As much as older generations will try to tell you it’s not a good idea, sexting is very much a thing these days, and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere. Sex is a very natural part of growing up, and with technology being so integrated into our everyday lives, sexting will inevitably happen.
However, if you’re engaging in it yourself, then it’s important to make sure you’re doing it safely, which means understanding the risks and dangers of such an activity. Otherwise, how can you hope to protect yourself or know when the right times are.
Right off the bat, there’s no such thing as risk-free sexting, just like there is no such thing as risk-free sex. The most serious danger is that your messages will be forwarded, posted, or disseminated without your permission.
The most important things to remember are;
- There is no way to “unsend” a sext.
- Sexual messages could be used to manipulate you in the future
- If someone spreads your message without your permission, it may have an impact on your mental and emotional health
- You might be intimidated or harassed physically, both online or in-person
- If your parents/caregivers find out, you may face the consequences.
This, of course, works both ways.
If you do decide to sext, it’s so important to make sure that you yourself never forward, broadcast, or display other people’s sexual photographs or videos.
Sharing sexual photographs of others can be extremely harmful to the individual depicted. It’s a breach of their trust, and it can have a negative impact on their social and mental health. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
If someone was going to share your images with someone else without you knowing, or even posting them online for the world to see, the chances are you’d be devastated, so don’t do it to others.
What’s more, in many circumstances, it is actually a criminal offence to do this, and you could be prosecuted. Likewise, if someone shares your content without your permission, they could also be charged as a criminal or even receiving or sending an image from anyone but the content creator.
If you find yourself in either situation, you’re going to need to seek the help of brilliant sex crimes attorneys who can help you resolve the problems and get the justice you’re seeking.
Sexting Safety Tips
There are some safety tips you may want to remember if you do choose to send a sext that can protect your identity, should you find yourself in the worst-case scenario. For example, in the content itself;
- don’t mention your name.
- don’t include your face or any identifiable traits like birthmarks, tattoos, or piercings
- don’t include any information that could be used to identify you (e.g. your name, address or school name on it)
- Do not send sexts or strip naked on webcam with individuals you have never met in person.
If you find yourself regretting sending a sext.
Take a deep breath and hold it for a few moments. Make an effort not to be too harsh on yourself. People find themselves in this situation all the time, and while you might be scared of what happens next, it may not be as bad as you think. Try to stay calm and grounded.
Sooner, rather than later, contact the person and request that they delete your content immediately. Don’t put off taking action: the longer a photo or video is out there, the more difficult it is to manage it.
Of course, as tempting as it may be, don’t seek vengeance against the person who shared it. This will simply make the situation worse.
If your sext was shared on a website, contact the website as soon as possible and explain the circumstances. They might be able to get the photo/video taken down, especially if you’re under the age of 18.
Also, make sure you speak with a responsible adult, such as a family member, parent or caregiver, teacher, therapist, or a family friend. This can be embarrassing, but it’s important to get help so you can take action and get the situation resolved. Remember, you don’t have to show them the photo/video, but you should let them know what’s going on.
Just like sex itself, sexting doesn’t come without dangers, but as long as you’re practising the activity safely and you’re taking precautions to look after yourself, you shouldn’t have any problems. If you do, then make sure you’re being proactive in getting the situation resolved as quickly as possible. If you need legal assistance, then seek it.