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Let's be perfectly clear: Sexting will never be percent safe but a lot of people are going to sext anyway. And that's fine! At PCMag, we believe very strongly in not yucking someone's yum. You'll always be taking some risk when you send or receive naughty messages, photos, or videos. If you do not want to take any risks, you should not sext. For everyone else, we humbly present these tips for making your titillating messages a little more secure.
While some people define sexting as digitally sharing nude or explicit photos and videos only, we define sexting as sending any messages of a sexual nature. Even if you're not sharing nudes, a torrid textual exchange is still sexting, and still carries some risk of embarrassment. The answer to why people sext is pretty straightforward: sex is fun and exciting, and sexting is easy to do and exhilarating in its own right. For some, such as couples in long-distance relationships, sexting can keep communication and sexual desire strong. For others, it's just another path to intimacy.
After all, most of us text and chat all the time, and it's natural to extend that into our love lives, as well. Consider, also, that sexting can't spread disease or lead at least directly to accidental pregnancy. There are times when the rewards of sexting outweigh the risks—it's up to you to decide. But keep in mind, we wrote this feature with the assumption that our readers were consenting adults. Kids, maybe don't try this.
When we first tackled this subject back in , PCMag analyst Jill Duffy asked Erika Moen, the cartoonist behind the sex-positive webcomic Oh Joy, Sex Toy which you can support via Moen's Patreon , about her definition of sexting, and she added one important point. If it is just one person sending unsolicited sexual messages or pictures to another person without their okay, then it is just straight up sexual harassment.
Just like in real life, you have to make sure the other person is into it before you start getting freaky with them. So, before you doff your duds and whip out your selfie stick, have a serious conversation with the person with whom you wish to sext. Make sure they're as enthusiastic as you are. It's more fun when everyone feels safe. Even if you're sending sexy messages to your married partner of several decades, we recommend having a discussion about expectations and safety when it comes to sexting. Just as you might discuss STD testing and other issues related to health and safety with your sexual partners, you should also talk frankly about sexting before you do it.
Are you into flirty or dirty text messages only, or are pictures and videos on the table, too? Do you want to make sure your sexting partner only sends you messages when you're at home? What efforts are you both going to make to protect the privacy of the other person?
Set some ground rules and don't be afraid to turn down options that make you feel uncomfortable or vulnerable. It's way better to voice those concerns now than after the fact. If your potential sexting partner voices concerns, be sure you honor the limits they put forward, too. Some people engage in sexting as part of their online dating life, meaning they may be sexting with semi-strangers. We don't condemn it, but we do see it as higher risk. If you're going to send sexy messages to someone you don't know very well, take some extra precautions.
Consider using a messaging service that isn't tied to your real name or phone , and hold back on anything in the images or messages that could be used to identify you—like your face. Any of things could go wrong. Photos or messages could be intercepted by people you know. It could even be accidental, like glancing at a notification when a naughty message arrives. For many people, that's much worse than having sexts leak publicly, depending on whether you're identifiable as one of the participants. She added, "If the consequences will be traumatic like losing your ability to financially support yourself, losing custody of your children, feeling suicidal, etc.
Those worst case scenario consequences are not fair, and nobody deserves them for engaging in a consensual sexual activity, but they do exist. Electronic media is always reproducible. By its very nature, digital media is reproducible. You can't get around it. Anyone can take a screenshot of their phone or computer, or even use another device to take a picture of a screen. Once the original is copied, each copy can be copied and transmitted an infinite of times. If you're going to be sexting, you are assuming the risk that someone might copy your text, images, and videos.
It's an unavoidable risk. Are you a target? If you're a high-profile person, such as a celebrity or politician looking at you, Jeff Bezos , or if you have some other delicate facet to your life e. That may sound obvious, but consider realistically how and why the risks are different. People can be jerks.
Just because you're not famous doesn't mean you won't be a target for blackmail or harassment. Some legislation is beginning to address this practice, but it's still a threat. Worse, some hackers engage in so-called " sextortion. In the most twisted examples, the attackers demanded more explicit material from victims. You're a good person, so act like it. People lie.
Just because you're honest, it doesn't mean the other person is. Maybe they won't protect your photos as well as you want, or maybe they'll betray your trust and show your photos to other people. Or maybe they're not who they claim to be. Maybe they're a predator, or a blackmailer, or a minor. Sure, the risks can be scary, but knowing the specific risks helps in finding good solutions. First and foremost: how are you going to send your sexts? Here are a few things to consider before you fire away. First, be aware of where the photos you take are stored on your phone.
Are they backed up online? Are there other apps on your phone, like Google Photos, that are also copying your photos? We recommend doing an audit of your photo-taking and storage practices, so you know exactly where everything is. Also, be sure to tidy up your devices often. Delete your lewds, or move them to secure storage. There's nothing worse than trying to show a friend your vacation photos and accidentally revealing something a little too private.
Second, consider hiding identifying features, like your face, tattoos, birthmarks, or even objects in the background. Lastly, sexting is best in private. Even when your flirtations are with a person you trust, don't do it in public. An eye over your shoulder could turn into a smartphone camera over your shoulder. Keep it under wraps. How you send your sexts is almost as important as what's in your sexts.
Depending on the messaging service you use, you might be unknowingly be opening yourself up to risk. al is a messaging service that puts an emphasis on privacy and security. All your messages are encrypted end-to-end, so they can't be read even if they were intercepted. al is tied to your phone , but also has an s feature that lets you hide personal information. You can set a time limit for messages and attachments to be deleted, and the app stores images you send and receive with al separately on your device.
We highly recommend al in general as a secure messaging service that's actually easy to use. SMS and text messages are the old standby for messaging, sexy or not. While they are tied to your phone , which can, in turn, be traced to you with some effort. They can be easily deleted, but not recalled, and there's no way to have messages be automatically deleted. Also, some devices will automatically save all attachments, and in some cases backup messages and attachments to the cloud.
Remember those iCloud hacks of celebrity messages from a few years ago? Hackers tricked victims with into entering their credentials with phony phishing s, and were able to access the online backups.Wickr sexting
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Your Guide to Safer Sexting