Myths about Sexting

June 25, 2019
Sexting is becoming more and more common as our reliance on new forms of communication increases. Many people consider it a bad or dangerous practice, partly due to the many myths surrounding sexting. However, as long as you take the proper precautions, you can engage in sexting without putting yourself in harm's way.

The way people communicate is changing all the time. This affects nearly every facet of your day-to-day life. It’s no surprise, then, that people’s intimate and erotic lives have also been affected by these changes. One of these phenomena is sexting. New technology has offered people instantaneous interaction with no boundaries. In that framework, sexting encompasses many different elements of communication. Let’s delve a little deeper into this concept and take a look at the myths about sexting.

What’s Sexting?

The word sexting comes from the combination of the words sex and texting. Sexting is sending erotic content to another person with an electronic device such as a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Sexting can involve any kind of media format such as photos, GIFs, videos, text, audio, etc.

The word sexting on a smartphone screen.

As you can see, the term is quite broad. There are countless ways to participate in sexting. However, it’s important to clarify that sexting is something that happens in a relationship between two or more people.

Consequently, anything that counts as sexting has to be consensual and the people participating have to be doing so of their own free will. If someone decides to send intimate content to another person, it has to be because they want to, not because they feel pressured to do so.

People often think that activities such as sexting are dangerous or bad. In certain environments, it’s even prohibited. However, sexting in and of itself is neither good nor bad, it’s just another form of communication. Just like anything else, it has upsides and downsides.

The Downsides

It’s interesting that one of the main downsides of sexting is that it doesn’t have any limits. In other words, the downside has more to do with the use than sexting in and of itself. Electronic devices allow you to send all types of content, so you have to be the one to set limits.

What are the consequences of not setting boundaries or improper sexting? Well, it’s easy to end up in a kind of blackmail where someone pressures another person to send them erotic content against their will. Or the person on the receiving end of erotic content might share it with other people without the sender’s permission. Sexting can result in other unpleasant situations as well, like someone sharing intimate content from an ex after a breakup in order to get revenge.

The Upsides

The downsides that we just mentioned are the reason for many of the myths about sexting. When people think about sexting, they often only consider the negative elements. Sexting as a form of communication, however, has some significant advantages. These are basically the upsides of all new forms of communication: immediacy, accessibility, and the elimination of geographic barriers. If your partner is on the other side of the world, you can keep the passion alive with erotic games.

Of course, these types of relationships will never be a good substitute for face-to-face (or skin-to-skin) contact. However, it does mean that your desire and longing for the other person can be maintained in spite of the distance. Consequently, sexting fills a need that couldn’t be filled before. Also, the ability to do these things from your cell phone makes it much easier and more convenient.

Myths about Sexting

Now that you know the meaning, upsides, and downsides about sexting, here is the list of the myths or popular beliefs about the practice:

  • Sexting is dangerous. It isn’t dangerous in and of itself. What’s dangerous, as we said before, is when people misuse it.
  • Sexing is cold or impersonal. Sending erotic content with a device doesn’t have to be a substitute for the physical contact of erotic relationships. Rather, it has its own function. You don’t need to compare it to other activities. Consequently, sexting doesn’t have to be cold or impersonal.
  • Sexting is promiscuous. People in all kinds of situations engage in sexting. Also, conventional couples tend to use it when they don’t have another way of expressing themselves or satisfying their sexual needs.
  • Sexting always ends badly. Sexting doesn’t have to end badly if you do it properly. In fact, there are more and more sexologists who discuss this subject with students in sex education classes so, in theory, teens should understand what’s right and wrong.
A person texting.

How to Practice Safe Sexting

Myths about sexting are pretty widespread. The only way to dispel them is to offer more information about safe sexting. If you want to get involved in risk-free sexting, the first and best thing you can do is choose your partner wisely.

Just like in conventional erotic relationships, the level of trust you have with your partner will determine how free and comfortable you’ll feel. Also, if you sext with someone you trust, you’re more likely to be doing it of your own free will and not because someone is pressuring you.

You can easily minimize your risk if you focus on content. Think about what would happen if the content you’re sending fell into the wrong hands. Could someone identify you? If you send a naked photo or a photo of some body part, for example, make sure you crop or alter the photo in some way so that your face isn’t showing. You should also consider other distinguishing features such as piercings, tattoos, or accessories that you use frequently. Think about your background as well. Is there anything in the photo that gives clues about where you are?

You should also try to periodically erase all of the erotic photos on your phone because you never know who might get access to them.

We live in a hyperconnected world. When you send a photo with your phone, you lose control of that content. That could be because the application or platform that you’re using doesn’t guarantee privacy, or the person you’re sending it to doesn’t use the content in a responsible way.

If society focuses on trying to prohibit teenagers from engaging in these kinds of activities, it’ll only push the practice underground. That makes it more risky for everyone. Instead, we need to offer education and information about how to practice safe sexting.