By now, you’ve probably heard of sexting – the soundbyte-friendly media term for, ahem, the act of exchanging erotic messages and/or images over digital channels.
In plainer terms, sexting is exactly what it sounds like.
The media buzzes a lot about teens involved in this because people need something to clutch their pearls over, but anyone can do it – and in fact, everyone is doing it. Even senior citizens.
Go ahead and decry technology, perversion, and the plague of social media oversharing, but erotic communications are nothing new. Letters, poems, and plays about seduction have been part of the history of human self-expression for centuries. Much of is it considered classic literature. And boy, was it bawdy.
Now, I’d like to distinguish sexting from its ugly counterpart: unsolicited sexual messages from strangers.
Women get harassed a lot online. No one can argue that isn’t true. You can probably think of one Tinder horror story you’ve heard off the top of your head, but if not, recall Anthony Weiner? Skeevy guys like him give sexting a bad name.
Time to bust that myth: Sexting is fun!
Assuming both parties are into it, getting into a sext exchange with your guy or gal can be, frankly, pretty hot. There’s something about the idea of teasing them from afar and putting ideas in their head with a little verbal foreplay. Long distance relationships might even seem a little less lonely.
Personally, I don’t think the fact that this is usually two people staring into their cell phones should cheapen this act, regardless of what you may say about our overreliance on them. With or without phones, human beings would still find creative ways to say “…want to?”
Ready to Try it Yourself?
First, figure out where your comfort zone is with erotic language, especially if you’ve never written something risqué or mastered dirty talk. Try writing something on your own, just one page, maybe describing a memorable sexual experience or a fantasy of yours. Don’t try too hard to write in a particular style; let it come out in your own voice. You can either set a 5-minute timer, or write until you run out of steam. Read back through and pay attention to the language you used. Ask yourself if there were certain words you avoided.
Everyone has a different threshold where language goes from erotic to vulgar. If you know for sure there are certain words or euphemisms that will turn you off, you have the opportunity to give your partner a heads-up to avoid them.
The actual content of sexting can range anywhere from flirting to full-on textual or visual reenactment (look, I’m trying to be delicate here). That’s another boundary you’ll have to consult yourself about and decide where the line is.
Now, a lot of that advice is aimed at those who are really new to erotic talk, but don’t think I’m implying there aren’t those out there who are ready to jump right in. Whatever pace works for you!
But I do want to issue one big disclaimer before I release you to your devices: Sext at your own risk, especially when it comes to images. Ideally, you’d only be doing this kind of thing with someone you could trust not to use it against you somehow – say, sharing your photos without your permission. It’s a crime, maybe not legally, but certainly ethically. It’s something that could happen to you if you sext.
One way some people address this is to make sure to take photos that cut off their faces and avoid including identifying features like tattoos. And if you’re in any kind of public position, like a teacher, you might think twice about photos like this even existing.
Okay, with that public service announcement, on to the fun stuff!
Here are a few ways to try out sexting:
- Text them when they’re at work, when you know they’re on their lunch break or half an hour before quitting time, giving a hint of what’s waiting for them when they get home. (DO NOT use their work email.)
- Strip for each other by exchanging photos or videos (getting only as nude as you’re willing). Remember, there are parts of the body other than the obvious ones that might get your partner into a frenzy. What about a photo of your legs while you’re wearing their favorite heels, or the hem of your skirt hiked up on your thigh?
- Use this medium to explore fantasies or try out a little roleplay. Just start with the words “I want to…” and then make them want it too.
- If you’re feeling really ambitious, you could try a “Choose Your Own Adventure” style of exchange, giving your partner a choice of two or more ways they could hypothetically proceed in this fantasy.
If you start feeling self-conscious, remember to have a sense of humor about this and don’t take it too seriously. It’s a game, a little friendly back-and-forth. If at any point it turns you off, or gets too real, or if you find it just doesn’t do anything for you, don’t feel you have to get into it for any reason, not because your partner wants to and certainly not because I recommended it!
Because I’ll admit that I’m biased. I’m a writer – I have a love affair with words, so what better way to get my attention?
If you have any of your own sexting or dirty talk tips, post them in the comments – though we ask you keep things R-rated at most, please and thanks.
Marisa is a professional writer/editor and creative writing teacher living in southwest Ohio with her mutt. Recently divorced, she is busy enjoying the single life and all the adventures it offers. She believes the sexiest thing you can do is love yourself first, and is a champion of clear communication and listening to your gut as well as your heart. Got a question for Marisa? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org