We live in an incredibly viral world. We are so connected the rest of the world. It creates a large divide between the developed/developed and undeveloped parts of the world. It makes the global market increasingly interdependent. This digital age is so new that it has unknown health affect on infants to adults. There are millions of consequences we have received from this instant connection. Although, one that people may partake in an instant sexual connection through just a few characters, a 10 sec picture, or voice message. Yes, I mean sexting.
What is sexting?
If we wanna look at pop culture’s definition, I turn to good ole UrbanDictionary which fittingly I joking like to call “UrbanDic”. Their top definition of sexting is :
Sexting is usually done by attention seeking high school and even middle school girls that think passing out nudes and porn will somehow make them popular or cool. Most are too dumb to realize that most guys will treat them like shit and take advantage of them and the rest of the school will think of them as hoes and sluts. Most have no idea that most of the pics will end up all over school or the town and follow them forever.
Though, this is flawed. For one, this creates an clear assumption that only teenagers participate in sexting. Secondly, that sexting is only sending pictures of nudity. Overall, this definition is biases and opinionated. It appears something who’s obviously strong in their opinion and has a pessimistic attitude towards the matter, because “follow them forever” isn’t exactly the happiest thought since this isn’t exactly Peter Pan’s shadow we’re talking about.
Although, you know it’s ingrained in who we are as a society when the word shows up in the official dictionary. Webster-Merriam dictionary online defines the word as:
the sending of sexually explicit messages or images by cell phone
This is much less biased, generally definition. This serves as much better definition for use.
OMG Everyone’s Doing It
Everyone is not doing. This peer pressure line is as old as time. If someone says this to you this is a major red flag. Like c’mon, really?! Although, there is a large portion of people that are doing it.
A study presented at the American Psychological Association 123rd conference found in their study that 88% of adults (18 and older) have sexted (Session 3014, for info here). This doesn’t mean that they are constantly actively doing it. It doesn’t mean that these 88% out of the 870 people have sent a dick picture. Although, a much larger study (probably closer to the actual average percentage of people who do) conducted by McAfee found that only 49% of people have ever sexted.
This could be anything from “oh yea I told him to stuff my muffin this morning” or it
could be like “ahh…yea 10 years ago, I told my college boyfriend that I wanted to kiss him til I couldn’t breath”. See the thing is sexting is subjective. No one can tell you if it’s right for you. You have to determine that for yourself. Just be a hipster – main stream isn’t that great anyway.
High Schoolers: No one is actually doing it. So just don’t.
I study out of the Journal of Adolescent Health accurately portrays just how much of a problem “sexting” is in youth.
7% of teenager having ever sexted.¹
Teenagers being defined in this study as 13 to 18 years old. In my book, I’d say you got a couple bad apples. Although, it’s not really that big of a problem.
So parents: Talk to your teens. Teens: Just don’t do it. More info here
Why shouldn’t you do it? Well technically it can be classified as the production of child pornography.
Sexting Gone Wrong
We have all heard the horror stories or see it in movies the “HE SENT IT TO EVERYONE” stories. The internet is permanent and unforgiving place. This unfortunately this is a finger print we cannot easily take back or erase.
Sexting someone can result in sexual violence, harassment, or worse.
Once it’s in another person hands they can do whatever they want with. Unfortunately, women hold a negative stigma is society towards sexting. Where a male’s sexting may be perceived as “normal” or “sexy”, a female is more regularly perceived as “slutty” and as a “whore”. Now there’s opposite situations for each. for example, an unsolicited dick pic is just in poor taste gentleman. I don’t care how much you love it, she/he might just not.
So What Do I think?
Well I do fall within the 70% of young adults (18-24 years old) of people in the McAfee study who have sexted. And I was most definitely not a part of the 7% of high schooler doing it when I was younger.
I think sexting makes yourself immensely vulnerable. This vulnerability is a tool and a privileged that should not be easily lent out to others. Since too often is sex entwined with a sense of gain, losing, or having power. This is not necessarily BDSM, but in general. The terminology surround sex make it so for since you “loose your virginity” or “he took it”. These are powerful terms.
To have a message or picture, forever with someone is a true test of their judgement or a true lack on your part. Although, we can not always forsee the future and we humans our ability to see patterns is subject to what we desire to believe. We are too often wrong and flawed.
Alright, so how to I keep myself safe?
I for one do not need my breast, as lovely as they are, all over the internet. So what do I do?
- No Randos. Hell no, never to send it random people you just met. For me, I need to have known them for a significant amount of time. Have I sent it to someone who was a rando? Yes. Did I regret it? Completely.
- Trust Fall. I only send it to people I really trust. This is your social legitimacy you are entrusting them with. For some reason, even though we all do it, if you dick pic leaks (*cough cough Mr. Weiner*) you are a complete joke. This doesn’t make sense when we’re all doing it and it wasn’t your fault, but the internet is a cruel place.
- Part or Full. Rarely do I send full nudes. RARELY I’m talking maybe a hand full of times and only ever to one person. A) I just don’t have the confidence B) I don’t have a good full length mirror. C) Increase number creates increased likelihood. This means if there are more out there in existence there is a larger chance of them getting out. So I suggest send overly sexualized pictures which are clothed or you can’t see my private areas.
This way I keep myself safe from people who I may have placed my trust in, but who have broken it.
This should never be something you’re pressured into doing, because that is not healthy and not respectful towards yourself. So you should drop his ass like a hot potatoe.
Why do it at all?
I believe sexting can provide an intimated aspect to relationships when people who have a desire to be sexual with each other are far away or in long distance relationships. It can also be used a foreplay. It can be a healthy aspect of a sexual relationship between two consenting adults. This doesn’t mean “boyfriend-girlfriend” this could be any label you wanna put on it. Fuck buddies, spouse, friends, whatever. There are always dangers in life and in each situation it’s our responsibility to ourselves to way the options and consequences. Life is risky, but if you feel an adequate level of trust and respect between you and your partner then it’s all gucci. You do you girlfriend.
- Ybarra, Michele L. et al. “Sexting” and Its Relation to Sexual Activity and Sexual Risk Behavior in a National Survey of Adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health (2014) Volume 55 , Issue 6 , 757 – 764