfies is that we compare ourselves with other people, which often leads to us feeling crap. We get bombarded with stereotypical ‘attractive’ bodies all the time in mainstream media such as TV, Hollywood films, porn films, adverts, magazines and websites.

It’s hard not to see bodies which fit these stereotypes as being more attractive than others – no matter how woke you are – and so it’s easy for this to affect how we view and take selfies. If you are up for sexting pics can you go beyond basic and take pictures and offer compliments to your SP that aren’t stereotypical?

Great toes! I love the curve of your stomach. I love how you are looking at me in that picture. I love seeing your skin up close. Those eyes tho.

You could also be arty with your pictures and take (for example) extreme close ups, or use filters, or take pictures that imply something rather than show something (e.g. a pillow, underwear, boingy rubber balls).

Lastly

Obviously I’m using the word ‘good’ to mean ethical and consensual in this article, because I think that’s the most important thing about being ‘good’ at any kind of sex.

But with a lot of this stuff you will learn about it as you go along and it’s never something that you will be perfect at. So if you struggle with any of this at any point, or make mistakes, it’s okay to take some time out and think about whether this is something you want. It’s also good to think about how you’ve sexted and how you might learn from your mistakes (and make up for them if you’ve hurt someone).

© Justin Hancock, 2017


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